Playing Games With the Genius — Worst Cooks in America Caption It

by in Shows, March 8th, 2013

Alina Bolshakova and Chef Ron Ben-IsraelIn the Sweet Genius kitchen, Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel is all business and no nonsense, challenging top professional bakers to a slew of culinary tasks on the clock. When he’s in charge, only confectionary perfection will suffice; others’ second-best efforts are simply unworthy of the genius title.

All of that is about to change come Sunday night, when Chef Ron drops by Boot Camp to lead the Worst Cooks in America recruits in a simple baking how-to. No longer striving for excellence, the Sweet Genius himself is after mere edibility when it comes to concocting cakes with some contestants who’ve opened their ovens only a handful of times — ever. Will he be able to instill in them a penchant for light, airy batters and smooth, fluffy frostings, or will the teams crumble under the pressures of pastry?

Given the sneak-peek image above from Sunday’s all-new episode, it looks as though it’s Chef Ron who’s taking the brunt of the challenge, as the Blue Team’s Alina Bolshakova dangles a bowlful of frosting over his head. Is her maneuver somehow part of the cake-making process, or do you think this is simply a well-meaning game she’s playing with Chef Ron? Will the Sweet Genius soon be covered with fallen frosting, or does he manage to dodge Alina’s bright-orange spread?

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Old-Fashioned Cocoa Cake With Caramel Icing — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, March 8th, 2013

Old-Fashioned Cocoa Cake With Caramel IcingI am the designated birthday dessert baker for my circle of close friends and dear family members. Every year, I make a dozen or more cakes, pies, tarts and meringue concoctions for parties, picnics and small family dinners.

It starts in January with my dad’s birthday. Tradition dictates that he gets a thing called Pinch Pie (though it’s neither pinched, nor is it a pie). It’s a meringue shell filled with ice cream, strawberries, whipped cream and toasted almonds. It’s a sugar bomb, but it’s beloved in my family.

In February, both my sister and my husband celebrate. When she was younger, Raina was into ice cream cakes, but these days she prefers something dense and chocolatey. Scott, on the other hand, hasn’t shifted his preferences since childhood. He likes to celebrate with a Funfetti cake made from a boxed mix. Though it violates my from-scratch sensibilities, that’s what he gets.

As we head into March, I start thinking about baking for my friend Shay’s big day. She doesn’t have a standard cake, instead preferring to try something new. Last time I did a carrot cake, and this year I’ve been planning something layered and featuring chocolate.

Before you start baking, read these tips

What to Watch: A Weekend of Family Togetherness and Down-to-the-Wire Competition

by in Shows, March 8th, 2013

Robert Irvine and Mariaci BrothersThis weekend on Food Network it’s all about cooking and having fun with family and friends, and some friendly — and not-so-friendly — competition.

Saturday morning has all-new episodes from Ree, Ina and Giada. On The Pioneer Woman, Ree is cooking up a storm for her football-playing family as they prepare for a game of boys versus girls. Then on Barefoot Contessa, Ina’s rewarding the team that helped design and build her new library with a Mediterranean-style party. Afterward, Giada and her aunt Raffy are cooking recipes right out of Giada’s grandma’s recipe collection on Giada at Home.

The competition starts on Sunday with a new episode of Cupcake Wars, where the teams bake it out for a chance to cater an event for The All-American Rejects. On Worst Cooks in America, the remaining Boot Campers must try and beat the clock to see if they can cook faster than ordering in delivery. Then, on a special night, watch Restaurant: Impossible as Robert tries to unite three brothers who have had a hard time running their late mother’s Italian restaurant (pictured above).

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Chef Wanted: Culina Update

by in Shows, March 7th, 2013


Chef WantedCulina, Modern Italian is a restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. General Manager Mehdi Eftekari was looking for a new executive chef because the former executive chef, Ashley James, was promoted to oversee the entire hotel. The two men were in need of someone who could cook innovative Italian food, lead a large staff and be comfortable with their customers. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Mette Williams.

Mette Williams is an executive chef from Los Angeles and a single mother of a 14-month-old boy. The position at Culina would give her the stability that she wants for herself and her son.

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How to Use Homemade Ricotta

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, March 7th, 2013

Homemade Ricotta RecipeIn the March issue of Food Network Magazine, you’ll find my recipe for homemade ricotta. Traditionally, ricotta is made from the whey left over during scale cheese production, but at home it’s easy to make using fresh milk. In my version, I chose to add a little bit of heavy cream to the mixture to make it a little richer and more luxurious.

There are 101 ways to use ricotta, but when you are using homemade stuff, it’s best to do as little to it as possible. One of my favorite ways to eat it is in a simple sandwich inspired by one I love at Saltie, a Brooklyn sandwich shop:

Split a 5-inch square of focaccia through the middle and lightly toast it, then drizzle it with some good-quality olive oil. Mix about 1/3 cup of ricotta (preferably still warm) with about 2 tablespoons mixed chopped basil, tarragon and chives, a good grind of black pepper and a tiny bit of freshly grated lemon zest; spread it on 1 side of the bread. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, and add a lightly beaten egg and a pinch of salt to the pan; stir it constantly with a rubber spatula to make a very soft scrambled egg with small curds (it will take longer than you are used to). Scoop the egg onto the ricotta and top it with the other piece of bread.

Best 5 Salmon Recipes

by in Recipes, March 7th, 2013

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti With Lemon, Basil and SalmonKnown for its trademark light-orange hue and heart-healthy proteins, salmon is a naturally flavorful fish, one that even kids and picky seafood challengers enjoy. Salmon can stand up to high heat and pairs well with the taste of charcoal, which is why many recipes prefer to grill the light, flaky fillets. In the winter months, however, instead of standing over a barbecue in the bone-chilling snow, prepare salmon in the warmth of your kitchen using easy cooking techniques like poaching, baking and sauteing. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five salmon dishes, each with stress-free recipes that can be made easily indoors. Check out the classic and creative takes on this family-friendly fish below, then browse our entire collection of salmon recipes.

5. Crispy Salmon Croquettes With Remoulade Sauce — Similar to crab cakes, Sandra’s golden-brown bites are made with prepared salmon and a filling of egg, a splash of hot sauce and fish-fry coating mix for added flavor, then pan-fried until warm and served with a cool mayonnaise-garlic sauce.

4. Salmon and Dill Chowder With Pastry Crust — Rachael remakes the everyday chicken pot pie into a hearty seafood bowl, complete with a creamy combination of poached salmon, celery and potatoes, finished with a pre-baked flaky crust.

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Beyond the Teacup: 9 Recipes Made With Tea

by in Recipes, March 6th, 2013

Tea-Smoked ChickenIf you’re a big tea drinker, you probably go through cups and cups of the cozy hot beverage on a daily basis. It’s a great way to relax and recharge, to soothe the throat or maybe it’s just a habit. But have you ever taken a moment to think about what uses tea may have in cooking? It’s a given that teas are flavorful — black teas are strong, green teas are light and then there are so many more types in between. Take some tea — maybe even your favorite kind — and incorporate it into a recipe. You’re bound to get flavorful results, not to mention a very creative meal.

There are actually many uses for teas in recipes: brining, poaching, braising and even baking are some methods that benefit from its use. And the best part is, these recipes don’t make you go out of your way to use the tea — in most cases it’s just swapping in brewed tea for the liquid that you would normally have used, like the water or stock in a braise, for example. If you’re willing to give cooking with tea a try, here are some of Food Network’s best recipes.

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