Bobby Deen’s Ricotta Cheesecake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, April 26th, 2013

Bobby Deen's Cheesecake

My birthday is less than a month away, so I’m in the process of conducting my annual cake audition. I got in the habit of making my own celebratory cake some years back as a way to try out intriguing recipes and to stretch my baking skills a little. In the weeks before my big day, I make a few new-to-me cakes, in the hopes of finding something fun and tasty to serve.

Three years ago, I made lavender-infused cupcakes to take to a party in a friend’s garden. Two years ago, I layered and frosted my way to a triple-decker chocolate cake. Last May, I mixed things up with a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It didn’t hold candles well, but it received raves from my friends.

Recently, I’ve had cheesecake on the brain, so I decided to tackle a few different versions in the hopes of finding a worthy candidate. I started with Bobby Deen’s recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake. I was attracted by the fact that it’s lighter than traditional cheesecake — and it’s easy to put together. It can be made in a single bowl and doesn’t require a water bath to keep it tender.

My tasters and I came to the conclusion that while it’s not indulgent enough for a birthday, it may be the perfect spur-of-the-moment cake for casual gatherings. That makes it just perfect for The Weekender!

Before you start baking, read these tips

Nuts About Macadamia Nuts

by , April 26th, 2013

macadamia nuts
A personal favorite of mine, these deliciously chunky nuts are good for more than just munching.

Macadamia Basics
Buttery flavor, big crunch, and subtle sweetness sums up these medium-sized round nuts. Although native to Australia, Hawaii has since ...

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What to Watch Sunday: Vietnamese and Italian Classics, Tiffani Thiessen on Cupcake Wars, Chopped All-Stars

by in Shows, April 26th, 2013

Tiffani Thiessen Cupcake WarsStart the morning off this Sunday with mouthwatering new episodes of Guy’s Big Bite and Sandwich King. Guy makes a delicious meal of turkey lasagna packed with cheesy goodness and Jeff learns the secrets to making classic Vietnamese sandwiches. In the evening tune in for a special birthday treat on Cupcake Wars as the competitors battle to win the approval of guest judge and birthday girl Tiffani Thiessen. Afterward, in the fourth round of Chopped All-Stars, celebrities Johnny Weir, Joey Fatone, Laila Ali and Judy Gold descend upon the Chopped kitchen to compete for the first time. Last, Robert Irvine must contend with some creepy crawlers in his next restaurant redo.

Read about the shows

Chef Wanted: Nikki Beach Update

by in Shows, April 25th, 2013

Chef WantedNikki Beach is a high-profile restaurant and resort concept with 10 international locations that cater to the wealthy. Jack and Lucia Penrod, who opened their first location in Miami Beach in 1998, were looking for an executive chef for their new location in Ibiza, Spain. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two grueling tests and dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Jouvens Jean.

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What to Watch Tonight: Finale of Chef Wanted and Premiere of Giving You the Business

by in Shows, April 25th, 2013

Chef Wanted Nikki BeachChef Wanted comes to a jet-setting finish on tonight’s episode at a special time of 9pm/8c. Watch as Anne Burrell brings in four candidates who are fighting for a chance to get the executive chef position at the new Ibiza location of upscale restaurant Nikki Beach. The chefs will be put through two rigorous cooking tests at the restaurant’s Miami Beach location. The two remaining finalists will each get a chance to prove themselves to the owners in a dinner service, but only one will be offered the new position.

Right afterward at 10pm/9c, watch the premiere of Food Network’s new series Giving You the Business, hosted by NBA star Walter Bond. On this episode, four unsuspecting employees of restaurant franchise Famous Famiglia Pizzeria will be secretly tested in a series of outrageous challenges designed to gauge their skills at running a business. With hidden cameras capturing every move, the strongest candidate will walk away with the keys to the franchise.
Watch a preview of the new show

The Good Cook (Part One) — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, Recipes, April 25th, 2013

Meyer Lemon Compound ButterYou learn so much about people when you step out from behind the computer screen. I’ve been on tour for my debut cookbook, Homemade with Love, and it’s given me a chance to connect with readers in a way I never imagined. One person at my Chicago book signing inspired me to start a miniseries of sorts here, called The Good Cook.

Too often I hear people say they’re not good cooks. A little digging, though, and it turns out the way we see ourselves isn’t always in line with the way the people we love view us. Being a good cook shouldn’t be defined by how many recipes we know. The real determining factor in being a good cook is a rather simple litmus test: 1) do you like what you cook? and 2) do the people you prepare meals for enjoy what you cook? When I asked these questions at a few separate events, it turns out most people answer yes to both.

The real root for many people judging themselves so unfairly in the kitchen is they feel like they’re always cooking the same few favorite recipes. It’s really about expanding your comfort zone and, in some cases, learning a few new techniques. That’s where I come in. Over the next few posts, I’m going to explore techniques and tips to help get you out of your cooking rut. Please leave a note in the comments, letting me know which recipes or ingredients are on your “must-learn” wish list. Today, I’m going to start with an easy upgrade, a simple way in which you can add some oomph to your everyday meals.

Learn how to make a compound butter

Best 5 Halibut Recipes

by in Recipes, April 25th, 2013

Thai-Style Halibut With Coconut-Curry BrothEasy to make and widely available, salmon, tilapia and cod are often touted as go-to picks for family-friendly fish dinners, but if you’re looking to dress up your usual seafood selection, try a new favorite: halibut. A mild white fish that’s firm and meaty in texture, halibut stands up well to bold flavors and ingredients, plus it can be cooked in a number of ways and is quick enough to prepare on busy weeknights. Whether you opt for a simple, light marinade of olive oil and lemon juice or prefer a more adventurous fillet with spices, herbs and sauces, there’s a halibut preparation to please every taste. Check out Food Network’s top-five halibut recipes below for easy dinner inspiration and a mix of can-do dishes that will impress your family and party guests alike.

5. Broiled Halibut With Ricotta-Pea Puree — An all-in-one dinner that’s ready to eat in only 25 minutes, Food Network Magazine’s halibut is brushed with paprika, then quickly broiled and served with tender carrots and onions, plus a bright, cheesy puree.

4. Grilled Halibut Fish Sandwiches With Tartar Sauce — You don’t have to wait until the start of grilling season to master Rachael’s next-level fish sandwich. She sears the fillets on a stovetop grill pan, then serves them with juicy tomatoes, cool lettuce and creamy tartar sauce on hearty rolls.

Get the top three recipes

7 Foods to Fight PMS

by , April 25th, 2013

pineapple
Mood swings, irritability, bloating . . . who needs it? Premenstrual syndrome affects an estimated 40% of American women. Studies have found that eating certain foods may help decrease those pesky symptoms.

#1: Yogurt
A study conducted at the Univer...

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Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli Off the Clock

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 25th, 2013

Iron Chef Alex GuarnaschelliIf sheer determination was the only deciding factor in who became the next Iron Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli would have been taking on all comers in Kitchen Stadium years ago.

Unfortunately for her, in Season 4 of the show, a poorly prepared piece of lobster led to her elimination and possibly the end of her dream to join the Chairman’s elite crew.

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Chopped Mystery Basket Weirdest Ingredient Bracket Tournament — Vote in Round 3

by in Shows, April 24th, 2013

Chopped Bracket Round 3Some of the mystery basket ingredients that get used on Chopped are pretty unusual, to say the least. But the culinary producers who come up with them don’t just draw them out of a hat — though sometimes it does seem that way! They take their time to decide on the ingredients, making sure the basket components are just right and actually manageable. FN Dish queried the culinary producers to find out the top 16 weirdest basket ingredients they’ve had on the show. The list of ingredients ranged from goat brains to gummy eggs over easy — almost no ingredient is off-limits.

Now it’s up to you, Chopped fans, to vote on the ingredient you think is the weirdest of them all in this four-round bracket tournament, which coincides with the new season of Chopped All-Stars.

VOTE now!