Win a Signed Copy of Haylie Duff’s Cookbook, The Real Girl’s Kitchen

by in Contests, Shows, March 22nd, 2014

Sunny Anderson, Haylie Duff, Marcela Valladolid and Katie LeeWhile some authors may pride themselves on publishing cookbooks filled with intricate multistep recipes and lavishly elegant meal ideas for special occasions, Haylie Duff is no such writer, releasing a brand-new work, The Real Girl’s Kitchen, that cooks of every caliber can conquer with ease.

She stopped by The Kitchen this morning to introduce this recent release — based on her blog of the same name — and chat with the co-hosts about some of her favorite go-to dishes that are every bit as easy to prepare as they are deliciously satisfying. Together with Sunny Anderson, Haylie prepped two savory bites, Bacon-Wrapped Dates and Mushroom and Herb Crostini, which take the hassle out of entertaining, thanks to fuss-free preparation.

You can buy a copy of Haylie’s cookbook here, or you can enter to win one for free from FN Dish. We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected readers each a copy of The Real Girl’s Kitchen, and all you have to do to enter to win one is leave a comment below telling us your favorite recipe featured on The Kitchen so far this season (find them all here). You must include the recipe URL in your comment to be entered to win.

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Chinese Takeout: What Are The Healthiest Picks?

by , March 22nd, 2014

This popular takeout fare tends to be on everyone’s speed dial. But it’s always good to know what the healthiest options are, especially when that deep-fried egg roll is calling your name.

Smarter Choices
Here are some phrases to look fo...

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Prez’s “Crustmaker” Departs, Chocolate is the Best Health Food Ever and a Smell-Conjuring App

by in News, March 22nd, 2014

Chocolate BarThe “Crustmaster” Moves On: Bill Yosses, who has been whipping up pies (President Obama’s preferred dessert) and other confections at the White House as its executive pastry chef since his appointment by Laura Bush in 2007, is packing up his whisk and leaving his post for new, as yet unspecified, ventures. Bill, whom President Obama affectionately called “the Crustmaster,” is credited with bringing a healthier approach to White House desserts and integrating more seasonal ingredients, including those grown in the South Lawn Kitchen Garden he helped the First Lady create. He has also worked closely with Michelle Obama on her Let’s Move! campaign. She said she was “incredibly sad” to see him go. Bill called the decision to leave for personal reasons “bittersweet.” [Obama Foodorama]

Chocolate — Best Health Food Ever: If you ever wonder who or what to thank for all that is good about chocolate — in addition to the unparalleled joy of eating it — look down at your belly. The bacteria in your gut, NPR reports, are responsible for breaking down the antioxidants in dark chocolate and converting it into the compounds that help our hearts, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and help regulate appetite. The findings, presented this week to the American Chemical Society by Louisiana State University, hold for cocoa powder. Alas, John Finley, the food scientist behind the study, says the results “don’t translate to a Hershey bar.” He notes, however, that “cocoa powder goes well with many foods. I put it on my oatmeal every morning with berries.” [NPR’s The Salt]

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Know Your Knife Cuts [Infographic]

by in How-to, Shows, March 21st, 2014

Worst Cooks Culinary Cuts Infographic

Classic Pound Cake — Down-Home Comfort

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2014

There’s nostalgia associated with comfort food. Comfort food is food that is simple, solid and reminds us of childhood. Buttery, rich pound cake might very well be the ultimate down-home comfort dessert. It’s the cake that consoles as well as celebrates. It’s the all-purpose cake that’s perfect for birthdays, baby showers, funerals and everything in between. Pound cake is the slice of cake served with gossip and coffee to the neighbor down the street as well as for a baby’s first birthday. It’s the solid understudy waiting patiently under the cake dome, ready to step in at a moment’s notice. Read more

Parmesan Fennel Gratin — The Weekender

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2014

Parmesan Fennel Gratin - The WeekenderDuring the winter months, when most of the farmers markets in my area are closed, I find that I almost always default to the same five vegetables at the grocery store. We can eat only so much broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale, however, before edible fatigue sets in.

So I’ve been making a point to reach for vegetables outside of the standard five. I picked up a bag of snow peas recently, which made for a nice treat. Beets have made several appearances. And fennel has been hopping into my shopping basket a lot lately.

Fennel is actually a great vegetable to have in the crisper drawer, because it can do a variety of things. You can mince it and saute it into soups and stews in place of celery. You can shave it finely and dress it with a simple vinaigrette. It makes a very nice quick pickle. And as I learned recently, it works beautifully as a gratin.

I used Ina Garten’s recipe for Parmesan Fennel Gratin. She is the queen of simple, lush dishes, and this recipe did not let me down. She has you core the bulbs and cut them into two to four wedges. They get a dose of wine-fortified stock, are dotted with butter and covered with foil. You slide the pan into a hot oven and let them braise until they are entirely tender.

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3 Ways Quinoa is About to Blow Your Mind (at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

by , March 21st, 2014


Quinoa is fast-cooking, versatile and protein-packed. Keep a pot of the cooked grains on hand (using the basic recipe below), and these meals will come together in 10 minutes for a nutrient-rich breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Basic Quinoa

Soaking the q...

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What to Watch: Haylie Duff on The Kitchen and Comedians on Chopped

by in Shows, March 21st, 2014

The KitchenThis weekend on Food Network, watch all-new episodes from Amy, Giada, Jeff and more in the mornings, plus new Sunday night episodes of Food Court Wars, Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen.

It’s all about cheese on Heartland Table as Amy runs the gamut of cheesy recipes. Then on The Kitchen, the co-hosts make the ultimate meatloaf and share their best meatloaf tips. Also Haylie Duff stops by to talk about her new book The Real Girl’s Kitchen, a copy of which will be given away tomorrow on FN Dish.

On Sunday morning, Giada cooks recipes that are healthy but packed with flavor. Then on Sandwich King, Jeff makes Caribbean-inspired sandwiches. On Buy This Restaurant, Keith helps a couple find a perfect pub location in sunny Florida. In the evening, on Food Court Wars, two couples go head-to-head in a battle to win an eatery space. After, watch four comedians step into the Chopped kitchen in Round 3 of the Tournament of Stars: Will it be all fun and games or a serious competition? And last but not least, watch an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, in which one chef must make breakfast in bed, literally.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , March 20th, 2014

white pot
In this week’s news: Doctors embrace the food-as-medicine concept; chocolate is awesome for a whole new reason; and saturated fat (slowly) comes back into the fold.

Get Me a Spatula, Stat!
Last weekend,the Napa Valley branch of the Culinary In...

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Spring Into Spring with 4 Seasonal Ingredients

by in Food Network Chef, In Season, March 20th, 2014

Spring Into Spring With 4 Seasonal IngredientsSpring is here. I’ll admit that when I lived in colder climates such as Vermont or Paris, the arrival of spring was more anticipated (“When can I put my boots away?!”). I remember in Burlington, Vt., we had the tradition of breaking out our swimsuits on the first day that it hit 50 degrees F, a temperature that would have me snuggling up to the fireplace now. Even in San Diego, I’m excited about spring for two reasons. First, my daughters’ spring break is around the corner, and we are hunkering down for a family staycation here in San Diego (all the family time and fun, none of the stress of travel!). And the second reason I’m eager for the end of winter is — traditional spring food! Yes, I know these days we can get many ingredients year round, but they are lackluster compared to their in-season versions. Quite simply, there are certain flavors that are just better in that magical shoulder season between winter and summer.

Here’s my ideal springtime menu, featuring seasonal ingredients that you can get at any supermarket right now:

Asparagus: I’ll start here because it’s perhaps the quintessential spring vegetable, with its tender stalk and earthy flavor. While you can get asparagus many months of the year, the flavor (and the cost!) both tell you that spring is the time to indulge. I buy several bunches a week in peak season. My methods of cooking asparagus are almost exclusively roasting or grilling: a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and about 10 minutes in a hot oven (or seven minutes on a hot grill) is all it takes to bring out the natural sweetness and earthiness. Roasted asparagus can be served hot, at room temperature or cold (toss it with a tangy mustard vinaigrette for a fresh spring salad as in my Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette). Or cook for even less time to make a fresh soup (try my Almost-Raw Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Almonds — it couldn’t be easier to serve spring in a bowl).

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