Vote: Which Cake Would You Want at Your Celebration?

by in Shows, March 13th, 2013

Celebration Cakes on Worst Cooks in AmericaIn an attempt to conquer what Chef Bobby Flay deemed “the final frontier for any home cook,” the remaining Worst Cooks in America recruits tackled the sweeter side of the kitchen: baking. Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel stopped by Boot Camp to offer them a basic cake-making tutorial, and while some of their hopes for dreamy dessert crumbled, a few recruits rose to the occasion.

After a 90-minute bake-off, the Blue Team‘s Alina and the Red Team‘s Rasheeda were named the most-successful competitors in this week’s Main Dish Challenge, as they managed to pull off cakes that boasted creative design and winning flavor combinations. Both baking with their cakes’ eventual recipients in mind, Alina and Rasheeda utilized age-appropriate ingredients and fitting frosting designs that reflected what Dash and Sawyer, twin 7-year-old birthday boys, and Rita, a recent retiree, respectively, would enjoy at their celebrations. Alina offered the boys a multicolored caked filled with jam and peanut butter cups as a nod to the kid-friendly PB&J sandwich, while Rasheeda took Rita’s like of nuts to the next level by adding pecans to the top of her light pink-tinted ginger cake.

If you were in need of a cake for your celebration, whose would you order? Are you a fan of Alina’s playful flavor approach to the classic dessert, or do you prefer more mature tastes like the ginger in Rasheeda’s cake? Would you opt for over-the-top color like Alina’s orange-and-green creation, or would you keep it simple with subtle hues?

Vote for your favorite cake

Food Network Favorites Now Available on Kindle and Android Devices

by in News, March 12th, 2013

Food Network Favorites

From soups and cookies to one-pot wonders and cupcakes, Food Network Favorites delivers a new repertoire of easy ideas, tips and recipes to the baking and cooking enthusiast — and now they’re available on Kindle Fire devices and Android tablets through Google Play.

Start downloading the apps now

Feed Your Crowd Before Hitting the Town — St. Patrick’s Day Entertaining

by in Holidays, March 12th, 2013

Irish Grilled CheeseSt. Patrick’s Day is simply about food, drinks and having a good time. It’s a day to celebrate with your friends, be a little silly, and eat and drink until your heart’s content. Most years we have a group of friends over for an early St. Patrick’s Day dinner, and then we hit the town. With that said, I always try to feed my friends and family a good foundation of food to handle the rest of the night’s activities.

This year I’m making a few of my favorite green-ish appetizers and then several main course options. That way people can pick and choose what they want, and I get the benefit of having leftovers for a few days after the celebration.

Irish Grilled Cheese (pictured above) is what we’re eating to kick things off. These are super easy, especially because I can pre-assemble them, and then everyone can use the panini press to make them as they please. Simple, delicious and fun.
Get the recipe: Irish Grilled Cheese

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Avoid Runny Ricotta

by in Food Network Magazine, March 12th, 2013

Three-Cheese Calzone

Hot Tips for Cooking With Cheese From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:

Ricotta is high in moisture, so when it’s baked on a crust (think calzones, pizza or savory pies), it can make the dough soggy. To prevent this, add a tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs to the ricotta filling, like Food Network Magazine did for these Three-Cheese Calzones (pictured above). The crumbs will absorb excess liquid from the cheese and keep the crust dry.

The Apple of My Eye — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Recipes, March 11th, 2013

Apple-Cheddar Squash SoupIf I say apple, what kind of recipe comes to mind? I’m betting most of you thought about pie, and for a good reason. Who can resist tender apples tucked into a flaky, buttery crust? Once you get past the many variations of this classic American dessert, though, there’s a whole world of savory dishes to explore.

Apples work especially well with assertively flavored ingredients. The natural sweetness shines through when it’s sauteed or roasted, helping to temper earthy root vegetables and spicy foods. Last year one of my favorite combinations was roasting it with parsnips and onions. I’d give the whole thing a whirl in the blender with some vegetable broth for a thick, creamy, dairy-free soup (and vegan, too).

Keep reading for apple-centric savory recipes

Mini Green Pizzas

by , March 11th, 2013

Mini 'Green' Pizzas

Looking for an easy weeknight meal or weekend lunch? Whip up these mini green pizzas topped with spinach and pesto to pack on the fiber and flavor. For a unique spin on your regular pizza pie, this recipe uses ricotta cheese instead of mozzarella, a...

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Easy Grain Salads — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 11th, 2013

Mediterranean Farro SaladWhile rice is perhaps the most traditional starchy side dish, there are indeed other grains to swap in when you’re looking to switch up your usual dinner routine. Just like rice, easy-to-make farro, bulgur and couscous become tender and satisfying when boiled, and they stand up well to bold ingredients and flavorful sauces. Think of these grains as blank slates; use them as a way to put leftover vegetables to work, to experiment with new-to-you herbs and to introduce unfamiliar flavors to your family for the first time. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite grain salads below, then browse these photos to find more ways to cook with grains.

In her top-rated recipe for Mediterranean Farro Salad (pictured above), Giada pairs these slightly chewy bites with colorful produce like green beans and red pepper, plus black olives and chunks of nutty Parmesan cheese. A key element to her salad is the simple vinaigrette. To prepare it, just mix a splash of sherry vinegar with fruity olive oil and tangy Dijon for a light topping that won’t disappoint. Watch this video to see how Giada makes the salad from start to finish.

Keep reading for more recipes

Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel Visits Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, March 11th, 2013

Chef Ron Ben-Israel on Worst Cooks in AmericaAs one of the most-successful pastry chefs in the country, Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel is known for creating sky-high cakes that are as deliciously whimsical as they are stunningly beautiful. On Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America, however, he was forced to abandon the high-quality demands he prides himself on in his professional kitchen and think back to basics. Stopping by Boot Camp to offer the recruits an in-depth cake-baking how-to, he showed them seemingly simple recipes for creating wow-worthy celebration cakes, but for some of the competitors, this challenge ultimately proved to be nothing short of impossible. We checked in with Chef Ron to find out what it was like helping the competitors turn out their best-possible confections and to learn the most-shocking moment he experienced at Boot Camp. Read on below to get the insider scoop on what went down, plus check out Chef Ron’s easy tips for at-home bakers.

How was your time on the show?

RB: I’m a big fan of the show and always learn something valuable by watching Chefs Anne and Bobby. So I was so excited to be asked to come to the kitchen and teach the recruits how to bake a cake. And they were so sweet and excited to see me! Also, the kitchen was very well equipped with every tool and ingredient that a cake designer may wish for. I was so happy to be there and started demonstrating with great enthusiasm.

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Restaurant Revisited: Maniaci’s Italian Bistro

by in Shows, March 10th, 2013

Robert Irvine at Maniaci's Italian BistroAfter their mother passed away five years ago, brothers Geoff, John and Tim Maniaci have struggled with dwindling business at their family’s 18-year-old restaurant, Maniaci’s Italian Bistro, in Mohnton, Pa. Before its Restaurant: Impossible overhaul, the eatery was losing more than $2,000 per month, and for those whose livelihoods depend on profits, the damages were almost too much to bear. Robert Irvine and his team worked with the brothers to revamp the interior of Maniaci’s and rework its menu, as well as to fix the tattered management in the hopes of giving the business a second chance at success. After only two days of renovations, Maniaci’s opened its doors again, this time to a packed dining room and with a menu focused on quality food. We checked in with Geoff, John and Tim a few months after Maniaci’s transformation to find out how the eatery is doing today.

Since Robert left, business at Maniaci’s has indeed increased, and, according to Geoff, the restaurant saw “almost $15,000 in dining room sales for the month of December.” Bar sales are up, as well, nearly $6,000 for the same month.

In terms of management, Geoff is now wholly in charge of the restaurant, and he says that “employees like that we are more structured.”

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