4th-Quarter Desserts — Football Fare

by in Recipes, January 26th, 2013

Pull Apart Touchdown CupcakesCome the fourth quarter of the big game, when the last bit of meat has been chewed off the chicken wings, the bowl of chips is dotted with just measly crumbs and nothing is left of the tray of sliders, only one thing remains: your sweet tooth. After a long afternoon of deliciously salty, savory snacking, it’s about time you dig into a game-day dessert to take off the sweet edge, right? Curb that craving at last by shifting the focus from hearty meats and cool dips to must-try baked treats and chilly ice cream sundaes with these must-try recipes from Food Network Kitchens, Alton, Paula and Giada.

Perhaps the ultimate game-day dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Pull Apart Touchdown Cupcakes (pictured above) bring the football field to life with an edible landscape complete with end zones, a 50-yard line, a miniature football and rival players that is impressively realistic. To create, start with a batch of two dozen chocolate chip-studded cupcakes, then when they’ve cooled, get to work on setting the scene. If you’re baking with little ones, let them help you decorate these light, fluffy cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting, a blanket of grass-colored sprinkles, white-icing yard lines and colorful gummy “players.” You can get as creative as you’d like with the assembly, but remember, even if your final product looks more like an oblong hockey rink than a rectangular football field, this easy-to-eat dessert will still be satisfyingly sweet and a sure-fire win with your party guests.

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You Won’t Catch Jeff Mauro Eating This Food

by in Food Network Chef, January 25th, 2013

Jeff MauroWe recently caught up with Jeff and asked him about the recent baskets featured on the second episode of Chopped Champions. Just like with Justin, Melissa and Sunny, everyone has ideas about what they would do if they were given the baskets themselves. But what if you were faced with an ingredient that you detested in one of the baskets? That’s what Jeff would have encountered in the dessert round when the basket consisted of Mitmita, Sauternes, cottage cheese and cream-filled snack cakes. So which ingredient keeps Jeff 10 feet away?

“Cottage cheese holds the number one place on my personal no-no list. I’ve never consumed it and never will. My brother Frank loves the stuff and he used to chase me around the house with a near-empty bowl of it. Just the sight of those few remaining curds in the bowl would send me screaming into the bathroom, where I would frantically lock myself in.”

So what would Jeff do if he were given this specific Chopped basket? “Needless to say, I would throw in the towel on this one!”

Now it’s your turn: What’s the one food you won’t touch? Do you share Jeff’s feelings about cottage cheese? Share your answer in the comment section below.

Don’t Even Think About It! Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It

by in Shows, January 25th, 2013

Hines and Carnie
Rachael vs. GuyThis season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off puts the celebrity contestants in different situations every episode with challenges that test a certain aspect of their culinary know-how. This past episode tested their adaptability in a diner with reinventing classic sandwiches. But there’s even more pressure in the next challenge, which will test their ability to cook for some pretty picky eaters. Every recipe must meet a certain expectation if they want to survive another week.

In the above sneak-peek photo, Hines and Carnie from Team Rachael are cooking for the challenge. It appears Hines has got whatever he’s making under control, but then Carnie butts in. Or is Hines asking Carnie for help?

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Scrambled Eggs Chiliquiles With Roasted Tomatillo Sauce — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, January 25th, 2013

Scrambled Eggs Chiliquiles With Roasted Tomatillo SauceWhen I was in my twenties, going out to brunch was one of my favorite weekend activities. I loved every part of the ritual, including waiting for a table, choosing between sweet or savory and dividing up the check with a happily full belly.

Though eating brunch on a Saturday or Sunday morning is still a beloved pastime, I’ve found that my preferred venue has changed. These days, I’m all about brunch at home. It’s cheaper, the temptations are fewer and it can be prepared and eaten while one is wearing pajamas.

Because I can far too easily default to the same three brunch dishes (scrambled eggs with turkey bacon, whole-grain pancakes or leftover stuffed omelets), I do try to seek out brunch recipes that are outside my norm. Some weeks (and much to my husband’s delight), I bake a coffeecake. Others I bake up a frittata in my trusty cast-iron skillet (though some claim that I am too heavy-handed with the kale).

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What to Watch: A Weekend of Parties, Game-Day Food and More

by in Shows, January 25th, 2013

sausage bitesIt’s a weekend of celebrations, game-day get-togethers and competition on Food Network.

On Saturday Paula and her brother Bubba are preparing for a birthday celebration with lots of grilled and fried foods. On The Pioneer Woman, Ree is hosting a family game day on the ranch and she’s cooking up lunch afterward. Then Trisha’s having over her girlfriends for a game day filled with food. On Barefoot Contessa, Ina’s in Napa learning Thomas Keller’s secret to fried chicken. And finally Giada’s putting her twist on game-day grub.

Sunday morning Guy’s cooking with friends in Kentucky and he’s got a cocktail recipe to cap off the meal. Then on The Best Thing I Ever Made it’s meat lovers’ madness. Sunday evening it’s girls vs. boys on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off as the celebrity teams must cater to groups of kids. And finally on Iron Chef America, it’s Iron Chef Michael Symon vs. Chef Celina Tio, former competitor on Season 3 of The Next Iron Chef.

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Sunny’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Two

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013

leg of lambby Sunny Anderson

It’s my turn to take a stab at the famed Chopped basket. I’m sure I’d come up with something different from these options if asked today, tomorrow or the day after. It’s the beast that is Chopped!

Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
I’ve only cooked shad roe sack once and it reminded me of how you cook a good piece of liver — hot and fast. I’d build a brown butter sauce with capers and lemon, then in another pan quickly fry the shad roe sack with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper, maybe a dusting of flour, then I’d rest them in the brown butter sauce while I finished the rest of the dish. With the vodka and the scallions, I’d add some minced shallots and garlic, and I’d simmer them all in a pot with apple cider vinegar and maybe a bit of honey or sugar. Then I’d toast a slice of fruit cake and cut out cubes and make tiny croutons in butter. I’d put the quick vodka-pickled scallions on a plate alongside the shad roe sack in butter sauce and either make a quick bitter green salad for the croutons or just sprinkle them on the plate and hope I don’t get sent home because I didn’t want to incorporate the fruitcake into the dish completely, (ick). Hopefully the quick-pickled scallions would cut the brown butter sauce and I would get points for that — Seared Shad Roe Sack in a Brown Butter Sauce With Quick Vodka-Pickled Tokyo Scallions With Fruitcake Croutons.

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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Two

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabian and Ted Allenby Melissa d’Arabian

I have to admit that watching Chopped actually stresses me out so much that if I watch when it airs late in the evening, I find that I can’t sleep. My husband thinks it’s “fun” to press pause and spit out quickly what he would do if he were getting the basket. Clearly he has never been in the Chopped kitchen himself. I can’t watch Chopped without feeling like I’m the one who actually has to pull off a culinary miracle in minutes, but for you, dear readers, I will take one for the team. I will give myself 30 seconds for each round to come up with a menu. Thirty seconds; that’s it (I’m on the honor system here, I realize). Time starts — now.

Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions

I imagine opening the basket on that first course and pulling out fruit cake, my mind racing to the brandy-soaked monstrosity that my mom used to make for months leading up to the holidays. (Is this the Chopped basket where all fruitcakes go to die?) My mind would be spinning in despair, but not for long because the rest of the basket has potential — shad roe sack is amazing when simply sauteed, vodka and Tokyo scallions for the most part fit into the flavor profile. Even our (fr)enemy the fruitcake can play along nicely, adding some sweetness to play off the richness of the roe sack (think seared fois gras with berry compote). The biggest challenge for me is getting the onion not to overpower the rich roe sack.

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