Cookbooks for Cold Months

by in Books, February 18th, 2013

Cookbooks for Cold MonthsI’m the librarian of the Food Network’s library. I am looking for winter, but struggling. I see Mindy Heiferling’s A Taste of Spring, Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking and Rick Rodgers’ Autumn Gatherings. Nowhere do I find winter.

This seems odd. Without the luxury of hibernation, I find that we’re forced into the kitchen during winter — if only in search of warmth or light. Our kitchens slow down to the pace of a simmer, larders get rooty, meats get more stew worthy. Winter may be low season in the farm cycle, but it is high season for cooking. Winter’s true harvest is to be found in the kitchen.

Cookbooks may pretend to have an aversion to winter, but don’t believe them. To find winter, look for it in bowls. Because bowl foods, literally and spiritually, physically and metaphysically, radiate warmth. Cold hands like a warm bowl. And the soups, stews, braises and other slow-cooking one-pot dishes that belong to bowls are the foods that truly deserve the name “comfort food” (everything else is the comfort of nostalgia).

Get my four favorite books dedicated to bowl foods

Coming This March: Justin Warner’s Rebel Eats

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 18th, 2013

Rebel Eats Justin WarnerFood Network Star season 8 winner, Justin Warner, will hit the road in search of unique culinary rule-breakers in a one-hour special, Rebel Eats, airing Saturday, March 30, at 10pm/9c. Armed with $300 in his pocket, a beat-up car and a passion for unconventional food and eccentric people, Justin will travel the back roads of the South to try everything from moonshine and bacon beer to barbecue in a jar and jellyfish pasta. Along the way, Justin will meet the cooks and proprietors who, like him, march to their own beat through the world of food.

PHOTOS: Flip through Justin’s Star Scrapbook
VIDEO: Relive the moment Justin won
RECIPES: Try your hand at Justin’s recipes

Justin Warner, originally from Hagerstown Md., is a self-taught cook and is chef and co-owner of Do or Dine in Brooklyn, N.Y. — a restaurant that he built from the ground up. Justin began working in restaurants at just 13 years old and his approach to food reflects his personality: edgy, intense, passionate and witty.

Polenta With Fontina and Eggs — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 18th, 2013

Polenta With Fontina and EggsSimilar to Southern-style grits, traditional Italian polenta is made from dried corn and churns out rich and creamy results after simmering for a while in liquid, often water or stock. Many classic recipes feature a how-to for making polenta from scratch, but the process can be challenging to tackle on a hectic weeknight. Luckily, most grocery stores now sell prepared polenta in firm, chilled tubes, and these go-to conveniences make easy time-savers when you’re in a hurry.

Food Network Magazine relies on premade polenta to prepare its simple recipe for Polenta With Fontina and Eggs (pictured above) in only 40 minutes. After making a basic tomato sauce with garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, add sliced, seared polenta discs to the same pan, crack some eggs on top and finish with grated fontina cheese. Just a few minutes in the oven is all it takes to set the eggs and melt the cheese, delivering a hearty, one-skillet supper that the whole family will enjoy.

Keep reading for recipes

Chef Wanted: Oceano Update

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013


Chef WantedOceano is a restaurant and nightclub located right on the beach in Puerto Rico. Owner Todd Berman was looking for an executive chef who could match the elegance of the restaurant with a culturally charged menu. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were brought in to help with the search. After two difficult tests and two very different dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Austin Henry.

Chef Henry considers himself the James Bond of the kitchen. He’s traveled the world and is familiar with many different cuisines and languages. Oceano is the perfect opportunity for Chef Henry to move up in his culinary career.

At first Chef Henry had a rough start. He almost served his mofongo dish with undercooked pork, but rectified the issue just in time. For his second “sexy” dish, he had to change course from scallops to shrimp when he realized the scallops wouldn’t sear properly. When it came to dinner service, he succeeded at rallying support from the restaurant staff, and except for getting frustrated over frozen pork and some expediting problems, the service was successful. Despite his lack of experience with Puerto Rican cuisine, his menu incorporated characteristic island flavors and got rave reviews from the guests. In the end, Chef Henry was offered the executive chef position because of his great food and natural leadership in the kitchen.

Read more

One-on-One With the Latest Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Bobby Flay and the Blue TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

One-on-One With the Latest Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and the Red TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Pine Nuts

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Roasted AsparagusSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — precooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s Grand Finale competition, the focus is now on pine nuts, which made an appearance in the appetizer basket alongside pig ears, ramps and apple strudel.

As you may have guessed, pine nuts do in fact come from pine trees, as they’re the tiny (think pinky-nail size) seeds that grow inside pinecones. Untoasted pine nuts are a light yellow-cream color and boast a buttery, slightly chewy texture. After warming in a pan, however, pine nuts become a golden hue and offer a crunchy bite to greens, grains, pasta and more. Given their small size, pine nuts are often left whole when mixed in salads or served atop vegetables, but they can also be ground into sauces or vinaigrettes. Read on below to find traditional and creative ways to cook with this must-try ingredient, then browse these insider photos from the Champions finale to relive each course of the battle.

Food Network Magazine‘s simple Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) turns out deliciously tender every time, but thanks to a topping of pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice, this top-rated recipe features a crunchy texture and fresh, vibrant taste as well. Serve this in-season vegetable with light fish, hearty meat and more to complete your meal in only 20 quick minutes.

Keep reading for more recipes

Cheesy Broccoli Soup — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 17th, 2013

The Pioneer Woman's Cheesy Broccoli SoupIf you’re looking to switch up your soup routine, but still need to get dinner on the table fast, try this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week: Cheesy Broccoli Soup. With just a handful of everyday ingredients, Ree Drummond creates a hearty, comforting soup filled with fresh broccoli and creamy cheese that will be ready to serve in just 45 minutes.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Recipe of the Day board on Pinterest.

Get the recipe: The Pioneer Woman’s Cheesy Broccoli Soup