Giada’s Guide to Edible Gift-Giving

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 16th, 2013

Whether it’s a small family gathering, an open-house cocktail party or a dressed-up sit-down dinner, entertaining during the holiday season can be daunting for even the most-prepared host. That’s why it’s often a good idea to surprise the party-thrower with a small gift as a token of appreciation for his or her hospitality and generosity. Some resort to bringing candles, picture frames or other household trinkets, but deciding what matches the host’s style and taste can be tricky, which is why Giada opts for edible gifts.

Giada recently shared a few go-to edible gift ideas that are sure to impress your hosts this holiday, as they include some of her favorite seasonal recipes. Instead of elaborate dishes that might take up valuable refrigerator or oven space at the host’s home, Giada prepares simple cookies and cocktails that are both easy to transport and simple to store once given. The key to her gifts is in the packaging: She makes the goodies extra-special by stashing them in see-through containers and adorning them with colorful bows.

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Weeknight Chili — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 16th, 2013

Weeknight Two-Bean ChiliWhile some dishes — like meatballs and burgers — struggle to keep their identities when you take away the meat, chilis, soups and stews hold up well without it. Chili is naturally beefy and rich. Most chilis, meatless or not, are traditionally made with beans, and in the case of vegetarian cooking, it’s that hefty protein that adds hearty substance to the meat-free dish.

Food Network Kitchens relies on kidney and black beans to be the base of this recipe for Weeknight Two-Bean Chili (pictured above), a fuss-free dinner that’s ready to eat in 30 quick minutes. Laced with jalapeno, onions and crushed tomatoes, this one-pan chili is given an added boost of flavor from bold chili powder and a pinch of Chinese five-spice, which Food Network Kitchens say “is a nice spice surprise.” If you don’t like kidney or black beans, just substitute two of your favorite varieties. Serve the chili atop rice to round out the meal, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese for a decadent finish.

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A Southern Holiday Season with Damaris Phillips

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 16th, 2013

Damaris PhillipsWhether it be staying true to the Southern food she grew up eating or every year bringing the same dish to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, Damaris Phillips is all about tradition, and there’s perhaps no more important time for tradition than the holidays. For Damaris, this season of celebration means just a few things — family, food and love — and that hasn’t changed since she was a young girl growing up with her five siblings in Louisville, Ky. Just in time for Christmas, FN Dish sat down with Damaris in Louisville to find out more about what the holidays looked like for her when she was a child and to chat about how she celebrates today. Read on below to hear from Damaris and to learn the must-have item at her Christmas dinner, her favorite holiday song and movie, and her sweet alternative to eggnog.

How did you celebrate the holidays growing up?
Damaris Phillips: With my family. There’s a bunch of siblings and so we’d would go downstairs in the morning. We’d wake my parents up. My mom would make, like, quiche or cinnamon rolls or something, and we’d go downstairs and there was always, like, bags of our presents. Our parents were really good at, like, not wrapping Santa presents, so if there was, like, a bicycle, there’d be just a bicycle there waiting for you. And then we would hang out and play with toys — and eat lots of food. I mean, just exactly like you think of Christmas …. It used to be the whole world went still and it was just a time to hang out with your family. So thankfully I had all those siblings, so it was always fun, and we were playing with new toys and probably driving my parents bonkers, but it was awesome.

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Hot-Iron Woes and a Chilly Ball of Ice Cream — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 15th, 2013


Having been a judge on the premiere season of Cutthroat Kitchen, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to the tricks and challenges that befall competitors in each round of cooking, but after eating set cheese and soupy ice cream on tonight’s all-new Season 2 premiere, he needed a few clarifications on how the dishes came to be. Host Alton Brown — who’s not only privy to the sabotages, but in charge of auctioning them off as well — filled in Simon during the latest installment of his After-Show.

It turns out that the patty melt-inspired dish that Chef Stratton gave Simon was mushroom-heavy on account of the Freeze Dried Meat product he was forced to work with after Chef Wiginton assigned it to him. “There was no patty in the dish, really,” Simon told Alton. “It was mushroom-heavy, and I guess that’s what he did to try and compensate, but it kind of overcompensated a bit.” This ingredient was so unlike fresh meat that it prevented Chef Stratton from turning it into a traditional patty.

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One-on-One with the Winner of Restaurant Express

by in Shows, December 15th, 2013

Restaurant ExpressAfter seven weeks of showdowns, Robert Irvine‘s first-ever Restaurant Express road trip came full circle when the bus rolled into Sin City for the finale. Robert shocked the remaining three hopefuls last week when he announced all of them would make it to tonight’s all-or-nothing competition. But while Adam Goldgell was guaranteed a spot in the last challenge, Jan Charles and Seonkyoung Longest had to go head-to-head in a cook-off for the chance to join him in one night of restaurant service for the chance to claim the win.

Read on below to find out whether Jan or Seon advanced to the end, and get the exclusive first interview with the winner of Restaurant Express and Las Vegas’ newest restaurateur.

SPOILER ALERT: Hear from the winner

Buy an Extra-High Apple Pie

by in Food Network Magazine, Restaurants, December 15th, 2013

apple pieWhen Food Network Magazine went looking for the best edible gift from every state for our 50 States, 50 Food Gifts story, we hit a snag in Missouri: We were torn between toasted ravioli, a St. Louis classic and this famous, cartoonishly tall Caramel Pecan Levee High Apple Pie from Kimmswick ($47, plus overnight shipping; theblueowl.com). The ravioli ended up in the story, but we think the 9-inch-tall pie deserves a shout-out this year: Twenty years ago, a flood almost destroyed Kimmswick, but volunteers built a levee to save the town. The pie is a nod to the high levee.  See the rest of the gifts here.

Simple, Perfect Chili — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 15th, 2013

Simple, Perfect Chili - Most Popular Pin of the WeekChili is a comfort food favorite (especially during football season), and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week says has it all: Ree’s recipe is a simple, perfect meal in a hurry.

Ree combines ground beef with two different kinds of beans, lots of herbs and spices, along with tortilla chips and lime wedges on the side. Sure you can eat the chili in a bowl with a spoon — but it’s a lot of fun scooping the chili onto chips too.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: The Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili

This Year’s Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifts

by in Books, Holidays, December 15th, 2013

This Year's Best Cookbooks for Holiday GiftsWhether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a culinary pro, you can never have enough cookbooks—especially during the holidays. Find inspiration for your next holiday feast, weeknight dinner and more with our favorite cookbooks from the last year.

Caramel (pictured above) — Here is an easy-to-follow guide for using classic caramel techniques in fun dishes like creme brulee and truffles.
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