In the new series Cake Wars, premiering Monday, June 29th at 8|7c, four expert bakers aim to win their jaw-dropping cake a spot at a major party or special event. With Jonathan Bennett hosting, each of the bakers will bake one-of-a-kind creations with the hopes of impressing well-known pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel, Fonuts co-owner Waylynn Lucas and some very special guest judges. Each week, only one contestant will take the cake to headline the main event, and take home the sweet grand prize of $10,000.
Cookie lovers, rejoice! Mindy Segal’s new cookbook, Cookie Love, is here to fill your life and your kitchen with crunchy, chewy, salty-sweet four-bite treats. Whether you’re craving the crispy, caramelized goodness of Oatmeal Scotchies or the deep chocolate and sweet minty notes of the Black Sabbath sandwich cookies, you’ll find your new favorite cookie bite in the pages of this book. The variety of cookies you’ll find in Cookie Love runs the gamut from classic drop cookies with bold flavors all the way to sweet and salty bar cookies (like the Honey Walnut Bars, which you can make home with the recipe below) and back again. Meringues? It has them. Rugelach? You’re set. Spritz cookies? Look no further. Segal has you covered with fun, innovative flavors and textures no matter what kind of cookie you’re looking to make.
When it comes to baking, it’s no secret that getting it right is all in the details. According to Segal, these are the top three reasons many home cooks struggle with cookie baking. Learn from these notes:
1. They do not read the recipe through and follow the writer’s techniques.
2. They do not use correct room-temperature ingredients.
3. They think they can alter the recipe before they have even made it.
When it comes to the glory that is summer picnicking, convenience is key. With make-ahead dishes packed in snappy storage containers on your side, all there is left to do is open ‘em up and dig in once you plop down in the grass. Check out our guide for the Ultimate Packable Picnic, and stock up on easy-to-transport summer recipes that are best devoured while sprawled out on a picnic blanket — no tabletop necessary.
Appetizer: Keep It Quick and Convenient
Begin with a light, bright starter that doesn’t take much time or effort. Not only does Trisha Yearwood’s Watermelon Salsa take just 15 minutes to prep, it is also easy to scoop into and out of a travel container. Throw a bag of tortilla chips in with the rest of your picnic loot and the first course of your picnic is served.
Tired-mom confession: I’m kind of psyched for summer because I won’t have the pressure of packing a single lunchbox for nine whole weeks. (Yep, ours is a year-round school, but still…) Summer lunches offer a bit more flexibility and require less planning, and sometimes the kids can even help.
Lunches That (Even Little) Kids Can Make Themselves:
1. Strawberry & PB Wraps: Slather peanut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla, sprinkle with diced strawberries and wrap it up like a burrito for a hand-held meal.
2. Pita Pockets: Whip up the egg salad (with a kid-friendly ingredient), chicken salad or even Ellie Krieger’s healthier version of chicken curry salad and show the kids how to stuff a couple of spoonfuls into each pocket.
3. Sub Sandwiches on a Stick: Set out the fixings — chunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, cubes of thick bread, pickles cut into large dice, rolls of salami — and let kids slide everything onto a bamboo skewer.
4. Watermelon Gazpacho: Taking a tip from the amazing Barefoot Contessa’s original 5-star cold soup recipe, give the kids a turn at the food processor with this fruit-filled summertime soup.
That craving for tomato juice or a Bloody Mary that comes over you in airplanes, as perhaps nowhere else? Blame the roar of the engines.
Cornell University food scientists say airplane noise, which tends to hover around 85 decibels, can affect travelers’ taste buds — suppressing their taste for sweet stuff and boosting the taste of umami-rich foods like tomato juice.
While caprese-style fixings — tomatoes, basil and mozzarella — atop bruschetta may make a tried-and-true appetizer, these two-bite toasts can indeed come together with myriad other flavors and ingredients. For Ina Garten, that means a mix of sweet bell peppers and the bold richness of Gorgonzola cheese, while Giada De Laurentiis combines shrimp and arugula for a wow-worthy presentation that’s deceptively simply to pull off. Get their recipes below, plus three other must-try favorites, including a sweet dessert toast; perhaps best of all, each of these go-to recipes is easy to make in a hurry.
Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola (pictured above)
Ina admits that the addition of sugar in her savory starter may be surprising, but she promises, “It really gives [the peppers] a really nice caramel color and flavor, and you’ll never notice it.” She rounds out the dish with melty Gorgonzola cheese.
Five weeks ago 16 celebrated chefs entered Season 4 of the Chopped All-Stars tournament for a chance to walk away with the title of champion and the largest sum in the history of the show, $75,000 for a charity of their choice. Four preliminary rounds whittled down the competitors to four: Art Smith, Anne Burrell, Michael Psilakis and Jet Tila. In their earlier rounds, these four unlocked the mysteries of the basket, creating courses that earned them a place in the finale. All of them brought their A-game to the final battle, but one outmaneuvered them all. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the champion.
Four celebrated chefs made it into tonight’s Chopped All-Stars finale, taking on the mystery baskets for a chance to win $75,000 for charity. The appetizer round presented them with fish carcass, tasso ham, Calabrian chiles and purple potatoes. And after the episode, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Scott Conant decided to take on those same baskets. “It’s always a blast when you all leave the judging table,” Ted tells the judges. “It’s a blast for you, because you get to point and laugh at us,” Scott replies. “I think after all this time these might be my two favorite boyfriends that I have,” Alex says playfully, situated between Geoffrey and Scott. “You guys are our original gangsters,” Ted adds.
“A lot of Americans would look at this as garbage,” Ted says, pointing to the fish carcass, which includes a fish head. “This particular fish carcass is cod and a catfish head,” says Geoffrey. “I love how you say that,” says Scott, poking fun at how Geoffrey pronounces “cod.” He points out that most people would probably want to turn the bones into a broth, but with the time constraints it may not be the right choice. “I am dying to cook this,” adds Scott as Ted gives them 20 minutes to create a dish.