5 Cake-Mix Confections You Need to Try

by in Recipes, April 8th, 2014

Store-bought boxed cake mix can make a lot more than birthday cake in a pinch. The recipe developers in Food Network Kitchen came up with five delectable treats that use cake mix as a base. They’re perfect for parties, brunches and after-school snacks – and no one will ever guess your shortcut secret.

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Thwarted Cronut® Cravings, Smiley-Face Tip Trick and the Dirt on Dirt

by in News, April 7th, 2014

TippingDelayed Gratification for Cronut® Cravers: After being shuttered by the New York Department of Health on Friday for a “severe mouse infestation” — apparently one little critter was recently videotaped darting across the bakery floor as workers went about their business — Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the Cronut®, did not open its doors on Monday, disappointing hungry hybrid pastry fans. But after the staff “worked tirelessly” to reconstruct, re-cement and re-fortify, the bakery passed its DOE inspection late Monday and was given the go-ahead to reopen on Tuesday morning. As a nod to its triumph in the face of adversity, the bakery is serving a special Rocky Cronut®, which Eater describes as “a black passion fruit caramelia chocolate Cronut® with a gold star on top.” In a Facebook post, the bakery team said it had listened to the movie theme song all weekend as it did its work. [Gothamist/Eater]

What Turns Us Into Big Tippers: In response to an apparent increase in restaurants with no-tipping policies, the New Republic looked at the ways in which, according to various studies, patrons’ generosity when tipping has little to do with the service they receive. For instance, people tend to tip more when the server touches them or crouches next to their table, when the server is blond, and when a female server wears a hair ornament, wears red or draws a smiley face on their checks. Interestingly, while waitresses who drew smiley faces got bigger tips — :) — male servers who did the same got smaller ones. :( [New Republic]

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How to Make Butter — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, April 7th, 2014

How to Make ButterMy inspiration for cooking is spurred by many things, one of them being curiosity. That’s what led me to make my own butter almost five years ago. My intention was not to start whipping batches of homemade butter for cooking or baking; that would be a far too expensive endeavor. I simply wanted to know if it was as easy as it sounded, and how different it would taste compared with what I could easily buy at the supermarket.

Inevitably, making butter from scratch brings out the kid inside of us all too. Imagine pouring a container of heavy cream into a food processor and watching it magically transform from one ingredient into another. There’s no magic, of course; it’s all science, but that doesn’t take away from the wonder of it all.

What about the taste? I’ll never be able to 100 percent replicate the butter I gorge on in France, simply because the cream here in the U.S. is different in flavor. I can get pretty darn close, though. All I need are two key ingredients: good-quality heavy cream from a local farmers market and fleur de sel. The result is a rich, yellow-hued fresh butter, laced with crunchy bits of salt. It’s the perfect companion to a crusty baguette and it even elevates ordinary toasted white bread.

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Crispy Tofu with Vegetables — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 7th, 2014

Crispy Tofu with VegetablesFor many meat eaters, dinners often highlight a piece of meat, but if you’re maintaining a vegetarian diet, it can seem as though every meal focuses on vegetables and vegetables alone. Food Network Magazine is changing that, however, with a go-to dish that puts not meat or vegetables but rather hearty, satisfying tofu in the center of the plate.

In its recipe for Crispy Tofu with Vegetables, seasonal, family-friendly produce, including mushrooms, carrots and peas, indeed makes an appearance, but it’s no longer in the spotlight; instead, satisfying tofu is the star of the supper, and rice and veggies are merely supporting players that round out the meal. If you’ve never before cooked with tofu, know that it’s able take on rich, full flavors easily and can stand up to high-temperature cooking methods like grilling and deep-frying. Food Network Magazine pan-fries lightly coated blocks of tofu until they boast a golden-brown crust on the outside, and then pairs them with ginger-laced vegetables and scallions. Since this complete meal can be on the table in only 40 minutes, it’s a timesaver that you can deliver on even the most-hectic weeknights.

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The Healthy Eats Q & A: Marcus Samuelsson

by , April 7th, 2014

marcus samuelsson
Born in Ethiopia, adopted by a Swedish family and raised in Sweden, Marcus Samuelsson comes to cooking with a unique background. He credits his Swedish grandmother, Helga, with first introducing him to the joys of the kitchen. He spent childhood sum...

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Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Surprise-Inside Cakes

by in Books, Contests, April 7th, 2014

Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Surprise-Inside CakesAmanda Rettke, FN Dish contributor and founder of the I Am Baker blog, is serving some of her most-beautiful confections yet in her first cookbook, Surprise-Inside Cakes. In Amanda’s book, there’s no such thing as an ordinary chocolate or vanilla cake with frosting (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Just like opening up a gift, the element of surprise is within each baked good, whether it be a heart, football, smiley face, stripe or house (yes, a house). Simply put, if you want to wow guests at your next gathering, make one of Amanda’s cakes.

What caught FN Dish’s eye? The entire book. Each page is more colorful than the one before, and there’s a surprise-inside design for every occasion: celebrating holidays, family, love and life events (like moving to a new home). Have a cake recipe you’ve perfected? Great. Because Amanda encourages using tried-and-true recipes, but she’s provided a few of her favorites too.

At first glance some of the cakes may seem like a challenge, but Amanda’s included step-by-step photos and instructions for each one. And be wise: Don’t start out with the most difficult design!

You can buy a copy of Surprise-Inside Cakes here, or you can enter to win one for free from FN Dish. We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected readers each a copy, and all you have to do to enter to win one is leave a comment below telling us your favorite Food Network cake recipe. You must include the recipe URL in your comment to be entered to win (find cake recipes here).

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Testing the Cutthroat Sabotages: When a Standard Whisk Won’t Do

by in Shows, April 6th, 2014

Just last week FN Dish introduced fans to the first in a series of Testing the Sabotage videos that highlight exactly how Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages come to be. So many have questioned whether or not the challenges are indeed possible for competitors to conquer within their time constraints, and with these all-new videos, it’s now clear that the answer is yes; every sabotage Alton auctions off has been vetted by Food Network’s culinary team, and now you have the chance to watch those tests unfold.

Click the play button on the video above to check out how the giant-whisk sabotage featured on tonight’s brand-new episode was approved for air, and learn what kind of experimenting had to be done in order to arrive at that conclusion.

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Introducing the Chopped Tournament of Stars Champion

by in Shows, April 6th, 2014

FinaleOn tonight’s episode of the Chopped Tournament of Stars, the winners of the four previous rounds returned for one final battle to see who would win the championship and walk away with $50,000 for his or her charity. Brandi Chastain, Carnie Wilson, Gillian Vigman and Michael Imperioli all entered the competition with the goal of winning, but by the dessert round only Brandi and Michael remained to face off in an epic dessert round that was so exciting that it had the judges on the edge of their seats. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.

Read the interview with the champion

Homemade Classic Pizza Dough — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, April 6th, 2014

Homemade Pizza Dough - Most Popular Pin of the WeekWhen making this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Alex’s Basic Pizza Dough, it’s best to use lukewarm water — as opposed to cold water — when dissolving the yeast, as it helps with activation. Alex lets the dough rise twice before rolling it and finishing it with toppings.

For more comfort food recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Basic Pizza Dough

5 Casseroles with a Healthy Side

by , April 6th, 2014

squash and kale

When it comes to eating well, casseroles need not be the enemy. Meaty, cheesy dishes full of refined carbs may be the retro take on casseroles — but these new one-pan winners prove that healthy eaters and comfort-food cravers can be on the sam...

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