Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Guide to Following Recipes

by in Events, Food Network Chef, February 27th, 2013

Iron Chef Michael SymonHow many times have you searched for the ultimate recipe only to find one that’s nearly what you’re looking for but features perhaps a single ingredient or flavor that you simply can’t bare? When that happens, do you scrap the recipe altogether, vowing to find one that’s perfect, or do you settle for the undesired taste because the rest of the recipe fits the bill? We caught up with Iron Chef Michael Symon at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and he told us that instead of an all-or-nothing approach to recipes, look at them as detailed suggestions you can use to build the dish that best suits your tastes.

“Let your palate be your guide,” Iron Chef Symon said. He was reminded of a time that his father suffered through a batch of salsa that, while it was made according to its recipe’s instructions, boasted cilantro, an herb his father doesn’t like. Looking back on the moment now, Iron Chef Symon recalled that it would have been perfectly acceptable for his father to swap in other “soft, leafy herbs” for the cilantro so as to keep with his preferences and ultimately allow him to enjoy the dish.

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Chopped All-Stars Returns With New Stars and an Action-Packed Season

by in Shows, February 26th, 2013

Sunny Anderson and Ted AllenChopped All-Stars returns for Season 3 with a new line-up of culinary contenders, vying for the title of All-Stars champion. The winner will receive a $50,000 donation to his or her chosen charity. The competition is broken down into four themed rounds. In each round four chefs will cook head-to-head, with the single winner advancing to the finale, where one chef will be crowned the All-Stars Champion. The competition will be judged by a rotating roster of familiar Chopped judges, including Maneet Chauhan, Marcus Samuelsson, Aarón Sánchez, Chris Santos and Geoffrey Zakarian.

Competitors include Food Network and Cooking Channel personalities, famous restaurant chefs, Chopped judges and celebrities who have a love for food.

Find out who is competing and watch a sneak peek

Know Your Knife Skills: Worst Cooks Recruits Butcher Proper Cutting Techniques

by in Shows, February 25th, 2013

When it comes to meal prep, not much can be done in the kitchen without a knife, so it’s no surprise that Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell devoted an entire week to demonstrating basic knife skills on Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America. Both mentors showed off the whats and hows of various cuts like a fillet, slice, dice, julienne and chiffonade to their team members, some of whom were even unfamiliar with how to hold a knife and admitted to a strong fear of the sharp objects.

In the Skill Drill, the recruits were tasked with filleting whole black sea basses plus chopping oddly shaped produce to practice what they’d learned, and while some proved to be successful, a few contestants managed to cut their fingers and hands on the stainless-steel blades. Perhaps the most difficult test came during the Main Dish Challenge, however, when each recruit lifted a cloche to find an entire chicken with its head and feet still attached. Chefs Bobby and Anne both detailed the proper method for butchering the bird, but Chef Anne treated her team to a spine-ectomy how-to so that they could recreate her dish of chicken chasseur.

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How to Make Your Own Dried Herbs — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, How-to, February 25th, 2013

How to Make Fresh Dried HerbsI used to have a backyard bursting with bunches of basil, parsley, lemon thyme and a plethora of other herbs. Whenever a recipe called for some, I’d just go and pluck a handful. Aside from the hot, balmy New York City summers when the plants required constant care, mother nature mostly did the work — sunshine during the day and the occasional rain once a week, which supplied enough water to make up for the days I forgot to give them a sprinkle with the hose.

The apartment I live in now doesn’t have a garden, so I rely on window boxes for growing fresh herbs. Indoor plants need more attention and due diligence, especially in the water department. When I went away for the Christmas holidays this past December, I forgot to set up my self-watering globes. It was no surprise that I came home to bone-dry plants.

As with all of life’s mistakes, though, there is a lesson to be learned. Ever since I accidentally killed all my plants, I’ve been relying on the farmers’ market for fresh herbs — luckily we have a hydroponic farmer at the Union Square market during the winter months. The problem with buying herbs versus growing them is that I don’t usually finish up the bunch before it wilts. Then one day, I glanced at the old containers of dried-up plants (I swear I’m going to empty them this week), and suddenly the light bulb went off. With a little planning, I could make my own dried herbs. I use the fresh-bought herbs as I would normally, but just before any leftovers hit the wilting stage, I pluck the leaves and set them on a baking sheet.

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Homemade Churros

by , February 25th, 2013

churros
My kids love churros. Most people do. Considering they’re deep fried, cinnamon and sugar-coated pastry sticks, who wouldn’t dig them?

I realize my boys are kids and they’ll burn off the 200-400 calories and 12-14 grams of fat in a ...

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Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Eggplant Parmigiana — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 25th, 2013

Eggplant ParmigianaDon’t let the fact that this recipe was created by an Iron Chef fool you into thinking that it’s difficult to make or features particularly unusual cooking techniques. Alex Guarnaschelli’s Eggplant Parmigiana (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is simply a dressed-up version of an Italian classic, and is in fact easy to prepare at home.

The secret to her family-friendly dish is the garlic-laced tomato sauce, made deliciously sweet not by the dash of sugar she adds (that’s there to balance the acidity of the tomatoes) but by the onions that are slowly cooked until tender and translucent. To make this all-in-one meal, she coats slices of eggplant in herbed breadcrumbs, then fries them and layers the golden-brown beauties in a deep baking dish with the tomato sauce and a trio of cheeses including mozzarella, provolone and parmesan. After 40 minutes in the oven, the top layer of mozzarella will be melted and bubbling and each tier of eggplant will be piping hot and ready to enjoy.

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

by in Shows, February 24th, 2013

Team Anne BurrellFor 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