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It All Came Down to a Cherry Tart — Critical Moments

by in Shows, December 24th, 2012

Chefs Freitag and GuarnaschelliIt was clear from the very first taste of Chef Freitag’s Lusty Lemon Chicken that she was going to be the first rival chef to reach Kitchen Stadium. It really was that good. But deciding who would be joining her would prove to be much more difficult.

I very much liked Chef Appleman’s use of haddock (chosen by me because of my love for fish and chips) in his chowder, but agreed with my colleagues that it lacked the advertised smoked element. Similarly, while we all thought that Chef Guarnaschelli’s dish of sea urchin was elegant, it definitely lacked the acidity that it needed to bring out the depth of flavor of the seafood. It was close, but in the end Chef Guarnaschelli took the second spot in Kitchen Stadium.

Both these chefs deserved their places in the finale, and to make sure that the long-standing Iron Chefs had their say in the final decision, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto helped swell the ranks at the judges’ table. In honor of the Iron Chefs, the Chairman revealed the Secret Ingredients on the altar, which represented each of them and the cuisines they specialize in.

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In Their Own Words: Next Iron Chef Rivals’ Journals Revealed

by in Shows, December 24th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption JournalHave you ever wondered what the Next Iron Chef: Redemption rivals were thinking when, on the first episode, they opened their coolers on the beach to find fateful ingredients from battles past? Or when in episode 4, they entered the kitchen to find an altar of canned products? Have you wondered how they felt when their friends and fellow chefs were eliminated after hard-fought battles, or simply how they managed to stay organized and efficient within the chaos of cooking under pressure?

Before filming began for the season, each rival was given a journal to use during the competition, and it was in these personal notebooks that the chefs shared their ideas for challenges, reflections on eliminations, plus must-have ingredient lists, inspirational reminders and more, week after week. Their handwritten notes, some beautifully legible in colorful markers and others scrawled in barely recognizable penmanship, tell their stories on the road to redemption, and at the end, create a scrapbook of sorts of their time in the competition.

Want to see what each rival wrote in his or her journal? Flip through the below photo galleries to get an insider’s look at actual pages from their journals plus behind-the-scenes photos from some of their most memorable challenges and showdowns.

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Overnight Bread Pudding

by in Uncategorized, December 24th, 2012

bread pudding
Bread pudding is warm comfort food that can be served for breakfast, brunch and even dessert (my boys enjoyed decadent chocolate bread pudding at recent dinner buffet). And because it’s incredibly easy to prepare, you should keep a good “wow...

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Appetizers for Christmas Entertaining — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 24th, 2012

Toasted RavioliEven though the holidays are all about indulgence and your plans for the next 48 hours likely include a seemingly endless buffet of ham, beef, turkey or pork, there are indeed ways to work in a few meat-free bites, especially during the appetizer course. As you prepare to host a holiday get-together, look to Food Network’s roundup of simple-to-make, meatless starters to impress not only vegetarians but hard-core meat-eaters alike. Check out a few of our favorite party-ready appetizers below, each a flavorful combination of traditional holiday tastes and ingredients, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite holiday appetizer?

No longer reserved for the pasta course alone, ravioli make go-to party-ready appetizers when served not under a saucy topping but as eat-with-your-hands snacks. When preparing its Toasted Ravioli recipe (pictured above), Food Network Magazine saves time in the kitchen by using store-bought fresh ravioli instead of making these cheese-filled beauties from scratch. After a quick dip in herbed breadcrumbs, the ravioli are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. Serve a bowl of your favorite marinara sauce on the side for easy, delicious dunking.

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Chatting With The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Winner

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption was full of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: All eight chefs redeemed themselves in one way or another.

Sunday night’s final episode brought three of the most talented chefs together for two final battles. The first battle would eliminate one chef (read the exclusive interview from that chef); the two remaining chefs were then sent to Kitchen Stadium for the ultimate battle that celebrated three long-standing Iron Chefs and would determine The Next Iron Chef. And the winner is …

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

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Chatting With the Next Iron Chef: Redemption Runner-Up

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption FinaleThe fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption was full of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: All eight chefs redeemed themselves in one way or another.

Every week, each chef tried to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef went home each week. This week we said goodbye to two (read exclusive exit interviews).

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

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Chatting With the Latest Next Iron Chef: Redemption Exile

by in Shows, December 23rd, 2012

The Next Iron Chef: Redemption FinaleThe fifth season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption was full of ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: All eight chefs redeemed themselves in one way or another.

Every week, each chef tried to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef went home each week. Read the exclusive exit interview of the first chef to say goodbye during the final episode below.

Find out who went home

Baking for a Claus: A Tribute to Childhood

by in Holidays, December 23rd, 2012

Christmas CookiesFall has finally given way to winter. Driveways are being shoveled, snow tires are mounted onto cars and steaming mugs of hot chocolate warm our souls. I, however, sit on a snowy-white beach contemplating what to bake for Santa’s annual visit, a tradition my mom started when I was very young.

Fast-forward to today: As one who works with flour, sugar and eggs, I bring joy year-round (to the many sweet tooths out there), but never a more important time than at holidays. This time of year, I bake for a “claus.”

I like to deliver tasty treats to my local police and fire stations as my way of saying thank you for saving lives. All of this leads me to sharing some of my fun holiday traditions. Some are past favorites, some are newer ideas soon to become classics.

Cookies left on a plate for Santa maybe very traditional, but who says it has to be boring? Invite the neighbors, family and friends over for a decorating party.

Find out how I set up my decorating party

Trailblazing Chefs and Blazing-Hot Flavors — 2013 Predictions From Food Network Kitchens

by in News, December 23rd, 2012

Blazing Hot Flavors - 2013 Food Trend PredictionsFood Network Kitchens have come up with their annual list of the top food trends that will define 2013. Check out some of the trends here.

1. Pop “Culture” — Is fermentation poised to be the new yoga? Beer, miso, yogurt, kombucha and their kin will multiply in 2013. Chefs love fermentation because it’s the ultimate source of complex flavors (it’s what makes grapes into a glass of wine), marketers love selling “live active cultures,” health nuts appreciate probiotics, and DIY-ers are learning that it’s easy to get into.

2. Heat Seekers — With jalapenos and chipotles now as common as meat and potatoes, the search for spicy satisfaction will lead us to seek heat in new places. The mass market is getting on board with Doritos taco shells, Sriracha popcorn and Spicy Pizzeria Cracker Jacks, while chefs are exploring warming Aleppo pepper and numbing Sichuan pepper.

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