To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting speci...
The family meal. What is it, you ask? It’s a meal that is prepared for restaurant staff before their dinner service starts, providing them with necessary nutrients before their busy shift. Here at Food Network, ours takes place at lunch-time. Starting now, I will be giving you a sneak peek at what we feed our staff in the Food Network Kitchens on a weekly basis.
Yes, we do eat in Food Network Kitchens, and yes, it’s really good. Family meals are always interesting. They consist of different types of meat or poultry pulled out of the freezers, as well as vegetables, filling salads and an occasional dessert. These items are left over from various shows and recipe developments for Food Network. This week, Esther Choi (pictured above), took charge of Family Meal and asked our new intern Emily to assist her (more like an initiation). Esther is especially good at making Korean food.
The menu: Duck Lettuce Wraps With Kim Chi Pickles and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Ultimate Recipe Showdown Season 3 kicked off with the Comfort Food round on Sunday, and we’re already quite jealous of the judges. While host Guy Fieri runs the show and checks in with the competitors, these three folks with esteemed palates get to sit back, watch the live cooking action and taste eight dishes perfected by home cooks. Who wouldn’t want that job?
After each episode this season, we’re sitting down with Katherine Alford—Vice President of Food Network Test Kitchen and URS judge—and asking three questions about the week’s theme. Today she shares her insights on comfort food.
FN Dish: What makes a dish “comfort food”?
Katherine Alford: Something that hits an emotional cord, soothing, nurturing and generous. Comfort also can be inspired by who cooks for you, like a favorite friend or relative. Comfort food can come in a myriad of forms… but most likely at its base it’s got a serious carb thing happening, like mac and cheese, grilled cheese, or my favorite, a buttery baked potato. Read more
I may not be that much of a sports fan, but I do love any excuse to cook something special. This year I’ve been invited to a Super Bowl party at the home of my Indiana-raised friend Katie, who is beside herself with excitement that her beloved Colts have made it to the big game. Since I love to bake, I’m usually the person tasked with bringing a dessert to a gathering. But since another party attendee has already signed up to bring brownies, I had to think of another snack to contribute. Because our party hostess is a vegetarian, the Indiana-themed Fried Pork Potato Skins from Food Network Magazine are unfortunately out of the question. And she’s already making chili and corn bread and will have pretzels and chips and dip, so what could I bring that wouldn’t be redundant? Luckily I found some delicious inspiration on FoodNetwork.com’s “Big Game Menus” section. Browsing through there I found the perfect snack: Alton Brown’s recipe for Slacker Jacks, his version of the classic stadium treat with a name that happens to rhyme. It’s a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and a lot crunchy. This should perfectly fill the void between potato chips and dessert.
The FN Dish’s own Secretary Confidential led the sugar charge with these ghastly goodies (above). She claims she’s no cooking pro, but these chocolate-y brownies, drizzled with icing in the shape of ghosts, tasted frightfully good. (Try making similar treats with Ina’s Outrageous Brownies.)
Our resident baking goddess, Alexis, built this clever graveyard cake from her mom’s chocolate cake recipe and homemade chocolate frosting. Then she used assorted candies, marshmallows and shortbread cookies to make spiders, ghosts and tombstones. (By the way, we were mesmerized by the new Blood Orange Dots candies she found at the market.)
So I’m standing about 5 feet away from Mario Batali, both an Iron Chef and one of the most successful restaurateurs in New York City. I go up to him and say, “Excuse me, where did you get that hot dog?”
And do you know what he says? “Over there.” Mind you, this guy can cook dishes like fennel dusted sweetbreads with his eyes closed, and yet there he stood, eating a hot dog like we were at a Mets game.
When you hear the word “compost”, do you think of crazy hippies or back-to-nature enthusiasts? Well believe it or not, composting has joined the mainstream. It’s easy and rewarding for anyone, and in fact our very own Food Network kitchens has a compost operation to handle the multitude of food scraps that they generate daily. As you can see from the photos, they have small compost bins at each of the kitchen workstations, and then these small pails get emptied into the larger bin at the end of the day. You can find a similar bin at the Food Network Store here. Shows like Ask Aida and Guy’s Big Bite have also started including a compost bucket in their show.
So what is composting, exactly?
When it comes to major conventions and trade shows, the music industry has South By Southwest, the publishing industry has Book Expo America, the comics industry has ComiCon, and then the housewares industry has the International Home and Housewares Show, held in Chicago every March. It’s the nexus for everything new and cool in the housewares industry, which includes everything from kitchen products to bedding to cleaners. For Food Network purposes, of course, I stuck to the kitchen side of the show.
Being a northern gal, I don’t have any family fried chicken recipes passed down to me, so I’ve never had the impetus to make it at home. But when I saw Sunny Anderson make her Cider-Brined Fried Chicken on Cooking For Real, I knew I had to try it. Naturally Sunny makes everything she cooks sound delectable, but I could tell this recipe was going to be special.
Coincidentally, I also happened to have the Emerilware by T-fal Deep Fryer in my kitchen, a sample that the vendor had sent about two years ago and one which, I’ll sheepishly admit, I hadn’t ever used. (I’ll also sheepishly admit that I’m somewhat afraid of deep frying things because of the high potential for disaster, even though I know the Emerilware fryer makes it virtually foolproof.) Sunny’s recipe has glowing reviews on our site, and Emeril’s fryer is one of the most popular products in the Food Network Store, so I decided that these two were a match made in heaven, and that it was time to kill two birds with one stone and inaugurate the fryer by testing out the fried chicken recipe.