Special Guest Judges Scare on a New Season of Halloween Wars

by in Shows, August 27th, 2014

Halloween Wars returns for Season 4 with all-new episodes starting Sunday, Oct. 5 at 9|8c. Fan favorites and first-timers alike will be serving up sweet and scary creations like never before to renowned cake decorator Shinmin Li and Emmy-nominated makeup artist Brian Kinney. Special guest judges, including American Horror Story’s Naomi Grossman, The Secret Life of the American Teenager’s Francia Raisa and renowned horror film producer Adi Shankar, are slated to weigh in on the teams’ pumpkin-themed displays. The supersized desserts are bigger, better and more terrifying than ever before, as the cake decorator, sugar artist and pumpkin carver on each of the five teams go head-to-head for the grand prize of $50,000. Don’t miss the exciting new season filled with sweets and surprises.

Watch Halloween Wars on Sundays starting Oct. 5 at 9|8c.

The Best Back-to-School (or Work) Lunches

by , August 27th, 2014

Healthy Lunches

Whether you’re packing lunch to eat in your cube or for your kids to have at school, it’s important to find things that are easy, quick and new. And regardless of your best intentions at 7:30am, the key is making something you (or your kids, spouse or cubicle-neighbor) actually want to eat once lunch time rolls around. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to make lunch prep a snap:

1) Plan your dinners with leftovers in mind: Make extra grilled salmon or chicken to add to sandwiches or salads; wrap up leftovers in single servings at the end of dinner.

2) Do some prep work on Sunday: cut up vegetables, seal snacks in individual portions or make a large tub of pasta, grains or bean.

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5 All-New Recipes Kids Can (and Will Want to!) Make

by in Family, Recipes, August 27th, 2014

5 All-New Recipes Kids Can (and Will Want to!) MakeAre your kids inspired by the tiny chefs on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off and the impressive contenders from Chopped Teen Tournament? Then it’s time to let them get their hands dirty in the kitchen. Food Network Kitchen came up with these easy, satisfying and safe dishes to get them started. Everyone (including parents!) will enjoy eating the final products, like these fun Taco Cheeseburgers.

Little kids can help tear the cheese and measure the salsa, while big kids can help shape and season the beef patties and shred the lettuce. Everyone can assemble his or her own taco.

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Cambridge University Now Offers a Ph.D in Chocolate

by , August 27th, 2014

You love chocolate. You love it so much that those around you often utter the phrase “if you love chocolate so much, then you probably just should marry it.” You may not be able to marry a delicious hunk of the good stuff, yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study it. One renowned institution of higher learning lets you do just that, obtaining a Ph.D in the process. That’s right. You can become a doctor of chocolate — a doc choc if you will.

England’s Cambridge University just unveiled the 3.5 year multidisciplinary Ph.D on chocolate. Why doesn’t it behave like other soft solids and melt sooner? What can we learn from its chemical properties? Why does it taste so good mixed with peanut butter? You’ll learn all of this and more.

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Eggplant 5 Ways

by in In Season, August 27th, 2014

Eggplant 5 WaysTomatoes get all the love during summer’s peak, and while I do adore them, I really fall for eggplant this time of year. The most common of them are the large deep-purple ones called black beauty, or sometimes globe eggplants. A trip to your local farmers market will reveal the many other varieties that abound —  Fairy Tale, Turkish, Japanese and Italian are just a few of them.

When working with the large globe eggplants, it’s important to salt them. This helps remove any bitterness and draws out extra moisture from the eggplant. Fried eggplant was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, and it’s something my daughters love now. Nowadays I alternate between frying eggplant on the stovetop and making this crispy baked version for a healthier way to fulfill our cravings. Here are five more ways to enjoy eggplant while it’s in season.

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Chatting with the Chopped Ultimate Champions: Pros, Part 1 Winner

by in View All Posts, August 26th, 2014

Chopped Ultimate Champions: ProsFor the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s first round, four professional chefs battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history, $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 1.

Read the interview with the winner

There’s More Than One Way to Skin an Eel — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, August 26th, 2014

 When faced with an ingredient like eel, most chefs would run the other way, but the judges on Chopped After Hours take the challenge in stride: “You think some slippery eels are going to shake our nerves?” retorts Aarón. Geoffrey recommends that the skin be removed, which is an important step. Only one pro chef managed to serve his dish with eel that had the skin removed in the appetizer round of the Ultimate Champions premiere. His dish turned out to be the judges’ favorite, but the other dishes left something to be desired — i.e., no skin.

Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón are cooking with the appetizer basket ingredients — eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans — from tonight’s episode. Even though Geoffrey points out they’re not equipped to properly skin an eel, the three judges cleverly decide to parboil it first, which makes removing the skin and bones much easier compared with how the episode’s chefs struggled. The only ingredient that leaves Geoffrey flummoxed is the pepihuates. “Watch me magically transform it,” Chris asserts. Aarón explains it’s simply a Mexican tomato-based snack/drink with peanuts and a tamarind stick — not unlike a Bloody Mary, Ted thinks.

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“The Sacred Mushroom” — Everything You Need to Know About Morels

by in How-to, August 26th, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About Morel MushroomsThere are some ingredients that just scream luxury. Think of these ingredients as examples: caviar, lobster, truffles and Champagne. While we may know small bits of information on these products, if pressed for more info, we might struggle to give a detailed description of what they are, where they come from and what makes them so special (and so expensive).

This new feature will put on a spotlight on some of my favorite luxury ingredients. But I hope that when you read these articles, you will be inspired to seek out the best of the best and discover why your favorite Food Network chefs love them so much.

What are morels?
Everyone has a list of their own favorite ingredients, but there is one item that I know will bring a teary look of appreciation to just about every chef I encounter, and that is the morel mushroom. So much so that when I reached out to Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli for her opinion of the morel, she referred to it as the “sacred mushroom.”

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