Vacuum-Sealed Chicken, Matzo Pancakes and Passion Fruit, Three Ways — Rebel Remix

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, April 29th, 2013

Chopped All-Stars Round 4 Entree Basket
Every week, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is back remixing the Chopped All-Stars baskets as seen in the episode Sunday night in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Chopped All-Stars Rebel Remix, wherein I attempt to give you drilling rights on my brain as I attempt to assemble an array of exciting edibles from four seemingly incongruous ingredients.

Appetizer: vanilla cupcakes, chicken tenders, avocados, kochujang
I’ve been doing this “write about Chopped” thing for a little bit now, and this basket is just too freaking insane. Cupcakes? Really? Before assembling these ingredients, I would look around: I want to know which contender offended the Basket Curators in a previous life. This is a bad, bad basket. Personally, I also abhor chicken tenders. They are too perfect, too cookie cutter. Meat should have personality and character! I digress. Kochujang, or gochujang, is a Korean pepper paste. It’s got earth and funk and a little heat. I’ve seen a few Korean grandmas dilute it with lemon-lime soda, and in my restaurant I use it to glaze frog’s legs. Avocados are no biggie. What isn’t good with a slice of avocado? This leaves the cupcakes. Why?! It’s like someone is trying to cause grief and pain. At least they are vanilla, which is a great flavor with chicken. Before you get bent out of shape, consider that bourbon chicken sounds delish and that bourbon often contains vanillin, which is the chemical compound for which vanilla was named, so vanilla and chicken are best buds. Capish?

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Brown-Bag Lunches Made Better — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 29th, 2013

Hummus and Grilled Vegetable WrapWhether you pack your lunch every day of the week or are looking to form the habit in an effort to salvage your paycheck, it’s best to have on hand a selection of lunch recipes that aren’t just crave-worthy but also filling and easy to pack, to avoid getting stuck in a PB&J rut. So often the star of the brown-bag lunch is a sandwich built with salt-laden deli meats and cheeses on slices of soggy bread, but with these highest-rated recipes for dressed-up sandwiches and salads from some of your favorite Food Network chefs, you can pack a midday meal that’s anything but ordinary. Check out recipes from Ellie, the Sandwich King and the Neelys below, then tell FN Dish in the comments: What’s your favorite dish to pack for lunch?

A five-star recipe that can be made in minutes, Ellie’s Hummus and Grilled Vegetable Wrap (pictured above) combines good-for-you ingredients in an easy-to-eat sandwich that’s light but satisfying. The key to executing this dish quickly is having all of the ingredients ready and simply waiting for assembly. After quickly cooking the zucchini and slicing bell peppers and red onions, start building the wraps by spreading the bread with store-bought hummus and layering the vegetables inside. Add a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts to guarantee a welcome crunchy texture in each wholesome bite.

Keep reading for more recipes

5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Guacamole, Plus Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

by in Holidays, April 29th, 2013

Gaby Dalkin's Guacamole for Cinco de MayoIt’s that time of the year again when eating massive amounts of guacamole and enjoying a margarita is 100 percent acceptable. Yes, that’s right: Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.

This year’s Cinco festival is even more exciting than usual because my first cookbook, Absolutely Avocados, is out and about, and being sold all across the country. It has a little bit of everything from breakfast to dessert  — and it’s all about avocados.

If you’re set to make the ultimate guacamole this upcoming weekend, keep my five rules, or guidelines, in mind:

1. Avocados: There’s nothing worse than spending a few bucks on avocados at the market and then getting home only to realize they are overripe and brown on the inside, right? The trick to buying perfect avocados each and every time is looking for an avocado that is just the slightest bit tender. It shouldn’t be mushy, and it shouldn’t be rock hard. Rather, give it a gentle squeeze; if it gives the slightest bit, then you’re good to go.

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Restaurant Revisited: Creepy in Clearwater at Smitty’s Restaurant

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile there were indeed substantial problems with the food as well as the interior design at Smitty’s Restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., the gravest issue came in the form of bugs — an entire infestation of cockroaches, in fact. Overrun with these crawly creatures, husband-and-wife owners Gus and Evi Gialelis’ business faced certain closure if Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team couldn’t locate the source of the swarm. But to do so they’d have to rely on a professional exterminator, something that would significantly drain the overall renovation budget.

“I have never come across a restaurant this bad in my whole career,” Robert told Gus and Evi, who felt personally defeated in the wake of their struggling business. He initially questioned whether “this may be the one restaurant that’s too far gone,” but Robert’s not one to walk away from a mission, of course. And in just two days, he reopened the doors at Smitty’s to a welcoming, clean restaurant that was dishing out quality food. FN Dish checked in with Evi a few weeks after the reopening to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Smitty’s has seen an increase in business since the show taped, and Evi says she’s noticing many first-time customers at the restaurant.

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One-on-One With the Chopped All-Stars Round 4 Winner

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Chopped All-Stars Round 4: CelebritiesEarlier on FN Dish, we broke down the second round of All-Stars, including an interview with the runner-up (spoiler alert).

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Lights, Camera, Baskets: We Chat With the Round 4 Runner-Up

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Chopped All-Stars Round 4: CelebritiesWhat do these four celebrities with different backgrounds have in common? Judy Gold, Johnny Weir, Joey Fatone and Laila Ali all share a love of cooking, and they proved that in the Chopped Kitchen tonight. Only one advanced to compete in the fourth and final spot in the finale, however, and is one step closer to winning $50,000 for his or her charity.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — FN Dish is about to break down the episode and chat with the runner-up.

SPOILER ALERT: The exclusive interview with the runner-up

Aarón Sánchez Talks to Fans of Chopped All-Stars on Facebook

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Aaron judgingEarlier this week, FN Dish caught up with Aarón Sánchez for a Facebook chat about Season 3 of Chopped All-Stars. Aarón answered questions about the current season and what it was like competing in Season 1. He also chatted about some of his favorite foods and gave some tips on cooking the classic Mexican dish of mole.

Read Aarón’s chat with fans

Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, April 28th, 2013

Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon GlazeEvery bit as impressive as towering cakes, chocolate tarts and fruity pies, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is a far-simpler-to-make dessert that’s refreshingly light and zesty. Giada’s top-rated Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze (pictured above) are buttery bites laced with creamy ricotta cheese and fresh lemon juice, plus they’re easy enough to bake for your family but elegant enough that you can serve to guests at a party.

For more recipe inspiration for sweet-tooth-satisfying desserts, visit Food Network’s Let’s Bake Board on Pinterest.

Get the recipe: Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze