Tomatoes Go Beyond Salads — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, August 1st, 2012

heirloom tomato pie
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring tomatoes.

Come August, tomatoes — heirloom, beefsteak, cherry and more — hit their peak. Plump and juicy, they scream summer with their sweet, slightly acidic flesh and bright hues. Perfect for summer salads, there’s arguably no combination more classic than a simple caprese brimming with ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. But, tomatoes’ versatility far surpasses the realm of summer salads. In fact, they’re fantastic in soups, pies, pastas and sides. Just give one (or more!) of these easy cooked tomato recipes a try.

If you plan on planting your very own tomato patch, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tricks like mulching tomato plants heavily with hay or leaves, and tips like pulling off stem tops to prevent puncturing fruit when stacking. Before you get cooking, be sure to choose firm, noticeably fragrant and richly colored tomatoes that are free of blemishes. Store them at room temperature and use them within a few days.

Hosting a casual garden party? Pass around Rachael’s Roasted Tomato Bruschetta for a simple hors d’oeuvre. Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup and Roasted Tomato Caprese make for a sweet start to any meal. Food Network Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above) serves as a bright main that needs nothing more than a leafy green salad in accompaniment.

Get more tomato recipes from family and friends

Grilled Pizza With Spicy Sausage — The New Girl

by in Recipes, August 1st, 2012

grilled pizza with spicy sausage
This grilling season, classic cookout fare is getting revamped. Think Bruschetta Dogs and grilled desserts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still perfectly content with a good old burger. But with all the buzz around new foods that look great with char lines, I had to join in on the fun. Toss a pizza on the grill? I’m on it.

Pizza has become a go-to meal for my beau and me. It’s a no-fuss dinner that tends to be forgiving to newbies like us. Add too much cheese? No such thing. Trouble rolling the dough? Call it art. We’ve even taken off the training wheels and come up with our own topping combos and techniques, without relying on recipes. However, when the decision came down to grilling the pie for our next date night, I wanted the guidance of an expert. And who better than the grill master himself, Bobby Flay?

This Grilled Pizza With Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers, Onions and Oregano Ricotta is a mouthful to say, and a mouthful to enjoy. Though it takes a hefty dose of prepping, don’t let that scare you away. It’s well worth the effort. Serve it on a night when you’re looking for a major ego boost, as each of its elements is sure to impress.

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Melissa d’Arabian Dishes on her First Cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners

by in Books, Food Network Chef, July 31st, 2012

melissa d'arabian ten dollar dinners cookbook
In just two weeks, Melissa d’Arabian’s first cookbook will officially be available — Ten Dollar Dinners the book is packed with tips to elevate simple, fresh meals any night of the week along with 140 mouthwatering recipes. We caught up with Melissa on the set of her show to talk about what makes her book stand out, several key takeaways and the home cook’s best friend — the pantry.

Towards the beginning of the book, you talk about strategies for saving and list your top 10 commandments of Ten Dollar Dinners. If you had to pick just three strategies for saving money, what would they be?

1. Incorporate bean night once a week: Contrary to the title, that doesn’t mean just beans, it’s any sort of inexpensive protein. If you have a few recipes in your pocket that you know are very inexpensive and are driven by an inexpensive protein you will automatically see savings in your grocery bill every month. Think about beans, eggs, pizza or a meatless meal.

2. Try clear-the-pantry week: This is a week when you really don’t buy any other groceries — you dig into your pantry and you really try to stick to the food you already have. You’d be amazed what you can get away with. It’s a great opportunity to see what you have lurking in the pantry — and who doesn’t have frozen meats tucked away in the freezer? Let’s face it, if you don’t use it, it’s going to go bad and that’s wasting money.

Find out what Melissa uses the most in her pantry

Cold War: Austin Ice Cream Festival

by in Food Network Magazine, July 31st, 2012

Austin Ice Cream Festival

The average high in Austin this time of year is 97 degrees, so it’s no wonder the city’s ice cream festival was an instant hit when it started in 2007. Nearly 12,000 people showed up that summer, and now the all-day event (taking place August 4, $10; www.icecreamfestival.org) is an annual affair, with an ice cream eating contest, Popsicle-stick sculpting and, most important, an ice cream making competition. It’s an intense battle: Contestants have to bring their own machine and churn out their creation on-site for a panel of four locals and four discerning kids. We asked champions from past festivals to hand over their winning recipes.

Get the winning recipes

The Craziest Diets Ever

by in Uncategorized, July 31st, 2012
grapefruit

Remember the grapefruit diet?

I’ve read over 200 diet books and some of the advice I’ve come across is just plain wacky or even worse, dangerous to your health. Here are some of the nuttiest plans out there and suggestions on how to choose the ri...

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Reinvented: Guacamole 5 Ways

by in Recipes, July 31st, 2012

guacamole 5 ways
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.

Guacamole is definitely a top 10 crowd-pleaser, so we decided to mix it up and add four more ways to keep the party going.

First, start with the classic version

August Food Festivals

by in Events, July 30th, 2012

lemons
August is about as hot as it gets each year, in terms of the temperature and the good-eats celebrations. It’s especially true for the hauls of seafood, corn and blueberry festivals this month. Below are our pick of the pecks.

Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, Maine, Aug. 1–5: Vacationland is booming, fueled by bountiful catches of crustaceans that end up predominantly in lobster rolls. This is not a bad thing — it should be celebrated. And that’s what the small town of Rockland has done since 1947. The modern festival includes more than 20,000 pounds of lobster, a fantastical parade replete with giant lobster, the crowning of the Sea Goddess and loads of competitions. Beyond the professional and amateur cooking contests, there are blindfold rowboat and lobster crate races. For those who can’t stomach the crack of claw and tail, there are all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts.

Blueberry Arts Festival, Ketchikan, Ark., Aug. 3–5: More than fish is grown in the land of tundra and groceries via seaplane. The tart summertime burst of berries is also found in the 49th state. For that, Alaskans are grateful and because of that, they party. This annual festival is more than a platform for bragging about your best blueberry dish. The three-day happening involves a slug weigh-in (yes, that kind of mollusk) a race and a pie-eating contest. Attendees can also take part in local arts and crafts, a mini-beer festival and a doll parade.

Click here for more August food festivals

Appetizers for Summer Entertaining — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, July 30th, 2012


Though back-to-school commercials are already flashing on our television screens and Halloween candy has somehow landed on store shelves, there’s still plenty of summer left to be enjoyed and more than enough time to plan a summer party. Whether you’re hosting a casual cookout for friends and family or organizing a neighborhood-wide barbecue, you’ll want to serve a selection of easy-to-eat appetizers and pre-dinner snacks at your get-together. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite party-perfect appetizers below, and serve them up at your next backyard bash. 

Instead of reaching for tired carrots and ranch dressing, prepare a platter of Food Network Magazine‘s Crudite With Infused Olive Oil and Balsamic (pictured above). A fancy name for raw vegetables that have been cut for simple munching, crudités make the ultimate party appetizer since they involve zero cooking. They can be served with straight-from-the-bottle olive oil and vinegar, though this recipe takes those classic pairings one step further by infusing the oil and balsamic. Over low heat, fragrant fresh herbs and garlic are steeped in olive oil, while brown sugar, red pepper flakes and light citrus zest are warmed in balsamic. Once cool, serve both the olive oil and vinegar in shallow bowls for easy, delicious dunking.

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Octopus — Iron Chef America Ingredients 101

by in Shows, July 30th, 2012

battle octopus
One of the greatest food memories of my travels around the globe has to be an early-morning visit to the legendary Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. While dodging the porters and fishermen, I saw hundreds of varieties of fish and seafood being auctioned off for sale all over Japan.

Amongst all the amazing noises, sights and smells of the market, my eyes were drawn to a number of huge glass tanks containing live octopi, many of whom were attempting to escape by climbing over the sides using the suckers on their tentacles. Unfortunately for them they were soon recaptured and dispatched off to feed hungry locals and tourists including myself.

Watching the Iron Chef and his challenger battle with this eight-legged beast this week really reminded me of my experiences in Japan and I hope it inspires you to try preparing octopus in your own kitchen.

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