Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Two

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabian and Ted Allenby Melissa d’Arabian

I have to admit that watching Chopped actually stresses me out so much that if I watch when it airs late in the evening, I find that I can’t sleep. My husband thinks it’s “fun” to press pause and spit out quickly what he would do if he were getting the basket. Clearly he has never been in the Chopped kitchen himself. I can’t watch Chopped without feeling like I’m the one who actually has to pull off a culinary miracle in minutes, but for you, dear readers, I will take one for the team. I will give myself 30 seconds for each round to come up with a menu. Thirty seconds; that’s it (I’m on the honor system here, I realize). Time starts — now.

Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions

I imagine opening the basket on that first course and pulling out fruit cake, my mind racing to the brandy-soaked monstrosity that my mom used to make for months leading up to the holidays. (Is this the Chopped basket where all fruitcakes go to die?) My mind would be spinning in despair, but not for long because the rest of the basket has potential — shad roe sack is amazing when simply sauteed, vodka and Tokyo scallions for the most part fit into the flavor profile. Even our (fr)enemy the fruitcake can play along nicely, adding some sweetness to play off the richness of the roe sack (think seared fois gras with berry compote). The biggest challenge for me is getting the onion not to overpower the rich roe sack.

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Reinvented: Macaroni and Cheese 5 Ways

by in Recipes, January 24th, 2013

Reinvented: Mac and Cheese 5 WaysHere 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 in three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of them as picture recipes.

There is nothing better than snuggling up to a big bowl of mac and cheese. We’ve taken this classic comfort food and spun it in four fun and different ways. From French onion to dessert mac and cheese, these twists might change your view on an old favorite.

First, start with the classic version

The Perfect Milkshake — Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

by in Shows, January 24th, 2013

Rachael and Guy
Rachael vs. GuyOn this past Sunday’s episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the bottom two celebrity contestants, Dean and Chilli, competed in a milkshake blind-tasting challenge to determine who was to go home. Dean made a boozy Creamsicle-inspired milkshake that Rachael and Guy raved about. Chilli made a milkshake more on the classic side — though there was nothing wrong with it, she still ended up being eliminated.

Dean’s milkshake recipe included orange liqueur, orange zest and orange segments. It also had a liqueur-soaked Twinkie on the side. Chilli’s milkshake featured a combination of chocolate, peanut butter and cookies in a kid-friendly nod to her son. Both of these recipes were really exceptional, which made judging them that much more difficult. Without knowing whose creation was whose, Rachael and Guy chose the Creamsicle milkshake because it stepped outside of the box. Chilli regretted playing it safe, but she was still proud of what she made.

More From Rachael vs. Guy:
Episode 3 Recap (Video)
Watch the Full Episode (Video)
Episode 3 Highlights (Photos)
Chilli’s Exit Interview

If you were in either of the contestant’s shoes, what kind of milkshake would you have made?

SHARE your favorite milkshake recipe

Going Bananas: Winter Fancy Food Show Picks Top Food Trends

by in News, January 24th, 2013

BananasThis past weekend in San Francisco, Winter Fancy Food Show attendees discovered more than 80,000 products — from cheeses to teas to olive oils and meats, there’s no shortage of food and beverages to captivate industry insiders, food-lovers, restaurateurs and the media.

The show also predicts upcoming trends for the industry. Last year we saw lots of pickling (which made its way into many restaurants), ancient grains (quinoa and chia), coconut in ice cream, pudding and jam, and gluten-free products that people can rely on.

This year’s top food trends have just been picked by a panel of trendspotters, and bananas will now have their time in the spotlight. Still staying in the sweets bucket, the trendspotters loved the banana within Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s Wild Ophelia Peanut Butter & Banana Milk Chocolate Bar, PB Crave’s CoCo Bananas Peanut Butter and GoodPop’s Banana Cinnamon Frozen Pop.

Bring this trend into your kitchen by trying these recipes

Restaurant Revisited: Sapori D’Italia

by in Shows, January 23rd, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIn addition to his expected mission of renovating the interior and designing a crowd-pleasing menu at Sapori D’Italia in Fountain Hills, Ariz., Robert Irvine faced the challenge of mending a broken family. Together with their sons David and Jonathan, owners Gasper and Maria Manno used to spend much of their time at the restaurant arguing, something that was downright disruptive to customers trying to enjoy a meal. After working with the family to discuss their issues with the restaurant and each other and spending $10,000 on renovations, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened the doors to Sapori in only two days. Today, the restaurant is a comfortable eatery with a made-over menu of full-flavored Italian classics to match. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gasper to find out how Sapori is doing today.

Immediately following filming, Sapori’s revenue shot up nearly $8,000 per week for the first three weeks. Things have settled down a bit since then, with the weekly increase averaging a respectable “$2,000 more than the same time last year,” according to Gasper.

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Fruitcake Blinis and “Semifreddo” Sandwiches — Rebel Remix

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 23rd, 2013

Chef Walter D'Rozario - Chopped Champions Round 2
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before 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 that you would have made this or that instead, then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

I’ll be frank: sometimes I don’t know everything. Sometimes I call it a steamer and you’ll call it a sloppy Joe. Sometimes I call it a clam and you’ll call it a steamer. Sometimes you don’t know what the heck is in the basket and you just have to taste it and roll along. Even the most complex things in the food world are made of simple things. It’s when you don’t know the simple things that you should be worried about what’s in the basket!

Appetizer basket: Fruit cake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
Fruit cake — fahruit cake — fahhhruuit cake. Let’s face it: it’s sweetened bread. Salt and lemon will shut it up. It’s pre-made bread though, right? With caviar? And vodka? And onion? This is a gift basket if you ask me.

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As Quick as Delivery — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, January 23rd, 2013

Rachael Ray's Buffalo PizzaDitch the delivery drama and slice up a pizza of your very own. We’re not talking about taking a box from the freezer. With the help of store-bought dough (available at most grocery stores or pizzerias), these pizza recipes are as quick as ordering in. Simply stretch out the dough, don with your favorite toppings and pop it in the oven.

Sometimes a good pizza comes down to the trilogy: mozzarella, tomato and basil. Giada De Laurentiis creates the classic slice with her Pizza With Fresh Tomatoes and Basil recipe.

Rachael Ray makes a Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza (pictured above) that packs all of the heat of the finger-licking favorite. Her Mega Meatball Pizza, on the other hand, has more of that Italian flair.

Sandra Lee’s BBQ Chicken Pizza puts store-bought chicken tenders, shredded Gouda and barbecue sauce to use. On a smaller note, Pizza Pockets come loaded with turkey sausage and arugula and trade the usual large triangle for a dish perfect for parties.

Get more pizza recipes from family and friends