Know Your Knife Skills: Worst Cooks Recruits Butcher Proper Cutting Techniques

by in Shows, February 25th, 2013

When it comes to meal prep, not much can be done in the kitchen without a knife, so it’s no surprise that Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell devoted an entire week to demonstrating basic knife skills on Sunday’s episode of Worst Cooks in America. Both mentors showed off the whats and hows of various cuts like a fillet, slice, dice, julienne and chiffonade to their team members, some of whom were even unfamiliar with how to hold a knife and admitted to a strong fear of the sharp objects.

In the Skill Drill, the recruits were tasked with filleting whole black sea basses plus chopping oddly shaped produce to practice what they’d learned, and while some proved to be successful, a few contestants managed to cut their fingers and hands on the stainless-steel blades. Perhaps the most difficult test came during the Main Dish Challenge, however, when each recruit lifted a cloche to find an entire chicken with its head and feet still attached. Chefs Bobby and Anne both detailed the proper method for butchering the bird, but Chef Anne treated her team to a spine-ectomy how-to so that they could recreate her dish of chicken chasseur.

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How to Make Your Own Dried Herbs — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, How-to, February 25th, 2013

How to Make Fresh Dried HerbsI used to have a backyard bursting with bunches of basil, parsley, lemon thyme and a plethora of other herbs. Whenever a recipe called for some, I’d just go and pluck a handful. Aside from the hot, balmy New York City summers when the plants required constant care, mother nature mostly did the work — sunshine during the day and the occasional rain once a week, which supplied enough water to make up for the days I forgot to give them a sprinkle with the hose.

The apartment I live in now doesn’t have a garden, so I rely on window boxes for growing fresh herbs. Indoor plants need more attention and due diligence, especially in the water department. When I went away for the Christmas holidays this past December, I forgot to set up my self-watering globes. It was no surprise that I came home to bone-dry plants.

As with all of life’s mistakes, though, there is a lesson to be learned. Ever since I accidentally killed all my plants, I’ve been relying on the farmers’ market for fresh herbs — luckily we have a hydroponic farmer at the Union Square market during the winter months. The problem with buying herbs versus growing them is that I don’t usually finish up the bunch before it wilts. Then one day, I glanced at the old containers of dried-up plants (I swear I’m going to empty them this week), and suddenly the light bulb went off. With a little planning, I could make my own dried herbs. I use the fresh-bought herbs as I would normally, but just before any leftovers hit the wilting stage, I pluck the leaves and set them on a baking sheet.

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Homemade Churros

by , February 25th, 2013

churros
My kids love churros. Most people do. Considering they’re deep fried, cinnamon and sugar-coated pastry sticks, who wouldn’t dig them?

I realize my boys are kids and they’ll burn off the 200-400 calories and 12-14 grams of fat in a ...

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Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Eggplant Parmigiana — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 25th, 2013

Eggplant ParmigianaDon’t let the fact that this recipe was created by an Iron Chef fool you into thinking that it’s difficult to make or features particularly unusual cooking techniques. Alex Guarnaschelli’s Eggplant Parmigiana (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is simply a dressed-up version of an Italian classic, and is in fact easy to prepare at home.

The secret to her family-friendly dish is the garlic-laced tomato sauce, made deliciously sweet not by the dash of sugar she adds (that’s there to balance the acidity of the tomatoes) but by the onions that are slowly cooked until tender and translucent. To make this all-in-one meal, she coats slices of eggplant in herbed breadcrumbs, then fries them and layers the golden-brown beauties in a deep baking dish with the tomato sauce and a trio of cheeses including mozzarella, provolone and parmesan. After 40 minutes in the oven, the top layer of mozzarella will be melted and bubbling and each tier of eggplant will be piping hot and ready to enjoy.

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One-on-One With the Latest Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 24th, 2013

Team Anne BurrellFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

One-on-One With the Latest Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 24th, 2013

Team Bobby FlayFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who went home

Award-Worthy Oscar Party Cocktails

by in Drinks, Entertaining, February 24th, 2013

Oscar Party CocktailsWith the Oscars just hours away, it’s time to get serious — serious about planning a little soiree with your movie-loving friends who also love to get dressed to the nines.

The Oscars are a fun event in my house. We’re big movie people, so I’m always excited to see who takes home the gold. I like to invite over a handful of friends for an Oscars viewing party, mix up a few fun cocktails that are classy, swanky and delicious, and add a few little nibbles too. I mean, let’s be honest here — it’s really all about the cocktails in this case. No one actually eats at those awards shows; it’s more about the drinks, socializing and looking fabulous.

So in honor of that, here’s my Oscar party cocktail menu that you can whip up in no time:

Bobby has a great recipe for a Kir Royale. This drink only has a few ingredients, but they’re fun and decadent, so when you mix them all together you’ve got a gorgeous bubbly concoction that’s going to be a crowd-pleaser! Bonus: you can ask your friends coming over to pick up a bottle of bubbly or two to use for these drinks.
Get the recipe: Kir Royale

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Robert to the Rescue at Hands-On Dinner in Florida

by in Events, February 24th, 2013

Robert Irvine at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food FestivalWhat do you get when you gather tables full of amateur cooks and ask them to prepare their own dinners with no advance notice of the menu? If you answered chaos, scorched ingredients and plenty of laughs, then you are correct.

That’s precisely what happened last night at the Barilla Interactive Dinner during the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. 200 party-goers at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., turned into honorary chefs as they attempted to prepare multi-course meals for one another with little more than a saute pan and wooden spoon. Lucky for them, however, soon they received a wanted dose of culinary guidance in the form of Robert Irvine, who, together with Chef Lorenzo Boni of Barilla, guided guests through each step of the cooking process in the hopes of eliminating major flare-ups and meltdowns.

Chef Boni shared step-by-step tips for making an indulgent pasta with prosecco and caviar, while Robert — in true Restaurant: Impossible form — arrived just when guests needed him most: the tricky entree course. He balanced his no-nonsense commitment to top-quality food with lighthearted how-tos and willing patience to help each table tackle seared swordfish with apple-horseradish sauce and creamy parsnip potatoes.

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Linguine With Shrimp Scampi — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 24th, 2013

Linguine With Shrimp Scampi - Most Popular Pin of the WeekAn easy dish to cook for a table of two or three, Ina’s Linguine With Shrimp Scampi is ideal for weeknight entertaining because of its quick preparation time (done in less than 30 minutes). It is also this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. This recipe is light but filling, made with tender shrimp, fresh lemon juice and just a pinch of red pepper flakes.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Recipe of the Day board on Pinterest.

Get the recipe: Ina’s Linguine With Shrimp Scampi

Kitchen Safety: How to Cook Responsibly With Kids

by in Family, Recipes, February 23rd, 2013

Guy and Hunter FieriIt’s no secret that if you want your little ones to enjoy a well-rounded diet and to look forward to mealtime, the key is to let them have a hand in cooking, even just once in a while. When they have a chance to impact — ever so slightly — what they’re making and how it’s prepared, they’ll feel ownership over the meal and be more likely to dig into the final dish. Plus, kids are more apt to take interest in and try a new, healthy ingredient if they’re able to warm up to it before it’s simply scooped onto a plate in front of them.

But at what age is it appropriate to let kids start cooking, and what tasks are most fitting for little chefs to take on? We have the answers below, plus kid-friendly recipes that are easy to make with youngsters and sure to please the whole family.

Julie Negrin, M.S., a nutritionist and speaker dedicated to teaching both children and grownups how to cook, says that there’s no such thing as an incorrect age to start cooking with your kids and letting them have a place in the kitchen. Even toddlers as young as two years old can pitch in during meal prep, but it’s important to give them very specific jobs and of course monitor them at all times. “This age group … needs very close adult supervision, a lot of space and large bowls,” Julie notes, “since their dexterity and motor skills are still developing.” So while your 3-year-old may not be ready to slice broccoli florets off of the stalk, he can surely rinse the entire head under the sink or put the produce into a bowl once you’ve chopped it.

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