Eggplant, Your Summer Friend

by in Uncategorized, June 8th, 2012
eggplant

Use eggplant for more than just eggplant parm.

Eggplant is often relegated to two things: eggplant parmesan and ratatouille. Don’t get me wrong, I love both (and I’m sure I’ve blogged about and written recipes for both), but there&#...

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Easy Parmesan “Risotto” — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, June 8th, 2012

easy parmesan risotto
The first time I made risotto was with a friend. She pulled out her heaviest cast-iron pot and unearthed a well-worn wooden spoon that was bent ever so slightly. Its curve had developed over many years of use and it fit her hand perfectly. In order to preserve its form, she kept it hidden away so that well-meaning family members wouldn’t accidentally run it through the dishwasher or use it to encourage the blender to blend.

We started by chopping onions and sweating them in a puddle of melted butter until they were translucent. Then the rice went in and the heat went up, so that the individual grains would become slick with the butter and begin to toast. Just when the room began to smell impossibly fragrant, she poured in white wine, causing a puff of boozy steam to hover over the stove for a moment.

Then we started the process of stirring and adding hot chicken stock. The time went quickly because we were together, catching up and taking turns minding the pot. However, even in the joy of that moment, I could see how some people might find the necessary stirring a tedious act. That night, we finished our risotto with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, peas (from the freezer but still tender and sweet) and cubes of salty ham. With a salad, it was a complete meal and one we both enjoyed.

A few weeks back, my husband and I were having friends over for dinner. I was making grilled salmon and a chilled asparagus salad and needed one more thing to serve. Awash in deadlines and errands, I needed to find something easier than a classic risotto, but more refined than a simple pot of rice. Internet searches led me to Ina Garten’s recipe for Easy Parmesan “Risotto.”

Before you preheat your oven, read these tips

On the Blogs: Rachael’s New Cookbook, Orange Wine and the Next Greek Yogurt

by in Community, June 7th, 2012

rachael rayPublishers Weekly: Rachael Ray just released her latest cookbook, The Book of Burger (coming soon to Food Network Store). The “smart book” features QR codes that provide readers additional cooking information when scanned.

TIME: Mickey Mouse ditches junk-food. The Walt Disney Co. is the first major media company to ban junk food advertisements in an effort to diminish sugary temptations and improve kids’ eating habits. 

Associated Press: Schools rise above pink slime. The vast majority of National School Lunch Program states are refusing the product known as “lean finely textured beef,” and fast-food chains and supermarkets are following suit.

Food Republic: Will Greek yogurt soon be replaced? Hailing from Iceland, skyr has a similar tang, but is actually a “fresh skim-milk cheese, strained to a whipped custard consistency.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Do you prefer your red or white? Or how about orange? Also known as “freaky whites,” orange wines are now trending.

Best 5 Sangria Recipes for Summer

by in Drinks, Recipes, June 7th, 2012


The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, which means it’s time for one thing: summer cocktails. Simple to mix with on-hand ingredients, Spanish sangria is traditionally made with red or white wine, flavored liqueurs and a heaping pile of fresh fruit — oranges, apples and berries are classic choices. Food Network’s top five sippers below will quench your thirst in the sweltering heat and easily serve a crowd.

5. Sangria Perea – Guy’s fruit-filled glass boasts a refreshing mixture of juicy pineapple, grapes and slices of lemon, lime and orange.

4. Red Sangria – For best results, refrigerate the prepared pitcher (pictured above) for at least one hour before serving, so that the red wine, brandy and orange liqueur can adopt the bright flavors of citrus and apple.

Get the top three sangria recipes

Is It Healthy: Hot Sauce

by in Uncategorized, June 7th, 2012
hot sauce

Is hot sauce healthy?

A little goes a long way but is this fiery sauce worth the heat? Here are the cool facts.

Yes?
One teaspoon of hot sauce has zero calories, 6 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C and 119 milligrams of sodium. This condiment h...

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That’s the Spirit: Using Liquor in Sweets

by in How-to, June 6th, 2012

plum upside down cake
I’m a bourbon girl, straight up. Neat or on the rocks, it doesn’t matter just as long as the vanilla, oak, caramel and spice notes work their magic. It’s pure craftsmanship at its best and only gets better with age.

But I’m also a pastry chef and one who loves to have fun exploring new flavor combinations. To limit a fine spirit to the bar alone would be criminal; at least, that’s what I think. Incorporating liquors into desserts reveals a whole new horizon of possibilities.

I love a good Manhattan. I also love the fact that bourbon works so well with chocolate, toasted nuts, peaches and even candied bacon. Two other spirits that round out my top three favorites when I bake are rum and Campari. Dark rum works well with tropical fruit and is a favorite of mine to use at our restaurant in Grand Cayman. Since there are so many great rums, taste a couple and use the one you like best. And Campari is a tad bitter, but it adds great balance to a dessert.

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Family Dinner With Marvel’s Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction

by in Family, June 6th, 2012

marvel's kelly sue deconnick and matt fraction
If you were to bump into Kelly Sue DeConnick and her husband, Matt Fraction, at the grocery store with their children, Henry Leo and Tallulah, you probably wouldn’t immediately guess that the fate of a universe rests in their creatively capable hands.

You might think that they were simply shopping for produce, or cruising for new breakfast cereal, but don’t let their clever disguise as a normal, happy family fool you. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are two of the most celebrated and influential creative forces fueling the Marvel Universe, and we got the inside scoop on how creativity in comic books can translate in the kitchen.

FN Dish: In the comic world, you both write. In the kitchen, do you divvy up the roles?

Kelly Sue: You know, I don’t think we have a strict division of either interest or expertise. I was going to say that I tend to do the baking — and that’s true — but it’s also often a team effort.

For everyday dinners, I’m usually the one keeping track of what dishes are at what place in the process and we rotate around the tasks trying to get them all to come together at roughly the same time — and to keep the kids engaged, too.

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