What to Watch: Bobby’s Dinner Battle

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Bobby's Dinner BattleIf you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of entertaining a houseful of party guests or cooking a meal for your opinionated relatives, then you can begin to imagine the pressure under which home cooks find themselves on Bobby’s Dinner Battle, Bobby Flay‘s newest show that challenges three teams of home cooks to prepare three-course dinner parties for this professional chef and restaurateur. Although they don’t have formal culinary training, the contestants are not simply kitchen novices. They consider themselves to be some of the best home cooks in their area and pride themselves on their ability to craft full-flavored, restaurant-quality meals using advanced techniques in their kitchens at home.

Each week, Bobby will travel to a different city where new groups of home cooks must put their best culinary chops forward in themed challenges to create event menus with limited time and money. Bobby will be joined by a special guest in each city, and these esteemed dinner party guests will help judge the competitors on the taste and presentation of their offerings, plus how well they’ve embraced the given theme.

Tune in to the series premiere of Bobby’s Dinner Battle on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10pm/9c.

Salted vs. Unsalted Butter and Self-Rising Flours — Your Baking Questions Answered (Part 1)

by in How-to, January 15th, 2013

Baking 101Home bakers often ask, “Why can’t I use salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, especially when salt is listed as a separate ingredient?” Right? I totally get the question. Why wouldn’t you just use salted butter and call it a day?

First, let me say that I never use salted butter. Not to bake with, on my toast in the morning or for any recipe that calls for butter.

Call me a control freak; however, the reason is that the salt added to salted butter varies depending on the brand you buy. All salted butters are not created equal. So why take your chances when baking? Just buy unsalted butter and start with a clean slate.

This leads me to the next most-asked question:

“Why can’t I use self-rising flour for all baking?” I totally comprehend this question too. It sure would eliminate buying a variety of flours, right?

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Vacuum-Fried Snacks — The Next Best Thing You Never Ate

by in News, January 15th, 2013

Vacuum-Fried Snacksby Vince Camillo

What’s the next best thing you never ate?

The staff of Food Network Kitchens might know. We see (taste and smell) ingredients and products just before they make themselves known to the national palate. Sometimes one of our on-air chefs brings them into our kitchen, sometimes we find them during restaurant dinners or in grocery stores, at home and away. Each month we’re going to share one with you, along with tips or recipes. And we know that many of you devote a good amount of time to exploring, tasting or simply getting dinner on the table, so let us know what you find that might just be the next best thing we never ate.

If you’ve ever eaten a vacuum-fried banana chip (or any vacuum-fried fruit or vegetable), you may have been staring into the bag of the next big thing. Though the bag you remember was likely empty, because once you eat one of these puffed little disks of pure banana essence, you’ll realize that you can’t stop — the most important indicator of a successful snack.

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Bobby Flay Fit, Episode 2: Motivation

by , January 15th, 2013

Bobby and Harold Stretching
Bobby Flay Fit Bobby Flay manages to stay fit and healthy even with a busy lifestyle as a chef, and he’s eager to share his healthy eating and fitness plan with fans in a seven-part Web series, Bobby Flay Fit.

The focus of Episode 2 of Bobby Flay Fit is motivation: Stay motivated with a regular exercise schedule. Find a time of day that’s right for you and stick with it. The simple act of exercising can help motivate you to keep up your routine.

In Episode 2, Bobby motivates himself to get up early in the morning to exercise — running, biking or swimming. He knows that if he has a good workout first thing in the morning, the rest of his day will be better. He later meets up with his trainer, Harold, to do some stretching, which helps reduce his chances of injury. After his morning routine, Bobby goes to the kitchen to make a tea smoothie. It’s important to have something to eat after your workout to refuel, but make sure it’s something healthy; otherwise you run the risk of blowing all your hard work.

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10 Interesting Facts About Scotch Whisky

by in Drinks, Shows, January 14th, 2013

Iron Chef America Battle Scotch WhiskyLast night’s Iron Chef America battle between Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Chiarello brought one of my favorite tipples to the forefront: Scotch whisky. Instead of breaking down the ingredient like I usually do, here are 10 interesting facts that you may not know about this Secret Ingredient:

1. The term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes.

2. The oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century. The first reference from Scotland is found in the Exchequer rolls, the accounting records for the royal finances in 1494, where an allowance was made for “eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae.”

Keep reading for more facts

An Entree Salad You’ll Enjoy Eating — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 14th, 2013

Big Greek SaladHow many times have you gone to a restaurant with a deliciously full menu of tempting offerings only to order that healthful, lower-calorie salad you think you should eat instead of what you really want? At the end of the meal, you’re still craving fettuccine Alfredo and now are a bit cranky because that bowl of lettuce leaves just didn’t fill you up, right? The same scenario likely plays out at home, too, as you wrestle with hankerings for pizza and instead tuck into an everyday tossed salad.

Now that the healthy-eating season is in full swing and it seems like everyone is committed to making smarter food and fitness choices in the New Year — well, at least in the month of January — it’s time to master the entree salad: that flavor-packed dish of not just lettuce and lemon juice but also other, more filling ingredients that surely won’t leave you feeling deprived. The key to enjoying a salad as a meal is to incorporate creamy cheeses, crisp vegetables, crunchy crackers, good-for-you grains and just about anything else you have on hand so that it becomes something substantial that you look forward to eating.

Keep reading for the recipes

What to Watch: Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 14th, 2013

Chopped ChampionsNo strangers to mystery baskets, unusual ingredients or opinionated judges, four previous Chopped winners are putting their reputations on the line one more time tomorrow night as they compete in the first round of the five-part tournament of Chopped Champions. While these chefs may be returning to familiar settings in the kitchen, they’ll face more pressure than ever as the stakes are now higher than they were in their last battles — on the line this time is a $50,000 prize and the ultimate Chopped title: Grand Champion. Since all of the competitors know what it takes to avoid the chopping block and are used to the sweet taste of victory, each must bring his or her A game if they want to be crowned a two-time champion and score a coveted seat in the grand finale.

Chefs Sylvain Harribey, Kenneth Johnson, Sean Scotese and Lish Steiling are the first four contestants to face off in the tournament, and they’re bringing with them memories of past battles and grand plans for showcasing their culinary chops once again. Flip through this photo gallery to find out more about the Chopped Champions contestants, and be sure to tune in Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 10pm/9c to find out which of these chefs has earned a place in the finale.

Bobby Flay Fit, Episode 1: Moderation

by , January 14th, 2013

Bobby Flay Portion Control
Bobby Flay Fit Bobby Flay manages to stay fit and healthy even with a busy lifestyle as a chef, and he’s eager to share his healthy eating and fitness plan with fans in a seven-part Web series, Bobby Flay Fit.

The focus of Bobby Flay Fit, Episode 1 is moderation: You don’t have to give up everything you like to eat, but the key is to eat less of it. Moderation means eating smaller portions and skipping seconds (most of the time).

In Episode 1, Bobby walks to work, and then prepares lunch for his team. With the help of his employee Christine, he makes a healthy crab pasta dish and an arugula and chickpea salad. Bobby proves that it’s possible to eat a meal that’s both flavorful and good for you. The key is to eat in moderation — don’t overeat, but also don’t skip meals because it will just make you want to eat more.

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