That all changed once I took them a step further, beyond the reheat-and-eat approach. I cooked more white rice than expected one night, and discovered a few days later that cold, cooked rice is the best kind to use for making a tastier homemade version of Chinese takeout.
For the first time on Sunday night (at 10|9c), the contestants taking their turns on Cutthroat Kitchen won’t be everyday chef-competitors; instead the judges, Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar, will enter the throes of sabotage and battle against each other for Cutthroat glory. Although the group is most familiar with simply tasting the aftermath of a challenge, they’re keenly aware of the kinds of evilicious obstacles Alton‘s been known to auction off. Just ahead of this weekend’s special episode, FN Dish checked in with Alton to find out what he has planned. Read on below to hear from Alton in an exclusive interview and learn his thoughts on the competition plus his advice for the judges.
Regardless of who’s competing — contestants or judges — what is one key piece of advice you think everyone should know before beginning a Cutthroat battle?
Alton Brown: Shop for the unexpected. It’s easy to grab ingredients for a specific dish, but remember … in Cutthroat Kitchen you never know what sabotages might be coming your way. Don’t just load for bear; load for monsters.
It’s about that time that we switch gears from spring eating to something more suited for the warm weather. When you think summer eating, visions of ketchup-laced hot dogs, smothered-in-sauce ribs and other staples are likely to come to mind. Casseroles, on the other hand, likely aren’t at the top of your brain. But maybe they should be. When you incorporate seasonal ingredients, this potluck power player can go well beyond the tired tuna casserole. Take your pick of Food Network’s best casseroles, from creamy sides to complete dinners.
Like tacos, loaded Beef and Cheddar Casserole (pictured above) is a dish with major staying power on your family’s weeknight dinner roster, especially since it’s ready in just under an hour. Simply pour beefy tomato sauce over wide egg noodles and bring on the cheese.
Last week I shared tips on stocking the fridge with some of my favorite waistline-friendly foods. Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for my secret weapon: a fast, healthy and flavorful meal in just about no time. I call it All-Purpose Broth. The star ingredient? Miso paste.
Before I dive into the greatness that is the All-Purpose Broth, let me start by giving you a very basic miso primer: Miso is fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cuisine and it has a salty, savory, slightly nutty flavor and is full of glutamates, which imparts umami (savory flavor). The lighter the color in miso paste, the milder the flavor. White miso paste is milder than yellow, red or intense brown varieties. I usually buy white or yellow, which are both mellow and delicious — and readily available at most neighborhood supermarkets. (But try other versions, too, for a deeper, more intense flavor, and try out the miso soup at high-end Japanese restaurants to explore artisan miso pastes that you won’t find on your average grocery store shelf.) The exact health benefits of miso paste are somewhat debated, but proponents tout its levels of vitamin B12 and antioxidants, as well as its positive impact on the immune system. Others swear by its ability to alleviate common cold symptoms. In any case, I love it as an easy go-to pantry item for lean and tasty meals on the fly, which brings me back to my All-Purpose Broth.
Here’s how it works: Basically I load up each individual serving bowl with whatever I have on hand (leftover chicken breast, a spoonful of quinoa, shredded veggies, a piece of grilled fish or maybe I’ll cube up some tofu). I make a quick broth and then pour it over the contents of the bowl. And then I eat it, with a smile, patting myself on the back for making a meal that is thrifty, fast, delicious, healthy and versatile.
Before Robert Irvine got to work on the failing Big Jim’s Bama Q in Hammondville, Ala., he talked with Big Jim himself, who, while no longer the owner of the restaurant, was able to tell Robert stories of a once-successful venture at the barbecue-focused eatery, ultimately proving that the business could be profitable. The new owner of Big Jim’s, Daniel Millican, had failed to make the business his own, leaving nearly all of the original leader’s menu, decor and practices in place. With time, Daniel had become disconnected from the restaurant after spending much of his time away at his other business, a sawmill, and Robert questioned whether Daniel wanted to be involved going forward. It took Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team two days and $10,000 to inspire Daniel, overhaul the mismatched design, establish new processes for tuning out authentic barbecue and, in perhaps the most-dramatic update, change the name of the business to simply Bama Q. Read on below to hear from Daniel and his sister-in-law, Carolyn, the former assistant manager of the restaurant, in an exclusive interview and find out how his business is faring today.
Bama Q is earning almost $1,000 more per week than before its Impossible transformation, and Carolyn notes: “Everyone loves the inside of the restaurant. A lot of people are responding to the floors, the tables, the chicken wire. … It feels much more open and welcoming.”
Bagels are hot. No, really. And though babka and matzo ball soup and brisket don’t conjure haute cuisine, they’re hot too. It’s true: Jewish-American foods that highlight tradition (and remix it) — are pushing Dominique Ansel’s latest trendy treats to the side. (So says BusinessWeek.com.)
In April, Black Seed opened in New York’s East Village, and the lines of fans awaiting everything-poppy-sesame-topped cream-cheese-schmeared Montreal-style bagels stretched to rave reviews. But the growing love of Jewish food doesn’t end with breakfast. In yesterday’s New York Times, Julia Moskin detailed the renewal of excitement around innovative Jewish fare, citing the famous Russ & Daughters Cafe, which serves smoked fish and herring but also, she notes, updates like whitefish chowder and halvah ice cream with salted caramel. Julia described hot spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle where familiar Jewish-American foods and newfangled ones are enjoying a hip-factor heyday, respecting traditions but also building upon them.
“We are always conscious that we are taking care of a piece of history,” Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters told Julia. “But we can’t run only on nostalgia.” Katherine Alford, senior vice president, culinary, here at Food Network, agrees: “That is how we run here too. We love these rich and cherished traditional foods, and it’s so exciting that they are getting their well-deserved moment.” But, she says, it’s more than a passing fad. “When something is really good, it never goes out of style. Who doesn’t want babka now and always?” You don’t have to head to an old-school new-school chic restaurant to get babka. The next trend might just be staying home and making your own Jewish-American foods for family and friends — no lines!
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient catfish. They determined that its sweet, flaky flesh was perfect for frying, and in this case, the fish doesn’t get fried in just any kind of breading. Using pulverized corn tortillas in this Tortilla-Crusted Catfish Po’ Boys recipe is not only a good use for leftover tortillas from taco night, but also a great way to add lots of texture, more than you could ever get from breadcrumbs. A mixture of buttermilk and Cajun-seasoned flour functions as the glue. Serving the catfish as po’ boy sandwiches is the perfect Southern twist and a great way to enjoy a fun meal with the family.
Pizza and Beer and Macaulay Culkin’s Bad Day: How was your Memorial Day weekend? It had to have been better than Macaulay Culkin’s. The Home Alone star, now a ripened 33, was booed off the stage and pelted with beer when he and his band, the Pizza Underground — which performs Velvet Underground music, only with pizza-themed lyrics — performed at the Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham, England. According to the Nottingham Post, initial “boos turned to booze, with members of the public throwing full pints of beer at the stage, soaking both the band and the audience.” Macaulay stayed calm, saying: “Why are you throwing those? I’d rather drink them!” After the former child actor and a pizza-box-playing band mate took a few direct hits, though, the band was compelled to cut its set short. Later its members thanked the crowd via Twitter, saying “Sorry that a couple people ruined it for everyone.” [Nottingham Post via Eater]
Fondue Footwear: You probably wouldn’t want to dip your feet in melted cheese and walk around the house. But that hasn’t stopped the maker of a new footwear prototype called Fondue Slippers from finding inspiration in the communal-pot party food of yesteryear. The shoe-slipper, which made its debut at Milano Salone Satellite 2014, will be shaped in your foot’s precise image because it will be made by your foot being dipped in the material provided in a DIY kit. Letting the material dry and voila — insta-custom-footwear. “You can wear Fondue Slipper both inside and outside,” its creator, Tokyo-based designer Satsuki Ohata boasts. No cracks about cheesy workmanship please. [Satuki via RocketNews24]