Alton Brown’s Best Bets for a Summer Bar

by in Drinks, Food Network Chef, June 25th, 2014

Alton's Best Bets for a Summer BarAlton Brown may be spending most of his time on the set of Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, but there’s always time for a cocktail. He gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, told us which trends he is totally over and answered how you can best stock your at-home bar.

What cocktail trends are you over?
Alton Brown: I’m over anything that involves a cheese-stuffed olive because I don’t like cheese in my booze.

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How Much Would You Pay for That Dinner Reservation?

by in News, June 25th, 2014

How Much Would You Pay for That Dinner Reservation?It would probably be an overstatement to call the usual way of reserving a table at a hot restaurant at a prime time on a Saturday night an entirely democratic process. In theory, snagging a seat is simply a matter of dialing up the restaurant or booking online through a free website like OpenTable — equally accessible to all. In fact, it probably doesn’t hurt to know someone or be someone or, if conventional wisdom holds, be the kind of person who’s willing to slip a little cash someone’s way.

Now a new batch of fee-based apps is aiming to change the way tables at desirable restaurants are reserved. Whether these new apps, which claim to make hard-to-get reservations available to anyone willing to open their wallets, make the process more democratic is open to debate. Certainly they’ll make it more expensive.

Whether restaurants and diners will embrace the idea of paying for something that has always been free, if sometimes inaccessible, remains to be seen. In New York City, the market most of these new apps initially aims to serve, people are already used to paying a fee to book tickets to events — even to movies.

“But for restaurateurs — even those who demand $6 for a baked potato to accompany a $48 steak — charging patrons for reservations feels like touching the third rail,” Julia Moskin noted in a recent New York Times story about the new apps.

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How a Toothpick Can Save Lunchtime and 7 Other Secrets

by in Family, June 25th, 2014

How a Toothpick Can Save Lunchtime and 7 Other SecretsWhen it comes to gimmicks for getting kids interested in their food, I say, “Yes, please.” I have no shame when it comes to fun presentation, cute shapes or miniature anything, as long as it’s no more difficult than making a plain old version. With four kids at home — the oldest just turned 5 — these are my favorite tricks of the meal-making trade.

1. Sandwich Sushi: We call these “roly-polies” in our house, and the method couldn’t be simpler. Take a piece of bread and use a rolling pin to flatten it out (making the surface bigger too), then fill with your usual toppings like PB&J, turkey or whatever your kids like. Roll up and slice into 3 to 4 pieces.

2. Bunny and Bear Hard-Boiled Egg Molds: Our kids love eggs, but they actually cheer when I spend an extra 20 seconds creating bunnies or bears with these easy-to-use egg molds. Just press a peeled egg into the mold, close and wait a few seconds, then pop ‘em out.

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Tickets on Sale for the 2014 New York City Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, June 24th, 2014

2014 New York City Wine & Food FestivalTickets are on sale for the 2014 New York City Wine & Food Festival, an annual celebration of all things dining in New York City. For four days exclusively in October, (Oct. 16-19) food fans will get a chance to mingle with their favorite television stars, like Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, the casts from The Kitchen and Chopped, and many more. The best part? Several events cost less than $100 this year. Get your tickets now.

Here are the events our editors will be covering throughout the festival — join us.

Thursday, Oct. 16

Cooking Channel presents Chicken Coupe hosted by Whoopi Goldberg
Ronzoni’s La Sagra Slices Read more

10 Fascinating Facts About Farms and Food

by in News, June 24th, 2014

10 Fascinating Facts About Farms and FoodFarming is as big a part of the American identity as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, but it has nevertheless been a shrinking part of the American way of life for decades. It takes only a drive past malls and multiplexes rapidly rising on land formerly dedicated to agriculture to appreciate that fact firsthand.

In its “40 Maps That Explain Food in America,” Vox.com uses a collection of charts, graphs and maps to illustrate how food in the United States is produced and consumed. In addition to exploring hot topics like the rise in obesity, the spread of McDonald’s, and the correlation between Waffle Houses and hurricanes, the feature reveals a lot about the trajectory of farming in the United States

Here are 10 interesting facts about U.S. farming — its history and current status — to be gleaned from Vox.com’s “40 Maps …”:

1. Between 1840 and 2000, the percentage of the American labor force engaged in agriculture-related work plummeted from a robust 70 percent to a measly 2 percent.

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New Twists on Classic Iced Tea and Lemonade Recipes

by in Drinks, Recipes, June 24th, 2014

sts on Classic Iced Tea and Lemonade RecipesChange up your iced tea and lemonade routine this summer with a few cocktails and some kid-friendly drinks that’ll have you skipping the mix from now on.

1. Mule-ade
A traditional Moscow Mule calls for vodka mixed with lime, sugar and ginger beer. This version infuses even more ginger flavor by simmering ginger grounds with maple syrup (you can also make your own brown sugar syrup) before stirring in lemon juice and vodka. Top with club soda and garnish with a piece of fresh ginger.

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Shay Carl Gives the Finalists a Tutorial in Viral Videos [Interview]

by , June 24th, 2014

Shay Carl, Alton Brown and Bobby FlayIn an age where everything seems to be available online, Food Network Stars also have to have a presence on the Web — it’s a one-stop shop to talk with fans and share everyday activities, photos and Post-its.

This week’s episode of Star challenged the finalists with two different social tasks: Create a behind-the-scenes video on the set of Food Star Kitchen, and film a viral marketing video at YouTube Space LA. No stranger to vlogging and creating viral videos, Shay Carl was brought in to help guide the contestants. Shay certainly had the resume for the job. He is undoubtedly a very popular and successful YouTube personality, with five channels of his own (two of them with more than 1 million subscribers each).

We caught up with Shay on location at YouTube Space LA to chat about his time on Star.

Star Talk: What’s the one thing you really wanted to convey to the finalists?
Shay Carl: See, I had to be really careful because the director told me that they have to be responsible for their own videos. So I couldn’t come in there and be like, “I think you guys should do this.” And I don’t want to do that (in case they get sent home and say, “Well that was Shay Carl’s idea!” So it was tough because I’m a very opinionated guy. I just wanted to steer them in the path that they were already going down, without influencing their decisions too much. I was just there to give some tips and tricks, and help them with their training wheels. Imagine they’re like a little child on a bike and this is their first YouTube round, and we’re going down the cul-de-sac and I’m like: “Yup, that’s good! You did it! Good job!”

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Giada’s Italian Glossary

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, June 24th, 2014

Giada MenuRigatoni, Burrata, mozarella — as much fun as Italian food is to cook, it’s even more fun to say, and Giada De Laurentiis would agree. In true Giada fashion, she’s even added a section on pasta pronunciation at her first restaurant, Giada, in Las Vegas. Click play on the video below to hear a few more terms from Giada herself, as well as recipes for each.
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