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VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Pineapple Showdown — Rival Recipes

by in Shows, November 10th, 2012

Chef Mendelsohn vs. Chef Mehta - Rival RecipesOn last week’s episode of The Next Iron Chef, rival chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Tim Love went head-to-head in the Secret Ingredient Showdown. They battled it out with pineapple, otherwise known as “the death fruit,” according to Alton, since it’s ousted all past Next Iron Chef finalists who’ve tried to feature this sweet, juicy fruit in a savory dish. Both chefs tempted fate by cooking decidedly savory dishes, and in the end, this cursed ingredient got the better of Chef Love. Chef Mendelsohn, however, claimed victory over his rival — and pineapple — with a savory seafood dish with pineapple and sweet and sour sauce.

This week’s Rival Recipe matchup forces Chef Mendelsohn to once again bring his pineapple A-game, this time in a showdown against Chef Jehangir Mehta. Both rivals boast standout recipes for pineapple-focused fruit salads: Chef Mendelsohn a colorful Fresh Fruit Salad with red and green grapes, bright pineapple and fragrant mint, and Chef Mehta a refreshing Orange-Marcona Almond Salad With Pineapple Granita featuring juicy oranges, crunchy almonds and pineapple juice.

Now it’s time for you, Next Iron Chef fans, to channel your inner Simon Majumdar, Donatella Arpaia and Iron Chef Zakarian and judge which fruit salad reigns supreme. Would you prefer the classic combination of fruit featured in Chef Mendelsohn’s dish, or do you like the different textures that are offered in Chef Mehta’s offering? The vote is in your hands. Tell us whose pineapple salad gets your pick.

VOTE NOW

Pan-Fried Sweet Plantains

by in Food Network Magazine, November 10th, 2012

Sweet Plantains with Cilantro Rice
In the Mexican Fish Supper weekend dinner from Food Network Magazine’s October issue (page 132), I created a recipe for a quick Cilantro Rice with Sweet Plantains (pictured above). To make things even easier, I call for frozen fried sweet plantains. They aren’t quite as good as homemade, but they’re pretty good and very easy to prepare.

If you have a little more time and a few plantains on hand, make your own. Make sure your plantains are extremely ripe — even bordering on mushy. If they’re not, the results will not be as yummy or gooey as you really want them to be because the natural sugars inside the plantain haven’t fully developed.

Keep reading for the recipe

What to Watch: Guy’s Family Reunion and an ICA Thanksgiving Showdown This Sunday

by in Shows, November 10th, 2012

Iron Chef America: Thanksgiving ShowdownWith the upcoming holiday, it’s all about getting the family gathered around a Thanksgiving table full of food. With that in mind, there are two new shows to watch this Sunday that check off both those boxes.

Guy’s Big Bite: Guy’s Family Reunion

What happens when Guy Fieri and his extended family get together for a reunion in Nag’s Head, N.C.? A week-long, no-holds-barred gathering that’s filled with food cooked up by Guy himself. Beyond the food, there are games on the beach, deep sea fishing and crabbing. Get to know Guy on a personal level from his family’s perspective.

Tune in: Sunday, November 11 at 12pm/11am c

Iron Chef America: Thanksgiving Showdown

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if the Chopped judges battled it out in Kitchen Stadium, here’s your chance. Three Iron Chefs (Michael Symon, Marc Forgione and Geoffrey Zakarian) will join sides for the first time to battle it out against Chopped judges Aarón Sanchez, Scott Conant and Marc Murphy in a Thanksgiving showdown to determine which team’s Thanksgiving dishes will reign supreme.

Tune in: Sunday, November 11 at 10pm/9c

Jeff Mauro Joins Thanksgiving Live! As the Digital Host — Ask Him Your Questions

by in Events, Holidays, November 9th, 2012

Jeff MauroThe countdown is official: Thanksgiving Live! is just nine short days away. Before the live show starts at noon, Food Network will serve up a three-hour Thanksgiving Live! webcast at FoodNetwork.com with the one-and-only Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, serving as the digital correspondent. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET, the site will stream a pre-show featuring Jeff taking viewers behind the scenes in Food Network Kitchens, catching Alton, Giada, Bobby, Aarón, Alex, Sunny and Ree getting ready for the live broadcast.

Stick with us during the live show and then go to FoodNetwork.com during commercials. Jeff will be featuring viewers’ tweets (don’t forget to use hashtag #ThanksgivingLive), taking more questions and — knowing Jeff — I’m sure the ultimate Thanksgiving leftover sandwich is coming your way, too.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Jeff? Whether it’s about the way the way he celebrates Turkey Day or tips for the ultimate turkey sandwich, we’ll handpick a selection of your questions and ask him live during the show. Leave your question in the comment section below, or submit it via Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #ThanksgivingLive.

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Welcome to The Next Iron Chef: Redemption Kitchen Set

by in Shows, November 9th, 2012

The Next Iron Chef Kitchen SetMore like a culinary amphitheater than an everyday cook space, the Next Iron Chef Kitchen Stadium is, of course, not just a kitchen. Featuring multiple stovetops, a slew of ovens, an ice cream maker and more, the set can accommodate several chefs at a time and is stocked with oddball and classic ingredients alike that allow the rivals to cook up Iron Chef-worthy dishes.

You’ve seen Next Iron Chef finalists sprint from stove to pantry to freezer in a flash and grab exactly what they need, but have you ever wondered what’s on and in those wall-to-wall shelves, deep refrigerators and freezers? We were curious about what it takes to outfit the Next Iron Chef kitchen, so we checked in with Food Network’s culinary team, the group responsible for stocking it with its tricked-out appliances, top-notch cooking gadgets and Secret Ingredients. Read on below to get a behind-the-scenes look at Kitchen Stadium and find out how the culinary department prepared for the fifth season of The Next Iron Chef.

Read more

Sunny’s Spicy Spinach Panzanella — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, November 9th, 2012

Sunny's Spicy Spinach PanzanellaMy Grandma Bunny was known for her spinach salad. It was one of her most regularly requested recipes by friends and made an appearance on her table at nearly every family gathering. She would search out adolescent leaves, wanting greens that would relax upon dressing and tossing, but not wilt immediately. Palm-sized leaves were avoided, as they were too old to be eaten without the application of heat.

Once the right spinach was chosen, it was washed carefully (I think this was in part to give an eager grandchild an opportunity to help). I’d climb up on a stool next to the kitchen sink and swish the leaves around until Bunny was certain they’d released all their grit. Once they were clean, she’d shake off the big droplets and heap them into a large pillowcase that was fitted with a drawstring. She’d take the pillowcase outside and twirl it around over her head. More efficient than a salad spinner and far more entertaining for small children.

Then it was time to make the dressing. It started with a few slices of minced bacon and ended with slices of mushrooms, cooked until tender but not rubbery. That, along with slivered red onions, a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper finished the salad. It was warm, savory and still wonderfully crisp.

Before you start toasting bread cubes, read these tips

Learn to Love It: Cauliflower

by in Food Network Magazine, November 9th, 2012

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Cauliflower
We’re big cauliflower lovers in the Food Network test kitchen, but we understand not everyone shares our enthusiasm. To recruit more fans for our cruciferous friend, we steamed and pureed it for the Super-Stuffed Baked Potatoes on page 70 of Food Network Magazine’s October issue. We didn’t have to use sour cream because of the creaminess of the cauliflower. Plus, it added fiber, calcium and vitamin C. We also turned to cauliflower to replace the meat in the Spicy Vegetarian Chili from the magazine’s January/February 2012 issue, page 106: We coarsely grated it raw and stirred it in at the end. Use pureed cauliflower to thicken soups, or add it to a dip to replace some of the fat.