Banana and Cajeta Layered Crepes — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, September 14th, 2012

banana and cajeta layered crepes
When it comes to dessert, I’m not particularly inventive. On the nights when it’s just my husband and me, we stick to the simple things like a nibble of chocolate or if we’re feeling particularly virtuous, sliced apple dipped in a little peanut butter. When I have more than the two of us to satisfy, I tend to gravitate toward fruit crisps or basic brownies. No one ever complains, particularly if I serve them with vanilla ice cream.

Once in a great while, however, I feel the need to up my game a little. Such is the case for an upcoming gathering of my potluck group. We’ve taken most of the summer off from getting together, as nearly every week, someone was dashing off to a distant beach town or jetting across the country to visit family. But with the start of the new school year, people are settling back down and are free for potlucking once again.

The next dinner is this weekend, and I’ve been assigned dessert. Our hostess is from Mexico and since September 15 is Mexican Independence Day, a theme has emerged. I needed something impressive and in keeping with the rest of the meal. Enter Marcela Valladolid’s Banana and Cajeta Layered Crepes. They’re dramatic, thematic and different from anything I’ve ever brought before. I made one crepe as a trial run earlier this week, to ensure that it wouldn’t be a flop for my friends. Happily, it’s delicious and fits the bill for this potluck perfectly. Next time you need a dessert that will wow folks, I highly recommend this one. It’s a bit labor-intensive, but that just makes it perfect for The Weekender.

Before you start layering your crepes, read these tips

Popcorn: Is It Healthy?

by , September 14th, 2012

popcorn
Is popcorn healthy? The answer to this question: it depends. There are so many types to choose from: kettle corn, movie popcorn, microwave, air-popped and pre-popped, flavored varieties. Some choices are definitely much healthier than others.

Yes?
A...

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On The Blogs: Healthy School Lunches, Bartering With Bacon and More

by in Community, September 14th, 2012

panko chicken nuggetsParenting: Packing a healthy lunch for your kids (and yourself) just got easier. With this interactive “Healthy Lunch Maker,” you’ll have a better idea of the nutritional value inside your child’s lunchbox.

NY Times: One man attempts to barter his way across the country with no money, just bacon.

The Atlantic: The Texas State Fair, also the largest state fair in the country, proves you can deep-fry just about anything. How do you feel about deep-fried bubble gum?

Bon Appétit: Every wonder why the combination of caramel and salt or pears with blue cheese tastes so good? There’s a science behind it.

Eater: McDonald’s will begin posting calories on all their menu boards nationwide. How much do you think this will affect people’s eating habits?

Baking in Jars

by in Recipes, September 13th, 2012

peanut butter jar pieBeing a pastry chef and working in a tight, efficient kitchen of a very busy restaurant means I must possess Ina Garten-esque organizational skills, nurture a sophisticated palate that runs the gamut between savory and sweet and, most importantly, be a neat freak. Not your run-of-the-mill-dust-around-the-mixer type, but an obsessed clean-as-you-go neat freak. Once my kitchen is clean, I’m prepared for culinary combat with my savory buddies (chefs) in my quest for absolute freshness and artistic composition.

For years, I’ve battled with storage issues of the culinary kind. Often sharing space in the walk-in cooler with steaming trays of shrimp, my savory counterparts show no mercy when I rant about how the meringue on my pies will taste of garlic and the chocolate whipped cream will have a smoky flavor due to cooling hunks of smoked pork products.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Then an aha moment occurred. Why not serve my yummy pies in jars? Number one, they would be way too cute and number two, they’d be covered and protected from all the delicious yet unwelcome flavors and aromas floating around. I’m not talking pies squished into a jar, but actually constructed in jars.

Find out how Hedy makes them

Coleslaw and Football: A Culinary Touchdown

by in Recipes, September 13th, 2012

creamy cole slaw recipe

Not just for backyard barbecues anymore, coleslaw is a crowd-pleasing side that pairs perfectly with any hearty main dish. This weekend, as you’re prepping spicy chicken wings or saucy sloppy joes to serve at your game-day tailgate, look to no-cook coleslaw to complete your menu. For a mix of classic and creative preparations, check out our top five coleslaw recipes from your favorite Food Network chefs.

5. Apple-Raisin Cole Slaw – Thanks to a flavor-packed mixture of shredded cabbage, in-season apples and a pinch of celery seeds, Sunny says that her big-batch coleslaw is “crunchy, creamy, bright and tangy.”

4. Savoy, Lime and Cilantro Coleslaw – Refreshing lime juice and fragrant cilantro add light, fresh flavor to Tyler’s five-star recipe, made in just 15 quick minutes.

Get the top three coleslaw recipes

Enter for a Chance to Win This Soup and Sandwich Ceramic Tray Duo

by in Contests, September 13th, 2012

soup and sandwich ceramic tray duo
Sandwich King Jeff Mauro once said, “Soup is the sandwich’s best friend.” Finally, there is a plate that is made just for this classic combo: the Soup and Sandwich Ceramic Tray Duo by Uncommon Goods. This tray features both a wide-mouthed soup bowl and perfectly sized sandwich plate so that as the nights start to get colder, you can easily enjoy this perfect pairing. It also works well for other great combos, like cake and ice cream or fruit and muffins.

You can buy your own Soup and Sandwich Ceramic Tray Duo, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us your favorite soup-sandwich combo in the comments. We’re giving away a tray to four lucky, randomly selected commenters.

You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 9:30 a.m. EST on September 13 and 5 p.m. EST on September 17, 2012. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: approx. $30. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what is your all-time favorite soup and sandwich combination?

Restaurant Revisited: Paliani’s Restaurant

by in Shows, September 12th, 2012

Restaurant Impossible
At Paliani’s Restaurant in Burton, Mich., Robert Irvine found a decades-old Italian eatery in desperate need of a Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. He had only two days to tackle the filthy interior and disorganized kitchen at Paliani’s, and help give owner Marina Bufalini the tools to improve her management. We checked in with Marina to see how Paliani’s is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Marina is happy to report that since the transformation, sales at Paliani’s have increased. In June and July, the restaurant saw year-over-year growth of 46 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Paliani’s has seen a mix of returning and first-time customers coming to see the makeover and taste the new food. While some longtime diners have struggled to adapt to the updated decor and menu, many new customers are pleased, as is Marina. Of the restaurant’s fresh look, she says, “I love the decor and how the light panels on the wall brighten everything and give the room more dimension.”

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POLL: Which Eliminated Food Truck Would You Bring Back?

by in Polls, Shows, September 12th, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
Just four short weeks ago, Tyler Florence met eight eager teams of first-time food truckers, each with big dreams of running their own mobile business. But now, after a month of racing halfway across the country, only four of those hopeful teams remain after Under the Crust, Barbie Babes, Pizza Mike’s and Coast of Atlanta were eliminated in Los Angeles, Flagstaff, Amarillo and Fayetteville, respectively.

Though this competition is designed to separate the contenders from the pretenders, all eight teams were made up of food truck rookies with a similar lack of experience, so the race could have been anyone’s game. Do you think that the eliminated teams simply suffered a case of beginners’ bad luck, or did their tactics alone lead to their early exits? If you were to give just one team another chance at food truck royalty, which would it be?

Tell us: Which eliminated food truck team would you bring back if you had the chance?

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