40 Cloves and a Chicken — The Weekender

by in Recipes, November 11th, 2011

40 clove chicken
I believe that it’s important to have at least one really good chicken recipe in your array of kitchen skills. It needs to be one that you know from heart and can make no matter where you’re cooking or how limited the assortment of available tools. It’s even better if it’s a dish that can be made with easily available ingredients that are unaffected by the changes in season.

Beyond those requirements, the actual chicken dish can be just about anything. The ability to truss a whole chicken and roast it until its skin browns and crackles beautifully certainly counts. A Pyrex pan of chicken legs, painted with honey-mustard dressing and baked until tender is always a good option. I’ve even known people to employ a slow cooker in their quest for the ideal chicken recipe.

Recently, in my ongoing search for the consummate chicken dish, I spotted Alton Brown’s recipe for 40 Cloves and a Chicken. I was fairly certain it would be love at first bite. He has you brown the chicken, top it with fresh thyme and an obscene number of garlic cloves (yes, 40) and bake until the meat is tender and the garlic nearly melts into the pan juices. Oh, yes.

Before you heat your skillet, read these tips »

How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Plus Mashed Potato Recipes

by in Holidays, November 11th, 2011

mashed potatoes
There’s no question that a Thanksgiving plate is not complete without a piping hot scoop of silky smooth mashed potatoes nestled next to a few slices of juicy turkey, a heaping mound of stuffing, a small pool of cranberry sauce and a buttery roll. However, the way to make the perfect bowl of mashed potatoes isn’t so obvious. Which kind of potato yields the creamiest mashed mixture? What size should the potatoes be when you cook them? And what about butter, cream or milk — which is best and at what temperature should you incorporate them? We have the answers, plus tips, suggestions and easy recipes to make this Thanksgiving’s starchy side dish better than ever.

Select a Spud: Thanks to their high starch content, russets or Yukon Gold potatoes will be your best potato picks and yield an extra fluffy finished product. I’m partial to Yukon Golds for their natural, slightly buttery flavor, though regular baking potatoes mash up nicely as well.

To Chop or Not? »

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The Next Iron Chef Caption It: What’s That Smell?

by in Shows, November 11th, 2011

Things take a turn for the sweet on this week’s episode of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. The eight remaining rival chefs are challenged to concoct all-star dishes using common confections, forcing many of them far beyond their comfort zones.

In this behind-the-scenes shot, Iron Chef and judge Michael Symon gets up close and personal with one chef’s dish, closely inspecting it for all discernible scents. Will he and the other judges appreciate the fragrance of the dish or be put off by pungent aromas?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to see what Michael smells, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Who’s your favorite rival chef so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Make and Freeze Pie Dough — Thanksgiving Tip of the Day

by in Holidays, November 11th, 2011

rolling out pie crust
If you’re using homemade pie crusts, make the dough now and freeze it in freezer bags. Defrost the dough and bake your pies the day before Thanksgiving.

Start making your Thanksgiving desserts with the help of these video tutorials.

Browse more of Food Network’s Thanksgiving recipes and tips.

Hey Bloggers! #PullUpaChair for a Virtual Thanksgiving

by in Holidays, November 10th, 2011

the thanksgiving communal table
In honor of Thanksgiving, Food Network is getting the entire food community together to celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving, called The Communal Table, on Wednesday, November 16 at noon EST.

We have to admit, it’s our favorite holiday of the year and we’re highly anticipating all of the delicious recipes and photos that we’ll come across on our favorite websites and blogs.

Want to join us at the table? We’re opening up this event to the entire food community: Next Wednesday, we’ll be launching our first ever Communal Table on the blog and we want you to be a part of it. Whether you write for a popular food website or you’re the owner of a small food blog, help us spread the word and pull up a chair.

Find out how to participate »

Best 5 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 10th, 2011

herb crusted turkey
The turkey: It’s the star of almost every Thanksgiving dinner table. Whether you prefer dark or white meat, legs, breasts or thighs, the Thanksgiving bird is a family-favorite tradition that can be brined, fried, seasoned, stuffed, glazed, roasted and more. Our top five turkey recipes below encompass a unique mixture of classic and creative takes on this holiday classic that are fit for any Thanksgiving feast.

5. Bobby’s Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey — For a crispy skin that is both sweet and savory, Tyler brushes the turkey with a tangy glaze featuring pomegranate molasses, Dijon mustard and horseradish.

4. Apricot and Tequila Glazed Turkey — Marcela uses a flavor injector to add a mixture of chicken broth, melted butter and tequila directly into the turkey breasts, thighs and legs to ensure a moist, succulent bird.

Get the top three turkey recipes »

Let the Thanksgiving Countdown Begin — Don’t Panic! (2 Weeks Away)

by in Holidays, November 10th, 2011

thanksgiving checklist
It’s already the middle of November, and Thanksgiving has snuck up on you yet again — despite landing on the same Thursday every year. Not to worry: We’ve drawn up a nifty do-ahead guide to help you get organized from now until November 24. Check back with us as we lead you into Turkey Day, helping you with everything from apple pie to Zinfandel.

While it may be too soon to get a jump-start on roasting the turkey, two weeks still gives you plenty of lead time to plan your best — and least stressful — holiday feast yet. It’s all about setting the wheels in motion.

Get started now with these tips »

It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day

by in Holidays, November 10th, 2011

vanilla bunny cupcakes
Move over chocolate, today is all about vanilla — vanilla cupcakes to be more specific. National Vanilla Cupcake Day may just be another food holiday, but we’ll take any excuse to start the day off with a vanilla cupcake smothered in frosting.

Sure, you could visit your neighborhood bakery to celebrate this sweet treat, but take the extra minute to get out the mixing bowls at home and try Giada’s five-star Vanilla Cupcake recipe.

Looking to keep the kids busy for the afternoon? Try making Food Network Kitchens Vanilla Cupcakes With Bunny Faces (pictured above).

 

Drinks for All — Thanksgiving Tip of the Day

by in Holidays, November 10th, 2011

virgin pomegranate and cranberry belinis
Plan on each guest drinking three drinks, and be sure to provide both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage choices. To spike this family-friendly cocktail, substitute champagne for the sparkling water.

Get the recipe: Non-Alcoholic Pomegranate Bellinis

Browse more of Food Network’s Thanksgiving recipes and tips.

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Ballpark Fun Facts — The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, November 9th, 2011

marcus samuelsson and robert irvine on the next iron chef
Behind the scenes on the Next Iron Chef, Food Network’s culinary production team is responsible for making sure that the rival chefs have everything they need to cook and present their dishes — from a stocked pantry to plenty of serving vessels. Executive culinary producer Jill Novatt shared some fun facts about what it took to pull off the ballpark challenge at San Diego’s Petco Park in episode two.

How many hours did it take to film the Petco Park baseball challenge?
Seventeen hours. We started setting up at the stadium at 4am and loaded up our truck and rolled out at 9pm to drive back to L.A.

What pantry ingredients were provided in addition to the food the chefs collected from ballpark stands?
Dried spices, fresh herbs, olive oil, canola oil, salt and pepper, and that was it.

More behind-the-scenes extras »