POLL: Which Team’s Picnic Lunch Would You Pack?

by in Polls, Shows, September 20th, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
Much like the Truck Stop challenge in the second Food Trucks episode that tasked the teams with embracing regional ingredients, last Sunday’s cooking challenge was a celebration of Nashville’s local cuisine. The remaining four food trucks had just $100 and 60 minutes to prepare a Southern-style picnic lunch for two people who know a thing or two about Tennessee comfort food: country music stars Joey and Rory Feek.

A few teams chose to prepare classic takes on tried-and-true dishes, while others let their culinary points of view shine in creative twists on original recipes. Take another peek at what Momma’s Grizzly Grub, Seoul Sausage, Pop-A-Waffle and Nonna’s Kitchenette served to Joey, Rory and Tyler, then tell us which of their plates you’d pack on a picnic.

VOTE: Which of these picnic lunches would you pack?

Best 5 Pumpkin Bread Recipes

by in Recipes, September 20th, 2012

pumpkin bread

The first day of fall is just days away, and with that comes the celebration of all things warm, spiced and comforting. What better way to kick off the season than with a loaf of soft, slightly sweet and deliciously fragrant pumpkin bread? We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five pumpkin bread recipes, each a cinch to prepare and filled with classic autumn flavor.

5. Pumpkin Ginger Bread Pudding – The secret to Anne’s seasonal pudding is letting the bread sit for 15 minutes before baking so that it absorbs the spiced pumpkin custard and becomes soft and moist.

4. Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Rum Sauce – Use rustic French bread, creamy pumpkin and decadent whipped cream to make this sinfully sweet pudding, best served with a buttery rum-laced sauce.

Get the top three recipes

Restaurant Revisited: Michele’s

by in Shows, September 19th, 2012

Restaurant: Impossible
In Corry, Pa., Michele Sventek needed Robert Irvine’s help to give her restaurant, Michele’s, a new look and better food. Perhaps more importantly, she needed Robert to teach her the basics of running a restaurant since she had no experience in the culinary industry. In just two days, Robert gave Michele’s a much-needed overhaul and taught Michele how to best manage her staff and maintain food quality. We checked in with Michele to see how her restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Michele says that compared to last year, sales have increased “about 40 percent.” Robert wanted Michele’s to achieve $12,500 per month in sales, and Michele is happy to report that she “can see it happening as we progress.”

The new decor at Michele’s has been well received by customers. “Everyone likes the brightness of it, especially the wall between the dining area and the bar, the fireplace (people are excited for winter to see it working) and the mirrors,” Michele explains.

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Alton’s Dream Secret Ingredient Challenge Might Surprise You

by in Community, Food Network Chef, September 19th, 2012

alton brown frozen broccoli tweet
Recently, Alton’s been taking to his Twitter account to answer fan questions via yellow sticky notes. His answers are full of wit, humor and culinary lessons and sometimes include drawings. But it was an answer to a question last Friday that caught our eyes.

@CraftingGeek asked: “What would be your dream secret ingredient on Iron Chef?” The answer was in pure Alton fashion, unique and typically captivating: “Frozen broccoli with the judges being kids.” I bet fans of the show wouldn’t mind seeing that, as well.

What would your dream challenge be? Tell us in the comments below.

[Photo credit: Alton's Twitter account]

The Multipurpose Potato — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 19th, 2012

four cheese scalloped potatoes
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In the past weeks, we’ve feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. For the last installment of Summer Fest, we’re exploring potatoes.

Taken straight from the sack, potatoes are pretty bland. But with just a little love — and butter — they become a force to be reckoned with. And let’s face it: They’re as versatile as they are comforting. Yukon gold or russet? Baked or smashed? Now that the most satisfying crop of all is in season, there’s no telling what could end up on your dinner table tonight.

If you grow your own potatoes, did you know they can keep for upwards of six months or more? Fresh potatoes can be eaten immediately and are prized for their tender, new skins. But potatoes can also be cured in a dry, room temperature space to allow skins to slightly desiccate. Keep them in the dark and they can store for upwards of six months. For more great tips like this one, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s something to be said for a quality baked potato. You know, the kind that’s sliced down the middle, perfectly moist on the inside and inundated with toppings. Food Network Magazine’s Twice Baked Potatoes pack in leeks and chive-and-onion cream cheese, while the Neelys’ Twice Smashed Baked Potatoes recipe goes the broccoli and double-cheese route.

Get more potato recipes from family and friends

Robert Irvine Takes on His Next Challenge: ChefVille

by in Food Network Chef, September 19th, 2012

robert irvine chefville
Fans of the popular social game ChefVille and Robert Irvine fanatics can rejoice — the two are coming together on a culinary adventure as they tackle a series of tasty to-dos.

Beginning today, Robert will face his biggest challenge yet as he helps ChefVille players enhance the in-game establishments they have designed by mastering dishes from around the world, while improving their restaurants.

Throughout the next two weeks, ChefVille players can go on a series of quests cooked up by Robert — everything from ingredient cultivation and specialization, dish mastery and customer service — without the actual growing pains of owning a real restaurant. Similar to his role on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert will guide ChefVille players along the way, providing tips and tricks — and a little tough love when necessary.

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A Celebration of Desserts at the 2012 Vendy Awards

by in Events, September 18th, 2012

2012 Vendy Awards

If you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know that there is no shortage of places to eat here. Michelin-starred, James Beard-awarded, see-and-be-seen hot spots? We have plenty. Hole-in-the-wall joints with just 20 chairs and one server? Yes, they’re here, too. One of New York City’s most-beloved eating traditions, however, takes place not inside a room or at a table, but rather behind the windows of the street carts and food trucks that line the streets of almost every neighborhood in the city.

Every summer New York comes together to celebrate the city’s best sidewalk vendors and street food of all kinds at the Vendy Awards, an afternoon food festival that brings together big-time vendors and newcomers alike to support The Street Vendor Project, “a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights.” Vendors set up shop then dish out signature plates to lines of hungry locals while entering their food in one category to win the Vendy Cup, People’s Taste Award or the title of Best Dessert, Rookie Vendor of the Year or Best Market Vendor. This year’s awards took place last weekend on Governors Island, and we were there to taste the very best bites.

Savory plates of deliciously salty and spicy Mexican tortas, all-American cheesesteaks, Asian-style noodles, meaty kebabs and more filled the outdoor space, but it was the sweeter treats, the sugary, creamy and chilled desserts that wowed us the most.

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