Picnic Perfection

by in Food Network Chef, June 20th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabian's Picnic PerfectionIt’s summertime and we are blessed with days filled with trips to the beach or museums to meet up with friends, and we’re usually grabbing something to-go on our way to the destination. Every Sunday evening, everyone in our community in Coronado, Calif., loads their kids and a picnic into their red Radio Flyer wagon and heads to Concert in the Park. So when many of you lamented the challenges of packing a summer picnic, I heard you. The ant’s time as the biggest picnic woe is long gone — now we worry about packing healthy, delicious food that our kids will actually eat, while keeping the food in a temperature-safe zone, without spending too much time. Is that too much to ask? No. So here are four tips to help get you there:

1. Start with the protein
The protein is the trickiest part of the meal because it often involves meat, which can be a challenge to keep in a safe temperature zone. My secret picnic weapon: non-meat protein. And by this, 99 percent of the time, I mean quinoa. Make a quinoa salad, subbing quinoa for rice, pasta or other grains. It is full of protein, fiber and complex carbs, and it will probably work in your favorite recipe (for inspiration, try my Quinoa Tabouli). Quinoa can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it my perfect picnic protein. My second non-meat protein insider secret: Use white beans and whole-grain pasta to make any pasta salad you like. Try a salad made with roasted veggies, feta and vinaigrette.

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7 Habits of Healthy Eaters

by , June 20th, 2013

food label
Ever wonder what healthy folks do to be and stay that way? Being healthy is a lifestyle, not just something you sometimes do and then fall off the wagon. Healthy eaters have many of these 7 habits in common — see how many of them you can adopt...

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WATCH: 5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Grill

by in How-to, June 20th, 2013

YouTube Preview ImageMove over, burgers and dogs. Your grill is about to see some things it probably hasn’t before. Jake from Food Network Kitchens is showing FN Dish readers how grilling can enhance foods you would normally cook in other ways, like pickles, grapes, French toast, certain cheeses and doughnuts.

Click the play button above to get Jake’s tips.

VOTE: Which one would you make first?

Preserving the Season — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, In Season, June 19th, 2013

Fresh Refrigerator PicklesWhen strawberries start popping up at the farmers’ markets, that’s my signal to get jamming. The window for enjoying sun-kissed, sweet berries here in the Northeast is far too short. Learning to preserve is one way to extend the season — and add much-needed variety come January, when we’re knee-deep in apples and pears. Berries are just the beginning of it all, though.

Short-Term Benefits
Preserving is a way to stretch the life of your fruits and vegetables. You can choose short-term storage, by making jams that will stay fresh for a few weeks in the fridge, or pickling, which lasts a few months. This is a good way to get your feet wet and master part of the technique needed for long-term storage.

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Wake Up with Berries — Summer Fest

by in In Season, June 19th, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes With Vanilla Bean-Berry SyrupThese days, the containers of blue and red berries stacked on produce shelves might be the most difficult thing to decline. Especially when they’re so in-season, so plentiful and so perfectly sweet. Of course, berries do wonders layered in a trifle, baked into a cheesecake or scattered in a fruit salad. But today, we’re focusing on one specific utilization of the berry: its hand in breakfasts. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries — you name it. They’ve each got a place in the first — and oh-so-important — meal of the day.

First things first, let’s talk parfaits. They make for layered, well-rounded breakfasts you can eat all week long, whether you switch them up or not. Ellie Krieger’s Muesli Parfaits are filling with a good dose of nutty crunch. This recipe for a Berry ‘Nana Oatmeal Parfait laces oats and vanilla almond milk into the mix. And if you want to get really creative, Food Network Magazine‘s Strawberry-Shortcake Parfait Pops transition the breakfast favorite into a refreshing dessert.

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Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?

by , June 19th, 2013

cutting vegetables
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we...

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Sunday’s Star Menu: Hot, Buttered Popcorn for the Movies

by , June 19th, 2013

Theater-Style Buttered PopcornAs Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you're with or where you're watching from, you surely have on hand a spread ...

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Did You Miss the Meat? — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, June 18th, 2013

In most Chopped baskets, it’s the meaty protein or shellfish that trips up competitors, what with these ingredients that tend to be difficult to break down, clean, and cook properly and fully in a hurry. But in tonight’s brand-new episode of Chopped, the contestants found themselves with vegetarian baskets, which meant that when it came time for an After Hours competition, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag and Marc Murphy were challenged to create entrees using golden beets, wheatgrass, tempeh and etrog citron.

While Alex and Marc admitted to being unfamiliar with cooking and eating these kinds of ingredients, Amanda told them, “I eat this stuff,” and she later admitted to being “a closet vegetarian.” For all three judges, the challenge was offering dishes that were both bold and hefty enough to be filling. Amanda stuck to a classic preparation of tempeh by featuring it in a spiced stew with curry, while Alex treated the tempeh like rice, turning it into a risotto-style plate with mushrooms and citrus. Marc, however, known for his fondness of meat-and-potatoes classics, made a tempeh-based burger that was anything but vegetarian, thanks to beef broth and bacon. After tasting each of their offerings, guest host Aarón told them: “I’m not crying for meat right now. You made satisfying meals that really sort of constituted a complete dish.”

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Get to Know Charles Stiles, the Host of Mystery Diners

by in Shows, June 18th, 2013

Charles StilesOn Food Network’s Mystery Diners, Charles Stiles and his team of mystery diners go behind the scenes with hidden cameras to find out what restaurant employees are up to when the boss is not around. What they discover just goes to show how bad customer service can get when employees don’t put the success of the business first. What you might not know is that Charles’ company has been servicing businesses in need of help for the past 18 years. Business Evaluation Services uses undercover mystery shoppers and diners to get to the root of an establishment’s problems.

FN Dish recently chatted with Charles to find out more about his company and what it does for restaurants and retail shops around the nation. He talked about how his company came to be, how people can become mystery shoppers and how to prevent the failure of a business. Read the Q&A with Charles and watch the new season of Mystery Diners on Fridays at 10pm/9c.

Get to know Charles Stiles in his Q&A

One-on-One With Guest Judge Alex Guarnaschelli

by , June 18th, 2013

Alex Guarnaschelli on Food Network Star Season 9No one may know the pressures of reality cooking competitions better than Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. She’s a force in Kitchen Stadium and arguably one of the most-straightforward Chopped judges at the table. Beyond competitions, she’s a chef who has been wowing patrons for years at her restaurants. Simply said: Alex knows her stuff and can probably describe it better than anyone else.

This past Sunday, Alex joined Alton and Bobby at the judges’ table for a special Chopped-themed episode of Star. Star Talk recently caught up with Alex and asked her about her time on the show, including her reaction on Danushka’s infamous “bored” comment.

Your face was priceless when Danushka revealed her “boredom” during the challenge. What was your initial reaction to hearing that? Was that a Chopped first for you?
AG: Standing on the middle of the subway at rush hour, waking up late for a final exam or frying an egg for the queen of England would be less stressful than that kitchen. I think boredom is a curious reaction. I also think if you know you’re bored, and cooking is such a demanding profession, it might not be a good fit.

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