5 Spices and Blends You Should Be Cooking With

by in How-to, Recipes, March 23rd, 2015

Chicken Tikka MasalaYour spice cabinet may be filled with everything you thought you’d ever need, but perhaps it’s time to cook with more than the spices you always reach for. By integrating more exotic and compelling spices into your spice rack, you can work complex layers of flavor into your dishes, whether you’re slow-roasting a rack of lamb, simmering a curry or setting a tray of vegetables in the oven. With just a few pinches (or teaspoons if we’re getting really accurate) of these spices and spice blends, your dishes will be ignited with some serious chef worthy flavor.

1. Garam Masala

An aromatic blend of ground spices rooted in North Indian and South Asian cuisines, garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix.” A typical recipe for Garam Masala can include cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, nutmeg and caraway, but there are many regional variations of this warming mix of spices. When Aarti Sequeira makes her Chicken Tikka Masala (pictured above), for instance, sauteing the garam masala in the skillet draws out the fragrance of the spice so it’s woven into every layer of the creamy tomato curry. Though you can use it to reproduce some of your Indian takeout favorites, you can also use this warming mix to bring marinades, sautes, meats and more to life.

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Facepalm: “A Hollandaise Crumble” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 22nd, 2015

From the wonderfully weird to the disturbing and downright diabolical, Cutthroat Kitchen judges have seen nearly everything in the seven seasons of evilicious competition. But something in tonight’s all-new battle forced longtime judge Simon Majumdar to simply cover his eyes in disbelief as he recounted the horror during Alton’s After-Show.

The Round 1 challenge — eggs Benedict — may have started simply enough, but after a few required cooking implements were put in place, the situation turned grisly as Chef Trevor was forced to use a conveyor toaster to prepare his plate. “He actually made … a serviceable hollandaise, but he decided at the last minute to put it on a plate and keep it warm in the top of that,” Alton Brown told Simon. “And in the time that he did that, it went from sauce to scrambled egg. It because a hollandaise crumble.” While Simon had no choice but to rest his head in his hands as he looked back on that doomed dish, fans were reminded of what Simon said after tasting Chef Trevor’s offering: “I never need to eat another hollandaise crumble as long as I live.” Nevertheless, though, Chef Trevor managed to survive the round, as Simon explained that another rival, Chef Monterey, presented a poor egg, which was ultimately unforgivable.

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Everything Must Go! 10 Ways to Put Forgotten Ingredients to Use

by in How-to, Recipes, March 22nd, 2015

Chocolate Ganache CupcakesDon’t think you’re getting out of this one. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in your neck of the woods, spring is officially here, and that means it’s time for some old-fashioned spring cleaning. Before we even get into deep-cleaning the floors, the shower or — dare we say — that closet of yours, you should be getting your kitchen ready for the season ahead. Tackle your fridge, pantry and freezer head-on by addressing common bought-and-forgotten foods. Instead of straight-up tossing them, put these ingredients to use in fam-favorite recipes (if they haven’t gone past their expiration dates).

1. For the bottle of chocolate syrup you bought that one night you were craving chocolate milk

Let’s take a wild guess: The big brown bottle has been sitting in your fridge door for months, heavy as ever, with no chance of being used any time soon. Think of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes (pictured above) as a delicious way to fix that. It calls for 16 ounces of chocolate syrup, meaning you’ll likely use the whole bottle up by making her decadently chocolatey, coffee-spiked recipe.

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Giada’s Cheesy Pasta with Peas and Sausage — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 22nd, 2015

Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta CheeseWhen time is tight on weeknights, every minute in the kitchen counts, and the only item on the dinner menu is, of course, a quick-cooking dinner. That’s where pasta comes in — especially this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Ready to eat in only 15 minutes, Giada De Laurentiis’ sausage-studded pasta may look fancy, but there’s really nothing to it: Just brown the meat, warm the (frozen!) peas, then toss in cooked noodles and cheese. The warmth from the hot pasta will be enough to melt the ricotta and Pecorino Romano and create a silky sauce in a hurry.

For more dinner inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese (pictured above)

Fries to Feed Your Late-Night Cravings

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2015

After a long day (or night), few things will bring you as much joy as a big plate of crispy french fries. And while it’s easy to stop at the nearest fast-food joint, there are so many flavor-packed versions you can make in your own kitchen. Why settle for the drive-thru stuff if you can whip up your own? Think thin fries smothered with chicken and cheese, and crinkle-cuts piled high with spicy poblanos. Whatever your vice, you’re bound to find something to curb your cravings in this list of the best fry creations.

Chicken and Cheese Poutine (pictured above)
There’s something about deep-fried potatoes covered in cheese that makes all of life’s problems seem to melt away. When you add chicken and gravy — game over. This sinful treat from Food Network Magazine is ready in 30 minutes, but it probably won’t be on the table for too long. With Worcestershire sauce, peas, paprika and scallions, no flavor gets left behind.

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How to Spring-Clean Your Pantry in 6 Easy Steps, According to Melissa

by in Food Network Chef, March 21st, 2015

Melissa d'ArabianWe moved into a new house last weekend. While it was only a few blocks away from our old house, the logistics were deceptively still monumental. The upside of moving, however, is that you purge, if only to save yourself from having to tape up, carry and unpack yet another box. So, in the spirit of celebrating spring (and because this is all so very fresh in my mind with our move), I’m sharing with you exactly how I do my favorite kind of spring cleaning: Clear the Pantry Week.

First, I should admit up front that I don’t love to clean in general. When friends say they find it soothing or relaxing, it only makes me wonder if they’ve never been to a spa. So let that shed a little bit of light onto my loose use of the term “favorite” when I’m describing any cleaning task. But stay with me here, because Clear the Pantry is a fun game, and I don’t mean that in the same way I try to talk my daughters into making their beds every morning by singing our way through the steps. I actually like Clear the Pantry (CTP) Week. And, unlike lots of spring cleaning tasks, CTP will actually save you cash immediately, which is the same thing as making money, except better because the saving is after-tax.

CTP, at its simplest, is a commitment to shop from our own pantries instead of the store, which reduces clutter and improves inventory rotation and cash flow. We’ll have fun, your pantry and fridge and freezer will be clean, and you’ll have some extra cash in your pocket. Ready?

How to CTP in 6 Easy Steps:

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Why You Need Sweetened Condensed Milk in Your Pantry

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2015

Frozen Lemon Cream PieMilk in a can? You better believe it. If you don’t already have sweetened condensed milk in your pantry cupboard, it’s time to hit the grocery store, because this thick, creamy liquid is chock-full of sweetness in the best way possible and quickly turns everyday desserts into over-the-top treats with little effort. Add it to fillings, batters, bars and shakes for next-level richness and a moist finished product every time. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off three of their all-time favorite ways to put this culinary miracle worker in a can to good use, including s’mores-inspired truffles made with only a handful of ingredients. Read on below for top recipes from Sunny Anderson, Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee.

Frozen Lemon Cream Pie:
When it comes to pie crust, it doesn’t get simpler than a buttery graham cracker base. Just press the golden mixture into the pan, then bake it for only a few minutes. For her flavorful filling, Katie opts for a bright, refreshing combination of fresh lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Once the pie is frozen, she finishes the dessert with fluffy whipped cream for a crowd-pleasing presentation.

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How to Pour an Artsy Latte

by in Drinks, Food Network Magazine, March 21st, 2015

latte art

Lesson learned by Food Network Magazine editors while working on the April issue: Leave latte art to the professionals. Those pretty heart and rosetta foam patterns you splurge for at the coffee shop are no easy feat. They require hours of practice and a very precise foam consistency. However, if you can master the perfect pour, it’s a great party trick to show off at your next brunch. So if you’re feeling ambitious and have a home espresso machine and milk frother, it’s worth a try. Don’t worry if you fail, though. In Maile Carpenter’s editor’s letter, the editor-in-chief admits that her attempt ended up looking like a “beach ball with arms.” At the very least, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for your local baristas and feel better about dishing out close to $5 for a cup of fancy espresso.

Read on to learn which tools you need, how to froth like a pro and the technique for the perfect pour.

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QUIZ: Are You an Egghead?

by in Food Network Magazine, March 20th, 2015

fried egg

Whether you enjoy them scrambled, poached or fried (on just about everything) or used in pancakes, waffles or French toast, eggs are the ultimate breakfast food. But how much do you know about the carton in your refrigerator? Take Food Network Magazine’s quiz below to find out if you’re a “rotten egg, aspiring eggspert or true egghead.” Then browse through the delicious egg recipes from the new issue and get cracking!

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Embrace the Freezer Aisle: 3 Frozen Foods to Always Have on Hand

by in Recipes, March 20th, 2015

Frozen FoodsIf you love home cooking but think you don’t have time for it on busy weeknights, guess again. The solution is simpler than you think: your supermarket’s frozen food aisle.

Veggies: Most vegetables are quickly blanched (plunged into boiling water, then immersed in cold water to stop the cooking process) before being frozen. The reason for this step is to stop the enzymes from breaking down, which results in loss of flavor, color and texture. So those bags of frozen veggies are comparable to their fresh counterparts, and in some cases, they’re a better choice if the vegetable you’re craving isn’t in season.

Pizza Dough: This is another staple in my house. You can stock up on your favorite brand from the supermarket, or make a few batches and store it in zip-top bags. All it needs is a little advance planning to thaw in the fridge overnight, and you’re ready for a quick weeknight meal. These doughnuts from Giada De Laurentiis, while not quite dinner, are on my to-make list too.

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