How to Be a Good Potluck Attendee — A Great Big Meal

by in How-to, September 15th, 2011

potluck bowl
In my early twenties, I moved from my hometown of Portland, Ore. to Philadelphia. It was a big move, made even more challenging by the fact that I only knew one person my own age in the entire city (as lovely as it was to be near my 86-year-old grandmother, eating dinner with her at 5 p.m. did not constitute a social life). I knew that my success in Philly was going to hinge in large part on finding friends as quickly as possible. So I got involved.

I hooked up with a cycling club (though my skills on two wheels were shaky at best), joined the Unitarian church down the street and started attending a book club. The reason I was most drawn to these particular gathering points? They all included regular potlucks.

Six ways to be a good potluck attendee »

Halloumi — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, Recipes, September 15th, 2011

grilled cheese salad
You’ll probably feel pretty stupid calling it “squeaky cheese,” but as soon as you take a bite you’ll understand why it makes sense.

Sometimes called Greek grilling cheese, halloumi is just that — a dense cheese that holds its shape and won’t drip through the grates when grilled.

And when you chew it? It makes a squeaky sound against your teeth.

Luckily, mouth noises aren’t the real selling point of this cheese. Taste and versatility are what will drive you to find this relative of feta cheese.

Traditionally made from sheep’s milk on the island of Cyprus, halloumi today often is made from a blend of milk from of sheep, goats and cows.

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What Is the Best Topping for Pizza?

by in Community, September 15th, 2011

smore dessert pizza
Cheese, pepperoni and pineapple, oh my. Food Network asked Facebook fans: “In your opinion, what is the best topping for pizza?” Not only did 3,843 of you answer, but you also shared extremely detailed choices.

Spinach, bacon, ham, mushrooms, olives, garlic — you guys want it all — as long as it’s covered with gooey cheese. Extra cheese was the number one topping of choice, with pepperoni and pineapple following close behind. Fans love pineapple classically paired with ham, but don’t mind if it’s mixed with chicken or bacon.

Every veggie possible made the list, but you’ll heap your slice high with mushrooms, olives and onions. Sprinkle a bit of garlic on top and you’ve got yourself a dream pie. Now that you’re probably craving pizza, make some at home instead of ordering in.

In the mood for pizza? Try these recipes »

Terroir: Does Your Wine Taste Like Somewhere?

by in Drinks, September 14th, 2011

terroir
Every week, Mark Oldman — wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers — shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he’ll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.

My friend Carl is an apple-cider savant. If you put three different glasses of cider in front of him, after a few sips of each, he can tell you which one is from Gravenstein Apples in Sonoma, which originated in Canada and which came from the Jonagold apples of central New Jersey. This is because the taste of each cider reflects where the apples come from — their geography and growing conditions — so each possesses a distinct aroma and taste.

So the same goes with wine.  Enthusiasts often talk of a wine’s terroir (tare-WAHR), the consistently identifiable taste that reflects where the grapes came from. A terroir-driven wine expresses not only its grape type, but also all of the natural conditions in which those grapes were grown: the soil type, the angle of slope on which it was grown and the particular micro climate there. Certain wine types, like from France’s Burgundy and Alsace regions, are known to express their terroir — that is, these wines have a unique personality that conveys the natural conditions from which they came. They express a “sense of somewhere,” which is how the term “terroir” is often translated from French, though there is no precise definition in English.

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Broccoli and Cheddar, A Perfect Pair — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, September 14th, 2011

broccoli-cheddar soup
It’s week four of our season-long garden party, Summer Fest 2011, where we welcome food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. So far, we’ve delved into cucumbers and peaches

Classic pairings like peanut butter and jelly, cheese and crackers and spaghetti and meatballs always get recognition, but what about a savory combo that’ll send your taste buds soaring? Broccoli and cheddar are not only meant for each other, but they also add full-bodied flavor to soups, frittatas, potatoes and even casseroles.

Vibrant, emerald-green broccoli — a cabbage relative — reaches its peak in the coming months, so take advantage of the veggie’s vitamin A, C, iron and calcium before the doldrums of winter set in.

Start off with hearty Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. Sharp white and yellow cheddar cheeses make fresh broccoli florets pop, while a sourdough bread bowl is perfect for sopping up every last drop. If you’d rather eat your broccoli without a spoon, try the magazine’s Broccoli-Cheddar Potatoes. Load potatoes high with broccoli, bacon and spinach, then add a dollop of sour cream on top for a symphony of flavor.

More broccoli recipes from our friends and family »

Giada’s Top-Rated Sauce and Bobby’s Healthy Food Fight

by in Food Network Chef, September 14th, 2011

giada de laurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis’ Tomato Basil Sauce for Target has been receiving some attention after Consumer Reports conducted a taste test of celebrity food products. The taste testers concluded that: “Most consumers would not be able to tell her sauce came from a jar.” With a great taste and affordable price, Giada’s brand received a Consumer Reports best buy ranking. Try making Giada’s Simple Tomato Sauce or Bolognese Sauce at home.

Bobby Flay has teamed up with Aetna for their Healthy Food Fight campaign, which teaches people about the benefits of eating healthy. A national cooking contest, with a chance to win $10,000 worth of groceries is up for grabs, as well as feature appearances from Chef Flay. Visit Healthyfoodfight.com to submit an original healthy recipe for chance to win.

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Countdown to the New York City Wine and Food Festival

by in Events, September 13th, 2011

grant tasting tent
In just three short weeks, New York City will host culinary legends from around the country at the fourth annual New York City Wine and Food Festival. This year’s festival welcomes chefs and culinary personalities from Food Network, including: Giada De Laurentiis, Sandra Lee, Duff Goldman, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto.

In preparation for the festival, we’re featuring upcoming events that we’re excited about — better hurry, tickets are going fast.

Two can’t-miss events on Sunday, October 2 »

Alex Eats: Tangy Creams

by in Food Network Chef, How-to, September 13th, 2011

tangy dairy creams
alex guarnaschelliEvery week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

As a lover of all things dairy, I especially like sour cream, yogurt, crème fraiche and buttermilk because they add “tang” to my cooking. They get their base flavor from friendly bacterial cultures that actively convert the natural sugars in milk lactic acid through fermentation. So if each of these four tangy dairy variants gets its signature acid zip the same way, what makes them different?

Sour Cream: Take cream, add those miraculous cultures, allow fermentation to partially run its course, and voila. It’s has such a thick texture, it can stand on its own. A dollop of sour cream on a baked Idaho or sweet potato is just delicious. I love adding sour cream to blue cheese dressing instead of mayonnaise. Hot blueberry pancakes topped with cold sour cream? It’s so creamy against the fruit.

Yogurt, crème fraiche and buttermilk »

Troy Johnson Talks to Fans on Facebook

by in Community, Food Network Chef, September 13th, 2011

troy johnson crave
Last week Troy Johnson, host of Crave, dropped by for a Food Network Facebook chat. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights:

Kate Farber Gold: What is your favorite thing to eat?
TJ: I would have to say Thai food — drunken noodles with duck, so hot it hurts. Or Fruity Pebbles in ice cold milk.

Michelle Buffardi: Is there any food that you hated as a kid but learned to like as a grownup?
TJ: I hated liver, now I love it. Especially one that’s a little enhanced.

Conway Obleman: What would be your last meal?
TJ: It would have to do with mussels, a little roasted bone marrow (meat butter) and a salad so that I can go into the afterlife with a svelte figure.

Troy’s favorite steak in San Diego »

Apple-Sausage Mac and Cheese — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, September 13th, 2011

apple sausage mac and cheese
Put a fall spin on cheddar mac and cheese by adding golden chicken-apple sausage and baking until bubbly.

Get the recipe: Apple-Sausage Mac and Cheese

Browse more of Food Network’s macaroni and cheese recipes.