A Cinco de Mayo Simple Soirée

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2012

margarita and sangria for cinco de mayo
Cinco de Mayo is my favorite food holiday. I know I probably say that for every food-related holiday, but let’s be honest — Cinco de Mayo really is the best.

Growing up in Arizona meant a few things. The most important one is that you absolutely must throw a giant Cinco de Mayo party every single year regardless of what day of the week the holiday falls on. We Arizonans take our Cinco de Mayo parties pretty seriously, too. There is never a shortage of freshly made margaritas or sangria and there is always guacamole.

This year I’m going to be in Los Angeles for the holiday and while L.A. is all well and good, there is really nothing like being home in Tucson for a fun fiesta. But never fear, I’m still going all out for Cinco de Mayo this year. These two cocktails will be making an appearance for my fiesta and you should absolutely make them, too. Based loosely on two cocktail recipes from a few of my favorite Food Network stars, I’ll be whipping up a jalapeno-infused margarita and a strawberry raspberry sangria.

Get my variations

All-American Down-Home Patriotic Meatloaf Sandwich — The Weekender

by in Recipes, May 4th, 2012

patriotic meatloaf sandwich
In the mid-eighties, before the nightly news scared my mom into switching to turkey, my family ate a lot of ground beef. It was on the menu at least a couple nights a week. Sometimes it was crumbled into tomato sauce and served over spaghetti noodles. During the summer, we had it scrambled with vegetables and rice and packed into overgrown zucchini.

On particularly harried nights, my mom would season a pound while still in the package, divide it into four patties and plop them into a pan. When burgers were prepared thusly, they were always served with carrot and celery sticks, with ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

The best nights were when the ground beef was mixed with oatmeal, an egg or two, chopped onion, garlic powder and a squirt of ketchup and packed into a loaf pan. I loved my mom’s meatloaf with a passion, mostly because she always made enough for sandwiches the next day. I have always been something of a fool for a good meatloaf sandwich.

In those days, my meatloaf lunch wasn’t a complex affair. It was always a half sandwich, made on whole-wheat bread spread with ketchup and mustard. Packed with one of those frozen disks to keep it all cool, it was the best thing to be found inside a canvas lunch bag.

Before you start assembling your sandwiches, read these tips

Derby Day for the Kiddies: Virgin Mint Juleps

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2012

derby daySince Derby Day traditionally happens in the beginning of May, I always associate it with the beginning of summer. Is it because the horse race is affectionately referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports?” No, it’s because I love so many of the traditions that come with it. I love that the winner is presented with a “blanket” of 554 roses. I love fiddling with a version of “burgoo,” a beef and pork stew traditionally served on this day. Burgoo is one of those recipes that can be left open to interpretation. It is traditionally made with whatever meats (beef or pork) and vegetables (lima beans, corn or okra) are available. My best results came from braising some cubed-up brisket and stirring in some corn, fava beans and peas to give it that touch of spring. With all this cooking, a cooling drink seems only fitting. The mint julep happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a snow cone, the fruity, icy cone I used to get from ice cream trucks as a kid. This provides a fun drink for kids instead of a more traditional Shirley Temple.

Get the recipe

Make Your Own Croissants

by , May 4th, 2012
croissant

Fill store-bought puff pastry with fruit, chocolate, cheese or lemon curd.

I’m always looking for something to liven up brunch menus. Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together.

Nutrition Facts
An average size plain croissant has...

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Star-a-Day: Malcolm Mitchell

by , May 4th, 2012

Malcolm Mitchell

To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.

Team Bobby’s Malcolm Mitchell, 41, changed gears after four years in the Navy and decided to go to culinary school. He now works as a personal chef in Washington, D.C., often for big-name clients.

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Chatting With Alton Brown, Master of Ceremonies for the 2012 James Beard Awards

by in Events, Food Network Chef, May 3rd, 2012

alton brown
This coming Monday, the James Beard Foundation will host its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception at Lincoln Center to honor the chefs and restaurateurs who made the food industry unforgettable in 2011. This year, the foundation has asked Food Network’s own Alton Brown to host the awards. A true entertainer and culinary superstar, Alton’s no stranger to hosting gigs. Between Next Iron Chef, Iron Chef America and previous seasons of Food Network Star, the James Beard Foundation should rest easy knowing they have a pro on stage.

Last year,  Alton Brown was awarded the Best TV Food Personality Award for Good Eats. Prior to that, in 2003, he was awarded the Book Award in the Reference category for his first book, I’m Just Here for the Food (2002).

We recently caught up with Alton to ask him about this honor, especially since the foundation will be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

 

You’ve hosted numerous shows on Food Network, but this somehow seems different. What are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous?
Prepare? Absolutely. A couple of jokes and an escape route. Nervous? Let’s say I’m appropriately aware.

More from Alton after the jump

On the Blogs: Trending Meats, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and More

by in Community, May 3rd, 2012

Pat LaFriedaYahoo: Prices for dark meat rise with popularity. Pat LaFrieda of Food Network’s Meat Men says, “If you’re looking for what the next trend is . . . always ask the butcher what he takes home.”

World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Mark your map with 50 dream dining destinations. The 2012 prestigious list of the world’s top restaurants has been announced.

The Salt: Pizza Hut’s hamburger-stuffed pizza is just one of the many extreme gimmicks in the international fast food arena (remember the deep-fried McRib in Austria?) Is America losing its “monopoly on gluttony?”

Serious Eats: Have you tried the new Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos at Starbucks? Here’s one taste test opinion, but we want to know what you think!

Slate: Would you forgo weekday lunch at the computer for an hour on the dance floor? Lunchtime dance clubs are trending in Sweden and include an hour long DJ set and takeout.

Bobby’s Chips and Guacamole — The New Girl

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 3rd, 2012

bobby flay chips and guacamole
While guacamole is an obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo, it’s also a tasty one. It’s simple to prepare, fresh in flavor and loved by all. Sure, it’s the safe choice, but ultimately you want to make something that your guests will enjoy, not fear.

I’m a minimalist when it comes to guacamole — because avocados are naturally creamy and indulgent, simpler is better in my book. Bobby’s recipe is foolproof and includes only four extra ingredients: red onion, fresh jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Just chop, mash, squeeze and in 10 minutes, you’ve got the perfect party dip. The diced onion adds texture to the velvety avocado and the jalapeño brings a touch of heat and warmth. The MVI (Most Valuable Ingredient) of the dish, however, is the lime. It makes each bite refreshing and bright and will keep your guests digging in for more.

Tips to consider before making these recipes: