Collecting Treasures in the Belly and the Hand

by in Events, March 7th, 2012

knivesIt’s interesting to hear what people collect during their travels. From postcards to original artwork, the choice of what to carry home reveals an intimate peek into the traveler’s life. As a food professional, it’s not surprising I hanker for edible souvenirs. Unfortunately, they don’t last any longer than the time it takes to eat a sausage sandwich on the cobbled streets of a German village, or lick the buttery crumbs off my fingers from an unbelievably good French croissant. A bottle of Italian olive oil might make it out of the country, but its lifespan is only as long as the number of home-cooked dinners it lasts for. Although the foods may be long gone, the memory lives on.

What do you collect when you travel?

March Food Festivals

by in Events, March 6th, 2012

strawberries
As late winter looks toward spring, this month’s food festivals head outdoors, to the woods and to the shore for sugar highs, creamy mirth and moveable feasts.

Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Fla., March 1–11: The state fair has nothing on the Sunshine State’s Strawberry Festival. The sweet bonanza of fruit-related diversion and traditional food-fair merriment, including a royal court, draws hordes of hungry and smiling Floridians, not to mention snowbirds. All are eager for the simple pleasure of strawberries and cream, after which they can try their hand at carnie games on the midway or test their stomachs on a thrill ride. The Neighborhood Village displays homemade, local food and crafts. Competitions aren’t relegated to only the edible variety. Baking and preserving contests share schedule space with needlepoint and scrapbooking. Of course, there’s also pig racing, ideally paired with strawberry-topped funnel cake.

Cincinnati Wine Festival, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 8–10: Cincinnati is an underappreciated world-class city with a magnificent skyline (it’s important!), so it’s no surprise that the riverside urban center hosts a jam-packed oenophile fiesta, complete with dinners, sampling and an auction. The weekend affair is uncorked with a series of elegant wine dinners, followed the next day by hours of access to the tasting room. Ticket prices for seven sips begin at $40. Chin-chin, Cincy.

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Oreo Turns 100 Today

by in News, March 6th, 2012

birthday cake oreo
I open my Oreo cookie, carefully, then eat the cream out of the center before crunching into each cookie half. Today is another great excuse to tear into a package of Oreos and get all the creamy centers I can: The cookie is turning 100 years old. That’s right — this black-and-white favorite has been around since 1912.

Back when it was called the Oreo Biscuit, production of the Oreo by the National Biscuit Company (NBC) was right here in the current home of Food Network, Chelsea Market. Susan Watson, a Manager in Kraft Foods archive, explained that even though there were hundreds of National Biscuit Company cookie products, Oreo became one of their most popular items. Ads dating back to the 1920s show the cookies being pulled apart to reveal their creamy white center. Today, there are more than 21 bakeries around the world cranking out the cookies.

How are you celebrating Oreo’s 100th?

Everyday Banana Bread — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, March 6th, 2012

banana bread
Every week I find myself flooded with overripe bananas since everyone in the house prefers to eat firm, barely ripe ones. The first sign of a brown spot, and they’re left to languish on the counter, eventually becoming so ripe the only purpose they serve is as incentive to bake some banana bread. I know, this doesn’t seem like a problem. Banana bread has a lot going for it. It’s easy to make because it’s a quick bread — it uses baking powder to rise, not yeast. It’s also the ultimate “waste not, want not” use of ingredients past their prime. But best of all, it can be a breakfast on the go, a tasty snack for school lunch and even play a pinch hitter come dessert time.

The real problem with having too many overripe bananas is I feel guilty making my favorite banana bread recipe twice a week. The recipe is great, but with one stick of butter in it, I decided my weekly banana bread infatuation needed some lightening up. The Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Banana Bread has been relegated to a once a month treat. What I needed was an “everyday” banana bread recipe, one I could feel better about making, and eating on a regular basis.

Get the recipe

Robin’s Healthy Take: Healthier Chips

by in Uncategorized, March 5th, 2012
kalechips

Have you tried kale chips yet?

Everyone loves chips. The salt. The crunch. The flavor. What most people don’t love is the fat, calories and guilt that go along with most chips. Fried chips, that is. I’ve been baking chips for years and everyone a...

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Parmigiano-Reggiano — Iron Chef America Ingredients

by in Shows, March 5th, 2012

parmigiano reggiano iron chef america
I am positive that just about everyone reading this post will have bought packs labeled “Parmesan” from their local supermarket. I am also sure that just about everyone will have used said Parmesan in their cooking, whether it was as the basis for a sauce or simply grated over a bowl of steaming pasta.

Unfortunately, much of what is on sale in the U.S. is mass-produced, a pale imitation of true Parmigiano-Reggiano from Northern Italy, and lacks the texture and deliciously nutty flavor of the genuine article. The good stuff may be pricey, but it is worth every penny and I really hope that Battle Parmigiano will inspire everyone to go out in search of the real deal.

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Vegetarian Pot Pie — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 5th, 2012


Every bit as warm, comforting and hearty as its chicken-filled counterpart, Aida‘s Vegetarian Pot Pie boasts a creamy, veggie-packed center baked until bubbly underneath a flaky, buttery crust. Make sure that your crust achieves the same glossy golden hue as Aida’s by lightly brushing the top of the dough with an egg-water mixture before baking. Ready to enjoy in just 50 minutes, this filling dish is a go-to dinner option for those hectic weeknights.

Though the pot pie can be an entire meal in itself, serving Food Network Magazine‘s Simple Green Salad or Pesto Bean Soup in addition to it would balance out your dinner in a flash.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Classic Diner Dishes Reinvented — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 5th, 2012

team bobby worst cooks in america
The fourth episode of Worst Cooks in America had the remaining recruits tackling some of America’s favorite dishes in a quintessential atmosphere — a New Jersey diner. Diners have been a part of American history since the late 1800s and often resemble a mobile home. Known for offering a wide variety of dishes like French fries, nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers and milk shakes, diners are a casual place to grab a bite to eat.

This week, Bobby and Anne tasked their teams with making two of those dishes: French fries for Team Anne and nachos for Team Bobby. Each team was shown the basics of frying and then they were asked to reinvent the classes with creative toppings.

Members from Team Anne aced the creativity portion of their test, creating sauces, guacamole and frying up eggs, but many of them had an issue with cooking the fry perfectly. According to Anne, all French fries should be double-fried; watch this video to learn how to cook French fries perfectly.

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