Sunday’s Star Menu: Your Signature Dish

by , July 10th, 2013

LasagnaAs Sunday afternoons turn into 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 of eats and drinks to last you through the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you’re munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.

Signature dishes: They’re the go-to meals you’re known for preparing flawlessly every time and the dishes you immediately look to when asked to cook for a special occasion or to bring food to a party. On Sunday’s all-new episode of Star, the remaining contestants must put their culinary points of view on a plate in the form of their own signature dishes and sell them at an auction in the Food Star Kitchen. You, too, can show off deliciously infamous plates at home with the help of these top-rated recipes for classic preparations of timeless meals below.

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Kid-Size Crudites: Personal Veggie Cups

by in Family, July 10th, 2013

Kid-Size Crudites: Personal Veggie CupsTired of hearing yourself say things like, “Eat your veggies so you can grow up to be big and strong”? Also, just how big and strong are we aiming for here? Because I ate quite a few veggies as a kid and pretty much became an exact replica of my mother. All well-meaning parental messages aside, I loved this popular Pinterest party trick so much that I tried it at my own dinner table. It was an absolute hit.

You can use store-bought salad dressing, make your own or combine a mix of something like ranch with a dollop of Greek yogurt to even out the good-for-you versus not-so-good-for-you ratio. Either way, pour an inch or two into your smallest juice glasses, then arrange a colorful selection of raw veggies on top, vertically.

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Cookbooks for Grill Jockeys, Pit Bosses and Other Flame Tamers

by in Books, July 9th, 2013

Cookbooks for Grill Jockeys, Pit Bosses and Other Flame TamersYou can smell it in the air: millions of long-dormant grills being lit in observance of the rites of warm weather, bright sunshine and long days. ‘Tis the season when our nation smells of wood smoke. ‘Tis summer: the happiest time of year, as far as I’m concerned.

This time of year is also the most delicious. I am 100-percent convinced that nothing served in any restaurant ever tastes as good as food that you, yourself, cook outdoors with friends on a sunny day. Nothing. No competition. This is not to say that everything that comes off a grill is perfect. The experience, however, is perfect, replete, enough.

For this month’s cookbook recommendations, I’ve rounded up four books that approach live-fire cooking from a variety of angles — from grilling to barbecue to smoking and everything in between. Some of these, like the Jamisons’ Smoke & Spice, are long-established classics; others, like Adam Perry Lang’s Charred & Scruffed, are relative newcomers well on their way to achieving similar status. All are full of valuable instruction and fantastic recipes. So whether you’re a novice grill jockey or a seasoned backyard pit boss, the following four Food Network Library favorites will have you all fired up this summer.

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No-Mercy Culinary Antics to Take Over Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen

by in Shows, July 9th, 2013

They are the cooking show competitor’s top-two wishes: to be able to mess with rivals enough to sabotage their game and to gain an advantage to improve their own chances of winning. On Alton Brown’s brand-new upcoming series, contestants will have the opportunity to enjoy both experiences.

Premiering Sunday, August 11 at 10pm/9c, Cutthroat Kitchen pits four culinary superstars against each other, and to be victorious in this three-round contest, they’ll need to put savvy mind games to work as much as they do cooking chops. Each will have access to $25,000 in cash, and it’s up to them to decide how to spend their money in an auction: Do they pay out to earn the exclusive use of a crucial ingredient, like salt, or do they sentence their opponents to a brutal round of cooking, one in which they’re prohibited from tasting their dishes? In the ultimate balance of risk and reward, the competitors must determine on which benefits it’s worth spending their funds and which curveballs may eventually prove damaging enough to others to ultimately pay off, as the winner’s prize is whatever money he or she has left over afterward.

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Vegetarians: Myths vs. Facts

by , July 9th, 2013

Vegetarians are often seriously misunderstood. It’s time to debunk some of the most common vegetarian myths!

Myth: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein
Fact: It’s actually pretty easy for vegetarians to meet their needs for protein...

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6 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

by , July 9th, 2013

sambal oelek

Could your pantry use a healthy makeover? Use these six ingredients to infuse recipes with flavor.

1. Sambal Oelek
Quite possibly one of my favorite ingredients of all time, this blend of fresh ground chiles, salt and vinegar adds a flavorful heat t...

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One-on-One with the Latest Star Contestant to Go Home

by , July 9th, 2013

Chris and Nikki - Food Network Star Season 9Every Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network’s next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk’s exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Food Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don’t read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the latest finalist to go home.

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Poach Like a Pro

by in Food Network Magazine, July 9th, 2013

poached chickenMake your own flavorful broth for poaching chicken or fish by adding vegetables and herbs to simmering water. It’s called a court-bouillon (or “short broth”), and you can customize it with your favorite flavors (we used garlic, scallions and fennel fronds for Food Network Magazine‘s Poached Chicken with Garlic-Herb Sauce, pictured above). Don’t throw out the liquid when you’re done poaching: Store it in the fridge and use it like regular chicken broth.

Strawberries in July

by in In Season, July 8th, 2013

Strawberries in JulyI went to the farmers’ market to get strawberries. I thought I might have missed their short season, but they were in fact there. And then, as if I were somewhere I might never visit again, I suddenly needed everything else there, too.

I hadn’t thought of tea radishes or pink or icicle radishes either — or purple, yellow or white spring onions, carrots, herbs, peonies, tiny, odd lettuces — or shell peas. I didn’t need snap peas, but there they were, tight in their skins, like a bin full of miniature blimps. I wanted to see them again, so I took a picture. The farmer said I could even taste one. Almost involuntarily, I found myself unfurling a bag from the roll and stuffing some in.

The less common the vegetables were, the more I suddenly needed them. And now that I already had to carry a bag, there wasn’t much reason not to quench my drought of fresh chamomile flowers, or to fill the now obvious garlic-scape chasm in my life. I pressured a nearby stranger who claimed not to know what to do with radishes to drag them through butter and dab them in salt, and later saw her headed to the register with three bunches.

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“A Non-Burger Burger” — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, July 8th, 2013

Morgan's Veggie PattiesDry, crumbly and chewy — three ways you might describe store-bought frozen veggie patties. But Guy’s recipe for Morgan’s Veggie Patties (pictured above), first created by his sister, Morgan, turns out what Guy deems “a non-burger burger.” Moist, tender and full of bold tastes, this hearty between-the-bun creation combines fresh vegetables and an array of spices, plus beans and breadcrumbs, to offer a hearty, juicy patty.

To start making this top-rated recipe, Guy sautes bell peppers, onions, jalapenos and artichokes so that they become soft and subtly sweet, then combines them with white and black beans, chickpeas and rolled oats. Smoky, spicy and fragrant spices and herbs like cumin, cayenne, oregano and paprika offer a punch of flavor, while a single egg helps marry the mixture and allows the ingredients to stick together. Since you’re working with a raw egg, it’s important to let the sauteed vegetables completely cool before adding it; this will prevent any lingering heat from scrambling the egg. Guy likes to form the mixture into patties and then briefly chill them in the refrigerator so that they keep their shape. After a quick sear in olive oil, these picnic-ready patties will have formed a slight crust on the outside and become meatlike on the inside. Finish each with your favorite burger toppings and serve alongside cookout sides and salads for the ultimate summertime meal.

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