We’re a little nacho crazy here (remember our Super Bowl nacho showdown?) so we’re celebrating National Tortilla Chip day with a few fresh tortilla chip-making recipes and tips from our favorite FN chefs. Because the ultimate nachos are even better with the ultimate homemade tortilla chip!
No glammed-up Oscar gala invite for you this year? Grab your ballot, don your best red carpet couture (or sweatpants) and make snacks instead, themed to match all the nominees for Best Picture.
Every day this week, we’re featuring a new batch of ideas for two of the films (See all the posts here.) Today: The King’s Speech and 127 Hours. Both movies recount true stories: World War II-era royal drama vs. the modern-day survival story of a (very good-looking) mountain climber trapped under a boulder. You’ll need some serious snacks.
Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery. She joins us on the FN Dish each week to recap all the sweet details of the competition from her seat at the judges’ table. Here’s what she had to say about last night’s episode, Walk of Fame.
With Hollywood Walk of Fame as this week’s Cupcake Wars theme, I expected to be dazzled by exciting flavors and glamorous displays. And, certainly, Joanne from Lucky Cupcake delivered some excitement in round one with her martini cupcake complete with olive-mascarpone filling! But, in spite of her gutsy choice and dazzling star toppings, she was tripped up by a baking issue that left her cupcake basically inedible. I was sad that I didn’t get to really try what she could do.
Moving on to round two, I was certainly dazzled by Casey’s glitzy plate of cupcakes, including the rice paper “boa,” and Chrissy’s incredibly delicious cupcake trio. Her Elvis “sandwich,” in particular, is one of the best of this variety I have tasted on the show. Celeste disappointed us, though, with her decorations that felt too plain for the occasion.
In the third round, Casey went HUGE with her display and it was the most spectacular I have seen yet on the show. Although the height of the steps on her display meant guests had to bend over to retrieve a cupcake, there was no denying that she captured the “glitz and glamour” of Hollywood. Casey from Casey’s Cupcakes waltzed away with the prize.
A Wish to Never Eat Farmed Salmon Ever: The New York Times’ Mark Bittman is concerned about the future of fish. Given that worldwide consumption of seafood has doubled over the past few decades and the state of the aquaculture industry (wherein wild-caught fish are turned into meal for farmed fish), the sea is being depleted of its stock. One piece of advice? “It would help if the world’s wealthiest fish-eaters (they include us, folks) would broaden their appetites. Mackerel, anyone?” [nytimes.com]
Sandra’s Story: A profile of Sandra Lee was released in the latest issue of Vogue, and it chronicles her rise from a chaotic childhood to becoming the first girlfriend of New York. And, of course, some semi-homemade cooking happened in between. [vogue.com]
Cookie-Stuffed Cookies: Our minds are imploding at the possibilities for Girl Scout-stuffed Cookies. And at the thought of stuffing a double-stuffed cookie into another cookie. Triple-stuffed? Yes, please. [seriouseats.com]
Insects: The Future of Meat? The introduction to this article says it all: “Insects are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment. They also have a nice nutty taste.” Are you bugging out over this news or are you contemplating how to cook those grasshoppers? [wsj.com]
Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.
We asked our Facebook fans for their favorite Italian dish today and the response was overwhelming — over 1,000 fans commented! But most impressive wasn’t the number of posts, it was the list of mouthwatering ideas; scrolling through is like reading the ultimate Italian menu.
Many fans couldn’t decide on a favorite dish and commented that they loved anything Italian, while others got creative with “dish” and let us know their Italian crush — Giada De Laurentiis, Sophia Lauren, Antonio Sabato Jr., James Gandolfini, Jon Bon Jovi (is he Italian?), Al Pacino and someone named Sergio at a neighborhood pizzeria.
Other highlights from the post include Italian dishes both classic and unexpected:
Can’t make it to the Oscars? Grab your ballot, don your formal wear and make snacks instead, themed to match all the nominees for Best Picture. Every day this week, we’re featuring a new batch of ideas for two of the films (See all the posts here.) Today: The Kids Are All Right and Inception. Pit family dram-com against science fiction with these plot-thickening snacks.
What, no ticket to the 2011 Oscar Awards this Sunday? Consider it a lucky opportunity to view the red carpet from the best seat anywhere: your couch. You’re free to heckle the stars (their attire, hair, dates) as you wish, and shout out loud with excitement or disappointment when each winner is announced. And without a slinky dress or monkey suit to starve yourself into, you can enjoy a nominee-themed menu without worry.
Check back here every day this week — we’ll be posting menu ideas for all of the Best Picture nominees so you can eat along with your favorite film, or pick and choose from each to create your own award-winning menu. Today, Black Swan and The Fighter; two movies about battling foes both internal and actual. For tense dramas like these, popcorn just won’t do.
Anne on Joshie: If you had asked me at the beginning if Joshie was going to win, I would have said no way. But at the same time, I had a little glimmer that this was going to be my Rachel Coleman [last season’s winner]. You know, I really did. I said it on the first day, Robert, when you put him on my team.
He got it together after a while of me being like “Dude, take this seriously.” He came in to do his flambé or something and he’s like “I’m not going to that…” and I’m like “You’re what?” And he’s like “I mean, I AM going to do that.” His girlfriend was like “Wow, how did you get him to do that?” I whipped him into shape. I put the fear of Chef Anne into him. He grew not to irritate me.
I wouldn’t say that Joshie and I are going out to drinks anytime soon, but at the beginning I thought I was going to kill him. He kind of grew on me like a wart. He was not the crowd favorite, the team favorite, or my favorite. That he could transform himself and buckle down and take it seriously, I have to applaud him for that. I think he really wanted it; his eyes were opened up to so many different things. On the first day, when he was making his mess of a dish and brought it up to us, he said “I feel bad because my station was so messy and someone had to come behind me and clean it up.” I thought, that right there is the door opening. That right there, that is my Rachel Coleman. I can probably do something with this kid if he can get out of his own way.
Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
When I initially found out that I had been nominated by my beloved wife, I did not believe that I needed to be on Worst Cooks in America. After giving a grand attempt at cooking for the audition process, my perception quickly changed. The chefs were eager to point out that processed foods are not of the greatest quality for my family, especially my toddler. They also helped me see that cooking with only myself in mind (my likes/dislikes) might actually be contributing to the tension in my marriage around domestic responsibilities and that my wife might actually have a valid point. I now realize that I still prepare foods and eat like a bachelorette – that I really need some guidance in how to be a better partner and mom when it comes to cooking. I have always liked food prepared on the caramelized (burnt) side – and have set off many a fire alarm to prove it. If I did not get on WCIA, there is a good chance that my marriage would have been doomed.
What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Robert?
I learned so many valuable tips and tools from Chef Robert. Three things are most prominent in my mind from my experience on WCIA. One of the most important pieces of advice he gave was how to keep my fingers out of the way when cutting, chopping and preparing foods to cook. I am still not the greatest at this… but have a lot more awareness. A second tidbit of information that was emphasized and reemphasized during the show was ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ regarding keeping our stations clean. However, the most valuable tip I personally received from Chef Robert was to cook with confidence… no matter how it all turns out!
What did you take away from the experience?
I took away so much more from this experience than I ever bargained for. I went into the show thinking that I would learn some great cooking skills from the top chefs on the Food Network, that I would have at least a few days in NYC, and that I would possibly meet some cool people. What I came away with was a new perspective on cooking, my family and life overall. I walked away from WCIA a transformed person in many ways. Being in such intimate circumstances with virtual strangers forced me to bring forth compassion, understanding, tolerance and acceptance in ways I have never known before. I have been married for 5 years… and this was a more intimately challenging situation that lasted a lot less than 5 years. That being said, I developed friendships that will last for a very long time as a result of mutually sharing such a bizarre and awesome experience. I would not be able to adequately articulate what I experienced to anyone who was not there to share it with me. It was the experience of a lifetime and one I am so grateful to have had.