Ricotta Cheese — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, April 3rd, 2012

ricotta crab bites
When it comes to food, “recooked” isn’t generally a term met with much affection. The dairy world, however, gives us a fine exception in ricotta cheese.

Ricotta — Italian for recooked — isn’t exactly a stranger to most Americans, who tend to love it in their lasagna and stuffed pasta shells.

But as cheeses go, its versatility is vastly underappreciated, mostly because few people realize how it’s made, or why that matters for how they use it.

So let’s start there. Ricotta got its name because it is made literally by recooking the liquid left over from making other cheese, often mozzarella. This is possible because when the mozzarella or other cheese is made, most but not all of the protein is removed from the liquid, usually cow’s milk.

That leftover protein can be recooked and coagulated using a different, acid-based process (a rennet-based method is used to make the first batch of cheese). The result is a soft, granular cheese with a texture somewhere between yogurt and cottage cheese. The taste is mild, milky, salty and slightly acidic.

Get the recipe for Ricotta-Crab Bites

April Food Festivals

by in Events, April 3rd, 2012

asparagus
For some, April — like T.S. Eliot notes in The Waste Land and the seasonal severe weather shows — is the cruelest month. Those poor folks would change their tune if they could partake in any of the pabulum parties below. This month’s culinary treasures are sweet, spicy and creamy.

Tater Day, Benton, Ky., April 2: While this festival celebrated on the first Monday in April is 169 years old, it wasn’t until approximately 1960 that the Kiwanis Club gave the festival its current form. Local growers still gather to trade sweet potato slips (shoots grown from mature potatoes) and related wares. They also congregate to fete the town’s favorite starchy tuber with a parade, pageants, eating competition (perfect after a spin on a carnival ride), horse races and the Barbeque Kookoff. Of course, folks will vie for a chance at winning the title of largest sweet potato.

More April food festivals around the country

Pasta Primavera — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 2nd, 2012

Celebrate the bright colors and bold flavors of spring by cooking this light and fresh pasta dish. After adding sweet cherry tomatoes to al dente noodles, sugar snap peas, crunchy carrots and a bell pepper, gently mix in chopped mint, nutty Parmesan and silky goat cheese until combined. Ready to eat in just 30 quick minutes, this seasonal recipe guarantees that you can get dinner on the table in a flash.

Complete your Italian-inspired dinner by serving Food Network Magazine’s Almond Caesar Salad, featuring red-leaf lettuce tossed with a garlic-Dijon dressing and cheesy baked croutons.

Get the recipe: Pasta Primavera from Food Network Magazine

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.

Food Network “Lights It Up Blue” for Autism Today

by in Events, April 2nd, 2012

autism awarenessNotice something different on Food Network this morning? Today, Food Network and Cooking Channel are participating in the Autism Speaks: Light It Up Blue campaign, an annual global initiative that raises awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. That means they’re taking the logos you see on television and turning them blue for one day.

“Autism impacts an estimated 1 in every 110 children in the United States, and through the extraordinary support of such wide-ranging cable television networks we are raising awareness and building support by delivering an important message about autism to millions of people watching television today,” said Robert Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, in a press release.

Autism Awareness Day has partners in 180 cities and 35 countries around the world — they’ll all turn iconic landmarks blue for the day, including New York City’s Empire State Building.

Food Network invites you to Light It Up Blue today. Find out how here.

And the Worst Cooks Winner Is…

by in Shows, April 2nd, 2012

worst cook judges and team

It all started with a nation-wide search for the worst cooks in America. After narrowing that search down to 16 recruits, Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell each chose eight, making up their new teams for the season.

A new addition this season was Bobby Flay, who joined the show to battle it out against seasoned champ Anne Burrell. Each hopeless cook competed for a chance to win $25,000, which would be awarded to the winning contestant who achieved the most progress and best performance, in addition to a victory for his or her culinary mentor.

It can be argued that the recruits were handed some pretty difficult tasks this season, tasks that every day home cooks probably don’t tackle, like making their own noodles and cooking fresh seafood. But in addition to those, Bobby and Anne made sure they could handle the basics like making breakfast, cooking chicken to the proper temperature and rolling the perfect meatball.

SPOILER ALERT: The winner of Worst Cooks in America

Herb of the Month: Parsley

by , April 1st, 2012

parsley
Spring is in the air and fresh herbs are in season, readily available at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and home gardens. We’re starting the season by celebrating a quintessential green herb: parsley. Did you know it was traditionally adde...

Read more

April Fools!

by in Holidays, April 1st, 2012

april foolsSo maybe you shouldn’t put cherry pie filling in your hair and Brussels sprouts belong on your dinner plate, not as part of a face-mask, but we just couldn’t help ourselves — it’s April Fools’ Day!

And even though chocolate pudding doesn’t take the dimples off our thighs, chocolate ganache is a key ingredient in this DIY chocolate body scrub recipe.

Food Network Magazine also asked five busy chefs what they use in their kitchen as makeshift beauty products, including beer, olive oil, nuts and rice. Get their tips here.