Let’s Get Crackin’: National Pecan Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 14th, 2011
Chocolatey, Nutty Goodness - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

Nut-allergics, beware. Today is National Pecan Day. Though often featured in sweet pies and holiday sides, pecans are also popular in savory main dishes and, when eaten raw, are a perfectly healthy afternoon snack. So today, celebrate their natural goodness by cooking up these pecan-filled recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Start your day off the nutty way with Kelsey Nixon’s French Toast with Maple Pecan Syrup from food2.com. Sweet brioche bread is dunked in an egg, cinnamon and vanilla mixture before being cooked in a sizzling skillet and topped with a silky syrup of maple and pecans.

For lunch, toss together food.com’s Strawberry Spinach Pecan Salad — light and refreshing, this salad is a vegetarian’s dream. For an extra punch of protein, add sliced grilled chicken or tofu.

Cookingchanneltv.com’s show-stopping recipe for Pecan Crusted Double-Cut Pork Chops is a cinch to make and elegant enough to serve to company. Add a side of Emeril Lagasse’s Roasted Vegetable Pecan Relish for a hearty dinner that will leave you and your guests satisfied for hours.

Before closing the book on this nutty national holiday, try foodnetwork.com’s recipe for a  Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart. With a buttery chocolate crust and bourbon-pecan filling, this super simple dessert is as decadent as it sounds.

Check out these other recipes for pecan-packed dishes from foodnetwork.com:

Sugar and Spice Pecans

Gussie’s Fried Chicken with Pecan-Honey Glaze

Caramel Pecan Sundaes

Pecan Sandies

A New ‘Star’ Will Be Born: The Return of Food Network Star

by in Shows, April 13th, 2011
food network star finalists
Food Network Star Season 7 Finalists

Food Network’s number one series, Food Network Star returns June 5 with a set brand new hopeful contestants. Returning to host and judge season seven is chef Bobby Flay, along with judges Bob Tuschman, General Manager of Food Network and Susie Fogelson, SVP of Marketing for Food Network. This year, Giada De Laurentiis will also be making the move from mentor to judge.

Meet the 15 finalists : Mary Beth Albright (Washington, D.C.), Justin Balmes (Marietta, Ga.), Whitney Chen (New York), Katy Clark (Long Beach, Calif.), Penny Davidi (Los Angeles), Justin Davis (Minneapolis), Howie Drummond (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Jyll Everman (Glendora, Calif.), Susie Jimenez (Carbondale, Colo.), Juba Kali (New Orleans), Jeff Mauro (Elmwood Park, Ill.), Vic “Vegas” Moea (Las Vegas), Chris Nirschel (Hoboken, N.J.), Orchid Paulmeier (Bluffton, S.C.) and Alicia Sanchez (New York).

The season will make its premier in Los Angeles, where their challenge is staged at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the city’s Original Farmer’s Market. According to LATimes Daily Dish, “Finalists will also visit the set of ABC’s hit series ‘Cougar Town’ and create custom meals for cast and crew, including Courteney Cox [...] and there will be stop-ins with the likes of such network celeb chefs like Anne Burrell, Paula Deen, and Rachael Ray.”

For casting videos, behind-the-scenes interviews and more, visit FoodNetwork.com/Star.  While you’re there, cast your pre-season predictions in the Fan Forecast Vote.


Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in News, View All Posts, April 13th, 2011
Can you resist? - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

Caffeine Addiction Linked to Genetics: Craving coffee? Science says your genes may be to blame, not the two hours of sleep you got last night. [usatoday.com]

Chicago Public School Bans Brown-Bag Lunches: With all the hullabaloo surrounding the poor quality of cafeteria food, it may come as a surprise that one school is actually banning lunches from home, too. What’s a kid to eat? [myfoxchicago.com via newyork.grubstreet.com]

Camera-Powered App Delivers Estimated Calorie Count: Impressive new iPhone app Meal Snap lets you take a picture of your plate then spits out how many calories it thinks you’re about to consume. The accuracy of the nutritional breakdown reportedly has some kinks, but it’s still fun to think of the service as Shazam for food. [reviews.cnet.com] [Food Network Mobile]

Proof That Candy Dishes are Irresistible: Is the office hampering your ability to eat healthfully? You’re not alone. “A four-week study of 40 secretaries found that when candy was visible in a clear, covered dish, participants ate 2.5 pieces of chocolate,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Moving the dish closer, so the subjects could reach the candy while seated at their desks, added another 2.1 candies a day to their intake.” [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.

Treat Yourself to a Chilly Sweet Today

by in View All Posts, April 12th, 2011
homemade ricotta ice cream
Giada's Ricotta and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cones

In honor of Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite recipes, ranging from the most decadent chocolate ice cream to easy-to-make ice cream cookies and cake. While it may not be a scoop of Chunky Monkey or the famed Cherry Garcia, several of these desserts can be prepared in under 30 minutes and you can even go back for seconds!

Ice Cream Recipes:
Chocolate Ice Cream
Espresso Ice Cream
Banana Ice Cream
Ricotta and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cones
Burned Peach Ice Cream

Desserts Featuring Ice Cream:
Wine Poached Peaches with Ice Cream
Frozen Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches
Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream
Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches
“Cake” Ice Cream Cones

Flying High with Food Network Stars

by in News, April 7th, 2011
Cat Cora, shown here in her home kitchen, will soon launch a quick service restaurant in the San Francisco airport.

SFGate is reporting that Tyler Florence and Cat Cora are soon to launch quick service eateries in SFO’s Terminal 2.  Chef Florence will bring a scaled down version of his Rotisserie and Wine restaurant. His menu will be offering roasted meats along with a variety of southern style side dishes. The Cat Cora Lounge will be a cocktail bar and the menu will offer fresh local seafood. The goal of the project is to support local and sustainable dining with a number of food offerings throughout the terminal, something never before seen at an airport.

Delaware North has partnered with Iron Chef Morimoto to launch a new restaurant in Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 5. The menu will consist of a selection of soups and salads as well as yakitori style skewers which will include meats and vegetables served with rice. The focus will be on tasty, healthy foods that can be served and eaten quickly.

Looking for more places to find something from a favorite Food Network star?

Sandra Lee is launching a new line of kitchenware for Sears and Kmart. The collection will feature small appliances and other kitchen items.

The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that Duff Goldman will be offering a line of less expensive cakes. Priced around $250, these cakes feed 12 to 15 and will be available much quicker than the more pricey custom designs which need to be ordered months in advance.

Guy Fieri gave a sneak peek on Twitter this week of a new “Knuckle Sandwich” shoe being designed by Globe Shoes. No word yet on when they will be available.

The Food Network Fans are constantly looking for info and sharing links on where we can find favorite stars, discuss favorite shows, visit a book signing, or see an appearance in other venues. We invite you to stop by and visit at FoodNetworkFans.com

App-solutely Appetizing

by in View All Posts, April 7th, 2011
Tea-Smoked Chicken Cups - Image Courtesy foodnetwork.com

Looking to update your appetizer agenda? Look no further, because we have a list of bite-sized party starters that will wow your guests.

Mario Batali’s recipe for Deep-Fried Ricotta Balls from cookingchanneltv.com is every bit as indulgent as it sounds. Fresh ricotta is combined with parmesan cheese and walnuts before getting breaded and fried. Serve these bites alongside a bowl of your favorite tomato sauce.

Foodnetwork.com’s Tea Smoked Chicken is chopped small, mixed with scallions and topped with a soy-ginger sauce. Easy to prepare and fun to eat, these Asian-inspired apps will go quickly, so be sure to make an extra batch.

For an Italian-style dip that is fresh and healthy, try food.com’s Kalamata and Fig Tapenade. Dunk crisp endive spears or toasted ciabatta bread in this savory mixture of salty kalamata olives and capers, mission figs and fresh herbs.

Stuffed Mushrooms from food2.com will leave your vegetarian guests (and carnivores alike) totally satisfied. Filled with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and shallots, mushroom caps are baked until soft then topped with delectable pan juices.

A New Crop of Chefs

by in View All Posts, April 7th, 2011
Best New Chefs Awards (photo by Arthur Bovino)

Our friends at Food & Wine Magazine just revealed their annual list of the country’s Best New Chefs. We’re always on the lookout for impressive up-and-comers in the food world, so we attended the announcement celebration and talked to several of the honorees. Should we expect to see some of them as future competitors on Iron Chef? It certainly seems possible.

We asked each of the winners we interviewed to choose a favorite ingredient and one chef who has been a major career influence.

Chef Bryce Gilmore
Barley Swine, Austin

Most influential ingredient: eggs from a local farmer
How he uses it: smoked trout pasta with scrambled eggs and Granny Smith apples
Most influential chef: Dan Barber

Chef Jamie Bissonnette, People’s Choice winner
Restaurant Coppa, Boston

Most influential ingredient: ramps
How he uses it: ramp paella with snails and rabbit, chard and ramp chimichurri, ramp pasta
Most influential chef: Jacques Pépin

Chef Jason Franey
Canlis, Seattle

Most influential ingredient: lettuce
How he uses it: a salad of mixed greens and up to 40 ingredients, including asparagus and salted, fried pea skins
Most influential chef: Daniel Humm

Chef Ricardo Zarate
Mo-Chica, Los Angeles

Most influential ingredient: ají amarillo (a South American yellow chili)
How he uses it: ají de gallina, a spicy chicken dish recommended by Giada De Laurentiis on The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Most influential chef: Mark Gregory

Chefs Viet Pham and Bowman Brown
Forage, Salt Lake City

Pham
Most influential ingredient: seafood of all kinds
How he uses it: “There are just a million ways to cook it.”
Most influential chef: Laurent Gras

Brown
Most influential ingredient: wild herbs and greens, watercress
How he uses it: a visually striking seasonal salad called “Vegetable Garden”
Most influential chef: René Redzepi

Congratulations to all of the 2011 Best New Chefs. To discover more trendsetters, visit our Chefs of Tomorrow feature. To find restaurants featured on Food Network in your area or around the country, check out the new FN Local.

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, April 5th, 2011
How does your garden grow? (Note: garden pictured is not in New York City)

NYC’s Homesteaders Live Off the Land…The land in their own backyards and on their own rooftops. The Post takes a look at hardcore urban farmers, who raise chickens and bees, butcher their own rabbits and forage for greens in New York City parks. The trend isn’t without its backlash, but these hillbillies have one up on the non-farming population, says Brooklyn’s Brandon Hoy, who co-owns a restaurant that grows its own produce: “We’re set up for the zombie invasion.” [nypost.com]

Study Supports Possibility of Food Addiction: Food-a-holics may rejoice at the findings from a recent Yale study, which suggests that food addiction might be a real-life neural affliction (as opposed to just an excuse to eat a few more cupcakes). “Scientists watched the brain activity of women tantalized, and then rewarded, with a chocolate milkshake. Their neural activity was similar to that of drug addicts.” [latimes.com]

Really Important New Food Gadget Introduced: There are classic food marriages (peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, ham and cheese) and then there are the orange-juice-and-tooth-paste, oranges-and-apples (wow, oranges don’t go with anything) combos that make us go “huh”? Will a kitchen scale with an iPod dock and speaker make it on any of these chefs’ must-own kitchen gadget lists? [wired.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

Chopped Up: Ted’s All-Star Finale Recap

by in Shows, April 3rd, 2011
The Final Four of Chopped All-Stars: Anne Burrell, Nate Appleman, Michael Proietti and Aarón Sanchez.

In this corner: Chef Michael Proietti, a fan favorite from season 5 of The Next Food Network Star, competing on behalf of the Jed Foundation;

Next: Chef Nate Appleman, James Beard Award Winner, Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef cover boy, Iron Chef America challenger and competitor on The Next Iron Chef, cooking for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation;

And then: Chef Anne Burrell, star of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, co-host of Worst Cooks in America, and longtime right hand for Mario Batali on Iron Chef America, competing to help the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation;

And, finally, the Chairman of Chiles, the Tortilla King: Latin-cuisine impresario Chef Aarón Sanchez, beloved Chopped judge, veteran of Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, co-star of Chefs vs. City, playing for the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

The day had finally come. We started with 16 chefs competing for $50,000 to be awarded to a charity of their choice and in the end, it all came down to dessert. I don’t think we’ve ever seen competitions this close or food this outstanding. This competition has been rigorous for the contestants but almost equally challenging for the judges. Every deliberation in this All-Stars series has been tough. These contestants have been consistently dishing up truly killer food under nearly impossible conditions.

Read more

Chopped for Charity

by in Shows, April 1st, 2011

All-StarsOur Food Network fans are full of great ideas. In a comment on our blog after an episode of Chopped All-Stars, fan Eric Londergan suggested that we post a list of all of the contestants’ charities. We took him up on it and pulled together this rundown of the organizations that each All-Star chef played for — plus, we asked host Ted Allen to weigh in with his own charity pick. Thanks, Eric!

Of course, there are only four left standing to compete in the All-Stars finale this Sunday night: Aaron Sanchez, playing for the Greater New Orleans Foundation; Anne Burrell, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Michael Proietti, competing for the Jed Foundation; and Nate Appleman, representing the Kawasaki Disease Foundation. All are beyond worthy causes, to be sure, and all four chefs are hungry to win for their causes.

Which charity will get a hefty $50,000 donation, and who will walk away with bragging rights? You’ll have to watch and see! Don’t miss the super-charged Chopped All-Stars finale this Sunday at 9pm/8c.