When it comes to chefs working with mystery basket ingredients, the Chopped judges look for creativity and, above all, an expert incorporation of all the ingredients into one harmonious dish. And sometimes it takes a bit of playing with one’s food to achieve that, or in this case playing with fire. Facing the same dessert basket as the contestants from Chopped: Firefighter Chefs, the judges accomplished exactly that. Alex, Scott and Amanda took up spots in the Chopped Kitchen for an After Hours competition where they cooked with wafer sheets, lemon soda, vanilla pudding cups and a blowtorch.
On the show, the final two competitors were able to make great strides with the ingredients, but neither of them truly created a unified dish. The one whose dish was found to be the most disjointed was ultimately chopped. Alex, Scott and Amanda looked at the ingredients as an opportunity to create unique desserts and the blowtorch as an enhancer of flavor. Alex went the extra mile in using it to char a savory ingredient for her dessert, which impressed her fellow judges the most.
This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week skips the meat — bet you won’t miss it. This vegetarian main dish is packed with vegetables (butternut squash and spinach) and gets creamy goodness from part-skim mozzarella and low-fat milk.
What a blast it was watching the premiere of The Kitchen along with all of you. The twitter action was bonkers. I was up in the air on my way back from the 14th annual Mauro Mexico Family Trip (25 Mauros strong this year!). I was sad because: A) The vacation was a bit of a bummer because it rained five days straight, I lost my iPad and my mom got a terrible case of strep throat*, and B) I wasn’t able to watch the live airing of the premiere of our new show on TV. Luckily, we had in-flight Wi-Fi and I got to engage in the episode via Twitter. Overall, the response was very positive, which is always reassuring. Twittertown can be a rough and tumble joint (keep reading, you’ll see what I mean), and it is seriously not for the meek. But in this case, it seemed like the people really liked us. Phew.
Episode 2 was a blast to shoot. We hit the field energetic and, with a couple practices and a solid game under our tight belts, more confident. We had our first guest during Cookbook Club — the highly talented pastry guru, author and legitimate Chicago native Jenny McCoy (win a copy of her book now). She gave an effortless interview in which I totally blew it and forgot to ask her my favorite question ever (see photo below). Jenny then demoed some of her award-winning desserts with the girls, and GZ and I promptly got kicked off set. This gave us a bit of a “union break.” I enjoyed a necessary dose of Jersey sunshine with GZ (which I guess was highly necessary, considering I received several tweets, one claiming I look “pretty pale” and another asking “What’s with Jeff’s alabaster skin? It’s gross.”). Noted.**
On Monday’s upcoming episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the celebrities must cater a cocktail party with a Hawaiian luau theme. Chopped judge Marc Murphy stops by to taste the dishes, offer his critique, and, most importantly announce the winning team and the MVP of the challenge. In this sneak peek photo from the episode, Vanilla Ice from Team Guy presents his dish for tasting, but Guy has a moment where he holds his head and Rachael giggles while she takes a sampling of the food.
Did someone say something funny or just plain corny? It is, after all, a Hawaiian-themed party, so the celebrities are taking the theme to heart with dishes that play up that fact. But Ice is also known to break out with a rhyme on the fly. Did he put a silly spin on his dish?
Before you tune in this Monday at 9pm/8c, we’re challenging you, Rachael vs. Guy fans, to write your best captions or rhymes (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.
For the first time on Saturday’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c), the co-hosts introduced fans to what will become a regular segment on the show — Cookbook Club — wherein they welcome a cookbook author to the set to check out his or her recipes and even taste some of the book’s most-tempting dishes.
Pastry chef Jenny McCoy kicked it off this week with her publication, Desserts for Every Season, a sweet-tooth-satisfying collection of easy-to-make treats. While the book boasts recipes that are grouped by seasonal ingredients and flavors, Jenny says that each how-to is approachable enough that you can swap out the fruit featured in one season’s dish for something else — whatever happens to be the freshest when you’re making it. She and Katie wasted no time in cooking up one of the book’s most-decadent recipes, Chocolate-Dried Cherry Bread Pudding — a warm, gooey dessert made with milk chocolate, a bit of orange zest and some chewy dried cherries.
You know Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen(airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Sunny Anderson, then get to know the rest of the group.
Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences. Sunny Anderson: I am hungry, I am impatient and I am lazy. This is how I cook.
Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen? SA: I always talk about food, so why not get paid for it, right? And it’s a good excuse to get Geoffrey Zakarian to cook for me weekly.
One of the things I’ve learned in my years as a home cook is that you can never have too many reliable chili recipes. When I’m cooking for my sister, I go with a recipe for white turkey chili. Whenever my husband does a low-carb stint, my go-to is a batch made with ground beef and lots of vegetables. And when the weather turns frigid (like it has this week), I need a meaty, rich version that will keep us warm and comforted.
One such hearty recipe is Nancy Fuller’s Two-Meat Chili. Served with her Scallion Cornbread, it’s a good meal for days when the mercury drops. You start by crisping a few strips of minced bacon. Once it’s brown and rendered, you pull out the bacon to use in the cornbread. Then you brown your onions and peppers in all that good bacon fat. After that, the spices, tomatoes, beef, pork, beans and broth join the party.
It simmers for nearly an hour, until it has thickened and filled your house with the heady scent of meat, peppers and spices. Topped with shredded cheese and sour cream, it is the perfect thing for parties, tailgates and your next Weekender.