Iron Chef America — Tailgating in Hawaii

by in Shows, January 29th, 2012

iron chef america hawaii
As a very recent immigrant to the United States, I have to hold my hand up and say that most American sports remain a complete mystery to me. Until recently, I thought the term “all net” referred to fishing and that a “power play” was something you found at a Van Halen concert. But, even in my ignorance, I still knew all about the Super Bowl, one of the greatest sport events on earth.

So, when Food Network got in touch and asked me if I would like to judge a very special Iron Chef America episode to air just before Super Bowl XLVI, I jumped at the chance. When I found out it was going to be filmed in Hawaii, I was even more determined to take part and, when I was told that my fellow judges were going to be the irrepressible Sunny Anderson and the current Miss Hawaii, Brandie Cazimero, I almost offered to pay for my own ticket. Almost.

What made it more exciting for everyone involved was that this episode was also going to have a very, very special audience selected from the extraordinary men and women of the United States armed forces. It made all of us even more determined to put on a great show, particularly Sunny, who is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

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Pollo Frito — The Weekender

by in Recipes, January 27th, 2012

pollo frito
Until last weekend, I’d never made fried chicken at home. This is primarily because I grew up in a household that did not deep-fry. My mother preferred the kind of cooking that employed a nonstick skillet and the barest coating of heart-friendly olive oil. When we’d go out to eat, she would expound on the many dangers of fried foods and point my sister and me toward lighter, more healthful options. French fries were a very rare treat and chicken fingers came only in baked varieties.

It wasn’t until high school that I had my first piece of fried chicken. A dear friend’s mother prided herself on her perfectly cooked, crisp, tender drumsticks and delighted in making it for us. I gobbled it down hungrily and didn’t tell my family.

In recent years, fried chicken has gotten increasingly trendy. It’s got a pleasantly retro-kitsch appeal, so higher-end restaurants have begun to add it to their menus. I’ve taken advantage of those offerings on occasion, all the while believing that it was still something best left to professionals or those families with a serious fried chicken tradition.

Before you start heating your oil, read these tips »

Chinese Takeout at Home

by in Recipes, January 27th, 2012

Though it’s easy to pick up the phone and order Chinese food takeout, it can be just as simple to cook up those white-box favorites in your own kitchen — often without the extra cost and unnecessary calories and fat. Prep your pantry for traditional Chinese recipes by picking up a few Asian-food staples, such as soy and chili sauces, rice wine vinegar and fresh ginger, and you’ll be ready to serve up classic appetizers and main dishes in a flash. Find a menu of our favorite Chinese foods below, including stir-fried chicken, fried rice, dumpling soup and more.

Though they’re far more heart-healthy than their deep-fried counterparts, Baked Spring Rolls are every bit as light, golden and perfectly crisp. Those pictured above from Food Network Magazine are filled with delicate lump crab, green cabbage and fresh ginger and served with a salty, sweet soy-mirin sauce.

More Chinese takeout recipes »

Flank Steak — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, January 26th, 2012

balsamic pepper flank steak
So you think you know steaks? Maybe you do.

But truth is, you probably only really know the particular cuts you buy over and over again. That’s good, but there’s a world of great beef out there to explore.

And many of those cuts (and by the way, butchers are creating new ones all the time) are far more versatile than you think.

You could spend ages learning the different cuts of beef and the various names for each (there isn’t nearly as much naming standardization as you would think). But I think it’s better to simply pick a cut you haven’t often prepared at home and start playing around with it. That’s how I learned to love flank steak.

First, the basics. Flank steaks are lean cuts from the rear side of the cow and are characterized by rich, deep, beefy flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Traditionally, London broils were made using flank steaks, though today any of the leaner, less tender cuts often are substituted.

Get the recipe for Balsamic-Pepper Flank Steak »

Best 5 Meatloaf Recipes

by in Recipes, January 26th, 2012

meatloaf recipe
A go-to comfort food favorite that the whole family will enjoy, meatloaf is a foolproof dish that is as quick to prepare as it is easy on the wallet. Whether you prefer turkey or beef varieties, adding fresh vegetables, spices and a tasty glaze to your meatloaf promises that it will be rich in texture and bold flavors. Check out Food Network’s top five meatloaf recipes below and cook up one for dinner tonight.

5. New Classic Meatloaf — Quick-cooking oats and molasses are “new” ingredients Ellie adds to her traditional meatloaf recipe, featuring ground beef, button mushrooms and herbs.

4. Turkey Meatloaf With Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes — Chewy herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes and tangy feta cheese offer texture and a Mediterranean flair to Giada’s easy weeknight meatloaf.

Get the top three recipes for meatloaf »

Does a $10,000 Bottle of Wine Taste Like $10,000?

by in Drinks, January 25th, 2012

expensive wine bottle
When you write about wine, you sometimes get to taste the really expensive stuff. I’m not talking filet mignon or even white-truffle expensive. I’m talking splurging like Diddy-in-a-diamond-hoodie-on-a-yacht expensive.

When a collector shares one of these bottles with me, friends later ask, “Does it taste like [insert obscenely expensive price]?”

The honest answer: It doesn’t, at least not to the untrained palate, and probably not even to most trained palates.

The lesson here is that while the price is often reflective of a wine’s quality, it is so only up to a point. And even when a wine is of high quality — from the best grapes handled by the most talented hands — it doesn’t mean that you are going to automatically taste its full price. In fact, some of the most-prized bottles can evoke qualities — think soy sauce or pencil lead or even a barnyard in August — that are off-putting to the uninitiated.

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Upload Your Best Super Bowl Party Foods

by in Community, January 25th, 2012

Reuben Sliders

We know you’re working hard to plan the best Super Bowl bash imaginable, so it’s only natural that you should want to brag. Get in on the football fun by uploading your best appetizers, snacks and finger foods to our Food Network Fans’ Brag Book: Party Shots. If it’s finger-licking good then we want to see it. Winners get the ultimate bragging rights: We’ll feature our favorites in their very own post on FN Dish.

 

Recipes With Color: Pink Champagne

by in Recipes, January 24th, 2012

bobby flay's grapefruit and mint salad
Ringing in the new year is a color that is both fresh and luscious. On HGTV’s Color of the Month blog, January’s hue has stirred up mixed reactions in the design world, but for food enthusiasts it’s a vital hue from our food rainbow. We see it in immunity-boosting foods like citrus and salmon. The hero this month is a shade called Pink Champagne and it’s here to rescue us from nagging colds in the form of grapefruit.

For me, this happy color is an escape from winter. Growing up, my aunt used to send baskets of oranges and grapefruits from Florida every winter. Savoring a slice of grapefruit this time of year always brings back warm memories for me. In lieu of this year’s shipment, I have been stocking up on bags of Florida pink grapefruits from the store and eating one every day. Why carve out half a grapefruit when you can enjoy the whole thing?

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Avoid Common Kitchen Accidents

by in How-to, January 24th, 2012

Did you know that the fifth most-common finger cut can happen while you split a bagel? It’s got a name too: BRI, or bagel-related injury. Sometimes avoiding these kitchen problems is easier said than done, so here are a few tips to help you navigate your kitchen more safely.

1. Safely Split a Bagel
Lay it flat on a work surface while pressing down with one hand to keep it steady with your fingers splayed upward and out of harm’s reach. Hold a sharp serrated bread knife in your other hand and slice the bagel horizontally, keeping the knife parallel to the work surface.

2. Wipe Up Spills Immediately
Always keep dishrags handy while you’re cooking in the kitchen and toss one over a spill you might not have time for at the moment as a visual reminder — and clean it up as soon as you have time.

Stabilize your cutting board and more »

An Italian Feast

by in Recipes, January 23rd, 2012

It’s not too early to start thinking about dinner this weekend. Ditch those jarred tomato sauces, grab the family and cook up an authentic Italian-style feast in your own kitchen. We’ve compiled an entire menu of trattoria classics, such as pasta with meat sauce, hunter-style chicken, traditional tiramisu and more, so that you can bring the tried-and-true tastes of Italy into your home. Check out our favorite Italian recipes below, then let us know how you prepare your best Italian dishes.

If your Sunday dinners are anything like those at my house, they inevitably involve pasta with meat sauce, and maybe some ravioli or gnocchi, too. Food Network Magazine’s heavenly Sunday Meat Sauce With Orecchiette (pictured above) is full of robust flavors and hearty ingredients, including almost a dozen garlic cloves, authentic San Marzano tomatoes, tender beef and moist meatballs. Instead of resorting to spaghetti or rigatoni, give orecchiette noodles a try — the sauce perfectly coats and seeps into the underbelly of this tiny turtle shell-shaped pasta.

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