by Maria Russo in Shows, April 28th, 2013
by Jonathan Milder in Books, Holidays, April 27th, 2013
When it comes to critiquing Chopped competitors’ unusual dishes, the judges aren’t shy about sharing their reactions to the meal; they’re quick to offer opportunities for improvement and suggestions for better offerings. If battles suddenly were to be flipped, however, and the judges faced off with the same mystery baskets as the contestants, would they be able to succeed where others have been chopped?
Last month FN Dish broke the news that for the first time, the judges will be taking over the kitchen in online-only After Hours battles, and on Tuesday, April 30, members of the panel will go head-to-head-to-head with the same ingredients that will be featured on that night’s show. After watching the competition unfold, it will be up to them to take what they’ve learned from the chefs — both successes and missteps — and try their hands at creating plates within the same set of rules and time constraints.
Take a look at the sneak-peek photo above from Tuesday’s judges’ battle. As Chris is concentrating on plating his dish, Aarón and Marc drop by for an early look at what he’s made. Are they there to distract Chris in the final few minutes of cooking, or do you think they’re asking to taste what he’s made? Will the judges prove to competitors everywhere that cooking against the Chopped clock isn’t so difficult after all, or will they struggle like seasons’ worth of competitors have before them?
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by Katie Cavuto-Boyle, April 27th, 2013
A quick history lesson: Cinco de Mayo was born on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year 1862, when General Ignacio Zaragoza, with the support of local civilians and Zacapoaxtla Indians, led 2,000 poorly equipped Mexican soldiers to victory over 6,000 French cavalry and infantrymen at the Battle of Puebla. Though Zaragoza’s success was short-lived — the following year, French forces swept through Puebla en route to Mexico City, where they managed to overthrow the still-young Mexican Republic — his victory lives on in Mexico, where Cinco de Mayo is a minor national holiday, primarily observed in Puebla and Mexico City. And also more obscurely but perhaps more passionately, in the United States, where in recent decades Cinco de Mayo has morphed into a major festival of Chicano culture.
It’s with this latter, domestic incarnation in mind that, for this month’s cookbook recommendations, I have plucked some choice morsels detailing the remarkable contributions of Mexican-Americans to regional cooking in the United States. So, just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here is a virtual tour of Mexican-influenced border cooking — from Tex-Mex to Cal-Mex, with a stop along the way in Santa Fe, N.M. — in four cookbooks that beautifully sketch the cultural wellsprings from which these regional cuisines were born.
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by Maria Russo in Family, Recipes, April 27th, 2013
My 22-month-old, Hudson, is a great eater as far as I’m concerned. But that doesn’t mean he won’t dive into a bag of Goldfish crackers and devour them all. It takes a certain amount of effort to offer our little ones snacks that ar...
by Robin Miller, April 27th, 2013
Whether you’re grocery shopping to feed just yourself or an entire family of 10, it’s easy for your total bill at the checkout counter to reach an uncomfortably high price, even if you’re stocking up on essentials alone. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of your wallet, and indeed eating well on a budget is easy to do. The key to making wholesome meals without breaking the bank is knowing which products to buy — and knowing how to best put them to use to get the most out of them in dishes that your family will enjoy. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite money-saving tips below, plus get can-do, kid-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare on a budget.
Make Each Ingredient Go Further
To stretch the value a somewhat pricey ingredient, like meat, mix it with far more inexpensive products that won’t distract from the overall taste or texture of the dish. The next time you make tacos, burritos or burgers, try swapping out a portion of the beef or chicken for mashed beans or rice; the supper won’t suffer, and you’ll use less meat to feed more people. In her recipe for Beef and Black Bean Sliders (pictured above), Ten Dollar Dinners host Melissa d’Arabian combines ground beef with cooked black beans to create moist, flavorful burgers on a budget. She forms the mixture into traditional patties, grills them and serves them on toasted buns with tangy coleslaw for a fuss-free 10-minute meal.
Keep reading for more tips and recipes
by Andrea Albin in Food Network Magazine, April 27th, 2013
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? But do you also love the 500-600 calories and 15-25 grams of fat per cup that comes with it (and who has just one cup)? Truth is, you don’t need heaps of fat to create a creamy and sensuous macaroni and c...
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 26th, 2013
I have to admit that the April booklet, 50 Salad Dressings, was a crowd favorite in the Food Network Test Kitchen. As much as we love indulging in chicken wings, macaroni and cheese and all the other delicious dishes we’ve recently covered in our 50 Booklets, it was a welcome change to have tastings that involved salads and vegetables. We love greens in any form and what’s great about these recipes is that they aren’t just for lettuce: They can also be drizzled over steamed asparagus and sauteed broccoli rabe, or used for dipping steamed artichoke leaves. Here is an extra dressing recipe that didn’t make it into the booklet, but is a favorite of mine. It gets a complex, floral flavor from chamomile tea and has a slight sweetness that goes really well on sturdier, slightly bitter greens like frisee and escarole.
Creamy Chamomile: Steep 2 chamomile tea bags in 1/4 cup hot cider vinegar 10 minutes; cool. Blend vinegar with 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 large egg in a blender; gradually add 1/2 cup vegetable oil until creamy.
by Marisa McClellan in Entertaining, April 26th, 2013
When it comes to cooking on Chopped, much is made of each round’s mystery baskets, filled with four unusual and often disparate ingredients that chefs are required to incorporate into their dishes. While these oddball picks are, of course, what add deliciously addictive intrigue and drama to the show, it takes more than just a spread of peanut brittle, Marsala wine, durian and wonton wrappers to outcook the chopping block. If the competitors want to survive three rounds of intense culinary battle, they must utilize next-level appliances and advanced tools, in addition to a myriad of common and eccentric products alike, to transform the basket ingredients and create a winning plate.
To make sure competitors can do that as efficiently as possible within the short amount of time they have to cook, the culinary team that works Chopped has outfitted each chef’s prep station with ready-to-go equipment and stocked the pantry and refrigerator with almost every ingredient imaginable. FN Dish was curious about those supplies and wanted to know what kinds of ingredients are awaiting the chefs in the multiple nooks and crannies of Chopped Kitchen, so we turned to the culinary producer of the show to answer questions and provide an insider’s look at the set. Find out what she had to say below, then get an exclusive look at the kitchen, peek inside the refrigerator and see what’s on pantry shelves by browsing behind-the-scenes photos.
About how many ingredients are stocked in the pantry and refrigerator?
About 70 in fridge and about 200 in pantry
by Dana Angelo White, April 26th, 2013
My birthday is less than a month away, so I’m in the process of conducting my annual cake audition. I got in the habit of making my own celebratory cake some years back as a way to try out intriguing recipes and to stretch my baking skills a little. In the weeks before my big day, I make a few new-to-me cakes, in the hopes of finding something fun and tasty to serve.
Three years ago, I made lavender-infused cupcakes to take to a party in a friend’s garden. Two years ago, I layered and frosted my way to a triple-decker chocolate cake. Last May, I mixed things up with a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It didn’t hold candles well, but it received raves from my friends.
Recently, I’ve had cheesecake on the brain, so I decided to tackle a few different versions in the hopes of finding a worthy candidate. I started with Bobby Deen’s recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake. I was attracted by the fact that it’s lighter than traditional cheesecake — and it’s easy to put together. It can be made in a single bowl and doesn’t require a water bath to keep it tender.
My tasters and I came to the conclusion that while it’s not indulgent enough for a birthday, it may be the perfect spur-of-the-moment cake for casual gatherings. That makes it just perfect for The Weekender!
Before you start baking, read these tips
by Joseph Erdos in Shows, April 26th, 2013
A personal favorite of mine, these deliciously chunky nuts are good for more than just munching.
Buttery flavor, big crunch, and subtle sweetness sums up these medium-sized round nuts. Although native to Australia, Hawaii has since ...
Start the morning off this Sunday with mouthwatering new episodes of Guy’s Big Bite and Sandwich King. Guy makes a delicious meal of turkey lasagna packed with cheesy goodness and Jeff learns the secrets to making classic Vietnamese sandwiches. In the evening tune in for a special birthday treat on Cupcake Wars as the competitors battle to win the approval of guest judge and birthday girl Tiffani Thiessen. Afterward, in the fourth round of Chopped All-Stars, celebrities Johnny Weir, Joey Fatone, Laila Ali and Judy Gold descend upon the Chopped kitchen to compete for the first time. Last, Robert Irvine must contend with some creepy crawlers in his next restaurant redo.
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