Tomato Appetizers — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, August 31st, 2011

tomato crostini
It’s week four of our season-long garden party, Summer Fest 2011, where we welcome food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. So far, we’ve delved into cucumbers and peaches

As summer’s stifling heat slowly gives way to fall’s refreshing breezes, throw an outside dinner party with tomatoes front and center.

It’s the perfect time to showcase meaty summer tomatoes, dripping with succulent juice and pulpy seeds, in simple appetizers your guests will surely want seconds of.

Start off simple with Rachael’s Tomato and Shrimp Salad With Horseradish Dressing. Large beefsteak tomatoes brighten the plate, while the shrimp adds a heartiness that isn’t overly filling. Whip up Giada’s Calamari, Tomato and Caper Salad in 20 minutes or less for a dish that’s simply executed with lots of fresh lemon, salt and pepper.

Read more

Surf’s Up — Cupcake Wars Recap

by in Shows, August 31st, 2011

cupcake wars surfs up
Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery. She joins us on the FN Dish each week to recap all the sweet details of the competition from her seat at the judges’ table. Here’s what she had to say about this week’s episode.

This week’s Cupcake Wars was a heated competition as our bakers fought to have their cupcakes showcased at the US Open of Surfing.  Round one transported us to the birthplace of surfing, Hawaii, complete with unique tastes of the islands. All contestants worked with either canned ham or tuna — a risky proposition and difficult to master. Shannon’s slider cupcake was interesting, but missed the mark with its mushy, taro-root frosting. Stephanie’s coconut lime cupcake was soggy with infused pineapple juice — I needed a wetsuit just to handle it.

Read more

How to Make the Perfect Milkshake at Home

by in How-to, August 30th, 2011

cookies and cream milkshake
There’s still a couple weeks of warm weather left and what better way to soak up the sun than with a frosty milkshake, at home. But what makes a good milkshake and how can someone at home re-create something as thick and delicious as they’d get at a restaurant?

At the recent Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, I had what I thought was the best milkshake from Bill’s Bar & Burger — a simple cookies and cream concoction. I had to find out their secret to a successful milkshake. I caught up with the creator, Brett Reichler, Corporate Executive Chef for BR Guest Hospitality, several weeks later for the answer.

According to Chef Reichler, there’s no such thing as a bad milkshake. “It’s a pretty personal thing — a person may like a thicker shake over a thinner, or vice versa,” he said. “I prefer a cookies and cream milkshake on the thicker side.” While his first choice is simple, he’s created everything from classic chocolate and vanilla milkshakes to popular flavors like the Apple Pie, Cheesecake, Strawberry and a Campfire Milkshake with toasted marshmallow on top.

5 Tips for the Perfect Milkshake at Home »

Alex Eats: Tomato and Ginger Salad

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, August 30th, 2011

tomatoes and ginger
alex guarnaschelliEvery week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

If you had asked me to make this salad combination a few years ago, I would have been horrified. Ginger and tomatoes may seem natural to some people, but to a closet Francophile, the ginger feels like a senseless crime against tomatoes. It took eating a salad with these elements to convince me I was wrong. I never considered the almost-spicy heat that ginger contains. I love fresh chiles with the sweetness of tomatoes and how ginger functions in virtually the same way. Celery also offers an amazing crunchy texture.

What kind of tomatoes do I use? I love all tomatoes and buy whatever looks best. I will admit, I particularly love Sungold tomatoes — they are so sweet and have a great texture.

Get the recipe for Alex’s Tomato and Ginger Salad »

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe Pesto — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, August 30th, 2011

orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto
Use broccoli rabe and pistachios to make a summer pesto pasta.

Get the recipe: Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Browse more of Food Network’s Italian recipes.

The Pioneer Woman Talks to Fans on Facebook

by in Community, Food Network Chef, August 29th, 2011

pioneer woman ree drummond
Last Thursday, Ree Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman, dropped by a Food Network Facebook chat. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights:

Jennifer Waters: What is the best way to season a cast-iron skillet?
RD: Jennifer, I have always generously smeared the skillets with shortening. I then heat them for a long time in the oven. But lately, I’ve been cheating and getting the pre-seasoned Lodge pans. They’re amazing.

Nova Wick: How does it feel to transfer from blogging on the Internet, where you interact and talk to your fans, to getting your own show?
RD: Nova, it’s all been such a gradual thing. I love blogging the most; I feel like it’s my core. But the show gives me a chance to show a slightly different view/perspective than my still photos and (sometimes weird) writing. To answer your question, it has felt very natural.

More from Ree Drummond »

Meet Troy Johnson, Host of Crave

by in Food Network Chef, August 29th, 2011

troy johnson crave
I nearly gave up on writing a few years ago. Mostly because my apartment smelled like a lot of things, none of which were money. And I don’t need a fancy car that has massaging seats and offers life advice while parallel parking itself. But my retirement “nest egg” consisted of a few surfboards, quality cookware and a wall of weird indie-rock CDs.

I’d done reasonably well as a music journalist, hosting a TV show and writing for rock magazines. I published a book that was supposed to sell millions and lead to much laughing and crying on Oprah’s furniture. She must have lost my phone number.

I needed to make a change.

So I took a job at a magazine writing about food. I was hesitant at first. But then food and I fell hard for each other.

Four years later, I was in deep. That’s when I saw a blog post: “Host wanted for new TV show on Food Network.”

Read more

Garden Varieties — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, August 29th, 2011

couscous
Embrace the final days of summer with this garden-fresh, veggie-packed plate, complete with tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus and bell peppers — all laced with a balsamic-Dijon marinade and grilled. Toasted pearl-shaped couscous makes this a hearty weeknight meal.

Serve a bowl of Food Network’s Magazine’s Charred Tomato Gazpacho as a simple side to cool you off on the last of these hot, humid nights.

Get the recipe: Bobby’s Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad With Grilled Summer Vegetables

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.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, August 29th, 2011

tomato mozzarella and basil salad
Ina takes a classic salad and seasons it perfectly with good olive oil, salt and pepper. For an eye-catching presentation, purchase tomatoes in yellow, orange and green hues.

Get the recipe: Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Browse more of Food Network’s Labor Day recipes.

An Intro to Canning and Blueberry Jam

by in How-to, Recipes, August 26th, 2011

blueberry jam
When it comes to canning, blueberries were my gateway fruit. During my childhood, I helped my mom make jam with the berries from our annual picking trip. Later, blueberry jam was the first thing I ever canned on my own (though I did call my parents for guidance at least seven times during the making of that initial batch). Spiced with a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest, it tastes like home.

The beauty of blueberry jam is that it sets you up for success. Blueberries contain a lot of natural pectin, so even if you mash and measure imperfectly, nine times out of 10, you’ll still wind up with something spreadable and quite delicious.

What’s more, preparing blueberries for jamming is shockingly easy. All they need is a quick rinse, a careful once-over to remove any stems (don’t throw away the mushy berries, they work just fine in jam) and a thorough smashing. I find it quite satisfying to just plunge my hands in and start squashing. A potato masher is an acceptable substitute if you don’t like to get your hands covered in blueberry goo.

Read more