Alton’s Ginger Snaps — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, December 2nd, 2011

It’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from favorite Food Network chefs. Visit Cooking Channel’s blog for even more great takes on holiday baking from Cooking Channel chefs and Food People alike.

Though they are crispier than classic gingerbread cookies, ginger snaps are made with many of the same ingredients and boast a warm, spicy flavor, just like their chewy counterparts. To balance the sweetness of his cookies, Alton uses both fresh and candied ginger with fragrant ground spices. When you take the cookies out of the oven, add a light dusting of “snow” to them by sprinkling each with a bit of sanding sugar.

Get Alton’s Ginger Snaps recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this holiday season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

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Grand Central Fun Facts — The Next Iron Chef

by in Shows, December 1st, 2011

Grand Central Challenge

Behind the scenes on The Next Iron Chef, Food Network’s culinary production team is responsible for making sure that the rival chefs have everything they need to cook and present their dishes — from a stocked pantry to plenty of serving vessels. They shared some fun facts about what it took to pull off the Grand Central Station challenge in episode five.

How many hours did it take to shoot the Grand Central challenge?
Fifteen hours, during which we had to stop production for five minutes because of a flash mob that took place in the terminal.

Was the Grand Central Market closed to regular customers during the challenge?
The market opened to the public just as we were finishing the shopping scramble, so the chefs had to work around some patrons.

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Garam Masala — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, Recipes, December 1st, 2011

smashed and roasted garam masala potatoes
First lesson of Indian cooking: Not all brown powders are curry powder.

Second lesson: Don’t confuse heat and warmth, especially in Indian cuisine, as they are wildly different concepts.

Third lesson: Indian cooking is a deliciously inexact science. Embrace its freewheeling approach and all of your cooking, Indian and otherwise, will be better.

And all of that is why I want to introduce you to garam masala, a widely available yet little used (in the U.S.) seasoning blend from northern India. Like so many Indian spice blends, there is no set recipe for garam masala. The ingredients can vary tremendously by region and cook. But in general, it usually contains a mix of spices that are at once sweet and warming — coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and black pepper.

Get the recipe for Smashed Garam Masala Potatoes »

Ina’s Shortbread Cookies — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, December 1st, 2011

It’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from favorite Food Network chefs. Visit Cooking Channel’s blog for even more great takes on holiday baking from Cooking Channel chefs and Food People alike.

Light, buttery and soft, shortbreads are quintessential holiday cookies made with just a few key ingredients: butter, flour, sugar and vanilla extract. Ina takes her crumbly creations to the next level of decadence by dipping each cooled cutout into smooth melted chocolate. Dunk these beauties in a cup of coffee or serve them with a tall glass of cold milk for a simple dessert or sweet midday treat.

Get Ina’s Shortbread Cookies recipe and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this holiday season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

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Food Network Star Hopeful Makes NY Times 2011 Notable Cookbook List

by in Books, November 30th, 2011

debbie leeEvery year, a new batch of cookbooks hits store shelves. Some bad and some good, but only a handful (or 19 if you agree with The New York Times) rise to the top and really shine.

You’ll see a familiar name while browsing their list: Former Food Network Star (season five) contestant Debbie Lee‘s cookbook, Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share With Family and Friends, made the Times list with glowing reviews.

Debbie’s small plates, cocktails and Asian-inspired comfort classics make Korean food accessible. Sure, you might not be able to pronounce some of the ingredients, but we bet her beer-heavy recipes will make fans out of even her biggest haters.

December Food Festivals

by in Events, November 30th, 2011

pickle drop new years eve
Year-end food festivals are a paltry lot. Nevertheless, they exist and are as jubilant as any festival, regardless of the date. This month brings gingerbread houses, warming beer, local wine and seasonal creativity.

Holiday Ale Festival, Portland, Ore., Nov. 30 to Dec. 4: The last vestiges of Thanksgiving are hopefully fading into pleasant memories in time for a Pacific Northwest beer fete, just in case you didn’t put back enough of it last week. This edition will include more than 45 winter warmers, hefty suds to wick away the damp chill. Held annually under the cover of a tent in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the beloved celebration is known for tapping rare, limited releases. Due to flow, this year is a keg of Cascade Brewing Company 2007 barrel-aged Baltic Porter, which organizers tout as the last one, and a 2005 keg of the brewed-once annual dopplebock Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus. The beer brunch will be hosted on the last day of the festival. Throughout the festivities, designated drivers will receive complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer and bottled water.

More December food festivals »

Top 3 Beet Salad Recipes — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, November 30th, 2011

beet and apple salad
fall festAs November comes to a close, serve one last bright meal that channels summer and casts away the soon-to-be-winter chill. Beets are not only pretty, but this versatile root vegetable can be easily thrown into a quick salad.

When shopping, choose beets that are firm and have smooth skin. Small or medium-sized beets are often more tender, while their color can range from a garnet red to white.

Serve a Beet and Apple Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine as an easy starter. Apples and sugar give this dish a natural sweetness, while endive and walnuts add some crunch.

More beet recipes from family and friends »

50 Pies From Food Network Kitchens

by in Food Network Magazine, November 30th, 2011

50 pies
As a kid, I loved those rotating dessert cases in restaurants. I’d usually have a slice of pie picked out before we even got to the table.

So when it came time to create 50 pie recipes for Food Network Magazine, I often thought about an imaginary dessert case large enough to hold them all. Our solution? We decided to freeze a slice of each and have a little fun.

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Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto — Recipe of the Day

by in Recipes, November 30th, 2011

flatbread with bacon and scallion pesto
Alex uses frozen pizza dough as the base for this upscale appetizer. Top with crème fraiche, briny caper-scallion pesto and crispy bacon.

Get the recipe: Flatbread With Bacon and Scallion Pesto

Browse more of Food Network’s easy and elegant appetizer recipes for the holidays.

Alex Makes: Indian Pudding

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, November 29th, 2011

alex guarnaschelli
This is a classic New England dessert my mother would make during the fall months. She would always make it in a deep, small dish, but I like a shallow (about 2-2 1/2 quart capacity) baking dish. The caramelized apples give the dessert a lighter, fruitier touch. I chose some of my favorite apple varieties for their flavor and ability to hold their shape while cooking. At my local farmers’ market, the guys always have great apple suggestions, and every season I like to pick a new apple variety and make it my “apple of the season.” Last year, I got stuck on the Mutsu for its tart, but also somewhat sweet-when-cooked flavor and crisp texture. This year, I am in search of the perfect cooking apple. What would that entail? An apple that would hold its shape when cooked and also retain a lot of flavor. Not an easy task. I am currently experimenting with Braeburn and Empire apples.

Get the recipe for Indian Pudding »