Have You Tried: Saffron?

by , February 18th, 2012
saffron

Have you tried saffron? A little pinch goes a long way.

It’s hard to believe that a tiny part of a flower can also be a highly prized spice. Have you ever tasted the most expensive spice in the world?

What Is Saffron?
The delicate threads of saffro...

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Presidential Eats

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 17th, 2012


If you’re lucky enough to have a day off of work or school on Monday, you can thank the first president of the United States, George Washington, as his birthday is celebrated each year on the third Monday of February. Celebrate this government holiday by cooking up our menu of presidential eats. We’re featuring a fish dish to commemorate Washington’s love of seafood, traditional Chicago- and Hawaiian-style favorites to honor President Obama’s roots and an authentic Indian dish to celebrate Washington, D.C.’s diverse food scene. Tell us: What will you be making on Presidents’ Day?

A true fish fan, Washington would have likely reveled in Food Network Magazine’s Tilapia With Green Beans (pictured above), a protein-packed plate that is bursting with fresh flavor. This flaky whitefish is quickly sautéed in a decadent butter-lemon sauce and served with tender green beans and softened cherry tomatoes.

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Focaccia — The Weekender

by in Recipes, February 17th, 2012

focaccia bread
I spent the first 25 years of my life entirely afraid of yeast. I wasn’t fearful of bread, mind you. It was scared of yeast as an ingredient. I heard it was very easy to kill and I lived in terror that if I took even the smallest misstep with a recipe, I’d ruin the whole thing and wind up with a bowl of flaccid pancake batter in place of a batch of bread dough.

And so I stayed away. I learned to make quick breads, scones and biscuits, and kept my distance from yeast. That is, until the no-knead bread craze swept the scene about six years ago. It was such a novel and approachable concept that I tried it. I ended up with a beautiful loaf of bread and was entirely infatuated with the process. It opened me up to yeast and we’ve been friends ever since.

These days, I bake some form of bread at least once every other week and have become so smitten that I even have a sourdough starter that I carefully tend to. Still, yeast is my first bread baking love and there’s nothing like it for a reliably light loaf for sandwiches and toast.

The most recent yeasty recipe I took for a spin was the Focaccia recipe from Anne Burrell. It’s a blessedly simple version, with just six ingredients (and that includes the water). For those of you who still harbor a bit of yeast anxiety, it’s just the thing to help you over that hump. And on a Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing nicer than having a bit of warm, tender bread to dip into a bowl of soup. Just the thing for The Weekender.

Before you start kneading, here are a few things you should know.

Meet This Grain: Amaranth

by , February 17th, 2012
amaranth

Have you tried amaranth?

This under-appreciated grain is a perfect way to get in your whole grains, plus it’s gluten-free. Get tips on cooking it and creative recipes to try this tiny grain.

What is Amaranth?
Also called pigweed or Chinese spinach,...

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On the Blogs: Babyccinos, Michelle Obama and Parisian Hot Dogs

by in Community, February 16th, 2012

cappuccinoEater: Babyccinos (decaf cappuccinos for toddlers) are popular in Brooklyn, creating a new generation of java drinkers. How soon is too soon?

Saveur: Need a kick of flavor? A dollop of this North African sauce may be the answer.

Inside Scoop SF: California chefs respond to the upcoming ban on foie gras.

CNN Opinion: Michelle Obama speaks about positive strides in the fight against child obesity.

NY Times: Hot dogs can be classy, too. Three-star Michelin chef Yannick Alleno gives them a Parisian twist.


Instant Coffee — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, February 16th, 2012

bourbon java steak tips
Most of us have to be suffering from a pretty mind-blowing caffeine-withdrawal migraine before we’ll reach for instant coffee.

Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy some. Because while instant coffee makes a generally lousy cup of java, it can do astounding things for your cooking.

And that is why it is such an overlooked and underappreciated ingredient.

First, an instant-coffee primer.

Coffee hounds have been tinkering with versions of instant coffee since at least the late 1700s, but it wasn’t until just before World War II that it became widely available.

Those early varieties were made by spraying brewed coffee into heated towers and drying it into granules. By 1964, a freeze-drying method had been perfected, which boasted superior aroma and body.

Get the recipe for Bourbon Java Steak Tips »

Shortbread Cookies — The New Girl

by in Recipes, February 16th, 2012

shortbread cookies
I’m the new girl. As a Food Network assistant and wannabe chef, I’m just starting to find my way around the kitchen. This is what I’ve learned so far.

1) Success not only takes hard work, but patience and time as well.

2) Graduating college didn’t immediately launch me to Barefoot Contessa status.

I’ve finally accepted that it is okay to be new. However daunting it may seem, I have to start somewhere — in work, in the kitchen, in the inescapable “real world.”

When I need inspiration, I think back to where my interest in cooking began. Unbeknownst to her, Ina Garten has had a great influence in my life. Watching the Barefoot Contessa in between classes at school helped me to discover my passion for food.

This past weekend my boyfriend and I escaped the city for a relaxing visit with his parents. I wanted to bring something simple, sweet and transportable, so I thought to myself, “What would Ina do?” My answer: shortbread cookies.

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Frozen Diet Meals: Good or Bad?

by , February 16th, 2012
frozen diet meals

Are frozen diet meals as healthy as they sound?

While the allure of healthy prepared meals fresh out of a box may be tempting, are these frozen diet foods actually good for you?

Pros
Frozen diet meals like Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers and Healthy Ch...

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