The Case for Canned Beans — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, March 29th, 2012

breakfast burrito
I love a perfectly cooked bean — tender to the bite, yet toothsome. I’m also the first to admit that taste-wise, nothing compares to cooking up a pot of dried beans from scratch. My ideal strategy is to cook double the amount I need, and store leftovers in the fridge for the week ahead, or the freezer; I like to call this my secret stash.

This doesn’t mean I rule out recipes that call for beans when I find my fridge and freezer with nary a cooked one in sight. That’s when I dip into my other secret stash. Yes, that’s right, I keep canned beans in the pantry, too. First and foremost, beans are an inexpensive source of protein. They’re also high in iron, which is especially important for vegetarians since meat is the other main source of this necessary nutrient.

The trick is to test out different brands until you find one that isn’t mushy and overcooked. I usually keep a backup can or two of pintos, black beans and red kidney beans. They all help get a quick vegetarian meal ready in less than 30 minutes, add an extra boost of protein to breakfast or serve as a hearty side dish.

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What to Watch: Classy Ladies

by in Shows, March 28th, 2012

alie and georgia oysters
We’re shaking things up on FN Dish. This week, we want you to check out something new and exciting on CookingChannelTV.com: Classy Ladies.

Go on location with Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark as they consult the experts of the culinary world. Join the ladies as they get a lesson in gelato-making, consult a master oyster assassin, visit the butcher to discover where bacon comes from and more. After the field trip, it’s time to put the lessons into practice by serving up themed cocktails and appetizers.

Watch one of my favorite episodes after the jump, where Alie and Georgia go right to the source for their bacon and then turn it into the ultimate cocktail. Want more? Watch more videos of Classy Ladies here.

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Be a Part of Share Our Strength’s Food Blogger Bake Sale

by in Events, March 28th, 2012

share our strength blogger bake sale
It’s that time of the year again when Share Our Strength hosts the Great American Bake Sale, an incredible feat that asks people across the country to host or participate in a bake sale to raise money for the 1 in 5 kids in America struggling with hunger on one day, Saturday, April 28.

This year, Bloggers Without Borders is working with our own writer Gaby Dalkin, of What’s Gaby Cooking, to help spread the word via bloggers. Well, FN Dish wanted to help, too. Last year, they raised $25,000 through 26 bake sales. This year, Share Our Strength has set a challenge to raise $50,000 with the help of bloggers from all 50 states.

With just $1 connecting a child to 10 meals, the community would be helping Share Our Strength ensure that the more than 16 million kids facing hunger today never go hungry again.

Here’s how you can help:

Get Involved: Click here for a list of bake sales already taking place. If you’re interested in participating in a bake sale, please reach out to the host. If there isn’t a bake sale taking place in your area, maybe you’d like to host one (see details below).

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Party Idea: Flowerpot Dip

by in Food Network Magazine, March 28th, 2012

flowerpot dipLiven up a party crudité platter with a trip to the hardware store: Terra-cotta planters make great (and cheap) dip bowls. Line the inside of the pot with parchment paper, then fill with hummus and “plant” some vegetables in the dip.

(Photograph by Charles Masters)

Best 5 Chocolate Pie Recipes

by in Recipes, March 27th, 2012

chocolate cream pie

Two desserts that are decadently delicious on their own, chocolate and pie, are bettered only when combined, creating an intensely rich and comforting dish that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Whether you’re serving guests or simply preparing an after-dinner treat for your family, Food Network’s top five chocolate pie recipes will impress crowds and kids alike.

5. Moo-Less Chocolate Pie — Alton’s milk-free dessert boasts traditional taste and texture, thanks to semisweet chocolate chips, a squeeze of honey and one secret ingredient: silken tofu.

4. Bobby’s Lighter Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie — Made with low-fat milk and fat-free whipped topping, this no-bake pie guarantees guilt-free decadence without sacrificing your favorite flavors.

Get the top three recipes

How to Shop: Buying Honey

by in How-to, March 27th, 2012

types of honeyI am always seduced by the honey stand at my local green market. The beeswax candles, the pollen and the different flavors of honey — how can so much good stuff come from such small creatures?

Here are some of my guidelines for buying honey:

— When I get the chance, I buy the single variety, usually yielded from only one type of flower, from a local producer that I trust. I find color speaks louder than words. Darker honeys, like chestnut and fir varieties, are rarer and have a stronger flavor. I use those on top of pancakes or add to braised carrots or roasted squash. Lighter-colored varieties, like acacia and clover, are mellower and great in tea. They add their honey “note,” but don’t obscure the tea.

Read more of Alex’s tips

Dandelion Greens — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, Recipes, March 26th, 2012

dandelion green cornbread
Let’s get the hard part out of the way. This week, I’m suggesting you eat something most people spend the better part of their adult lives trying to eradicate from their lawns: dandelion greens. Not the flowers or stems or the puffy white seeds kids love to blow (thereby complicating your eradication efforts).

Just the long, green leaves that grow toward the base of the plant.

While we know it better as a weed, since prehistory the leaves of this plant have been gathered and consumed around the world.

Americans have been cooking with them for many years. In fact, Fannie Farmer included them in the first edition (1896) of her classic cookbook.

The taste is a bit of a cross between arugula and kale — slightly bitter and robustly peppery. They are about a foot long with a saw-tooth edge.

Get the recipe for Cumin-Dandelion Green Cornbread