Eggplant 5 Ways

by in In Season, August 27th, 2014

Eggplant 5 WaysTomatoes get all the love during summer’s peak, and while I do adore them, I really fall for eggplant this time of year. The most common of them are the large deep-purple ones called black beauty, or sometimes globe eggplants. A trip to your local farmers market will reveal the many other varieties that abound —  Fairy Tale, Turkish, Japanese and Italian are just a few of them.

When working with the large globe eggplants, it’s important to salt them. This helps remove any bitterness and draws out extra moisture from the eggplant. Fried eggplant was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, and it’s something my daughters love now. Nowadays I alternate between frying eggplant on the stovetop and making this crispy baked version for a healthier way to fulfill our cravings. Here are five more ways to enjoy eggplant while it’s in season.

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Chatting with the Chopped Ultimate Champions: Pros, Part 1 Winner

by in View All Posts, August 26th, 2014

Chopped Ultimate Champions: ProsFor the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s first round, four professional chefs battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history, $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 1.

Read the interview with the winner

There’s More Than One Way to Skin an Eel — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, August 26th, 2014

 When faced with an ingredient like eel, most chefs would run the other way, but the judges on Chopped After Hours take the challenge in stride: “You think some slippery eels are going to shake our nerves?” retorts Aarón. Geoffrey recommends that the skin be removed, which is an important step. Only one pro chef managed to serve his dish with eel that had the skin removed in the appetizer round of the Ultimate Champions premiere. His dish turned out to be the judges’ favorite, but the other dishes left something to be desired — i.e., no skin.

Geoffrey, Chris and Aarón are cooking with the appetizer basket ingredients — eel, pepihuates, shaved coconut and sea beans — from tonight’s episode. Even though Geoffrey points out they’re not equipped to properly skin an eel, the three judges cleverly decide to parboil it first, which makes removing the skin and bones much easier compared with how the episode’s chefs struggled. The only ingredient that leaves Geoffrey flummoxed is the pepihuates. “Watch me magically transform it,” Chris asserts. Aarón explains it’s simply a Mexican tomato-based snack/drink with peanuts and a tamarind stick — not unlike a Bloody Mary, Ted thinks.

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“The Sacred Mushroom” — Everything You Need to Know About Morels

by in How-to, August 26th, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About Morel MushroomsThere are some ingredients that just scream luxury. Think of these ingredients as examples: caviar, lobster, truffles and Champagne. While we may know small bits of information on these products, if pressed for more info, we might struggle to give a detailed description of what they are, where they come from and what makes them so special (and so expensive).

This new feature will put on a spotlight on some of my favorite luxury ingredients. But I hope that when you read these articles, you will be inspired to seek out the best of the best and discover why your favorite Food Network chefs love them so much.

What are morels?
Everyone has a list of their own favorite ingredients, but there is one item that I know will bring a teary look of appreciation to just about every chef I encounter, and that is the morel mushroom. So much so that when I reached out to Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli for her opinion of the morel, she referred to it as the “sacred mushroom.”

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Finish Summer Strong with Labor Day Cookout Classics

by in Holidays, August 26th, 2014

Labor Day Cookout ClassicsCome Monday in honor of Labor Day, you’ll be swapping your briefcases, lunchboxes and break-your-shoulder bags for picnic baskets and beach totes. Instead of moseying through the cafeteria or eating from Tupperware at your desk, this day off demands a spread that’s ideal for outdoor eating. Set up a menu that screams day off and works for picnics, porches, backyard parties or anything without four walls. Here are the recipes you simply can’t end summer without:

Dress up shredded chicken or turkey with celery, mayo and onions for Chicken or Turkey Salad Sandwiches. Fold in apple, fennel or radish if you’re looking for a more exciting crunch.

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Go Southwestern and Beyond in Tucson — On the Road with The Great Food Truck Race

by in Restaurants, Shows, August 26th, 2014

huevos rancheros on The Great Food Truck RaceThe second stop in The Great Food Truck Race brought the rookies to Tucson. Many of the trucks thought that going from Southern California to the Southwest meant it would be an easy transition, but that wasn’t the case for everyone. Those who took the opportunity to adapt to local tastes found the best customer response, resulting in top sales. And Tyler’s Truck Stop challenge had the teams all selling a Sonoran hot dog, which proved to be one of the best ways of testing the teams’ marketing abilities. In the end, the team from SoCal came in first place, proving that they could make a comeback from last week.

Whether you’re looking for Southwestern favorites like burgers, Sonoran hot dogs or modern Mexican cuisine, we’ve narrowed down the restaurant offerings to the top 10 from the area, which include a few surprises like Jamaican stew and a Philly favorite.

Get the Restaurant Listings

5 Steps to Perfectly Grilled Meat

by in How-to, August 25th, 2014

5 Steps to Perfectly Grilled MeatGrilling meat is a pretty basic concept. It’s grilling meat well that gets more complicated — but not much, once you commit these meat commandments to memory.

By Teri Tsang Barrett

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