Fluffy and Sweet: The Best-Ever Buttercream Frostings

by in Recipes, March 18th, 2015

Buttercream FrostingsSure, cakes without frostings exist, but it’s that sweet, fluffy topping that takes the everyday dessert to the next indulgent level. If fondant is the fanciest option and glaze is the most-basic, buttercream is in the sweet spot of the frosting world: a go-to, multipurpose smear that’s ideal atop any treat and easy to prepare with ingredients you already have on hand.

There are just two key elements to a buttercream: butter and sugar. Beyond that, you can dress up the mixture with vanilla extract, chopped chocolate or your favorite colors for special occasions. Read on below to get Food Network’s recipes for the best-ever buttercreams — both chocolate and vanilla — and learn how to recreate top bakery tastes in your own kitchen.

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The Beauty of Halloumi (and Other Melt-Resistant Cheeses)

by in Recipes, March 17th, 2015

michael-symon-halloumi-and-watermelonMove over, meat. There’s a new star player in the kitchen, and I’m not talking about leafy greens. Recently, firmer cheeses — such as halloumi, Indian paneer and Finnish bread cheese (leipäjuusto) — have been getting a lot of attention in the culinary world. And it’s for good reason: Magically, they keep their shape when heated. Their high melting points and low acid content make them perfect for grilling and frying, which gives them that oh-so-desirable crispy brown crust (like in Michael Symon’s Watermelon and Halloumi, pictured above). These melt-and-flow-resistant cheeses also star as a meal’s main ingredient more readily than their silky counterparts. Here are a few ways to experiment with these cheeses at home.

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These Cute Cat Cakes Are Beyond Sweet

by in News, March 17th, 2015

These Cute Cat Cakes Are Beyond SweetAw, cats. Cute, cute cats. You love them on lattes. Now you can enjoy them as tasty treats too — the purrfect coffee-break combo.

A user of the art, design and photography community site Bored Panda who identifies herself as a Japanese Web designer named Laura has posted some adorable photos of “cat sweets” inspired by her own domestic short-haired cat, Apelila. And, photos indicate, Laura also sometimes likes to dress Apelila up in kimonos.

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5 Secrets to Perfect Caramel

by in Recipes, Shows, March 17th, 2015

Caramel SauceThings got off to a sticky start in Episode 3 of All-Star Academy when Mimi attempted her first caramel sauce and Chef Curtis nearly lost his cool. “Pull it off the heat right now! Now!” he bellowed to the home cook from the sidelines. But it was too late. “It’s burnt,” he declared. “Take that caramel sauce [away]. I don’t want to see it.” Fortunately, Mimi was able to shift gears and come up with a whipped cream for her apple crumble that judge Elizabeth Falkner later deemed “awesome.” You might not be so lucky — or have the ingredients for a different topping on hand. To create smooth, buttery caramel the first time around, try the following tips.

1. Gather your ingredients before you start cooking: Caramel can go from silky and sweet to burnt and acrid in less than a minute. With your mix-in ingredients (cream, butter or water) prepped and measured, you can add them at just the right moment to stop the cooking.

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We Asked, You Cooked: Ina’s Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken — Fan Photos

by in Community, March 17th, 2015

We Asked, You Cooked: Ina's Crispy Mustard-Roasted ChickenIt’s no secret that Food Network fans are passionate about watching their favorite chefs take over the kitchen on TV, but for many of you, you’re just as excited to man the stovetop in your kitchen at home as you cook up Food Network’s best-ever recipes. Recently we asked fans to try their hands at an Ina Garten classic — Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken, one of FoodNetwork.com’s most-popular recipes — and take a picture of the finished product. In true superfan sprit, you surely delivered with droolworthy photos. Check out FN Dish’s picks below for the most-enticing shots, then get the recipe for Ina’s easy-to-make chicken dinner.

From Nancy Sutherland Graver: Pictured above

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Green Pizzas for St. Paddy’s Day, Plus 6 More Spring Pies

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 16th, 2015

Pizza is the perfect food for entertaining — a crowd-pleaser with unlimited options for sauce, cheese and toppings. We started with one basic dough recipe and explored some creative combinations of ingredients that celebrate spring. If you’re willing to break with corned-beef-and-cabbage tradition, the naturally green pizzas are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day gatherings. Read more

Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 16th, 2015

Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and CheeseMacaroni and cheese isn’t exactly begging to be transforming; the classic version, with its sharp cheddar bite and golden-brown topping, is, of course, one of the best comfort foods ever. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be dressed up to become an even more wow-worthy version of itself. Enter: Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese.

The gooey richness and subtle spice you love in jalapeno poppers is baked into Food Network Kitchen’s indulgent mac and cheese (pictured above), a big-batch casserole that’s impressive enough to make for guests yet easy to prepare in less than an hour. In addition to tender sauteed fresh jalapenos, pickled jalapenos are mixed into the smooth cheddar-Gruyère cheese sauce for especially bold flavor — but don’t let the fear of too much heat scare you. The chefs in our Food Network Kitchen explain that the result is simply “pleasantly spicy.” Before baking, blanket the dish with buttery panko and fresh jalapeno slices to guarantee a crispy, crunchy topping.

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Here’s to a Sweet Season Ahead with the New Series Spring Baking Championship

by in Shows, March 16th, 2015

Spring Baking ChampionshipAs temperatures begin to warm with the turn to spring, the competition in the kitchen heats up as eight of the country’s most-talented bakers compete on Food Network’s new series Spring Baking Championship, premiering Sunday, April 26 at 9|8c. Bobby Deen hosts this sweet competition, in which contestants attempt to rise to the occasion with their springtime treats and win a sweet spot in the hearts of judges Duff Goldman, Nancy Fuller and Lorraine Pascale. Only one winner will take home the grand prize of $50,000 and the title of Spring Baking Champion.

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7 Ways to Put Peanut Butter and Jelly on More Than Just Bread

by in Recipes, March 16th, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly BarsWhether you grew up finding smushed PB&Js in your lunchbox or you’ve graduated to enjoying Jeff Mauro’s next-level version (it’s fried!) as a grownup, there’s no denying that peanut butter and jelly are simply better together. But that doesn’t mean the only way to enjoy these fan-favorite spreads is by slathering them on two slices of spread. From layered dessert bars and filled cupcakes to cool, creamy milkshakes, read on below for seven of the ultimate ways to mash up PB&J.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (pictured above): Ina smoothes a sweet jam (she opts for raspberry, but you can use any flavor) atop a buttery peanut butter crust before finishing the bars with third and fourth layers: creamy peanut butter frosting and chopped nuts for welcome crunch.

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“This Is Better Than a Regular Tuna Melt” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, March 15th, 2015

Though it just so happens that many sabotages lead Cutthroat Kitchen chefs to turn out inferior dishes, thanks to the oddball ingredients and haphazard tools, each challenge is — believe it or not — designed to ensure that the competitors have what they need to succeed. That’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in; before a sabotage is sold at auction, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew must attempt it behind the scenes to ensure that it is indeed fair for contestants.

In the latest test, on a spicy-tuna sushi swap-out during a tuna melt challenge, it turned out that this challenge not only allowed for a successful tuna melt, but ultimately set the scene for creating a sandwich far superior to the original. Food stylist Hugo Sanchez hollowed out sushi rolls to excavate the seafood inside, and after he combined the fish with a bit of mayo, plus fresh green and purple onions, and then mounded the mixture with cheese between slices of bread, the resulting dish turned out “better than a regular tuna melt,” he proclaimed. “It’s got a little spice, which I normally wouldn’t have added.”

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