Super Bowl Nacho Showdown

by in Recipes, February 5th, 2011
nacho
Sunny Anderson, Kelsey Nixon and Claudia Sidoti judged all of our nachos, picking their faves.

Some of us like to think of every day as Nacho Day but Super Bowl is a good excuse for a Texas-sized crowdpleasing nacho celebration. We hosted a Throwdown-worthy nacho-off in our Chelsea headquarters Friday, with Food Network, Cooking Channel and Food.com competing, cooking up bags and bags of crunchy, melty, meaty (and some veggie) nachos. Who judged? Sunny Anderson, Kelsey Nixon and the Food Network Kitchens’ nacho expert Claudia Sidoti stopped by, ate all of our creations and huddled to choose the best.

Read more

Alton’s Perfect Buffalo Wings

by in Recipes, February 3rd, 2011
Alton Brown's Buffalo Wings
Dive into Alton's playbook for Buffalo Wings that can't be beat.

For Super Bowl Sunday, try tackling hot wings Alton-style, with a little science in your back pocket and a trick play up your sleeve. You’ll score a perfect touchdown, guaranteed, with these crispy-skinned wonders. Here are some of his hot wing secrets, step-by-step.

Steaming?: First, Alton loads up a steamer basket (yes, the one you usually use for broccoli) with the raw chicken wings and steams them for 10 minutes. Why would you do this? The extra fat will melt off and drip away into the pan, so you’ll be able to cook them at a higher heat later without smoking up your kitchen. And high heat = crispy skin.

steaming wings
Alton links a few steamer baskets together to fit all the wings. You could work in batches.

Drying: The steamed wings get spread onto a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan lined with paper towels, and the whole thing hangs out in the fridge for an hour. The cool air from the fridge dries out the skin completely, so a crisp cook-up is imminent.

Baking: Then the wings are baked, not fried. They contain enough fat to fry themselves when cooked at a high temperature, so no need to heat up vats of hot oil. And yes, they’re baked, but not at all healthy, light or slimmed down.

Saucing: Alton tosses the baked wings in a simple, classic hot wing sauce of melted butter and hot sauce (my favorite is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce). If you want the sauce to stick to the wings, make sure to do this step right away, while the wings are still hot out of the oven. And don’t worry, the super crispy skin won’t get soggy soon.

Hot Wings
Browse more hot wing recipes from Sunny, Guy and more FN chefs.

If you’re searching for the most amazing + easy + classic-tasting hot wing recipe ever, Alton’s is it. But you can also check out top versions from Paula, Sunny, Guy and more Food Network chefs here. Or browse our entire collection of 100 hot wings or even more game-day apps, from top guacs to tater skins.

What hot wings are you making for the big game?

Tater Tots, All Grown Up for the Big Game

by in Recipes, February 2nd, 2011
Crab Tater Tots
Follow Michael Symon's step-by-step and serve up Iron Chef-style tater tots at your big game bash.

Tater tots are hot this year, the coolest football-watching food for people in the know. And why not? They’re nostalgic, retro and unexpected. So tot it up like an Iron Chef with Michael Symon’s Crab Tater Tots (a recipe from his cookbook Live to Cook), a grown-up riff that’s totally doable with the help of Symon’s step-by-step how to.

Michael Symon's Live to Cook
Get more of this Iron Chef's best recipes.

Cook up more of Michael Symon’s football party picks:

  • Greek Meatballs: Spice up lamb meatballs with coriander, cumin and a touch of cinnamon.
  • The Lola Burger: Take burgers to the next level by layering on flavor – cheddar cheese, bacon, a sunny-side-up egg, pickled red onions and spicy ketchup.

More tots to try:

The big game game plan: For more tater inspiration, browse Food Network Magazine‘s NFL potato skins, with one skin for each of the 32 teams. Or just dive into our playbook to find more big game snacks.

Texas Chili Potato Skins
Texas Chili Potato Skins are team-neutral and just celebrate this super Sunday in Dallas.

What snacks and apps are you planning to make for the big game?

Essential Snow Day Supply: Chocolate Chips

by in Recipes, February 2nd, 2011
Hopefully you bought a bunch before your store sold out.

Are you snowed in? Hope you’ve got a shovel and have stocked up on ice melt, bread, toilet paper and . . . chocolate chips. With every big storm warning, local stores always sell out of chocolate chips! Is everyone trapped inside making cookies? Let us know what you’re making besides snowmen today; here’s some chocolate chip inspiration to get you started.

With nearly 800 reviews, Alton Brown’s The Chewy is the most popular chocolate-chip cookie on Food Network. Have you made it?

The best-loved chocolate-chipper on Food Network, and possibly, the world.

Read more

Top 5 Dishes for Chinese New Year

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 2nd, 2011
Dan-Dan Noodles
Eat a bowl of Chinese noodles for good luck in the new year.

Celebrations for Chinese New Year begin February 3 and continue for 15 days. That gives you plenty of time to cook up lucky Chinese foods at home, from noodles to egg rolls.

Top 5 to Try:
Dan-Dan Noodles: Noodles symbolize longevity, so eat a bowl-full in the new year (but don’t cut them up, which would be bad luck!).

Chinese Dumpling Soup: Dumplings are shaped like ancient blocks of gold or silver, so eat them for prosperity in the year ahead.

Chinese Dumpling Soup
Warm up with this easy Chinese Dumpling Soup, a symbol of wealth to come.

Sunny’s Asian Lettuce Wraps: The Cantonese word for lettuce means “raising fortune,” making lettuce wraps the perfect lucky New Year’s food.

Guy’s Off the Hook Egg Rolls: Crispy, fried egg rolls look like bars of gold, so crunch away for wealth.

Egg Rolls
Guy's Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls fry up to look like bars of gold.

Steamed Fish With Ginger: The Mandarin word for fish sounds similar to the word for “abundance.” Serve it up for good fortune in the new year.

Steamed Fish with Ginger
Serve Steamed Fish with Ginger for prosperity.

Find more top foods for Chinese New Year from Food Network. Then check out top picks from Steamy Kitchen’s Jaden Hair writing for Cooking Channel’s Devour.

What are you going to cook up to celebrate the year of the rabbit?

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, February 1st, 2011
Game Time, Pizza Time - Image Courtesy Food Network Magazine

The Super Bowl’s Super Food Pizza chains will likely experience a 35% boost in sales this Super Bowl Sunday, the Chicago Breaking Business reports. Will you mix and match toppings that best represent your team? While it might seem like the Cheeseheads have a leg up here, there must be a Pittsburg-friendly pizza version of the Holy Haluski somewhere. [chicagobreakingbusiness.com via eater.com]

The Gov’t: “Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less” This is the advice federal regulators issued yesterday, addressing the nation’s obesity crisis. Though this recommendation seems obvious, such a statement has never been delivered so directly. “For [officials] to have said ‘eat less’ is really new,” explains Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, to the New York Times. “We should have been saying ‘eat less’ for a decade.” [nytimes.com]

Introducing Drinkable Bagels And that’s just one of the concoctions Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is cooking (er, homogenizing, centrifuging, vacuuming chambering, etc) up. In his science lab cum kitchen outside Seattle, Myhrvold has established a home base for his Modernist Cuisine cookbook project, which is a 2,438-page, 50-lb book of some unbelievable (and David Chang-endorsed) fare. [popsci.com]

Bacon: The ‘Gateway Meat’ for Vegetarians Why do even vegetarians find bacon so tantalizing? It’s science! The connection between odor and emotion makes bacon the prime candidate for turning leaf-eaters into meat enthusiasts, explains scientist Johan Lundstrom to NPR. “Since 90 percent of what we taste is really odor, bacon’s aggressive smell delivers a powerful hit to our sense of how good it will taste.” [npr.org]

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the  web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.

Game Day Main: Pittsburgh Cheese Steak

by in Recipes, February 1st, 2011
Cheese Steak
Grill up meaty sandwiches for your big game bash, like this Pittsburgh Cheese Steak for Steelers fans.

Will the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers steal Super Bowl 2011 away this year? I’m rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for good luck I am going to make ferocious Pittsburgh Cheese Steaks for the big game day!

The preferred meat for this recipe is a boneless rib-eye however if you prefer a thinner cut, a strip loin will also work well (although I would suggest popping the strip loin into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes before slicing so it’s easier to cut into super thin strips before grilling). The entire rib-eye can be cooked on an indoor or outdoor grill and then sliced after it has rested for 10-15 minutes.

So what makes a Cheese Steak Pittsburgh-style? It differs from the traditional Philly cheese steak because the toppings include crisp coleslaw, grilled potato wedges and tangy tomato relish. It’s a whole meal in a bun, all the so-called sides piled high. The sweet and sour coleslaw adds just the right amount of bite to cut through the rich meat and cheese, just like the Steelers are going to cut through the Packers!

Of course, for traditionalists (or non-Steelers fans) a great recipe to try is Bobby Flay’s Philly Cheese Steak. This hearty hoagie includes the classic provolone cheese sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms and mixed peppers and could easily be served without meat for your vegetarian friends. No matter who you are rooting for either of these sandwiches will keep you warm from the recent snowmaggedon sweeping the nation!

What are you making for the Super Bowl? Browse all of our big game mains, from perfect pots of chili to beefy burgers.

—Reena Mehta

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Jen MacLean

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011

Jen, a surgical nurse, was a pro at butchering chicken. "It was a great feeling of accomplishment," she says. "Especially since I was scared to death."

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I actually thought metal measuring cups (given to me as a gift at my bridal shower) were TINY POTS!!! My younger sister had to correct me in front of all my bridal shower guests. I also served Oregano-Encrusted Lasagna (after the bottle of oregano accidentally spilled on my lasagna) at Christmas Eve dinner to my family only to make my brother-in-law choke after his first mouthful…he actually choked, and that was the end of Christmas Eve Dinner.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from your team leader?
My most valuable piece of advice from Chef Anne was to have confidence in myself. Confidence equals a good cook.

What did you take away from the experience?
I took some great cooking skills away from Boot Camp. I can now cut with a chef’s knife (correctly); I season food appropriately and I am not afraid to try new recipes. I am a confident cook thanks to the show.

Read more

Worst Cooks, Episode 5: He Said, She Said

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011
NFL star and food enthusiast Kris Jenkins wasn't a fan of the game-day fare prepared by Kelly and Jen.

After each elimination on Worst Cooks in America this season, chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine share their candid impressions of the booted recruits with the FN Dish. This week, they bid farewell to Kelly from Robert’s Team and Jen from Anne’s Team.

Assigned to make both potato pancakes and corn cakes, Jen was in "pancake hell."

Anne on Jen: That party challenge, every time, is a tough day. That’s the one on the first season where Jenny Cross had her big crash and meltdown; and that’s the one when I cried. Jen came in and she would start off really well in the challenges, and then she’d take a big fat nose-dive. She had no confidence, and she didn’t seem very happy. She’s a surgical nurse. I would always say to her, “I want to see happy Jen. I want to see strong, confident Jen.” And I think towards the end, she had a little bit of fun with it. By the end, when she left, she told me, “thank you, you made happy Jen reappear.” She wrote me a really sweet card with a picture of her family. She was really sweet and it was hard to send her home. She started to peek open but she never could let herself go to get there. She couldn’t deal with the pressure of it. I bet she handles stress fantastically in the operating room. This [cooking] is like surgery; you have to learn how to do it. And here we are, giving you an opportunity to learn how to do it.

Kelly feared cooking meat, but in the end she went home for her vegetarian black-bean fritters.

Robert on Kelly: Kelly wouldn’t touch meat because animals are her friends. She kept calling them her friends: “I don’t want to eat my friends.” But she butchered the chicken and actually did a really good job with it. She started to do better. In the Game Day Challenge, Kelly added too much liquid to a black bean fritter and they wouldn’t fry because they were so soft; they were so wet. She didn’t season one thing. She couldn’t put out enough food. Neither did Ty, but all the football players liked his food, so that’s what saved him.

See what Kelly and Jen are up to in their exit interviews. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite Worst Cooks recruit in our Fan Vote, up to 10 times per day.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Kelly Gray

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011
Kelly's advice for future recruits: "Relax! Maybe they should let the recruits have a cocktail while cooking on the next season."

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I needed to be on Worst Cooks to be saved from myself and my terrible culinary skills. Up until now, virtually all my cooking stories involve something catching on fire and that totally had to stop.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from your team leader? 
Chef Robert gave good advice like, “Relax” — but of course, I am a crazy woman and didn’t.

What did you take away from the experience? 
Friendship with some AMAZING people. The cooking is almost secondary to the experience of living and bonding with 15 other people.

Read more