February Food Festivals

by in Events, February 3rd, 2012

garlic ice cream
Even if one is stuck in the Great White North, February is still a fiery month for food festivals.

Tropical Wine Festival, Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 3: Iowa is more than a crucial battleground in presidential politics, it’s a fertile land for oenophiles with a sense of humor when it comes to clothing — we’re as surprised as you are — during the first weekend in February. The Tropical Wine Festival, for which attendees are encouraged to don their favorite tropical attire, unites local wineries and lovers of their vintages for a few hours of chin-chins and nibbles from area food purveyors, including The Cheese Shop of Des Moines and Dos Rios Cantina and Tequila Lounge. Go all the way with Hawaiian leis and tiny bubbles when musical group Tropical Steel fires things up.

AleFest Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 5: Warm up in the Buckeye State with this one-day brew fete. Beer aficionados will geek out at the opportunity to sample some of the more than 250 stellar creations — including cask — at this seventh-annual affair. Admission ($40) earns the festival-goer a tasting glass to be filled with 20 samples and a guide to scheduled events, including a silent auction and a raffle for beer collectibles. Belly up to the booth.

More food festivals in February »

Make a Nacho Cheesecake for the Super Bowl

by in Food Network Magazine, Holidays, February 2nd, 2012

Try This At Home: Nacho Normal Cheesecake
On game day, fake out your guests with this nacho platter from Food Network Magazine — it’s really dessert. Follow this easy step-by-step guide and whip up a nacho cheesecake in no time. While you’re at it, try your hand at another one of the magazine’s wacky and creative cakes.

Chorizo — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, February 2nd, 2012

roasted chicken with chorizo
Chorizo is a bit like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it, but it’s a bit hard to define in the abstract.

That’s because there are several hundred varieties of this sausage made across at least three continents and many bear little resemblance to the others.

Making matters worse, chorizo makers in the U.S. are a pretty freewheeling bunch. No matter what the packages say, you never quite know what you’re getting.

The good news is that you don’t need to sift through all that to understand why this meat is well worth working into your dinner repertoire.

At its most basic level, chorizo is a sausage made from chopped or ground pork and a ton of seasonings, often including garlic.

The flavors are deeply smoky and savory, with varying degrees of heat. Most are assertive and peppery, but not truly spicy.

Roasted Chicken With Chorizo and Root Veggies »

Groundhog Day Menu

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 2nd, 2012

Smoky Pork Calzone

Be prepared for anything when Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole this Groundhog Day. Whether he sees his shadow and proclaims the doldrums of winter will continue or scurries around in a jovial spring-will-be-here-before-you-know-it jig, this mix of cold-weather comfort food and pre-warm-weather dishes are sure to be a hit.

Stay warm with Alton’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese. In cold weather, nothing is better than gooey macaroni topped with a crispy layer of cheese and bread crumbs. Save leftovers for fried macaroni and cheese.

Food Network Magazine’s Smoky Pork Calzones (pictured above) are an easy weeknight meal. Ground pork, smoked paprika and shredded mozzarella put a hearty spin on the typical pizza-dough calzone.

You’d never guess this Spicy Vegetarian Chili is seasoned with cocoa powder and coffee. Make an extra-large batch and freeze the leftovers.

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Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Super Bowl Menu

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, February 1st, 2012

fruits and vegetables
The Super Bowl is such a great athletic event. It’s also a day that honors another great sport: cooking. People get out their smokers and their spicy chicken wing recipes. Others grab their salsa recipes and tortilla presses. It’s definitely a day to bust out some of your favorite all-American recipes. What I find people struggle with is something to put out on the table that’s relatively light, something with vegetables or fruit. Are we looking for something to replace those wings or hot dogs? Absolutely not. Just something else that can complement it.

Here are some suggestions and tips for that “light” (albeit out of place) touch for your Super Bowl spread:

  • Fruit can be a great guest at your party. Skewer some tomatoes and grapes and serve them with bowl of yogurt flavored with a few spoonfuls of honey, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Or just serve them plain.
  • Make a vegetable platter. What are my favorite vegetables? Raw carrots, cucumbers, celery, red bell peppers and cauliflower. Veggie platters allow people to nibble.

More tips for a lighter Super Bowl spread »

Food Network’s In the Kitchen App Gets a Makeover

by in News, February 1st, 2012

in the kitchen app
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch owners rejoice: The latest version of Food Network’s In the Kitchen App has new features that will make browsing your favorite recipes and Food Network chefs even easier.

In the Kitchen delivers all-star dishes and menus on the go from Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and more. Find thousands of the best kitchen-tested and fan-rated recipes for weekday dinners, in-season cooking, memorable holidays and easy parties — perfect for the big game this Sunday. Plus, tap into smart new tools:

Compare Recipes: Not sure what to make? Browse titles, cook times and ingredient lists of several all-star recipes at once. You can even use the tool to mix-and-match recipes for party menus.

Ratings and Reviews: See what other fans have to say about Food Network’s best recipes.

More smart new tools »

We’re Bringing Buffalo Wings to the Communal Table: Big-Game Edition

by in Events, Holidays, February 1st, 2012

virtual super bowl
The Super Bowl: It’s the pinnacle of the pro football season. Even more important than which teams are playing, however, is what you’ll be serving to keep family and friends fueled until the last touchdown. Whether you have your recipes in order for the big day or you’re looking for some inspiration, we thought we would share some of the best offerings out there.

We kicked off our first Communal Table on Food Network back in November for Thanksgiving, and the response was so outstanding that we decided the Super Bowl deserved the same attention. Today, experts from the industry are excited to “pull up a chair” to our table and offer readers their favorite recipes for appetizers, desserts and drinks for the big game.

alton brown buffalo wingsWe’ve chosen to bring Alton’s Buffalo Wings to the table — an easy, last-minute recipe with only five ingredients. Alton’s secret for success is to first steam the wings before baking them in the oven on parchment paper. Tossed with garlic, hot sauce and salt, all of the flavors seep into the crispy chicken for tangy wings the whole family will love.

See what our friends are bringing to the table and tell us what you would bring to the table on Twitter by using the hashtag: #pullupachair.

See what our friends are bringing to the table »

Under Pressure — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, How-to, February 1st, 2012

pressure cooker
Come cold weather, praises abound for slow cookers. I never got on that bandwagon. While I love low-and-slow cooking, when it comes to barbecue, I prefer my meals to come together more quickly on a daily basis. Why wait that long for a tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef stew when a pressure cooker can do the same job in less than an hour?

Back when I was a personal chef, I only had four to five hours to spend at each client’s house, to get five meals for four prepared from start to finish. Using a pressure cooker allowed me to not only multitask, but to prepare short ribs, pot roast and even soups in record time. It was just the primer I needed for feeding my own family years later.

Forget all your fears and the stories you’ve heard about pressure cookers in the past. In the 15 years I’ve been using mine, there’s never been an explosion. I started with a stovetop pressure cooker in the beginning, and in the last few years my electric one has become my new best friend. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll realize from the first bite that is one “fast food” busy parents can feel good about serving their kids.

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NYChilifest 2012: The Many Mugs of Chili

by in Events, January 31st, 2012

serving chili
After trying countless spoonfuls of chili, the subtleties can really start to evade your palate. Notes of nutmeg and tamarind, at first fresh and fragrant, are soon lost amidst the whirlwind of flavors; hints of coffee and chocolate no longer round off each bite, but instead take refuge behind the lingering heat of poblanos and other hot peppers of the like. Appreciating the nuances of chili can prove a pretty tricky task, but wrapping one’s palate around the subtle differences between competing bowls of the hearty stew, eaten one after another? Nearly impossible. Unless, that is, the entries are as varied as they were at this past weekend’s chili showdown in New York City.

Held in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, NYChilifest 2012 featured an eclectic list of competitors, including fine-dining establishments like Gramercy Tavern, younger, trendier spots like Roberta’s and even popular Mexican destinations Tacombi and La Palapa. No less eclectic were the competing chilis, which ranged from straightforward ground beef and bean-stocked vats, to short rib-studded, spicy green varieties. We rounded up some of our favorite spoonfuls, as well as a few sights and sounds from Sunday’s chili cook-off.

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5 Ways to Clean Your Cutting Board

by in How-to, January 31st, 2012

cutting board
Feel like your cutting board just isn’t clean enough? Not to worry — you can get the board extra clean with some products likely found in your home.

1. Rinse immediately after use. Studies show that a prewash rinse eliminates enough bacteria so that levels are safe, while submerging the board in dishwater immediately after use transfers pathogens to the wash water. Since wood is a porous surface that absorbs water, submerging a dirtied board could also cause it to split and warp.

2. Disinfect using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Pour it over the board and spread it around using a clean sponge. Let it stand for a few minutes as it fizzes to kill germs. Wipe off with the clean sponge and repeat as needed.

Remove stains with coarse salt or baking soda »