Some weeks on Alton’s After-Show the focus of Alton’s chat with the judge revolves primarily around the finalists’ abilities — or inabilities — to cook within the confines of Cutthroat Kitchen, particularly the sabotages. But other times it’s the sabotages themselves that dominate the conversation, almost too shocking or simply laughable for the judges to believe. That was the case this week as Alton revealed to returning judge Jet Tila the roster of culinary interferences to befall the chefs.
Perhaps most appalling to Jet was the ingredient swap-out in Round 2, when the competitors were tasked with preparing a dish of sausage and peppers. Instead of being able to cook with everyday salt, pepper, spices and herbs, the contestant to receive this sabotage would be forced to use jelly beans flavored with tastes like habanero, wasabi, buttered popcorn and bacon. “That’s genius,” Jet admitted after a hearty laugh, before wincing at the thought of incorporating such oddball flavors into a dish. “I would have bid the farm and torpedoed somebody.” He soon realized how the unlucky chef to receive this sabotage ultimately offered a too-sweet plate of sausage and peppers. “The sweet … sticky sweet — it worked,” Jet said, reflecting on the contest. “I almost felt bad offering it. Almost,” Alton told him later.
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Extreme Halloween episode, the competitors found collard greens in their entree round baskets. Luckily we’re not asking you to cook with the rest of the basket ingredients: gummy skulls, sweetbreads and dehydrated weaver ant eggs. The competitors tried to incorporate the collard greens into their dishes, but some were more successful than others. With this recipe for Spaghetti with Sauteed Collards and Bacon, it’s easy to see that the collard greens don’t get lost at all; instead the underappreciated vegetable turns into a star after a little sauteing. You might never want to enjoy your greens any other way!
While many Chopped baskets may include a few common ingredients and just one oddball product, this week’s Halloween-themed episode featured baskets filled with extra-spooky offerings and downright ghoulish goods. Judges Alex, Chris and Marc took their places in the kitchen for an After Hours competition, and they faced the challenge of cooking with an appetizer basket made up of eels, congealed pig’s blood, candy bats and potato crisps.
Instead of letting the strangeness of these ingredients get the better of them, the judges went back to what they know and the cooking styles with which they’re most familiar in order to turn out classic plates — as classic as they could be with pig’s blood and eel, after all. Potatoes are well within Marc’s comfort zone, so he was quick to feature them prominently in his offering. “So we’re going to have some potatoes — that is a shock, coming from Marc Murphy,” Ted joked with the judge, who featured a casserole-like offering studded with pig’s blood.
Spaghetti squash is a yellow winter squash with flesh that, when cooked, separates into spaghetti-like strands. It’s super-low in calories and carbohydrates, making it a good substitute for pasta if you’re watching your weight. But anyon...
Weekends are meant for pancakes, waffles and French toast — especially during the fall months. As the weather gets cooler, the meals get a little heartier. But sometimes pancakes can get somewhat routine: maple syrup, maybe a sprinkle of powdered sugar, some fruit and butter.
One man, however, is taking the Sunday morning pancake tradition to a new level. Call it competitive pancake design. Travis Millard, the man behind Fudge Factory Comics, has been spending his Sunday mornings masterly designing new pancake art and sharing his creations on Instagram using the hashtag #PancakeMorning.
These aren’t your normal heart-shaped pancakes. He’s flipped everything from pizza, iPods, counting sheep and bowls of fruit (see photo above). How does he do it? According to an Instagram blog post, “Just pick up any generic ketchup squirter and draw into the pan with it ….”
Whether it’s because of an A+ spelling test, a hat trick on the soccer field or a pristinely cleaned bedroom, every child — and grownup — deserves to be treated to something special once in a while, and for many kids, that surprise may come in the form of dessert. Instead of resorting to store-bought goodies to save time in the kitchen, stick with from-scratch treats, like these homemade desserts, ready to eat in mere minutes.
A single-serving indulgence that demands no baking at all, Food Network Magazine’s Instant Chocolate Cake (pictured above) is a family-friendly pick that takes just 10 minutes to make. This rich, moist cake is prepped with traditional pastry ingredients, like cocoa, flour and vanilla extract, but it’s cooked quickly in the microwave instead of the oven. Perhaps the best part about this go-to recipe is that all of the ingredients are simply stirred — without the help of a mixer — in the same oversize mug in which it’s served.
I am of the belief that collard greens are perpetually misunderstood. Most people I know think these greens can be served only one way — paired with a hunk of smoked meat and cooked until they’re limp and olive-colored.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against this particular approach and have always appreciated a serving of long-braised greens. It’s just that I think it’s time to broaden our approach to the humble, healthy collard. Who knows, maybe we’ll make it as popular as its cousin kale!
My collard conversion started a few years back. I had gotten yet another bunch in my CSA share and needed desperately to free up some space in the crisper. Without time for a long braise, I decided to treat the collard greens like Swiss chard.
I cut them into thin ribbons and sauteed them in olive oil with lots of slivered garlic until they were just limp. My first bite was uncertain, as I assumed they’d be tough and chewy (because why else would you need to cook them for hours?). But I was delighted to discover they were tender and had married deliciously with the garlic.