The Secret to Grilling the Perfect Steak (Indoors and Out)

by in How-to, News, May 14th, 2014

The Secret to Grilling the Perfect SteakLet’s talk steak. Just the thought of a thick, juicy slab of perfectly cooked beef will make the mouths of enthusiastic carnivores water. (Those who don’t eat meat may want to just move along to the next post.)

New York Times dining reporter Julia Moskin fills in her readers on her tried-and-true method for cooking steak on the stovetop: Forget the talk about dry rubs and marinating, she advises. Buy your meat from a butcher. Choose thinner, boneless cuts — marbled, about 1 inch thick. Keep the meat refrigerated until about a half-hour before you’re ready to cook, then pat it dry with paper towels. Use a cast-iron skillet (unoiled) and turn the heat up “insanely” high. Salt the pan (not the steak) and heat it some more. Lay down your meat, wait about a minute, then flip it every 30 seconds until – 4 or 5 minutes later – you have a perfectly cooked steak. It’ll be crusty on the outside, pink on the inside.

“If it’s good quality steak and you don’t cook it for more than five minutes per inch, you really can’t mess it up,” Richard Schatz of New York City’s Schatzie the Butcher reassures Julia’s readers. “Steak is nothing to be scared of.”

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Sloppy Joes Get a Mexican Spin

by in Recipes, Shows, May 14th, 2014

Sloppy JoesFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Mexican chorizo. Unlike the Spanish variety, Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage that requires cooking. In this Southwestern Sloppy Joes recipe it’s browned with garlic and onion and then cooked with tomatoes for a very flavorful and just-as-sloppy rendition as the classic joe. Once your family has a taste, they’ll keep coming back for seconds and thirds — and they might even request this over the classic recipe the next time.

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Support Your Favorite Home Cook — America’s Best Cook Fan Vote

by in Shows, May 14th, 2014

Final Four Home CooksHome cooks from across the country came to compete in America’s Best Cook. In the premiere, 16 contestants fought to gain only eight spots, two cooks per regional team. Now after five weeks of cooking battles, the competition has been halved to the final four. These very talented home cooks have shown they’re the best, but there can be only one winner.

In the finale, round by round, one home cook will be eliminated until the single best home cook is named the winner and awarded the $50,000 prize. You’ll have to watch this Sunday at 9|8c to find out who wins. But until then, show your support for your favorite competitor in the America’s Best Cook Fan Vote.

Vote and Get a Sneak Peek of the Finale

End-of-School Study Snacks

by in Family, May 14th, 2014

End-of-School Study SnacksIf you’re raising some budding scholars or you’re studying the day away yourself, you can bet all eyes are on the calendar these last few days before summer. And amidst all the final exams and projects, even the most focused student is bound to get hungry. When you need brain power the strength of jet fuel to get through a tricky finals season, look no further than Food Network’s healthy snack recipes. Just in time for college finals season, these wholesome, easy bites definitely beat a trip to the vending machine.

It’s no secret that bananas and peanut butter are a power-packed match made in heaven. Banana Dippers (pictured above) are dunked in granola or trail mix for added crunch.

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A Berry Hungry Bunny, Cephalopods for Breakfast and a Boxful of Tailgate Fun

by in News, May 14th, 2014

Cephalopods for BreakfastBerry Cute Bunny: Why has this 33-second video of a fluffy gray-and-white bunny eating raspberries racked up nearly 9 million page views (as of this writing) since being posted on Friday? We guess you’ll have to ask the millions of people who have watched it and shared it — and watched and shared it again. Maybe it’s the way the raspberries make the bunny look like it’s wearing lipstick? Or just because the bunny is so cute? (Though, really, it’s no burrito-eating hamster.) Who knows? But there are plenty of worse ways to spend 33 seconds. [YouTube]

Mmm … Mollusks with Maple Syrup: You love your kids. But do you love them enough to make them pancakes in the shape of cephalopods? (Do you even know what cephalopods are? Here.) Nathan Shields does. The Washington-state-based illustrator and math teacher who’s “on leave to be a professional dad” says he “began entertaining my kids with silly pancakes while we were living in Saipan.” He shares images of his remarkable pancakes every week on his blog, Saipancakes.com. Recent themes include sharks, Star Wars creatures, bunnies and Zach Galifianakis (pictured between two ferns). Of the squids, cuttlefish and other critters in this current batch, Nathan muses, “Nothing says ‘good morning’ like a plateful of delicious tentacles.” Indeed. [Saipancakes.com via Laughing Squid]

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Star-a-Day: Nicole Gaffney

by , May 14th, 2014

Nicole GaffneyNicole Gaffney, 29, isn’t just another personal chef — her magnetic personality and innate culinary talent set her apart from the crowd. She grew up cooking with her Sicilian grandparents and comes from a family of commercial fishermen, and her “coastal cuisine” take on food is heavily influenced by her family and growing up in a seaside town. Read on below to hear from Nicole, and learn about her style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.

What are you most looking forward to in this experience?
Nicole: Learning. Yeah. I’m really looking forward to learning. Just with the other competitors alone, I think there’s so much each of us can take away from the other person — not just in terms of cooking knowledge, because there’s a ton of stuff to be learned there, but just about life in general and TV presence. This whole experience — the things that we can take away from the judges and the mentors … I feel like what I’m going to know when this is all said and done versus what I knew going into it is going to be monumental.

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Cocktail Guides

by in Books, Drinks, May 13th, 2014

Cocktail GuidesWhether you’re planning a cocktail party or just desire a good, strong drink, it’s nice to have a solid cocktail book to turn to. Here are three Food Network Kitchen favorites that’ll serve you in good stead in times of need.

The Craft of the Cocktail, Dale DeGroff (2002)
From the man widely credited with reviving interest in classic (pre-Prohibition) American cocktails. Dale educates, instructs and amuses in equal turn here. All bases are covered: Techniques are lavishly illustrated; spirits are usefully broken down and brands recommended; and cocktails are typologically organized, their histories winningly recounted. Since its publication, The Craft of the Cocktail has become a bible for bartenders professional and amateur alike. It remains essential.

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Best 5 Easy Turkey Dinner Recipes

by in Recipes, May 13th, 2014

Spicy Turkey Meatballs and SpaghettiWhile turkey usually takes center stage come Thanksgiving, this family-friendly meat is worthy of a starring role all year long, as it’s surprisingly simple to prepare — especially when it’s not being roasted whole for a holiday — and endlessly versatile. Just like chicken, turkey is a culinary blank canvas that pairs well with nearly all flavors and ingredients, and there’s no shortage of ways to prepare it, from fried to sauteed to simmered. To get new ideas for using this go-to protein, check out Food Network’s top-five easy-to-do turkey dinner recipes from the Neelys, Tyler, Ina and more chefs.

5. Turkey and Quinoa Salad — A complete meal in a bowl, this good-for-you salad boasts fluffy toasted quinoa, herbed turkey cutlets and a colorful combination of tomatoes and cucumbers.

4. Turkey Sausage and Peppers — The key to this recipe lies in the two-part cooking process for the sausages. After broiling them until golden brown, simmer them in a bold saute of peppers, fennel and tomatoes until juicy, and finish with fragrant basil.

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