Restaurant Revisited: The Writing on the Wall at Bama Q

by in Shows, May 28th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleBefore Robert Irvine got to work on the failing Big Jim’s Bama Q in Hammondville, Ala., he talked with Big Jim himself, who, while no longer the owner of the restaurant, was able to tell Robert stories of a once-successful venture at the barbecue-focused eatery, ultimately proving that the business could be profitable. The new owner of Big Jim’s, Daniel Millican, had failed to make the business his own, leaving nearly all of the original leader’s menu, decor and practices in place. With time, Daniel had become disconnected from the restaurant after spending much of his time away at his other business, a sawmill, and Robert questioned whether Daniel wanted to be involved going forward. It took Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team two days and $10,000 to inspire Daniel, overhaul the mismatched design, establish new processes for tuning out authentic barbecue and, in perhaps the most-dramatic update, change the name of the business to simply Bama Q. Read on below to hear from Daniel and his sister-in-law, Carolyn, the former assistant manager of the restaurant, in an exclusive interview and find out how his business is faring today.

Bama Q is earning almost $1,000 more per week than before its Impossible transformation, and Carolyn notes: “Everyone loves the inside of the restaurant. A lot of people are responding to the floors, the tables, the chicken wire. … It feels much more open and welcoming.”

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Babka and Bagels, Hot and Haute — Trending

by in News, May 28th, 2014

Babka and Bagels, Hot and HauteBagels are hot. No, really. And though babka and matzo ball soup and brisket don’t conjure haute cuisine, they’re hot too. It’s true: Jewish-American foods that highlight tradition (and remix it) — are pushing Dominique Ansel’s latest trendy treats to the side. (So says BusinessWeek.com.)

In April, Black Seed opened in New York’s East Village, and the lines of fans awaiting everything-poppy-sesame-topped cream-cheese-schmeared Montreal-style bagels stretched to rave reviews. But the growing love of Jewish food doesn’t end with breakfast. In yesterday’s New York Times, Julia Moskin detailed the renewal of excitement around innovative Jewish fare, citing the famous Russ & Daughters Cafe, which serves smoked fish and herring but also, she notes, updates like whitefish chowder and halvah ice cream with salted caramel. Julia described hot spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle where familiar Jewish-American foods and newfangled ones are enjoying a hip-factor heyday, respecting traditions but also building upon them.

“We are always conscious that we are taking care of a piece of history,” Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters told Julia. “But we can’t run only on nostalgia.” Katherine Alford, senior vice president, culinary, here at Food Network, agrees: “That is how we run here too. We love these rich and cherished traditional foods, and it’s so exciting that they are getting their well-deserved moment.” But, she says, it’s more than a passing fad. “When something is really good, it never goes out of style. Who doesn’t want babka now and always?” You don’t have to head to an old-school new-school chic restaurant to get babka. The next trend might just be staying home and making your own Jewish-American foods for family and friends — no lines!

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Catfish Po’ Boys Get the Extra-Crispy Treatment with Tortillas

by in Recipes, Shows, May 28th, 2014

catfish po' boysFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient catfish. They determined that its sweet, flaky flesh was perfect for frying, and in this case, the fish doesn’t get fried in just any kind of breading. Using pulverized corn tortillas in this Tortilla-Crusted Catfish Po’ Boys recipe is not only a good use for leftover tortillas from taco night, but also a great way to add lots of texture, more than you could ever get from breadcrumbs. A mixture of buttermilk and Cajun-seasoned flour functions as the glue. Serving the catfish as po’ boy sandwiches is the perfect Southern twist and a great way to enjoy a fun meal with the family.

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Macaulay Culkin’s Bad Day, Hipster ‘Stache Straws and Fondue Footwear

by in News, May 28th, 2014

Fondue FootwarePizza and Beer and Macaulay Culkin’s Bad Day: How was your Memorial Day weekend? It had to have been better than Macaulay Culkin’s. The Home Alone star, now a ripened 33, was booed off the stage and pelted with beer when he and his band, the Pizza Underground — which performs Velvet Underground music, only with pizza-themed lyrics — performed at the Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham, England. According to the Nottingham Post, initial “boos turned to booze, with members of the public throwing full pints of beer at the stage, soaking both the band and the audience.” Macaulay stayed calm, saying: “Why are you throwing those? I’d rather drink them!” After the former child actor and a pizza-box-playing band mate took a few direct hits, though, the band was compelled to cut its set short. Later its members thanked the crowd via Twitter, saying “Sorry that a couple people ruined it for everyone.” [Nottingham Post via Eater]

Fondue Footwear: You probably wouldn’t want to dip your feet in melted cheese and walk around the house. But that hasn’t stopped the maker of a new footwear prototype called Fondue Slippers from finding inspiration in the communal-pot party food of yesteryear. The shoe-slipper, which made its debut at Milano Salone Satellite 2014, will be shaped in your foot’s precise image because it will be made by your foot being dipped in the material provided in a DIY kit. Letting the material dry and voila — insta-custom-footwear. “You can wear Fondue Slipper both inside and outside,” its creator, Tokyo-based designer Satsuki Ohata boasts. No cracks about cheesy workmanship please. [Satuki via RocketNews24]

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Best 5 Chicken Breast Recipes

by in Recipes, May 28th, 2014

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken BreastsIt’s no secret that chicken breasts are perhaps the ultimate ingredient workhorses: They do double duty between lunch and dinner, afford themselves to easily reheated leftovers, stand up to nearly every cooking style and pair well with the flavors of countless cuisines. Because this culinary superstar is so versatile, it’s a blank canvas that can be customized to your family’s favorite tastes and whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. But chicken breasts are also easy to deem bland, which is why it’s important to dress them up so they take on the bold flavors of marinades, spice rubs, sauces and toppings. Check out Food Network’s top-five chicken breast dishes below to find classic and creative picks from Guy, Ina, Bobby, Melissa and Rachael.

5. Chicken Breasts with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives — Guy makes a pocket within each of his chicken breasts and stuffs them with Mediterranean-inspired flavors before finishing them with a lemon-sun-dried tomato sauce and crumbled feta cheese.

4. Lemon Chicken Breasts — With a five-star rating and more than 500 user reviews, Ina’s fail-proof chicken is baked in a succulent mixture of lemon juice, white wine and herbs. Perhaps best of all, it’s a good-for-you meal that can be ready to eat in only one hour.

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Recipes for In-Season Produce

by in In Season, May 27th, 2014

Recipes for In-Season ProduceFarmers markets are starting to see more and more produce as the summer season takes off and the weather heats up. From tomatoes to corn and all kinds of summer squash, put these ingredients to use while they’re in their prime.

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9 Simple DIY Popsicles

by in Family, May 27th, 2014

9 Simple DIY PopsiclesWhen the weather turns warm, there’s nothing more refreshing than a Popsicle — except one made with fresh ingredients and not an iota of fake coloring in sight. Here are FN Dish and Foodlets’ favorite ideas for sunny days ahead.

Chocolate Sundae Ice Pops: Low-fat milk plus ripe avocado and bananas, not to mention honey and cocoa powder, make Melissa d’Arabian’s chocolatey pops a surprisingly healthy treat.

Strawberry-Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops: Full of fresh fruit and organic yogurt to boot, these frozen treats are low in sugar and even pack a punch of protein.

Italian Ice Pops: Frozen raspberries plus fresh mint and lemon juice are the base for these light and refreshing pops by Giada De Laurentiis.

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Alton Explains What Not to Do, the Deal with POVs and the Hardest Part of Being a Judge

by , May 27th, 2014

Alton Explains What Not to Do, the Deal with POVs and MoreAs Food Network’s resident food historian and overall respected voice of reason, Alton Brown has a lot to say when it comes to finalists vying for the ultimate job — the job that will allow one person to join the roster that he shares with fellow judges Giada and Bobby.

Star Talk: What are you excited about this season?
Alton Brown: I haven’t participated in as many seasons of Food Network Star as the other judge-mentors. I’ve only really done three. But based on the seasons that I’ve done in the past, I’m excited to see if I can find that nugget — that diamond. You’re walking down a riverbank, you reach down and you pull up a 10-carat diamond and go, “Hey, look what I found.” So you’re looking at each one of these finalists and you’re hoping that one of them is going to be spectacular — amazing. And it could happen. That’s the entire mission.

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