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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Family Gets Good-Kid Discount, Texas Is Hot for Sriracha, Food Trucks Run Out of Gas

by in News, May 13th, 2014

Texas is Hot for SrirachaThe Carrot, Not the Stick: Plenty of parents have been known to offer their kids rewards for behaving well while eating out. Far less frequently are the parents spontaneously rewarded for their kids’ good restaurant behavior. But Redditor looseONtheGoose writes that, after “Mother’s Day brunch … with our one year old daughter” at Carino Japanese Bistro, in Calgary, Canada, the family received a surprise on its check: The restaurant had deducted $5 as a discount for “Well Behaved Kids.” “This should be a thing at every restaurant worldwide,” one commenter opined. Hear, hear! [Reddit]

Sriracha State Swap? Texas is continuing its effort to get Huy Fong Foods to relocate its sriracha factory from Irwindale, Calif., where residents have complained that its chili-pepper aroma is making their eyes water and itch, to the Lone Star State. A bipartisan “sriracha delegation” of Texas lawmakers has traveled to the hot-sauce maker’s California factory this week to meet with the company’s officials. “It’s obviously early and preliminary to suggest that they’re going to take that next step, but at least they’re open to considering it,” State Rep. Jason Villalba told the Texas Tribune. “This is a serious endeavor.” The company’s owner, David Tran, recently told NPR he doesn’t intend to close the California factory, but might open another site in another locale. [Texas Tribune, NPR]

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Star-a-Day: Luca Della Casa

by , May 13th, 2014

Luca Della CasaLuca Della Casa, 38, was born in Italy and is an adventurous, rugged outdoorsman with a passion for food. He worked his way up from dishwasher to executive chef, and he is determined to bring people together around a table to share food, Italian style. Read on below to hear from Luca, and learn about his style of cooking and thoughts on the competition.

Describe your cooking style or culinary point of view — in one sentence, if you can.
Luca: My point in my culinary view is what I learned from my grandma. That means very simple recipes, a good knife and the freshest ingredients. That makes the most-amazing meal.

How did you prepare for the competition?
Luca: Well, yes. I went to see some old seasons of the show. I was aware of the show and I saw episodes of it, but I didn’t know it perfectly, so I thought I better go back and see everything they do, what they ask them to do. And so that’s what I did, and try to put my thoughts together.

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13 Spring Birthday Cakes for Kids

by in Events, Family, May 12th, 2014

13 Spring Birthday Cakes for KidsFrom low-sugar options to decadent cakes sure to make any sweet tooth swoon, here are some of FN Dish and Foodlets’ favorite ways to celebrate a child’s birthday in spring.

Rainbow Four-Layer Cake from Food Network Magazine (pictured above): Spring showers bring rainbows to mind and with one color per layer, this dessert makes cutting a cake even more fun. Kids can choose the colors they want, or you can make it a surprise.

Fluffy Confetti Birthday Cake: Who can resist a cake covered in sprinkles? Get the how-to tricks from Food Network Kitchen right here.

Tie-Dyed Cupcakes: Sandra Lee brings a burst of color to this batch of bright and cheery cupcakes.

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Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta and Broccolini — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, May 12th, 2014

Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta and BroccoliniWhether you maintain a meatless diet just one day a week or adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle, eggs are surely a welcome addition to your meat-free menu, as they’re versatile, packed with protein and, perhaps best of all, quick to prepare. Because there are multiple ways to cook eggs, you can incorporate them into nearly any meal — even lunch and dinner. The next time you make fried rice, try serving sunny-side up eggs atop the dish to add substance, or bake eggs in tomato sauce for a rustic Italian supper.

Food Network Kitchen sticks with a scrambled centerpiece in its fuss-free recipe for  Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta and Broccolini (pictured above). While this 20-minute meal is a cinch to prepare, it’s a dressed-up version of the everyday scrambles you likely ate as a child; instead of calling for American cheese, this recipe incorporates rich ricotta to create a creamy taste, and it swaps in vibrant Broccolini in place of traditional peppers and onions. It’s important to stop cooking the eggs once they’re set to yield tender, fluffy results every time. Finish the eggs with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and serve with bread to round out the meal.

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