What Makes Popcorn Go ‘Pop’?

by in News, February 17th, 2015

PopcornHere are a few of the things most of us know about popcorn:

1. We love the way it tastes and smells.
2. We especially love it while we’re watching a movie.
3. Sometimes, when we’re feeling decadent, we like it with butter.
4. Other times, when we’re feeling more virtuous, we enjoy it more or less straight up.
5. There’s nothing quite so distinctive as the sound it makes when it pops.

Here’s one thing you probably didn’t know: why it makes that distinctive popping sound when it pops.

Read more

The Wonderful World of Puffs — Cook Along with Kids Baking Championship

by in Recipes, Shows, February 17th, 2015

Sweet PuffsMixed reactions would best describe the kids when they heard they would have to bake treats featuring pate a choux in Episode 3 of Kids Baking Championship. Some revealed they hated the dough, whereas others were excited to be taking on something they loved. It’s safe to say most of us viewers were wondering how these kids even knew about the French pastry dough used to make cream puffs (profiteroles), cheese puffs (gougères) and éclairs, among other treats (including the towering croquembouche).

The kids went about the challenge and created some of the most-impressive baked goods. The judges’ criteria came down to mostly flavor profiles — although there was the occasional issue of too large versus too small a puff.

If you’re up for a challenge, and if you consider yourself as advanced as these kids, here are some recipes to get you started baking with pate a choux, including sweet and savory renditions, just as was asked of the kid bakers. See how well you can survive the challenge at home. And if you happen to produce some “ungainly” results, as Duff Goldman commented, eat the evidence!

Get the Recipes

The Insider’s Take on Kids Baking Championship — Duff’s Recap of Episode 3

by in Shows, February 17th, 2015

Duff GoldmanCream puffs and éclairs! This was a tough challenge on Kids Baking Championship. I didn’t learn how to make pate a choux until I was at least 19 or 20. Natalie saw all these treats and she was freaked out! I knew Hollis was going to be excited; she made killer pate a choux bagels in the last challenge, Dessert Imposters, and I think she had a mental edge over everyone else. I was really stoked for Annika too. She had what I think was the toughest challenge when she had to make sushi. Burgers, pizza, spaghetti — these are all items I would choose to make in a competition before I would attempt sushi, which is much more colorful and complex. She came in second to last in that episode, and she was mad!

Annika was super confident about pate a choux and that’s good to see. Jackson was feeling really good as well. He knows this dough and is ready to bake! The fact that so many of these kids understood such a difficult and complex pastry is mind-blowing, and after the competition, I called my mom and asked her why she didn’t have me making pate a choux when I was 11. She said I wasn’t ready for it. Wait until she sees this episode. She’s going to eat her words (and not my éclairs!).

Read more

5 Unexpected Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make in Your Slow Cooker

by in Recipes, February 16th, 2015

Slow-Cooker Overnight OatmealYou know all about the perks of setting it and forgetting it, but are you aware of your slow cooker’s secret powers? Beyond the game-changing greatness of slow-cooked meaty chilis, beef stews and more, this most trusty appliance has a few hidden tricks up its sleeve. In addition to its ability to cook dinner while you’re away at work, check out a few surprising things you can make using the slow cooker’s gentle heat.

Instead of standing over the stove or turning to the microwave for your early morning oatmeal fix, go for Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal (pictured above). Before you turn in for the night, combine steel cut oats, dried cranberries, dried figs and some liquid in the slow cooker and, come morning, you’ll have a bowl of perfectly cooked oatmeal waiting for you.

Read more

Giada’s Linguini with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives and Lemon — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 16th, 2015

Linguini with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives and LemonSuccessful and satisfying dinners don’t have to require many ingredients or take a lot of time to prepare. In fact, some of the most tried-and-true standbys come together in mere minutes with everyday essentials from the pantry, including crowd-pleasing pastas. Just a box of noodles and a fuss-free sauce are all it takes to pull off tonight’s family meal, and when you use Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Linguini with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives and Lemon (pictured above), you don’t even have to cook the sauce.

Ready to eat in only 17 minutes, Giada’s bold pasta stars a raw sauce of rich, chewy sun-dried tomatoes, tangy green olives and plenty of fresh basil. For easy prep, she opts to whirl these go-to fixings in the food processor alongside a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness and a heavy handful of nutty Parmesan cheese. There’s no need to cook the sauce, as the heat of the just-drained pasta will gently warm the tomato mixture as they’re combined.

Read more

5 Ways to Turn Your Kitchen Into the French Quarter for Mardi Gras

by in Recipes, February 16th, 2015

Monster MuffalettaMardi Gras, Fat Tuesday — no matter what you call it, tomorrow’s all about indulgent, no-holds-barred eats, drinks and celebrations, especially in New Orleans, where Mardi Gras takes on an over-the-top culture all its own. If you can’t make it to the French Quarter to take part in the annual parades or dress up in the signature purple, green and gold colors, bring a taste of the experience into your kitchen wherever you are by recreating classic NOLA-style classics right at home.

Piled high with layers of Italian deli meats and cheeses and a hearty layer of briny, tangy olive-pepper salad, Jeff Mauro’s Monster Muffaletta (pictured above) serves as a hearty base in your stomach to soak up whatever it is you’ll be drinking all day. But perhaps best of all, this big-batch sandwich is a no-cook standby that can be assembled and ready to eat in only 10 quick minutes.

Read more

Back in the Winner’s Circle: Anne Burrell Dishes on Her Worst Cooks Victory

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 16th, 2015

Anne Burrell and Kristen RedmondAfter a three-season winning streak, Worst Cooks in America‘s Red Team coach, Anne Burrell, suffered two back-to-back losses, but just last night she reclaimed her victorious title in a nail-biting finale. “It feels like I’ve been restored to my correct position,” she told FN Dish in an exclusive interview. The veteran mentor spent seven weeks at Boot Camp with her team of recruits, detailing the beginner how-tos of the kitchen and building confidence within the novice cooks, and ultimately her mentee Kristen Redmond proved just how much she’s learned from Anne in a cook-off against the Blue Team’s Genique Freeman.

Read on below to hear more from Anne as she dishes on the finale, shares her proudest moment as a mentor and gives must-know kitchen tips for Worst Cooks fans at home.

Read more

One-on-One with the Runner-Up of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 16th, 2015

Worst Cooks in America finaleOn Worst Cooks in America, 14 hapless cooks entered Boot Camp to be mentored by chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence. Split into the Red and Blue teams, they faced new cooking challenges every week, honing their skills until just two finalists (one from each team) remained to face off in one final cook-off. In last night’s episode, one came in the winner, walking away with $25,000, whereas the other left with just the knowledge and skills she learned during the competition. By no means is that runner-up a loser, having made it all the way to the finale. Her accomplishments give her much to be proud of.

FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Season 6 runner-up.

Find out who came in second place

You “Will Eventually Learn to Just Laugh” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, February 15th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, and Anne Burrell learned that the hard way when she took her place in the arena as a competitor in the Superstar Sabotage tournament a few months ago. But on tonight’s all-new episode, she experienced the contest from a judge’s perspective as she guest-starred in this particularly evilicious battle.

A Round 2 sabotage forced Chef Ventura to dictate to Chef Emily how he wanted his food to be prepared, though he couldn’t see what she was doing because there was a wall between them, and vice versa. So when it came time for Anne to judge the competitors’ taco offerings, she judged Chef Ventura’s on a taco that was ultimately prepared by Chef Emily — and, again, vice versa. “She wildly underseasoned it,” Anne said of Chef Emily’s preparation of Chef Ventura’s taco. And, sure enough, Anne found Chef Emily’s dish to be “delicious,” though of course it was prepared by Chef Ventura.

Read more

One-on-One with the Winner of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 15th, 2015

Worst Cooks in America finaleSeven weeks ago, 14 recruits entered Boot Camp as the worst cooks in America. They came to the competition to learn skills and techniques from team mentors Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence in hopes of making it to the end for a chance to win the $25,000 grand prize. Two faced off in the finale, cooking a three-course meal in order to impress a panel of culinary experts who chose the single best cook. Tonight one walks away the winner of Worst Cooks in America, taking with her not only the prize money but also a set of invaluable culinary skills. She is no longer a “worst cook.”

FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Season 6 winner.

Find out who won