5 Tools in My “Supermarket Healthy” Kitchen

by in Food Network Chef, January 10th, 2015

Green Morning SmoothieI’m thrilled that my new cookbook, Supermarket Healthy, was released this week! In it, I share recipes and strategies for healthy, accessible and affordable cooking. One of my favorite parts of the book is where I share ideas for stocking your pantry, because sometimes half the battle is having the right stuff on hand to make 5 p.m. on a Tuesday night a little less daunting. So, in that spirit, I thought I would share what my favorite kitchen tools are.

I’ll begin by saying that cooking healthy is actually quite easy! While you don’t need special equipment, these five kitchen tools are among the most-used in my Supermarket Healthy kitchen.

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Sweet vs. Savory: What’s Your Brunch Style?

by in Recipes, Shows, January 10th, 2015

Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie LeeUnlike lunch and dinner, which are all but assumed to be savory meals, brunch allows you to make a taste decision when you sit down at the table: Are you craving sweetness or saltiness today? How you answer that question likely depends on your mood and what else you may have eaten recently, and it will ultimately determine whether you end up with dishes like sugar-topped oatmeal and fluffy pancakes with whipped cream or cheesy huevos rancheros and crispy corned beef hash.

On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts dished on the classic and creative approaches to brunch, including next-level ways to put the everyday waffle iron to work, and shared their picks for sweet and savory favorites alike, including Katie Lee’s Banana Dutch Baby Pancake with maple syrup, Pomegranate Gelatin Yogurt Parfaits with fresh fruit and Geoffrey Zakarian’s dressed-up Salt Cod Brandade.

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Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too: A Lighter, Naked Chocolate Cake with Fruit

by in Recipes, January 10th, 2015

Skinny Chocolate CakeIf there is one thing that most of us can agree on, it is that we have the best of intentions when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. We want to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV and save money.

But it is hard. While I cannot help with all of those resolutions, I can try to help with the “eating better.”

This stunning cake is a Skinny Cake, or a cake that is made with less sugar and fat and has fewer calories. The trick to making a delicious chocolate skinny cake is using a good-quality chocolate and a flavorful sugar substitute. The star of the cake is in fact the chocolate. I used a good-quality cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips and then complemented them with the sweet natural sugars found in the fruits that adorn the cake.

Add to that a homemade whipped cream (where you can control the sugar) and a no-fat chocolate sauce, and you have a decadent cake that will satisfy all your sweet cravings!

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Wine Ice Cream (Yes!) Will Surely Test Your Resolve

by in News, January 9th, 2015

Mercer's Dairy Port Wine Ice CreamWhen you can’t decide between wine and ice cream, a dairy in upstate New York has just the thing: wine ice cream.

Mercer’s Dairy, based in Boonville, N.Y., has been in business for more than 60 years and has actually been making its adults-only Wine Ice Cream since 2007, spooning up a modest cupful of awards along the way. Recently, however, the magical mash-up of two beloved diet staples has caught the gimlet eye of social media, which has responded with the enthusiasm you might expect.

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30 Years at Ballymaloe — Off the Shelf

by in Books, January 9th, 2015

30 Years of Ballymaloe“Irish food is many things nowadays,” Darina Allen said when we spoke with her about her new cookbook, 30 Years at Ballymaloe. “There are, of course, the traditional dishes that many people associated with Irish food, like bacon and cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread — all, of course, delicious when well-made. However, this image of Irish food doesn’t in any way reflect the vibrant Irish food scene at present.” Allen has been a presence at the Ballymaloe Cookery School since it was established in 1983. 30 Years at Ballymaloe tells the history of the school through the Irish dishes students learn to prepare there. The recipes might surprise you, though. They range from obvious Irish favorites like Mother’s Sweet White Scones (recipe after the link for you to try at home) to local-ingredient-driven dishes, including recipes for everything from curry, poultry, seafood and even Irish charcuterie. The recipes are simple but enticing; the food photography is gorgeous and engrossing.

You might be surprised (and delighted, of course) to find in the pages of 30 Years at Ballymaloe a deep emphasis on locally sourced Irish produce and ingredients. “We have wonderful produce and raw materials in Ireland,” Allen told us. “We can grow grass like nowhere else in the world. So many of our best foods come from our grass, beef, lamb, dairy products, farmhouse cheese.” And 30 years later, it’s that ingredient-centric focus that still makes the Ballymaloe Cookery School so appealing to students. “Students now come from all over the world to the Ballymaloe Cookery School because the cookery school is in the center of a 100-acre organic farm and gardens.” As you flip through the pages of the book, the images pull you in: big stone barns, rolling hills dotted with sun-soaked cattle, gardens so lush you can hardly believe they’re real. It’s easy to let your imagination wander through Allen’s anecdotes about the Irish countryside and her relationships with fellow growers and vendors, but at the end of the day you always end up back at the table, stomach rumbling for some delicious food. And the recipes in the book certainly do not fall short in that arena. You’ll want to cook dishes like the Wild Garlic Custards, the Hot Buttered Oysters and the Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro and Cashew Pesto again and again.

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The Best of Eviliciousness: Fans’ Favorite Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, January 9th, 2015

Best of Eviliciousness: Fan' Favorite Sabotages to Befall Cutthroat Kitchen CompetitorsThere are culinary competitions, and there’s Cutthroat Kitchen, where no one and nothing is safe. Thanks to master of eviliciousness Alton Brown and his devious fondness for a little — or a lot — of well-meaning kitchen sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen competitors have come face to face with canned whole chickens, mincemeat pork chops and coffee grounds turned compost pile, not to mention oddball tools and prep stations (think potato mashers for hands and a mini worktable suspended atop a bunk bed).

Just recently BuzzFeed showcased its picks of the most-jaw-dropping sabotages to ever enter the Cutthroat arena, looking back on that time one chef sourced all of her ingredients from a gumball machine and the day another was forced to make breakfast in a bed.

In the spirit of embracing all thing hilariously heinous, Food Network fans, too, have picked their favorite diabolical challenges to befall the competitors. From warped crepe pans and camping stoves to steaming mussels with a laundry steamer, it’s the best of eviliciousness in our fans’ roundup of top Cutthroat sabotages. Click the photo below to begin the photo gallery of those wow-worthy challenges.

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Superfood Breakfasts to Start the Day Right

by in Recipes, January 9th, 2015

Turn your first meal of the day into a nutrient-filled first bite with a few superfood ingredient combinations.

1. Goji berries are a tangy-tart source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Combine them with strawberries to create a fruity topping for your favorite cereal.

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What to Watch: Winter Comforts and Family Competition

by in Shows, January 9th, 2015

Guy's Grocery GamesStart the weekend off with an array of comforting recipes: First, Ree Drummond has hot soups that hit the spot. The cast of The Kitchen is doing up brunch with tips, recipes and cocktails. Giada De Laurentiis is all about festive desserts to impress guests. Guy Fieri’s making Italian coastal cuisine that’s refreshing and comforting. And Daphne Brogdon is whipping up classic comfort food for a friend.

On Sunday night, take a seat for three hours of competition beginning with an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games: Family Style in which teams of brothers and sisters work together. Next, the Boot Camp recruits on Worst Cooks in America are playing a game of Family Food in order to gain an advantage in the cooking challenge. And chefs are in for torture as they must contend with sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen, including one involving cooking tacos on a tiki torch.

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A Chili Cheese Dog Pizza with a French Fry Crust? This Guy Went There

by in News, January 8th, 2015

French Fry Crust PizzaPity the poor pizza crust. Recently, snack food mash-up fans have cheered attempts to replace it with everything from Doritos to potato chips. Now a guy named JP Lambiase, who posts weekly videos to YouTube under the handle HellthyJunkFood — “not to be confused with healthy,” he warns — has has created a pizza crust made out of french fries.

He did it in response to a plea issued via YouTube: “JP I want you to make a French Fries pizza and you might think what do I mean well its like a regular pizza but you don’t use any dough just fries on the bottom,” someone named thejoman wrote. The request ended with a heartrending final word: “please.”

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Breakfast PLTs — The Weekender

by in Recipes, January 8th, 2015

Breakfast PLTsI am always grateful when the calendar flips to a new year. It means a less-cluttered schedule, a break from the heavy eating of the holidays, and a chance to initiate a new habit or two.

For most people, the goals they set this time of year have to do with diets, exercise and self-improvement. And while those are all admirable endeavors, my January hopes tend to revolve around activities designed to bring more fun into my life.

That’s why I’m declaring that 2015 will be the year of brunch party. To my mind, it’s a nearly perfect way to entertain. It’s a kid-friendly time of day (an increasingly important element). A homemade brunch is almost more affordable than going out (even when you spring for smoked salmon). And it’s easy enough to adapt to nearly every food allergy and aversion (a reality of our times).

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