Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

by , October 31st, 2014

Gluten-Free Carrot CakeAKA Let Me Eat Cake

A few years ago, a fashion designer made a canvas handbag emblazoned with the words “Eat Cake for Breakfast.” Really? It seemed so targeted toward those ladies who only saw Sex and the City for the first time in syndication on basic cable and thought they were so cool drinking cosmos at girls’ night in some strip-mall chain restaurant, deciding who was the Carrie and who was the Samantha. I used to roll my eyes at women who carried that bag … until I ate the first piece of my new and improved gluten-free carrot cake. Now I get it, people. I won’t carry that bag, but I will unapologetically eat this cake for breakfast. You should too.

I’ve been making gluten-free carrot cake for years. And it was fine. Good, actually. It was sweet and rich and delicious, and everybody said it tasted “just like regular carrot cake.”

Read more

Tailgate Chili — Down-Home Comfort

by in Recipes, October 31st, 2014

The Southeastern Conference is home to some of the best college football in the country, and with it, some of the most-fervent fans and most-passionate tailgating. Football in the South is a bit like religion. People get really worked up; I mean really worked up. And, to that end, tailgating in the South is extreme as well. At the University of Alabama, fans are allowed to start tailgate setup at 6 p.m. the Thursday before the Saturday game — and dismantled as late as noon the day after! At my alma mater, the University of Georgia, there is Bulldog Park; a luxury RV tailgating facility offers the owners access to a wide range of amenities plus game-day shuttles to the stadium! Foodwise, there’s everything from LSU, where folks have big pots of meaty gumbo bubbling on a propane cooker, to The Grove at Ole Miss, where folks are super-fancy and serve dishes of hors d’oeuvres that you might be more accustomed to seeing at a ladies’ luncheon. (The real reason the food is so ladylike is that there’s a limited amount of electricity, and open flames and propane are prohibited — something that might not be a bad idea, considering the amount of alcohol consumed while tailgating!)

Personally, I prefer less work when I get to the stadium, and I suggest slow-cooked dishes prepared ahead of time. The best dishes are those you can cook at home and then add the finishing touches to at the stadium. I think the perfect tailgate food just might be chili. It works well in the fall, because it’s hearty and warms you up in the cool weather. Read more

5 Smoothies to Kick-Start Your Day

by , October 31st, 2014

Smoothie
Although tossing healthy ingredients into a blender can make a fabulous go-to breakfast, there are common mistakes folks make that can sabotage their morning shake.

  • Fight the urge to add every healthful ingredient into your smoothie. First, it may ...

Read more

Beware of Oncoming Eviliciousness

by in Shows, October 31st, 2014

Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but  now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.

How to Cook Everything Fast — Off the Shelf

by in Books, October 31st, 2014

How to Cook Everything FastMark Bittman is back, and he’s about to revolutionize the way you eat dinner (again). In his newest cookbook, How to Cook Everything Fast, Bittman promises a better way to cook great food, and he certainly delivers.

The book starts with an introductory section and an overview (The Fast Kitchen) that is a culinary treasure trove of kitchen tips. It features everything from how to use to book to insights on families cooking together. It contains the last shopping list you’ll ever need, complete with details and notes on the ingredients and instructions for their proper storage. He also dispels the need (and the reasoning) for extensive mise en place right up front. The idea is to cook smarter and save yourself time by consolidating steps within the recipe.

Sound confusing? It really couldn’t be simpler to follow, thanks to Bittman’s new recipe layout. In easy-to-follow (color-coded) instructions, Bittman separates cooking actions and prep actions to keep you moving quickly and smoothly through each recipe, without clunky overuse of the word “meanwhile.” The book is broken down into sections featuring Main Dishes and Simpler, Smaller Dishes. Each Main Dish recipe gives suggestions for variations as well as immensely helpful suggestions for side dish pairings. And don’t be fooled; just because the recipes are simple doesn’t mean they aren’t absolutely mouthwatering. Bittman is known for his inventive, practical approach to layering flavors together, and one bite of the Broken Won Ton Soup, Skillet Meat Loaf or Broiled Ziti and you’ll see for yourself. Better yet, try the Fastest Chicken Parmesan at home (recipe below). The book is your one-stop shop for quick, easy, delicious meals, perfect for busy weeknights and activity-filled weekend days and busy families. How to Cook Everything Fast is on sale now, and you can order your copy here.

Read more

NYC Finally Gets An All-Eclair Bakery

by , October 31st, 2014

The humble, cream-filled eclair is one of the most delicious treats available at your garden-variety bakery. However, what if the eclair got too big for its britches and decided to expel all of the other baked goods? Then you’d get Les Jardins de la Duchesse, New York City’s all-eclair bakery.

NYC’s Lower East Side will play home to all manner of cream-filled delicacy once this bad boy opens, from your classic Valrhona chocolate-topped standard to more unusual eclairs. The bakery will even feature savory items, including curry chicken eclairs and salmon and cream cheese eclairs. 

Read more

Cookbooks for Candy (Yes, Candy)

by in Books, October 30th, 2014

Cookbooks for Candy (Yes, Candy)By Michelle Park

The last couple months of the year are packed with excuses to consume ridiculous amounts of sweets. Why not take full advantage of the season’s sugary spirit and make your own? Homemade candy is a great party trick, and it’s surprisingly straightforward. If you have reservations about thermometers and molten sugar, fear not — the well-versed duos behind this month’s picks will have you caramelizing with confidence.

1. The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook by Liz Gutman and Jen King
Gutman and King, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based candy company Liddabit Sweets, have a love affair with candy. It’s no small task to demystify the art of candy making for the average home cook, but their optimism is contagious. Their playful, extremely thorough cookbook starts with a three-page chart titled Speed Date the Candies, a swift tour of the 75 recipes ahead, so you can quickly find one to fit your needs, whether that’s vegan, fun to make with the kids, or “melt-in-your-mouth-y” (sic) — or all of the above (Chocolate Mint Meltaways). Candy 101 then explains everything you need to know about sugar, chocolate, cleaning, safety and essential equipment. (The equipment section is split into “musts” and “coulds,” and you might find that your kitchen is already equipped to bust out some Pecan Turtle Caramel Corn.) Because Gutman and King want you to remember that “MAKING CANDY IS FUN” from start to finish, these chapters read less like a chemistry textbook and more like a friend discussing softball sugar with you over coffee. As far as the recipes go, no secret is withheld, and they range in difficulty from easy (Buckeyes) to ambitious (Gutman and King’s signature peanut-butter-banana candy bar, aptly named The King) to ambitious and patient (Beer Pretzel Caramels). You can rest easy regardless of what you choose first; “Liz Says” and “Jen Says” bubbles pop up on every other page with additional encouragement, suggestions and troubleshooting tips, should you make any missteps.

Read more

Cook the Superstar Sabotage Contest: Banana Bread

by in Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Banana BreadIn this week’s latest installment of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, a seemingly approachable dessert, banana bread, was nearly insurmountable for Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner once she felt the full weight of her duo of sabotages: firm green bananas and the mandate to mix and cook the loaf in banana leaves. But for fans watching at home, classic banana bread is indeed doable, and it’s one such recipe that surely all home cooks can — and should — master.

From school bake sales and simple family desserts to DIY holiday presents, Food Network’s go-to Banana Bread recipe (pictured above) will prove useful time and again. The key to making this tried-and-true recipe is not overworking the batter; once you’ve incorporated the dry ingredients into the cinnamon-laced mashed bananas, the batter is complete and ready to bake. For an extra-special presentation, serve the sliced loaf with sweet honey or creamy vanilla ice cream once the bread has cooled.

Read more

Trick or Treat! Your Guide to Being the Most-Popular House on the Block — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Spooky Chocolate BarkWhat’s the trick to being the go-to trick-or-treating destination on the block? Homemade treats, that’s what. Instead of stocking up on heavy bags of individually wrapped candy this Halloween, answer the doorbell ring with sweet and spooky do-it-yourself treats that will be the talk of the neighborhood. Wrap these homemade candies in plastic sandwich bags or wrap, or get creative — and be sure to save some for your own house.

Read more