Reinvent Cube Steak as Crispy Open-Faced Tacos

by in Recipes, Shows, April 30th, 2014

Steak ChalupasFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient cube steak. The key to cooking with cube steak is not overcooking the meat, because it can get tough. Typically used for chicken-fried steak, cube steak is often tenderized with a meat mallet to produce a thin cutlet, which makes it easier to cook and eat. But the technique the chefs came up with for making these Steak and Black Bean Chalupas was to sear the thinly sliced meat in a screaming-hot pan, and then simmer it in broth briefly to eliminate the need for tenderizing. Paired with mashed black beans — a take on refried beans — and a tangy chili-lime mango salsa, these open-faced tacos are filling and refreshing, perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a simple Mexican Night any day of the week with the family.

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Top 10 Recommended Eats from the West: On the Road with America’s Best Cook

by in Shows, April 30th, 2014

CioppinoOn America’s Best Cook, Sundays at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the West.

If you were to characterize the West in just two words, they would be “fresh” and “bold” — and you can apply those words to everything from the local ingredients to the cuisines, including the Latin-inspired dishes and American Indian foods of the Southwest. But the West is also well known for its fusion foods, one of the most popular being California cuisine, which was made famous by Chef Wolfgang Puck. Look no further for Asian-inspired pizzas, burgers or tacos. Among all the regions, the West is one of the most diverse in its offerings. Pick any city or town on the West Coast to find flavors from all across the nation and even around the world, all in one square mile or even in one single restaurant.

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And the World’s Best Restaurant Is …

by in News, April 30th, 2014

World's 50 Best RestaurantsWhat’s the best restaurant in the world? In the estimation of the judges who bestow the prestigious S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards (aka fine dining’s Oscars), that distinction now belongs to the Danish restaurant Noma. Chef-owner René Redzepi’s Copenhagen dining establishment, which last year landed at No. 2 on the annual list, organized by the U.K.’s Restaurant magazine, has retaken the top honors for what the committee called “mould-breaking Nordic food that takes nature’s bounty to new levels.”

Accepting the award at a ceremony in London on Monday night, René called the accolade “too … crazy!” He said he and the staff had worked hard to make this year their best. “Thank you for believing in us.”

Rounding out the top 10 were, in order from top to bottom, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain (last year’s winner, moving down a spot to No. 2); Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (holding steady at No. 3); Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York (moving up one spot to No. 4); Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London; Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain; D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil; Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain; Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago (moving up to No. 9 from No. 15); and The Ledbury in London.

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13 Spring Picnic Ideas

by in Family, April 29th, 2014

13 Spring Picnic IdeasWhen the weather’s just right — not too hot, not too cold, not too buggy — there’s only one way to describe it: It’s picnic season. From kid-friendly fare to portable desserts and spicy dishes for all, these are our favorite dishes to bring to a blanket near you.

Warm Picnic Burritos: What travels better than tortillas rolled up around simple pulled pork with extra-zesty flavors? Put this recipe at the top of your list.

Cold Classic Potato Salad: Picnic purists, this one is for you. Alton Brown’s masterpiece is destined to become a family favorite for you too.

Sandwiches on a Stick: Just say “no” to messy mayo. Instead, spear the kids’ favorite sandwich foods onto a skewer and snip in half if it can’t fit in your container.

Layered Picnic in a Jar (pictured above): Who said picnics had to be so much fuss? For a simple meal on the go, try Melissa d’Arabian’s brilliant idea for layering rotisserie chicken, green olives and more — all in individual servings ready the moment you twist off the lid.

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How to Make Restaurant-Style Fajitas

by in Holidays, How-to, April 29th, 2014

Chicken and Beef FajitasIt’s one of the few meals out there associated with a sound. The gratifying sizzzzle of a piping-hot skillet loaded with tortilla-ready add-ins signifies the arrival of one of our favorite hands-on dishes: fajitas. Lay out grilled veggies, cheese, pico de gallo and more on the table, and let your guests assemble the taco of their dreams. Along with salt-rimmed margaritas, bowls of guac and more, there is no better headliner for your Cinco de Mayo menu.

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Best 5 Quiche Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 29th, 2014

Chorizo and Goat Cheese QuicheMother’s Day is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t yet decided on a gift for Mom, there’s still time to commit to making her an extra-special meal at home. While holiday dinners carry with them a certain level of pressure, daytime get-togethers can be casual and relaxing, which makes Sunday brunch an ideal time to celebrate Mom. For a go-to brunch option that can feed a crowd, try making hearty quiche; it’s an egg-based main that’s often baked, so there’s no need to cook guests’ scrambles or over-easy eggs to order. Plus, quiche is endlessly versatile, as you can add nearly any cheese, vegetable or meat you happen to have on hand. Check out Food Network’s top-five quiche picks below to find deliciously satisfying recipes from Alton, Trisha, Bobby and more of your favorite chefs.

5. Mini Chorizo Quiches — Start with buttery crusts and fill them with a bold mixture of chorizo, Manchego, potatoes and eggs to create individual servings of Marcela’s Mexican-inspired quiche.

4. Crepe Quiche Lorraine — Instead of baking his bacon-and-cheddar-laced quiches inside a tart crust, Alton builds them inside herb-studded crepes, which support the egg-based center when assembled in a muffin tin.

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3,300-year-old beer, DNA-coded olive oil and DIY food porn

by in News, April 28th, 2014

Olive OilA Well-Aged Brew: Psst. Want to try some 3,300-year-old beer found in the bottom of a coffin? That might not sound so appetizing, but a little context may help. The drink is inspired by an ancient fermented liquid — made of wheat grains, pollen, malt, honey, bog myrtle and cranberries — found in a bark bucket next to the remains of a well-preserved Bronze Age teen known as Egtved Girl. The National Museum of Denmark has teamed up with Skands Brewery to re-create the beverage, marketing it as Egtved Girl’s Brew (Egtvedpigens Bryg — 5.5% ABV). Guess there was no minimum drinking age back in the Bronze Age. [Past Horizons]

An Olive Oil Breakthrough: Wild. In order to ensure that expensive olive oils are genuine and not counterfeit, scientists in Zurich, Switzerland, have come up with ways to “tag” oils using teensy magnetic DNA particles that are encapsulated in silica and mixed into the oil. The tags contain information about the oil, such as its source and quality, and can be analyzed with the help of these particles if counterfeiting (apparently a big business) is suspected. “The method is equivalent to a label that cannot be removed,” Robert Grass, lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich, told R&D Magazine. The tags are inexpensive, easy to make and safe to eat. [R&D Magazine via Popular Science]

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