The Casserole Takes Its Turn in the Spotlight

by in News, March 26th, 2014

Chicken Noodle CasseroleCasseroles have gotten such a bad rap in recent years, dismissed with sneers about soup cans, that those who love casseroles (and who, secretly, doesn’t love a good casserole?) may have felt compelled to keep their comfort-food cravings to themselves.

Now, finally, casserole fans can come clean: The humble one-dish meal has found a champion to defend its honor and bring it the respect it needs.

New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark writes that the casserole, though cozy, is not, inherently, “dowdy in its DNA,” nor must it be “bland or one-note,” and it “does not have to contain even a single strand of melted cheese, or be dusted with crushed potato chips.”

In fact, she suggests, “The casserole can be nuanced and urbane, with room for fresh ingredients, clever details and a vivid palette of flavors,” adding that “there’s nothing wrong with baking assorted ingredients together in a dish” and that “when done just right, the elements merge in the oven’s heat, building on one another until the flavors unite into a delicious whole, preferably one with a golden top and appealingly moist center.”

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Game-Changing Shortcut Dinners

by in Recipes, March 26th, 2014

30-Minute Coq Au Vin

In life, we don’t always recommend you cut corners. But, hey, in the kitchen? Now that’s a different story. Feast your eyes on some of the best kitchen shortcuts to grace mankind — and we’re not talkin’ sliced bread or the can opener. Thanks to some handy store-bought ingredients, restaurant-worthy dishes known for toil and trouble are ready in no time. Here are three of our favorites:

30-Minute Coq au Vin —This classic French dish typically takes hours on end to prepare. Thing is, dinner needed to be on the table a half-hour ago. Don’t go giving up on the craving though, because at a supermarket near you, juicy rotisserie chickens are already rotating to plump perfection. Take one home, get a red wine sauce simmering— think bacon, mushrooms and frozen (plus pre-peeled!) pearl onions — and slip in pieces of chicken when no one’s looking. Read more

5 New Recipes for Spring

by in In Season, Recipes, March 26th, 2014

Pasta, Pesto and PeasWhen you’ve nearly exhausted all of your usual go-to meals, it’s time to update your recipe repertoire with a fresh set of flavors. Think of it as a spring cleaning of sorts, celebrating the change in season with family-friendly dinners, salads and treats that showcase the best tastes the warm weather has to offer. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite innovative springtime recipes below to find must-try ideas from Melissa, Giada, Ina and more chefs.

5. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad — Dressed with a sweet and tangy mustard-mayonnaise vinaigrette, Melissa’s top-rated salad is tossed with crispy bacon for extra indulgent flavor.

4. Spring Peas with Dates and Walnuts — The beauty of this quick-fix side dish is that it boasts a mix of textures, including the trio of tender English, snap and snow peas, crunchy nuts and chewy dried fruit. Plus, it’s a big-batch recipe, so it’s sure to feed a crowd when you’re entertaining.

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Ode to Alabama Barbecue, $1,000 Ranch Dressing and Here’s to the Cookie Lady

by in News, March 26th, 2014

Ranch DressingSweet Home Alabama: Archibald’s, a family-owned barbecue joint in Northport, Ala., near Tuscaloosa, has famously served up pit-smoked ribs and sliced pork butt since 1962. While slow-cooking and hickory smoke from the carefully tended fire give the meat its sweet flavor and plain white bread adds to the down-home style, the true secret ingredient in this barbecue is love. In a new short documentary film, Archibald’s, part of Southern Foodways’ Southern BBQ Trail series, director Wes Wages pays tribute to the modest Alabama food landmark. Watch it here. [Southern Foodways Alliance]

$1,000 for Ranch Dressing? When a Redditor using the handle Brostach posted a picture taken at Dallas pizzeria Cane Rosso, which showed a bottle of ranch salad dressing behind glass and a framed sign reading “Side of Delicious Ranch Dressing $1,000,” some commenters accused the VPN-certified eatery of elitism and arrogance; others rose to its defense. Proprietor Jay Jerrier wants both sides to know he was just kidding. “Dude, it’s a joke. Relax,” he recently told Eater, adding that he doesn’t get many requests for ranch dressing on pizza, a combo he says “seems weird” to him, but he deals kindly with those who ask. “It was pretty funny how people did take it really seriously and were super offended,” Jay added. “I guess it’s the Midwest. They love them some ranch.” [Eater]

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How to Make Banana Pudding Tiramisu

by in How-to, Recipes, March 25th, 2014

How to Make Banana Pudding TiramisuTraditional banana pudding and Italian tiramisu may hail from drastically different places — compare an Italian trattoria to the kitchen of your Southern grandmother — but, trust us, these two go together without a hitch. Maybe it’s the layering, maybe it’s that inspired combination of coffee, bananas and cream. All we know is that with a comforting dessert mash-up like Banana Pudding Tiramisu, there’s never been a more pressing reason to whip out those trifle dishes.

Check out a step-by-step how-to for this banana and espresso cream bliss. Assemble yours the night before for the best results.

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Get to Know Marc Summers

by in Shows, March 25th, 2014

Marc SummersFor years Marc Summers was the face of Food Network’s Unwrapped, pulling back the curtain on some of your all-time favorite snack foods and exposing just how they come to be in the factory. But come this spring, he’ll go one step further in the world of munchies by judging a snack food showdown on Rewrapped. Just in time for next month’s premiere (on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c), FN Dish caught up with Marc to learn a bit more about his own cooking habits, plus some of his favorite foods and go-to late-night bites. Read on below to hear from Marc, then find out more about the host of Rewrapped, Joey Fatone.

Do you cook at home? If so, what’s your signature dish?
Marc Summers: I do, but my wife is a better cook than I am, so, not that we’re ever in competition, but she’s just so darn good at it that I don’t do it much. When I’m in California … I like to barbecue. So I’m the king of barbecue in L.A., but the rest of the time my wife is cooking.

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Calling Guinness: Biggest Hot Dog Ever?

by in News, March 25th, 2014

Calling Guinness: Biggest Hot Dog Ever?Trying to make something bigger — not to say better — than the next guy is almost as American as hot dogs. So there may be little quite so American as the gargantuan frankfurter served up Friday at the Miami-Dade County Fair with the goal of grabbing the Guinness record for the world’s largest commercially available hot dog.

The humongous wiener tipped the scales at 125.5 pounds, including the huge bun and heaping portions of ketchup, mustard, relish and sliced onions, according to the Miami Herald. Devoid of bun and condiments — “naked,” as the newspaper put it — the dawg weighed 51 pounds.

Created by Juicy’s Outlaw Grill, whose founder already holds the Guinness World Record for the largest commercially available hamburger, the ultra-large link was cooked for three hours on a 100-foot-long, 20-foot-tall, 27-ton mobile grill. (You can see the giant dog, which has yet to be certified by Guinness, cooking on the grill here.)

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Soften Tough Greens

by in Food Network Magazine, March 25th, 2014

tough greensHearty greens like kale, chard and collards are delicious in salads, but you’ll want to soften them so they aren’t so tough and chewy: Thinly slice the leaves and toss them with dressing (choose one that contains an acidic ingredient, like vinegar or lemon juice, which acts as a tenderizer). Let the greens sit, dressed, until they soften, about 10 minutes.