Hometown Hungers: Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds

by in Restaurants, November 12th, 2016

Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds

Living in the Dairy State does have its advantages. Not only do Wisconsin farms and factories churn out more cheese than any other state in the nation — over 3 billion pounds of it in 2015 alone — but they also produce a regional delicacy that the denizens are known to devour at an astonishing speed: cheese curds.

This springy, salty snack is actually a product of the cheese-making process itself. Often described as cheese in its youngest form, curds are a solid tangle of milk proteins that are pressed together and then aged to create cheddar, Colby and other formidable blocks of fromage. These peanut-sized morsels are mild in flavor and have a distinctive squeak to them that denotes their freshness.

Curds have existed for thousands of years, but they became a beloved addition to Wisconsin’s culinary canon when Europeans immigrated here in the mid-1800s and brought their cheese-making ways with them. At some point in the decades since, clever cooks began coating the curds in batter (typically laced with beer) and plunging them into sizzling oil to create wondrously golden nuggets that sing with salty, cheesy flavors. The curds are traditionally paired with dipping sauces, and creamy ranch is the classic favorite.

So craveworthy are these fried cheese curds that they have burst beyond Wisconsin’s boundaries, with restaurants across the country offering riffs that stick close to the classic recipe. Check out Food Network’s gallery to find out where to score them.

Caption It: A Darn Good Casserole

by in Shows, November 12th, 2016

Root Vegetable One-DishFor the first time ever, not one but two Food Network pals dropped by The Kitchen this morning for an epic Friendsgiving celebration. Nancy Fuller, Valerie Bertinelli and all five co-hosts took turns showcasing their best-bet recipes for all of the Thanksgiving feast, from the all-important turkey to a simple drink and a dressed-up dessert. Nancy was all about one dish — a “one-dish,” to be exact. With the help of Jeff Mauro, she prepped her super-cheesy Root Vegetable One-Dish, a big-batch casserole filled with a whopping five seasonal picks — celery root, parsnips, sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, and rutabaga — baked at once in a single pan.

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Every Perfect Pie Recipe You Need for Thanksgiving

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 12th, 2016

When it comes to Thanksgiving pies, a lack of options isn’t a problem — at all (we’ve got over 50 of ‘em right here for you). But of course you want to bake a classic that’s a crowd-pleaser. Any of these recipes will do the trick.

Pumpkin Pie (above)

It’s just not Thanksgiving without it, right? Try Bobby Flay’s recipe, which has lots of spice, a crumbly graham cracker crust and a bourbon-maple whipped cream.

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Perfect Your Potato Game: 4 Non-Mashed Potato Dishes to Try

by in Recipes, November 11th, 2016

Hasselback PotatoesWhether you have family gatherings or Friendsgiving planned for later this month, mashed and smashed potato dishes will likely make it onto your table — possibly even for days following the big feast. Since mashed potatoes get more than their fair share of attention during this season, we’re shining a light on some non-mashed potato dishes that deserve a place on your dinner table.

Hasselback Potatoes

If there were ever such a thing as a potato league, we think these spuds would be named MVP. Hasselback potatoes are easy to make, look great and, above all, taste amazing. It takes only a few extra knife cuts to transform a basic baked potato into this cover-worthy dish. By making thin slices into the potato, but not cutting all the way through, you get crispy edges on top of a fluffy interior. Keep the dish simple with Ree Drummond’s recipe for Hasselback Potatoes (pictured above) using russet potatoes and a topping of butter, olive oil and chives.

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Unexpected Sources for Gourmet Groceries

by in News, November 11th, 2016

Sure, having a go-to neighborhood grocery store for all your essentials is key to maintaining a well-stocked pantry. But don’t overlook these sources for imported items and gourmet goods at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at regular grocers.

T.J. Maxx
Along with its sister stores Marshalls and HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx is a treasure trove of specialty foods at better prices than you’d find them elsewhere. On any given day, you may find an array as varied as gorgeous Italian pastas in shapes you’ve never seen, pink Himalayan salt, good-quality canned tuna from Spain, Italian truffle paste, samplers from high-end tea purveyors and Bloody Mary mix. (In fact, this list is a fraction of the items I’ve actually snagged there — most for substantially less than they would cost in grocery stores.) The stock is usually more organized than the chaotic assortment of clothes, shoes and home products the store is known for, but you still get the same thrill of the hunt. The selection is usually anything but reliable, but on a recent trip to North Carolina, when I couldn’t find the whole flax seeds and chia seeds my niece and I needed for a baking project at regular grocery stores, I found them at HomeGoods.
Where to shop: brick-and-mortar stores

World Market
Best known for its mix of globally inspired furniture and home decor, World Market boasts a similarly eclectic mix of globetrotting foods and spirits and feels a bit like cult-favorite grocery Trader Joe’s. Look for Café Du Monde Beignet Mix, organic coconut palm sugar, Guittard baking chocolates, chickpea snacks, pickled okra, and soba and udon noodles, plus cucumber sake and apple-pie moonshine packaged in a Mason jar.
Where to shop: brick-and-mortar stores, with a smaller selection available online Read more

Spike It: Ginger-Pear Moscow Mules

by in Drinks, November 11th, 2016

Ginger Pear Moscow MulesI like to tell everyone that I was completely deprived because I never even tried ginger beer until I was at least 28 years old. It happened to be in my very first Moscow mule, which I completely adored, but I was all over the ginger beer itself before anything else.

While I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my mom cooked every night, we had a lot of the same (delicious!) staples, and her cooking focused more on comfort than it did on adventure. I’m sure that also had to do with feeding four mouths other than her own, and the last thing she wanted to do was cook a new, exciting meal for us to turn our noses up at it.

So it’s safe to say that I don’t think she ever even purchased ginger root. She would cook with ground ginger, but the fresh stuff never graced our home, and it wasn’t until I started cooking myself that I fell in love with it. The hint of spice that comes with fresh ginger is so refreshing and lovely.

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What to Watch: Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving and Recipes from Grandma

by in Shows, November 11th, 2016

The KitchenThis weekend your favorite Food Network chefs are talkin’ turkey and sharing Thanksgiving recipes you’ll be thankful for. Saturday morning, it’s a Frontier Friendsgiving on the ranch, and Ree Drummond is celebrating with her two closest friends and a boozy gravy recipe. Down in Nashville, Trisha Yearwood is making a portable Thanksgiving feast for her niece who’s a nurse, and then the co-hosts of The Kitchen are making The Ultimate Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese with help from Nancy Fuller and Valerie Bertinelli. On Saturday afternoon Ayesha Curry is making two kinds of turkey, and Valerie’s hosting Thanksgiving for her whole family.

Sunday morning, take a break from turkey and tune in to Guy Fieri, who’s serving up a leg of lamb for his Thanksgiving feast. Later on, Giada De Laurentiis is hosting a Thanksgiving feast, Nancy Fuller is leaving the Thanksgiving decor to her grandkids, and Bobby Flay’s making the ultimate day-after-Thanksgiving brunch.

Sunday night, it’s Thanksgiving in Flavortown, and grandmas are throwing down with their Thanksgiving recipes on Holiday Baking Championship and Clash of the Grandmas.

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Exclusive Interview with the Champion of Chopped: Beat Bobby Flay

by in Shows, November 10th, 2016

Bobby and SeisIn the new tournament Chopped: Beat Bobby Flay, three chefs competed in preliminary rounds in order to gain a spot in the finale, for a chance to go up against the formidable competitor Bobby Flay. In the end Seis was the chef to battle Bobby. He’d won $15,000 for just getting to that point, but to earn $25,000 more he’d have to also beat Bobby. Both chefs would have to cook Seis’ choice of dish — in this case bibimbap, a dish Bobby had previously lost with on his own show, Beat Bobby Flay. Find out if Seis was able to beat Bobby again, or if Bobby redeemed himself from last time.

FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Winner

6 Thanksgiving-Inspired Ice Creams That Taste Just Like Fall

by in Holidays, Product Reviews, November 10th, 2016

Ice cream: It may not be the first thing you think of as November temperatures drop, but what good is pie if not a la mode? Luckily for us, several ice cream retailers across the country have taken their love for Thanksgiving to the next level with seasonal pints that highlight the traditional components of a Turkey Day feast — cranberry, apple, sweet potato and yes, even turkey. Read on to learn where to find them.

Salt & Straw: November Seasonal Pints
Every fall, the wacky-flavor inventors at this Portland-based ice cream shop release a set of seasonal pints (pictured above) that incorporate ingredients — both savory and sweet — of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. This year’s lineup includes Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans, Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and more. With a range like that, why even bother cooking the meal?
Set of 5, $65

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6 Carrot Treats That Deserve a Spot in Your Thanksgiving Dessert Spread

by in Recipes, November 10th, 2016

How to Make Carrot CheesecakePumpkin, pecan and apple may get all the love on Thanksgiving, but they aren’t the only flavors that deserve a spot in your holiday dessert spread. Get carrot in on the action, too, with our favorite festive dessert recipes, each reaching plush, tender heights.

If you eat a slice of carrot cake for the promise of frosting alone, go even bigger by replacing your favorite part with a thick layer of creamy cheesecake. This decadent dessert mashup — Carrot Cheesecake — comes with layers of spiced carrot cake, rich cheesecake and a smooth sour cream topping.

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