Chatting with Alice Waters: Here’s How to Stock Your Pantry for Easy Meals

by in Books, November 10th, 2015

Chatting with Alice Waters: Here's How to Stock Your Pantry for Easy MealsWhen it comes to stocking your home pantry like a professional chef, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better adviser than Alice Waters. Her new book, aptly titled My Pantry, is an eloquent exploration of what Waters keeps on hand in her kitchen all the time. It explores how to make several staple ingredients, like vanilla extract, candied citrus peel and ricotta cheese. It also gives recipes that utilize items from a well-stocked pantry, like superfood granola or Chocolate Nut Bark (recipe below for you to enjoy at home).

My Pantry blends Waters’ lovely writing with her highly craveable food and speaks to how a home pantry can evolve its staple items over time. “My travels to Morocco, Australia and Mexico have influenced what I keep on hand, especially spices,” Waters told FN Dish. “My pantry has also changed through my thinking about the importance of school lunch nutrition — whole grains, fruits and vegetables first.” You can find more about her work improving youth nutrition through better food resources for schools with her Edible Schoolyard Project.

What does Waters say every home cook needs to keep in a well-stocked pantry? The list is surprisingly simple. “You must always have olive oil, vinegar, garlic and spices,” she said. “Plus brown rice, farro pasta and preserved tomatoes.” According to Waters, a good home cook keeps 10 to 15 items on hand at all times, and with My Pantry you’ll find yourself making delicious meals from your pantry shelves multiple times a week. How does Waters choose what to make when she’s cooking from her pantry? “I pick whatever looks inspiring to me or what works with what I have on hand. You can make a delicious simple meal with only three or four ingredients.”

You can order your own copy of My Pantry here.

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Flavortown Champions Return to Guy’s Grocery Games in the First-Ever Tournament of Champions

by in Shows, November 10th, 2015

Guy's Grocery GamesHost Guy Fieri is welcoming back past Triple G champions in Guy’s Grocery Games Tournament of Champions, premiering Sunday, Nov. 29 at 8|7c. Sixteen of the most-unforgettable previous winners return to battle it out in the five-part series. They will face challenges that test their culinary prowess and innovation for a chance to earn a spot in the grand finale. The single winner will claim bragging rights as the ultimate Triple G champion, and he or she will get an extra run at the Shopping Spree for a chance to become the biggest prizewinner in the show’s history.

Read on to get a breakdown of the rounds.

8 Turkeys That Are Guaranteed to Deliver Flavor — and Oohs and Aahs from Your Guests

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 10th, 2015

Perfect Roast TurkeyBe honest: Is turkey your favorite part of Thanksgiving? No matter if you answered yes or no, chances are you’ll be cooking up a bird this holiday, as it’s arguably the most-important element of your Thanksgiving dinner table. As the centerpiece of the feast, a winning bird will bring balance to the seemingly never-ending buffet of veggie side dishes (and provide the leftovers for must-have turkey sandwiches), whether you fry it, roast it, stuff it or brine it. Check out some of Food Network’s best-ever turkey recipes below, each chock-full of good-to-know tips from your favorite chefs.

Perfect Roast Turkey: The tried-and-true staples are beloved for a reason, and Ina Garten’s top-rated turkey is no exception to that rule. Ina stuffs the bird with fresh thyme and a halved lemon to gently flavor the bird from the inside out.

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Robert Irvine Reveals his Strategy for Competing in the Chopped: Impossible Finale

by in Shows, November 10th, 2015

Robert IrvineIn the new tournament Chopped: Impossible, 12 chefs entered the competition hoping to make it to the last round to face off against Mr. Impossible himself, Robert Irvine. Until now Robert has judged each of the three preliminary rounds, but on finale day he will compete against one of the three finalists: Marc, James or Emily. The challenge is real, and as we’ve seen so far, the ingredients have been quite impossible, so the final basket will make it anyone’s game.

FN Dish caught up with Robert on the set of the tournament to find out his strategy for the wild-card round. He reveals his competitive strengths and the way he plans to approach the basket. He also talks about how it was judging the chefs and what it’s been like mentoring them to bring out their best in competition.

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Blueberries-and-Cream Slab Pie — Bake-Ahead Batches

by in Recipes, November 10th, 2015

Up until some years ago, I was a cultivated-blueberry kind of gal. I’m from Connecticut, and those fat, sweet blueberries were ubiquitous. The cultivated blueberries were the ones we picked in the patches on sticky summer days. And they were always the ones we used to dot our pancakes and load our muffins. Until recently I never gave my blueberry choice any thought. Those babies were refreshing and tasty, and I loved them.

Then I met a man from Maine. And I met his mother. I can remember one evening some years ago when said mother, Deborah, served us a rustic blueberry galette for dessert. She told us how she had gone for a hike and come across a patch of ripe wild Maine blueberries. She picked what she could, took them back home and baked them into a simple pastry crust. I was amazed. First of all, the color of those syrupy cooked blueberries was unlike anything I had seen — so deep and purple. The thick, glorious juice had bubbled up and over the edge of the crust and had caramelized seductively underneath. Second, the flavor of those wild blueberries was unique. They tasted of blueberry times 10. They were floral and savory, with the perfect jammy balance of tart and sweet. That galette was simple perfection and changed the way I looked at blueberries forever.

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Season 2 of Foodie Call with Justin Warner: Hot Ice Cream Sundae

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, November 9th, 2015

In this week’s episode of Foodie Call, Justin meets up with Douglas Quint of Big Gay Ice Cream in New York City. Together they ponder the seasonal dilemma of how to enjoy ice cream during the cold winter months — and Justin comes up with an ingenious solution.

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Small-Batch Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Shepherd’s Pie — Party of Two

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 9th, 2015

Turkey Shepherd's Pie for TwoI can’t believe the holidays are right around the corner! Where has the year gone? I could’ve sworn Thanksgiving was just a few months ago.

Cooking for two on Thanksgiving seems daunting. You want to celebrate the holiday, but you also don’t want to be stuck with leftovers for a month. This Turkey Shepherd’s Pie for Two gives you an alternative to a large Thanksgiving spread. You still get all the sides that are classic for Thanksgiving, but without all the leftovers taking up your refrigerator space. Perfection! This recipe is also great if you happen to celebrate with family or friends and you get sent home with a bunch of leftovers. The turkey and mashed potato leftovers can be used in this recipe, and it’s like having a Thanksgiving meal all over again. Get the recipe below, then check out more of my Party of Two picks.

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Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 9th, 2015

Healthy Squash and Kale CasseroleWhen time is tight on busy weeknights, the key to easy, enjoyable mealtimes is taking advantage of what you already have. While some nights that may mean looking to a refrigerator full of groceries to put simple, ready-to-go ingredients to work, other times it could call for a bit of creativity in dressing up your pantry staples. Then there are the nights that it can be as simple as letting your past prep help. Enter the frozen casserole.

With a crispy breadcrumb blanket on top and a center of tender, garlic-laced veggies, hearty brown rice and a creamy, cheesy sauce, Food Network Kitchen’s Healthy Squash and Kale Casserole is a make-ahead beauty. It can be assembled up to two weeks before you want to eat it, so perhaps dedicate some time over the weekend to putting this big-batch pick together, and then freeze it for later. When you’re ready to eat, preparing it is as simple as covering it with foil and letting it bake.

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Presidential Turkey Grower Joe Hedden Takes Our Questions, Plus: Did You Know That Turkeys Like Country Music?

by in Holidays, News, November 9th, 2015

Presidential Turkey Grower Joe Hedden Takes Our Questions

The pardoning of the presidential turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition as familiar and beloved as ogling giant parade floats and eating way too much pie. But how much do we really know about it?

Some say the POTUS turkey pardon traces its origins back to Abraham Lincoln, who, legend has it, once pardoned a turkey destined for his family’s Thanksgiving table after his son Tad made an impassioned argument that the bird should be allowed to live. Maybe.

What’s more certain is that handpicked Thanksgiving birds have been presented to presidents since 1893, that the National Turkey Federation took over the honors in 1947, and that, in most cases, the turkeys ended up on the presidents’ holiday tables, served up with all the trimmings. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy unofficially pardoned the turkey presented to him — “We’ll just let this one grow,” he said — and sent it back to the farm from which it came. Subsequent presidential turkeys were then sent on to a local petting farm, and in 1989 President George H.W. Bush made the presidential turkey pardon official.

Historically, the pardoning ceremony takes place shortly before Thanksgiving in the White House Rose Garden, although inclement weather has, on occasion, prompted a change of venue, as in 2009, when President Obama had to move it to the North Portico. Perhaps the location change made the president peckish, because he remarked that he had been tempted to eat the “good-lookin’ bird,” named Courage, but, “thanks to the intervention of Malia and Sasha,” the turkey’s life would be spared.

This year, the presidential turkey will be chosen from a flock of 50 toms currently being raised expressly for this purpose by Foster Farms, a family farm in California’s Central Valley, which also provided the presidential turkey in 2010.

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5 Ways to Get Your Table Ready for the Holidays

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 9th, 2015

Thanksgiving Centerpieces and Decorating IdeasThe food may just be the most-important thing on your Thanksgiving table (next to your family and friends around it, of course). But that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up the space to make it more seasonal and fit for the feast. Check out these easy, inexpensive ideas and good-to-know tricks to trim your table with a fall-focused spread, no matter if your plans include hosting kids or throwing an elegant celebration.

Repurpose Existing Goods
You know that wine bottle you have left over from the other night? That could be your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Save a few bottles and fill them with grains to create an easy yet impressive display.

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