This is a time of the year when my drinking rules and all “house” policies go out the window. I want something new. I will drink a cocktail through the cocktail hour and the dinner party instead of switching to wine. I sip smoky, tabacco-y scotch. I indulge in a snifter of brandy. Sometimes I mix drinks. Here are a few I’m enjoying this year for New Year’s.
I really like this flavor — it rides the perfect line between bitter and sweet. It goes well with salty snacks or with a full meal. Make sure everything (including the glasses) are as cold as possible.
Get Alex’s cocktail recipes »
This soup is really simple to make. It’s really a matter of cooking the beets and garlic together and allowing the flavors to meld. Once that part is done, it’s simply a matter of adding the tangy element of the creme fraiche and the pleasing crunch of the cucumber. I find a chilled soup so refreshing and wonderful when paired with something like a braised meat. The other great thing is that you can make this entirely in advance and simply ladle it into the bowls when ready. For me, when I’m having people over, I love serving the appetizer effortlessly and getting the main course done. The goal is to make great food but to get out of the kitchen and have fun with my friends.
Get Alex’s Chilled Beet Soup recipe »
The skillet potato cake is a lot like a potato gratin and, in my opinion, easier than making a lot of individual latkes. It has tremendous flavor and goes really well with other lighter dishes that adorn your holiday table. Let’s face it: Who doesn’t love a scoop of some kind of potatoes this time of year? I love to give people what they want. Last week, while I was cooking at my restaurant, we were making various sauces for pasta and all I could think of was a simple tomato sauce. This potato cake serves the same purpose.
Get Alex’s Skillet Potato Cake recipe »
I have to say, if you’re not going to win a competition show, being recruited to help cook by the last two standing is a pretty decent consolation prize. As was true for the entire duration of this series, I learned a lot on that day. Elizabeth and Geoffrey have very different styles of cooking and very different work methods. The hardest part? Going out to sit in the audience with my fellow competitors and knowing that I was soon going to have to join each team for 15 minutes. Wow. That’s like joining Gene Kelly in the middle of one of his tap-dancing routines without rehearsal. That Chairman doesn’t know when to quit, does he?
I started out on Team Geoffrey. After years of working together on Chopped, I know that we share a great love of French food and impulsive cooking. Geoffrey seemed as if he hadn’t completely decided what he was making and in his shoes, I would have been in the same position. “Take the cranberries the Chairman just gave us, the rice and sake and make me risotto as one of the dishes,” he shouted above the din of the kitchen noise. Make an entire dish? For him to serve to the Iron Chefs? I cooked some onions and butter in some sake and added the arborio rice. I stirred the rice, added some more sake, a sprinkle of sugar and a pat of butter and let the mixture simmer. Separately, I cooked the cranberries until tender with some spices (not too heavy) and set them aside for Team Geoffrey to reheat to their liking. The key to cooking food in a context like this is to get everything close to how you want it and perfect it at the last minute. The pressure was unreal. What if that ended up being the one dish the Iron Chefs didn’t like?
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The fourth season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs is coming to a close, with just two chefs left fighting it out for a grand prize that so many would-be chefs covet: joining the ranks of Iron Chefs Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Jose Garces and Michael Symon. Each chef will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the competition but, ultimately, one chef must go home each week. Every Monday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest Super Chef to get the boot.
This week, two competitors said goodbye in a double elimination. Alex Guarnaschelli has certainly proved herself worthy of being in this competition throughout the season. She’s made us laugh with her zingy one-liners and she’s impressed us with her vast culinary expertise. However, we had to say goodbye to her this week.
Find out if Alex would do it all over again »
Next Iron Chef judge Simon Majumdar joins us on the FN Dish each week to share his insider’s take on what went down Sunday night.
In the penultimate challenge, the four surviving chefs were given the task of showing us just what truly passionate cooks they could be. To do this they were each handed $500 by Alton Brown and given two hours to source enough ingredients to feed not only the judges but also 20 noteworthy individuals of the Hamptons dining scene.
While they were running around in search of the best fish, seafood and produce they could afford, the judges waited in the comfortable surroundings of the Montauk Yacht Club. I would like to say that we relaxed, but it simply wouldn’t be true. Just as the pressure had mounted on the chefs with each elimination, so it was weighing down on the judges each week as we looked into the eyes of the despondent chefs we had to send home.
The pressure was even greater now as we were informed that we would have to choose two chefs to compete for the title in Kitchen Stadium while crushing the dreams of the two others. Michael Symon told me that the thought of the decision ahead was making him physically ill. I could totally sympathize, as Chefs Falkner, Chiarello, Zakarian and Guarnaschelli had all proved time and again that they were each capable of going on to the show.
On returning from their quest the chefs had two hours to cook, the guests started filling up the seats on the terrace and we were led to the judging chamber. Read more »
Kohlrabi comes from the German words “kohl” (cabbage) and “rabi” (turnip). It tastes like a slightly peppery mixture of turnip and radish with a pinch of Brussels sprout. The bulbs are at their best when they’re around the size of a baseball or softball. If much bigger, they tend to have a tougher texture. I found that both light green and purple kohlrabi don’t taste dramatically different. Maybe the purple was a touch sweeter? You be the judge. How do you eat it?
Raw: The simplest choice. Simply peel the outer layer of skin off with a vegetable peeler and grate the kohlrabi raw over a salad.
Get my dressing recipe for a crisp kohlrabi salad »
Every year, I pull out my giant roasting pan (with fitted rack) and thus begins the annual ritual of cooking a giant turkey for Thanksgiving. What kind of turkey did I make last year? How did I cook it? Though I consider myself a fairly well-seasoned cook, learning how to cook the perfect turkey is something I take care to re-learn every year.
So, where to begin?
A few preliminary questions I always ask:
1. How big does my turkey need to be? I usually estimate about 1 pound of turkey (factoring in the carcass as part of that weight) per person.
2. What kind of turkey? Like a lot of poultry these days, there is quite a variety of turkeys (all raised in different ways, fed different foods) to choose from. You know, this is a difficult question to answer. I don’t think I have ever cooked the same turkey two years in a row. I love Heritage brand the most, but those types of birds are raised in such a way that the meat is leaner and can be slightly tough. I also love a good ol’ supermarket turkey. I say, whatever suits your personal taste.
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Alex Guarnaschelli will be featured at the 11th Annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience October 20-23 in Kohler, Wis. The event offers a weekend of wine seminars, demonstrations, book signings and delicious tastings from a lineup of regional and national chefs and restaurateurs. Chef Guarnaschelli will also be among those competing for the title of Next Iron Chef starting October 30.
Duff Goldman is getting everyone in the mood for Halloween. During a recent appearance on CBS’s The Talk, Duff showed Sharon Osbourne how to make Halloween cupcakes and unveiled a zombie-head cake in the likeness of her rock star husband, Ozzy. Watch the video on AOL Video.
Find out what Aarón and Ted are up to »
At an NYC Wine and Food Fest event at the TimesCenter, top-tier chefs discussed with Melissa Clark of The New York Times some of their greatest challenges in achieving what they have today, the moment they realized they had made it and the potential pros and cons of celebrity chefs and television cooks.
Several of the chefs admitted to being their own biggest obstacle in some way. Chef Anne Burrell was quick to name her “sparkly” personality as her greatest challenge, noting that some have not known how to approach such a confident, self-assured chef. Even fellow panelist Chef Alex Guarnaschelli confessed to being skeptical of the young Burrell many years ago. Still, Anne maintained, “The opposite of a sparkly person is mediocrity,” and with that mantra, she has worked alongside some of the most premier chefs in the industry, including Lidia Bastianich and Iron Chef Mario Batali. The latter she credits with offering her most significant opportunity: to serve as his sous chef in Food Network’s Iron Chef America battles.
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