Tag: All Posts

How to Win Summer: Dino-mite Watermelon Carvings

by in Family, News, July 3rd, 2014

Dino-mite Watermelon CarvingsWatermelon’s always been the coolest fruit of summer. When I cut into a watermelon, it’s either for a last-minute barbecue contribution or an instant “side dish” for the kids — seed-spitting contests are just a bonus. It has plenty of vitamins A and C, and it’s ready in two minutes flat. Wedges, cubes, balls of sugary-sweet juiciness — the options are endless and there’s no oven required. But maybe I need to hone my knife skills and take a slice from Vancouver’s Clive Cooper, a government worker by day and artist by night whose latest extreme watermelon carvings give fruit-platter party planners something to, well, chew on.

I thought Cooper and his fabulous menagerie were the “why” of a spike in watermelon searches reported by Yahoo web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse a week or two ago; since then his fierce alligator carving and the latest, the triceratops above, have been stomping their way through food news and Facebook. He’s not the only one; Pinterest is ripe with countless carved characters. Why, after all, should food fans have to wait for pumpkin season to make faces? As to folks searching “watermelon,” they wanted to know how many calories are in the fruit (about 50 per cup) and how to cut it (try Alton’s cut-the-ends-first method); there was also a 500+ percent increase in searches for “watermelon cake” (not a cake at all but a trompe-l’oeil fun fruit dessert), plus plenty of people pondering perennial favorites likes drinks and refreshing salads with watermelon (with feta as a partner; here is Ina’s take, one of my go-to’s for summer guests).

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Stars, Stripes and Everything Nice: 4th of July Treats — Summer Soiree

by in Holidays, July 3rd, 2014

Fourth of July DessertsIf the fireworks are sounding off and you’re more concerned with where your next hot dog is coming from, then let’s not kid ourselves. For a lot of us, some things are best celebrated by way of our stomachs. Since a red, white and blue burger wouldn’t be nearly as cool, siphon your patriotism into tricolored 4th of July desserts, each a perfect ending to your celebratory cookout. There will be no denying — especially if you’re the type to don a red, white and blue getup at the barbecue, which nation you’re celebrating with these tricolored treats.

Lined with fresh cream cheese icing and studded with raspberries and blueberries, Ina Garten’s classic Flag Cake (top right) is 4th of July party gold. With this step-by-step how-to, it’s ultra-easy to make.

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Quick Tip: Max Out Your Grill

by in Food Network Magazine, July 3rd, 2014

If you’re cooking outside and need a stovetop, put a cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof pan right on the grill. Try making a quick sauce for meat this way: Drain your marinade into the pan and bring it to a boil while the meat cooks.

State Fair Foods: You’ll Never Guess What You Can Get on a Stick

by in News, July 2nd, 2014

State Fair FoodsWhen you think of state fair food, you probably think of things that are deep-fried, sugar-dusted, perched on a stick or served in a cone: You’ve got your corn dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream — with which you can fortify yourself as you gaze upon your wall of blue-ribbon pies and, especially in the Midwest, your life-size cows carved out of butter.

But, of course, those fairground staples are only the beginning. State fairs are also famous for debuting foods that are new and different — innovative, imaginative, exotic and often deliberately excessive. Who can forget the deep-fried stick of butter on a stick that made its debut at the Iowa State Fair a few years back?

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Forget Miso Soup, It’s Time for Miso Salad

by in Recipes, Shows, July 2nd, 2014

Caesar Salad with White Miso
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient yellow miso paste. A rich Japanese staple used in marinades and soups, it has a distinctive umami flavor without being too overpowering. In this Grilled Caesar Salad with Yellow Miso (Dressing) recipe, the vegetables are grilled to accentuate the flavor of the miso, and the anchovies are omitted so that the miso really shines. It’s the perfect summer party appetizer or a light lunch.

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How to Make Ina Garten’s Flag Cake

by in Holidays, July 2nd, 2014

How to Make Ina Garten's Flag CakeIf you’re having a Fourth of July party this weekend, serve Ina’s crowd-pleasing cake that feeds up to 24 guests. You can make the easy vanilla sheet cake ahead of time and decorate it with berries and frosting the day of your party to cut down on in-the-kitchen prep during your gathering.

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Search of the Week: Fried Green Tomatoes

by in Recipes, July 2nd, 2014

Fried Green TomatoesWhen it comes to warm-weather produce, much is made of the importance of finding just-ripe fruits and vegetables for their natural sweetness and juicy insides. But that all changes when the spotlight is shined on one particular summer classic: fried green tomatoes. This Southern staple is best when made with firm, not-yet-ripe tomatoes — which are most often green — because they’re not packed with liquid yet. Traditional tomato sauce relies on ripe red tomatoes because they burst open with juices when cooked, but it’s those same juices that would render red tomatoes limp and the crumb coating soggy if they were fried.

As you peruse your gardens this summer or shop at farm stands and the supermarket, reach for green tomatoes and put them to work in the Neelys’ can-do recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes (pictured above). Ready to eat in only 30 minutes, this simple-to-make dish features slices of green tomato dunked in garlic powder-laced flour, a batter of milk and eggs, and finally panko with a pinch of cayenne for subtle heat. Fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and serve a creamy, tangy buttermilk sauce alongside for deliciously easy dipping.

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Here’s How to Up Your Dip Game

by in How-to, July 1st, 2014

Dip How-TosThe right dip recipe can get you through anything. The kids surprised you with a houseful of small-but-hungry friends? Bring out the chips and dip — vats of the stuff. A friend’s going through a breakup? There’s no better method for sopping up their tears than doing so over a bowl of guacamole. Perhaps most importantly, however, a solid dip recipe can help hit your cookout or picnic out of the park, especially this time of year. Before you peel open a tub of sorry store-bought dip, witness how these dip giants can come together in a flash, especially with a little how-to help.

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Why We Get Hangovers and How Eating Can Help (Plus Recipes)

by in News, July 1st, 2014

Bobby's Spicy Citrus Bloody MaryMany of us enjoy a summer cocktail or two, sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, a few beers while watching the game. No one — at least no one I know — enjoys the hangover that often follows. But what is causing all those miserable symptoms the morning after? Why, exactly, do we get hangovers? And what, if anything, can you do about them?

The Atlantic magazine recently published an interview with Richard Stephens, a psychology professor at Keele University in the U.K. and a member of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, a group of scientists who study hangovers that convened this past weekend. He offered some insight that may prove useful before you head out to those Fourth of July barbecues and wake up the next day with fireworks going off in your head.

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4th of July Dishes Kids Can Help Make

by in Family, Holidays, July 1st, 2014

4th of July Dishes Kids Can Help MakeAs if the Fourth of July isn’t already festive enough, here are five recipes that even the littlest cooks can help make. Each dish gets high marks in two key areas, cuteness and simplicity, which gives everyone enough time to enjoy his or her fine work when it’s done.

Berry Trifle: Layers of berries, cake and cream — any dessert with such an easy-to-follow recipe is one all kid-friendly kitchens should have on hand.

Starry Cheese, Tomatoes and Crackers (pictured above): With the help of a star-shaped cutter, transform an average afternoon snack into one with a patriotic punch.

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