Watch any episode of Chopped and you’re bound to find one competitor who’s blender-happy — he or she will puree anything, oftentimes most of the basket ingredients, into a dish. Although that isn’t always the best method for impressing the judges, sometimes it works, as in the case of the recipe in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge. The chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose frozen french fries as the basket ingredient, and they wanted to transform them without the typical frying, so this French Fry and Scallion Soup was born. It’s a comforting potato soup in half the time, because you’ve just skipped the peeling and cubing.
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Entertaining a group of kids can be tricky, to say the least. Between the menu, the decor and the activities, things can get out of hand (and expensive) in the blink of an eye. This party concept simplifies the process by limiting all decor to projects that can be made using inexpensive materials, and by basing the party around a cookie-decorating activity, so kids will be well-fed and entertained throughout.
Last week signaled back to school for families in some parts of the country, and it starts this week here in New York. Watching my friends post first-day-of-school photos reminds me of the 180-degree turn it’ll mean for our schedules. No more sleeping in and eating breakfast at noon. Instead of sitting down to dinner at 8pm, that’s when I’ll be tucking the kids into bed. One thing back to school doesn’t have to mean, though, is back to takeout. With some smart planning, we’ll be enjoying the same home cooking, just a little earlier than our lazy days of summer.
Prep School: Set yourself up for success on busy weeknights by having vegetables ready to use. You can chop or slice onions and leave them in sealed containers one to two days advance. When I have a recipe that calls for only half an onion, I immediately chop the other half and store it in the freezer in a zip-top bag. Then I can just toss it into the skillet when I’m ready to use it (no need to thaw it first). The same goes for garlic. Chop a whole head and spoon it into mini ice cube trays. Just pop out what you need when you’re ready to get cooking (no need to thaw it first).
For the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s second round, four amateur home cooks battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history: $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 2.
Yup. Feast your eyes on Sushi Socks. Rolled up, they look remarkably like giant versions of the stuff your local sushi restaurant would present to you on a platter. (Deluxe, natch.) Unrolled, they’re a bit more like sashimi.
Tokyo Otaku Mode Premium Shop, which sells the Japan-manufactured polyester-cotton-blend socks for $5.39 a pair and $28.99 for a six-pair set and ships internationally, touts them as “comfortable and durable,” noting, for those as particular about their socks as they are about their raw fish, that the “sushi detail is knitted into the sock with colored thread instead of being printed.”
It’s time to pack the kids up for school again, and that means making mounds of school lunches. But PB&J sandwiches can take you only so far. For a new twist on a classic ingredient that kids and adults love, look no further than the Peanut Butter series on FN Dish. For the next three weeks, we’ll be giving you inventive recipes that let you incorporate peanut butter into all your meals — from breakfast to dessert — for the entire family.
Here are ways you can sneak a little peanut butter into your midday meal: lunch. And don’t forget to check out last week’s breakfast post here.
1. Instead of a mayonnaise-based chicken salad, try it with a touch of peanut butter with Bobby Flay‘s Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Butter recipe (pictured above).
This week on The Great Food Truck Race the food truck rookies found themselves moving from the Southwest into the heart of Texas. Because Austin is known for “keeping it weird,” Tyler Florence decided to pull some interesting tricks on the teams. On Day One he had them partner up, which produced some odd pairing, e.g., Let There Be Bacon and Middle Feast. Later all the teams moved to a dating event, where they had to work their charms on selling food to singles, which had some mixed results. And in one final eccentric challenge, Tyler instituted a Truck Stop truck swap. You can imagine how weird that was for the teams.
In the end, many of the teams found it difficult selling in Austin, just because they were competing against some of the best restaurants and established food trucks in the country. And Austin has got a little bit of everything in that regard: tacos, barbecue, comforting classics, international specialties and more. Find out all that Austin has to offer.
The end of summer is a big deal for kids. If your young ones have already gone back to school, they’re transitioning from camp and family vacations to rowdy rides on the school bus, binders filled with homework and snacks before soccer practice. If they haven’t gone back yet, those days are coming up fast. This school year, ease their back-to-school shift with easy kid-friendly snacks. These recipes for kid-friendly midday refueling will satisfy and re-energize your kids while still leaving room for dinner. Here are some wholesome, homemade Food Network favorites:
Salty square crackers are suited to so much more than out-of-the-box snacking. Take it from Trisha, who drizzles saltines with butter, brown sugar and chocolate for Sweet and Saltines (pictured above), reaching that perfect cross between salty and sweet. Hey, it’s a whole lot better than passing kids a candy bar.
For thousands of us, fall is the real season of renewal, when back-to-school planning encompasses everything from freshly sharpened pencils to visions of easier, tastier — and saner — mealtimes. If those visions are starting to blur a couple of weeks into the new routine, take heart and meet Katie Workman. The mother of an 11- and a 14-year-old, she is the author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket.
The book’s frank and funny tone, elevated comfort food and down-to-earth suggestions for involving kids in the kitchen have endeared Workman to legions of fans (and helped spawn a sequel due out next summer). Last month, she stopped by Food Network Kitchen in New York’s Chelsea Market to make her Taco Night tacos and dish on late-night cooking, the one kitchen tool she can’t live without and annoying food habits all parents should avoid. Here are some questions and answers from our conversation, plus three family-friendly recipes worth incorporating into your repertoire right now. (For more on Katie’s visit, check out The One Recipe: Katie Workman’s Taco Night Tacos.)
by Michelle Park
There is arguably no other American cooking tradition quite as lore ridden as barbecue. This month, we’ve handpicked two cookbooks devoted to that mouthwatering marriage of meat and smoke that will urge you to partake before summer officially ends. The first is one of the most-classic books we have on the subject, and the second is sure to become one.
The Complete Book of Outdoor Cookery, James A. Beard and Helen Evans Brown (1955)
When navigating something as American as barbecue, who better to turn to than quintessential American cooks? A little antiquated on some fronts, pheasant being less common than it used to be, The Complete Book still has much to offer anyone entering the foray of outdoor cooking — something tells me corn pudding and grilled sausages won’t go out of style anytime soon. Inside, you’ll find a handy guide of times and temperatures for nearly every cut of meat you can put over a fire. True to its title, the book also dedicates entire chapters to tried-and-true sauces, marinades, appetizers and sides to round out your all-American feast — each, of course, matched with its ideal meat pairings. At once authoritative and approachable, this book is the trustworthy friend you’ll consult before any cookout. The American palate may have since graduated beyond French dressing, but we think this book is here to stay.