Cutthroat host Alton Brown knows the ultimate grilling sabotage. “Easy,” he says, “a dirty grill. When grills get dirty, they don’t conduct heat properly. Food will wind up sticking to the surface and will take on the flavor of the grill.” Proper grill cleaning and upkeep will prevent this from happening. If your food does get stuck, though, get the grill hot, then lightly saturate a paper towel with oil and, using tongs, swipe it gently over the surface of the grate. Brush your grill down well once you’re done cooking every meal so you’re not stuck cleaning right before dinner next time.
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Just two losses after nearly 10 battles — that winning record could be earned only by Bobby Flay, a famed Iron Chef and the master of the throwdown, who first challenged hopeful chefs to head-to-head competitions on Beat Bobby Flay last year. This summer, Bobby’s bringing his A-game yet again for an all-new season of Beat Bobby Flay (premiering July 31 at 10|9c), and with his reputation on the line, the stakes will be higher than ever. FN Dish caught up with Bobby recently and chatted about what he’s looking forward to in this upcoming batch of face-offs. Read on below for an exclusive interview, and find out Bobby’s most-memorable battles, plus his strategy for securing victory after victory.
What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?
Bobby Flay: Being pushed to the edge. I want it to be really challenging ’cause that’s what keeps my edge going.
What are some of your most-memorable moments from the first season?
BF: When I lost the taco [battle] — that was memorable. One of my favorite dishes I made was the meatloaf with the Korean-style kimchi in it, ’cause I’ve only made meatloaf a couple times in my life, really, and I’m not that big of a meatloaf fan. So when they said meatloaf, I was like, Oh, brother. But it actually turned out to be really tasty.
For years I never understood the allure of gazpacho (I can hear the collective gasp), but tomatoes and I have an interesting relationship. I’ll gladly eat them sliced with a bit of salt and a drizzle of olive oil all summer long. Cooked? No problem! I’ve never been a tomato juice person, though, and this is where gazpacho poses a problem. To my palate, it’s just chunky tomato juice with some seasonings and spices.
My thoughts, or shall I say tastes, regarding gazpacho changed a couple of summers ago when I paired it with watermelon. The watermelon added just enough sweetness to balance out the acidity. You can find my recipe for Smoky Watermelon Gazpacho here.
All that time you spend artfully arranging food on the plate before serving it to your guests or family is not in vain. And if you’re the sort of cook who doesn’t think much about how you present the food you make, thinking that taste alone will carry the day, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Presentation may not be everything, but when it comes to the meals we serve, appearance may be more important than we realize, capable of greatly influencing diners’ perception of taste, a recent study, published in the journal Flavour, has shown.
Building upon prior research showing that visual factors, like the color and balance of elements on the plate, play a large role in the way people respond to food, experimental psychologists at the University of Oxford, in Oxford, England, set out to discover whether arranging food “in an art-inspired manner” would affect diners’ expectations and experience of the food they were served.
Making lunch shouldn’t have to be a long, arduous affair. For extra-busy days, you need something that can be prepared in a flash — and that’s where chickpeas come in. Bursting with protein and fiber, canned chickpeas are already cooked, so all you have to do is rinse and drain them to pack some nutrition into your meal.
In this Grilled Eggplant Chickpea Wraps recipe from the chefs of Food Network Kitchen, the chickpeas are paired with sauteed eggplants for a tangy twist on a Middle Eastern falafel. The mixture is topped with a creamy, garlic-based yogurt sauce and stuffed in a soft tortilla wrap. Top the dish with oregano, tomato, lettuce and cucumber. With this recipe, lunch is ready in 20 minutes flat, and with a side of salad or french fries, you could make it an easy weeknight dinner staple as well.
Many times on Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown demonstrates his truly evilicious side by taking away the contestants’ ingredients, their heating appliances and even all their knives. In this week’s episode, Alton takes evil to a whole new level — he takes away all pots, pans and mixing bowls, and replaces them with a bread bowl for one of the contestants and a soup ladle for the other. The two contestants have to make both a soup and a salad without all their mixing equipment. This challenge didn’t come without its share of difficulty — the soup ladle was extremely small and could heat up only a small amount at a time, and the bread bowl kept soaking up all the liquid for both the dressing and the soup. While sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen have to slow the contestants down and make things difficult for them, they can’t make it impossible for them to make a dish.
How did these two sabotages get approved by Food Network’s culinary team for this episode? Click the play button on the video above to find out.
For a summer treat that’s easy on the stomach as well as the waistline, look no further than this Prosciutto Pizza with Cauliflower Crust. Instead of using wheat, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen use cauliflower to add in a nutritional boost to a standard summer staple. With a mix of creamy Asiago cheese and salty prosciutto, it’s no wonder this guilt-free recipe is this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week.
For more nutritious summer recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Prosciutto Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
While there are plenty of ways to get festive for the holiday with cakes, pies and all-American favorites, the drink department requires a bit of effort. At any July 4th party, you can probably find lemonade, iced tea and maybe some punch. But to really wow your guests, you’ll need a few of these colorfully creative cocktails.
Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiris
Ah, the daiquiri. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy this classic summer drink. The red portion of this version is sweetened with strawberries and watermelon, making it extra-light, while the white portion is made with coconut sorbet, giving the drink a bit of creaminess. And the blue center is made with white rum, blue passion-fruit liqueur and blue curacao, giving the drink its grown-up kick.
With summer in full force and grilling season officially underway, The Kitchen co-hosts dedicated an entire hour on this morning’s all-new episode to perhaps the ultimate grill-friendly meal: burgers. Family-friendly and endlessly versatile, hamburgers can feed a crowd and shine both in their simplest form and when dressed up with nontraditional toppings. Katie and Marcela offered a few of their takes on classic between-the-bun creations with Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo and Grilled Chicken Burgers with Pasilla Aioli, respectively, while Geoffrey, Katie and Sunny made next-level ketchups: Guachup, Spiced Peach Ketchup and Sunny’s Homemade Ketchup.
FN Dish wants to know: When it comes to firing up the grill and searing your ultimate burger, what do you reach for? Is your favorite patty one made of chicken or fish instead of beef, or do you prepare no-meat burgers? Are you a cheese purist and prefer cheddar or American, or do you reach for tangy goat or blue cheeses? Toppings: salty like bacon, or sweet like caramelized onions?
Vote in the poll below to tell FN Dish how you take your best burger (select all that apply).
Fourth of July is coming up soon, which reminds me of that time we almost set the house on fire. No, not the time my little brother got into the fireworks when we were vacationing in Nags Head in the early ’80s. I mean last year.
I’ll back up and remind us all: No one is perfect. Even a Food Network star will hit a snag in the kitchen every so often. But the savvy cook knows how to deal with these mistakes and smooth over a tiny hiccup so that no one will even notice. Overcook a roast and I’ll show you how to turn it into French dip sandwiches with lots of au jus.
But what about the bigger blunders? The ones that can’t be covered up with an extra ladle of sauce? I invite you to think about your biggest culinary mistake, ever. And now, prepare to feel better about yourself in the kitchen.