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The Disappearing $1,000 Tip, How “Meat Sticks” Are Made and Your Portrait in Nutella

by in News, June 12th, 2014

The Disappearing $1,000 TipNo Big Tips Allowed? What should a restaurant do when a generous, deep-pocketed patron spontaneously leaves one of its servers, a single mother of three who’s working two jobs, a $1,000 tip — on Mother’s Day, at 3 a.m.? A) Let her keep it. B) Take it away from her. C) Return it to the customer. The correct answer is clearly “A.” But when a customer left waitress Shaina Brown a $1,000 tip and asked her to direct an additional $500 to another customer, writing $1,500 into the tip line on his credit card form, the Waffle House in Raleigh, N.C., chose options B and C instead. The chain refunded the generous customer’s money, which it said was its standard procedure with big tips, in case the tipper has a change of heart. Shaina was crestfallen. “I feel like they stole from me,” she told the Charlotte Observer. Mercifully, the big tipper, a local businessman who wished to remain anonymous, wrote her a check after the paper contacted him. So, phew, sticky situation resolved. [Charlotte Observer]

An In-Depth Look at a Dried Meat Snack: You know what they say about not wanting to know how the sausage is made, but the sentiment may or may not hold true for Slim Jims. For anyone the least bit curious as to how the iconic packaged “meat sticks” are put together, a Wired video exploring “What’s Inside” a Slim Jim is worth a watch. Really, despite the ironic tone of the video’s narrator and the garish animation, it’s not that bad: You got your questionable cuts of meat; your “mechanically separated chicken” (i.e., that pink, pasty stuff they use in some chicken nuggets); your corn and wheat proteins and hydrolyzed soy; lots of salt; and the preservative sodium nitrate, which helps the stick stay red “instead of an unappetizing gray.” Maybe have carrot sticks for a snack today? [Wired via Eater]

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5 Ways to Bring on the Burgers — Summer Soiree

by in Recipes, June 12th, 2014

Cedar Planked Burger

Some would say that we should never, ever tinker with the trinity of lettuce, tomato and onion. And if we had only one burger per year, maybe that would work. But since we’re at the very beginning of summer (we can say “summer” now, right?), we have more than enough time to expand our burger repertoire. This week, FN Dish runs down the line of burger combinations and updates we might not have previously considered.

1. Walk the Plank: Cedar planking isn’t just for salmon. Bobby grills Cedar-Planked Burgers (pictured above) for a complex smokiness. If you ask him, it’ll be the first thing you taste.

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Cook Like an Iron Chef This Father’s Day

by in Food Network Magazine, June 12th, 2014

Cook Like an Iron Chef This Father's DayYou probably know Marc Forgione for his five restaurants, cookbook and Iron Chef title, but did you know that his father was a culinary star long before Marc’s lustrous career? Known as the “Godfather of American Cuisine,” Larry Forgione was one of the first chefs to embrace “farm to table” cooking. He now serves as a director at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. and continues to influence Marc in the kitchen.

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Restaurant Revisited: No Day at the Beach at Portu-Greek Cafe

by in Shows, June 11th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleAfter running Portu-Greek Cafe in Hudson, Fla., for eight years, husband-and-wife owners Jordan and Anne Lindiakos were losing at least $4,000 every month, so they looked to Robert Irvine for help in a last-ditch effort to save their combination Portuguese and Greek eatery. While what Robert deemed the restaurant’s “very plain” decor and the largely microwaved menu were surely in need of an overhaul, the business’ management style was largely to blame for its failure. “We don’t make long-term decisions,” Jordan admitted, speaking of himself, his wife and his children, who work at Portu-Greek Cafe. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only transform the cuisine and decor at the restaurant, but also to improve Jordan’s leadership ability and help the family work better together. Read on below to hear from Anne and Jordan, and find out how their business is faring today.

“At this time, we have at least doubled sales,” Anne says, noting that Portu-Greek is “very busy.” Jordan admits, “The decor is beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, including ours.”

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Pork Chops Get a Sweet-and-Savory Coating with Banana Chips

by in Recipes, Shows, June 11th, 2014

Banana Chip Crusted Pork ChopsFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient banana chips. While panko breadcrumbs serve as a great coating for almost all meats, the chefs wanted to prove that changing it up by mixing the breadcrumbs with a sweeter ingredient would result in a unique sweet-and-savory take on a classic jerk pork chop. In this Banana Chip Crusted Jerk Pork Chops recipe, the banana chips are ground in a blender to make them fine enough for the seasoning. Served with rice and beans, this is a quick, delicious dinner for those warm summer nights.

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Make This Now: Roasted Strawberry-Basil Sauce

by in In Season, Recipes, June 11th, 2014

Roasted Strawberry-Basil SauceHere in New York City, strawberries arriving at the farmers market signal the arrival of summer and all the glorious fresh fruit waiting just around the corner. The simplest and often tastiest way to enjoy them is to pluck the stems from the top, and pop them in your mouth. Every now and then, I get fooled by a batch of berries that smell intoxicatingly sweet, only to bite into them and find my taste buds crestfallen. When that happens, there are a few things you can do to coax some flavor from your berries — jam and pie are usually at the top of my list. A more hands-off approach is roasting them. The oven does most of the work. The sauce can then be used as syrup for pancakes or a topping for sundaes, stirred into some plain yogurt for an inexpensive and healthier fruit-flavored version, or my other favorite — stirred into some sparkling water or seltzer for a summer spritzer.

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Bobby Flay’s 10 Commandments of Grilling

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 10th, 2014

Bobby's Perfect BurgerOn his all-new series Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics (Sundays at 11a|10c), grill master Bobby Flay is putting away his recipes for involved, complicated meals and focusing on those essential summertime favorites all of us should have in our arsenals. Each week he’ll break down the how-tos for various authentic plates and share his secrets for turning out the most-authentic true barbecue, which are largely dependent upon his grilling commandments. Read on below to learn Bobby’s 10 must-know pieces of advice for all things grilling, from juicy burgers and smoky barbecue sauce to entertaining tips and the ultimate pantry ingredients.

1. Direct/Indirect Heat: Set up your grill with two zones — one for direct heat, and the other for indirect heat. Use the direct heat to sear meats and veggies, and move them to the cool side to allow the food to finish grilling without overcooking.

2. Lid On or Off? That Is the Question! My rule of thumb is to leave the lid off for ingredients that cook quickly like shrimp and vegetables and put the lid on for longer-grilling items like poultry and steak, to use the grill like an oven and prevent burning or overcooking.

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FDA Churns Cheese Makers, Wedding Cakes Are Back and “The Bear” Slips Out for Tea

by in News, June 10th, 2014

FDA Churns Cheese MakersWhere There’s a Will, There’s a Whey? The U.S. Artisan Cheese Industry is reeling from a “clarification” of policy from the Food and Drug Administration prohibiting the use of wooden boards for aging or ripening cheeses. According to the FDA, bacteria may “colonize” the surface layer and inside layers of wood due to its “porous structure,” making wood boards impervious to cleaning and sanitizing, and making them breeding grounds for pathogenic microorganisms like listeria. Cheese makers note that some of the finest cheeses in the U.S. are produced using wood boards and predict it could have a “devastating” effect on artisan cheese production. Furthermore, the Cheese Underground blog points out, should the FDA extend its no-wood policy to imported cheeses, fans of fine cheeses may have to leave U.S. borders to nibble formidable fromages like Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon. [Cheese Underground]

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake: The cupcake towers have been toppled. Wedding cakes are back in a big, beautiful way. “Now, even in Brooklyn, the super-casual center of the universe of culinary cool, wedding cakes are resurgent,” The New York Times reports. Prices per slice are way up — and couples are picking cakes that are traditional, pretty, and in some cases adorned opulently or whimsically. Bare cakes — unfrosted, their inside layers gorgeously exposed for all to see — are also trending, as are gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and organic cakes. As for cupcakes, brides and grooms are just saying, “I don’t.” Manhattan caterer Mary Giuliani told the Times, “I just don’t get the cupcake request as much anymore.” Macaron towers, yes. “Maybe macarons are the new cupcakes,” she said. [The New York Times]

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Trisha’s Best Fried Chicken Ideas

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, June 10th, 2014

Trisha's Best Fried Chicken IdeasThere’s never a bad time for fried chicken. Soft, succulent pieces of meat, each one coated in a crunchy, salty outer layer — what could be better? No one understands that like Trisha Yearwood, who comes up with fun, unique ways to cook fried chicken on her TV show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. From her favorite fried chicken tips to ways to make this decadent dish healthier, here are Trisha’s best fried chicken ideas.

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Exclusive: Father’s Day with Geoffrey Zakarian

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, June 10th, 2014

Margaret and Geoffrey ZakarianGeoffrey Zakarian may be a co-host on The Kitchen, a no-nonsense Chopped judge, the chef and partner at New York’s The Lambs Club, and the culinary director of The Plaza hotel, but on Father’s Day, this famed Iron Chef revels in another title: Dad. Geoffrey’s a father to three young children, two daughters plus a newborn baby boy, which means this year’s holiday is sure to be extra special. Read on below to get an exclusive with Geoffrey and learn his family’s plans for Sunday’s celebration, and find out what dishes he enjoys cooking alongside his young sous chefs.

What kinds of Father’s Day traditions do you have now and did you have as a child?
Geoffrey Zakarian: Well, not surprisingly, all centered around food. Usually we tried to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway, and if not, we would watch and chow down on simply grilled hot dogs. Delicious!

How will you and your family celebrate this year?
GZ: We are all going to our family’s place in upstate New York. A large buffet will be developed over the weekend and it will be an eat-a-thon. Lots of rosé will be poured.

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