On tonight’s finale, the four teen winners from the earlier preliminary rounds entered the Chopped kitchen one more time. This last battle would determine who would win the $25,000 prize and the coveted title, which in itself brings bragging rights for a kid in high school. The teens had to face challenging mystery baskets that no amount of practice could enable anyone to predict, while also being creative, cooking flavorfully and presenting dishes that appealed to the judges. But nothing could truly prepare them for the pressure and the time constraints. Ultimately one of them rose to the top with three courses that earned the championship title and the $25,000.
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By Joseph Erdos and Sara Levine
Portland, Oregon, should be on any food fanatic’s radar. If you want to sample food from more restaurants than you could ever possibly visit over a single weekend, plan a trip during Feast Portland, the city’s annual food festival. Feast celebrates all the great eats and drinks the city and region has to offer, plus tastes from more top chefs and restaurants across the country. Portland in September is gorgeous and green, perfect weather for walking off the food (and wine, and craft beer …) you’ve consumed. We just returned from the fourth annual Feast and can confirm that the festival’s name couldn’t be more appropriate. Here’s just a handful of our favorite bites. Read more
When I’m working on a new recipe, I always start on paper. I write down the skeleton of my recipe, then go to the kitchen to try it out. When I initially sketched out these Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies, I instinctively included Dutch-process cocoa powder. Would you like to know why?
There are two basic types of cocoa powder: Dutch-process cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder. Dutch-process is made from cacao beans that have been washed in a potassium solution. Dutching the beans neutralizes their acidity and makes the powder darker. Natural cocoa powder is simply made from ground, roasted cacao beans.
If the snack food aisle at your grocery store is anything like the one at mine, you know there’s no shortage of bags of crispy, crunchy and downright craveable sweet and savory favorites just waiting for you to grab them. But before these treats land on the shelves, they all go through a process that transforms them from just a few ingredients into the snacks you know and love, and it’s that behind-the-scenes creation that will be revealed on Unwrapped 2.0.
Premiering Saturday, Oct. 10 at 8|7c and hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro, this brand-new season will bring you inside the factories that turn out your favorite treats and show off the ins, outs and arounds of everything from colorful Dots and crimson Hot Tamales to cool mints and oversize soft pretzels. Find out what it takes to turn out just a single box or bag of your go-to munchies, and learn how many packages can be cranked out at one time.
The Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, was the guest judge for this week’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off. And, of course, our contestants had to win him over with amazing sandwiches during the first round. We were so sad to see Sabrina go home with her first attempt ever at a croque monsieur sandwich — but so impressed that she took a chance! If you’re like Sabrina, and never made this classic French sandwich, then here’s a little 101.
We are mere weeks into the school year — anyone else a little stressed already? I love routine and structure, but the first month or two can be a bumpy re-entry as we try to find our footing in a new schedule of activities and events.
When I am feeling a little overwhelmed, my natural instinct is to load up caffeine, simple carbs, processed foods, sodium and sugar — “anything to get through the day” is my default battle cry. But I play that scene through and I know it will compound the problem of overwhelming me with lethargy and fuzzy thinking. So, instead, I ignore that part of my inner self and cling to basic actions that have proven time and again to be exactly what I need during times of stress. I make sure my physical and emotional health are well-tended so that I have maximum personal resources to deal with the hecticness.
For me, that means fiercely protecting my morning devotionals, rather than hitting the snooze button. (Actually, if I need to set an alarm, that’s my body’s way of saying I’m not getting enough sleep, so I fix that, too.) I protect my exercise time, particularly if I think I don’t have the time to exercise. And on the food front, I up the Oomega-3 fatty acids in my diet. There are lots of studies out there that point us in the direction of Omega-3s for mood health, but that’s not why I turn to them. I do it because, quite simply, I feel better equipped to face the craziness of this messy life. My personal go-tos: tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, shrimp, walnuts, strawberries, dark leafy greens, cabbage and cauliflower. I buy these ingredients and fill the dinner calendar with recipes starring them, and I cut down on processed foods, even eliminating them entirely if life is super-stressful. And it’s that simple.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few recipes that will get you started.
Finding Your Focus, and Sticking to It — Jeff Mauro’s Advice for the Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off Competitorsby Joseph Erdos in Shows, September 22nd, 2015
On last night’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off, Mondays at 8|7c, Jeff Mauro joined Rachael as a guest judge for the challenges, which focused on creativity. When it comes to food, there’s no such thing as too much creativity; it’s more about finding what works and sticking to it, as Jeff recommends. On his show Sandwich King, Jeff comes up with new and unique combinations, and it’s that lesson in creativity that he came to teach the kids. Another lesson from him: Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. This is true no matter what you’re doing, whether it’s comedy or cooking, notes Jeff, who actually has been able to master both.
FN Dish caught up with Jeff to chat about the episode, the kids and more. Find out his best advice for getting kids in the kitchen at a young age, and what’s the best dish to teach them first.
Bagels (and various schmears) always deserve a place on the Yom Kippur break-the-fast spread. Carb-filled comfort food is exactly what we crave after a full day of fasting to observe the Jewish day of atonement. Plus, 2015 has been deemed the “Year of the Bagel” — there are more places than ever to get an excellent one, even outside of the great bagel capital of New York City. In my house, everything bagels are always the first to go. If you want to get creative and plan ahead before the fast, here are three everything-bagel-and-cream-cheese riffs that will surely impress your hungry guests.
No longer relegated to layers of red sauce and heaps of meat, lasagna takes a turn for the creamy — and surprisingly healthy — with this big-batch recipe for Squash and Spinach Lasagna (pictured above).
Food Network Kitchen swaps out the traditional marinara or meat sauce in favor of a mixture of onions and fresh spinach in a milk-based sauce made thick with the help of cornstarch. Layer chopped butternut squash for color and an added boost of nutrition, and opt for part-skim mozzarella to keep the casserole light but satisfying. Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it comes together with no-boil noodles, which means that you can assemble them in the casserole straight from the box; they’ll soak up the liquid of the cream sauce and become tender as they cook in the oven.
Though you may be in fall mode these days, it’s not too early to start decking the halls. Right on the heels of a successful premiere season of Cake Wars, host Jonathan Bennett is back to lead another sweet competition. This time all about seasonal treats on Cake Wars: Christmas.
Premiering Monday, Nov. 9 at 9|8c, this six-week battle for holiday glory will bring together seven teams of the best-ever food artists, each set to face off for the $50,000 prize. Along with a rotating roster of special guests, Master Baker Sherry Yard and design expert Charles Phoenix will be on hand to judge the competitors in a series of themed challenges. From hilariously festive ugly Christmas sweaters to over-the-top gingerbread houses, there will be no shortage of seasonal celebrations — and, of course, fierce culinary chops — on display.