Microwaveable snack pockets are one of those foods people love to hate on. They’re often thought of as a last-resort after school snack or a guilt-laden solution to the midnight munchies. The comedian Jim Gaffigan even has a pretty hilarious skit about them (watch it here). But the truth is a lot of people secretly love them. It’s not hard to understand why. I mean, they’re hearty, easy to eat and convenient.
Here in the Food Network Kitchens, we wanted to capitalize on all the great things about snack pockets and fix all the bad things — like the processed, overly salty, not-so-good for you fillings and often soggy crust.
Find your favorite filling »
The Food Network Kitchens compiled a list of trends to look for in the coming year — some flavor-focused (Southeast Asian Black Kale Tacos, anyone? How about an extra helping of comfort, or veggies in a starring role?) — and some a continuation of the food-meets-technology-craze (digital cookbooks and your favorite cooking sites on your mobile device). Devour listed the first five predictions earlier this week, and we gave you more here on The FN Dish here and here. Before you begin your NYE reveling, check out our final two predictions below — eating well and doing good.
Local Sourcing Surges – Time was, if you wanted to eat locally you went to your nearest farmers market and bought directly from the producer. Well, times are changing. Some of the biggest fish in the food industry—Walmart, Bon Appétit Management, and Sysco, among others—are getting into the game. As a result, in 2011 we’ll be seeing local foods cropping up more frequently in supermarkets as well as in some surprising places—schools, hospitals, ballparks, and chain restaurants.
Read more »
The Food Network Kitchens has compiled their list of delicious predictions, and we’re serving it to you in bite-sized nuggets. Read yesterday’s trend predictions here, and check back tomorrow for the final installment. Then, visit Cooking Channel’s Devour for the even more new-year prophecies. Now, for today’s tech-savvy trends:
Food Goes Mobile
In 2011, smartphone apps will take over the tasks of restaurant search, reservation booking, and on-line food ordering. (Don’t wait till 2011 — check out our Food Network mobile offerings for iPhone, iPad and Android.) Food trucks will proliferate like never before. Pop up eateries will spread, while restaurants become increasingly ephemeral, conceptual, chef-centered less and less defined by brick and mortar spaces. And spaces will, as with the recent wave of food courts/gastro-malls, become more versatile, more multifarious, more designed to be moved through, grazed. The unvarnished good news is that it will never be so possible to eat well on the move.
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- Recipe tester Leah Brickley (cautiously!) experiments with indoor turkey-frying in Food Network Kitchens.
Sometimes being married to a kitchen gadget geek has its perks. For our November issue of Food Network Magazine, we had to test Cat Cora’s deep-fried turkey recipe. Deep-fried turkeys have become really popular over the past few years and Cat’s is rubbed with a delicious Cajun spice blend. The turkey comes out crispy and really flavorful.
Our test kitchen is located in New York City’s Chelsea Market building, and the outdoor green space available to set up a vat of boiling oil is very limited to non-existent. Luckily, my husband, Paul, had a rather interesting solution to my deep-fryer problems: Why not fry it indoors? At first I thought he was crazy, but then he told me about this new (and safe) indoor turkey fryer made by MasterBuilt. It sits right on your counter, uses about half the amount the oil and has a safety magnetic break-away cord.
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- Aarti Sequeira and Melissa d'Arabian, the past two winners of The Next Food Network Star
Fans who took advantage of the VIP travel package for the Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival earlier this month were treated to a special VIP tour of the Food Network Kitchens and a cocktail party with two of Food Network’s brightest stars, Melissa d’Arabian and Aarti Sequeira. Read more »
- In Episode Two's diner challenge, Chef Dumont used a pressure cooker for the first time to cook her one-hour pot roast. What went wrong?
Because of the crazy time constraints on Iron Chef, pressure cookers get used more there than on possibly any other show we do. (And definitely more than in your average restaurant kitchen—chefs tell us all the time that they’d never used one before ICA.)
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- According to our Facebook fans, everything's better with bacon. Even cupcakes.
We asked for it, and you delivered, with gusto, the wackiest flavor combos you crave. Some pairings were surprising, to say the least (shaved ice with sliced avocado and chocolate sauce on top? Really, Shannon Wahyudi?), but some sounded pretty good to us, like Tracy Schadler‘s salami and honey-walnut cream cheese on rye sandwich, Sara Beth Hanson‘s gouda, pear and anchovy on a Triscuit idea, or Mary Jefferson Rabon‘s pancakes and syrup served with a side of cheddar. A few were quite simple, Larry Marshall‘s favorite, for example: Hershey bars and beer. More still were elaborate – Donna Malarsie offered up her (healthy) crave-worthy recipe: Quinoa with feta, toasted almonds, orange pieces and dried cranberries tossed with a shallot, dijon, olive oil, lemon dressing, and Bill Hughes made us drool a bit thinking of his Smoked Coffee and Mignonette Pepper-Crusted Leg of Lamb.
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The mood was festive on Ultimate Recipe Showdown Sunday as four competitors showed off their best party recipes. This week’s personalities were as fun as the food—we had a black-belt Grandma, a young clothing designer who poured himself a cocktail during the competition, a TV news reporter and a former rocker. Throwing a party with the four of them—plus fun-loving URS host Guy Fieri, of course—would surely be a good time.
Like last week, we sat down with Katherine Alford, Vice President of Food Network Test Kitchen, to get her take on the Party Food theme.
FN Dish: What makes party food a little more special than everyday meals?
Katherine Alford: This is when you pull out all the stops. You want a little wow and are willing to go the extra mile to make your friends feel special. Cooking for friends is such a generous act.
Read more »
Ultimate Recipe Showdown Season 3 kicked off with the Comfort Food round on Sunday, and we’re already quite jealous of the judges. While host Guy Fieri runs the show and checks in with the competitors, these three folks with esteemed palates get to sit back, watch the live cooking action and taste eight dishes perfected by home cooks. Who wouldn’t want that job?
After each episode this season, we’re sitting down with Katherine Alford—Vice President of Food Network Test Kitchen and URS judge—and asking three questions about the week’s theme. Today she shares her insights on comfort food.
FN Dish: What makes a dish “comfort food”?
Katherine Alford: Something that hits an emotional cord, soothing, nurturing and generous. Comfort also can be inspired by who cooks for you, like a favorite friend or relative. Comfort food can come in a myriad of forms… but most likely at its base it’s got a serious carb thing happening, like mac and cheese, grilled cheese, or my favorite, a buttery baked potato. Read more »
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Most New Yorkers are showing their Irish spirit by marching through the streets of the city and sampling beer & food from various pubs. The FN team is here and enjoying a Green Bagel & Irish Soda Bread Breakfast put together by our Employee Activities Committee – so we are all very excited!
In honor of today, here are some traditional foods to try:
1. COLCANNON – Mashed potatoes with onions and greens. Get creative – my favorite combination includes red skin potatoes (mashed with skins), sauteed kale & onion, and a bit of garlic.
2. BOXTY – A mixture of raw and cooked potatoes.
3. IRISH STEW – This particular recipe from our FN Test Kitchen inclues lamb and goat cheese.
4. CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE – Paula Deen’s fast and delicious recipe.
5. CURACH – An Irish dessert consisting of toasted oats, whiskey, raspberries, and whipped cream (how can you go wrong?!).
What are you cooking up for St. Patrick’s Day?
I hope you have a fabulous day!
Kendra, Operation Foodie