Whether it’s to post on Instagram, send in a text or share on a blog, people love to take pictures of their food. The deliciousness of the dish, however, doesn’t always come through in the actual photo. A mediocre photo can make a tasty and brag-worthy dish look average or even unappealing. Ree Drummond knows this firsthand.
Fans know Ree for her beautiful food photography, but when she first started her blog, The Pioneer Woman, in 2006, she had no previous experience using a camera. She shared her top tips for taking a good food photo with Food Network Magazine, along with some of her early shots to show home cooks what not to do.
Hearty greens like kale, chard and collards are delicious in salads, but you’ll want to soften them so they aren’t so tough and chewy: Thinly slice the leaves and toss them with dressing (choose one that contains an acidic ingredient, like vinegar or lemon juice, which acts as a tenderizer). Let the greens sit, dressed, until they soften, about 10 minutes.
Each month, thousands of Food Network Magazine readers submit clever names for the back page’s Name This Dish contest. Previous dishes include a steak sandwich (“Kraut Pleaser“), savory muffins (“Thyme Savors“) and a Santa ice cream treat (“Brrrr Humbug!“). In the January/February 2014 issue, we asked readers to dream up names for this rolled crepe (pictured above). Some of our favorites were:
Next time you’re making rice, grits or other grains, add some flavor to the cooking liquid. Throw in fresh herbs, dried chiles or a cinnamon stick and let steep a few minutes before adding the grains. Food Network Magazine used a rosemary sprig to infuse the polenta in this weeknight pork dinner (pictured above). If you’re using several ingredients, tie them together with kitchen twine or unwaxed floss so you can easily pull them out later.
Take a tip from the restaurant world and top your pasta with a dollop of ricotta instead of the usual Parmesan. It adds a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor — perfect with a tomato-based sauce, like Food Network Magazine’s Penne with Eggplant Sauce (pictured above). Look for fresh ricotta at the market: It’s extra soft and rich.
For the first time ever, Food Network Magazine organized their favorite recipes from the year into one cookbook. Best Recipes 2014 is a compilation of the best weeknight dinners as chosen by the Food Network Test Kitchen and the magazine’s editors. But it was no easy task: When asked to choose her favorite, the head of the test kitchen, Katherine Alford, said, “They’re my children — I can’t pick one.”
You can receive a free 21-day trial to the annual Food Network Magazine cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win Best Recipes 2014 now. To enter: Share your favorite Food Network Magazine recipe in the comments (you must include the recipe URL). We’re giving 10 lucky, randomly selected winners each a copy of the book.