by Melissa d'Arabian in Food Network Chef, June 20th, 2013
by Melissa d'Arabian in Food Network Chef, June 6th, 2013
It’s summertime and we are blessed with days filled with trips to the beach or museums to meet up with friends, and we’re usually grabbing something to-go on our way to the destination. Every Sunday evening, everyone in our community in Coronado, Calif., loads their kids and a picnic into their red Radio Flyer wagon and heads to Concert in the Park. So when many of you lamented the challenges of packing a summer picnic, I heard you. The ant’s time as the biggest picnic woe is long gone — now we worry about packing healthy, delicious food that our kids will actually eat, while keeping the food in a temperature-safe zone, without spending too much time. Is that too much to ask? No. So here are four tips to help get you there:
1. Start with the protein
The protein is the trickiest part of the meal because it often involves meat, which can be a challenge to keep in a safe temperature zone. My secret picnic weapon: non-meat protein. And by this, 99 percent of the time, I mean quinoa. Make a quinoa salad, subbing quinoa for rice, pasta or other grains. It is full of protein, fiber and complex carbs, and it will probably work in your favorite recipe (for inspiration, try my Quinoa Tabouli). Quinoa can be served chilled or at room temperature, making it my perfect picnic protein. My second non-meat protein insider secret: Use white beans and whole-grain pasta to make any pasta salad you like. Try a salad made with roasted veggies, feta and vinaigrette.
Get the next three tips
by Sara Levine in Recipes, Shows, June 2nd, 2013
Today is my wedding anniversary. It all started with my 4-Step Chicken Piccata, the first dish I ever cooked for Philippe (I made it with veal and served it on a bed of sauteed spinach). And it culminated in a crusty paella, a d’Arabian family tradition, served alfresco on a June evening a couple of years later to about a hundred of our friends and family who had traveled to our wedding in the village where Philippe grew up.
Since we had so many tourists visiting from as far as Hawaii, our wedding stretched into a two-week vacation, filled with meals, toasts and sightseeing that started in Paris and made its way south to Aix-en-Provence. By the time our actual wedding arrived, it seemed as though our guests had become a community, connected by something more than just being on our short list of special people in our lives. One of my favorite snapshots caught by a guest is of my (American) stepmother talking animatedly with Philippe’s (French) grandfather, both heads are thrown back in laughter, totally understanding one another, even though neither spoke a word of the other’s language.
Our wedding incorporated both of our cultures: We recited our vows in French and English, and we had a classic tiered American wedding cake as well as a French croquembouche (an impressively tall cone of cream puffs held together by spun caramelized sugar). We were married by a priest and a pastor in small stone church at the top of a hill, surrounded by the people who matter most to us. The whole experience is etched in my heart as the just-right start to my life as a d’Arabian.
by Melissa d'Arabian in Food Network Chef, May 23rd, 2013
We challenged two prestigious groups — Chopped judges and Food Network Star winners — to a summer recipe showdown. All season long, we’ll present head-to-head matchups of mouthwatering summer recipes from each team — from refreshing cocktails to fresh farmers’-market salads to the juiciest backyard burgers. By voting each week here on FN Dish or on our Fan Feed, you’ll determine the winning recipes.
At the end of the summer, the team that tallies up the most wins will celebrate with an all-star Labor Day party menu. Who will prevail as Summer Showdown champion — Star or Chopped?
This week, we’re toasting the start of June with a pair of refreshing, fruity cocktails. Whose will you shake up for your next summer party? Cast your votes below!
by Sarah De Heer in Contests, May 18th, 2013
Last week FN Dish announced that Melissa d’Arabian would be joining the roster of writers. Starting today, she’ll be answering fan questions, as well as sharing her own experiences as a working mom raising four young girls.
First, thank you for the incredible response via Twitter, Instagram, email and here on FN Dish — and for all of your questions. I’m eager to dive in:
Several of you asked about living in France, like Dawn and Linda T., and how that influenced me. As some of my fans know, I moved to Paris for my job (I worked in finance for Disney), and I was scheduled to stay 18 months. I met Philippe, fell in love, married him and stayed for four years. (Which leads me to share some quick advice: When you are single and in your 30s, be careful to only to travel to places you like because you never know when suddenly you’ll find yourself in love and having to stay there.) Lucky for me, I adore France, so I’m quite pleased to have it permanently etched into my life as a Franco-American-bicultural-bilingual family.
by Melissa d'Arabian in Family, Food Network Chef, May 14th, 2013
This past Tuesday, FN Dish announced that Melissa d’Arabian will be the newest Food Network star to join the FN Dish roster of writers, tackling everything from budget-friendly meals and ideas to sharing her own experiences as a working mom raising four young girls. Food, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, parenting ideas — come back every other Thursday to read Melissa’s posts.
To celebrate her new column, we’re giving away five autographed copies of Melissa’s first cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners. It’s packed with fresh meals — more specifically, 140 mouthwatering recipes, like Caprese Tartlets, Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup, Grilled Two-Cheese Burgers and a Classic Apple Tart — for any night of the week.
You can order a copy right now, but we’d like to give you a chance to win one that Melissa has autographed. All you have to do is comment on this post by telling us which one of her recipes is your favorite and why (you must include the URL — find a list of Melissa’s recipes here). We’re giving away five signed copies of her cookbook to randomly selected and very lucky commenters.
Read official rules before entering
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 16th, 2013
Dear Food Network Fan,
In the four years I’ve been part of the Food Network family, I’ve been lucky to share paths with so many of you — whether on TV, through social media, when meeting you in person at events and book signings (or the grocery store, airport, etc.). And now I’m excited to tell you that I will be joining FN Dish as a regular contributor! I’ll be answering your questions, writing about my experiences and giving you insights into my life as a working mom raising four young girls in San Diego. Food, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, parenting ideas — the possibilities are endless.
So let’s start the party. My first post next week will be answering fan questions. Is there something you’re dying to know? Ask your question in the comment section below or click here to email me, and I’ll pick a handful to answer next week.
I’ll see you here every other Thursday on FN Dish.
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 8th, 2013
by Melissa d’Arabian
It’s the finale, so I’m tempted to give myself longer than 30 seconds to pick my menu. But I won’t. So here go the final Chopped Champions baskets:
Appetizer basket: pig ears, ramps, pine nuts and apple strudel
Two tricky ingredients in this one – pig ears and ramps. Just kidding. Apple strudel? Yikes. My mind races first to April Bloomfield’s gorgeous cookbook A Girl and Her Pig, and I am inspired to fry up the pig ears. How will they get tender so quickly? By boiling, slicing very thinly, dipping in batter and frying. I get the ears into the boiling water, which I salt. And then I turn my attention to the strudel. I make a quick decision to separate the phyllo from the apple filling and turn it into two ingredients. I crisp up the phyllo in the oven and make strips for a panzanella (bread salad). I caramelize the ramps, toast the pine nuts and blend up the apple filling with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for a vinaigrette. Chop up bitter greens, toss with the pine nuts, ramps, dressing and maybe some sweet yellow tomato if available. Top with my strudel strips and fried ear “cracklings.” Simple.
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 31st, 2013
by Melissa d’Arabian
You know my rules: 30 seconds to decide. Longer to write (but not much).
Appetizer basket: sour-apple martini mix, mortadella, white asparagus and fennel
I love this basket and don’t want to overthink it. The asparagus and mortadella make me think of a chopped salad and I stick to the idea. I peel the tough outer part of the asparagus and poach it in salty water, brown sugar and white wine. I get the fennel sliced up with some cubed onion and tart apple (which will bring play against the sour-apple martini mix that I plan to use in the dressing), tossed with a little olive oil and get them roasting to bring out its earthy sweetness. I fry up the mortadella and chop, making my own take on bacon bits. I chop up some greens from the pantry (arugula or watercress). I make a reduction from the apple cider vinegar and sour-apple martini mix. I assemble the salad: chop all the prepped ingredients, toss with olive oil and a bit of cider vinegar. Top with a bit of goat cheese and drizzle with the apple martini reduction.
by Guest Blogger in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013
by Melissa d’Arabian
Last week was fun. So now I’m back, this time playing virtual Chopped 30,000 feet in the sky (I forgot my headset and how many times can I see Arbitrage anyway?), so here goes. My 30 seconds to plan starts now!
Appetizer basket: smoked eel, cream cheese spread, quince paste and haricot verts
Smoky eel, cream cheese and sweet quince all work well together, but how to get the green beans in on the act? I first think of my daughters’ favorite, “crunchy green beans,” which is a nice way of saying batter-dipped and fried. A fritto misto it is. First I’ll get the oil heating. Then I take inspiration from crab puffs and create a little dumpling out of wonton skins (I’m pretty sure they have those in the pantry, but if not, then some other kind of dough or bread rolled super thin) filled with the eel and cream cheese, a little onion and a touch of smoked paprika.
by Melissa d’Arabian
I have to admit that watching Chopped actually stresses me out so much that if I watch when it airs late in the evening, I find that I can’t sleep. My husband thinks it’s “fun” to press pause and spit out quickly what he would do if he were getting the basket. Clearly he has never been in the Chopped kitchen himself. I can’t watch Chopped without feeling like I’m the one who actually has to pull off a culinary miracle in minutes, but for you, dear readers, I will take one for the team. I will give myself 30 seconds for each round to come up with a menu. Thirty seconds; that’s it (I’m on the honor system here, I realize). Time starts — now.
Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
I imagine opening the basket on that first course and pulling out fruit cake, my mind racing to the brandy-soaked monstrosity that my mom used to make for months leading up to the holidays. (Is this the Chopped basket where all fruitcakes go to die?) My mind would be spinning in despair, but not for long because the rest of the basket has potential — shad roe sack is amazing when simply sauteed, vodka and Tokyo scallions for the most part fit into the flavor profile. Even our (fr)enemy the fruitcake can play along nicely, adding some sweetness to play off the richness of the roe sack (think seared fois gras with berry compote). The biggest challenge for me is getting the onion not to overpower the rich roe sack.