Biscuits hold a special, fluffy, buttery place in Alton Brown’s heart. His grandmother made the best biscuits every day for more than 50 years, and re-creating those legendary biscuits took him 10 years of science projects, oven temperature readings and failed attempts.
So it’s only fitting that he kicked off this weekend’s International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., with a talk on all things biscuit, including how he finally cracked the recipe and what you should and shouldn’t (read: yogurt) mix into your biscuit dough.
“Biscuits aren’t food, they’re currency for the soul,” Alton says. That’s because they’re all about tradition. After trying literally everything — including mimicking the barometric pressure and humidity of his grandmother’s mountain home in his Atlanta-area residence — to re-create the family biscuits, Alton finally learned that a difference in technique was ruining batch after batch. His grandmother kneaded with her fingers straight, while he kneaded with bent hands. For this reason, he says, “You can only learn biscuits from a direct transfer of one to another.” (Watch Alton make biscuits with his grandmother.)
No biscuit-savvy grandmother in the family? Continue reading for some of Alton’s tips to baking better biscuits.
Read more »
Michael Symon once said in an episode of Dinner Impossible, “If it doesn’t have skin or bones, it doesn’t have flavor.” In a tough, do or die situation, he refused to use skinless, boneless chicken breasts. He called my go-to meat of choice “flavorless.” I was stunned by the insight. Could he be right?
Enter fellow Iron Chef, Bobby Flay – king of burgers, master of the grill, man of the spice rack. . . Could one of Bobby’s recipes prove Symon wrong? Armed with eight Indian-ish spices and Bobby’s Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breast recipe, I was hopeful.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was really excited to put together our online Breakfast feature. After the pancake explosion I created for Mother’s Day, I tried to focus mostly on bacon and eggs for this one. But the carb-lover inside me couldn’t resist adding French toast and sticky buns. (I love to watch Bobby struggle with baking in Throwdown: Sticky Buns)
And, of course, I added muffin recipes. Muffins are a great grab-and-go breakfast treat, and they usually freeze well, so they can be a cheap, healthy, home-made frozen pastry. Ina’s Blueberry Muffins look like the most-loved on FoodNetwork.com, but Sunny’s Sunny Morning Muffins caught my eye.
Our new Memorial Day feature is all about getting summer started with classic picnic foods, burgers, hot dogs, and, yes, sangria. I decided to test out the main featured recipe, Aida’s Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad (how could I resist?!) from the Food Network Magazine.
Someone recently asked me what one cookbook I would take with me to a desert island. Even though I’m having a great time cooking my way through my newest cookbooks, Giada’s Everyday Pasta and Mario’s Molto Italiano (I love Italian food!), the first cookbook that popped into my head was The Pancake Handbook. For me, there’s no better way to begin a weekend morning than with a stack of hot pancakes. That’s why I couldn’t resist adding a pancake carousel to our Mother’s Day feature – I tracked down the best Food Network pancake recipes to include in this fancy click-through module. But there was one pancake recipe in particular that caught my eye (or rather my stomach)…
In honor of April Fools Day, I compiled a list of recipes that make everyone on the Web team chuckle (and/or grimace) whenever we run into them online. Which Food Network chef do you think scores highest in the ridiculous recipe contest? Hint: Her names starts with a “P” and should rhyme with “butter.”
Food Network’s Top 10 Most Outrageous Recipes
1. Fried Butter Balls – Paula – When someone first mentioned Paula’s fried butter recipe to me I thought it was a good joke. I couldn’t believe it when I actually ran into the recipe online!
2. Swamp Water – Sandra
3. The Heavyset Cheese Ball – Paula
4. “Fat Darrell” Sandwich – Paula
5. The Lady’s Brunch Burger – Paula – It may not sound like much, but trust me. . . click on the recipe.
6. Seared Frogs Legs Casserole – Robert Irvine
7. Baked Potato Ice Cream – Sandra
8. Get Yo’ Man Chicken – Neelys
9. “Is it Really Better than Sex?” Cake – Paula
10. Trompe L’oeil Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower, with Poached Tomatoes (“Fool the Eye” savory foods made to look like Chocolate layer cake, vanilla ice cream, and cherries jubilee) – Robert Irvine
Longest recipe title I’ve run across (30 words):
Go Oregonian! Oregon Style Pork Chops with Pinot Noir and Cranberries, Oregon Hash with Wild Mushrooms, Greens, Beets, Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese, Charred Whole Grain Bread with Butter and Chives – Rachael Ray
Most outrageous video clip:
Alton making a Pancake Cake with Avocado Frosting
If you dare, find the recipe here.
Honorable Mention (#11):
Mama Neely’s “Sock It To Me” Cake
Everyone on the Web team is excited about Food Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing – premiering this Sunday, 8 pm/7c, six pastry chefs battle for $50K, the largest prize in Challenge history, etc. – so we decided to wrap all of our best cake recipes up into a super cake-tacular feature package.
Searching our site for cake content had one major side effect – an unquenchable craving for moist crumbs and sweet frosting! I gave in and made the absolute easiest cake on the page, courtesy of Mama Neely. I’m calling it my “Fool-Your-Friends Cake” since it uses a cake mix but tastes completely and deliciously home made.
Spring fever? Check out our great Easter desserts and exciting new exclusive cupcake recipes from the Food Network Kitchens.
- Kirsten, Web Editor
Being a northern gal, I don’t have any family fried chicken recipes passed down to me, so I’ve never had the impetus to make it at home. But when I saw Sunny Anderson make her Cider-Brined Fried Chicken on Cooking For Real, I knew I had to try it. Naturally Sunny makes everything she cooks sound delectable, but I could tell this recipe was going to be special.
Coincidentally, I also happened to have the Emerilware by T-fal Deep Fryer in my kitchen, a sample that the vendor had sent about two years ago and one which, I’ll sheepishly admit, I hadn’t ever used. (I’ll also sheepishly admit that I’m somewhat afraid of deep frying things because of the high potential for disaster, even though I know the Emerilware fryer makes it virtually foolproof.) Sunny’s recipe has glowing reviews on our site, and Emeril’s fryer is one of the most popular products in the Food Network Store, so I decided that these two were a match made in heaven, and that it was time to kill two birds with one stone and inaugurate the fryer by testing out the fried chicken recipe.
Continue for Emily’s frying results.
Since I work on FoodNetwork.com’s healthy features: Winter Ideas from Eating Well, Easy Meals, Good Deals , 30 Days of Healthy Recipes, and Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day, I love the idea of eating healthy. As I also like balance in these recipes, I seem to gravitate to Ellie Krieger’s choices. Good for you but still taste great, which is why they always sneak onto my “to-make” list.
Confession — my biggest weakness is sweets. I love to bake — cookies and cupcakes every day if I had time! I’m not afraid to use obscene amounts of cream, butter and sugar.
Sweets lie ahead. Read more.
That’s what we should call Sunny‘s episode “First Down, Ten to Feed”; airing on January 24th . Sunny’s baking her beloved Grandma’s red velvet cake. Yummy.
She’s a natural storyteller, and her tales are NOT scripted. As she spoke about her Grammy baking this cake for church or for her high school graduation, I thought she might cry. So sweet! Her approach is fun to contrast with Anne Burrell who talks of her recipes as if she were talking about her best girlfriends.
Sunny also embraces some cake curveballs like white vinegar or whipping up the icing on the stove. I don’t cook, but that seems unusual. Our dear Sunny can be prone to belches in the right conditions. That was kind of comical to watch. She burps between takes and is fine with this. A woman who is comfortable in her skin — I love that.
Happy New Year FN Dishers!
~ Secretary Confidential
Today, I weaseled my way into one of the edit rooms. “Just pretend I’m not here,” I told editor and producer extraordinaires, Jim and Jenny. They’re working on Anne Burrell’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. No spoiler here, but come January 17th , you’re in for a treat. Chef Burrell’s grilled pizza episode is sizzling. No major gaffes, other than the overuse of “lovely,” and a few “ums,” which probably won’t make their way to your screens.
The color coordination—all pastels with pink spoon AND rolling pin — is so sweet; you’ll get a rush before she whips out the pizza dough. However, the girly décor doesn’t keep Anne from doing the tough stuff, like opening a bottle of oil with her teeth — or actually, removing the bottle wrapper (that part might get cut).
I dug for dirt on the snappy blonde from my new peeps. I learned about Anne’s sous chef, who’s on Top Chef now, and heard big praise for the steak recipe. Evidently, Anne’s brown sugar-coated steak is pleasing to carnivores and dessert-ivores alike. So nice — Jim’s made it twice.
Before I go, a shout out for Tyler. Saw you the other day in the elevator, Mr. Florence, bundled and sniffly. You’re a trooper!
Until next time, when I visit my new BFF’s editing Sunny on Cooking for Real.