This week, FN Dish is trading in the grill-kissed ears of corn and pitchers of iced tea for the comforting dishes of early fall. And, hey, who’s complaining? To ring in the crisp air, pumpkin lattes and all that screams fall, we’re turning to the potato to reintroduce our favorite seasonal recipes.
As an ingredient, the potato straddles the line between french fry and mashed potatoes, so it’s the perfect ingredient to usher us into these first days of fall. Each of these potato dishes will remind you of all that we’ve been missing. Many are rich — and all are comforting.
When pureed, potatoes make for a mean soup. Smooth and filling, Ina’s Roasted Potato Leek Soup is nice and elegant, and it works as the idyllic dinner party starter. Food Network Magazine’s Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup is perfect for a special family meal, especially during those first few weeks of the school year. As for Alton’s Leftover Baked Potato Soup, leftover baked potatoes are reborn in a soup that’s silky, luxurious and super rich.
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You know when you have a good batch of grapes on your hands. Each sphere of green or red deliciousness is firm — never bruised — and comes down with an almost audible burst before flooding your mouth with sweet, tart lusciousness. They typically require little intervention; we’ll pop ‘em straight from the fridge or zip them into baggies for easy eating.
Well get this: Grapes are perfectly in-season right now, so they’re extra crispy and juicy. With this in mind, FN Dish is ringing in Wednesday by showcasing some seriously grape-forward recipes. This time, grapes go way beyond PB and J with the crusts cut off.
Let’s face it, grapes are meant to mingle with cheese. Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Sweet Roasted Grapes simmers the fruit in honey until syrupy, keeping the spherical texture of grapes for a different cheese mate. Next, Food Network Magazine’s Grape-Walnut Conserve is bright and zesty when smeared on a cheese-donned baguette, especially with its merging of orange zest, raisins and lemon. And though tapenade is typically made of chopped or pureed olives to spread on bread, Food Network Magazine turns to fresh, juicy grapes for a sweet Cheese Plate with Grape Tapenade that’s fit for the most elegant dinner party.
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Beets may be available year-round, but there’s good reason to hoard each ruby-red root this month. Sure, these magenta beauties are known for their pronounced health benefits, but that’s not why we eat them. Beets have a profound, earthy sweetness that takes some thought to tease out, and from June through October, you can bet that beets are at their most tender state.
This season, breathe life into your beets by balancing the sweetness with a dose of unanticipated acidity. Whether you use sour fruit to make a marinade or as a full-blown ingredient, a wash of tartness can do a sweet beet some serious good.
1. Balance with Oranges: Fresh oranges do so much for beets. In addition to showcasing the obvious color, Food Network Magazine’s Warm Beet-Orange Salad (pictured above) unites supple roasted beets with the citrus fruit’s charming acidity. On the other side of the spectrum, its No-Cook Beet-Orange Salad use thinly sliced chioggia or golden beets for a dish that’s raw, fresh and invigorating.
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Gone are the days of shriveled, dried figs — at least for now. The plump, sweet orbs — actually flowers inverted into themselves — are now lusciously in-season, meaning they’re ready, willing and able to make your table’s acquaintance.
But there’s a catch with figs: Supple, soft and picked when ripe, the fruit is as fragile as a porcelain vase, and the journey home from the grocery store is enough to leave your little figs burst and bruised. Leaving them on the counter for a day or two also reveals the fruit’s intense perishability. The moral of the story: One must act fast when fleeting figs are involved.
With this looming expiration date in mind, FN Dish rounded up the ways to cook and bake figs into our favorite recipes. That way, they’ll disappear as they should.
When the alarm goes off, Food Network Magazine’s Nutty Fig Toasts are your only fighting chance of getting out of bed — yes, Monday too. The multigrain toast, ricotta cheese, roasted nuts and cushy fruit are steps above the cereal bowl.
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If you ask FN Dish, red, yellow and green peppers do much more than add color to your plate. With crunchy thick walls and a juicy-sweet disposition, the hollowed-out veggies are meant for stuffing: with grains, meats, veggies or all of the above. These smooth-skinned beauties are not only brimming with antioxidants, they also invite a slew of possibilities.
This week, perfectly in-season bell peppers have every reason to make it to your table — especially when they’re bursting with all kinds of good things. Need some inspiration for your next stuffed sensation? FN Dish has you covered.
Giada adds an Italian flair to her Orzo Stuffed Peppers by using the short-grain pasta, while her Stuffed Baby Peppers — with pancetta, ricotta and Parmesan — work as creamy bite-size appetizers.
Chile Rellenos, Spanish Stuffed Bell Peppers, Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers and Food Network Magazine’s Cajun Stuffed Peppers each stay true to their roots while remaining unanimously satisfying.
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It’s odd to think of a day when the avocado’s utensil of choice wasn’t the tortilla chip. But how many times have you ventured to the produce section with guac on the brain, only to find that the avocados would work better as baseballs? Don’t fret — now that avocados are in season, all of your guacamole plans can come to scoopable fruition. And with all of these ripe avocados on hand, FN Dish expands upon the Purist’s Guacamole with all kinds of inventive add-ins. We know: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But these renditions will awe and inspire guests with the very first scoop.
1. Papaya: Add the diced tropical fruit for unexpected texture and sweetness. Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Papaya Guacamole cuts sweet with spicy using mashed habanero peppers.
2. Corn: Roasted Corn Guacamole and Food Network Magazine’s Southwest Corn Guacamole are literally popping with Southwestern goodness. Broil or roast your corn before sliding the kernels into the guacamole.
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It’s the vegetable to be gushed over at brunch and the one worth of recipe swapping at book club. And if it’s on the menu with the Parmesan descriptor attached, all bets are off — we’re ordering it. Sturdy yet tender, filling but wholesome, the eggplant is the king of meatless for a reason.
Though it works as a standup main course, the following dishes speak to eggplant’s versatility as we transform it into easy, hand-held starters. Each of these small bites helps to ring in a meal with flair. Call them finger foods, call them bite-size — either way, compact eggplant appetizers are a lovely way to kick off dinner.
To start, Giada’s Mini Eggplant Parmesan are reminiscent of the classic dish, though they’re not engulfed in tomato sauce and cheese. That way, you can pick them up with your hands for easy eating. Similarly, Food Network Magazine’s Eggplant Ricotta Bites (pictured above) are crispy and to the point. Each circle is topped with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes.
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Can you believe it’s already August? With this sultry month come many lovely things — most importantly, the ripe, in-season peach. As we transition from the inaugural crates of summer strawberries, these golden kaleidoscopes of gold and red are so juicy they dribble down your chin. And with a velvet fuzziness on the outside and an ambrosial sweetness on the inside, peaches are deep summer’s most lusted-after loot.
Peak peaches deserve to be the highlight, the reason everyone’s at the table. That’s why FN Dish has assembled a list of the finest peach recipes. These unconventional dishes run the gamut and show us all the pretty peach is capable of — and, goodness, are they good.
1. Your mother wouldn’t be happy with us, but let’s start at dessert, the most iconic peach player of all. We all love Peach Cobbler, but unconventional desserts like Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies, Caramel Peach Upside-Down Cake and Food Network Magazine’s Peach Cobbler Ice Cream Cake will raise eyebrows. Even something as simple as Food Network Magazine’s Hot Peaches and Cream can show the tender peach in all its glory.
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You don’t need us to tell you it’s hot. We’re officially occupying the dog days of summer, and there’s no escaping — or is there?
When you post up after a long day, arm your wet bar with a little something different: the cooling qualities of watermelon. There’s no better ingredient to better your summery cocktails, with the fruit’s natural sweetness and refreshing water content. Though all of these drinks employ the same fruit, they each revive in a different way, running the line between iced and frozen, alcoholic or virgin, traditional or eccentric. If these don’t cool you down, nothing will.
Everyone loves a good cocktail. Today FN Dish is slurping the iconic ones, this time with a watermelon twist. With light rum, fresh mint leaves and a big squeeze of lime, the Barefoot Contessa’s Watermelon Mojito is best enjoyed curled up on a beach chair. As for Food Network Magazine’s Watermelon Sours, sour mix, lime and fruit-flavored liqueur punch up each slurp.
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Nibbling corn on the cob has its perks, but you already knew that. This hand-held side is as easy as boiling water, smearing butter and going in for a bite. If you ask FN Dish, corn is a cornerstone of the great American barbecue, and it need not be fiddled with.
But as it turns out, things get a lot more interesting when the corn is shaved right of that cob, and Food Network’s fleet of killer summer corn salads are proof.
For a true summery flavor, kick up the grill. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chile and Cotija marries charred, sweet kernels with the most aromatic ingredients around. In this Grilled Corn and Chipotle Pepper Salad, all that’s left to do is combine all the ingredients after the corn finishes grilling. Plate these salads next to Tyler Florence’s Carne Asada for a grill-reliant, outdoor meal.
Ina Garten’s Fresh Corn Salad (pictured above) places corn on a pedestal, bringing it together with nothing more than an effortless vinaigrette, diced red onion and fresh basil leaves.
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