For those who love tacos, tequila and mingling with the most famous chefs of the food world, then The Art of the Taco party was the place to be on Saturday night. The event, part of the New York City Wine and Food Festival, was hosted by Bobby Flay, who is famous for the catchphrase, “Tacos, Yo.” Flay manned his Mesa Grill taco station, serving guests mini smoked salmon tacos. But Bobby wasn’t the only star around, all the chefs were out that night — Alex Guarnaschelli, Andrew Zimmern, Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Marc Forgione, Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson, Aaron Sanchez and Anne Burrell were at the party too, and I even heard there was a Guy Fieri sighting.
Take a break from meat tacos and try swapping it for crunchy cubes of tofu. Pile it into whole-wheat tortillas alongside Greek yogurt sauce and crunchy, tangy slaw for a weeknight meal that screams summer.
Pair these tacos with a tomato salad that has a hidden crunch — cheese crisps — to complete this family-friendly Meatless Monday meal.
Get the recipe: Tofu Tacos
The heat is always on in the Ultimate Recipe Showdown kitchens, but it got even hotter this week with the Hot & Spicy competition. The contestants’ fiery flavors spanned the globe, from Thai chicken soup to Indonesian salad to Mexican tacos.
Once again, we sat down with Katherine Alford, VP of Food Network Test Kitchen and veteran URS judge, to get her tips on cooking (and eating) spicy foods.
FN Dish: Is a dish ever “too spicy” for you? Were you worried at all that one of the contestants might overdo the heat in this round?
Katherine Alford: Yes, a dish can be too spicy, if it’s hot just for the sake of being hot and taking your head off. The best spicy food has more than just incendiary heat. Even dishes that use habaneros, the hottest chile, should be balanced to play up its fruity quality. A good hot and spicy dish should have enough going on so that the heat is part of a larger taste.
FN Dish: The dishes in this round represented many diverse cuisines. What are some of the best international cuisines for spicy food lovers to experiment with?
KA: Of course the first that comes to mind is Mexican, as well as a wide range of Asian cuisines such as Szechuan, Vietnamese and Thai, Indian…or Indonesian like our runner-up. But what is interesting is that spices and chiles can be found in many cuisines…one of my favorite peppers is the Aleppo pepper that is used in Turkish and Lebanese food. It’s smoky, almost meaty, and it packs a punch.
Try Bobby Flay’s recipe for Tuna Crusted with Aleppo Peppers.