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  • Cool Coasters From PopsQtool 28 Sep 2014 | 1:09 pm

    I’ve written about the multi-function six-in-one grilling tool from PopsQtool. For $50 you get everything you need…a spatula, fork, knife, grate cleaner, tong and bottle opener. I have one and use it all the time. But what’s really neat is the company also makes laser cut coasters that can be adorned with your BBQ team logo or whatever you’d like on them (aside from sports team logos). Continue reading →

  • Can Beer Make You Smarter? 27 Sep 2014 | 2:42 am

    Apparently, beer is great for writer's block if you're a young mouse. At least, according to a recent scientific study, anyway. Continue reading →

  • Beer: New Mexico Does What It Does Best; Green Chile in Everything 23 Sep 2014 | 7:13 pm

    In the light of last month’s Burn Blog story about Stone’s “beers that burn,” I searched for other options in the world of chile beers, and found one just over the mountains in the east, from Sierra Blanca Brewing Company in Moriarty, New Mexico. Continue reading →

  • Will Mechanical Harvesting Save New Mexico’s Chiles? 22 Sep 2014 | 7:22 pm

    Recently, a device named the “Moses 1010″ rambled through a chile field near Las Cruces, pulling peppers and leaves in a row along the way. The machine is Israeli inventor Elad Etgar's invention. He conducted the harvest demo and named the machine after his late father. Continue reading →

  • Welcome to Smoked Pumpkin Season 21 Sep 2014 | 1:46 pm

    "It's the mooost wonderful tiiime of the yeeeear..." That's what plays in my head when the first sugar pumpkins land in stores each Fall. Not because retailers drop the Christmas hammer too early. No, my mood turns to thoughts of those pumpkins heating low and slow inside my smoker. Continue reading →

  • Best 4 Apple Cider Cocktails 1 Oct 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Mulled Apple Cider CocktailWhether you pick up a gallon at the orchard to accompany warm doughnuts or you simply buy a bottle while shopping at the grocery store, you’ll likely find yourself with apple cider on your hands this season. And when that happens, it’s time to mix up a cocktail. When thinking about mix-ins, stick with flavors that will complement the sweet, crisp taste of cider — warm cinnamon, simple fruit juices and sparkling wine are good places to start. Read on below for more ideas, and find Food Network’s top-four apple cider cocktails from Giada De Laurentiis, Alex Guarnaschelli and more chefs.

    4. Sparkling Apple Cider Punch — The beauty of Nancy Fuller’s crimson-colored cocktail is that once you prepare one batch of this sparkling cider-cranberry punch, guests can help themselves to it, so you don’t have to prepare cocktails all night long.

    3. Spiked Apple Cider Cocktails — For a fresh finish, garnish this rum-laced cocktail with a skewer of apple chunks.

    2. Apple Cider Shandy — It takes only two ingredients and two minutes to make Giada’s fuss-free cocktail. She recommends serving the lager-based drink in chilled glasses for an extra-refreshing sip.

    1. Mulled Apple Cider Cocktail — After simmering cider with cinnamon sticks, Alex cools the fragrant mixture and combines it with lemon juice, sugar and a crisp apple to round out the flavors before stirring in sparkling wine. Click the play button on the video below to watch her make this fall-focused cocktail (pictured above).

  • Surprising Ways to Eat Your Oats 1 Oct 2014 | 12:30 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Oat Meatloaf
    There’s no doubt oats are a healthy food. After all, they’re packed with soluble fiber (the kind that helps lower your cholesterol and helps keep your blood sugar from spiking) and they’re relatively low in calories (1/3 cup of dry oats clocks in at 100 calories). They also give you a smattering of B vitamins and minerals (including a whopping amount of manganese, which you need for healthy bones). But if you’re finding yourself bored by the regular old morning oatmeal with brown sugar, it’s time to embrace new ways to eat oats.

    Steel-cut oats are the perfect backdrop for savory toppings. A fast option is topping it with a dollop of peanut butter, a squirt of sriracha and some diced pineapple. Or bring steel-cut oats to the brunch table by topping with sauteed onions and peppers, cilantro, black beans and queso fresco. You can go the route of cooking steel-cut oats in a slow-cooker overnight, or try quick-cooking steel cut oats to work them easily into a quick meal.

    For rolled oats, try these suggestions:

    Blitz a couple tablespoons of oats into a smoothie to thicken it and add fiber.

    Bake them into homemade breakfast bars.

    Grind them into gluten-free flour (make sure to use gluten-free certified oats for this purpose. While oats themselves contain no gluten, they often are cross-contaminated while in the processing facility, unless they’re processed in a gluten-free facility).

    Add to baked goods, like oat-cherry muffins.

    Go beyond breakfast: Oats are versatile enough to use as a whole grain in savory dinners. Add them to meatloaf (pictured up top) or to crust pork loin.

  • Tater Tots Are Getting Their Chance to Shine in This Crispy Casserole Dish 1 Oct 2014 | 12:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Chicken and Tater Tot CasseroleTater Tots have long been a side dish darling, with the versatility to accompany nearly any meal, from breakfast to dinner. But in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge for Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole, those craved-after Tater Tots serve as the basket ingredient, and that means they’re being upgraded to the main dish. As the Food Network Kitchen chefs point out, this meal is a perfect, crunchy substitution for a typical pot-pie dish.

    To get started on this meal, melt butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy pot. Then, add carrots, celery and onions, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the vegetable and butter mixture occasionally, until the vegetables are golden. Stir in flour and whisk in the milk and broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until it is slightly thickened and then stir in the chicken. Once done, put the concoction in a baking dish. Put the Tater Tots and thyme into a food processor and pulse until they’re medium ground. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole, and bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden.

    Get the recipe: Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole

    The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchen that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients from an episode, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

  • Don’t Blame Yourself (Too Much) for Those Midnight Snack Attacks 1 Oct 2014 | 11:30 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Don't Blame Yourself for Those Midnight Snack AttacksDo you crave healthy stuff like yogurt and fresh fruit in the morning and then, as the day wears on, hanker for greasy, fatty, sugary foods like french fries and cookies at midnight? It might help your mood (if not your calorie count) to know that you are not alone.

    Data collected by the consumer technology and wearable device company Jawbone indicates that most people start the day focused on eating dairy, fruit and grains. Then, as the hours creep by, our desire for those foods declines, and our interest in foods rich in oils, fats and sugars rises. Those less-healthy cravings hit a bump at about 4pm (“Snack Time!” Jawbone’s number crunchers note) and rise precipitously after 8pm, peaking between about midnight and 4am before declining in time for breakfast the next day.

    Other studies suggest that these late-night junk-food cravings may have a biological basis — that we may actually need the energy boost from high-cal foods late at night, to help our bodies stay awake and active at an hour when they are wired for sleep, the Atlantic notes. The blood-sugar boost may be needed to compensate for our bodies’ natural nighttime decrease in the level of the hormone cortisol, which helps signal that it’s time to catch some z’s.

    Or it may be that when we’re tired, at the end of the day, our defenses are down and we are more likely to give in to temptation. (Fatigue can decrease the hormone that signals satiation and increases the one that signals hunger.) The magazine cites one 2012 study that found the brain’s reward centers actually lit up more in response to pictures of junk food than healthy food when people were deprived of sleep, whereas when they were well-rested, their brains responded to images healthy and unhealthy foods essentially the same way.

    Whatever the reason, research indicates that, when you break out the cake and chips at midnight, you may be doing something your body is hardwired to do. Will that help you when you step on the scale the next morning? Perhaps not, but it may help you put down the chip bag and reach for your pillow instead.

  • From Contender to Champion: Get to Know Gibson, RvG Kids: Cook-Off Winner and Host of The Jersey Shore Kid 1 Oct 2014 | 11:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Gibson on The Jersey Shore KidWinning Season 2 of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off for Gibson was pretty amazing, to say the least. This talented 12-year-old blew the competition away with his final presentation and a dish that won him high praise from the judges, including Curtis Stone, one of Gibson’s culinary idols. FN Dish chatted with Gibson at Alstede Farms, the setting for one of his three videos (you can read that interview here). There we talked about all that led to his winning his own Web series and what it was like competing.

    But there was so much to talk about that it was impossible to cut the subject off at just his time on RvG: Kids and The Jersey Shore Kid. We wanted to find out more about how this young chef got into cooking in the first place, where his inspiration came from as a kid who began dabbling in recipes at age 7, and what keeps him still in the kitchen to this day — not to mention his dreams for the future as a chef.

    FN Dish: So now that you’ve won, who’s going to cook dinner?
    Gibson: Um, me — still. Sometimes I ask my mom for a break and she’s like, “You’ve won. You’re cooking every night.”

    So, basically, you can’t get out of dinner ever again.
    Basically. There’s no excuse “I don’t feel like it.” There’s no excuse. She’s like, “You won, and there are no more excuses after that.”

    What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the kitchen that you’re willing to admit to?
    Oh no! This happened recently. We sometimes rent out a house in the summer, and the grill isn’t in the best shape. So I’m barbecuing burgers. We have company over and they want to see me cook. I’m like, “Sure.” I go to flip the burgers, and I open the lid and fire erupts and black smoke comes out. I’m like “Dad, something’s wrong!” We had to fire-extinguish the whole grill. I’m like, “Well, option No. 2, takeout!” But it was scary, because I’ve never had something set on fire.

    What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
    Well, after the show I have to say the meat mallet, because that was hysterical. It was in the third episode. I just remember all the parents laughing when I had to beat that huge piece of lamb. That was fun. I loved using that. And even though it’s fun to use, it’s a very good kitchen tool. That is my favorite. And also just squirt bottles. They make everything a lot easier to plate.

    That’s a very Guy thing, isn’t it?
    It is a very Guy thing!

    How did you get started cooking? What got you interested in the first place?
    My mom doesn’t cook a lot, if any. So I started cooking when I was 7. From the ages of 4 to 7, I didn’t care really what I was eating. I just wanted food. Then at 7 I started really paying attention to what was in my food. What is my food? I was like, “My mom doesn’t cook and I want to start cooking a home-cooked meal, and the big meals that she should be cooking.” So I picked it up. I started watching Food Network as much as possible, and I just ran with that. I started getting interested. I started going with really simple recipes. And then I just started cooking and it’s been a roller coaster. And here I am now!

    Who was the person you looked up to when you started cooking, whether it’s a TV personality or not — you don’t have to say Guy. Who was your hero in the kitchen?
    That’s a hard question. The answer — to be honest — I would probably just have to say Guy, just because when I saw him the first time [on TV], he reminded me so much of my dad, because he likes tattoos and rock ‘n’ roll and guitars. He reminded me of my dad …. My dad doesn’t cook a lot either — he does some grilling. [Guy]‘s like the dad that cooks. He was like my cooking dad almost …. He was just really my quote unquote cooking godfather ….

    Watch an Episode of The Jersey Shore kid Below

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