No More Soggy Burger Buns and KFC for the Prom
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Conscientious Eating: Are you paying too little for ethnic food? Food writer Sarah Henry makes a persuasive case that you just might be. “Mom-and-pop shops and divey diners repping diverse cultures from around the world, slinging seriously tasty stuff for a fraction of the price it costs — and the effort it takes — to make at home” are a “cornerstone of city living,” she notes in Edible San Francisco. However, as we “bite into that banh mi with mystery meat or chow down on Chinese dumplings made by kitchen hands who may earn less than minimum wage,” we may be turning too blind an eye to the “provenance of raw materials or exploitation of food service people, many of them immigrants or people of color.” Sarah asks, “Who cares what goes on behind the kitchen door when food this cheap tastes so good?” We all should, she says. [Edible San Francisco]
Lettuce, Mayo … no Mat: Subway fans who’d prefer to enjoy their sandwiches without azodicarbonamide — a bleaching chemical used in the fast food chain’s bread that, though approved by the Food and Drug Administration and widely used in food products, has sparked concern because it is also used in yoga mats and shoe rubber — rejoice. The eatery says the ingredient will be removed from its bread by next week. Though some food scientists insist the ingredient is not harmful, Subway was apparently feeling pressured by the public outcry. “You see the social media traffic, and people are happy that we’re taking it out, but they want to know when we’re taking it out,” Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer, told the Associated Press. “If there are people who have that hesitation, that hesitation is going to be removed.” [AP]
Just in Time for Grilling Season: Among the world’s burger eaters, there are those who don’t notice the way the juices drip down, form a puddle on their plate and make their buns soggy, those who notice it but don’t mind it, those who mind it but don’t do anything about it, and those who create a simple and ingenious solution. The trio behind a new contraption called the Burger Lift is definitely among the latter category. “The Burger Lift was conceived to give you a place to rest your burger to avoid all the sogginess and let you enjoy every bite of your favorite meal from start to finish,” the device’s creators write. “It would raise the burger a fraction of an inch above the plate and allow the burger to elevate above the mess.” The team has just earned a goal-exceeding $11,144 on Kickstarter to help it eradicate unwelcome burger-related dampness. Dry buns, at last. [Kickstarter via Business Insider]
Fried Chicken the Color of Her Eyes? It’s prom time, and KFC has come up with an original (as in recipe) idea for the guy who’s stumped about what kind of corsage to buy his date: a chicken corsage the chain promises “will make your date’s eyes light up and her mouth water.” The company teamed up with Louisville, Ky., florist Nanz and Kraft to offer a limited-edition corsage kit (only 100 will be available) that sells for $20, plus shipping, and includes fresh baby’s breath for local customers — silk for out-of-town orders — and a $5 KFC gift check “so you can customize your corsage with Original Recipe, Extra Crispy or Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Whichever best matches her dress.” The company has made a funny video ad conjuring just what sort of reaction presenting such a corsage might elicit. And, hey, you could also save on dinner. [KFC via ABC News]
In Other Food News: United States beef prices have climbed to their highest level since 1987 due to a shrinking number of cattle and an increase in demand from countries like China and Japan. [AP] Taco Bell introduced its new Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, available May 1, via a Snapchat video that concluded just as the MTV Movie Awards kicked off on Sunday. A company spokesperson said Taco Bell sought to engage fans “the way they expect to be engaged.” [Ad Age]
The Kitchen Co-Hosts Look Back on Season 1 and Preview What’s Ahead
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Just a few months ago, five of your favorite Food Network chefs came together on The Kitchen to celebrate what is arguably the most-important room in the home. Now after a premiere season jam-packed with an over-the-top snackadium, special guest chefs, Tool Takedowns and one unforgettable Double Provolone, Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny are gearing up for a second round of go-to recipes for eats and drinks, timesaving cooking strategies and kid-friendly meal solutions. FN Dish was on the set of The Kitchen recently and we caught up with the group as they looked back on their most-memorable moments from early episodes and revealed what’s to come in new episodes, beginning this Saturday at 11a|10c.
For many of the co-hosts, the top unforgettable moment was when Jeff donned a sandwich-themed bodysuit to perform an impromptu routine he called The Double Provolone for Brian Boitano. “I mean, I saw it on the monitor ’cause I wasn’t actually in that segment, but I was crying I was laughing so hard,” Marcela admitted. Jeff and Katie, too, recounted that scene, Jeff deeming it “very risky” and Katie saying simply, “That was special.”
While it’s no secret that the co-hosts enjoy food, Sunny divulged an on-set detail that fans might not have realized: “Many times the food that is made is supposed to be saved for beauties, but the natural reaction of all of us five hosts is to dive into a plate as soon as the camera cuts. So sometimes we’re fighting over what we get to eat and what we can’t eat,” she explained of what goes on behind the scenes.
When asked which of his Season 1 recipes viewers should make first, Jeff said, “I think they should definitely make my tofu and eggplant stir-fry. It’s crunchy, it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it is so easy to do and so delicious.” Katie was asked the same question, and she revealed that she’s become a fan of some of her co-hosts’ dishes. She called Geoffrey’s pesto-topped salmon “a go-to at my house now,” and said, “Marcela made a kale, Brussels sprout and quinoa salad that I’ve probably made about a dozen times. I like to have it on hand in my refrigerator at all times.”
Sunny joked that when it comes to the second season’s cast, fans should expect a subtle change. “Well, we had a cast change. The kindergarten school asked for Jeff Mauro to come back, and so we had to send him back. So we have Jeff’s stunt double, a slightly more mature [guy],” she kidded, adding later, “But we’re going to have a really good time. We’ve got more of Tool Takedown [and] we’ve got more viewer submissions of questions.” For Marcela, new episodes will showcase the best of what this dynamic group has to offer. “Season 2 is about how we’ve become a family and how we’ve become such close friends,” she explained. “It really is like having a family or a really tight group of friends just sit down, talk about food and share their experiences. So I think more than anything, I’m the most excited about the camaraderie that’s happening on Season 2.”
Tune in to the Season 2 premiere of The Kitchen on Saturday, April 19 at 11a|10c.
Best 5 Easter Ham Recipes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The beauty of a ham is that, like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a big-batch entree that can feed all of your holiday guests at once, so there’s no need to prepare individual servings of dinner. But also like a turkey, ham needs a bit of dressing up before it’s ready to take center stage at your Easter feast, and in most recipes that next-level addition comes in the form of a glaze. Sweet, spicy, tangy or nearly anywhere in between, glazes complement the natural richness of ham and can play to your guests’ tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five Easter hams below to find wow-worthy recipes that are a cinch to prepare from Trisha, Melissa, Ina and more chefs.
5. Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze — Made with just two ingredients — brown sugar and honey — Trisha’s fuss-free glaze tops the ham well into the cooking process, so the sugars don’t burn before the meat is cooked.
4. Ginger-Peach-Glazed Ham — Food Network Magazine recommends letting the ham chill in a ginger-spiced brine for at least 24 hours before cooking it and finishing it with a sweetened Dijon topping.
3. Baked Ham with Spiced Cherry Glaze — Not only does Melissa bake her ham with a combination of cinnamon and cherry preserves spiked with horseradish, but she also serves the meat with the leftover glaze on the side, allowing guests to add extra during dinner.
2. Orange Baked Ham — Ina starts with a spiral-cut ham so that when she covers it with a garlic-citrus mixture, the smooth sauce creeps into every crevice and flavors the meat. Click the play button on the video below to watch her make it.
1. Roasted Fresh Ham with Cider Glaze — It’s best to bake this impressive holiday ham (pictured above) in a two-part cooking process — once quickly at a high temperature, then again at a lower temperature — so that you achieve a deliciously crispy herb crust on the outside and juicy cider-flavored meat inside.
Dessert of the Month: Gluten-Free Jam Dot Cookies
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When made with different colors of jam, these little cookies are reminiscent of a pretty collection of jewels. They satisfy both the need for something nutty and crisp and any desire for big fruity flavors — all in one bite. The combination of whole-grain flours, ground coconut and maple complement the assertive flavor of toasted hazelnuts perfectly. Choose your favorite jams and try experimenting with unconventional flavors like fig and black currant or with citrus marmalades.
Gluten-Free Jam Dot Cookies
Makes about 15 (2-inch) cookies
I used pure fruit jams (without added sugar) from St. Dalfour. They are available from Whole Foods and many supermarkets and health food stores. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but if you want to be sure there are no traces of gluten from cross-contamination, be sure to purchase those that are certified gluten-free.
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, divided
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup millet flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Cherry, strawberry, blueberry and apricot jam to fill cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Add ½ cup hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Place oats, dried coconut, coconut flour and remaining ½ cup hazelnuts in food processor, grind until fine and add to bowl with hazelnuts. Stir in millet flour, brown rice flour, and baking powder and set aside.
In another bowl combine coconut oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, vanilla and salt, and whisk to emulsify. Pour into dry mixture and stir until combined. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes before rolling into 1½ inch balls and placing on prepared tray. Gently press your thumb into the center of each cookie, squeezing together any large cracks around the edges. Fill each indent with about a teaspoon of jam.
Bake for 12 minutes or until jam is bubbling and cookies are golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
Photo by Stephen Johnson
12 Easter Ideas for Kids
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
With just enough spring sun to warm their little cheeks, Easter is one of the sweetest days of the year for kids — and these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate. We’ve got surprisingly simple cookies, cupcakes, brownies and even a few sugar-free options. Here’s to a happy Easter ahead!
1. Easter Bunny Cake: Complete with coconut “fur,” this bunny cake is surprisingly simple to make (hint: It starts with a boxed cake mix!)
2. Little Lamb Pull-Apart Cupcakes: As a busy mom of three small fries, I love the idea of a specially shaped dessert I can actually make. Starting with a simple batch of 24 cupcakes, this recipe lays out exactly how to do it.
3. Giant Easter Egg Cookie: Another crowd-pleaser for busy cooks, this awesome egg can be as easy as baking a batch of store-bought cookie dough.
4. Hard-Boiled-Egg Chicken Family (pictured above): The lengthiest step in this easy creation is boiling the eggs. If you’ve got the eggs, a carrot and a few chia seeds, you can do this one in minutes.
5. Jade’s Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes: If you’ve got kids with a big sweet tooth, don’t miss Giada’s special cupcake recipe developed for her own little one.
6. Brownie Birds’ Nests: All you need is a pan of brownies, a round cookie cutter and a few Easter candies to create a squeal-worthy treat.
7. Peep Cake: Food Network Magazine has outdone itself with this one — a Peep-shaped cake.
8. Baby Carrots “Growing” in Spring Pots: Sweets usually take center stage on this day, but what kids can resist veggies that are this cute?
9. Sugar-Cookie Easter Bunny House: If you thought gingerbread houses were only for Christmas, well, you were right. But this sweet little home is perfect for bunnies everywhere.
10. Little Lamb Cupcakes: If you can make cupcakes, you can make these fluffy little lambs. And we’re not kidding when we say “fluffy,” because the main ingredient for the frosting is Marshmallow Fluff.
11. Chocolate Birds’ Nests: There’s nothing like this three-ingredient recipe to guarantee a happy Easter for parents, thanks to Food Network Magazine.
12. Bunny Face Cupcakes: Cutting up a few pieces of licorice? Yep, you can do that. Jordan almonds? Check. All you need is a good vanilla cupcake recipe plus a basic glaze icing and you’ll find both right here.