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  • Dave DeWitt’s Book Tour Dates Set 23 Jul 2014 | 1:47 pm

    I'll be on the road to four locations in Texas in August to perform cooking demonstrations for one of two of my latest books, Dishing Up New Mexico, at four Central Market Cooking School locations. I'll be in Dallas (August 11), Ft. Worth (August 12), Austin (August 13), and Houston (August 14). While in Houston, I will be making appearances around the city and particularly at the iBurn hot shop. Continue reading →

  • Garden Bounty: 3 Spicy and Chilled Summer Soups We Love 22 Jul 2014 | 7:32 pm

    I guess I don’t need to tell you that these soups are refreshing to serve during hot summer days and you don’t need to turn on the stove. But I do need to tell you that fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or farmer’s market make the most flavorful soups, and also that your food processor and/or blender will get quite a workout. Continue reading →

  • Hot Monkey Pepper Vodka 21 Jul 2014 | 2:30 pm

    Guarding the northeast post at Distillery Row is New Deal Distillery, home to 4 vodkas, 2 gins, and 2 liqueurs. One vodka is a perfect fit for us here at the Burn! Blog, and you’ll know right away by its name: Hot Monkey Vodka, the star of New Deal’s line because it won a Gold Medal for flavored vodkas at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Olympics of distilled spirits. Continue reading →

  • Only One Week Left for the Scovie Early Bird Special! 21 Jul 2014 | 1:08 pm

    There's just a little over a week left to take advantage of the Early Bird Special with a discount of $10 per entry. The Special ends July 30. So, if you're planning to enter more than one product into our 19th annual Scovie Awards Competition, now is the time to act. Continue reading →

  • Baja Shrimp Martini 19 Jul 2014 | 4:51 pm

    This “martini” is a refreshing and spicy blend of shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and lime… gazpacho with shrimp! Continue reading →

  • Join Alton for a Twitter Chat This Friday 23 Jul 2014 | 2:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Join Alton for a Twitter Chat This FridayIf there’s anything you ever wanted to ask Alton Brown, now’s your chance. The evilicious host of Cutthroat Kitchen and judge on Food Network Star will be hosting a Twitter chat this Friday, June 25, at 1pm. Simply tweet your question with the hash tag #AskAlton and see what witty answer he responds with.

    Catch the chat at 1pm, Friday, July 25

  • This Spicy Sichuan Pork Dish Will Make You Want to Skip Takeout Tonight 23 Jul 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Sichuan PorkOn this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient ground pork. This Roasted Eggplant with Sichuan-Style Pork recipe reinvents the inexpensive ingredient for an outside-of-the-takeout-box meal that’s ready in 30 minutes. Stir-frying the pork with spicy Sichuan flavor transforms the familiar ingredient into a dish that’s just as flavorful — if not more than — takeout.

    First, set a rack on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F.

    Score the flesh of each eggplant 6 to 8 times using a sharp knife. Place them on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.

    Place the eggplant cut-side down and bake until they start to soften and begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Next, flip the eggplant and bake for 15 more minutes until the other side has completely softened and changed into a golden-brown color.

    While the eggplant is baking, start to prepare the pork by heating the remaining oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until the meat is lightly brown and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

    Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, 1/2 cup water and half of the scallion greens. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

    Spoon the pork over the eggplant and garnish with the remaining scallion greens. Serve over white rice.

    Get the Recipe: Roasted Eggplant with Sichuan-Style Pork

    Chopped Dinner ChallengeThe 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!

  • Steak Myths: 3 Rules Not to Follow 23 Jul 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Steak is not like other foods; it is sufficient in itself, or very nearly so. Add salt and heat (fire preferably), and you have something no culinary sleight of hand can improve on. Does a steak need a recipe? Heck no. But recipes abound, and with them come all manner of tips, tricks and techniques, most of which diminish your likelihood of cooking a great steak.

    Frankly, most cookbooks are full of it on this one particular topic. Even great ones can’t seem to stop themselves from perpetuating falsehoods that don’t hold up to the most-casual application of scientific method. Here are some examples, culled from books that are, in every other aspect, totally estimable. (For the curious, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt penned the definitive work of steak demythification for Serious Eats a few years back. Read it and change your life.)

    Noooooo: “Season steak at the end of cooking, not before.” – Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Joy of Cooking (1975)

    Great book, terrible advice. This is a crime against steak. Don’t just season before, season well before — an hour, a day, even two! Salt needs time to penetrate meat; salt added at the end just tastes salty.

    Nope: “Allow the meat to come to room temperature.” – Marion Cunningham, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1990)

    Not egregious, but don’t waste your time. After 30 minutes, even an hour, the steak will be nowhere near room temp. Anyhow, it’s a fool’s errand: The room-temperature injunction is intended to promote even cooking, which makes sense if we’re talking about a roast chicken, but not when steak is the issue. If a nice, crusty exterior and a juicy, tender interior are what you’re after, then even cooking is precisely what you don’t want in a steak.

    Nuh Uh: “Don’t stick a fork in it. You’ll let all the juices out!” – Your Know-It-All Uncle George, Your Life (Every Summer for the Last 25 Years)

    We’ve all heard this one before, and it does make intuitive sense. Sure, juice leaks when a piece of cooked meat is punctured — but not that much. Uncle George mistakes a steak for a water balloon, which it is not. Structurally, a steak is more like a collection of thousands of little water balloons. Popping a few does not have any discernible effect on juiciness. So, yes, stick a fork in it if you like. And while you’re at it, stick a knife in it, too, because a little nick and peek is a sure-fire way of determining doneness, and not the end of the world in terms of juice.

    Now that you know the rules not to follow, check out these great steak recipes for ideas and get grilling.

    Jonathan Milder is the research librarian in Food Network Kitchen.

  • Update: Health Experts Weigh in on Proposed Nutrition Label Redo 23 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    nutrition facts label
    Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration released details of the proposed nutrition label makeover. Many experts have been weighing in on the new look, trying to determine if the changes will help consumers make better-informed decisions or simply add to widespread confusion about nutrition. Last week, The New England Journal of Medicine published two commentaries from health experts.

    Added Sugars, Packaging Buzzwords
    The first perspective was written by David A. Kessler, MD, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, author of The End of Overeating and a former FDA commissioner. Kessler believes that the FDA’s proposed changes could help nudge food buyers toward healthier decisions but argues that the new label does not go far enough.

    Given that many consumers tend to munch on high-calorie, high-sugar foods at the expense of more nutritious options, Kessler supports the proposed change to distinguish “added sugars” from “total sugars.” In addition, he agrees that the serving size should reflect what a typical person would consume in one sitting — another of the suggested revisions.

    But Kessler proposes taking sugar labeling one step further by listing a percent daily value (DV) for added sugars that would help consumers quickly determine if what they’re buying is high or low in such sweeteners.

    In addition, the label’s focus on individual nutrients, rather than whole foods, Kessler says, is a potential shortcoming: “There is nothing in the new framework that actively encourages consumers to purchase food rich in the fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are rightfully considered ‘real food,’” Kessler writes. Such emphasis gives food manufacturers incentive to fortify processed foods that may have little nutritional worth — such as sugary cereals — with an endless list of vitamins and minerals, in an effort to catch consumers’ eyes, and to make healthful-sounding claims along the lines of “high-fiber” or “low-fat.”

    Other experts also express concern about ingredient lists and possibly misleading label buzzwords. Allison C. Sylvetsky, PhD, and William H. Dietz, MD, PhD, both at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, co-authored a second perspective paper for the journal. They point out that many chemical names for ingredients, including artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, aren’t recognizable to consumers. Many foods containing artificial sweeteners promote themselves as being “low in sugar” or having “no added sugar.” Such claims may give parents a false sense of security about certain foods and lure them into choosing highly processed items for children. Artificially sweetened products, the authors also note, may be sweeter than their sugar-spiked counterparts and can still cultivate a sweet tooth in children.

    Sylvetsky and Dietz recommend that the FDA adopt a more straightforward and easily understandable ingredient labeling system similar to what’s in place in Canada, where packaged foods indicate if they contain one or more artificial sweetener. More transparent food marketing, they say, will help empower parents to make better educated food choices for children.

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

  • How to Survive Cutthroat Kitchen, According to Alton Brown 23 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Cutthroat Kitchen is in full swing (now in its fourth season), and with time also come lessons learned — many lessons learned. Frequent judge Simon Majumdar recently revealed the mind of a Cutthroat judge to FN Dish, and now host Alton Brown is sharing survival techniques. From the pantry to the kitchen, Alton breaks down the most-common mistakes that can easily be rectified, as well as how a chef should best prep himself or herself for sabotages.

    Click play on the video above to learn Alton’s tips for acing round after round in the Cutthroat arena.

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