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  • Island Grillstone 23 Apr 2014 | 9:43 am

    I’ve cooked on salt blocks from the Himalayans, cedar planks from the Northwest, apple wood planks from New Hampshire and a bunch of other stuff but never a piece of volcanic rock! I used it to cook steak, poultry, veggies, seafood and even pizza! Unlike a salt block, the grill stone doesn’t add any salt flavor to the food so you need to season the food before cooking. Continue reading →

  • Bloody Marys for Badasses? 18 Apr 2014 | 12:29 pm

    The arrival of spring always gets me excited about brunch: the blooming roses, the fresh fruit, eggs of various types, and of course, brunch cocktails. In one of my blog posts recently, I said something like “I prefer spicy Bloody Marys,” and apparently, this phrase triggered a response from The God of Spicy Bloody Marys: Crazy Steve. Continue reading →

  • Melissa’s Produce and The Great Chile Pepper Cookbook 15 Apr 2014 | 3:50 am

    The book should come with a warning: ‘Do not look at this book if you are hungry…’ You could start chewing on the pages! Continue reading →

  • Hell, yeah, we talk about Fight Club 12 Apr 2014 | 6:06 pm

    Hog Heaven, located adjacent to Centennial Park in downtown Nashville, is literally a hole in the wall BBQ joint. While there are a few “outdoor” tables most of the business is takeout with folks enjoying the hickory-smoked meats in the park. What makes Hog Heaven unique is they make a white barbecue sauce that is absolutely fantastic for poultry. Continue reading →

  • Spicy Chocolate Frappe 11 Apr 2014 | 5:26 pm

    One thing I love to do at the Fiery Foods Show is prowl the floor looking for new ways to combine products. This Spicy Chocolate Frappe is the best result I've ever had. It's a frozen spicy red wine concoction teaming Nectar of the Vine's Natural Chocolate Martini Frappe mix with CaJohn's Frostbite Hot Sauce and Sweet & Saucy's Chipotle Chile Fudge. All three are very tasty in their own rights. When I spliced them together, though, the results were better than I expected. Continue reading →






  • Restaurant Revisited: Treading Water at Bryant’s Seafood World 23 Apr 2014 | 8:55 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Robert Irvine and Gail Cox“On a scale of one to 10 of disgusting, this is a 12,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Bryant’s Seafood World in Hueytown, Ala. The decades-old fish house is known for its deliciously authentic hushpuppies, but what Robert found was underseasoned food, a grimy interior and a kitchen with off-the-chart levels of bacteria — not to mention Gail Cox, the owner who had little will to continue in the business. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible staff overhauled the menu and design at Bryant’s, and taught both Gail and her employees the importance of dedication to the eatery. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gail to find out how her restaurant is doing today.

    “Comparing January 2014 versus February 2014, business increased 32.3 percent,” Gail said, adding that she and diners have been wowed by the updated interior at Bryant’s. “The top-three things working well for us include cutting down the cashier counter to give additional access to that area (which really helps the flow of the servers), adding a hostess stand (which gives us order to the customers waiting to be seated on those weekend busy dinner hours) and removing the carpet.”

    Gail explained that the updated menu has attracted first-time patrons, and she admitted, “Customers loved the Shrimp and Grits dish instantly.”

    In terms of staff contribution, employees have begun cleaning the front and back of the house daily, according to Gail. “I’ve assigned certain tasks to the servers, and it’s rotated,” she explained. “The staff is working a little harder and appears to really want to do their part to make it work. We are in the process of hiring new staffers so we can stop working so many ‘doubles.’”

    After learning from Robert during the course of two days, Gail said she knows now how to better manage her staff. “I have to follow through on my requests, and I need them to respect me when I walk in the room.”

    Gail said she’s taking a temporary break from selling Bryant’s hushpuppies anywhere but the restaurant. “I have pulled back on continuing the hushpuppies until I can get a better package solely because … Robert and the focus group didn’t think the current package was eye-catching,” she explained. As for in-house production of the hushpuppies, that process has been improved, thanks to the new mixer. “It has allowed us to make the hushpuppies in larger batches, thereby relieving some of the pressures on the line cooks,” according to Gail.

    Looking ahead to what’s next for Bryant’s, Gail explained, “My immediate plans for the restaurant are to continue to grow the business, install a patio out front that will allow customers to dine outside this summer and expand on the bar, making it a fully functional bar with a sink, under-counter cooler, dishwasher and draft beer if possible.”

    More from Restaurant Revisited:

    Urban Roots (April 9)
    gratifi kitchen + bar (April 2)
    Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria (March 26)
    Pasión Latin Fusion (March 19)
    Tootie’s Texas BBQ (March 12)
    Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant (March 5)
    Estrada’s Restaurant (February 5)
    Hillbillies Restaurant (January 29)
    Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill (January 15)
    Heather’s Country Kitchen (January 1)
    Goombazz Big City Eatzz (December 18)
    LBI Pancake House (December 8)
    Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company (December 8)
    Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant (December 4)
    Seven (November 27)
    Georgia Boy Cafe (November 20)
    Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub (November 13)
    The Windsor 75 (November 6)
    Ducky’s Family Restaurant (October 30)
    Mama Campisi’s Restaurant (October 23)
    Aponte’s Pizzeria (August 25)
    Benner Street (July 28)
    Hurley’s American Grille (July 21)
    Kalico Kitchen (July 14)
    Angelo’s (June 23)
    Pier West Restaurant (June 16)
    Pinehurst Country Lodge (June 9)
    Bryan’s Smokehouse (May 26)
    Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant (May 19)
    Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant (May 12)

  • The Flavors of Ham and Cheese in a Savory Bread Pudding 23 Apr 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Ham and Bread PuddingFor this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Camembert. Inspired by a cheese plate of ham, cheese and fruit, the chefs came up with this savory bread pudding. With the characteristic texture of a quiche, this recipe for Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding makes an ideal brunch, lunch or dinner dish when paired with a simple green salad. It’s also a good use for leftovers — think bread and ham remnants from this past holiday. With the familiar flavors of ham and cheese, it’ll be a sure-fire hit with your family any day of the week.

    To start this recipe, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set up a water bath on the lower rack — this ensures the bread pudding will bake up fluffy and moist. Next, butter 8 ramekins and set them on a baking sheet. Cut up the cheese into cubes and set them aside, making sure they don’t stick together. Whisk together the heavy cream and eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Add the cubed bread and ham to this mixture, then combine.

    Melt some butter in a large saute pan. Add the shallot, fennel and thyme, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the apple and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until it has absorbed into the vegetables. Discard the thyme sprigs. Add this mixture and the cubed cheese to the cream-and-egg mixture and stir together to combine. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for about 18 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of a bread pudding comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a lightly dressed green salad.

    Get the Recipe: Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding

    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!

  • Top 10 Recommended Eats from the East: On the Road with America’s Best Cook 23 Apr 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Lobster RollOn America’s Best Cook, Sunday at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the East.

    The East is well known for having popularized foods including pizza, burgers, cheese steaks and lobster rolls, all of which were famously invented and first served in the East. Now it’s hard to imagine American cuisine without these dishes. But the East also offers a wide array of international cuisines that have become ingrained in American culture, like Italian and Mexican dishes and so much more. Through the years, some city neighborhoods have come to specialize in certain cuisine, like Boston’s North End, whereas others have become a melting pot, like Queens in New York.

    Take a look at the top 10 reader-recommended eats, in no particular order, from Food Network On the Road and vote in the Regional Foods Face-Off, the show’s bracket challenge, to make your favorite regional food known.

    The Lobster Shack — Cape Elizabeth, Maine
    Although The Lobster Shack is only open during the summers, the short time frame is enough to sell thousands of lobster rolls. The secret to its success is to let the natural lobster flavor take over.

    Rino’s Place — Boston
    Rino’s Place offers authentic Italian dishes just like in Italy — but with American-size portions. You’ll taste the passion for the food in dishes like Shrimp with Lemon Liquor, Rino’s Special and the Lobster Ravioli.

    Aunt Carrie’s — Narragansett, R.I.
    After a day out on the beach, stop in at this third-generation family-owned diner for some fresh seafood classics. Try the clam cakes and fresh steamers, a local favorite. For dessert there’s the homemade strawberry shortcake.

    The Redhead — New York
    East Village gastropub The Redhead is known for its seasonal, Southern-inflected food and carefully made cocktails. Chef Meg Grace’s Homemade Pretzels with Beer Cheese are a favorite with the crowd. For a comforting main course, try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Shrimp and Grits. And don’t leave without having the Bacon Peanut Brittles.

    Tortilleria Nixtamal — Corona, Queens, N.Y.
    Thousands of pounds of masa and up to 10,000 tortillas a day come from Tortilleria Nixtamal. Try the sweet and savory taco al pastor with pineapple, topped with white onion, cilantro and lime. The hearty pozole is comforting and soothing.

    Paesano’s — Philadelphia
    If you’re looking for a hearty sandwich that’s loaded with delicious filling, look no further than Paesano’s in Philadelphia. The Italian beef brisket and fried egg grinder is a popular favorite.

    Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat — Philadelphia
    This family restaurant serves Southern classics with Jewish flair. Try the brisket Frito platter made with twice-cooked brisket or the chicken chili Frito pie made with guajillo chicken. Locals enjoy the matzo ball soup.

    Comet Ping Pong — Washington, D.C.
    Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., is an unusual eatery that offers pingpong and pizza made with sustainably farmed ingredients. Specialties include The Smoky Pizza, Yalie and Stanley pizzas and The Philly, a calzone.

    Tune Inn Restaurant & Bar — Washington, D.C.
    For more than 60 years, politicians and hungry tourists have ventured to Tune Inn for classic, greasy dive food. The Bon Ton sauce is used generously for such specials as Joe’s West Virginia sandwich, made with American cheese, and the beer-battered burger, dripping with flavor. Other favorites include Mike’s Fried Chicken.

    The Village Cafe — Richmond
    The Village Cafe’s atmosphere combines the best of a dive bar and neighborhood joint. Since 1956 they’ve been churning out customer favorites like ale-battered onion rings and Italian classics like stromboli, pizza and calzones.

    Get more recommended eats from Food Network’s On the Road, and download the On the Road app for your mobile device to get recommended restaurants anywhere you go.

  • The Chef’s Take: Baby Artichoke and Scallion Saute from Deborah Madison 23 Apr 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    artichokes

    “As far as I’m concerned, vegetables — plant foods in general — are good things to eat and we should eat more of them. That’s as far as we need to go,” says Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens, the trailblazing vegetarian restaurant that opened in San Francisco back in 1979. “I am flavor-focused, not nutrition-focused.”

    Deborah Madison is America’s premier vegetarian chef and a prolific cookbook author, with ten fruit- and vegetable-centric cookbooks under her belt. Her latest, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is an updated version of her bestselling, award-winning tome, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

    This preparation for sauteed artichokes and scallions, taken from The New Vegetarian, pairs two spring veggies together in an unfussy, bright saute. “I like artichokes because they are truly a savory vegetable,” Madison explains. “They are not at all sweet or frivolous. They are meaty, their texture is firm and they have plenty flavor.” As for the so-named “baby” variety used in the dish: “They actually grow deep down on the artichoke plant and they don’t get as big because they don’t get much sun,” she says. “The advantage, of course, is that the chokes don’t form, so you don’t have to wrestle the thistle.”

    In the relatively quick to pull together saute, the baby chokes first get blanched and then stew together until just tender in a slurry of wine, water and olive oil. Gremolata — the classic Italian herb-and-garlic seasoning — and fresh tarragon brighten the medley. “This is a spring dish,” Madison says. “I chose scallions because they are a little more spring-like than onions. And tarragon is a spring herb — in the fall I might use rosemary,” she says.

    While Madison says she is a flavor-focused chef, she also knows a thing or two about the nutritional value of the vegetables she writes so knowledgeably about. “Artichokes have a lot of good stuff in them,” she says, “potassium, fiber, a good amount of magnesium, B12 and so on and so forth. They go beautifully with olive oil, that’s a beneficial oil, and they have a lot of micronutrients.”

    As far as serving the saute, the options abound. “I’d be happy to eat this straight,” she says, “or you put this over a piece of good bread, rubbed with garlic. Or you can toss this with a dark, robust whole-wheat pasta.” Like most of the recipes in Madison’s revised classic, the recipe is adaptable and easy to fall for. Madison herself long ago fell for its charms: “I’ve been making this dish for 10 years,” she says.
    deborah madison

    Baby Artichoke and Scallion Saute

    Serves 4 to 6

    The preparation of the baby artichokes goes easily and quickly. If they’re not available, use four to six medium ones, trimmed and quartered. These artichokes are also wonderful tossed with spaghetti, stirred into risotto, or spooned over bruschetta.

     

    20 to 24 baby artichokes

    Juice of 2 lemons

    3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

    1 garlic clove, chopped

    2 teaspoons lemon zest

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, thickly sliced

    ½ cup dry white wine

    1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

     

    Trim away the artichokes’ outer dark leaves and discard. Next, with a paring knife, carefully peel back any fibrous portion of the stems. Place the whole, peeled artichokes in a bowl with lemon juice and enough ice water to cover.

    Fill a pot with salted water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the artichokes and boil until tender-firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Slice the artichokes lengthwise in halves or thirds. (This can be done ahead of time).

    Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Toss the parsley, garlic and lemon zest together until a coarse mixture forms. Set mixture aside.

    Heat oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Add the artichokes, cut sides down, and saute until the hearts color in places, after several minutes. Stir in the scallions and wine. Once the wine boils off, add 1 cup water and half the gremolata and tarragon. Lower the heat and simmer until the artichokes are fully tender, between 5 and 10 minutes.

    Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining gremolata and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tip the artichokes, with their juices, onto a serving plate and serve.

    Kitty Greenwald is a Brooklyn-based food writer and recipe developer. She eats a lot for work and pleasure. Her column Slow Food Fast appears in the Wall Street Journal.

    Photo by Miranda Van Gelder

    Portrait by Aya Brackett

     

  • Backfiring Food Rules, a $2,000 Tasting Menu and the Question McDonald’s No Longer Asks 23 Apr 2014 | 6:30 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Backfiring Food RulesThe Pitfalls of Family Food Rules: Most of the time, a graham cracker is just a graham cracker, but when children are asked to click a computer mouse like mad to get one, as in a recent series of experiments, or decide how many of them to eat when they are given restricted access to them, it becomes the marker of a “reactive eater” and a clue that, while genetics and biology may play a role in children who are strongly motivated by food, food rules imposed at home may also factor in. “The message is that restriction is counterproductive — it just doesn’t work very well,” Brandi Rollins, the Penn State postdoctoral researcher who led the studies, told the New York Times. “Restriction just increases a child’s focus and intake of the food that the parent is trying to restrict.” Bottom line: It’s better not to put junk food out of reach on a high shelf, but rather not have it in the house at all. [The New York Times]

    The Planet’s Priciest Eatery? Considering all the things you could do with $2,078, even hard-core foodies might pause before paying that much per person for a meal. Even for a 20-course tasting menu that promises to combine food, art and technology to create a “complete and unprecedented emotional experience.” Regardless, that’s apparently what Sublimotion, a restaurant opening on May 18 at the new five-star Hard Rock Hotel in Playa d’en Bossa, on Ibiza, under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero, is charging, making it what the Daily Mail is calling “the most expensive restaurant on the planet.” Enjoyed by only 12 guests each night, the meal “will cause a stir among the most-neglected senses,” a spokesman told the tabloid. “From moments of humor, pleasure, fear, reflection and nostalgia, diners will be wandering through a world of sensations from the North Pole where they will enjoy a cold snack that they carve on their own iceberg or to the baroque Versailles where the elegance of a rose is sure to melt in their palate.” At those prices, you’d think they’d get someone to carve your cold snack for you. [Daily Mail]

    Palcohol Approval Put Off, at Best: Looks like you’re going to have to tamp down your excitement about powdered alcohol. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has backed away from its approval of Palcohol, the powdered alcohol product that has generated recent excitement. A representative for the bureau told the Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued erroneously. Palcohol maker Lipsmark said it planned to correct a “discrepancy” with its labels and resubmit them for approval. But for now, you’ll have to wet your whistle with the wet stuff. [Associated Press]

    In Other Food News: Ty Burrell, of Modern Family fame, has teamed up with chef Viet Pham (former Food Network Star finalist) to open a new restaurant, Beer Bar, in Salt Lake City; the “super simple menu,” as Ty describes it, will feature homemade bratwurst, locally made bread, Belgian fries — and 150 varieties of beer. [AP] Teenager Antonia Ayres-Brown is being hailed as a champion of feminism for inspiring McDonald’s to reconsider its practice of asking if kids wanted a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” with their Happy Meals. When she was 11, Antonia wrote the corporation a letter wondering “if it would be legal for McDonald’s ‘to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?’” she explained on Slate, and continued the fight until the company changed its policy. [Yahoo Shine]

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