98 Flawless Cubes of Food Will Soothe Your Perfectionist Soul
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The kiwi seems clear enough. And the pomegranate and the papaya are unmistakable. Unless, of course, I’m mistaken.
I have hunch those are peppers. And … cabbage, is that you? Mushroom? Cauliflower? Corn? Watermelon? And what kind of fish is that? Or, wait, is that even fish?
Food may never have looked at once so exposed and so elemental as it does in “Cubes,” an image created by Amsterdam-based visual artists Lernert & Sander (full names: Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug) and commissioned by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant for a food-themed photography special feature. (You can buy a C-print or a poster on the artists’ website.)
The photograph — for which the duo, who have excited senses before, turned unprocessed food into precisely shaped cubes measuring 2.5 centimeters (or roughly one inch) on every side — has also proved quite provocative, spawning earnest guesses and even elaborate maps.
But my advice is not to click on those maps and charts and image keys too soon. Instead, simply let your mind contemplate each crisply cut jewel-like morsel and then take them in en masse, and then back again, unencumbered by labels.
Later you can learn which orange cube is a pumpkin and which a sweet potato, which a carrot and which a cantaloupe. Though the hint of green on that last one may give it away.
Photo courtesy of @lernert_sander
American Diner Revival’s Amanda Freitag and Ty Pennington Answer Fans’ Questions in a Facebook Chat
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
In honor of the upcoming season of American Diner Revival, show hosts Chef Amanda Freitag and home improvement expert Ty Pennington gave the scoop on their new series in a recent Facebook chat with fans. On the show Amanda and Ty team up to renovate the interiors and revamp the menus of struggling diners in less than 36 hours. The hosts shared their favorite diner dishes and fun facts about their careers and answered questions about the goals and challenges of the show.
Lynda: Being a Jersey girl, diners hold some awesome memories for me. Do either of you have a favorite diner from your childhood? And also, why did you choose the diners you did for the show?
Amanda Freitag: For me, it’s the Pilgrim Diner in Cedar Grove, N.J. I’m a Jersey girl too! I have a million memories [of] eating there from a young age. Many late nights and breakfasts were had!
Ty Pennington: Usually we get a plea from people that work there, or friends of the diner might reach out to us!
Elizabeth: What was the inspiration behind this show? I can’t wait to watch it.
TP: I agree with Amanda. The diner is the center of the community, and I really love when you can work with a community that has one goal. You get two things: a challenge and, hopefully, a happy ending. And you’re preserving a piece of Americana.
AF: Our goal was to rescue all-American diners around the country that were on the brink of extinction!
Carissa: What have either of you learned from going into these diners and reinventing them?
TP: I think sometimes we forget how warm the characters in a diner can be. You might not be able to find that on a menu, but it makes you feel like you’re family, and that doesn’t happen everywhere.
AF: I learned that at the heart of almost every restaurant is a family, whether blood-related or a team of people who become a family through that place. Diners have that “mom and pop” appeal, and that’s something we really wanted to save.
Linda: Ty, what challenges have you had on this job, if any?
TP: Lack of time, lack of sleep, confined space, trying to fix something built in 1962, busted waterlines … I could go on and on. Plus unexpected challenges of working in a business.
Ricky: Hi, Amanda! What dish do you think every diner should have on the menu?
AF: Every diner has to have a burger on their menu. MUST!
Alicia: One of my favorite meals to order when I eat at diners is a hot turkey sandwich! Amanda, what is your most-favorite comfort food?
AF: Oh boy! This is tough. Mashed potatoes and gravy is pretty hardcore comfort food to me. I also love a big bowl of pasta … and pizza too!
Carlos: Ty, do you know how to cook?
TP: The truth is, YES! My specialties are potatoes, mussels — the good stuff. I started cooking at age 8.
Kelly: Amanda, what is your favorite gourmet burger?
AF: I wouldn’t say it’s gourmet, but I am totally into making Juicy Lucys! You basically put cheese INSIDE of the burger patty. When you bite into it it’s like lava, so be warned! I am still experimenting with different methods of making it.
Mark: What is your favorite “2 a.m. at the diner” story?
TP: The problem with remembering a 2 a.m. story at a diner … well, that’s why you’re there and trying to eat your memory back.
Barbara: What is your favorite go-to food in a diner? Do you always get the same thing or try different things?
AF: I like trying different things, but I am kind of a sucker for breakfast for dinner, especially an omelet or a Happy Waitress (an open-faced egg sandwich with cheesy sauce all over!).
TP: Tough call — depends on the diner. Fried pickles (if you can find them), juicy burgers with jalapeno peppers, french fries with cheese and gravy. I also really love the breakfast — good seasoned home fries. And a good, pure and simple vanilla milkshake.
Culinary Adventures: How did you both start your food careers?
AF: I started in the front of the house as a busgirl and fell in love with food! I worked at a family friend’s restaurant with my brother and would take any excuse to sneak around every corner of the kitchen. They eventually let me in the kitchen myself and the rest is history. I loved the whole idea of getting ready and prepping as a team, then going to battle together, high-fiving when it was all over, and doing it all again the next day.
Shirley: Tell us one thing you didn’t know about each other.
TP: I didn’t realize she’s the kind of person that can take whatever you’ve got in your cabinets, whatever ingredients you have on hand, and turn them into something incredible.
AF: I didn’t realize how much boundless energy Ty has! Also, his ability to fire up crowds and get people motivated is amazing.
Leighann: What is your definition of a diner?
TP: My interpretation is that a diner is the one of the oldest spots in town that generations of families have grown up eating in. It’s an American icon. It’s a comfortable place where you can get comfortable food.
Vicki: So Ty, when did you change from home makeovers to food makeovers? And how did you hook up with Amanda Freitag?
TP: I really enjoy food and cooking, and it’s a creative outlet where people can put their heart and soul into something. When I heard about the opportunity to blend the renovation of a restaurant that’s an American classic and at the same time experience how you can make over a menu by working with a chef like Amanda, I jumped at it. I thrive on challenges, and so American Diner Revival gave me the chance to up the ante to not just do a home, but do a business. You can’t just tear down a business — you have to leave it running while you renovate. In the end, it’s the same job I’ve always loved doing: bring people together and save a place that’s an entire community’s home … and I also just love to eat!
Joseph: Ty! Of all the home improvement shows you’ve done, what makes American Diner Revival different for you on a personal level?
TP: It’s a completely different challenge, and it’s awesome, because the work that’s done benefits an entire community. It’s exciting because you’re working with a business that doesn’t just have to look pretty, but it has to work.
Keep up with Amanda and Ty by watching American Diner Revival on Friday nights at 10:30|9:30c.
How to Eat Red, White and Blue All Day Long on Memorial Day
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
No matter how you choose to spend your Memorial Day, eating red, white and blue foods is a good way to get in the patriotic spirit, especially when you start it off at breakfast. Gather together with family and friends over the long weekend and dig into our favorite flag-inspired dishes all day long.
Start the special day with Blueberry French Toast Casserole with Whipped Cream and Strawberries. The red and blue berries bring bold patriotic colors along with their innate juicy sweetness, while a dollop of whipped cream adds a pillowy, cooling quality to hot French toast.
It might be the most low-key bite of the day, but that doesn’t mean your daily snack can’t be colored red, white and blue too. Opt for a different hue of bagged tortilla chip, and munch on Red and White Double Dippers with Blue Corn Chips at your cookout or by the pool.
When you give one of America’s favorites, hot dogs, the red-white-and-blue treatment, you get Buffalo Puppies. Drizzled with blue cheese sauce and topped with red onions and crumbled blue chips, cocktail hot dogs nestled in baby buns have everything you need — including our three must-have colors.
Using three kinds of potatoes (skinned baby red, Yukon and purple potatoes) gives you the all-American color you need for Red, White and Blue Potato Salad. Mixed with sliced hearts of palm, piquillo peppers, scallions and an easy vinaigrette, this side dish is satisfying enough to round out any backyard barbecue menu.
Slurp down Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiris, complete with icy layers of spiked frozen strawberries, blue Curacao liqueur slush and rum-infused coconut sorbet, to give even your cocktail a splash of red, white and blue spirit.
The best way to end a long weekend is with dessert. Layer up Sunny Anderson’s Patriotic Berry Trifle for Food Network Magazine with store-bought angel food cake, a tangy-sweet cream cheese mixture, blueberries and strawberries for a scoopable dessert worthy of fireworks.
Get even more ways to grill and picnic on Memorial Day here.
What to Watch: Memorial Day Festivities and The Season Premiere of American Diner Revival
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Jump-start your weekend with a special season premiere of American Diner Revival tonight at 10:30|9:30c. Watch as Chef Amanda Freitag and home improvement pro Ty Pennington team up to renovate and revitalize diners across America in only 36 hours.
Tune in on Saturday morning for a birthday celebration feast on The Pioneer Woman and great make-ahead recipes on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Join the cast of The Kitchen for Memorial Day party tips, dishes and drinks. Start off your Sunday with new episodes of Giada at Home and Southern at Heart. Giada De Laurentiis makes small dishes that all include fennel. And Damaris Phillips is making Hot Chicken-Fried Steak Sandwiches with Smoked Macaroni Salad on the side and a delicious Blackberry-Almond Cobbler for a sweet ending to her dinner party.
On Sunday night, don’t miss three hours of competition, starting with an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games at 8|7c. On Spring Baking Championship, watch to see which of the final four bakers makes the best red, white and blue dessert. Then on Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown drives the competing chefs nuts with his outrageous challenges.
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: Indulgent Dishes
This trip, Guy Fieri’s indulging himself in righteous, rich recipes. In Charlotte, N.C., he visits a crazy seafood spot reeling in off-the-hook gumbo and dishing out a spicy mahi mahi specialty. Across town, check out the mother-daughter team serving up savory lamb ragout and a decadent ice cream sandwich. And in Los Angeles, there’s a Korean-German combo firing up drunken chicken and a killer burger.
American Diner Revival: Chili Champ Revamp
Famous for the championship chili featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Diner has been central to the Norman, Okla., community since it opened as a chili parlor over a century ago. Today restaurants are booming on Main Street, challenging The Diner’s dilapidated decor and menu. In only 36 hours, home improvement expert Ty and Chef Amanda attempt a renovation that embraces The Diner’s Southwestern flair and flavors before it becomes ancient history.
The Pioneer Woman: Happy Birthday, Ladd
Ree Drummond is cooking up a celebration dinner for her husband, Ladd’s, birthday. There are delicious Chili Cheese Burgers, crisp Thin Fries, a cowboy-friendly Wedge Salad with Parmesan-Peppercorn Ranch dressing, and a towering Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, which Ladd loves.
Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: Nashville Memories
Trisha Yearwood prepares make-ahead dishes Chicken Broccoli Casserole and French Coconut Pie, then heads down to one of her old Nashville stomping grounds to perform a special duet with her songwriter friend Karyn Rochelle. After the gig, they return to the house, and together they make a salad of Mixed Greens with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fried Goat Cheese Croutons, then relax and reminisce over their delicious home-cooked meal.
The Kitchen: Memorial Day Bash
For your first summer barbecue, there’s a great new recipe for a killer burger and barbecued ribs. Discover some unique fries with sweet and savory dips. There are timesaving tricks for food prep, and actor David Burtka shares the secrets for great homemade ice cream sandwiches. Plus, get ideas for poolside snacks and a recipe for a classic Long Island iced tea.
Giada at Home: Giada’s Tasting Menu
Giada creates a small-plate tasting menu for some of her friends. The twist is that each dish on the menu contains fennel: Citrus Fennel Salad, Pan-Roasted Salmon with Fennel Puree, Fennel Upside-Down Cake and a Fennel Martini made with fennel vodka.
Southern at Heart: Southern Fried Friendship
Damaris and her girlfriends have a semiannual dinner party dressed up as a clothing swap. To accompany the fashion show, Damaris and her chef friend Terra bring the heat with their menu: Hot Chicken-Fried Steak Sandwiches, Smoked Macaroni Salad and Blackberry-Almond Cobbler.
Guy’s Grocery Games: A Dicey Situation
Four chefs take a gamble when Guy makes them roll dice to determine the details for creating their best dish. Next the chefs must use odds and ends from the Clearance Carts to make a classy champagne brunch. Finally, two chefs must plan their menu on the fly while making their best chicken dinner using one ingredient per aisle.
Spring Baking Championship: Memorial Day Madness
The final four bakers must tap into their basic training to create memorable Memorial Day desserts to make it to the finale. First they’re challenged to create a layered springtime trifle, then they’ll have the freedom to create the dessert of their choosing — as long as it’s red, white and blue.
Cutthroat Kitchen: 21 Chum Street
One chef must use a shark jaw as a knife. Then two chefs must cook out of — and on top of — a suitcase. Finally, a banana nut muffin challenge drives the chefs both bananas and nuts.
7 Summery Cocktails to Enjoy This Weekend
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
In our opinion, cold drinks are just about as important for a backyard barbecue as the grub on the grill is. Let’s face it: You’ll enjoy that cheeseburger so much more if you have a summery beverage to wash it down. Kick off this weekend’s unofficial start to summer on the right sip with one (or a few) of these fun and refreshing cocktails.
Ginger-Peach Beer Cooler (pictured above)
Don’t disregard beer when it comes to mixing cocktails. If you’ve ever had a shandy (lemonade mixed with beer) you’ll understand. Giada combines light lager with fresh peaches and easy-to-make ginger syrup for an awesome summer drink that doesn’t require hard liquor. You’ll want one of these poolside.
Ina’s Perfect Margaritas
Margaritas are always a sure party beverage choice, and leave it to Ina Garten to come up with the perfect, 5-star recipe. Her secret: a combination of lemon, lime and cheap tequila. Yes — you read that correctly. Ina says the fancy, expensive stuff just isn’t right when you’re blending together a good ‘ol margarita. If you’re looking to add a little of sweetness to cut the bite of the alcohol, Ree Drummond’s frozen mango margarita recipe will not fail you.
Fresh mint makes mojitos particularly appealing during warm summer days. Make them even more refreshing by turning the classic cocktail into a frozen treat. Bobby Flay’s recipe calls for the standard ingredients — rum, mint, lime and simple syrup — but yields more refreshment and fun.
Grown-Up Ice Cream Floats
You’ll never grow out of your enthusiasm for ice cream floats, so don’t try to fight it. If the combination of bubbles and ice cream makes you giddy, you’ll love Sunny Anderson’s Blackberry Gin Fizz Float. Gin not your thing? You can find more boozy float inspiration from Food Network Magazine’s all-star spread.
Watermelon Mai Tais
Quench your thirst for the tropics with mai-tais. Blended with chunks of juicy watermelon, Ted Allen’s recipe is principally summer-appropriate. But if the pink fruit hasn’t hit your market yet or not all partygoers are keen on it (if such people exist), stick to a classic recipe.
If you’re not looking to play bartender all day or night, make a big batch of Rachael Ray’s sangria. It’s loaded with fresh fruit and takes just 10 minutes to put together. Make it the morning of your barbecue and take it out of the fridge when friends arrive.
Spiked Coffee Cocktails
It’s time to take brunch outside! Instead of the usual batch of mimosas or Bloody Marys, shake up some of Food Network Magazine’s Brazilian Coffee Cocktails. Mixed with espresso, rum and sweetened condensed milk, a glass of this chilled and creamy beverage is more appealing than a hot cup of coffee.
If you’re looking for some kid-friendly summer beverage options, check out these awesome recipes.
50 Homemade Sodas
Ree’s Raspberry Lemonade
Perfect Iced Tea
Salted Chocolate Milk