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  • 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 →

  • Hot News 9 Apr 2014 | 8:01 pm

    Big news from the World Food Championships for all of us home chefs. Even if you can't make it to one of the WFC qualifiers before the WFC November 12-18, you can still backdoor your way into competing through the #FoodChamp Challenge.Grab your favorite recipe (category appropriate) and hit submit to present your best case to the World Food Championships’ panel of judges and you just may earn your spot in Las Vegas. The #FoodChamp Challenge series, in partnership with Kenmore, will be hosted on cookmore.com. The fun begins on May 1. Get more information here. Continue reading →

  • Judge Marc Summers Previews Rewrapped 20 Apr 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Marc SummersFor years, Marc Summers revealed the whats and hows of timeless snack foods on Food Network’s Unwrapped. And beginning tomorrow, he’ll be part of the all-new series Rewrapped, wherein three hopeful contestants must re-create a sweet or savory treat, then use the original item in an inspired dish all of their own. Marc will sit on the judges’ panel alongside two other culinary experts, and together they must determine which competitor’s offerings are worthy of the prize: a lifetime supply of snacks. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped, and we caught up with Marc to look back on Unwrapped and to get his insider’s perspective on what’s ahead on Rewrapped. Read on below to learn his thoughts on both series, then hear from host Joey Fatone.

    What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
    Getting back on television would be No. 1, on fresh shows. I just think it’s fun. All the other competition shows on Food Network are pretty intense. This one, you smile during the whole thing. It’s snack foods, it’s junk foods, it’s kind of everything we ever did on Unwrapped, but I think when you see the Twinkie or the Hostess cupcake or the Bloomin’ Onion or SpaghettiOs, you think … “I identify with them.” And then seeing if somebody can duplicate it is just fun. We kind of hit the ground running on day one. It just seemed like we’d been doing it forever. Joey’s a great host. He brings a certain energy to it. It’s effortless.

    What can fans expect from the show?
    To learn a little bit about their favorite snack food, as to how it was made; on each show we have a judge from that particular company who doesn’t reveal all the secrets about how the things are made, but kind of opens up some doors. And so I think there’s a reliability … for the viewer and the product and with what we’re doing.

    How is this different than other competition shows you’ve been part of, like Double Dare?
    I used to throw food on that show, and now I get to eat it, so there’s a huge difference there.

    What will be your judging criteria for the “re-create” round and the “reinvent” round?
    We’ve done 500 episodes of Unwrapped or something, and we’ve attacked every major snack food you can imagine, and because of that, I’ve eaten each one of these several times, not only in my personal life but on the show. So I have a palate that is somewhat expert when it comes to that. … I’m kind of surprised every day by how creative the chefs are and it kind of makes it fun to come to work.

    What are some of the most-memorable foods that you’ve “Unwrapped”?
    I’m a junk food guy. I sustained myself on Twinkies and Kraft macaroni and cheese when I was a starving performer in Los Angeles back in the ’70s, so I ate my fair share of these things. So those two stand out. … We were doing hot things [on Unwrapped], things with peppers and jalapenos, and there was this thing called Cowgirl Chocolates. And before we started the show, they said whatever you do, don’t eat these things. … So on camera, I decided to eat the Cowgirl Chocolates, and I don’t know if they had ghost peppers in them, but they had some pepper in them that was just off the charts. I couldn’t speak for like 45 minutes. Water, milk, bread — no matter what I tried, my whole mouth was on fire. So that one stands out, not necessarily for a good reason, but it shut down production for a while.

    Are there any pieces of Unwrapped trivia that you still remember today?
    I start off each [Rewrapped] show with Joey coming to me and giving a little trivia fact about whatever the product is that day, most of which I can kind of pull from my head and check online; a few I have to dig for on the Internet. I have ridiculous retention. I started off as a game-show writer, and I retained a lot of that. And on Unwrapped, I kind of remembered a lot of the silly facts.

    What are the makings of a successful snack food?
    Sugar, no doubt. … The theory is that if you fry your wallet it will probably taste good. So, fried, some sort of cream filling and some sort of chocolate around — I think those three things you can’t go wrong with.

    What are your top-five favorite snacks?
    Twinkies are probably No. 1 because I’ve likely had more of those in my life than anything. Then any chocolate chip cookie. Any chocolate cake would be No. 3. Cherry pie would be No. 4, and anything to do with peanut butter would be No. 5.

    Tune in to the premiere of Rewrapped on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c.

  • Cajun-Spiced Burgers — Most Popular Pin of the Week 20 Apr 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Cajun Spiced BurgersBurgers take on Louisiana soul in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. These aren’t your average beef patties. Seasoned with Cajun spices and topped with a quick remoulade sauce — plus sauteed onions, green bell peppers and celery (known as the trinity) — these burgers will become a staple in your home this grilling season.

    For more recipes inspired by Chopped, visit Food Network’s Let’s Watch: Chopped board on Pinterest, and for even more, browse through a selection of recipes from The Chopped Cookbook.

    Get the Recipe: Cajun-Spiced Burgers

  • The Top 5 Healthy Flavors of Spring 20 Apr 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    snow pea radish slaw

    These seasonal beauties want you to know there’s more to them than total deliciousness.

    In addition to offering their trademark crunch and peppery snap, radishes list potassium, calcium, folate and fiber on their resumes.

    Recipe: Snow Pea Radish Slaw (above, from Food Network Magazine)

    A classically underappreciated seasonal treat, these sour stalks are an excellent source of vitamin K, associated with healthy circulation. Rhubarb also brings calcium, fiber and vitamin C to the party.

    Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart
    rhubarb tart

    A veggie for everyone’s spring hit list, these green spears are proud to offer antioxidants, fiber, thiamin and iron in every bite.

    Recipe: Mushroom Barley and Roasted Asparagus Salad
    asparagus and barley

    This nutrient-rich fish pairs beautifully with everything from teriyaki sauce to fresh green herbs. But it can also brag about B vitamins, potassium and oh-so-healthy Omega-3 fats.

    Recipe: Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze

    Pea Shoots
    These delectable greens are not only springtime gem, they are also filled with vitamin C, folate and fiber.

    Recipe: Spring Green Salad
    spring green salad

    Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

  • Get a Sneak Peek at Rewrapped with Host Joey Fatone 19 Apr 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Joey FatoneThe all-new series Rewrapped starring your favorite sweet and savory snacks premieres on Monday night (8|7c), where host Joey Fatone will be leading the competition between three eager contestants. It’s up to them to first re-create the snack of the day, then invent a new dish incorporating the original item for a panel of judges, including Marc Summers of Food Network’s Unwrapped. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped and caught up with Joey to find out more about what’s in store this season. Read on below for an exclusive interview with the host and learn insider details on the challenges, plus his favorite munchies. Check back tomorrow for another interview, this time with judge Marc Summers.

    What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
    I’m looking forward to seeing how creative these people get. That’s the cool thing about it. You get the re-creation of the actual snack, but the Innovate challenge sees how inventive they can be with the snack. [It] is really kind of cool to see how they get really crazy with the ideas.

    What can fans expect from the show?
    Your favorite snack foods that you loved as a kid and still do as an adult — seeing them being the showcase of a competition, which is great. You don’t get to see that very often, and to see that happen — how people make them — is amazing, because some of these recipes are secret-ingredient stuff. You don’t tell people what’s really 100 percent in it. So you have to try to re-create and kind of have to taste and see if you get it accurately.

    In the past you’ve competed on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Chopped All-Stars. How do you feel hosting a competition and not competing in it?
    So happy. I actually get a little nervous watching [the competitors]. I see the pressure because I know exactly what it’s like to be on that side … and try to cook something in 30 minutes. You think you have all the time in the world at first, then the next thing you know you’re speeding up, and then asking yourself, Am I timing it right? Is this and that right? Is it going to be overcooked? Is it going to be undercooked? How am I going to do this? And all of a sudden they’re counting down and you’re trying to plate it up as fast as possible. So it’s nerve-racking to watch sometimes.

    Did you learn any hosting tips on what to do or not to do from Rachael, Guy or Ted?
    Watching them is always great for learning little tidbits of different things. And what to do, what not to do. I’ve known Guy for a long time now. … What’s great about him, and I think about me as well, is what you see is what you get on camera. We’re not trying to fake it. … Just [be] informative, just have fun with it. I think what people want is just the guy next door or the girl next door that they can relate to.

    What are your top-five favorite snacks?
    That’s tough ’cause there are a lot. I’m definitely a Chips Ahoy! cookie guy. Love the Chips Ahoy! Twinkies: I do love a good Twinkie. Happy that they’re back. I have two kids, so there’s snack food everywhere; every once in a while I do dip into the Goldfish. My little one loves Goldfish.

    Tune in to the premiere of Rewrapped on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c.

  • Post-Easter Guide to Using Up All Those Hard-Boiled Eggs 19 Apr 2014 | 10:30 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Post-Easter Guide to Using Up Hard-Boiled EggsEaster is tomorrow, and for my family that means one thing: lots of hard-boiled eggs. We love to decorate them (see some of my fun ideas here), hunt for them and, of course, eat them. We always have a ton leftover, and over the years I’ve developed a number of strategies for breezing through even the most copious of hard-boiled-egg inventories. As Monday morning rolls around, take that basket full of colorful hard-boiled eggs sitting in your fridge and try these recipe ideas ranging from classic to never-before-seen.

    Traditional Ideas, with a Twist:

    — Deviled Eggs: Try some new flavor profiles such as an all-time favorite, Barbecue Ranch, or top deviled eggs with an upscale ingredient like a dab of caviar or some tuna tartare.

    — Egg Salad: Egg salad is a fantastic canvas for fun flavors. Try adding curry powder and spreading the egg salad on cut slices of toast for a perfect tea-sandwich snack (see my recipe here). Or add some canned salmon and chopped bacon to your favorite egg salad recipe for a brunch-inspired twist. Use the eggs in a green salad: Assemble my classic Salade Nicoise on a large platter for easy entertaining if you have guests visiting.

    — Egg Sandwiches: Taste synergy in action on this sliced-egg sandwich by whipping up an easy garlic cream cheese and adding tomato. Or just add sliced egg to a BLT or tuna salad sandwich for an extra boost of protein and creaminess.

    Less-Traditional Ideas:

    — Yolk in Dressing: Mash up the egg yolk as a base for a creamy vinaigrette. Simply mix up the mashed yolk with a spoonful of Dijon mustard and some red wine vinegar, and then whisk in olive oil and seasonings. (Follow my recipe for Asparagus with Tangy Smoky Dressing, which uses the chopped egg white too.)

    — Cheesy Egg Gratin: Place quartered peeled eggs in a greased baking dish, cover with your favorite marinara sauce and top with mozzarella or cheddar cheese and bake until bubbly at 450 degrees F (about 10 minutes). Add a fresh green salad and you have dinner.

    — Soups, Stews and Sauces: Lay halved peeled eggs in a brothy soup for extra protein, or place on top of saucy lentils in a spicy curry for a Meatless Monday treat.

    — Pickled Eggs: This classic is so old-fashioned that it’s actually trendy again. And because they are best a few days into the pickling process, you get a little break in egg eating. Heat 1 cup each white vinegar and water, 2 tablespoons each sugar and salt, a chopped onion, and a few garlic cloves and red pepper flakes in a pan until salt has dissolved. Place peeled eggs in a jar and cover completely with the pickling liquid (add cooked beets if you want pink eggs). Refrigerate for at least one day before eating. (Even easier version: Save the liquid from a jar of pickles, plop your leftover eggs in, and fill with water to cover.)

    Replace Regular Eggs with Hard-Boiled Eggs: Don’t overlook your current favorite egg recipes for inspiration. Instead of frying egg into rice, try topping fried rice with a chopped hard-boiled egg. Sliced hard-boiled eggs can be a great replacement for poached eggs in many recipes, from eggs Benedict (hollandaise sauce is super tasty) to the European classic salad with lardons and egg (see my recipe here).

    Do you have any fun traditions with leftover Easter eggs?

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