5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Despite my last name (which is Armenian thanks to a distant relative somewhere in my French husband’s family), I’m actually an Irish gal (my maiden name is Donovan). So I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with the gusto of an Irish lassie my whole life.
St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and the shamrock was originally a symbol for the Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the rules of Lent were lifted on St. Patrick’s Day, which meant Catholics could eat and drink relatively freely for one day in the midst of Lenten fasting. And somehow that morphed into rowdy visits to Irish pubs, drinking green beer and singing “Seven Drunken Nights” (who could see that coming?). So St. Patrick’s has become a cultural celebration, and for our family, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of wearing green, playing fun leprechaun tricks for the kids, and eating green foods and traditional Irish fare. Want to join us? Here is our five-step approach to celebrating St. Patty’s Day in style:
1. We wear green. I almost didn’t even write this one. Because duh. (Plus, I have green eyes, so this really only makes sense.)
2. We guard ourselves for the arrival of the mischievous leprechauns. There are friendly leprechauns who come in the night and make an innocuous mess, knocking over a (relatively clean) trash can and mixing up shoe piles. These leprechauns leave behind a trail of gold chocolate coins and maybe some green erasers (because they are always on sale at the craft store).
3. We make green smoothies and zucchini muffins for breakfast. Call it the family-friendly version of green beer, but my girls love to start the day with green food. (Unlike Valentine’s Day, when we stay in pink and red food all day, this is a breakfast-only affair for St. Patrick’s Day.) I make my Green Morning Smoothie and Zucchini Mini Muffins with Orange Maple Glaze. You can even add a drop of all-natural green food coloring to the glaze.
4. We don’t need an excuse for music and dancing in our house. My girls will choreograph a dance number to just about anything! For mood music, I play some classic Irish folk music. For some ideas, search “traditional Irish music” on the Internet to load up on some catchy tunes that will have your kids singing too.
5. Make a classic Irish dish for dinner. Our favorite is Corned Beef and Cabbage, but I also have a recipe for you Shepherd’s Pie fans. And for those of you who are less classic and want just a tasty stew starring beer, grab some Guinness and make my Pot Roast Carbonnade. (It’s a Belgian stew, but your secret is safe with me.)
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I’d love to hear about your traditions!
Computer-Driven Food Truck Eats, Ice Cream Stilettos and a Restaurant-Smashing Wave
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Chef Watson is on wheels. In New York City, you can find food trucks that purvey pretty much anything you can think of: Crepes? Curried goat? Schnitzel? Edamame? Ecuadoran fish soup? Check, check, check, check and check. But now, roaming the country (last week in Las Vegas; this weekend in Austin for SXSW Interactive), there’s a food truck that sells exotic delicacies that neither you nor anyone else would probably ever imagine. That’s because the dishes its chefs are whipping up have been conceived by a supercomputer (remember Watson, who triumphed on Jeopardy! a few years back?), to bring together ingredients in unusual combinations too complex for mere humans to come up with. The IBM researchers who’ve teamed with New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to make the truck happen call the process Computational Creativity (or Cognitive Cooking). Diners sampling dishes like Baltic apple pie — which includes pork loin, apples and garlic chips — apparently call it mind-bendingly delish. [NPR's The Salt]
What’s in a name? Ever wonder how cobb salad, oysters Rockefeller and bananas Foster got their names? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel fills you in on the origins of these and other food monikers. But just so you know: Chef Bob Cobb’s surname was bestowed on the salad he made from leftovers at Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant in the 1920s. Oysters Rockefeller’s buttery sauce, when it was created in 1899, was thought to evoke the richness of ultra-wealthy oil baron John D. Rockefeller. And the famous banana dish, which made its debut in New Orleans in the 1950s, was named in honor of a humble restaurant patron. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Feelin’ hot, hot, hot? If you’d file “hot sauce taste tester” under job responsibilities you’d rather not have, it’s probably a good thing you don’t work at the Food section of the Washington Post. Those good people recently bit the spicy bullet to rate five Sriracha sauces, considering flavor and heat. They went in armed with water and saltines, but still. [Washington Post]
I scream; you scream. Move over, Manolo. Louboutin, you’re licked. The most-tasteful shoes going have to be the handmade dessert-inspired heels and flats at a little online shop called Shoe Bakery. “We love shoes and sweets, so why not put them together?” explain the creators of whimsical shoes that evoke ice cream, cake, cookies and doughnuts. (Alas, no, they are not edible.) After selling out of their last batch, the Shoe Bakery shoemakers have just whipped up a new one, including heels that look like red velvet, triple chocolate cake and (our favorite) vanilla ice cream sundae cones. [Shoe Bakery via Piquant]
Would you like your eggs scrambled, over easy — or all wet? The next time you find yourself getting irritated while dining out, YouTuber Forrest Buchanan’s experience at Moby Dick’s restaurant on a pier in Santa Barbara, Calif., may snap things into perspective. While waiting for his breakfast to arrive one Saturday morning, Forrest noticed the tide rising outside his window. After a few impressive swells, a particularly aggressive wave smashed through a window and washed into the restaurant, setting off mayhem. No one was seriously hurt, thank goodness. Forrest got the dramatic interlude on video, which instantly went viral and racked up more than a million views. On the bright side, Forrest notes, “There was no charge for breakfast.” [YouTube via Los Angeles Times]
Quote a cheese maker. “There’s this experience of biting into a fresh ball of mozzarella. The juice dribbles down your chin like a fresh peach,” says buffalo mozzarella cheesemaker Craig Ramini, of Tomales, Calif. His water buffalo are all named after aging rock stars like Joan Jett and Roy Orbison — except the one that’s named after his wife — on the sensual pleasures of eating artisanal cheese. [San Jose Mercury News]
Homemade Pizza Comfort by the Slice — Comfort Food Feast
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When it comes to comfort food, big bowls of mac and cheese, beef stew and lasagna are bound to come to mind. Now that it’s March, your idea of comfort could use a little update. This week, we’re thinking pizza — and not as a delivery backup plan. Whether you use store-bought dough or make your own, slice into cheesy homemade pizzas baked in your very own oven.
Before we completely ditch tried-and-true comfort food favorites, check out two mash-ups with a fun pizza spin. Instead of piling it all on crust, Creamy Pizza Macaroni and Cheese loads marinara sauce and heaps of cheese over classic elbow macaroni. You may call it a pizza “pie,” but Giada’s Pizza Pot Pies takes it to a whole new level, combining marinara, chicken and mozzarella under a pizza dough crust.
Start the day with Ree’s Breakfast Pizza. A wake-up call of freshly cracked eggs, hash browns and crispy bacon are even better with a golden pizza crust.
What’s more comforting than a piping-hot cheese pizza? The key to Alton’s Pizza Pizzas lies in his made-from-scratch crust. From there, store-bought sauce and grated cheeses reach bubbly perfection in the oven.
Believe it or not, taco night doesn’t need to be restricted to tacos. Next time, layer zesty ingredients like black beans, spicy jalapenos, cilantro, salsa and more for an easy Taco Pizza by Food Network Magazine (pictured above).
Pizza on its own is all about functionality. Jeff’s Pepperoni Pizza Pocket folds all the cheesy, saucy and meaty goodness of your favorite slice into a hand-held dinner treat.
You might not think of a salad as “comforting,” but this restaurant starter staple sure is a go-to. Bring it onto Caesar Salad Pizza for a slice that’s fresh, crunchy and surprising.
If you’re just looking for a taste of the pizzeria without the whole pie, Whole-Grain Garlic Knots are filled with herbs and totally addictive.
Get more comforting pizza recipes from friends and family:
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza Sauce
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Easy Turkey Taco Pizza
Devour: Top 5 Pizzas Without Sauce
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Weelicious: Pizza Balls
Dishin & Dishes: Iron Skillet Chicken Pesto Pizza
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Pepper and Corn
Red or Green: Pizza with Green Chile, Chicken and Cheese (Gluten-Free)
Virtually Homemade: Individual Cheese Quesadilla Pizzas
Domesticate Me: Grilled Pita Pizza with Prosciutto, Chanterelles, Arugula and a Fried Egg
Food for 7 Stages of Life: No Yeast Pizza Dough
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Easy, Homemade Pizza Dough
The Blue Apron Blog: Our Favorite Pizza Toppings
The Sensitive Epicure: Mini Deep Dish Polenta Pizzas (Gluten-Free)
4 Baked Goods That Will Make You Love Whole Grains Even More
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
By now, almost everyone knows that whole-grain foods are a nutritional step up from dishes that revolve around refined carbs. But if you’re starting to get the feeling that good-for-you grains are spending just a little too much time on their healthy high horse, remind them of their tasty roots by baking them into one of these whole-grain treats.
Whole-Grain Caramel Apple Oven Pancake (above)
A wholesome take on the traditional Dutch baby, this giant pancake is a brunch-worthy indulgence that pleases both the cook and the crowd: It serves four people, no pancake flipping required. The layer of caramelized apples and a light dusting of powdered sugar only sweeten the deal.
Whole-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nothing compares to freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. Let whole grains in on the action with this recipe for chewy-crispy chocolate chip cookies. Applesauce is used to shave off some of the calories, so each cookie clocks in at just 110 calories a pop.
Whole-Grain Pumpkin Scones
Alert: You are now entering the scone zone! And, once you try these whole-grain pumpkin scones, there’s no going back. Studded with dried cranberries and spiced up with a pumpkin pie spice blend, they’re the kind of treat that can do double duty as breakfast or dessert.
Banana-Walnut Bran Muffins
Whole-grain flour, fruit and bran — true, these all sound like signs of something a little too healthy food-y. But these tender banana muffins are still sweet enough to squelch that late-afternoon candy craving.
Merritt Watts is a writer and eater in San Francisco, where strawberries are almost always in season.
5 Pantry-Raid Recipes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
We all have those nights where we come home from vacation to a barren refrigerator — or even long days when there’s simply no time to hit the store and the fridge is in the same empty state. With this challenge in mind, our experts in Food Network Kitchen came up with five recipes made exclusively with nonperishable pantry ingredients. That means no dairy, no fresh herbs, not even a squeeze of lemon. We’ll admit it: At first we were a little bit skeptical of cooking solely with cans and packaged ingredients, but these fresh-tasting, flavorful dishes won us over at first bite.
1. Quick and Easy Minestrone
Flavorful ingredients are secret weapons in pantry cooking. In this pantry-based minestrone soup, soy sauce adds instant depth and savory umami flavor. This dish proves that your bottle of soy sauce is great for more than just Asian-inspired cooking.
2. Pantry Pasta with Romesco Sauce
Romesco is a Spanish sauce made with bread (as a thickener), roasted peppers and nuts. This version uses jarred red peppers, roasted almonds and paprika for a kind of pesto that is wonderfully smoky and tangy.
3. Spicy 3-Bean Pantry Chili
This vegetarian chili gets its rich flavor from caramelizing tomato paste and warm spices, rather than long hours of cooking. Add corn for some sweetness or canned hominy for a chunkier and funkier chili.
4. Applesauce Waffles
You can still make these Belgian-style waffles when you’re out of milk and eggs. They’re crispy on the outside, but applesauce keeps them moist and almost muffinlike on the inside.
5. S’mores Bark
Need a last-minute dessert or after-school snack? All the elements of a s’more are combined into this delicious, three-ingredient bark. It’s got crunch from the graham crackers, richness from the chocolate and fire-roasted flavor from the broiled marshmallows.
Check out more recipes and tips for Cooking from the Pantry.