What to Watch: Plan the Perfect Party with The Kitchen and Break Some Bread on Barefoot Contessa
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
From party favorites to inventive new dishes, Food Network has you covered this weekend. First, join Ree and Charlie as they create a picnic-friendly menu on The Pioneer Woman on Saturday morning. Then, take your party to the next level with some help from the hosts of The Kitchen and special guest Sabrina Soto.
On Sunday, learn how to bake bread with Ina and the guru himself, Eli Zabar, on Barefoot Contessa. Next, Bobby’s fixing up a fish taco extravaganza on Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics to prove that taco night isn’t just for Tuesdays anymore. Finally, sit back and relax on Sunday night with three hours of all-new episodes of your favorite competition shows – Guy’s Grocery Games, Food Network Star and Cutthroat Kitchen.
The Pioneer Woman: Pet Parade
Ree and Charlie, the Drummond’s basset hound, have been invited to a pet parade and potluck picnic. Ree’s making Roasted Lemon Chicken Legs, Mexican Macaroni Salad, Watermelon Pico de Gallo and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies to take with them to Tulsa.
The Kitchen: The Get-Together Show
The hosts of the Kitchen have the goods to make your next party fantastic. Sunny starts with a One-Pan Plan for Pork Loin. Marcela takes puff pastry to sweet and savory heights. Katie, Jeff and Geoffrey make three simple party recipes and then pack them up to survive the ride. Design guru Sabrina Soto offers tips to pull together your get-together, and Geoffrey puts his take on the classic margarita.
Barefoot Contessa: Bread and Butter
Ina’s on a nonstop bread adventure with her friend Eli Zabar, the bread guru. For lunch there’s Fennel and Garlic Shrimp, perfect to eat with his Country Bread. Eli is sharing the secret recipe, and Ina’s using it in a delicious Provencal Cherry Tomato Gratin. Then she’s assembling a beautiful bread basket, and, in a meeting of their two passions, they’re having a bread-and-butter tasting.
Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics – Fish Taco Fiesta
Chef Bobby celebrates his favorite dish by revealing his effortless approach for dynamite fish tacos. He’s mixing a customized spice rub to use on Grilled Mahi Mahi and balancing flavors and textures with an Avocado Relish with Cilantro Pesto, a Red Cabbage Citrus Slaw and a Smoked Tomato Salsa Yogurt Crema. Then, he’ll cool things down with some fruity Sparkling Aguas Frescas.
Guy’s Grocery Games: Patiently Weighting
It’s a challenge of weighty proportions as the four chefs must make comfort food using no more than five pounds of ingredients. Next, the chefs must incorporate Guy’s unusual Grocery List into their noodle dishes. In the final game, two chefs go head-to-head as they shop together, to make their best dish in One Ingredient per Aisle.
Food Network Star: Promos and Pilots
The final four contestants each shoot a promo for the show they want on Food Network while being coached by Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are back to pick the final three, who will make pilots for their shows, which are directed by the toughest star on the network: Robert Irvine! After the episode airs, viewers will be able to vote online and via phone to determine who wins the ultimate prize in next week’s finale.
Cutthroat Kitchen: Two Chefs, One Toga
Alton hands off the Olympic cooking torch and one chef is forced to spice things up when he or she has the regular ginger replaced by sushi ginger.
Cold Soups for Hot Days (Mainly Made in a Blender)
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Soup isn’t for just the winter months and it’s not fit for just veggies either. These recipes (most made in simply a blender) will keep you cool all summer long by putting fresh summer produce and even a few in season fruits to work.
1. Chilled White Gazpacho
Bobby Flay features white grapes and white grape juice in his gazpacho with champagne grapes as a contrasting garnish. It gets great nutty flavor from the addition of almonds and pine nuts. Simply puree all of the ingredients in a blender and strain before chilling. Fold in the whipped heavy cream at the very end. Ladle into serving bowls and top each with chives, almonds and additional grapes.
2. Cantaloupe Soup
Alex Guarnaschelli showcases sweet and ripe cantaloupe plus crunchy cucumbers in this no-cook blended soup. Add sugar only, if needed, as your in-season cantaloupes might pack enough sweetness on their own.
3. Chilled Corn Soup
Corn on the cob does double-duty in this recipe. After slicing off corn kernels, reserve the cobs to create the broth base for Justin Warner’s chilled summer soup that requires just five ingredients. If you want a kid-friendly bowl, season the soup with salt and garnish with caramel corn.
4. Chilled Creamy Cucumber Soup
Get More Summer Soup Recipes
The Best Summer Appetizers
This no-cook soup is made entirely in a food processor in just 20 minutes. It gets a creamy consistency from smooth plain yogurt (you can use Greek for a bit of tang) and a touch of sweetness from honey.
How to Plate Your Food Like a Pro
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When it comes to serving food, presentation may not be everything — there’s taste to consider, after all — but studies have shown it can have a surprisingly big impact on how the foods we prepare are perceived. When we cook and plate to please the eye, as it happens, we also please the palete.
This week’s news that Red Lobster, in order “to be seen as a purveyor of quality seafood,” would stack food “higher on plates, as is the style at fancier restaurants,” as the Associated Press put it, brings that point home. Whether arranging the same food — fish, rice and vegetables — vertically, rather than spread out on the plate, will boost the seafood chain’s bottom line remains to be seen. Still, you may find in it the impetus to experiment with your own meal presentation.
Here are a few tips:
Choose the Right Canvas: Colorful plates can be fun, and your grandma’s gilded wedding china makes a meal an occasion (at least until someone breaks something), but research has shown that simple round white plates and square black plates enhance people’s perception of food quality and how enjoyable the food is. Round white plates can also increase the perception of flavor intensity and sweetness.
Consider Color, As Well As Shape and Texture: When planning meals, aim to include vivid hues and contrasts. Fruits and veggies (blanched or steamed, perhaps) are visually, as well as nutritionally, important. No one gets excited about a plate full of blah browns and beiges.
Take a Big-Picture View: Before you put food on the plate, visualize how it will appear — play with symmetry, geometry, sequencing and unity, repetition, proportion, balance, focal points, lines and flow, as you apportion space to each meal element. (As you lay out the elements, some people recommend, think of your plate as the face of a clock.) Try placing an odd number of foods on the plate, which is thought to enhance food’s visual appeal.
Embrace White Space: Keep portions modest and allow plenty of white space on the plate, which highlight the food and make it look more valuable and worth savoring. You should leave at least a half inch — probably more — between the food and the inside edge of the plate’s outer rim.
Look to Layers: You, like Red Lobster, can get extra impact by stacking your protein, starches and/or veggies. Don’t overdo it on the verticality, though, or your Eiffel Tower may start to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Get Saucy, and Go for the Garnish: A dab or splash or drizzle of color can go a long way. Don’t drown your food or set it afloat in sauce. And make sure you choose a garnish or sauce with a flavor that matches — and enhances — the flavor of the dish. A good garnish never overpowers.
Get creative, but remember, presentation should never come at the cost of taste, temperature or practicality. No one likes a hot meal past its prime, no matter how pretty it looks on the plate.
How to Create a BPA-Free Kitchen
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The industrial chemical Bisephenol A (BPA) has gotten increasingly negative attention in recent years. So much so, that congressional legislation was recently introduced to ban food packaging containing BPA. But it’s not necessary to wait for the government to take steps in order to scale back at home on products that contain BPA.
The Harms of BPA
BPA has been around since the 1960s. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that BPA, which is commonly found in the likes of canned goods and plastic containers, is safe in the small amounts currently used in packaged foods. However, numerous studies have suggested it has harmful effects, especially in large doses. In animal studies, the hormone-mimicking chemical has been associated with cancerous activity, reproductive abnormalities, behavioral changes and other problems. In 2012, the FDA banned it from baby bottles and sippy cups, although many manufacturers had voluntarily stopped using BPA.
Government officials stress that the new bill would also encourage the development of alternatives to BPA and a review of all substances already used in food packaging.
Ways to Go BPA-Free
If you must use plastic, look for those products marked BPA-free. Avoid using plastic containers that contain the recycle codes 3 or 7, numbers which indicate the items may be made with BPA.
Toss old, scratched plastic water bottles. Exposure to plastic chemicals may be greater when the surface is worn down.
Avoid microwaving plastic containers or putting them in the dishwasher unless they are labelled microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
Don’t reuse single-use plastics. When used repeatedly, they can break down and release plastic’s chemicals.
Opt for glass, porcelain or stainless-steel containers, especially for hot food or liquids.(Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask make stainless-steel water bottles.)
Look for foods sold in BPA-free cans (Eden Foods is one brand that sells them) or BPA-free cartons (Pomì, maker of tomato products, and Pacific are two companies that use such containers).
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.
Sip Your Way Through Summer — Summer Soiree
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Summer may not be the only time for drinking, but it is most definitely, absolutely and the best time. Outdoor barbecues are met with a cold beer. Afternoons on the porch are complete with spiked lemonade. A day spent shading yourself by the pool necessitates a frozen margarita just as much as your favorite pair of sunnies. This week, check out Food Network’s complete guide to summer drinking, and get a rundown of the most-thirst-quenching sips of the season. Hey, even if you’re attached to a blaring AC unit all summer long, you could probably use a cold one.
Sangria is best fixed by the pitcher. Depending on what kind of vino you’re into, Rachael Ray’s White Sangria — complete with ripe peaches, green apples and raspberries — is crisp and refreshing. If you typically go for red, Bobby Flay’s Red Wine Sangria is deepened with brandy, triple sec and pomegranate juice, before orange and apple slices, blackberries and pomegranate seeds are stirred in. Prepare both recipes ahead so the ingredients have time to meld together.
Before you even begin to sweat, fix yourself something so cool it’s in the name. Try a Cucumber-Pineapple Tequila Cooler (bottom right) that capitalizes on cucumbers’ innate refreshing qualities in every sip. For those who dig a cocktail with a little zing, Giada De Laurentiis’ Ginger-Peach Beer Cooler blends ice-cold beer and fresh peaches with real ginger. And if the heat needs to be kicked out of you, The Cherry-Chipotle Cooler blends Bing cherry puree, lemon juice, chipotle puree and more for a cross between tangy and powerfully spicy.
Bobby knows how to mix a good mojito. His recipe for Mojito Limeade comes with a welcomed shock of citrus, while his Frozen Mojito (top left) hinges on crushed ice for extra refreshment.
Even if you’re not taking your sips in a tropical locale, a taste of the tropics is the best way to cool you down. With pineapple, grenadine and tequila involved, you won’t be able to resist a glass of Tropical Temptation (bottom left). That is, unless you’re stirring up Ted Allen’s tropical twist on a classic dark rum-based cocktail: his Passion Fruit Hurricane (top right).
If drinking isn’t totally your thing, or you want to include the little ones, Giada’s Virgin Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis and Ree Drummond’s Virgin Mango Margaritas work as ideal stand-ins. They might lack in alcohol, but they don’t lack in refreshment.
More summer cocktail recipes from friends and family:
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Strawberry-Mint Bellinis
The Lemon Bowl: Raspberry-Ginger Bellini
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: White Peach Sangria
The Heritage Cook: Refreshing Lime Coolers
The Cultural Dish: Pimm’s Cup
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Lime Margaritas with a Sangria Swirl
Weelicious: Strawberry Lemonade
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate’s Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Haute Apple Pie: Classic Mojito
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Rum Shrub
Taste With The Eyes: Korean Soju Kimbap Bloody Mary
FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)