FoodNetwork.com Staffers’ Easter and Passover Picks
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Here at FoodNetwork.com, we staffers don’t have to look far to find dozens of tempting recipes for the upcoming spring holidays, Easter and Passover. But we also get how hard it can be to narrow down the many options and decide what to serve at your own holiday table or bring to a friend or relative’s. So much pressure, especially when you’re the “food person” in the family! To help, here are personal Easter and Passover picks from our staff – the recipes we’re most excited about making and eating this weekend. They may just inspire you to start a new family tradition.
“I looked forward to the Easter bread my mom made every year – she baked Easter eggs right into it. They’re decorative and you don’t eat them, but the dough underneath the eggs is a little gooey – the best slices of Easter bread are the ones where the egg used to be, slathered with soft, unsalted butter.”
– Michelle Buffardi, Programming Director
“When my family would get together on Passover when I was a kid, one thing was for sure: There would be a bowlful of matzo ball soup for each of us at the table. The aroma would weave through the house as my grandma stood over the stove, transforming raw carrots, onions and celery into a hearty broth with tender chicken. The way she made matzo balls shaped how I’d like them forever: salty, soft and so dense they sink to the bottom of the bowl. Now, when I make it on my own with just a few ingredients, Grandma’s cooking doesn’t feel so out of reach.”
– Allison Milam, Associate Editor
“Twice-baked potatoes have always been my favorite side dish. When I was growing up, my grandma in Dallas would make them for family gatherings. I tried Ree’s casserole version for Thanksgiving last year, and it was a runaway hit with my husband’s Yankee family. Not only is it easy to make ahead and transport — I used a big, disposable foil pan that went right into my mother-in-law’s oven for heating and worked great for serving too — it’s a huge crowd-pleaser. I’ll be making it again for Easter, and probably every other holiday this year.”
– Angela Moore, Vice President, Digital
“When desserts lose their leavening agents for Passover, they often lose their moisture. That’s why jam-filled sweets have always been my favorite during the holiday (admittedly, they are my favorite year-round, too). Fresh-fruit preserves have a way of balancing crumbly matzo- and matzo-meal-based treats, so you almost don’t miss your regular fluffy cakes. This Lower East Side Nut Cake resembles many desserts from my childhood family Seders, but this year I’m looking forward to trying this Lemon-Coconut Matzo Jelly Roll from Food Network Magazine. Filled with raspberry jam and topped with shredded coconut and lemon-spiked frosting, this dessert will be a bright, tropical-inspired addition to the holiday table.”
– Lindsay Damast, Editor
“Brunch wouldn’t be brunch in our family without mimosas, and this is especially true on Easter. My mom, who is notorious for buying bunny ears for the entire table to wear regardless of our age, prefers a more traditional recipe with a hint of orange juice and some good Prosecco (or Cava), but this year I’d love to shake things up a bit by adding a flavorful liqueur to the mix and some fresh berries for a garnish. We’ll definitely be starting the day with these raspberry mimosas, selfies with our bunny ears on and eggs Benedict.”
– Jessica Remitz, Programming Manager
“In my house, Passover doesn’t just mean a Seder plate and brisket — it means chocolate-dipped macaroons! When I was growing up, my aunt used to buy them at a local Hungarian bakery, but now I’m in charge of baking them. The best part? They couldn’t be easier to make! Tip: Doubling up on the chocolate really sweetens the deal.”
– Toren Weiner, Social Media Manager
“I’m somewhat obsessed with strawberries. Raw, baked, turned into jam — I’ll take them however you make them. But my favorite way to eat strawberries is with whipped cream, like in these shortcakes. I first made them last Easter and have been thinking about them ever since. These will definitely be on my table again this year.”
– Maria Russo, Editor
“I’ve always loved baking, and long before I worked at Food Network (or before I had my first job, period) I made a flourless chocolate cake for my family’s Passover Seder. Back then, when my mom was footing the grocery bill, I always splurged for the best available bittersweet chocolate. Nowadays, with zero intimidating ingredients and a side serving of fresh whipped cream, it’s still the perfect dessert for a family that celebrates both spring holidays: Passover and Easter. As long as the dates don’t fall too far apart, I can make two cakes at a time and serve one at each gathering.”
– Cameron Curtis, Editor
“My sister and I are obsessed with Reese’s peanut butter eggs — especially when they’re frozen. I’ve made homemade peanut butter cups before, but there’s never enough peanut butter filling (which is what makes the eggs so much better!). This Easter I’m going to skip the chocolate shell and make these chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls instead. I’ll share, of course, but it’s inevitable that some candies will wind up stashed away in my freezer.”
– Lauren Miyashiro, Magazine Online Coordinator
“Unfortunately for my traditionalist father, I see every meal — including sacred food holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter — as a chance to shake up the norm and add some spice to dinner. Rather than rely on the stodgy centerpiece roast, I like to put an Indian twist on Easter dinner, with a bowl of fluffy coconut rice, stir-fried market asparagus, pea curry, rhubarb chutney and a main course of juicy grilled tandoori-style lamb. It adheres to Dad’s time-honored tradition of a lamb feast, but packs in my mandatory heat, some ultra-seasonal spring ingredients and a chance to finally get the grill going after a long winter break.”
– Erin Hartigan, Programming Manager
“As a kid, I would sometimes get bummed out around Passover time. I mean, my friends received baskets filled with marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies, and I got … dry, flavorless unleavened bread? While plain matzo leaves something to be desired even to my adult palate, matzo brei is a Passover dish that I crave year-round. The simple-yet-genius scramble of softened matzo, eggs and butter is pure comfort food. Some matzo brei recipes are savory – DGS Deli in Washington, D.C., adds Swiss chard and horseradish – but this recipe takes me right back to my grandmother’s salty-sweet version, drizzled with maple syrup.”
– Sara Levine, Senior Editor
What are your Easter and Passover food traditions? Let us know in the comments!
Go Fry an Egg — All-Star Academy: The Competition Continues
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Our knees were knocking during the latest episode of All-Star Academy when the remaining contestants served up their alphabet-themed dishes — there needed to be four ingredients beginning with the letters S, T, A and Y in each dish — to judge and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia. We were sad to see Angela, one of Bobby Flay’s mentees, go after she was docked major points for a messy fried egg (Y was for “yolk” in her dish). Even if you have all the time in the world, the simplest of dishes takes practice and technique. Follow Food Network Kitchen’s step-by-step how-to for the perfect fried, sunny-side-up egg.
For the perfect, speedy, sunny-side-up egg, you’ll need an egg (or two), a nonstick pan, a bowl and some oil.
Step 1: Heat your nonstick pan over medium-high heat (not super-hot), add a good bit of oil, and slide your egg in. (Crack your egg into a bowl first, then slide it into the pan from there, so that you don’t get bits of shell in the pan.)
Step 2: Once the white firms up a bit, use a tablespoon to spoon hot oil from the pan over the white so it firms up faster. Spoon the oil away from you to minimize splash-back.
Step 3: This goes quickly. If you’ve done it right, you should have a crispy, lacy edge, a perfectly set white and a still-runny yolk.
Step 4: Salt and pepper go on at the very end.
Step 5: Dig in!
Don’t forget to watch the competition heat up on Sunday at 9|8c.
5 Food Network Chefs, 5 Takes on Lemony Chicken Piccata
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
At its core chicken piccata is a simple, satisfying dinner of tender chicken breasts and a bold, lemony sauce with capers. But when your favorite Food Network chefs are involved, of course, this humble Italian classic is taken to the next level. From white wine- and cream-spiked sauces to pasta tosses and salads on the side, read on below to find out how five of your all-time favorite stars — Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Trisha Yearwood, The Pioneer Woman and Giada De Laurentiis — put their signature spins on this tried-and-true meal.
5. Ina’s Chicken Piccata — To make sure her chicken boasts over-the-top taste and crispy texture, Ina coats the meat in seasoned breadcrumbs before beginning a two-part cooking process: a few minutes on the stove, then a final bake in the oven. Just a splash of white wine offers bold flavor to her silky sauce.
4. Rachael’s Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss — Instead of opting for full-size chicken breasts in this 30-minute meal, Rachael chops tenders into bite-size pieces before mixing them with penne and a piccata-style lemon sauce for an all-in-one dinner.
3. Trisha’s Chicken Piccata — “You can never have too much Parmesan cheese,” Trisha says as she adds another scoop of the cheese to the flour for dredging. This adds a nutty, salty bite to her chicken, which she cooks in a buttery garlic sauce laced with fresh lemon juice.
2. The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Piccata with Buttery Lemon Noodles — The beauty of Ree Drummond’s chicken piccata is that it turns out all of the elements for a complete meal in just 16 quick minutes. After pan-frying the chicken and making a creamy lemon-white wine sauce, she serves the golden-brown meat with lemon-scented pasta and a salad of crisp arugula on the side.
1. Giada’s Chicken Piccata — For Giada, classic is key in her simple-to-prepare piccata (pictured above). Just before serving, add a final pat of butter to the sauce, which Giada says will “thicken the sauce again and give it that rich taste.”
QUIZ: Are You a Cutthroat Kitchen Superfan?
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
You’ve watched the evilicious battles unfold on TV every Sunday night, you log on to FoodNetwork.com to check out the latest After-Shows with Alton Brown and the judges, you’ve even found out which sabotage would slay you if you saddled up for competition. By all accounts, you’re a bona fide fan of Cutthroat Kitchen. Now it’s time to learn once and for all whether you’re a superfan — the ultimate in die-hard devotion to all things diabolical. Take the quiz below to see how your knowledge of the sabotages, judges, host and contest rules stacks up.
QUIZ: Are You a Cutthroat Kitchen Superfan?
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Question 1In Cutthroat Kitchen's first-ever tournament, Superstar Sabotage, how much money was each all-star chef given to play with in the fifth and final heat?A$25,000B$50,000 C$75,000D$100,000Question 2True or False: Alton once had to stop time during a cooking round because a chef cut her finger as she was prepping food blindfolded on account of a sabotage.ATrueBFalse Question 3Which of the following chefs has not been a special guest judge on Cutthroat Kitchen?AJeff Mauro BGeoffrey ZakarianCAnne BurrellDValerie BertinelliQuestion 4What was the very first challenge dish in the series premiere on August 11, 2013?ASpaghetti and meatballsBCheese quesadillaCTurkey dinner DChips and dipQuestion 5On average, how many boxes of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs does it take to stock the Cutthroat Kitchen pantry every week?A10 to 20 boxesB20 to 30 boxesC40 to 50 boxes D50 to 60 boxesQuestion 6On the Web-exclusive Testing the Sabotages video series, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team revealed that one of the following proposed sabotages failed and never made it to air. Which one?AA blow dryer as the only heat source to cook a breakfast sandwich BUsing potato chips in place of fresh spuds to make gnocchiCMixing and baking brownies in a brown bagDUsing spicy tuna sushi instead of fresh canned tuna to make a tuna meltQuestion 7Which of the following isn't the name of a Cutthroat Kitchen episode?AThe Yolk's on YouBWhatchoo Taco'ing About, Alton?CThanks, But No ThanksgivingD99 Potatoes, But Spuds Ain't One Question 8If a competitor fails to exit the pantry after the allotted 60 seconds of pantry shopping, what's the punishment?AAlton removes one ingredient from that chef's basket. BThat chef must forfeit all but four items in his or her basket.CThat chef's first bid automatically doubles in amount.DAlton forces that chef to shop again, but with only 30 seconds on the clock.Question 9True or False: No chef has successfully made it to Round 3 with all $25,000 still intact.ATrueBFalse Question 10Alton has dressed up or participated in all of these sabotages except which one?AThe blueberry suitBThe bunny suit CThe Roman chariotDThe stair-step machine
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Tune in to Cutthroat Kitchen every Sunday at 10|9c.
Minestrone with Gnocchi — Meatless Monday
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
While winter’s chill may have (almost, finally) left us, that doesn’t mean you can’t still cozy up to a hearty bowl of soup — especially on a Meatless Monday. Since the basis of most soups is simply plenty of fresh vegetables and a stock (likely vegetable), these warming bowls are a go-to option for vegetarians, and leftovers reheat easily for take-to-work lunches and fuss-free dinners. Sure, some soups require the time and TLC that only slow simmering can provide, but many do not, including Food Network Magazine’s Minestrone with Gnocchi (pictured above), which can be on the table in just 40 minutes.
The secret to this quick-fix recipe is starting with a package of prepared gnocchi; these store-bought beauties are welcome timesavers in the kitchen, and when paired with the tomato-studded broth, they provide the welcome heft you crave in a soup. Each bowl is topped with a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese before serving, but if you happen to have a Parmesan rind on hand, add it to the soup along with the fresh rosemary as it cooks — the rind will slowly break down and melt, flavoring the broth with its salty, cheesy taste.
Get the Recipe: Minestrone with Gnocchi from Food Network Magazine
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.