Perfectly Round Egg Fetches More Than $700 on eBay
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When someone says something is “egg-shaped” you don’t usually imagine that it’s perfectly round. You also might not imagine someone would pay more than $700 for a remarkably spherical egg.
Apparently Kim Broughton, owner of a hen — since renamed Ping Pong, for obvious reasons — that produced a perfectly spherical egg on Feb. 17, never imagined it either. The British 44-year-old told the BBC she was about to crack the egg open to use in her pancake batter when a friend told her not to. The spherical egg, born to a Buff Orpington hen, a breed that has been called the “Scarlett Johansson of the chicken world,” was, the friend said, “one in a billion.” So Broughton decided to offer the egg up for auction on eBay, where it fetched £480, which works out to about $731. Nope, not chicken feed!
“When it was at £20 I thought, ‘Who’d pay that for an egg?'” Broughton told the BBC. “And then it went through the roof.”
Broughton, who plans to donate the funds raised to a cystic fibrosis foundation in honor of a friend’s son, says she’s keeping an eye out for more round eggs, in hopes of raising more money for the charity. In the meantime, she’ll ship the egg to the buyer in a “hard box,” so there’s no danger of it cracking.
Because if that $731 egg arrives in bad shape, someone’s going to have to scramble for an explanation.
6 Iconic Southern Ingredients Lightened Up, Y’all
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Across the country in recent years there’s been a renaissance of all things Southern, and chefs everywhere from New York City to Portland are offering Southern dishes in their restaurants, cafes and food trucks. Some are more successful than others. Topping grits with pimiento cheese or coating chicken in red velvet crumbs doesn’t make something Southern. Yes, there is a lot of Southern food that is fried, but Southern food is about more than just fried chicken and fatback. Traditionally, Southern cooking was actually a vegetable-based cuisine. We have nearly a 12-month growing season in most of the South. This is the fertile land of peaches, green beans, tomatoes, okra and corn. My newest cookbook celebrates the healthy and wholesome side of Southern cooking. Here, I am sharing with you a handful of iconic Southern ingredients and delicious ways to use them, from my newest cookbook, Lighten Up, Y’all!
Collard Greens — Collards in Tomato-Onion Gravy
I’ve yet to meet a collard green I didn’t like. I’ve always loved collard greens, even as a child. My sneaky mama would try to sneak (healthy) spinach on our plates by telling my sister and me that they were collard greens. We were not fooled, and now we know there was no need. Collards, turnip greens and mustard greens are dark leafy winter greens that are, like the ever-popular kale, nutritional powerhouses. Look for brightly colored greens free of brown spots, yellowing edges or limp leaves. The best way to clean greens is to fill a clean sink with cold water, add the greens and swish them around. The dirt will fall to the bottom of the sink. Lift the greens out, drain the sink, and repeat until the water is clear and the greens are free of dirt and grit.
Rice — New Soul Creole Dirty Rice
Rice and corn go hand-in-hand as the premier Southern grains. Rice was planted in South Carolina as early as 1680 and was a major export crop. The coastal sea islands of the Low Country on the Atlantic side and the swampy coastline of the Gulf of Mexico are very humid, with abundant rainfall, and have long, hot summers and mild winters. These areas are the perfect climate for growing rice. Southern foodways are rooted in a potent combination of agriculture and poverty. The South has a long growing season and large swaths of immensely fertile soil. Rice was often used to stretch meals out to feed large families, and became a major staple food. This old-school Louisiana rice dish is traditionally made with giblets, liver and ground pork. It’s simple country cooking, using up any spare bits and pieces of meat.
Sweet Potatoes — Sweet Potato Gratin
Sweet potatoes are as Southern as kudzu, that other Southern vine. They have long been a Southern staple. As a child, I used to think I didn’t like sweet potatoes. When I grew older, I actually realized it wasn’t that I didn’t like sweet potatoes; I didn’t like the candy-coated, marshmallow-topped “sweet potato souffles” that are often found on the Southern table. Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, easy to find, good, and good for you. They are packed with vitamins and fiber. There’s a bit of a mix-up of the terms “sweet potato” and “yam.” Truth is, what are often labeled and sold as yams are actually sweet potatoes. Botanically speaking, yams are tubers and a member of the lily family; sweet potatoes are the root of a member of the morning glory family. Yams originated in Africa, whereas sweet potatoes are New World plants. There are many varieties of both that differ in size, taste, shape and color. This recipe for Sweet Potato Gratin with Herb Crumble highlights the savory aspect of the sweet potatoes. The first bite is quite the surprise, but I am certain you’re going to love every bite.
Pecans — Bacon Wilted Greens with Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese
I grew up in the heart of pecan country in Georgia, where it’s one of the largest crops in the state. Pecans rival peanuts for the title of official Southern nut. The big argument is over the pronunciation. Is it “pee-can” or “puh-cawn”? I feel sorry for folks who have never had a perfectly ripe pecan. We see nuts in the grocery store all the time and never think about the fact that there they do indeed have a season. It is my mission in life to teach people that pecans need to be kept in the freezer or refrigerator. Pecans have a high fat content, which means they are prone to spoilage if not stored properly. If kept in a sealed, airtight container, they can last maybe 45 days. However, if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, pecans’ storage life increases dramatically, easily reaching nine to 10 months. The best way to extend their life is to store them in an airtight container in the freezer, where they will last 18 months to two years. My practice is to buy pecans in the fall, when they are harvested, and store them in the freezer. That way I have fresh pecans for the entire year. The only salad my grandmother put pecans in was her Jell-O fruit salad mold. This wilted salad recipe, on the other hand, marries winter greens, goat cheese and pecans for a decidedly new Southern taste.
Pimiento Cheese — Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese
The “pate of the South,” pimiento cheese is the epitome of a summer picnic delight. Everyone has a slightly different recipe, but the primary ingredients remain the same. Pimiento cheese is a classic spread made from cheese, mayonnaise and pimiento peppers. Pimientos are a variety of mild chile pepper called “cherry peppers.” They are even sweeter than bell peppers and very mild, with the lowest Scoville scale rating of all the chiles. Some recipes also include onions, hot sauce and even cream cheese. One universal truth is that you should not be tempted to buy grated cheese, because the end result won’t be creamy enough. The traditional way of enjoying pimiento cheese, nicknamed “P-cheese,” is on a cracker, slathered between two slices of white bread or spread into the curl of a crispy, crunchy celery stick. But “P-cheese” is getting its groove on and breaking out of the box all across the South and indeed, the entire United States. There is a group of chefs and home cooks who are mixing it up and using it to top nachos, burgers and grits, and even making pimento cheese fondue. I’m going to tell you a secret: This recipe has nearly a third of the calories found in a popular store-bought brand, and I promise you, if you don’t tell, no one will ever know. Break out the celery and say yes to P-cheese!
Chicken — Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick
Southerners love chicken. Fried chicken is so iconic that it has nearly become a stereotype. However, we also love chicken smothered and covered with gravy; sopped with pungent, spicy vinegar and grilled; slow-smoked over hardwood; barbecued with tangy sauce; and even humbly baked. It’s served for breakfast on a biscuit, seen on many a plate for dinner and supper, and generally eaten at all hours of the night and day. This recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick was inspired by the offerings of a gas station in Oxford, Mississippi. Since Oxford is a Southern college town, there are robust opportunities for late-night carousing. Fried-chicken-on-a-stick is food consumed in attempts to mitigate fuzzy heads the next morning. My grandfather called fried chicken “Gospel Bird” because it was most often served on Sundays, once a week. I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of the reason for the late-night chicken, but I’m sure he’d love this recipe for crispy, crunchy Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick.
Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.
What to Watch: A Special Celebration with The Kitchen and Fun-Packed Competition
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
This Saturday on Food Network, join the cast of The Kitchen as they surprise their co-host Marcela Valladolid with a baby shower and share helpful party-hosting tips for all kinds of festivities. On Sunday, Nancy Fuller is traveling back in time to rediscover her family history through her rulebook on Farmhouse Rules. Watch as she shares stories with her grandchildren and cooks up a traditional family dinner starting with a ham souffle, baked beans and French pickles and finishing off with sweet molasses cookies with a marshmallow frosting.
On Sunday night, don’t miss out on all the fun — stay tuned to catch the competition lineup starting with Guy’s Grocery Games at 8|7c. Then, on a new episode of All-Star Academy, the pressure is on for the remaining eight home cooks as they cook to impress their guest judge, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. And finally, stick around to see what tricks Alton has up his sleeve for the contenders on Cutthroat Kitchen.
The Kitchen: An Affair to Remember
Marcela Valladolid’s co-hosts throw a surprise baby shower for her on this episode of The Kitchen! They share their tips for hosting all kinds of special family celebrations, and Marcela makes a perfect party main dish with her puff pastry-wrapped salmon. The co-hosts put together creative new ideas for DIY hostess gifts, and Katie Lee and Sunny Anderson have two delicious and timesaving rice side dishes. The gang shares their finger-food appetizer favorites, and Katie creates a beautiful party-worthy croquembouche. Everyone toasts Marcela with a virgin Cucumber Ginger Fizz and surprises her with a fun shower present!
Farmhouse Rules: A Farmer’s Family Tree
Nancy Fuller is rediscovering her family history through her rulebook, starting with the first rule ever written down. She takes us on a culinary journey through her family’s history and then back home. She makes a small family tree with the grandkids and shares family stories, and they all sit down to a real Fuller family dinner: ham souffle, baked beans, French pickles and molasses cookies with boiled marshmallow frosting.
Guy’s Grocery Games: Don’t Skimp on the Shrimp
Four chefs must make their signature dish using an insignificant 4 1/2 pounds of ingredients. Next, can the chefs butter up the judges with a fantastic weeknight family dinner featuring jumbo butterflied shrimp? Then, the finalists must make an upscale lunch that uses an ingredient from every aisle. The winner will go on a Shopping Spree worth up to $20,000.
All-Star Academy: Mentors’ Choice
The eight remaining home cooks must reinvent famous food pairings to stay out of this week’s elimination round. And these cooks won’t want to disappoint, because they’ll be judged by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. The home cooks who move on will be one step closer to the $50,000 grand prize.
Cutthroat Kitchen: Whisk-ey Business
In a speed round, three chefs have to make an omelet in one pan. Then, a chef has to get all of their ingredients for oysters Rockefeller out of an oil drum. Finally, one chef has to use finger whisks to make a cream puff.
Alton Brown to Host the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On May 5, Alton Brown, Cutthroat Kitchen’s master of eviliciousness, will take on the master of ceremonies duties as the host of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, a prestigious awards ceremony that is the culinary’s world’s answer to the Oscars. After being held in New York for 24 years, the event will take place in Chicago this year at the city’s appropriately sumptuous Civic Opera House, home of its Lyric Opera. It will be Alton’s second stint hosting the awards; he previously hosted in 2012. Alton is also a repeat James Beard Foundation Award winner, most recently honored as Outstanding Television Host – for his work on Good Eats — in 2011.
You can find a full list of this year’s restaurant- and chef-award semifinalists here. The foundation will announce the final nominees in these categories, as well as the nominations for its book, journalism, broadcast media and restaurant design awards, on Tuesday, March 24. The annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, to be held in New York on April 24, will be hosted by Carla Hall, of ABC’s The Chew.”
“We are thrilled to have two of television’s most influential food personalities host this year’s shows, our 25th awards,” Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, said in a release. “Both Carla and Alton have made impressive contributions to the food world through the years, so they seem the perfect fit to play master of ceremonies as we celebrate all of the culinary achievements made not only by our Foundation, but the wonderful community of food and beverage professionals who have made this past quarter-century great.”
In other words, they’re sure to bring flavor to the party.
Skip Takeout and Make These Spicy Recipes at Home
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
By Silvana Nardone
No need to order takeout when it’s easier — and cheaper — to make your own. Thinking Thai? Try my take on Curry Mee. Translation? Asian comfort food in a bowl. My recipe for coconut chicken noodle soup spiced with curry will soothe your Thai cravings — and you’ll have dinner ready in less time than it takes to wait for the doorbell to ring. Mexican sound good tonight? My spicy chipotle shrimp with arroz verde is so good you may never dream of ordering in again.
Spicy Curry-Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup
3/4 pound dried rice or ramen noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
One 3.5-ounce package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons Thai yellow curry paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 quart chicken broth
One 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
Lime wedges and sliced red jalapeno chiles, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for serving
Basil leaves, for serving
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles until al dente, about 6 minutes; drain well. Divide among 4 bowls.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and snow peas over medium-high heat and cook until golden, about 2 minutes; divide among 4 bowls.
Using the same saucepan, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, curry paste, curry powder and turmeric; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar, and bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through; season with salt. Ladle the soup over the noodles and serve with the lime wedges, chiles, cilantro and basil.
Spicy Chipotle Shrimp with Jalapeno Green Rice
5 garlic cloves, 2 chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped, plus more for serving
1 to 2 jalapenos — stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups medium-grain rice, soaked for about 30 minutes and drained
Zest of 1 lime
One 15-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a medium saucepan, stir together the 2 cloves chopped garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, broth, mustard, 2 tablespoons oil, 3/4 cup water and 3/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until finely chopped. Return to a boil and stir in the rice; cover tightly and simmer over medium-low heat until cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the lime zest and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the tomatoes, chiles, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 3 whole cloves garlic and 1/2 cup water until smooth; season with about 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a large skillet and cook until heated, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve with the rice.
Silvana Nardone is the author of the Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.