The Kitchen Co-Hosts Look Back on Season 1 and Preview What’s Ahead
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Just a few months ago, five of your favorite Food Network chefs came together on The Kitchen to celebrate what is arguably the most-important room in the home. Now after a premiere season jam-packed with an over-the-top snackadium, special guest chefs, Tool Takedowns and one unforgettable Double Provolone, Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny are gearing up for a second round of go-to recipes for eats and drinks, timesaving cooking strategies and kid-friendly meal solutions. FN Dish was on the set of The Kitchen recently and we caught up with the group as they looked back on their most-memorable moments from early episodes and revealed what’s to come in new episodes, beginning this Saturday at 11a|10c.
For many of the co-hosts, the top unforgettable moment was when Jeff donned a sandwich-themed bodysuit to perform an impromptu routine he called The Double Provolone for Brian Boitano. “I mean, I saw it on the monitor ’cause I wasn’t actually in that segment, but I was crying I was laughing so hard,” Marcela admitted. Jeff and Katie, too, recounted that scene, Jeff deeming it “very risky” and Katie saying simply, “That was special.”
While it’s no secret that the co-hosts enjoy food, Sunny divulged an on-set detail that fans might not have realized: “Many times the food that is made is supposed to be saved for beauties, but the natural reaction of all of us five hosts is to dive into a plate as soon as the camera cuts. So sometimes we’re fighting over what we get to eat and what we can’t eat,” she explained of what goes on behind the scenes.
When asked which of his Season 1 recipes viewers should make first, Jeff said, “I think they should definitely make my tofu and eggplant stir-fry. It’s crunchy, it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it is so easy to do and so delicious.” Katie was asked the same question, and she revealed that she’s become a fan of some of her co-hosts’ dishes. She called Geoffrey’s pesto-topped salmon “a go-to at my house now,” and said, “Marcela made a kale, Brussels sprout and quinoa salad that I’ve probably made about a dozen times. I like to have it on hand in my refrigerator at all times.”
Sunny joked that when it comes to the second season’s cast, fans should expect a subtle change. “Well, we had a cast change. The kindergarten school asked for Jeff Mauro to come back, and so we had to send him back. So we have Jeff’s stunt double, a slightly more mature [guy],” she kidded, adding later, “But we’re going to have a really good time. We’ve got more of Tool Takedown [and] we’ve got more viewer submissions of questions.” For Marcela, new episodes will showcase the best of what this dynamic group has to offer. “Season 2 is about how we’ve become a family and how we’ve become such close friends,” she explained. “It really is like having a family or a really tight group of friends just sit down, talk about food and share their experiences. So I think more than anything, I’m the most excited about the camaraderie that’s happening on Season 2.”
Tune in to the Season 2 premiere of The Kitchen on Saturday, April 19 at 11a|10c.
Best 5 Easter Ham Recipes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The beauty of a ham is that, like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a big-batch entree that can feed all of your holiday guests at once, so there’s no need to prepare individual servings of dinner. But also like a turkey, ham needs a bit of dressing up before it’s ready to take center stage at your Easter feast, and in most recipes that next-level addition comes in the form of a glaze. Sweet, spicy, tangy or nearly anywhere in between, glazes complement the natural richness of ham and can play to your guests’ tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five Easter hams below to find wow-worthy recipes that are a cinch to prepare from Trisha, Melissa, Ina and more chefs.
5. Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze — Made with just two ingredients — brown sugar and honey — Trisha’s fuss-free glaze tops the ham well into the cooking process, so the sugars don’t burn before the meat is cooked.
4. Ginger-Peach-Glazed Ham — Food Network Magazine recommends letting the ham chill in a ginger-spiced brine for at least 24 hours before cooking it and finishing it with a sweetened Dijon topping.
3. Baked Ham with Spiced Cherry Glaze — Not only does Melissa bake her ham with a combination of cinnamon and cherry preserves spiked with horseradish, but she also serves the meat with the leftover glaze on the side, allowing guests to add extra during dinner.
2. Orange Baked Ham — Ina starts with a spiral-cut ham so that when she covers it with a garlic-citrus mixture, the smooth sauce creeps into every crevice and flavors the meat. Click the play button on the video below to watch her make it.
1. Roasted Fresh Ham with Cider Glaze — It’s best to bake this impressive holiday ham (pictured above) in a two-part cooking process — once quickly at a high temperature, then again at a lower temperature — so that you achieve a deliciously crispy herb crust on the outside and juicy cider-flavored meat inside.
Dessert of the Month: Gluten-Free Jam Dot Cookies
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When made with different colors of jam, these little cookies are reminiscent of a pretty collection of jewels. They satisfy both the need for something nutty and crisp and any desire for big fruity flavors — all in one bite. The combination of whole-grain flours, ground coconut and maple complement the assertive flavor of toasted hazelnuts perfectly. Choose your favorite jams and try experimenting with unconventional flavors like fig and black currant or with citrus marmalades.
Gluten-Free Jam Dot Cookies
Makes about 15 (2-inch) cookies
I used pure fruit jams (without added sugar) from St. Dalfour. They are available from Whole Foods and many supermarkets and health food stores. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but if you want to be sure there are no traces of gluten from cross-contamination, be sure to purchase those that are certified gluten-free.
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, divided
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup millet flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Cherry, strawberry, blueberry and apricot jam to fill cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Add ½ cup hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Place oats, dried coconut, coconut flour and remaining ½ cup hazelnuts in food processor, grind until fine and add to bowl with hazelnuts. Stir in millet flour, brown rice flour, and baking powder and set aside.
In another bowl combine coconut oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, vanilla and salt, and whisk to emulsify. Pour into dry mixture and stir until combined. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes before rolling into 1½ inch balls and placing on prepared tray. Gently press your thumb into the center of each cookie, squeezing together any large cracks around the edges. Fill each indent with about a teaspoon of jam.
Bake for 12 minutes or until jam is bubbling and cookies are golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
Photo by Stephen Johnson
12 Easter Ideas for Kids
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
With just enough spring sun to warm their little cheeks, Easter is one of the sweetest days of the year for kids — and these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate. We’ve got surprisingly simple cookies, cupcakes, brownies and even a few sugar-free options. Here’s to a happy Easter ahead!
1. Easter Bunny Cake: Complete with coconut “fur,” this bunny cake is surprisingly simple to make (hint: It starts with a boxed cake mix!)
2. Little Lamb Pull-Apart Cupcakes: As a busy mom of three small fries, I love the idea of a specially shaped dessert I can actually make. Starting with a simple batch of 24 cupcakes, this recipe lays out exactly how to do it.
3. Giant Easter Egg Cookie: Another crowd-pleaser for busy cooks, this awesome egg can be as easy as baking a batch of store-bought cookie dough.
4. Hard-Boiled-Egg Chicken Family (pictured above): The lengthiest step in this easy creation is boiling the eggs. If you’ve got the eggs, a carrot and a few chia seeds, you can do this one in minutes.
5. Jade’s Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes: If you’ve got kids with a big sweet tooth, don’t miss Giada’s special cupcake recipe developed for her own little one.
6. Brownie Birds’ Nests: All you need is a pan of brownies, a round cookie cutter and a few Easter candies to create a squeal-worthy treat.
7. Peep Cake: Food Network Magazine has outdone itself with this one — a Peep-shaped cake.
8. Baby Carrots “Growing” in Spring Pots: Sweets usually take center stage on this day, but what kids can resist veggies that are this cute?
9. Sugar-Cookie Easter Bunny House: If you thought gingerbread houses were only for Christmas, well, you were right. But this sweet little home is perfect for bunnies everywhere.
10. Little Lamb Cupcakes: If you can make cupcakes, you can make these fluffy little lambs. And we’re not kidding when we say “fluffy,” because the main ingredient for the frosting is Marshmallow Fluff.
11. Chocolate Birds’ Nests: There’s nothing like this three-ingredient recipe to guarantee a happy Easter for parents, thanks to Food Network Magazine.
12. Bunny Face Cupcakes: Cutting up a few pieces of licorice? Yep, you can do that. Jordan almonds? Check. All you need is a good vanilla cupcake recipe plus a basic glaze icing and you’ll find both right here.
Why Matzo Isn’t Tasteless and Other Interesting Facts
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Passover kicked off on Monday night, with Jews all around the world sitting down to break matzo — the unleavened “bread of affliction” that commemorates the Jews’ speedy exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom, more than 3,000 years ago — with family and friends at the traditional festival meal known as the Seder. Tonight, the second Seder will take place, and for those keeping the Passover tradition, matzo (not to mention matzo balls and matzo ball soup) will become a staple of their diets for the bread-free duration of the eight-day holiday. Here are a few quick clicks about the humble, flat cracker:
Don’t Call It Tasteless: Dan Pashman, creator of the food podcast The Sporkful and co-host of the Cooking Channel Web series Good to Know, is a fervent defender of matzo. “In a typical cracker you kind of have one or two options,” he tells NPR’s The Salt. Either it will be “crunchy but … also be very oily and salty,” or it will be like a “table water cracker, which is plain in flavor, but very flimsy” without a lot of crunch. Matzos, however, are both plain and crunchy. “It’s like a blank canvas,” Dan says; it’s a welcome base for any number of toppings. Dan also says “the degree of charring” differentiates one sort of matzo from another, and the holes are key as well. “There’s a lot of science behind those holes,” he says. [NPR's The Salt]
The Art of Creation: How is matzo made? At Streit’s Matzos Company, which has been owned and operated by the same family for five generations and is the oldest matzo factory on New York City’s Lower East Side — and one of Manhattan’s oldest factories, period — matzo is made essentially the same way it has been since the 1920s. Streit’s uses only water and flour, and the process is completed under the careful supervision of a rabbi, who ensures that it adheres to strict kosher-for-Passover guidelines. The matzo must be made in less than 18 minutes, before a chemical reaction that starts the leavening process occurs. (Watch it being made here.) Passover matzo production at Streit’s occurs from October to March, with 50,000 pounds of matzo baked daily. [NY City Lens]
Keeping It Local: Has the locavore movement affected matzo sales? After five straight years of steady gains in Israeli matzo exports, which at its peak accounted for nearly 40 percent of all matzo sales in the United States, this year has seen an 11 percent drop in foreign matzo in the U.S. market share, in part because the price discrepancy between less-expensive Israeli products and more-expensive domestic brands has narrowed, Kosher Today reports. What’s more, pricier handmade (round, slightly burnt) Shmura Matzo sales have surged, as they have become more widely available. Sales of matzo overall are more robust this year than last, and customers are availing themselves of new options, like gluten-free matzo. [Kosher Today]
Ready for Takeoff: The Transportation Security Administration will apparently handle passengers’ matzo with care this Passover. Its airport security checkpoint agents have been alerted that passengers may be traveling with matzo in the coming days and that it “can be machine or handmade,” is “typically very thin and fragile,” and can “break easily.” Rather than sliding it through the scanner, passengers traveling with matzo “may request a hand inspection,” the TSA advises passengers on its website, in a very uncrummy move. [New York Post]