The Kitchen’s Snow Day Cooking Means Stick-to-Your-Ribs Comfort
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Fresh off a brutal weather week that left the East Coast blanketed in winter white, The Kitchen co-hosts came together this morning for an entire hour dedicated snow-day cooking. Whether you’re holed up indoors during a snow day or you’re forced to brave the elements and shovel, the name of the culinary game on chilly snow days is warming comfort food. Read on below to get the cast’s top takes on stick-to-your-ribs recipes for next-level gnocchi, plus the fluffiest mashed potatoes, a spiked cocoa cocktail and more.
If you’ve never before made gnocchi at home, Geoffrey Zakarian’s fuss-free recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi (pictured above) is a good place to start. He combines rich ricotta cheese with nutty Parmesan for flavor, then mixes in two kinds of flour and eggs to bind the dumplings together. After just a few minutes in boiling water, they turn out tender and delicate, ready to be tossed in a garlicky pancetta-studded tomato sauce. Geoffrey says that uncooked gnocchi will be good in the freezer for two weeks, so plan ahead for easy weeknight meals with ready-to-go gnocchi.
Melted cheese may be the ultimate in comfort food, and to best take advantage of that, look to fondue. While Marcela Valladolid dished on a quick-fix savory Garlic Mushroom Fondue (pictured above) best served with crostini and fresh vegetables, Katie Lee offered a sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondue for dessert, which she suggests pairing with pretzel rods, strawberries or gooey marshmallows for dipping. Perhaps the best part about Katie’s four-ingredient recipe is that you don’t need a fondue pot to make it.
Not your average winter sipper, Geoffrey’s Vanilla, Almond and Cocoa Latte — an adults-only cocktail — features a mash-up of flavors of your morning cup of coffee and traditional cocoa. Geoffrey opts for a trio of amaretto, chocolate and vanilla liqueurs, plus espresso powder and shaved chocolate to create over-the-top decadence (pictured above).
Get all of the recipes featured on the latest episode of The Kitchen.
How to Host a Football Party
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
By Camille Styles, Photography by Molly Winters
It’s the biggest game of the season, and even if your home team isn’t playing, chances are you plan to tune in along with the rest of America and have already chosen which team you’ll be rooting for. For this year’s Super Bowl, go the distance by hosting a game-watching bash that guests will be cheering about until next season’s opening-day kickoff. Keep reading for easy breezy snack recipes, a perfect party punch and decor ideas that couldn’t be simpler.
Though this kind of party doesn’t demand a complicated, multi-course menu, guests will require enough tasty finger foods to last throughout the game. Arrange an abundant snack spread on your coffee table with chips and guacamole, popcorn, marinated olives, classic Italian meatballs on skewers and cheese pizzettes. Set everything out for guests to help themselves, but keep extras warm and ready to be replenished when needed.
For arguably the most-important element of the day, create a drinks station where guests can fill and refill their cups with Fourth-Quarter Punch, or stock up on chilled canned beer.
Don’t let the masculine nature of the event discourage you from creating a thoughtful and interesting party atmosphere. Ensure that guests are comfy and cozy by tossing throw pillows and floor cushions around the coffee table for ample seating options, and add a splash of greenery to the space with small succulent plants that are potted in team-colored tin cans.
A game-watching party is also a great opportunity to break out some do-it-yourself activities, and a garland made with twine and round color-coding labels adds a spirited burst of color in a flash. For guests needing a break from the television, create a “Pin the Football in the Goal Posts” game where a blindfolded player must stick a paper football in between masking-tape goal posts. And for the ultimate expression of game-day revelry, make confetti cannons out of brown card-stock paper and white masking tape, which guests can use to fire confetti into the air when their team scores.
Get the recipes and tips to complete this game-day party.
“Get Ready to Be Blown Away” — Valerie Bertinelli Speaks Out About Kids Baking Championship
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When it comes to watching the young bakers on Kids Baking Championship, premiering on Monday, Feb. 2 at 8|7c, “get ready to be blown away,” says Valerie Bertinelli, who along with Duff Goldman serves as host, mentor and judge to the eight kids competing on the new series. In each episode the kids face baking challenges geared at testing their skill and creativity, with an elimination at the end. Despite having to break the bad news to a child every episode, Valerie found the kids were tougher than she thought. “I was just incredibly impressed with them,” she said.
Read on to find out more of what Valerie had to say in our interview with her about the show, its challenges, the kids, her co-host Duff and the right age to get kids in the kitchen.
FN Dish: What can viewers expect from watching the competition? How would you sum it up?
Valerie Bertinelli: Get ready to be blown away by children that can definitely bake better than you!
What was it like for you mentoring/judging the kids on the show?
VB: I felt like I was not a mentor at all. They were definitely mentoring me and teaching me things I didn’t l know before. Judging them was very challenging, because they were all so good and they tried so hard and I always like to give an A for effort, so they all got A’s for that. I was just incredibly impressed with them.
Do you have any advice for the kids competing?
VB: To breathe, take your time in the beginning, because the clock sometimes is not your friend. … Make sure you’re all set up, and then go for it and book it. Time management was a really challenging thing. It’s a challenging thing for me when I’m home cooking. So that probably is the best advice that I can give them, to really manage your time well.
What do you think was the most-difficult episode, either for the kids or for you to judge?
VB: The hardest one was the very first episode. I think they [the kids] all had to do three [baked items] each. Couldn’t they [the producers] have waited until there were three kids left to do so many for each one? The amount of food that we had to taste-test was a little daunting.
What was it like having to eliminate a kid?
VB: Horrible! It was awful. They were all so sweet and they all tried so hard, but what I loved about it, too, is that the way the world works is not everybody can win. So you do your best, you try your best, you give it your all, and if you still don’t make it, it’s OK. You can try harder next time and for anything else. And, if anything, take the criticism and the comments just to help to make yourself better next time.
How was it working with Duff?
VB: I love Duff. I just love him. We tease each other all through the year during football season, because he happens to be a fan of a team I’m not a fan of. So we have fun.
What was the best part for you about filming the series?
VB: Eating all the delicious food.
Is there an age where you think it’s good to get kids involved in the kitchen?
VB: I think any age. It depends on the child. Ludo Lefebvre is a friend of mine. And his two little twins, they’re 4, and they’re already in the kitchen cooking. So I think it depends on the child and what they’re able to do. And these kids on Kids Baking Championship, boy, they proved that you can really do it. They’re better than I could ever hope to be.
The Best Game-Day Snacks from Food Network Magazine
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
With kickoff just days away, it’s time to firm up your game-day spread. Don’t serve the same dip and wings you’ve been making all season long. Add something new for your championship lineup. Read on below to find five winning ideas from the January/February issue of Food Network Magazine.
1. Add ranch-flavored snacks. Give your favorite tailgating foods, like chili and crab dip, a fun new spin. Sour cream and buttermilk add a delicious tang to this new take on guacamole (pictured above) and help prevent discoloration. Or instead of the expected platter of Buffalo wings, serve buttermilk-marinated chicken wings (also pictured above) with a ranch-chipotle sauce.
2. Remix your party mix. Looking for something with a big wow factor? Party mix marshmallow treats (pictured above) are your answer. They’re gooey, crunchy, sweet and salty all at once. Instead of cereal, these addictive snacks are made with savory goodies like pretzels and bagel chips.
3. Supersize your sandwiches. Instead of mini sliders, make one gigantic sub sandwich (or serve a couple, depending on how many people you have over). For inspiration, check out Food Network Magazine’s 50 Party Subs. From hearty favorites like Philly cheesesteak and Italian meatball to a California-inspired veggie sub (pictured above), there’s something for everyone.
4. Make it ahead. Don’t miss out on a buzzworthy commercial or the game-winning catch because you’re busy in the kitchen. Prep a big batch of slow-cooker pulled pork in the morning, and it’ll be tender and ready to devour by the first play.
5. Don’t forget something sweet. There are always plenty of spicy snacks for the big bash, but dessert is often an afterthought. Serve chocolate treats after halftime when everyone has likely had a few too many cheesy apps. These mini chocolate cupcakes and triple-chocolate cookies pack a ton of rich cocoa flavor into small, hand-held forms.
10 Tips for Getting Your Kids Engaged in Cooking
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
More often than not, you hear parents complain that their kids won’t eat anything, they’re picky and they press their mouths closed at the thought of trying a new food. One of the easiest ways to get kids to become fantastic eaters is by getting them involved in the cooking process. Try out a few of these tips to see how quickly you can turn your resistant eater into a budding chef!
10. Take them grocery shopping with you. Let them pick out a new fruit, vegetable or meat to try with dinner tonight.
9. Look through cookbooks and recipe websites together. Have the kids choose a few recipes they would like to try making.
8. Assign age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen, like measuring ingredients, pressing the button on the food processor or being in charge of the kitchen timer.
7. Taste everything together. Talk about the colors, textures and flavors of ingredients. Then talk about how they’re different after being cooked.
6. Start them out young in the kitchen. Give babies and toddlers wooden spoons and measuring cups to play with, as well as appropriate foods to gum or snack on.
5. Provide the kids with their own special tools. This way anytime they go into the kitchen they have their own special mixing spoon to use or their own set of colorful measuring cups.
4. Decorate plain aprons as a weekend art project. Then during the week, the kids will be excited to wear their aprons while cooking and taking ownership of meal making.
3. Start a little garden, even if it’s a small basil plant your child nurtures and then uses the leaves to make homemade pesto.
2. Visit your local farmers market to try a variety of seasonal foods. Let kids ask the farmers lots of questions to become food “investigators.”
1. Start your own version of Guy’s Grocery Games by quickly deciding what to make as you go to the grocery store and what fun spices, herbs and other foods you can add to make it unique and special!