12 Summer Lunches for Kids That Take Advantage of Eating at Home
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Tired-mom confession: I’m kind of psyched for summer because I won’t have the pressure of packing a single lunchbox for nine whole weeks. (Yep, ours is a year-round school, but still…) Summer lunches offer a bit more flexibility and require less planning, and sometimes the kids can even help.
Lunches That (Even Little) Kids Can Make Themselves:
1. Strawberry & PB Wraps: Slather peanut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla, sprinkle with diced strawberries and wrap it up like a burrito for a hand-held meal.
2. Pita Pockets: Whip up the egg salad (with a kid-friendly ingredient), chicken salad or even Ellie Krieger’s healthier version of chicken curry salad and show the kids how to stuff a couple of spoonfuls into each pocket.
3. Sub Sandwiches on a Stick: Set out the fixings — chunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, cubes of thick bread, pickles cut into large dice, rolls of salami — and let kids slide everything onto a bamboo skewer.
4. Watermelon Gazpacho: Taking a tip from the amazing Barefoot Contessa’s original 5-star cold soup recipe, give the kids a turn at the food processor with this fruit-filled summertime soup.
Lunches That Are Best Served Immediately:
1. One-Pot Mac & Cheese: Yep, that’s one pot, including the one you’re cooking the pasta in, in this recipe (pictured above). It’s got real cheese, whole-wheat pasta and a secret ingredient for a touch more flavor.
2. Cutting Board Buffet: That’s right, everything is served right on the big ol’ wooden cutting board. Chop up raw carrots, slice cucumbers, pile up pickles or olives, add slices of cheese and crackers, and serve the whole thing in the center of the kiddie table.
3. Frozen Fruit Cups: If you want a little pop of flavor with a cooling effect to boot, try Ree Drummond’s Frozen Fruit Cups. They’re served like little igloos made out of mixed fruit, but these are more colorful — and delicious.
4. Calzones: Ree Drummond’s trick for making these lunchtime treats is nothing short of brilliant. Hint: You will not be making any dough from scratch. Got tiny vegetarians to feed? Try this veggie-filled version (pictured above) instead.
5. Cute Fruit: On a leisurely day when the kids are tempted to tell you how bored they are, a little pop of fun can go pretty far. These “turtles” (pictured above) are nothing but half a Granny Smith, a handful of grapes and two tiny chocolate chips.
6. Kale Chips: This is another side dish that works brilliantly at home. Because they don’t usually keep very well, kale chips are the perfect at-home side dish for lunch. Just coat all the leaves in extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and into a hot oven they go.
7. Fresh & Fruity Water: This festive idea (pictured above) works especially well for families who are cutting back on juice and soda. Try serving plain water (or plain seltzer) with a cup of sliced fruit floating on top like sangria. It’s colorful and flavorful, with nary a cube of sugar in sight.
8. Popsicles: What better way to end lunch on a hot summer day than with a homemade ice pop brimming with fresh fruit? A few of our favorites are: Peaches & Cream Popsicles, Strawberry-Banana Frozen Yogurt Pops and Melissa d’Arabian’s Chocolate “Sundae” Popsicles (with a few surprisingly good-for-you ingredients packed in).
Charity Curley Mathews is the founder of Foodlets.com: Real Food for Babies, Toddlers & Kids and lives in North Carolina with her husband and four small kids of their own, who insist on eating lunch every single day no matter the season. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
From the Network’s Point of View: Bob Tuschman on Searching for Stardom
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Much like Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are no strangers to the inner workings of Food Network Star. These Food Network executives know well what to look for as they discern glimmers of Star power among the hopefuls, and each year it’s up to them to sit with the mentors on the Selection Committee and represent the network as it recruits its newest personality. Just in time for next weekend’s Season 11 premiere, on Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c, Star Talk chatted with both Bob and Susie to learn more about what their roles at Food Network look like beyond the Selection Committee and get their takes on what skills contestants ought to have before beginning this ultimate job interview.
Read on below to get the dish from Bob and hear how the series has evolved since its earliest days, then check back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Susie.
Beyond Food Network Star, what does your day-to-day job with the network look like?
Bob Tuschman: I’m the general manager of the network, and my main responsibility is overseeing the development, production and scheduling of all of our programming. I have an incredibly talented team of about 25 people who come up with ideas for shows, work with production companies and oversee every aspect of show production for Food Network to make sure that every show we do is up to the promise that we’ll want to give our viewers. I also have another team that works strategically to schedule those shows in a way that ensures the most viewers can see the kind of programs they want to see when they want to see them. I’m lucky to say that I really get to be the conductor of an extremely talented orchestra that’s ultimately responsible for creating everything that you see on our air.
How do you see your and Susie’s role on the Selection Committee, and what’s your favorite part of the job?
BT: There’s so much I love about this part of my job; it’s one of the most-exciting and most-fun things I do all year. Part of the fun is watching Bobby and Giada, who are such seasoned pros and know so much about what it takes to be a Food Network Star because they live it every day. To watch them mentor and develop these finalists … it’s something only they can do. I can give advice from an executive standpoint, but I haven’t lived this, but Bobby and Giada have, so I love watching them at work. That really is exciting to me. And what I love most about my job in general is nurturing talent, and that happens on both sides of the camera. I get to nurture people who are creating the shows for us, and I get to nurture shows from when they’re little germs of ideas until they are developed into full-blown series on our air. And I also get to develop talent that I see a spark of promise in; I get to fan those flames until they turn into a bright star for us. On Food Network Star, I get to do it in a very concentrated way, in an 11-week period.
Camera chops and the ability to hook an audience are, of course, essential requirements for a future Star. But what other skills should the finalists have in order to succeed?
BT: Probably the most-important thing they need is something that you can’t learn, which is a spark of stardom; it’s something that we screen for when we’re doing casting for the show. It’s so hard to define what it is, but it’s the person who, when he or she walks into a room, is someone you can’t take your eyes off of. There’s something about the energy that comes through their eyes and their face, their passion and their excitement; it just excites you to watch them. That’s something that they’re born with, but they also need to be incredibly verbal, because a lot of what we do is describe food, since you can’t taste food as you’re watching television — they need to be able to bring food to life. They have to have authority, an expertise in food, whether they’ve been trained formally at culinary school or they’ve learned that knowledge on their own. They have to be commanding to our viewers who know an awful lot about food. And lastly, they have to be able to interact well with others because so much of what we do is with others; food is such a social, celebratory medium that almost every one of our programs involves the Star being surrounded by a lot of other people they have to interact with and help bring to life.
Comparing this year’s competition to the first one, how do you think the series has evolved over 11 seasons?
BT: When we first started the season, the first season was almost experimental. We did it in our Studio B, which is about the size of your closet at home. It was with Gordon Elliot, who was both an on-camera personality and a behind-the-scenes producer for us, Susie Fogelson and myself; this was before Bobby or Giada got involved with the show. It was done in such a small way; I’m not sure we ever left that studio. The challenges were most cooking challenges. I think now it looks very quaint and tiny compared to the huge production we have now for Food Network Star. Now there are hundreds of members of production, we shoot throughout California, and the finalists are out in the field and doing huge challenges for big audiences. It’s so exciting now, and it tests them in a more creative and interesting way than we used to be able to.
Get set for the season premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c.
Science Knows Why You Crave Bloody Marys on Airplanes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
That craving for tomato juice or a Bloody Mary that comes over you in airplanes, as perhaps nowhere else? Blame the roar of the engines.
Cornell University food scientists say airplane noise, which tends to hover around 85 decibels, can affect travelers’ taste buds — suppressing their taste for sweet stuff and boosting the taste of umami-rich foods like tomato juice.
The study, published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, “confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised,” Cornell assistant professor Robin Dando told the Cornell Chronicle. “Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced. The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”
Dando and co-author Kimberly Yan were not the first to notice passengers’ midflight yen for umami. The German airline Lufthansa, after observing that tomato juice was flying off beverage carts as fast as beer, commissioned a private study last fall; it indicated that cabin pressure boosted perceptions of the taste of tomato juice.
The studies may compel a reconsideration of airline menus, with more umami flavors on offer and fewer sweets. Anything that improves airplane food can be for only the greater collective good, right?
And of course you don’t have to be a mile high to enjoy a Bloody Mary. Here are four recipes to enjoy even if you’re just hanging around on solid ground:
Ina Garten’s Bloody Mary
Bobby Flay’s Spicy Citrus Bloody Mary
Geoffrey Zakarian’s Bloody Mary
Tyler Florence’s Bloody Mary
Beyond Tomatoes and Basil: The Best 5 Ways to Serve Bruschetta
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
While caprese-style fixings — tomatoes, basil and mozzarella — atop bruschetta may make a tried-and-true appetizer, these two-bite toasts can indeed come together with myriad other flavors and ingredients. For Ina Garten, that means a mix of sweet bell peppers and the bold richness of Gorgonzola cheese, while Giada De Laurentiis combines shrimp and arugula for a wow-worthy presentation that’s deceptively simply to pull off. Get their recipes below, plus three other must-try favorites, including a sweet dessert toast; perhaps best of all, each of these go-to recipes is easy to make in a hurry.
Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola (pictured above)
Ina admits that the addition of sugar in her savory starter may be surprising, but she promises, “It really gives [the peppers] a really nice caramel color and flavor, and you’ll never notice it.” She rounds out the dish with melty Gorgonzola cheese.
Bruschetta with Shrimp, Tarragon and Arugula
Thanks to Giada’s impressive toasts, entertaining just got a lot easier. She mixes the tender shallot-laced shrimp with mascarpone for richness, while relying on peppery arugula for bright freshness.
Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Ricotta and Arugula
It takes only a handful of ingredients to turn out Ted Allen’s 20-minute bruschetta, featuring a crunchy baguette base and fuss-free toppings of creamy ricotta and salty prosciutto. If you don’t have prosciutto on hand, Ted notes, you can use any other kind of cured pork, like coppa or speck.
Grilled Asparagus Bruschetta
By grilling sourdough slices and then rubbing them with sliced garlic, Jeff Mauro ensures the bread absorbs just enough garlic to offer a bold punch of flavor, but not so much that its raw taste is overwhelming. For texture, he adds tangy goat cheese and smoky grilled asparagus.
Who says bruschetta has to be savory? For a simple and surprisingly healthy dessert, Giada tops toasted thick-cut white bread with a smear of butter, plus sweetened strawberries for a seasonal treat.
A Culinary Upbringing: The Mentors Talk Mentors
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
To the 12 hopefuls beginning their Star journeys on June 7, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are the ultimate mentors, boasting decades’ worth of both culinary and television experience that only a Food Network star can offer. But before Bobby and Giada claimed their places in the Star spotlight, they, too, relied on mentors to teach them, both in the kitchen and on Food Network. It’s these personal and professional figures who helped them build the careers they now have and who ultimately gave them the tools to mentor the incoming class of Food Network Star finalists.
Click here to launch the gallery and hear from Bobby, Giada and more chefs, like Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon, as they reflect on their most-meaningful mentors and reveal what they learned from them along the way.
Don’t miss the premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c.