Preserving the Season — Simple Scratch Cooking
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
When strawberries start popping up at the farmers’ markets, that’s my signal to get jamming. The window for enjoying sun-kissed, sweet berries here in the Northeast is far too short. Learning to preserve is one way to extend the season — and add much-needed variety come January, when we’re knee-deep in apples and pears. Berries are just the beginning of it all, though.
Preserving is a way to stretch the life of your fruits and vegetables. You can choose short-term storage, by making jams that will stay fresh for a few weeks in the fridge, or pickling, which lasts a few months. This is a good way to get your feet wet and master part of the technique needed for long-term storage.
The Long Haul
Stocking your pantry with home-canned goods for long-term use means you have to make items shelf-stable (no refrigeration required). There are a couple of ways to do this: hot water-bath processing and pressure-canning. I prefer the hot water-bath method, as it doesn’t require any expensive special equipment. But you’ll still need a few essential items to get started:
• Glass canning jars with lids and rings
• A large pot for sterilizing the jars and to create a hot water bath for long-term storage
• A wire rack that fits inside the bottom of your pot (the jars can crack if placed directly into the pot)
• Tongs with a rubber coating to remove the jars from the pot safely
The jars and rings can be used over and over, but the lids are one-time-use only for long-term storage (you can continue to use them for short-term storage in the fridge or freezer). The underside of the lid has a special coating that creates an airtight seal when the jars are processed in a hot water bath or a pressure canner. Most dishwashers now come equipped with a “sanitizing” setting. You can run the jars through this cycle to sterilize them. Marisa McClellan’s site, Food in Jars, is an excellent resource on canning, for both beginners and pros (I’m excited to try out her recently posted Grated Fennel Relish). Marisa, who also contributes to FN Dish, takes care to decode all the terms and techniques you need to know how to can safely. Once you’ve made a few batches of jam or pickles, you’ll quickly learn the hardest part is deciding what you want to make — the choices are almost endless.
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Spicy Tomato Jam
Refrigerator Pickles (pictured above)
Strawberry Freezer Jam
Pickled Jalapeno Watermelon Rind
Wake Up with Berries — Summer Fest
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
These days, the containers of blue and red berries stacked on produce shelves might be the most difficult thing to decline. Especially when they’re so in-season, so plentiful and so perfectly sweet. Of course, berries do wonders layered in a trifle, baked into a cheesecake or scattered in a fruit salad. But today, we’re focusing on one specific utilization of the berry: its hand in breakfasts. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries — you name it. They’ve each got a place in the first — and oh-so-important — meal of the day.
First things first, let’s talk parfaits. They make for layered, well-rounded breakfasts you can eat all week long, whether you switch them up or not. Ellie Krieger’s Muesli Parfaits are filling with a good dose of nutty crunch. This recipe for a Berry ‘Nana Oatmeal Parfait laces oats and vanilla almond milk into the mix. And if you want to get really creative, Food Network Magazine‘s Strawberry-Shortcake Parfait Pops transition the breakfast favorite into a refreshing dessert.
When berries are baked into pastries, they burst with sweetness. Tyler Florence’s Orange Glazed Blueberry Scones are the perfect partner to a morning cup of tea, and the glaze is made from fresh orange juice. Freezer-to-Oven Berry Muffins are a make-ahead dream, and ooze with fresh strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries.
Food Network Magazine’s Lemon-Berry French Toast is all kinds of aromatic, and Pat Neely’s Buttermilk Pancakes with Vanilla Bean-Berry Syrup (pictured above) recipe for Food Network Magazine calls for a pint of fresh berries — just for the syrup.
More berry recipes from friends and family:
Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Blueberry-Almond Pancakes
The Lemon Bowl: Strawberry Mango Chia Smoothie
Dishin & Dishes: Crunchy Topped Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gingered Blueberry Shortcakes with Light Creamy Topping
Taste With The Eyes: Blueberry Limoncello Pavlova
Sweet Life Bake: Paletas de Fresca y Aguacate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mixed Berry Tea Cake
Red or Green?: Strawberry & Blueberry Crisp (Red or Green-style)
Virtually Homemade: Blueberry Mint Margaritas
Haute Apple Pie: Triple Berry Ice Cream
Pinch My Salt: Strawberry Peach Cobbler with Almond Biscuit Topping
Cooking With Elise: Dehydrating Blueberries, Plus Blueberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Devour: Four Healthy Berry Recipes
Domesticate Me: Summer Berry Crisp
Weelicious: Brainy Breakfast
The Sensitive Epicure: Strawberries with White Balsamic Vinegar Caramel, Orange Zest and Black Pepper
Daily*Dishin: Fresh and Easy Blueberry Pie
From My Corner of Saratoga: Mixed Berry Freezer Pops
FN Dish: Wake Up with Berries
Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we stuck in a new catch-22 or can we find time to do it all?
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.
Save Time In The Kitchen
Stock up on pantry-must haves, like quinoa and dried spices.
Make a double batch of your favorite recipes and freeze them for later.
Pre-portion snacks like trail mixes or cheese and crackers at the beginning of the week so you have healthy snacks lined up.
Have only 5 or 10 minutes for breakfast? Whip up these healthy options.
Zap these quick and easy dishes in your microwave.
Chop and measure ingredients needed for dinner the night before or right before you go to work.
Create these deliciously healthy dinners in 40-minutes or less.
It’s tough to give up your workout time, especially when Americans designate so little to exercise. However, there are many time saving corners you can cut once you get into the kitchen. Plan out your weeknight meals on the weekend and have all your ingredients ready to go.
There are also ways to exercise if you’re pressed for time or want to use those 10 extra minutes you have to prep a healthy meal:
Take a walk in the park or around the block during part of your lunch break.
Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
Stand or walk around your office when taking that long conference call.
Lift light weights while watching TV.
Catch up with a friend over a nice walk or bike ride, instead of meeting for coffee.
TELL US: How do you make time for both exercise and cooking?
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »
Sunday’s Star Menu: Hot, Buttered Popcorn for the Movies
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
As Sunday afternoons turn to evenings and the hours until the next episode of Food Network Star tick away, how do you settle in to watch the latest premiere? No matter who you’re with or where you’re watching from, you surely have on hand a spread of eats and drinks to last you though the episode, right? Here at Star Talk, we want to see what you’re munching on. Every Wednesday, check back for a themed menu to get you ready for the episode ahead, and on Sunday nights, snap photos of your spread and share them with @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.
On Sunday, the remaining finalists will leave the comfort of the Star Kitchen and get their first tastes of Hollywood by starring in big-screen movies shown at a luxury cinema. For the first time, they’ll work in teams to create trailers that promote themed menus. Even though they’re at the theater, the Selection Committee may expect more from the finalists than fresh-popped popcorn. But for fans watching the episode unfold from the couch at home, a bucket of the hot, buttered stuff is the ultimate snack when it comes to movie-paired munchies.
Try Food Network Magazine‘s Theater-Style Buttered Popcorn to re-create the concession stand classic. The key to this recipe is clarifying the butter — accomplished by melting it and letting it rest until it separates into three layers — as it will offer a decadent flavor without making the popcorn soggy.
For something less traditional, try the Neelys’ BBQ Popcorn, made by stove-popping kernels and tossing them with Pat and Gina’s signature seasoning mix of paprika, sugar and onion powder. Sunny’s Party Popcorn also offers a creative twist, thanks to its mix of sweet and savory ingredients. After preparing popcorn, Sunny tops it with melted buttery toffee, salted peanuts and rich chocolate for an indulgent, crunchy snack.
What does your Sunday Star menu look like? Snap photos of what you’re eating, and share them with us @FoodNetwork via Twitter and Instagram using #FoodNetworkStar.
Did You Miss the Meat? — Chopped After Hours
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
In most Chopped baskets, it’s the meaty protein or shellfish that trips up competitors, what with these ingredients that tend to be difficult to break down, clean, and cook properly and fully in a hurry. But in tonight’s brand-new episode of Chopped, the contestants found themselves with vegetarian baskets, which meant that when it came time for an After Hours competition, judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag and Marc Murphy were challenged to create entrees using golden beets, wheatgrass, tempeh and etrog citron.
While Alex and Marc admitted to being unfamiliar with cooking and eating these kinds of ingredients, Amanda told them, “I eat this stuff,” and she later admitted to being “a closet vegetarian.” For all three judges, the challenge was offering dishes that were both bold and hefty enough to be filling. Amanda stuck to a classic preparation of tempeh by featuring it in a spiced stew with curry, while Alex treated the tempeh like rice, turning it into a risotto-style plate with mushrooms and citrus. Marc, however, known for his fondness of meat-and-potatoes classics, made a tempeh-based burger that was anything but vegetarian, thanks to beef broth and bacon. After tasting each of their offerings, guest host Aarón told them: “I’m not crying for meat right now. You made satisfying meals that really sort of constituted a complete dish.”
Alex says, “I think it’s really great to have an experience where people can see that we, as judges, whether we’re cooking or eating these ingredients, we learn and grow from them, too.” But when it comes to the judges taking on mystery baskets, do you think these vegetarian-minded ingredients were challenging enough for them, or did the ingredients prove to be too easy of a selection? Did you miss seeing a particularly perplexing meat in the mix, or was the oddity of these products enough to satisfy your craving for the unusual? Which judge used the ingredients best in his or her dish, and whose final offering looked most appealing? Click the play button on the video above to see Alex, Amanda and Marc in action, then chat with fellow fans in the comments section below about what went down. Plus, browse behind-the-scenes photos from the battle to see inside the Chopped Kitchen.