The Flavors of Ham and Cheese in a Savory Bread Pudding
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient Camembert. Inspired by a cheese plate of ham, cheese and fruit, the chefs came up with this savory bread pudding. With the characteristic texture of a quiche, this recipe for Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding makes an ideal brunch, lunch or dinner dish when paired with a simple green salad. It’s also a good use for leftovers — think bread and ham remnants from this past holiday. With the familiar flavors of ham and cheese, it’ll be a sure-fire hit with your family any day of the week.
To start this recipe, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set up a water bath on the lower rack — this ensures the bread pudding will bake up fluffy and moist. Next, butter 8 ramekins and set them on a baking sheet. Cut up the cheese into cubes and set them aside, making sure they don’t stick together. Whisk together the heavy cream and eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Add the cubed bread and ham to this mixture, then combine.
Melt some butter in a large saute pan. Add the shallot, fennel and thyme, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the apple and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until it has absorbed into the vegetables. Discard the thyme sprigs. Add this mixture and the cubed cheese to the cream-and-egg mixture and stir together to combine. Divide the mixture among the ramekins and bake for about 18 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of a bread pudding comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a lightly dressed green salad.
Get the Recipe: Camembert and Ham Bread Pudding
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchen that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients from an episode, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
Top 10 Recommended Eats from the East: On the Road with America’s Best Cook
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On America’s Best Cook, Sunday at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the East.
The East is well known for having popularized foods including pizza, burgers, cheese steaks and lobster rolls, all of which were famously invented and first served in the East. Now it’s hard to imagine American cuisine without these dishes. But the East also offers a wide array of international cuisines that have become ingrained in American culture, like Italian and Mexican dishes and so much more. Through the years, some city neighborhoods have come to specialize in certain cuisine, like Boston’s North End, whereas others have become a melting pot, like Queens in New York.
Take a look at the top 10 reader-recommended eats, in no particular order, from Food Network On the Road and vote in the Regional Foods Face-Off, the show’s bracket challenge, to make your favorite regional food known.
The Lobster Shack — Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Although The Lobster Shack is only open during the summers, the short time frame is enough to sell thousands of lobster rolls. The secret to its success is to let the natural lobster flavor take over.
Rino’s Place — Boston
Rino’s Place offers authentic Italian dishes just like in Italy — but with American-size portions. You’ll taste the passion for the food in dishes like Shrimp with Lemon Liquor, Rino’s Special and the Lobster Ravioli.
Aunt Carrie’s — Narragansett, R.I.
After a day out on the beach, stop in at this third-generation family-owned diner for some fresh seafood classics. Try the clam cakes and fresh steamers, a local favorite. For dessert there’s the homemade strawberry shortcake.
The Redhead — New York
East Village gastropub The Redhead is known for its seasonal, Southern-inflected food and carefully made cocktails. Chef Meg Grace’s Homemade Pretzels with Beer Cheese are a favorite with the crowd. For a comforting main course, try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Shrimp and Grits. And don’t leave without having the Bacon Peanut Brittles.
Tortilleria Nixtamal — Corona, Queens, N.Y.
Thousands of pounds of masa and up to 10,000 tortillas a day come from Tortilleria Nixtamal. Try the sweet and savory taco al pastor with pineapple, topped with white onion, cilantro and lime. The hearty pozole is comforting and soothing.
Paesano’s — Philadelphia
If you’re looking for a hearty sandwich that’s loaded with delicious filling, look no further than Paesano’s in Philadelphia. The Italian beef brisket and fried egg grinder is a popular favorite.
Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat — Philadelphia
This family restaurant serves Southern classics with Jewish flair. Try the brisket Frito platter made with twice-cooked brisket or the chicken chili Frito pie made with guajillo chicken. Locals enjoy the matzo ball soup.
Comet Ping Pong — Washington, D.C.
Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., is an unusual eatery that offers pingpong and pizza made with sustainably farmed ingredients. Specialties include The Smoky Pizza, Yalie and Stanley pizzas and The Philly, a calzone.
Tune Inn Restaurant & Bar — Washington, D.C.
For more than 60 years, politicians and hungry tourists have ventured to Tune Inn for classic, greasy dive food. The Bon Ton sauce is used generously for such specials as Joe’s West Virginia sandwich, made with American cheese, and the beer-battered burger, dripping with flavor. Other favorites include Mike’s Fried Chicken.
The Village Cafe — Richmond
The Village Cafe’s atmosphere combines the best of a dive bar and neighborhood joint. Since 1956 they’ve been churning out customer favorites like ale-battered onion rings and Italian classics like stromboli, pizza and calzones.
Get more recommended eats from Food Network’s On the Road, and download the On the Road app for your mobile device to get recommended restaurants anywhere you go.
The Chef’s Take: Baby Artichoke and Scallion Saute from Deborah Madison
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
“As far as I’m concerned, vegetables — plant foods in general — are good things to eat and we should eat more of them. That’s as far as we need to go,” says Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens, the trailblazing vegetarian restaurant that opened in San Francisco back in 1979. “I am flavor-focused, not nutrition-focused.”
Deborah Madison is America’s premier vegetarian chef and a prolific cookbook author, with ten fruit- and vegetable-centric cookbooks under her belt. Her latest, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is an updated version of her bestselling, award-winning tome, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
This preparation for sauteed artichokes and scallions, taken from The New Vegetarian, pairs two spring veggies together in an unfussy, bright saute. “I like artichokes because they are truly a savory vegetable,” Madison explains. “They are not at all sweet or frivolous. They are meaty, their texture is firm and they have plenty flavor.” As for the so-named “baby” variety used in the dish: “They actually grow deep down on the artichoke plant and they don’t get as big because they don’t get much sun,” she says. “The advantage, of course, is that the chokes don’t form, so you don’t have to wrestle the thistle.”
In the relatively quick to pull together saute, the baby chokes first get blanched and then stew together until just tender in a slurry of wine, water and olive oil. Gremolata — the classic Italian herb-and-garlic seasoning — and fresh tarragon brighten the medley. “This is a spring dish,” Madison says. “I chose scallions because they are a little more spring-like than onions. And tarragon is a spring herb — in the fall I might use rosemary,” she says.
While Madison says she is a flavor-focused chef, she also knows a thing or two about the nutritional value of the vegetables she writes so knowledgeably about. “Artichokes have a lot of good stuff in them,” she says, “potassium, fiber, a good amount of magnesium, B12 and so on and so forth. They go beautifully with olive oil, that’s a beneficial oil, and they have a lot of micronutrients.”
As far as serving the saute, the options abound. “I’d be happy to eat this straight,” she says, “or you put this over a piece of good bread, rubbed with garlic. Or you can toss this with a dark, robust whole-wheat pasta.” Like most of the recipes in Madison’s revised classic, the recipe is adaptable and easy to fall for. Madison herself long ago fell for its charms: “I’ve been making this dish for 10 years,” she says.
Baby Artichoke and Scallion Saute
Serves 4 to 6
The preparation of the baby artichokes goes easily and quickly. If they’re not available, use four to six medium ones, trimmed and quartered. These artichokes are also wonderful tossed with spaghetti, stirred into risotto, or spooned over bruschetta.
20 to 24 baby artichokes
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, thickly sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Trim away the artichokes’ outer dark leaves and discard. Next, with a paring knife, carefully peel back any fibrous portion of the stems. Place the whole, peeled artichokes in a bowl with lemon juice and enough ice water to cover.
Fill a pot with salted water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the artichokes and boil until tender-firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Slice the artichokes lengthwise in halves or thirds. (This can be done ahead of time).
Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Toss the parsley, garlic and lemon zest together until a coarse mixture forms. Set mixture aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Add the artichokes, cut sides down, and saute until the hearts color in places, after several minutes. Stir in the scallions and wine. Once the wine boils off, add 1 cup water and half the gremolata and tarragon. Lower the heat and simmer until the artichokes are fully tender, between 5 and 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining gremolata and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tip the artichokes, with their juices, onto a serving plate and serve.
Kitty Greenwald is a Brooklyn-based food writer and recipe developer. She eats a lot for work and pleasure. Her column Slow Food Fast appears in the Wall Street Journal.
Photo by Miranda Van Gelder
Portrait by Aya Brackett
Backfiring Food Rules, a $2,000 Tasting Menu and the Question McDonald’s No Longer Asks
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
The Pitfalls of Family Food Rules: Most of the time, a graham cracker is just a graham cracker, but when children are asked to click a computer mouse like mad to get one, as in a recent series of experiments, or decide how many of them to eat when they are given restricted access to them, it becomes the marker of a “reactive eater” and a clue that, while genetics and biology may play a role in children who are strongly motivated by food, food rules imposed at home may also factor in. “The message is that restriction is counterproductive — it just doesn’t work very well,” Brandi Rollins, the Penn State postdoctoral researcher who led the studies, told the New York Times. “Restriction just increases a child’s focus and intake of the food that the parent is trying to restrict.” Bottom line: It’s better not to put junk food out of reach on a high shelf, but rather not have it in the house at all. [The New York Times]
The Planet’s Priciest Eatery? Considering all the things you could do with $2,078, even hard-core foodies might pause before paying that much per person for a meal. Even for a 20-course tasting menu that promises to combine food, art and technology to create a “complete and unprecedented emotional experience.” Regardless, that’s apparently what Sublimotion, a restaurant opening on May 18 at the new five-star Hard Rock Hotel in Playa d’en Bossa, on Ibiza, under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero, is charging, making it what the Daily Mail is calling “the most expensive restaurant on the planet.” Enjoyed by only 12 guests each night, the meal “will cause a stir among the most-neglected senses,” a spokesman told the tabloid. “From moments of humor, pleasure, fear, reflection and nostalgia, diners will be wandering through a world of sensations from the North Pole where they will enjoy a cold snack that they carve on their own iceberg or to the baroque Versailles where the elegance of a rose is sure to melt in their palate.” At those prices, you’d think they’d get someone to carve your cold snack for you. [Daily Mail]
Palcohol Approval Put Off, at Best: Looks like you’re going to have to tamp down your excitement about powdered alcohol. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has backed away from its approval of Palcohol, the powdered alcohol product that has generated recent excitement. A representative for the bureau told the Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued erroneously. Palcohol maker Lipsmark said it planned to correct a “discrepancy” with its labels and resubmit them for approval. But for now, you’ll have to wet your whistle with the wet stuff. [Associated Press]
In Other Food News: Ty Burrell, of Modern Family fame, has teamed up with chef Viet Pham (former Food Network Star finalist) to open a new restaurant, Beer Bar, in Salt Lake City; the “super simple menu,” as Ty describes it, will feature homemade bratwurst, locally made bread, Belgian fries — and 150 varieties of beer. [AP] Teenager Antonia Ayres-Brown is being hailed as a champion of feminism for inspiring McDonald’s to reconsider its practice of asking if kids wanted a “girl toy” or a “boy toy” with their Happy Meals. When she was 11, Antonia wrote the corporation a letter wondering “if it would be legal for McDonald’s ‘to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?’” she explained on Slate, and continued the fight until the company changed its policy. [Yahoo Shine]
Best 5 Potato Salad Recipes
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
While potato salad may be a staple come summertime cookouts, it’s also a go-to way to round out any main dish — no matter what time of year you’re cooking. Think of potato salad as you do grilled chicken or a pizza: It’s a blank canvas that can be customized to your family’s tastes or whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Plus, because every potato salad starts with — of course — the humble spud, most recipes are economical and can be stretched when you’re cooking for a large group. Check out Food Network’s top-five potato salads below to find classic and creative renditions from some of your favorite chefs: Melissa, Ree, Ina, Bobby and Alton.
5. Grilled Potato Salad — It’s not too early to roll out your barbecue and start grilling, especially when Melissa’s quick-fix potato salad is on the menu. After grilling both red and sweet potatoes, she tosses the spuds in a bold, indulgent dressing made with bacon renderings.
4. Perfect Potato Salad — Sweet pickles and pickle juice add a tart bite to Ree’s mashed potato salad, studded with hard-boiled eggs and laced with fresh dill.
3. New Potato Salad — For a mix of taste and texture, Ina opts for both Dijon and whole-grain mustard in her buttermilk-mayonnaise-topped potato salad, which she recommends chilling before serving, so the flavors have a chance to marry.
2. German Potato Salad — In a classic showing of German potato salad, Bobby replaces mayonnaise with cider vinegar in his dressing, and he rounds out the dish with sauteed onions, mustard seeds and bacon fat. Click the play button on the video below to watch him make it.
1. Cold-Fashioned Potato Salad — Alton’s tried-and-true salad (pictured above) comes together every time on account of his two-step process. He slices cooked and skinned potatoes one day, lets them chill overnight, then dresses them the next day with a traditional mixture of cornichons, celery, fresh herbs and mayonnaise.