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Dr. BBQ's Halloween Barbecue Feast

Dr. BBQ's Halloween Barbecue Feast

No Trick for a 'Cue Treat

The Mongols are Coming!

The Mongols are Coming!

Sharon Hudgins Reports

Fall Into Spicy Soups

Fall Into Spicy Soups

Soups Are the Elegant Side of a Chef’s Kitchen

The Chile Harvest, Part 2

The Chile Harvest, Part 2

Drying, Smoking, Powders, and Spice Blends

Paprika: Hungary's Red Gold

Paprika: Hungary's Red Gold

Sharon Hudgins Reports

Hatch Me If You Can

Hatch Me If You Can

Harald Zoschke Reports

Making Chipotles at Home

Making Chipotles at Home

Mike Stines Reports

The Day of the Dead, with a Menu

The Day of the Dead, with a Menu

Celebrations of Family and Friends

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  • Rice: A Side Dish Takes Center Stage 23 Oct 2014 | 3:25 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Easy Parmesan For most of us here in the United States, rice may not always have seemed like the most-inspiring food: Plain, white, bland, sometimes mushy, the stuff our mothers served us was something we may have eaten with little relish. (Sorry, Mom.)

    Recently, however, rice’s rep has been changing. Increasingly, American consumers’ palates are expanding to encompass more sophisticated (and more expensive) varieties — like jasmine, basmati, brown and black rice, wild rice, red rice and other exotic blends. Rice sales are growing, the Wall Street Journal reports, and while white long-grain rice is still preferred by many, “specialty” rice is starting to soak up more of the market.

    So what, exactly, is driving this trend toward exotic grains? Factors may include our growing interest in foods that are “authentic” and unusual, as well as our desire to make healthier choices — opting for varieties that are higher in fiber or protein, according to the Journal. Plus, the fact that rice is gluten-free probably isn’t hurting sales, given the current popularity of avoiding the protein found in wheat and many other grains.

    Changes in demographics and culinary preferences may also play a role. “Asians and Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the U.S., and both are sophisticated rice-eating cultures,” the Journal notes. “Indian, Mexican, Thai and other cuisines, often rice-based, have become a part of mainstream eating, especially among younger Americans.”

    Interested in experimenting with rice, but unsure where to start? Here’s a quick look at some varieties, with links to recipes. You’ll be all over them like white on — oh, never mind:

    Long-grain white: The most-common rice found in the United States, this fluffy stuff is probably what most of our mothers made when we were growing up.
    Try: Long-Grain White Rice with Corn, Peppers and Onions

    Long-grain brown: This whole-grain version includes the bran and germ layers of the rice, which impart a nutty flavor and slightly chewier texture.
    Try: Basic Long-Grain Brown Rice Pilaf

    Basmati: This extra-long-grain rice, mildly nutty in taste, is associated with Indian and Pakistani cooking.
    Try: Simple Basmati Rice

    Jasmine: This fragrant, translucent, long-grain rice, a staple of Thai cuisine, can be soft and somewhat sticky.
    Try: Toasted Jasmine Rice with Grilled Scallions

    Japanese-style rice: Firm and sticky, this is the medium-grain rice used for sushi and other Japanese dishes.
    Try: Grilled Rice Balls

    Bomba: The Spanish favor this medium-grain rice, known for its ability to absorb water without getting mushy, for paella.
    Try: The Ultimate Paella

    Arborio: This short-grain Italian rice is often used to make risotto, because it is high in amylopectin, the sticky starch that gives it its creamy consistency.
    Try: Easy Parmesan “Risotto” (pictured above)

    Wehani: This long-grain, aromatic, reddish rice was developed from an Indian Basmati seed and has a distinctly nutty flavor.
    Try: Wehani Rice and Mango Salad

    Himalayan Red: This long-grain, complexly flavorful rice, imported from India, features a layer of reddish bran.
    Try: Tandoori Chicken

    Colusari Red: This burgundy-colored rice was naturally developed and is grown here in the United States.
    Try: Red Rice with Spinach and Dried Cherries

    Purple Thai: This slightly sweet rice is suitable for desserts and savory dishes.
    Try: Steamed Mahi Mahi Over Purple Thai Rice with Baby Bok Choy and Red Pepper Aioli

    Chinese Black: This medium-grain rice is black bran on the outside, white within, but it looks deep purple when cooked.
    Try: Black Forbidden Rice with Peaches and Snap Peas

    Wild rice: Not a grain, but a seed, wild rice – nutty, chewy and purplish — is often blended with brown rice for stuffing and pilaf.
    Try: Wild Rice Pilaf



  • Pie Baked Apples — The Weekender 23 Oct 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Pie Baked ApplesThis time of year, many of us make the trek out to our closest U-Pick farms to load up on sweet, crisp apples. It’s easy to get carried away by the fresh air and autumnal abundance, and what looked like a reasonable amount of fruit in the orchard becomes an overwhelming volume once you cart it into your kitchen.

    So, you start cooking. You make a big batch of applesauce for the freezer. You bake up a pan of apple crisp for dessert (or breakfast, topped with a scoop of plain yogurt). You slice the apples and stack them with peanut butter. You take a sackful to work, hoping your co-workers will help you out. And still, there are more apples.

    If this sounds like a familiar story, may I suggest a fun little dessert that comes together quickly, tastes like a treat and still manages to put the focus on the whole fruit? A cross between traditional pie and baked apples, these Pie Baked Apples have you scoop out the interior apple flesh, toss it with a little sugar and spices, and pack it back into the empty apples. You top them with some store-bought pie crust, then bake them until they’re tender and brown.

    Pie Baked ApplesThe thing I like about this dessert is that it puts the emphasis on the fruit, not the crust, while still feeling like something special. For those of you who follow a gluten-free diet, you could make a little batch of gluten-free crust, or you could even replace the crust entirely with an oat-based crumble topping.

    Older kids can help hollow out the apples with a spoon or melon baller, and younger ones can help fill them up with the spiced apple bits. I do suggest that you make sure to lightly tent the foil over the apples for the first half of the baking process. I didn’t do that and my foil stuck to the crusts. I was able to recover, but my finished apples weren’t as pretty as they could have been.

    What are you making for your Weekender?

  • Poll: Your Favorite Burger Condiment and More — Play Along with Hungry Games 23 Oct 2014 | 12:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Bobby's Perfect BurgerThink of a meaty, juicy burger. Now ask yourself: What makes that burger so desirable? In the next episode of Hungry Games, this Monday at 8|7c, Richard Blais uncovers exactly what makes burgers so irresistible, the thing that makes our mouths water at the first bite. He also delves into the facts, figures and science behind one of America’s favorite foods. Expect to be astounded. You’ll never look at the burger the same way again.

    Before the episode, we want to know what’s your preferred burger condiment, how you like your burger done and more. Vote in our polls, and also find out what fellow fans are thinking.

    Take Our Poll
    Take Our Poll
    Take Our Poll
    Take Our Poll
    Take Our Poll
    Stay tuned for fun food trivia, interactive quizzes, photos from the show and more, plus connect with fellow fans on Twitter with the hashtag #HungryGames.

  • 6 Desserts to Cook Low and Slow — Fall Fest 23 Oct 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Slow-Cooker Peach CobblerListen here: Your slow cooker is meant for a whole lot more than endless vats of smoky chili and comforting stews. Though we turn back the dial for hours on end for some of our favorite meals, it’s about time we rethink this kitchen tool with recipes that are a whole lot sweeter. These perfect-for-fall slow-cooker dessert recipes cook low and slow, rather than hold up your oven or hog all of your time.

    1. There will be no more sliding peach cobbler into the oven, thanks to Alton Brown’s recipe for Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler (pictured above). This warm, comforting recipe calls for frozen peaches, so you can make it year-round.

    2. It’s hard to believe that a pan of brownies doesn’t always have first dibs on the oven, but sometimes you need that extra space. Easy-to-make Slow-Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake has all the perks of a soft warm brownie, from the gooey center to the crispy edges.

    3. Slow-Cooker Banana Upside-Down Cake relies on your slow cooker to caramelize the bananas with rum and brown sugar, before you pour the cake batter on top for easy baking. After you invert the cake from the cooker, all of that slow-earned heat is best taken with a countering scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    4. Though reaching into a bag of candy would be the easiest way to get your sugar fix, Trisha Yearwood’s four-ingredient Slow-Cooker Chocolate Candy isn’t so difficult either. Melt peanuts, chocolate squares, semisweet chocolate chips and white chocolate bark together in the cooker before scooping it into cupcake liners to harden.

    5. Spoon Slow-Cooker Berry Cobbler into a bowl and top with whipped sour cream for tangy sweetness. Though traditional recipes typically come to fruition in the oven, this cobbler will leave the slow cooker with bubbling berries and a soft, pillowy biscuit topping.

    6. For Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Walnut Stuffed Apples, simply core large baking apples (like Rome or Golden Delicious) before stuffing them with a sweet mix of cranberries and walnuts. When cooked down nice and slowly with apple cider, they’ll become deliciously fork tender.

    Get more slow-cooker recipes from family and friends:

    Feed Me Phoebe: Moroccan Lamb Chili with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes and Kale
    The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables with Cinnamon and Garlic
    Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Stew with Rosemary, Thyme and Sage
    Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Slow Cooker Cassoulet
    Devour: Slow-Cooked Meals from Breakfast through Dessert
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Slow-Cooker New Mexican Vegetable Chowder
    Red or Green: Slow Cooker Red Beans, Vegetables & Rice
    The Cultural Dish: Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
    Domesticate Me: Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
    Taste with the Eyes: Elegant Braised Leeks

  • Chatting with Amy Chaplin: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen 23 Oct 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
    Ever since her childhood in rural Australia, Amy Chaplin’s diet has revolved around whole foods. After 20 years of cooking around the globe, the New York-based private chef, teacher, recipe developer and writer — her work appears on this very blog every week — is sharing this nurturing lifestyle in her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well (Roost Books). Through more than 150 recipes — and a slew of striking minimalist photos—for soulful vegetarian and vegan dishes like cherry coconut granola with extra virgin olive oil, millet cauliflower mash and roasted acorn and Delicata squash salad strewn with wheat berries and bitter greens, the former chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, illuminates the simplicity and creativity of eating healthy.

    You’ve been a whole foods champion well before eating this way was in vogue. Was this book a long time coming for you?

    I feel like it was something I was working toward ever since I started working in a professional kitchen, where I began to collect all this knowledge. Then I started the blog, amychaplin.com, as a way to share my love of food, continuously develop recipes, and take photos, and it was just the right time. It was an intense experience, though. I felt like I had to include all these things from different areas of my life, so it grew really big and into a lot more work than I had planned. Once I started cooking I didn’t want to stop adding recipes.

    It’s a gorgeous book. What do you want readers who open it to walk away with?

    Healthy food is never featured as elegant and indulgent, and with the book I wanted to bridge that gap and show that it’s beautiful and easy for everyone—not just for hard-core health nuts.

    You were raised on fresh, healthy foods in your native New Wales, Australia. Eating this way is instinctual for you, then. Did you always know your career would revolve around food?

    When it’s the way you grow up, you don’t think it’s anything special, just the way you eat. I don’t think there was any one moment where I said I was going to be a cook, but the more I did it, I loved it. Starting my catering business and working at Angelica Kitchen solidified it for me. It was all so creative, and brought together my interests in the environment and eating well. I love that this is my life.

    What are some of your no-fuss dishes in constant rotation?

    Perfectly cooked beans or chickpeas — cooked in a pressure cooker — topped with my favorite things: avocado, flax oil, toasted seeds, tamari and scallions. My favorite beans are large heirloom ones, like Scarlet Runners. I also love to eat quinoa or brown rice. In the summer, my basic brown rice recipe is used in a salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and it’s so delicious. Another go-to is steamed vegetables with zesty flax or black sesame dressing.

    Breakfast, a meal that has the power to set the tone for eating healthy the rest of the day, gets significant attention in the book. What are some of your favorite recipes?

    There are two that see me through all the seasons. One is the soaked oats and chia, and the other is the superfood oatmeal. I usually want a warm breakfast in cold weather, and the rest of the time the soaked oats and chia is great as it can be made ahead in large batches. All you need to do is add almond milk and berries. In fact, I’m usually happy with any breakfast that involves fresh, homemade almond milk and berries.

    The book includes something especially informative and helpful: before delving into the recipes you show readers how stocking a pantry is an essential step to eating better.

    With the book in your life you can take the pantry section, look at those simple recipes and start incorporating them into your weekly routine. You don’t have to dive in and have everything on hand at all times, but you can start by soaking grains or making your own almond milk. These are not difficult things, and they can sustain you. Create your own rituals.

    With cold weather upon us, which recipes do you think readers will find especially comforting?

    Soups and stews — like the simple red lentil soup with spinach, lemon and pepper—are my favorites for winter. The cannellini bean stew with kale and spelt berries is so tasty and creamy. It’s perfect for chilly weather.
    Red Lentil Soup
    Simple Red Lentil Soup with Spinach, Lemon and Pepper
    Serves 4
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    5 garlic cloves, minced
    2 cups red lentils washed and drained
    6 cups filtered water, plus more to thin out soup as needed
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4 cups (3 1/2 ounces) baby spinach leaves
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

    To Serve
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Warm olive oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add lentils and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are cooked and becoming creamy; stir pot every 10 minutes or so to make sure lentils aren’t sticking. Remove lid, add salt and more water, if needed, to reach your desired consistency. Cover again and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer or until lentils have completely dissolved and soup is creamy. Stir in pepper and spinach, and cook for 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Season to taste and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

    From At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, © 2014 by Amy Chaplin. Photographs © 2014 by Johnny Miller. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

    Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.

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