Try a Whole New Take on Chicken Stroganoff
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient chicken livers. Although chicken livers are more traditionally used in pate, the chefs decided to take advantage of their earthy flavor by cooking them with mushrooms and butter in a twist on stroganoff in this Chicken Liver Stroganoff with Greek Yogurt recipe. The Greek yogurt helps give the dish a creamy touch, and the egg noodles soak up the flavorful sauce. It’s a total comfort dish that will make you rethink chicken livers.
First, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.
In the meantime, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan until it shimmers. Sprinkle the chicken livers liberally with salt and pepper. Add the chicken livers to the hot oil and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Next, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons butter and the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until slightly softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Once this is done, take the pan off of the heat and add the cognac. Stir to combine and then place the pan back on the heat and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chicken broth and cook until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes.
Slice the browned livers into long strips about 1/2 inch thick.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir the yogurt into the sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Add the livers and stir to combine. Simmer the sauce until the livers are cooked, 3 to 5 minutes for medium. Season with salt and pepper.
While the livers are cooking in the sauce, cook the egg noodles in the boiling water until al dente, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and toss the hot egg noodles with the remaining butter and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide the egg noodles among 4 to 6 bowls, then top with the chicken livers and sauce. Garnish with the remaining parsley.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Liver Stroganoff with Greek Yogurt
Brush Up on Your Restaurant Cellphone Etiquette (Please!)
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
We may not always be proud of it, but many of us spend our lives glued to our smartphones: texting friends, keeping up with news, making sure our bosses don’t need us right this very second. We’ve become so attached to those alluring little screens, in fact, that we often forget to stop and smell the coffee — or interact with our server — when we dine in restaurants.
Think no one notices when you surreptitiously reach for your phone in those quiet moments after you first sit down, when you’re probably supposed to be looking at your menu, or while you’re waiting for your food to arrive or your friend to come back from the bathroom — or even when you’re in the middle of your meal? Guess what? Someone notices. That person is your server.
“Your Waiter Wants You To Put Down Your Phone,” scolded a recent headline on NPR’s The Salt blog. The post, which quoted a slew of restaurant staffers saying they’d pretty much had it with the meal-ignoring texting masses (along with a handful who weren’t too bothered or noted that smartphones could be useful in some ways, such as making it easier to alert diners when their tables are ready), was inspired by a now-”expired” Craigslist post. The post, purportedly from a New York restaurant owner, claimed that, as NPR put it, “a comparison of surveillance tapes from a decade ago and today showed that people spent so much time with their phones — texting, taking pictures and complaining about Wi-Fi connections — that the average party took nearly an hour longer to finish its meals and pay the bill.”
Yikes! Has the situation really become that extreme? Who knows. But a glance around any restaurant or bar will show that, at the very least, many of us could probably stand to brush up a bit on our restaurant cellphone etiquette.
Here are a few tips:
Turn Your Ringer Off: Switch your phone to silent or vibrate for the duration of your meal. No one wants to hear the clever ring you’ve programmed into your phone while they’re deciding between a salad and fries. Better yet, of course, would be to switch off your phone altogether; an Israeli restaurateur recently offered diners who did so a 50 percent discount. But there are instances (you may need to leave on a dime to drive your pregnant sister to the hospital, say) when this may not be possible.
Apologize in Advance: If you are expecting that emergency call from your due-any-second sister and may need to take it in the middle of your meal, let your dining companions know beforehand. That way, when the call comes in and you cut them off midsentence and rush out, they’ll understand why.
Keep Your Phone Off the Table: Putting your phone in the middle of the table to monitor your calls and texts impresses no one — and distracts everyone. Keep your personal hunk of technology in your pocket or purse while you’re eating.
Don’t Obsess: Don’t keep reaching for your phone to see if the call came in. If you need to check it once or twice during your meal, excuse yourself and do so, then return fully to the conversation. And if you think no one can see you constantly checking and rechecking your texts under the table, um, think again. Everyone totally knows what you’re doing.
Step Away: If you get a voice call you absolutely must take (perhaps another expected dining companion is lost and needs directions), step away from the table — or even out of the restaurant — to take it. Then, when you return, explain and express your apology.
Don’t Geek Out: Resist the urge to live tweet your meal — or to consult the Internet for advice before you order. Do your research before you sit down to eat. And if you must photograph your meal (really, must you?), do so swiftly (no carefully staged beauty shots) and return your phone to its properly stowed position.
Look Up and Look Around: It may feel natural to reach for your phone when a dining companion reaches for his or hers — or leaves the table for a moment — but you might instead leave your phone where it is and focus on your surroundings in the here and now. Look around and take in the restaurant’s decor, the ambiance and the other diners. You can probably go right ahead and stare — most of them will probably be too absorbed in their own smartphones to notice.
Take Our Poll
Top Breakfast Spots in Chicago
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
On Sept. 20, Food Network is throwing the ultimate end-of-summer bash: an outdoor food and music festival in Chicago. With today’s top chefs and big musical artists like John Mayer and Phillip Phillips, it’s sure to be a delicious experience worth the travel.
The event officially starts at 11:30am with lunch, so concertgoers will be on their own for breakfast, which isn’t a bad thing at all considering the countless great restaurants in the area. To narrow down the best options, we enlisted the help of Food Network chefs. From old-school diners to five-star hotels, here are Chicago’s best breakfast spots. (Just try to save some of your appetite for all of the gourmet hot dogs, award-winning burgers and other mouthwatering eats at the festival.)
Geoffrey Zakarian: The Drake Hotel
Anne Burrell: I love going to The Palace Grill [Sandwich Shop]. They have the best breakfast, and the owner, George, has even better jokes!
Marc Murphy: Little Goat has a great breakfast with some really creative options like Kimchi and Bacon and Eggs with Pancakes; m.henry is an awesome spot for breakfast or brunch as well. They serve a delicious drunken stuffed poblano pepper with scrambled eggs, chorizo, fresh mozzarella and sweet corn. I haven’t been to The Publican yet, but I heard Sunday brunch is a can’t-miss. It’s on my list for September!
Jeff Mauro: By far the best omelet in the Chicagoland area is at Delia’s [Kitchen] in Oak Park. It’s my own creation: ham off the bone, cheddar and fresh jalapeno. With a side of sliced tomatoes and iced tea, it’s the greatest way to start the day.
Alex Guarnaschelli: When it comes to breakfast, I am either all-in or grab and go. For the all-in, I love having breakfast at The Peninsula Hotel. The room, the light, the eggs — it’s a luxurious way to start the day. If it’s grab and go, I like Dinkel’s for their baked goods, doughnuts in particular.
Jose Garces: There are two spots in the South Loop that I love: Yolk and Eleven City Diner. The ambiance at Yolk is so sunny and exactly the kind of cheeriness you’d want to be surrounded by at breakfast. At Eleven City Diner, my kids and I love the specialties from the soda fountain — it’s such a throwback.
Tell FN Dish which restaurant you would choose off the list, and check back next week for the best places to go for lunch.
This App Keeps Track of Your Perishable Foodstuffs
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
One of the worst feelings in the world has to be taking a big, late night swig of milk, only to find out that it is chunkier than cottage cheese and smellier than brie. In other words, it sure is hard to keep track of all of the perishables in our refrigerators. A just-released app seeks to take on this modern problem, using the magic of technology to save us from ourselves.
It’s appropriately called The Fridge and it seems simple enough. You input perishables when they go into the refrigerator and the app will let you know, via messages, when it’s time to let them go. It also acts as a spoilage encyclopedia of sorts, letting you know the average time it takes all of your favorite foods to turn into your favorite poisons.
The app is $1.99 and available right now. However, The Fridge is currently only available for iOS users. Sorry Droid-heads.
The Chef’s Take: Green Olive Tapenade from David Lebovitz
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
“When you cook at home, you know exactly what is going into the food you’re eating,” says David Lebovitz, who has been cooking and baking for most of his life — much of it in restaurants. He spent nearly thirteen years at Chez Panisse, working with Alice Waters and pastry chef Lindsey Shere, who became his mentor. He left the famed Berkeley restaurant in 1999 to coincide with the release of his first book, Room for Dessert. And five years later, he moved to Paris with little more than a cast-iron skillet and one French phrase: pain au chocolat.
“I figured that was enough,” he says. Once entrenched in croissants and cafe au lait, he began eating and writing, transforming his blog DavidLebovitz.com into a popular destination. Since then, he has written six books, including The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert and a best-selling memoir, The Sweet Life in Paris.
His most recent book, My Paris Kitchen, covers the shift in French culinary culture over the past ten years as a new generation of chefs and home cooks — most notably in Paris — incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes. The book contains 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. It also explores the beauty of life in the France, including the often puzzling fact that, well, French people don’t get fat.
For Lebovitz, whose middle name may as well be dessert, the key to staying in shape while eating for a living is to feast on foods that are homemade. “You can control the amount of salt, butter and fat. All of those things are fine for you, but in moderation, of course.” When dining out, he recommends going to places that feature freshly made food from good ingredients. “You don’t need to pile on the butter and sugar, you can just let the ingredients shine,” he says.
“People often ask me about how French people stay in shape, and a lot of it is that they are not afraid to eat things like olive oil and nuts, which are both good for you,” Lebovitz says. His recipe for olive tapenade, from My Paris Kitchen, has both. Lebovitz serves this tapenade on toasted baguette or pita bread, but it also makes a fine accompaniment to grilled fish or poultry.
As for exercise, you won’t find Lebovitz signing up for the next Tough Mudder. He’s a walker. “It’s easy, you can do it anywhere, and you don’t need any special equipment,” he says. You can also do it while eating a croissant.
Green Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups green olives, pitted
1/3 cup whole untoasted almonds
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and capers in the bowl of a food processor.
Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.
Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a coarse paste, one that still has a little texture provided by the not-entirely-broken-down almonds.
The tapenade will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Andrea Strong is a freelance writer whose work often appears in Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She’s probably best known as the creator of The Strong Buzz, her food blog about New York City restaurants. She lives in Brooklyn with her two kids, her husband and her big appetite.
Recipe reprinted with permission from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
Photos by Ed Anderson © 2014