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Meatless Monday: Shakshuka

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of lifeEating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Shakshuka doesn’t translate to “ultimate breakfast for dinner meal,” but it probably should (because that’s exactly what it is). The traditional Middle Eastern dish, which has recently developed a fan club throughout the US, combines garlicky tomato base with a large dollop of harissa for some heat. Slowly poach eggs in the sauce until they’re set (but still runny in the center) — aka perfectly cooked for max bread-sopping opportunities. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and a few grinds of black pepper, then enjoy for dinner, for breakfast or whenever.

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Super Food Nerds: The Making of Sausages

Ever since making chorizo for Super Food Nerds several months ago, we haven’t stopped wondering how sausages are made. So, over the summer, we began debating doing a deep dive into the making of either sausage or hot dogs. We decided to let a poll on Facebook determine our fates, and the people spoke loud and clear: They wanted sausage. So we reached out to the proprietor of butcher shop Hudson & Charles, Jason Fox, who had visited our offices a few years ago to teach us how to break down pigs. The newly opened shop, named for the corner it’s on in New York City’s West Village, is co-owned by Jason and partners Kevin Haverty and Adam Gale.

The day we came by, Ian Halbwachs, their in-house charcutier, was making a batch of one of their best-selling sausages: the sweet Italian. It’s a combo of classic Italian seasonings (Parmesan, garlic, parsley and white wine) and classic pork seasonings (juniper, caraway and bay leaves). His go-to cut is pork shoulder, but because Hudson & Charles is a whole-animal butcher shop, he often ends up using trim. His main goal is to make sausages that are about 30 percent fat: “People want to cook sausages all the way through, and at about 30-percent fat ratio is where it stops feeling like overcooked hamburger.”

The steps he demonstrated reflect the basic tenets of sausage-making: Keep everything super-cold (if it’s not cold, the fat smears and the sausage gets crumbly and fatty), dice the meat into chunks, pass it through the grinder, mix in the seasonings and knead it well in a stand mixer until the salt and proteins in the meat start to bind together. Ian describes the binding as the most important step: “This is what makes it a sausage; more than the casing, more than the seasoning. If it’s not bound, it’s not a sausage.” And he’s been doing it for long enough that he can just hear when the meat hits the appropriate consistency. If you (like us) don’t have the professional charcutier’s ear, you’ll know sausage meat is ready when you grab a handful of meat, turn your hand upside down, and the meat continues to stick to your hand. That would also be the perfect time to fry a little test patty and taste it to check the seasoning.

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California Restaurant Offers Discounts For Negative Yelp Reviews

Nowadays, Yelp holds a whole lot of sway over the restaurant industry. All it takes is a few bad reviews to throw your entire percentage out of whack. Pretty soon the only customers you’ll see will be tumbleweeds and skateboarding bozos looking to use the bathroom. Can restauranteurs fight back? One California Italian eatery is certainly trying.

San Francisco’s Botto Bistro is sick and tired of being pushed around by the digital overlords over at Yelp. Their solution? Screw up their page on purpose. They offer customer’s discounts on their meals for writing purposefully negative reviews. The end result is an absolutely ridiculous page where up is down, dogs and cats play together and nothing makes any sense.

Yelp isn’t taking this laying down, however. The web giant has sent Botto Bistro a cease and desist letter. Apparently they can’t take a joke.

The Great Harvest Dinner

Corn

The air may still be summery (and, in some places, record-breakingly warm), but the bounty of vegetables turning up in farms and gardens can only mean one thing: It’s harvest time. And that is cause for celebration. Ideally, you’d get the whole neighborhood together and do a full-on pig roast, but even for a smaller gathering you can cook up a stellar dinner to showcase the harvest. Craft your own harvest dinner by choosing a dish (or two) from each of these categories:

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Wizards Invent Spoon That Eliminates Hard to Scoop Ice Cream

One of the most frustrating things in life has to be when you demand ice cream right now at this very second but, when it’s taken out of the freezer, it’s simply too frozen to enjoy. How dare those pesky laws of thermodynamics ruin instant gratification party 2K14. You are then faced with two choices: get down and dirty in that tub, chipping away at it until you have something resembling a scoop, or do the unthinkable and put it on the counter and wait. Now there’s a third option and it may be the best one of all. A magic spoon!

A company called 15% has just unveiled a line of ice cream spoons that are designed to simplify the scooping process. They are made from aluminum which, if you didn’t know, is a mighty fine conductor of heat. The end result? Your body heat ends up raising the temperature of the spoon to a nice even “melt the dang ice cream so I can eat it all” degrees. It’s a simple concept but the science is sound.

Now the downside. These ice cream spoons clock in at around $30, which is around the price of six pints of high grade ice cream. Oh well. You could always just wrap your regular spoons in aluminum foil and hope for the best.

Cooking Channel’s Can’t-Miss Fall TV Schedule

Worst Things About Fall: school; everything is suddenly pumpkin flavored; it’s getting brisk out there.

Best Things About Fall: Oktoberfest, everything is suddenly pumpkin flavored; awesome new shows on Cooking Channel.

Here’s a peek at our fall TV lineup. Get pumped for some of the best new shows and best returning shows on Cooking Channel this fall.

Premieres September 27
Simply Laura
Saturdays at 1:30pm ET

Web sensation and online superstar Laura Vitale brings her take on American mealtime to television. With an emphasis on simple and seasonal, Laura blends easy but enticing recipes and girl-next-door charm, making meals that America will adore.

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25 Ways to Use Zucchini

Zucchini are available year-round in grocery stores, but they’re at their peak right now, when you can find them fresh, local and cheap. Unlike the winter squash coming into markets in the months ahead, zucchini has edible skin and small, soft seeds. Zucchini is a good source of potassium and vitamins C and A, and it’s super low in calories — wins all around.

Zucchini are a multifunctional squash; you can fry them, saute them, use a vegetable peeler to turn zucchini into “pasta ribbons” or even munch on the raw squash. They can take the place of potatoes and pasta if you’re looking to go low-carb, but mostly they’re a delicious and easy addition to any meal. To get all of the moisture out before frying, purge a zucchini as you would an eggplant. Click here to see how to do it.

Stock up at the grocery store or farmers market and use up this squash-of-all-trades in these 25 ways:

  1. Baked instead of fried, Ellie Krieger’s Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (pictured above) are a light snack or side dish for any occasion.
  2. Frittatas are great ways to use up whatever is in the fridge. Try the Frittata with Zucchini for any meal of the day, and add in other vegetables hanging around the house.
  3. Giada makes Fried Zucchini with panko, while Alex Guarnaschelli makes her Fried Zucchini with Italian breadcrumbs. Either way, you’re frying up something delicious.
  4. Carpaccio is usually an Italian dish of very thinly sliced raw meat or fish. Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos make a vegan version, Zucchini Carpaccio.
  5. Meatless Monday calls for Zucchini Meatballs, made with zucchini, breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino and smoked scamorza, which is a cow’s milk cheese similar in texture and flavor to mozzarella.

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Los Angeles Cafe Creates Edible Coffee Cup

For millennia, mankind has gazed at the heavens and wondered why coffee cups were made from plaster and ceramic, rather than edible foodstuffs. After all, coffee and food go together pretty well, as anyone who has ever eaten a danish can tell you. Mankind can finally rest easy tonight. Here is a fully edible coffee cup.

Los Angeles coffee shop Alfred is responsible for the toothsome mug, and as such they are calling it the Alfred Cone. As the name suggests, it resembles the bottom of an ice cream cone and, because that’s not nearly decadent enough, has been dipped in chocolate.  It’s on the small side, but is still the perfect size for a shot or two of espresso. Sip. Chomp. Sip. Chomp.

The edible cup has proven to be a hit, even though not on the menu proper. It’s one of those ‘secret items’ that everyone knows about like Animal Fries at In-N-Out Burger or ‘actual meat’ at McDonald’s.

Summer Soiree: 6 Dips to Make in a Dash

Pimento Cheese Dip

When company is coming and time is short, keep one mantra in mind (admittedly inspired by the band Devo): Dip it. Dip it good.

These no-fail ideas all come together in mere minutes, and are guaranteed to cover you through all seasons, types of gatherings and guest dining preferences. The key is to always have a mix of vegetables and crackers on hand. Then just go ahead and take a dip:

Sriracha-Pimento Cheese Dip: It’s hard to improve on classic pimento cheese dip, but this one (pictured above) actually does. A dose of sriracha is just the thing to cut the rich cheddar-mayonnaise combination. The spice averse may need to keep a drink on hand.

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Frankenfood Trend Hits Critical Mass With Ramen Donut

Frankenfoods, otherwise known as foods that mush two disparate things together, have made bona-fide stars out of doughnuts and ramen noodles. Both the Cronut and the Ramen Burger have set the world, or at least parts of New York City, on fire. Why, then, have these two franken-monarchs never been franken-paired together? They have now. Introducing the Ramen Doughnut.

You know how doughnuts taste good with jelly inside of them? Now imagine that, instead of jelly or creme, they were filled with, uh, ramen noodles. That’s the idea behind this new Japanese creation, which is being sold at popular eatery Osaka Ohsho. The dish is meant to be savory, so the doughnut is more plain dough than sugar-bomb. Also, they only cost two bucks a pop, which is actually cheaper than one ‘artisanally made’ doughnut.

So if you are in Japan and simply won’t settle for just one carb, try one of these bad boys out. Also, would someone have to actually make a doughnut out of shark meat in order to have this trend finally jump the shark? Probably.

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