Archive for March, 2011

A-Brisket A-Brasket: NYC Brisket Cook-Off Inspires

The Kitchen NYC's Wagyu beef brisket.

The first time I tried brisket, it was many years ago at a family friend’s house. The gentleman sitting next to me—someone I knew not in the least — caught me biting my fingernails, leaned over, and into my ear whispered “Just wait ’till you try the brisket.” And wait I did, red-cheeked and all, until finally I had my first mouthful, and immediately turned to tell the man that he was right. In between chews, barely able to open my mouth, I exclaimed: “Brisket is good!”

Not too long after, I tried another brisket, this one shelled in a layer of fat and deeply browned on its extremes. It too was absolutely delicious, and so again I couldn’t resist the urge to say it out loud. Over the years, it’s seemed to happen each and every time I try a new take on the classic cut. Dry-cured pastrami, thin-sliced corned beef, Texas-style barbecued—you name it. They’ve all floored me.

So when I learned that fellow brisket enthusiast Jimmy Carbone of NYC’s Jimmy’s No. 43 was hosting a cook-off to celebrate the versatile beef, I couldn’t help but dream up what some of NYC’s most experienced meat lovers would enter into the contest.

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How to Stock a Latin Pantry

Chile’s merquén is a key spice in Latin American cooking.

When I decided to delve into Latin American cooking as a young adult, I realized I would have to build my pantry from scratch. Reaching back to my memories of cooking Cuban food with my grandparents, I began to stock it with the things I used to reach for instinctively. Going further, I added a few items I have found along the way that weren’t strictly part my grandparents Cuban pantry but seemed to fit right in.

Still, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to come up with a list of only the essential items for a Latin pantry. I worried what I might be leaving out but didn’t want to include specialty items that may find themselves neglected after one use (like the adzuki beans, pistachio oil, and purple yam powder now taking up precious cupboard space) . I tried to include the items that lend themselves to the largest array of recipes and dishes.  Mostly, I wanted to pull together a list of ingredients that make me feel at home no matter where I find myself.

A glimpse inside my crowded pantry.

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Welcome to Tuscany!

First order of business: Let's eat!

Welcome to my home! Let me introduce you to the family… ‘Mamma’ Annalisa, who taught me to cook most of what I feed my family. ‘Nonna’ Lola, who taught my mother. ‘Babbo’ Leonardo, who one day got me in from of the fireplace and said “Ok, let’s cook dinner!” And my brother Fabio, the very first person I ever cooked for.

It is not easy to describe how I feel each time I go back home to Tuscany, now that I have spent about a decade in the US. Tuscany is actually not my home anymore, wherever Debi and the girls are, that is my home now… in this sense I truly feel like an immigrant!

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Sifted: Special Cupcake Edition

Cupcake Linkage were liking:

  • Beautiful, bizarre and breathtaking… Food2’s Cupcake Challenge — Food2
  • Cupcakes Push Pops push the limits of the cupcake universe — Love From The Oven
  • Host a Cupcake Fondue Party! — Chickabug
  • Going undercover: Cupcakes in disguise — Our Best Bites

Got a sudden cupcake craving? Feast your eyes on one-of-a-kind cupcakes from Unique Eats.

Have your own recipe to share? Enter Cooking Channel’s first-ever Recipe Contest for a chance to win a trip to NYC!

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By the Book: Sustainable Cooking Every Day from River Cottage

River Cottage Bloody Mary Burgers

River Cottage Every Day's Bloody Mary Burger is a zesty, whimsical twist on an old fave.

In the British television series, River Cottage, sustainable foods advocate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall lives in a rural cottage and feeds his family and friends from his garden and off the land. Fresh, seasonal and local ingredients are the key to his food philosophy, but don’t worry, River Cottage Every Day isn’t for foragers, gardeners and butchers (at least not exclusively). Here he shares recipes and tips for incorporating fresh foods into busy lifestyles, course by course, and meal by meal. These are the practical dishes that Hugh feeds his three kids, takes to work for lunch (there’s a whole chapter on lunch boxes) and whips up for weeknight dinners and Sunday suppers. From quick to slow-cooking and healthful to decadent, each chapter has it all – there’s a recipe to match your day.

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Pix Potluck: Banana Muffins with Coconut Flour

Thank you Yury Shteyn for sharing your awesome pic with us on Facebook.

We are curious how these banana muffins turned out, especially considering you used coconut flour. In our mind, anything with sprinkles counts as having turned out pretty well.

Question to Cooking Channel fans:  What substitutions do you like to make when baking, to give something your own personal twist?

Tell us below.

More on muffins and sharing:

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The Top 10 Reasons to Get Excited for Spring

Spring has sprung, officially. Which means that produce options open right up — not unlike windows in homes everywhere — as freshly grown produce floods the marketplace. While it was nice to eat apples, squash, potatoes and onions all winter, it’s no doubt time to wave goodbye and welcome a new round of delectable fruits and vegetables.  Here’s a round-up of the 10 spring superstars we’re psyched to see arriving in the next couple of months, and some great recipes to make the most of them.

10. Asparagus

Asparagus Wrapped in Proscuitto With Beurre Blanc (above)

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi

Spinach-Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Proscuitto and Asparagus

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Cooking Channel’s First Recipe Contest — Enter Now!

Do you have the best burgers around?

Are your brownies unbeatable? Do you serve a salad that rocks? Are your sandwiches supreme? We’re holding our first ever Cooking Channel recipe contest and we’re looking for your perfect recipe. Enter now for an opportunity to win a trip to New York City and meet Cooking Channel’s Kelsey Nixon!

Craving more details? Here you go:

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Rock Out with Nadia G. on Saturday, SIRIUS-ly

Sure, Bitchin’ Kitchen host Nadia G. sizzles in the kitchen. But did you know she’s got a mean playlist, too? (And the musical taste of several rock gods, plus three unicorns, combined?)

This Saturday at 7pm ET, your mistress of the kitchen is taking over SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s Faction station (on channel 28), and hitting hard with a menu of tasty tracks. Be sure to tune in for fresh favorites and a head-bangin’ good time.

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Baking Croissants with Sarabeth Levine

Sarabeth Levine's Croissants

Notice the layers in this side shot of Sarabeth Levine's perfectly flaky croissants, from her book Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours.

Sarabeth's BakeryI once considered signing up for a croissant-making class but I decided to buy a cookbook instead. Then I bought more cookbooks and subscribed to more magazines and I bookmarked recipe after recipe online, and still I had never baked croissants. . . I’m quite the recipe hoarder. But when I flipped through my latest cookbook acquisition, Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours (recently nominated for a 2011 James Beard Award), I was inspired to chat with Sarabeth Levine about the secrets to making those flaky, buttery croissants I occasionally snagged from her bakery in Chelsea Market.

“You have to flip to the first pages of my book and make them,” said Sarabeth, when we met and I blurted out the truth about my croissant-making procrastination. She explained that most people are intimidated by the final product, but croissants really aren’t that difficult to make. They only take a few ingredients and time-wise, you spend most of your time waiting for the dough to chill, freeze and proof. “Making a pound cake takes more focus,” she said.

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