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Archive for July, 2011

Veggie Bliss on Kelsey’s Essentials

Kelsey Nixon

Today on Kelsey’s Essentials, it’s all about celebrating vegetables. Don’t get Kelsey Nixon wrong: She loves a good steak as much as the next person. But with so many fresh, seasonal vegetables available at the market, why not build a summer dinner around them?

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What’s Food Day?

food day
Have you heard of Food Day? The first ever Food Day is on October 24th, 2011. It’s similar to Earth Day, but focused on food and “eating real.”

Led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is a grassroots movement made up of individuals and organizations passionate about promoting a healthy, sustainable, and just food system. The movement has 5 basic principles, and is committed to:

Granizado de Mango y Maracuyá, or Mango Shaved Ice

Mango Shaved Ice Recipe

Though increasingly rare, it’s always exciting during the summer to come across an old-fashioned push cart making granizados, the shaved ice cones drenched in an array of bottled syrups in supernatural colors. It’s hard to match the evenly textured, disappearing flakes that street vendors can pull from a single block of ice in a rickety cart on a sweltering corner. But granizados can be made at home, with any combination of pureed fruits and juices: spiced, spiked and sweetened to taste just like an Italian granita.

Instead of breaking up chunks of ice or burning out a blender, the flavored liquid is set to chill in a shallow baking pan then broken up as the ice crystals form; it is redistributed until the mixture is uniformly slushy and all around refreshing. This weekend I tried a few variations but my favorite was a combination of mango and passion fruit, sweet and sour with a brush of mint for a last bite of cold. If you’d rather leave the serious shaving to professionals, American snow cones, Mexican raspados, Puerto Rican piraguas, and even Korean patbingsu can be sought out, but you’ll miss the fun of coming up with your own favorite flavors and textures.

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All in a Hard Day’s Work

Ben Sargent

Surfing, scuba diving, sunshine and sea urchins in San Diego: now we’re talkin’.

It was time to move on from the cold weather, burly man stuff. I wanted sunshine and surf and that’s just what I got in beautiful San Diego. The first thing I discovered is I need to work on my West Coast surfer lingo — “gnarly,” “rad” and “hella cool” are in frequent use. I also discovered my actual surfing skills could use some work. Compared to the locals, I was totally not “one with the ocean” that day at all.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Food From Many Greek Kitchens

Pork Skewers

Skewer up some oregano-spiced pork for a Greek feast courtesy of Tessa Kiros' new cookbook, Food from Many Greek Kitchens.

Food from Many Greek Kitchens CookbookCraving a fantastic summer vacay? Escape to Greece and eat like a native with Food from Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros. Not only does she bring the flavors of the Mediterranean into our kitchens, Tessa is a great cultural tour guide, delving into classic culinary traditions and dishes. And along with the 200+ recipes and engaging writing, snapshots of home kitchens and local markets vividly illustrate the bright, sun-soaked food paradise of Greece.

Get your culinary get-away started with a mixture of menzedes, or shared appetizers – flavorful bites like Tomato Fritters, Peppers Stuffed with Feta and Fried Calamari.

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Georgia Peach ‘n’ Honey Cobbler

Southern Peach Cobbler Recipe

During my hot childhood summers in Alabama, my dad would drive dusty county roads to get freshly picked produce from a farmer living out in the sticks. He sold his veggies straight out of the back of a beat up Chevy pickup, and he even wore dirty overalls and a wide-brimmed hat. His baskets were piled high with summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, okra, watermelons, peaches and plums. We’d ravage a giant bag of salty boiled peanuts on the ride home and then get straight to work on a batch of homemade peach ice cream. Not a bad way to spend those dog days.

But my crazy peach obsession didn’t actually reach its peak until I moved to sunny California. My former boss was the proud mom of an adopted peach tree outside of Fresno, and the last month of August turned into what one might call a peach free-for-all. My work duties for about a week or two entailed peeling, canning, pickling, baking and snacking on all of those delicious Elbertas. (Tough job, right?) During that time I mastered a fiery peach chutney recipe that still makes an annual appearance in my holiday gift baskets.

Now that I’m back in Georgia – a.k.a. the Peach State – I’m taking full advantage of this famous summer bounty. My current favorite way to enjoy peaches is sliced and served with a dollop of tangy goat cheese and salty prosciutto, piled high onto grilled sourdough and sprinkled with a rich, fruity olive oil. Oh my, my. But there’s only so many tasty ways to eat raw peaches before the pile on your counter starts to get a little too ripe. And then it’s time to make peach cobbler.

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Cook with Kelsey, Ben, Roger and More in Atlantic City

How would you describe your ultimate summer weekend getaway? Spending some time on the beach, browsing a charming boardwalk and indulging in plenty of delicious seaside food? How about spotting celeb chefs and attending over 30 parties, food and beverage seminars, cooking demonstrations and tastings?

The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival — sponsored by the Food Network since 2010 — offers all these enticing escapes during three days of sweet, savory and booze-filled fun. From July 28 to July 31 (starting with back-to-back parties on the evening of the 28th) you’ll have the opportunity to mingle, drink and dine with over 20,000 food people.

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Can’t Beat the Heat? Eat It!

Chile peppers are a common heat source in spicy foods—but eat them raw with caution.

As blistering-red heat advisories flash across our TV screens, the question of how to cool down during a high heat index becomes all-consuming. Air conditioning and water immersion aside, we’re advised by wide-eyed medical experts to drink lots of water, stay in the shade and dress smartly. But here at Cooking Channel, we prefer to remedy our woes with food (and drink), so we turn to the kitchen for cues on staying cool as cukes.

While a good frozen drink or dessert will give your esophagus goosebumps, there are only so many icy, slushy treats you can down before spiking your blood-sugar-level through the roof. Instead, reach for some chiles, red pepper flakes or wasabi, and plan to heat up your body with some solid, spicy food.

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One Ice Cream Base, Endless Flavor Combinations

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I always make a big batch of vanilla ice cream and then mash other ingredients into it to create new flavors. This way I can tailor the ice cream to the dessert I am serving or the mood I am in. I start with a really great custard base, which is lusciously smooth, dense and has a silky texture. The flavor should be rich, but not too buttery (greasy) and I always start my “French custard” ice cream base with vanilla bean — there really isn’t a flavor that it doesn’t complement.

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I’ll Have the Salad Sandwich

Antipasto Salad Sandwich

“I’ll have the salad,” feels so good to say. But whenever I do, I quietly wonder if the growling of my stomach will outpace my crunching. When meeting a friend for lunch, or going out to dinner with my amazingly svelte mother-in-law, salad seems inevitable. When sitting around a table in the summer dusk, a dinner salad is the world’s most perfect thing; an ode to what’s fresh where you are, an invitation to use a single plate, a reason to eat more raw vegetables than one otherwise might. To linger over such a salad feels like the good life.

Not so if I am in a rush, or urgently hungry, or both which happens many a weekday lunch.

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