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Archive for August, 2011

Your Top Picks: Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It’s Friday. Or maybe it’s Saturday. Either way, you’re having a dinner party. Normally that means friends or family, sometimes even both. But what if you could invite over one Cooking Channel chef or host for the evening? That’s the question we posed to Cooking Channel fans last week.

From United Tastes of America host Jeffrey Saad to Debi and Gabriele from Extra Virgin, and Kelsey Nixon to the Two Fat Ladies, your 400+ responses spanned the entire gamut of Cooking Channel stars. After reading your list and checking it twice, we narrowed it down to the top 5 most dinner-worthy chefs. Who made the cut? Read on to find out.

Invite #1: Chuck Hughes (pictured above)
Whether it’s the suave, Montreal accent, boyish good looks or laid back vibe, one thing’s for sure: Chef Chuck Hughes is in high demand. With so many stars to choose from, nabbing a quarter of the votes is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what Chuck did. Champion of the legendary turducken, Chuck has also happens to shuck a mean oyster. If you’re going to have him over for dinner though, you may want to consider cooking up one of his top recipes.

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Cooking Channel Treat Truck Hits West Coast with Special Guests

What does Chuck do on his day off?  Eat ice cream, of course.

Cooking Channel’s Frozen Treat Truck hits the west coast this week, with a couple surprise guests in tow. Chuck Hughes from Chuck’s Day Off, Jeffrey Saad from United Tastes of America, and Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos from Extra Virgin will make special appearances to taste the local ice cream flavors, and meet you, the fans!

Here’s the full schedule:

Thurs, Sep 1 — Seattle
11am-5pm at Westlake Center
Serving:  Molly Moon’s Ice Cream
Meet Chuck Hughes 1-3pm

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Meatless Monday: Panzanella

Today’s better-than-meat meal for Meatless Monday is panzanella, an Italian bread and tomato salad. When I was a kid, summer meals in my Italian family included garden-fresh tomato salad, and if you finished all of your dinner, you’d get to sop up the garlicky tomato juice with Italian bread. (Summer meals were also eaten in the garage — garage door removed and replaced with a screen — a tradition I still don’t understand.) I didn’t hear about panzanella until I was grown up (and no longer eating in garages), but panzanella is the same idea, except the salad is served with the bread right in it. It soaks up the juices, and you don’t have to finish the rest of your meal to reap the rewards.

Panzanella is a great way to use up all of the summer tomatoes that are flooding the markets and overflowing in backyard gardens, and it’s also a good use for the stale bread that’s sitting on the counter from the weekend. The only other ingredients you’ll need are onions, oil, vinegar and basil, but you can add your favorite stuff to your salad, like peppers, cucumbers or fresh mozzarella.

David Rocco’s Panzanella comes together in minutes with just 6 ingredients (plus salt and pepper), but it’s best made ahead so the flavors meld.

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Georgia Roadtrip With G. Garvin

G Garvin

Get ready to hit the road with host G. Garvin and watch him explore the best Southern eats Georgia has to offer, from smoking hot grilled ribs and creamy grits with shrimp to from-scratch blueberry pies.

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Brunch @ Bobby’s is Back

Bobby Flay

Get ready for some serious lazy-morning meals: Brunch @ Bobby’s is back for it’s second season, and Bobby Flay is dishing up strictly deliciousness.

Whet your appetite with a look at what’s coming up this season:

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Friday Food Fight: Corn-Tomato Salad

Mark Bittman and Kelsey Nixon

Who makes a better summer corn-and-tomato salad — Mark or Kelsey?

Welcome to Friday Food Fight, where we pit two similar recipes against each other and leave it to you, Cooking Channel fans, to tell us which you like better — or why your own take on the dish beats them both!

This week, we’ve got two takes on an August favorite: the corn-and-tomato salad. Both are at their peak right now, so we turned to foolproof recipes from Mark Bittman and Kelsey Nixon to take full advantage of the summer produce bounty before it’s too late.

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Make Your Own Bourbon Peach Butter

Peach Butter You know you want to make this delicious, booze-spiked peach butter.

Eating a ripe, juicy peach is one of summer’s best gifts. (Thanks, summer!) But — and I hate to be the one to bring this up — these little balls of edible sunshine aren’t going to be around forever. Savor delicious summer peaches on a dreary winter day (or next week, at least) by making this booze-and-spice-spiked peach butter. Here’s how you do it.

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Condiment Crackdown: Cooking Channel Fans Like Their Hot Sauce

Sriracha

Photo: Roberto Ferdman

It all started last week when Liz’s post on the charms of chili paste prompted an all out what’s-in-your-pantry comment war. Cooking Channel fans dauphin and JohnE O began by seeing who had more mustard containers, before moving on to types of miso, tricks for homemade ketchup and even a recipe for sweet hot chili garlic sauce.

All the sweet condiment banter got us thinking: what are Cooking Channel fans squeezing, spreading and dousing onto their favorite foods at home? So we called out to see what all your favorite condiments were. 150+ responses later, we liked what we saw. Did good ‘ol ketchup reign king this time? Did sambal oelek and nouc cham make the cut? You’ll have to read on to find out. But let’s just say condiments seem to be a pretty hot topic right now.

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How To Make Fresh Corn Tamales

Tamales Recipe

I was determined to make tamales this summer but kept hearing that the corn piling up at the markets wasn’t the “right” kind. Sweet and bursting maybe, but not the starchy field corn needed to make traditional tamales. Though they can be made year round using cornmeal, masa harina or tamal flour specially made for the purpose, it seemed a shame to make the same tamales in July that I could have in December.

I was about to go the all-maseca route when I tried a Guatemalan tamal from a street vendor. Sweet, airy and topped only with crema and fresh cheese, it had the delicate flavor of the white summer corn crowding the farm stands. Known as tamales de elote in Mexico and Central America, humitas in the Andes, and green corn tamales in the States, these fresh corn tamales could be made with domestic corn and just a small amount of masa harina to approximate the taste and texture of starchier varieties. Though savory fillings can be added like shredded pork or chicken, they’re wonderful just on their own blended with fast melting cheese like Oaxaca or Monterey Jack and green onions. With every part of the corn, from the husks to the kernels to the cobs, imparting their own shades of flavor, you can savor everything the season has to offer while it lasts.

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Pesto, Six Ways

pesto

Huge bunches of basil are readily available at the market right now, and the giant leaves make the perfect base for a classic summer spread: pesto. You can use pesto as a quick pasta sauce, a topping for pizza or simply as a dip for grilled bread. Try David Rocco’s classic Pesto Genovese, which uses basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. But basil isn’t a requirement for this delicious summer staple. Check out  a few more fun pesto combinations below.

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