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Archive for March, 2012

Evolution of the Smoothie

Are smoothie bowls the next big trend?

The smoothie is getting a makeover and ditching the straw in favor of the spoon.

Smoothies are best known as “good morning” boosters and post-workout beverages. They’re fun to sip and can be both sweet and nutritious. But the concept of eating a bowl of smoothie for lunch or dinner is a whole new concept to me.

People are now sitting down to feast on “smoothie bowls,” introduced by Robeks Premium Fruit Smoothies. Bloggers have been on top of this trend for a few years now and embraced the concept, referring to the meal as SIAB (Smoothie in a Bowl). But until Robeks, smoothies haven’t been a reason to dine out.  The chain store thickened their recipe, added toppings and threw a spoon into the mix. And people are loving it.

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Don’t Dog, or Dine, Alone

Downward Dining

Photo by Carlos Joval

It’s Friday night, and I’m going out.

In sweatpants.

For this reason alone, I already love Downward Dining. Helmed by professional event planner and recreational yoga-fanatic Jessie Rubin, the L.A.-based monthly dinner series launched in March and sold out its first night. The inaugural Zen + grub event took place on a cavernous white soundstage in Hollywood, where 45 attendees lined up their mats for a 60-minute all-levels yoga class taught by YogaWork’s Sarah Ezrin, who also makes a hell of a playlist.

Doing Eagle pose to a soundtrack of Skrillex is a thing that I never knew was missing in my life. In a word: awesome.

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Meatless Monday: Frittata With Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina

frittata with asparagus

A frittata is a fancy-looking way to clean out your fridge.

Frittata is dish similar to an omelet or a crustless quiche, except that it’s not folded in half (like an omelet), and it’s made in a skillet (instead of the pie plate a quiche is made in). But it’s similar in that its made from eggs and you can add just about anything to it — vegetables, potatoes, even pasta — making it an ideal weeknight meal and also a great way to clean out the fridge. I imagine that frittata was invented 100 years ago by a little Italian grandma, who peered into her icebox and saw just 4 eggs, a hunk of cheese, some withering vegetables. Needing to feed her family, she stretched the ingredients she had into an entire meal, and thus the frittata was born.

Giada’s asparagus frittata is made with sauteed asparagus, tomato and sharp fontina cheese, cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, like an omelet, but once its almost set, the skillet goes under the broiler until its golden. Asparagus is just now coming into season, so it should be available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. If you can’t find it or want to make a frittata with what you have in your fridge, you can substitute broccoli or zucchini.

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Choice Eats: The Best Restaurant Bites in New York City

David's Brisket

This Little Piggy's Pastrami Sandwich

When you put more than 80 of New York City’s top restaurants in one room, they’re going to show off a little. This year’s Village Voice Choice Eats Annual Tasting was no exception. The 69th Regiment Armory was packed to the brim with bites from eateries showcasing the diverse and creative landscape of the city’s cuisine.

All-American brisket sandwiches, ice cream and pulled pork shoulder all made appearances, but so did more ethnic flavors and dishes like Vietnamese style tofu, an arctic char crudo and even powdered olive oil (say what!?).

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook

Make Mad Men-era recipes from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook for Sunday's season premiere, like this Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

If you have Mad Men on the mind in anticipation of this Sunday’s big Season 5 premiere, why not cook up a retro dinner straight out of the era of Don Draper and crew? I know — when you think of immersing yourself into the world of Mad Men, cocktails are what come to mind. But 1960s American food plays an important supporting role in this show, and The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin documents it all, dish by dish, episode by episode.

They include 70 recipes (including cocktails!) from 1960s New York restaurants and housewives’ dinner tables, each including a brief history and a rundown of where and when it appeared in Mad Men. This Sunday, mix up an Old Fashioned, Don’s go-to cocktail and the one he’s drinking in the opening scene of Mad Men (Season 1, Episode 1) — he’s in a smoky bar making notes on a napkin, drinking an Old Fashioned. Make an Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa inspired by the Kennedys, Trudy’s Rib Eye in the Pan with Butter (the one Pete requests in Season 1, Episode 3) and Pineapple Upside Down Cake (like Sal and Kitty on Valentine’s Day, Season 2, Episode 1), plus Deviled Eggs, Waldorf Salad and more beloved favorites.

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Thirsty Thursday: Relax with a Gin Fizz

Gin Fizz

It’s more than just alliteration; it’s a statement, a proclamation that Thursdays are when the weekend should really start. Kicking it off right is the key, and what better way than with a cocktail that not only takes the edge off, but tastes good too. A hard thing to disagree with, we know. Drink up, get down and go to sleep happy.

Building off the defining features of a classic fizz — acidic juice and carbonated water —  Michael Symon makes a cocktail that’s as refreshing as it is majestic. Lemon and lime juice, along with orange flower water infuse each sip with a citrus-sparked tang, while hints of vanilla extract help keep the acid in check. What really sets this exotic sip over the edge, though, is the inclusion of egg whites and half and half, leaving each mouthful silky smooth as it goes down.

Celebrate the onset of warmer weather and longer days with Michael’s unique Gin Fizz.

Bottoms up, folks.

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Five Generations of Crabbing in Smith Island, Maryland

Ben Sargent Pulling Crab Meat

Trying My Hand at Picking Blue Crabs

This week on Hook, Line & Dinner, I get a lesson in what it means to be in the family business. And no, not a Godfather-style family business. I’m talking about the Marshall family’s fifth-generation crabbing business on Smith Island.

Smith Island is a small island in the Chesapeake Bay, just north of Maryland’s border with Virginia. Smith Island has a very small population, and when I first arrived, I felt like I was the only one here. But I soon met up with Dwight Marshall for my lesson in crabbing.

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Nadia G’s Depression Desserts

Nadia G. Depression Desserts

Feeling blue? Nadia cures her woes with dessert (and lots of it)!

Stuffing your face with sweets is always a good cure-all when you’re down in the dumps. You could curl up with a pint of ice cream and call it a night — but we’ve got an even better idea. Whip up one of Nadia G’s decadent desserts and kiss the blues goodbye.

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Sifted: Birthday Doughnuts, Crepe Cupcakes and Carrot Cake Pancakes

Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze by ambrosia

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. Doughnut Fix: These chocolate-glazed and rainbow-sprinkled treats from ambrosia should appease the 12-year-old girl who made headlines this week defaming the plain old doughnut.
  2. While Joy the Baker is known for chocolate confections, we love her “What’s wrong with you!? Stop thinking about pie and waffles!!!”-Super Spinach Smoothie.
  3. Today is California Strawberry Day! It’s the perfect excuse for these strawberry crepe cupcakes from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.
  4. Combine smoked salmon, asparagus and goat cheese for Nectar‘s bright and beautiful quiche.
  5. Dessert for breakfast: smitten kitchen‘s carrot cake pancakes will help satisfy your sweet tooth and kick start a good day.

Celebrate National Ravioli Day

Fried Favioli Recipe Giada de Laurentiis

Turn any ravioli into a delicious snack with Giada's Fried Ravioli recipe.

At Cooking Channel, we’re celebrating National Ravioli Day with a few of our favorite carb-a-licious ravioli recipes — with a twist.

Giada’s ravioli recipe throws caution to the wind — and her ravioli in the fryer! — for an unexpectedly delicious twist on the Italian classic with her Fried Ravioli Recipe (pictured above).

Chuck Hughes’ Short Rib Ravioli and Creamy Mushroom Sauce is a luxuriously rich take on the traditional:

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