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Archive for April, 2012

Cookbook Giveaway: My Pizza

Make classic Boscaiola Pie with Jim Lahey's no-knead crust, topped with sausage, mushrooms and red onions.

Besides doughnuts, pizza is my all-time favorite food. When I got Jim Lahey’s cookbook My Pizza, my husband and I were inspired to make homemade pizza the next night – and again the week after – because this is simply the best pizza you can make at home.

As pizza connoisseurs know, the secret to great pizza is amazing crust – flavorful with good chew, crisp in some places, charred in others. It’s no surprise that Jim, famous for his simple no-knead bread method (detailed in his first book, My Bread) and founder of New York City’s Sullivan Street Bakery and pizza restaurant Co., knows how to make fabulous crust. The no-knead method takes minimal effort and allows flavor to develop slowly as the dough rests. It’s pure genius. And once you’ve mastered the crust, Jim’s creative, fresh toppings are just icing on the cake (or pie, in this case).

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Thirsty Thursday: Bourbon Tea Punch with Citrus Ice Cubes

Bourbon Tea Punch

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.

Toast to tea when you’re winding down this evening with a glass that takes the English breakfast variety and pairs it with fresh fruit, brandy and bourbon. Full to the brim with bright citrus, like orange, lemon and lime, it’s exactly the sort of drink you’ll want when in need of a little late in the day pick-me-up. Plus, the individually frozen citrus slices mean the ice cubes double as colorful garnishes.

That’s right, tea time just got serious.

Bottoms up, folks.

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Dinner Party Duo Heads to Texas in “Married With Dishes”

Tamara Reynolds and husband Karl

Married With Dishes - Tamara Reynolds and her husband, Karl.

Tamara Reynolds (whom you may recognize from Unique Eats) and her husband, Karl, have been hosting an underground Sunday Night Dinner at their Queens apartment for nearly eight years. Needless to say, the couple are used to cooking for a crowd under pressure. But what happens when Cooking Channel sends them down to Fredericksburg, Texas to put on a homegrown feast for the Lone Star State in the new special Married With Dishes?

“Guerilla warfare,” Tamara says.  “It’s a stressful cooking situation, as you’ll see. Top Chef’s got nothing on me.”

The pair was given 12 hours to find a location, source ingredients and invite total strangers to a dinner that embodied Texas while still staying true to the area’s (and Tamara’s) German roots.

“There’s a whole German community in the middle of Hill Country in Texas,” she says. “I had no idea.”

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Sifted: Nat’l Grilled Cheese Month, Pizza Central and Corn Dog Tots

Tastespotting's Fried Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese is perfect for National Grilled Cheese Month!

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. National Grilled Cheese month: Tastespotting’s outrageous fried chicken and waffle grilled cheese is sweet, salty, crunchy and gooey all at once.
  2. Pizza Central: The New York Times has answers for the perfect crust, homemade cheese, drink pairings, pie trends, plus a crusade for the calzone. We can’t stop clicking!
  3. Admit it — we all crave kid food sometimes. A Cozy Kitchen’s recipe for corn dog tots is the perfect indulgence and will bring back sweet memories from years down yonder.
  4. Heard of chickpea flatbreadThe Kitchn shows you how to make socca, a naturally gluten-free snack that’s sweet, crispy and little smoky.
  5. DIY: Ditch the instant pudding mix and make your own! The Brown Eyed Baker uses it to make her cake recipes “melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.”

Craving more?

Alton Brown’s corn dog recipe has a bold kick from cayenne pepper and jalapeños. Michael Chiarello turns the calzone into dessert with chocolate. And our pizza recipe collection will have help you achieve pizzeria-quality pie in your kitchen tonight!

Happy National Cheese Ball Day!

cheese ball
Of all the food holidays, National Cheese Ball Day is my favorite. Cheese balls are the most festive and versatile of foods in the cheese category; they’re customizable, like a grilled cheese sandwich or cheesy dip, but also malleable. Can you turn your sandwich into a feathery bird that will stand up on tiny feet? No, you cannot.

To make a cheese ball, you don’t really need any special equipment nor any fancy cooking skills. You can use a stand mixer to blend everything together, but you can also mash it all up in a bowl using a spatula.

Here are a few of my favorite cheese ball creations:

Spring Chick Cheese Ball: This base for this cheese ball is made from the classic blend of cream cheese, cheddar, shallots, mustard and Worcestershire. It’s shaped into a stout baby chick and rolled in shredded cheese “feathers.”

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Jeffrey Saad Advances to Finals of Chopped All-Stars

Jeffrey Saad Cooking Channel Chopped All-Stars

Jeffrey Saad spiced, sliced and diced his way to victory, earning him a spot in the Chopped All-Stars Finale.

Last night Jeffrey Saad, host of Cooking Channel’s United Taste of America, claimed victory in Food Network’s Chopped All-Stars, earning him a spot in the final episode on May 6.

The baskets Jeffrey expertly cooked his way through were a challenging mix.

Appetizer:
Pancake mix, strawberry papaya, blue foot mushrooms and precooked chicken feet

Entrée:
Maraschino cherries, peas in the pod, parsley root and tripe

Dessert:
Ostrich eggs, plantains, dried strawberries and galangal

A big congratulations to Jeffrey on his talents, and we wish him all the best in the final episode!

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Giada De Laurentiis Joins the Meatless Monday Movement

giada de laurentiis

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating 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?

Giada DeLaurentiis, host of Everyday Italian, cookbook author, Today Show contributor, wife and mom to 4-year-old Jade, has joined the Meatless Monday movement, preparing meatless meals in her own kitchen, and continuing to offer plenty of veggie-friendly recipes on her show and in her cookbooks.

In her latest cookbook, Weeknights With Giada, she says: “In an effort to eat healthfully and mindfully, we’ve started having Meatless Mondays in our house, which has coincided with my discovering my new favorite ingredient, quinoa. It’s got a nutter texture than rice and is higher in protein, which is great for vegetarian-friendly meals like quinoa with purple Peruvian potatoes, green peas, black olives, fresh herbs, lime juice and a little agave.”

Eat like you’re a member of Giada’s family tonight: Try the Quinoa and Purple Potato Salad Giada’s so crazy about, or one of Giada’s many meatless recipes.

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Homemade Pantry

With The Homemade Pantry cookbook you can skip buying packaged snack cakes at the grocery store and instead bake up these homemade beauties.

Reading Alana Chernila’s description of lasagna night at her house in The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making was enough to make me add rennet (for cheese making) to my shopping list. She describes pulling her own warm mozzarella, as fresh tomato sauce bubbles on the stovetop and homemade lasagna noodles hang waiting, all while wrangling her two young daughters. When she contrasts her dinner to the idea of a convenient tin of frozen pasta, there’s no doubt which one I’d rather cozy up to.

Alana began making pantry staples at home because of a tight budget, but soon found how rewarding it could be — the food is better for you, it tastes better, it usually costs less, it eliminates packaging and it makes you think about food in a different, more connected way. With her new cookbook Alana is sharing her enthusiasm for cooking and her tried-and-true recipes. So you’ll be able to stop buying and start making one thing this week, another the next and before you know it, you’ll be having your own messy food adventures.

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Happy National Grilled Cheese Month


Happy National Grilled Cheese Month. Why does this food holiday fall in April, you ask. Why not? But do you really need an excuse to consume a buttery cheese-filled sandwich alongside a bowl of creamy tomato soup?

The grilled cheese is so much more than the single slice American cheese sandwiches of your elementary school days. Now you can find all sorts of cheeses, meats and even fruit in between slices of crispy bread. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Thirsty Thursday: When Vodka Gets Weird

Peanut Butter and Jelly Vodka

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.

When I heard that Van Gogh Vodka was launching a peanut butter and jelly-flavored vodka, I was surprised to find out that, well, I wasn’t really surprised at all. The concept alone should have been cringe-worthy, but I barely flinched, even with a description like this:

“While the fragrance is predominantly of peanuts, it is complemented by the fresh fruit aroma of the raspberry.  On the tongue, the roles are reversed and the raspberry flavor is more of the focal point, giving it a velvety texture with a hint of vanilla on the side.”

Why wasn’t I surprised? Because sipping on spiked PB & J doesn’t sound as strange when you consider that marshmallow, cookie dough and whipped cream-flavored vodkas already exist. On the current trajectory, I wouldn’t even be surprised if the whole cupcake craze found its way into a… wait, that already happened? Sounds like it’s about time we surveyed the further reaches of today’s flavored vodka landscape. Below, our top 5 outrageous finds.

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