Archive for June, 2013

Heatin’ Up The Kitchen: Hotels That Offer Cooking Classes

If you love cooking, it follows that you may also enjoy it on vacation — especially if you have a master chef offering instructions. Plus, the best part of going to a cooking class? You don’t have to do the cleanup! Check out awesome hotels across the States (and one in Berlin because, well, why not?!) that offer on-site cooking lessons.

Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga.

One of the Savannah’s top luxury hotels, the Mansion on Forsyth also boasts one of the city’s top attractions: its on-site cooking classes at the 700 Kitchen Cooking School. In classes of no more than 15 students, the hotel’s culinary director, Chef Darin Sehnert, teaches everyone from novices to (at least self-proclaimed) experts. Though different classes focus on a variety of cuisines, such as Italian and Caribbean, the most popular are the low country cuisine classes, where menus include delectable delights such as Low Country Crab Stew, Angel Biscuits and Green Tomato Cobbler. Classes are available for lunch and dinner; most last three hours and cost $100/person.

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July 4th Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

While drops of food coloring will enhance the layers of this patriotic July 4th cheesecake, its stripes are tinted naturally with seasonal flavors: red raspberry, white vanilla bean and blue blueberry. The fresh blueberry topping is held together with just enough gelatin to give it a gorgeous, glossy look and to make it easy to cut. In order to achieve the clean layers you’ll need to have some time to let each one set, so plan in advance. It is super easy and completely worth the extra time to present such a fun dessert at your holiday party.

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Easy Summer Cookout Playlist

Summer will be over before you know it, so it’s important to kick back, relax and soak in the sun with your family.

Couple great recipes for Tequila Lime Shrimp Skewers, Grilled Tuscan Chicken and Sesame Grilled Asparagus with some of our all-time favorite songs.

These are the ultimate classic chill-out tracks to help you enjoy the days of summer with the ones you love.

Get our full Summer Cookout Menu.

Get more easy summer entertaining tips.

Get 100 Ways to Love Summer.

You can learn more about Andrew and The Beat Advisory at

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25 Ways to Use Fava Beans

Fava beans scare me. Maybe it’s the famous cinematic pairing of fava beans with liver and a nice Chianti that subconsciously haunts me, or maybe it’s the prehistoric-looking pod these buttery beans arrive in. Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are in fact harmless and delicious — ancient, hardy beans that can be found young and fresh during the spring. You can eat the outer skin of very young beans, but as favas mature, that outer skin can become very tannic and is normally removed before eating. Snap off an end and pull the string down the side of the pod to release the beans inside, then gently drop the beans in boiling water for a few minutes, drain under cool running water and remove the skins. Fava beans are an excellent source of folic acid, a good source of potassium and magnesium and they’re also high in fiber. If you’re like me and have been intimidated by the big bad broad bean for too long, try out these 25 fava-filled recipes. In no particular order:

  1. Prepare everything for Mario Batali’s Three Virtue Soup, including the pasta dough the night before you want to eat it, and cook the meat and fava-friendly broth (without the pasta) in a slow cooker throughout the day for a ready-to-eat weeknight homemade meal.
  2. Make a batch of Bobby Flay’s Fava Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Shaved Manchego Cheese for a quick and simple side dish.
  3. It’s all Greek to me! Cat Cora’s fresh stuffed pasta recipe — Hilopites: Egg Pasta with Fava Bean, Feta and Mint Stuffing — will have everyone saying, “Opa!”
  4. Anne Burrell adds the slightly bitter green, escarole, to her super springy Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad, which pairs well with the buttery fava.
  5. Be sure to season your fried food with a bit of salt as soon as it comes out of the hot oil, like Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Fava Bean Fritters with Lemon Minted Yogurt. (pictured above)

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Breading for the Perfect Fried Crust

Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Jenny Bierman, Culinary Producer, Food Network Kitchens
School: Institute of Culinary Education, 2009

Confession: When I started breading things for frying, I always wound up with a weird pasty mush all over everything because my wet and dry ingredients were mixing with each other, resulting in a terrible fried crust. When I learned to keep one hand for the wet ingredients and one hand for the dry ingredients, I was introduced to a whole new world of breading. No more goopy, floury egg everywhere —just a crispy nice crust and clean(er) hands.

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET

More Cooking Fundamentals

More Confessions of a Culinary Student

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Today in Food Tech: Wine-Infused Popcorn and Mess-Repellant Spray

Once, not so long ago, there was a time when we had to eat regular popcorn and try our darnedest not to spill spaghetti sauce all over us. Now, thanks to the magic of technology, those days are gone like the culinary wind. Here is some cool food tech.

First up, something snacky. For too long popcorn has remained stubbornly free of wine. Now, thank goodness, NYC’s Populence has teamed up with wine maker Kim Crawford to create two grape-heavy popcorn flavors. Each flavor also has a suggested wine pairing, which tells me you can’t get drunk on popcorn alone. Drat.

Next, slobs of the world unite and take over. There is now a spray that allows us to eat as slovenly as we darn well please. Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet spray turns your clothes into magical mess-repelling cloaks of wonderment. Of course, the food goo will now slide right off of you and hit the floor so you are gonna have to invest in a better mop. (see it in action after the jump.)

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Thirsty Thursday: Frosty the Palmer, a Snowcone Cocktail

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.

By my account, it’s too hot to drink a cocktail without ice. Lots and lots of ice. And nothing is quite as cooling and refreshing as a snowcone. Soft slivers of shaved ice doused in sweet syrup is the perfect cure to some summer heat.

Alie and Georgia’s snowcone of a cocktail is made with tea-infused bourbon and limoncello, the beloved Italian lemon liqueur. Combine in a shaker with simple syrup and pour over crushed ice. Serve in the traditional paper cone cups and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, and you’ll have yourself a sophisticated Arnold Palmer snowcone cocktail.

Bottoms up, folks.

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Party in Five: Nautical Backyard BBQ

We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

Typical backyard barbecues are often simple, undecorated affairs. But when you’re going to the effort of planning a menu, a bar and maybe an array of games for your party guests, why not take the time to add some decorative touches that’ll make it feel like a themed event? No imagery is quite as evocative of summertime as nautical elements like ropes, seashells, sand, and blue and white colors. So whether you’re seaside, lounging by a lake or pool, at the park or in your own backyard, you can transform your party space into a beach-inspired retreat. The wistful touches and low-key hands-on menu will transport guests to an instant vacation.

To host this nautical backyard barbecue, you’ll need five essential ingredients:
• a build-your-own burger bar
• classic blue-and-white pinwheels
• seashells (authentic or from a party store)
• paper cones for popcorn (download the template here)
• watermelon wedges

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7 Healthy Burger Toppings

I’m going to start this post with a defense of the burger. While they get a bit of a bad rep, hamburgers can actually be pretty healthy. A 3-oz. burger (at least half the size of the burgers most restaurants serve) has a pretty low amount of calories (184), and it’s an excellent source of iron, zinc, protein and niacin.

But things can start to go downhill in the nutrient department when you top the burger with bacon, cheese, mayo — all extras that drive up the calories and saturated fat content. Keep your burger virtuous with these healthy toppings:

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A Service That Delivers Home-Cooked Meals

Getting delivery food can be great fun, but how many times can one person eat the same burrito or pad Thai?  Sometimes you want something home cooked but not necessarily from a restaurant. Cooking yourself is a great idea, but what if you only know how to make a couple things. A bizarre web service aims to help out in that regard.

It’s called MealKu and, sure, it has one of those Internet start-up names that makes no sense but it’s still a pretty cool idea. Essentially, it’s an aggregate that allows you to order delivery food from home cooks in your area. That would be weird enough on its own, but the whole thing also seeks to be a self-sustaining economy, with every morsel costing “Ku.” These “Ku” are earned by doing various things on the site. Although a monthly membership does cost one dollar. Internet servers do not accept “Ku” yet.

This site may have bitten off more than it can Ku (see what I did there) but once they start serving up stuff like my Aunt’s famous chicken fricassee, I’ll do whatever it takes to earn some fake money.

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