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Archive for April, 2014

Hump Day Snack: Devil’s Fire Cupcakes

It’s Hot + Spicy Week on Cooking Channel. So let the bright candy flames be your fair warning: these innocent-looking chocolate cupcakes have a devilish side. Disguised with a shiny chocolate ganache, this recipe for Devil’s Fire Chocolate Cupcakes sizzles with a handful of minced habaneros – the petite orange chile peppers that pack an unbeatably spicy punch. When eaten, the cupcakes leave a tingly sensation on the tip of your tongue, similar to the sweet heat of cinnamon red hot candies. Use food coloring and your favorite recipe for royal icing to create the fiery decorations to place on top of the cupcakes. If you still haven’t had enough, add the habanero seeds to the batter to satisfy the most daring heat-seekers of them all.

For more sure-fire ways to sneak some heat into your sweets, check out some of Cooking Channel’s favorite spicy treats:

Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Ingredient Hunting in Italy

There is no doubt that while in Italy, truffles might be one of the most-precious ingredients you can come across. However, as you travel through the Bel Paese, you might also discover that many items can tickle your palate in the most-luxurious way without necessarily being as expensive as truffles.

Every region, province, village or piece of farmland has something special to offer, from the most vibrant produce down south to the most-amazing cheeses on top of the Alps, the fresh, cheap sardines you can buy on the docks in Livorno, and the best (and only) Prosecco in the northeast.

You might argue that hunting for tomatoes is not half as exciting as hunting for truffles, but have you ever scored 2 pounds of ripe San Marzano tomatoes in the middle of August at a roadside stand in Calabria? The moment you bite into that warm fruit you are reminded of your place on Earth!

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Tips and Tricks for a Satisfying Dinner Salad

Salads can be an easy, healthy choice for dinner, as they simply require some basic chopping and mixing (easy) of a heap of vegetables (healthy). The best way to get enough heft from a dinner salad is obvious: Add protein. But when you want a vegetarian dinner salad, it gets a little trickier. Here are the top secrets for making a satisfying salad:

1. Start with hearty greens. Kale, broccoli rabe and spinach are nutrient-packed and substantial alternatives to lettuce. Massaging tougher greens with oil and lemon juice breaks down the thick fibers, making them a manageable base for any toppings.

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This Sandwich Shop Hasn’t Taken Out the Trash in Two Years

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As we all know, human beings create a whole lot of garbage. Much of that trash, actually, comes from eating. Everything we buy has a box that needs to be thrown away, as well as the waste of the food items themselves (egg shells, etc.) This waste production increases exponentially when you throw a restaurant into the mix. However, one restaurant has managed to go completely, one-hundred percent waste free.

Chicago’s Sandwich Me In hasn’t taken the trash out in two years, due to the fact that there isn’t any. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is the credo here. The restaurant runs on sustainable energy and the food is locally sourced and delivered in minimal packaging. This goes double when it comes to the food itself. Every part of each ingredient is used and not thrown away. The chicken bones become broth and the skin is crisped and added to salads.

However, it’s not completely trash free. They have managed to create approximately eight gallons of garbage, in two years. The owner says it is primarily made of stuff coming from outside, Starbucks cups and the like.

Dinner Rush! Italian Patty Melts

Is 30 minutes too long to wait for a burger? Not if that burger is a patty melt. There’s a reason this beauty is a staple of diner menus from coast to coast. If a grilled cheese sandwich and a hamburger had a baby with French onion soup-like tendencies, this is what the kid would look like.

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Sifted: Neapolitan Macarons, Matcha Mint Julep + More

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

1. It’s hard to go wrong with the classic combination of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — Make Bake Celebrate elevates the ice-cream-truck trio into these playful Neapolitan macarons.

2. The Bojon Gourmet gives her Derby Day julep an Asian spin and a gorgeous green color with a spoonful of matcha powder.

3. Hot buns! These yeasty, golden-brown Hawaiian rolls by Milk and Honey are lightly sweetened with pineapple juice.

4. A Cozy Kitchen’s dreamy creamsicle chiffon pie channels our favorite summer ice pop with fresh-squeezed juice, a dash of orange liqueur and plenty of zest.

5. Gear up for Cinco de Mayo with How Sweet Eats‘ adobo-and-lime-marinated shrimp tacos, topped with a springy strawberry salsa.

Craving More?

  • Cook up the ultimate fiesta menu with Cooking Channel’s mouthwatering Mexican recipes.
  • Sate your sweet tooth with more all-star cookies, from classic chocolate chip to fluffy French madeleines.

Will the Real General Tso’s Please Stand Up?

On the outside, it’s colorfully glazed and crisp on the edges. It glistens as the tangy, sweet and sticky sauce — laced with a touch of spicy heat — hugs every valley and peak of its crunchy coating. It’s warm, all-pleasing and on the menu of nearly every Chinese food restaurant around the United States. It’s General Tso’s Chicken. (Or General Gau’s, Tsao’s or Gao’s, depending on where you live.) But who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken?

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South African Restaurant Has Small Studio Just for Food Snapshots

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It wasn’t so long ago that taking a picture of food seemed almost ridiculous. Waste an entire shot on that? Well, now that everyone in the world has a high-powered digital camera in their pocket, the idea no longer seems so ridiculous. As a matter of fact, a good portion of the photos posted to sharing sites such as Instagram are food related. Unfortunately, most of them look like crap. One South African restaurant is trying to change all of that.

El Burro restaurant in Cape Town has just unveiled their #Dinnercam. The hashtag is part of the name because, well, the Internet. This machine is designed to give your food the perfect lighting for photographs. You pop it in, set the lighting and snap a pic. The results should not resemble anything like stale off-colored mush. Diners are then encouraged to share the hashtag to receive a free print of their photo. You may be scoffing at the idea of owning a print photo of a burrito but, hey, that actually sounds kind of cool.

Meatless Monday: Derby Day Eats

 

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?

Place your bets and whip out your finest hat — the Kentucky Derby returns in all of its mint julep-soaked glory this Saturday afternoon. While Derby Day usually conjures up images of hot browns and chicken and waffles, vegetarian tea sandwiches are also a longstanding race-day tradition. We’re gearing up for the big run with Nealey Dozier’s elegant pumpernickel wedges, which feature a tangy blue cheese spread studded with walnuts and dried cranberries. Paired with a tall glass of sweet tea or a frosty, bourbon-splashed julep, the stylish bites will likely go just as quickly as the greatest two minutes in sports.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Tea Sandwiches

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Signed Cookbook Giveaway: Debi & Gabriele’s Extra Virgin: Recipes and Love From Our Tuscan Kitchen

Extra Virgin Cookbook As any fan of Cooking Channel’s Extra Virgin knows, for stars Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, a great passion for food and their love for one another are intimately intertwined. Their new cookbook, Extra Virgin: Recipes and Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen (on sale May 6, 2014), paints a road map of their romance through recipes – the fried squash blossoms Gabriele made for Debi on their first date; the farro salad Gabriele’s mother made for Debi upon their first meeting – offering as many glimpses into their warm lives as authentic Italian dishes. As Debi puts it in the book’s introduction, in “meeting and falling for Gabriele, I discovered how much great food also comes from a desire to feed the ones you love.”

As their story goes, Gabriele introduced Debi to the fresh, produce-driven dishes and rustic cooking style from his native Tuscany, and together they celebrate a bicoastal, bicontinental fusion of Tuscan influence, California freshness and Debi’s New York heritage in their cooking. They happily spoil loved ones (most especially daughters Evelina and Giulia) with inspired, flavorful meals and encourage viewers (and now readers) to do the same. Start with the Heirloom Tomato Caprese shown on the cover, and make your way through to understated Mascarpone and Amaretti Cups for dessert. The chapters are cleanly organized in the order you’d consume the dishes: Appetizers, Pastas and Sauces, Salads, Meat, Fish and so on (Gabriele is such a fan that risotto has its own dedicated section) so you can easily mix and match courses in your own Tuscan buffet.

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