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Celebrity Dish: A-list Dinners with David Burtka

David Burtka, Host of Celebrity Dish, with Giuliana and Bill Rancic
You don’t have to be a classically trained chef to own a fabulous restaurant — but an Emmy or a Grammy might not hurt. There’s a new chef in town, and he’s taking us behind the scenes of the country’s best celebrity-owned restaurants for the inside scoop on their favorite A-list drinks and dishes.  Meet David Burtka — host of our brand new special, Celebrity Dish. As a successful actor, father of two, partner to legen(wait for it)…dary TV star Neil Patrick Harris and classically trained chef, David knows a thing or two about juggling fame, family and food,  and he’s on a mission to meet and dine with other fellow  famous foodies.  Whether it’s Hollywood, New York or Utah, tons of music and TV stars are breaking into the food and beverage biz with restaurants all over the country, and David’s paying them all a visit to see which culinary creations and cocktails deserve a standing ovation. Things might get pretty swanky, but you don’t need your name on a VIP list to see inside these glamorous and often exclusive establishments — you’re with us.

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Happy Chinese New Year! and Congrats on Not Being Eaten Alive

Chinese New Year Recipes

Ever wonder who came up with the idea that “everybody’s Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day? Whoever it was, I think most of America owes them a huge thank you, or at least a shot of Jameson. But why stop there? Isn’t it time we open ourselves up to the traditions and cuisines of other cultures — especially when the cuisine is insanely delicious? Today is Chinese New Year and it’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to “be Chinese” for a day.

Tonight at 8pm ET on Ching’s Chinese New Year, host Ching-He Huang will share her “blueprint” for a fun and fortuitous Chinese New Year celebration, giving you the inside scoop on decorations, firecrackers and a mouthwatering Chinese feast that’s sure to bring you good luck in the year of the snake. Now, if you live in a city like San Francisco or New York, chances are you’re somewhat familiar with the loud and colorful festivities of Chinese New Year. (It’s hard to miss a huge red dragon marching down Main Street.) But why all the flare, you ask? It’s a holiday steeped in tradition and superstition, and it all begins with one fantastic legend. Gather around children; it’s story time:

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Time to Turn On the Dark — Welcome to Chocolate Week

Have you noticed how chocolate has become practically synonymous with sinful indulgence?  So much so, that many people fight their chocolate cravings on a daily basis. We talk about chocolate in hushed tones as if it were an illicit affair or dangerous siren, luring us in with its sultry aroma and intoxicating us with its melt-in-your-mouth texture.  And if we dare cave and surrender to our desire … woe to us! For guilt and denial soon follow. Sound familiar?

While I certainly won’t deny its sweet sensuality and earthy addictiveness, chocolate in its original and purest form is anything but sinister—just ask Alton Brown. See unlike the stars of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, we here at Cooking Channel choose to Turn On the Dark. We’re talking dark chocolate, people — heaps and heaps of dark chocolate. Cooking Channel has a full week of rich chocolate-themed shows that will definitely hit the spot. We’re kicking Chocolate Week off at 8pm ET tonight with a Good Eats Special that will make you want to embrace your dark side. I won’t spill all the (cocoa) beans, since I really think you it’s worth staying up for a great episode, but here are a couple of fun factoids to peak your interest. Here’s some food for thought as we kick off Chocolate Week:

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Super Bowl Party Power Plays: Recipes for the Whole Team

Super Bowl Food

Only two days left in the countdown to kickoff. For 49ers and Ravens fans, they’re days filled with nervous anticipation and fervent prayer. Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the one magical day of the year that ardent football fans join forces and break bread with the people who watch The Bachelor on Monday nights. That’s because you don’t have to know football or even like sports to get sucked up in the energy surrounding the event. After all, who doesn’t love incredible commercials? And whether or not Beyoncé lip syncs or has a wardrobe malfunction during the half time show, it’s bound to be superbly entertaining. Nope, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you believe, if you can name all the players or barely distinguish between the two teams—anyone can love the Super Bowl, and most every American does.

The food at Super Bowl parties isn’t just fuel for the fun, it’s half of why you go to Super Bowl parties in the first place.  What other holiday or celebration can you justify eating pizza, chicken wings, six-foot-long subs, nachos and oh, so many beers all in one sitting? It’s unapologetic indulgence and it’s awesome. That being said, whether you’re hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this Sunday, it’s important to choose the dishes and beverages you serve with intention.  Regardless of how invested you are in the game, the execution of super snacking is a team effort, and everyone’s got to do their part.

Not sure what to bring or make? Start by figuring out what “position” you play at your Super Bowl party, and then choose one of these sure-fire recipe “power plays” to cook up before the game. Trust us, this is one unbeatable starting lineup.

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Lee Anne Wong’s Food Crawl, Starring Pretzel Dumplings

Pretzel Dumplings

We’ve all been on pub crawls (perhaps more often than we’d admit), but what about a legit food crawl? Enter Lee Anne Wong. When she has a craving for dumplings and noodles, she doesn’t just face her craving—she goes running after it with reckless abandon. Tonight at 8pm ET on Cooking Channel, Lee Ane Wong takes her love of Asian food to the streets of New York with her one-hour special Food Crawl with Lee Anne Wong where she finds a treasure trove of savory Asian treats in every corner of the city.

Lee Anne has that distinct ability to make everything she puts in her mouth seem like miracles sent from heaven. Her enthusiasm for food is contagious, and generally speaking I’d be all too happy to “have what’s she having.” But one particular dumpling on her crawl really got my attention and my stomach grumbling. Meet the Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumpling with Tahini Mustard Dipping Sauce courtesy of Talde in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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Living the Dream in Monte Carlo

Giada tries her hand at risky roulette in the ritzy and romantic city of Monte Carlo.

There are those cities that, when you visit them, it feels less like real life and more like you were dropped into someone’s fantasy or else the picturesque set of a romantic comedy.  Monte Carlo is definitely one of those cities. Luxurious hotels, elaborate architecture, world class restaurants, sports cars that would make James Bond drool and to top it all off, both the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea as its scenic backdrop: welcome to paradise. If you’re having trouble picturing this dazzling and dreamy destination, than join your equally classy tour-guide Giada De Laurentiis tonight at 8pm ET as she takes us along for a tour of this romantic and royal town on Giada in Paradise: Monte Carlo.

One of her first stops is the cocktail bar at the Columbus hotel. Known as the place to “see and be seen in Monaco,” this classically cool bar boasts an outstanding cocktail list, including the infamous Cocktail Grace.  Named after the beautiful and beloved actress turned princess Grace Kelly, or “Princess Grace” to those in Monaco, this drink is as feminine and elegant as its iconic namesake.  Crisp and cold champagne gets sweetened with a bit of rose jelly and aromatic rose liqueur, which give it delicate but deliberate floral notes, reminiscent of a stroll through a rose garden. And that’s just one little sip of the city.

Stir yourself up your own stylish Cocktail Grace and watch Giada (the Grace Kelly of Cooking Channel) as she paints the full picture of Monte Carlo tonight, January 20, at 8:00 pm ET, the first stop on the Giada in Paradise tour.

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How to Drop 5 Pounds and Look Five Years Younger

Melissa d’ Arabian cooks up a couple of meals that will help turn back your clock to a more flattering time.

“Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.”- Anonymous

It’s the start of a new year, and most of us have resolutions that involve a gym, a new diet and perhaps ultimately … a scale. We all know that what we eat on a daily basis impacts our weight and how we feel in our bodies. But we sometimes (maybe willfully) forget that there’s a larger, cosmic force that’s working against us — time. Let’s face it, we are all getting older and unless you’re blessed with Cindy Crawford’s genes, it shows. So what if, in addition to striving to get fit and thin this year, we strove to look and feel younger (sans surgery)?

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The Great Boston Molasses Flood

The sticky and sickenly sweet aftermath of the Great Boston Molasses Flood.
As most of you probably know, today marks the 93rdanniversary of the Great Boston Molasses Flood. For those of you who somehow managed to neglect this equally bizarre and tragic event in our nation’s history, allow us to elucidate with some help from our friends at Atlas Obscura. On the afternoon of January 15, 1919, a fifty-foot tank of molasses exploded, allowing thousands of gallons of the sugary goo to gush into the city streets, sweeping down everyone and everything in its’ lethal, sticky path. All told, 21 people were killed and some 150 injuries were reported.

Now, nearly a hundred years later we honor those who fought the good battle with Molasses and lost. And we vow to never again let the sticky substance have power over us. Instead, we will arm ourselves with recipes, recipes infused—nay, laden—with our former foe.

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Happy Trails with Sweet Actions’ Trail Mix Ice Cream

Sam and Chia, co-owners of “Sweet Action” ice cream in Denver, blaze a new delicious trail with this sweet and salty ice cream flavor.

Even rough and tumble cowboys need to get in touch with their sweet side, and no one understands this better than our friends out West at Sweet Action Ice Cream.  Chia Basinger and Sam Kopicko might not be traditional gun-slingin’, cattle ropin’ cowboys, but they’re definitely pioneering new frontiers in the ice cream biz. Since they opened Sweet Action in Denver, they’ve served up over five hundred fearless flavors, including more savory ones like Colorado Sweet Corn and Sour Cream and Chive. Sound risky? Well that’s because it is, but the flavors also happen to be insanely, out-of-this-world delicious.

Lucky for us (and for you, since we can’t keep a secret), we managed to wrangle the recipe of one of our favorite flavors — Trail Mix Ice Cream. Wondrously cold and creamy with just a hint of vanilla flavor, the ice cream base makes a sweet and subtle backdrop for all the yummy trail mix add-ins. Next comes the crunch factor. Studded with almonds, peanuts, chocolate chips, rich peanut butter cups, colorful M&Ms and chewy raisins, every icy bite explodes with sweet and salty crunchiness. And hey, if you don’t own an ice cream maker and don’t think you’ll be flying out to Denver any time soon, no worries. Try tossing a handful of your favorite trail or nut mix on top of your favorite vanilla ice cream. You’ll be glad you did.

As much as we love this recipe, the best take away from Sweet Action is their commitment to taking chances with their ingredients and recipes.  Don’t be afraid to explore new flavors and culinary frontiers, because (in the words of one very wise cowboy), “It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.” Thanks, Roy Rogers. And happy trails, foodies!

Make sure you watch Unique Sweets tonight at 10:30pm ET to see Sweet Action in action and all the epic sweets of the wild, wild West.

Recipes from the Episode:

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