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What to Eat at the New Orleans Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest food stalls

At the annual New Orleans Jazz Festival, which kicks off this weekend, food doesn’t play second fiddle. In fact, the Fest could be double-billed as a full-fledged food festival. Regulars — locals and visitors alike — love to hop from stage to stage at the sprawling fairground, dancing to everything from gospel choirs to Billy Joel to Trombone Shorty. But Jazz Fest fans also give serious consideration to their food agendas, making sure to hit favorite stands year after year. We like to zone in on the vendors who serve unique dishes that are hard to come by outside of this two-weekend event.

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How to Make a Champion Brisket

BrisketTown's Winning Brisket

In my experience, there are two primary schools of brisket: Texas-style (slow-smoked for hours and served with white bread, pictured above) and Jewish-style (oven-braised for hours in a sweet-sour sauce often spiked with Manischewitz). But last week at the annual Brisket King of NYC competition, I experienced this fatty, flavorful cut of beef in ways I’d never imagined.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Nigellissima

Nigella's Mini Mac and Cheese All'Italiana

Anyone who has ever heard Nigella Lawson describe food in her unmistakable sultry accent knows that she’s a Brit, through and through. But in the kitchen, her style has always leaned Italian. “It was when I was sixteen or seventeen that I decided to be Italian,” Nigella explains in the introduction to her ninth cookbook, Nigellissima. “I simply felt drawn to it, to Italy.”

Nigellissima CoverI hear you, Nigella. Though I’m zero-percent Italian by birth, I’ve been an infatuated Italophile for as long as I can remember. After learning to cook the Italian way during my semester abroad in Rome, I, too, decided to be Italian. Most of what comes out of my kitchen today reflects my adopted heritage.

During her gap year in Florence, Nigella worked as a chambermaid at a family-run pensione and spent most of her free time in the kitchen with Nonna, an Italian grandmother “out of central casting.” Nigella’s recipes in Nigellissima are inspired by the classic techniques used by generations of Italian grandmothers, but she makes no claims of authenticity. The cookbook’s pastas, main dishes, vegetables and sweets all encompass her own personal spin on Italian food. 

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Beat the Winter Blues With Florida Stone Crabs

As a native Marylander, I’ve never associated crabs with winter. Balmy summer evenings on the Chesapeake with piles of Old Bay-spiced hard-shells seem far, far away during these frigid months. But down in Florida, it’s peak stone crab season at this very moment. If jetting off to South Beach isn’t feasible, cure your winter woes locally with fresh crab claws that practically taste of sunshine. At Ed’s Chowder House in New York City, a full roster of stone crab preparations beckons as a winter special.

Our favorite is the Stone Crab Mary, the best Bloody we’ve had in recent memory. The base is classic — nice and spicy — and then fresh crab meat is mixed in. Perched on top, beside the requisite celery stalk and olive garnishes, is a meaty crab claw fresh off the raw bar. This drink could make a very satisfying appetizer on its own.

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A Taste of Catskills Kitsch for Hanukkah

Kutsher's Latkes

Having visited the original Kutsher’s — the campy Catskills resort said to be the inspiration for Dirty Dancing, dance lessons and talent shows and all — with my grandparents as a kid, I wasn’t sure what to expect a year ago when the founders’ great-grandson opened up a swanky homage to the place in New York’s trendy TriBeCa. Turns out, the urban Kutsher’s is successfully breathing new life into Jewish classics like gefilte fish (transformed into delicate quenelles of halibut) and borscht (with the addition of roasted duck, their elevated beet soup made me a borscht believer).

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Cookbook Giveaway: Cook Yourself Sexy

Candice's Go-To Roasted Chicken

Candice's Whole Go-To Roasted Chicken is "dressed to kill" with garlic and herbs.

Cook Yourself Sexy CoverFormer model Candice Kumai admits that she starved herself back in her runway days — and she was miserable. Candice found her “inner sexy” after making a drastic life change: She got out of the modeling business and went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Now an Iron Chef judge and a regular contributor to Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats, she’s out to prove that eating great and looking great don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Candice’s new cookbook, Cook Yourself Sexy, is full of healthy, satisfying recipes and advice on how to maintain your sexiest self. She’s not about deprivation — there are two full chapters on dessert, and she always favors “FWBs” (Foods With Benefits) over low-cal imitation foods.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Tate’s Bake Shop

Tate's Peanut Butter Cookies

Tate's Bake Shop CoverMy husband isn’t a sweets person – and it drives me crazy. An admitted chocoholic, I usually avoid keeping cookies and desserts around our apartment because, inevitably, I’m the only one who eats them (all). There are a few exceptions, thankfully, and one of them is cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop. Ever since we were introduced to the bakery on a trip out to visit friends in the Hamptons, he can’t get enough. They’re crispy, crunchy, slightly salty and irresistible.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have a place in Southampton (or nice friends out there) to enjoy Tate’s goodies. The familiar green-and-white packages are sold in gourmet stores, and Tate’s Bake Shop has finally revealed some of baker Kathleen King’s secrets in a new cookbook. Now I can bake cookies I know I won’t have to devour all by myself. Thank you, Kathleen!

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A Pastry Chef’s Take on Apples and Honey for Rosh Hashana

Apple Financier Tart

For Rosh Hashana, the celebration of the Jewish new year that begins this Sunday night, the most iconic food pairing is apples and honey. It’s said to represent a sweet new year – and conveniently coincides with the beginning of apple season, when I simply can’t get enough Honey Crisps, Galas and Fujis.

In addition to the holiday tradition of dipping apple slices in honey, there are plenty of ways to show off this sweet combination. Let’s start with the fancy. Acclaimed pastry chef Francois Payard offers a gorgeous Apple Financier Tart every year for the holiday, and he’s shared the recipe. It’s less intimidating than you might think, but hesitant bakers can always order one from his bakeries or online ($33/six servings and $44/eight servings).

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Fishing at the Farmers’ Market

Blue Moon Fish Market

Blue Moon Fish at the Union Square Greenmarket

At the farmers’ market, I usually beeline for the fresh produce — this summer, juicy peaches and heirloom tomatoes in all colors of the rainbow have captured my attention. But after a recent dinner, I am now seeking out the seafood vendors first. Not all neighborhood farmers’ markets sell fish, but if you’re lucky enough to frequent one that does, you can seafood-shop like a chef — just make sure to get there early like they do.

At New York’s A Voce Madison, Chef Missy Robbins is creating tasting menus that highlight the fresh, local and sometimes wacky seafood she discovers on her morning trips to the Union Square Greenmarket, just a short walk from her restaurant.

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Sprouted Kitchen

The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

The Sprouted Kitchen CoverHealth food skeptics might expect the recipes in a cookbook titled The Sprouted Kitchen to be all sprouts and seeds, rabbit-food style. Not so in blogger Sara Forte’s new book, beautifully photographed by her husband, Hugh. Sure, Sara’s recipes highlight fresh produce, whole grains and unsaturated fats — but they’re also tempting and satisfying. Case in point: the spicy Ranchero Breakfast Tostadas pictured above.

From vibrant seasonal salads to fruit-spiked cocktails to bites of (unprocessed) indulgence in the treats section, the book’s 100 recipes are mostly original, with a few favorites from Sara’s popular blog folded in.

The Sprouted Kitchen‘s recipes are both impressive and easy, so try one for a simple weeknight meal or your next dinner party:

The Sprouted Kitchen carrot salad

We’re giving away a copy of The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods to one randomly selected lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favorite healthy dish.

So, tell us, what’s your go-to healthy recipe?

You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate back with you if you’re the winner. (But do not post your email address into the actual body of the comment.)

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on August 31 and 5:00 p.m. ET on September 5. Subject to full Official Rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $24. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a/ Cooking Channel, 75 9th Ave., New York, NY 10011.

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