Archive for the ‘Cooking Channel Staff’ Category

Irish Soda Bread: Is it Actually Irish?

March brings with it the hope of spring, at least in New York (and the nagging fear that we could still have one more big snow storm), and all that comes with the new season — crocuses peeping out of the earth, nesting robins, and overeager fashion-lovers prematurely donning sandals outdoors.

For me, March has always meant the start of  Good Bread Season: Irish Soda Bread in March, followed by Easter Bread in March or April. In my family, my mom made these breads, two of my favorite foods since the start of my solid food-eating life, only for their requisite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Irish Soda Bread never reappeared as Christmas Bread or Happy Birthday Bread, and Easter Bread was never reincarnated as Sorry Your Hamster Died Bread or Just Because Bread. I accepted that it must be this way to preserve tradition and make those holidays really special. And with Irish Soda Bread, since it’s a traditional Irish food, it should be served only on the one day of the year when my family celebrated its partially Irish heritage.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve wondered: Is Irish Soda Bread a traditional Irish food?

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Tortilla Chip Taste Test (Happy Tortilla Chip Day!)

Happy Tortilla Chip Day! Betcha' bite a chip!

It’s National Tortilla Chip Day! The best way to celebrate this special day (and really, most special days) is with a salt-rimmed margarita and some of the best chips you can get your hands on. Which chips, you ask? There are so many choices. But don’t worry, we’ve done the work for you. We tasted 11 popular tortilla chip brands to determine the best. The taste test was completely blind (testers had no idea which chip they were tasting) and tasters were instructed to judge based on flavor, texture and dip-ability. We served salsa, guacamole and black bean dip and recommended that testers try each chip plain before dipping.

Before we went shopping, we asked our Facebook fans for recommendations, they’re marked with an * below.

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Na’Cho Average Party Snack

Nachos, nachos, man.

2011: Year of the Rabbit. Sure, that’s fun. But how about the Year of the Nacho?

Chips are a blank canvas. Load ‘em up with whatever you like, and bake. It’s the ultimate customizable snack. (Recite the following in your best Benjamin Buford Blue from Forest Gump voice) There’s Shrimp Nachos, Beef Nachos, Breakfast Nachos, Pork Nachos, Eggs Benedict Nachos, Buffalo Chicken Nachos, Spinach-Artichoke Nachos, Veggie Nachos, Seafood Nachos, S’Mores Nachos, Strawberry Shortcake Nachos . . . Nacho toppings are limited only by your imagination. And you don’t even need to use chips! Pretzels, bagel chips, pita chips, Triscuits — all nacho-worthy. There are surely enough nachos to have a different combo every single day for at least a year. (C’mon, who’s up for it?)

Since Super Bowl season is basically nacho season, the watercooler chatter at the Cooking Channel and Food Network offices has been themed around who tops the best chips. Naturally, a competition was in order, thus the idea for the First Annual Nacho Cook-Off was born. Take 8 different nachos, a few celebrity judges, and some healthy competition, and you have an average afternoon at the office for us.

Sunny Anderson, host of Food Network’s Cooking for Real, Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey’s Essentials, and Claudia Sidoti, Senior Recipe Developer at Food Network Kitchens (she worked on Food Network Magazine’s 50 Nachos booklet!) stopped by the office to judge the cook-off. They tried each of the 8 contestants’ nachos, deliberated in a private room and announced the winner and runner up.

Celebrity judges Sunny Anderson, Kelsey Nixon and Claudia Sidoti taste the nacho entries.

There’s no such thing as a bad nacho, right? Judging must have been tough.

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Cooking the Channel: Bal’s Lentil Cookies

Bal Arneson's Lentil Cookies. That's right--lentil cookies.

Lentils are high in protein and fiber and are one of the best vegetable sources of iron out there. They’re popular in India, the Mediterranean, Pakistan and the Middle East, and are easily found in any neighborhood grocery store in the United States. Lentils are also inexpensive, so a great pantry item for families to stock up on. But once your pantry is full, will your kids eat these little legumes? Maybe.

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Fall Fest: Paneer With Spinach

Fall Fest 2010We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out

We’ve transitioned from summer fest to fall fest, and this week we’re talking about spinach.  Paneer with Spinach, also called Palak Paneer, is a vegetarian Indian dish made with . . . well, spinach, and paneer, a firm Indian cheese. It’s quite popular; it gets prominent placement on Indian menus and is usually part of an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet. But making your own at home is easier than you think.

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Cooking Channel – 5 Things To Know

You’ve been asking,  so here’s what we’ve got so far…

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Welcome to Cooking Channel

Cooking Channel GM, Michael Smith

Cooking Channel GM, Michael Smith

Hi, this is Michael Smith, General Manager of Cooking Channel. We’re so excited to have you along for the upcoming launch of an exciting new TV network. Together we’re going to find more ways to explore food and cooking, including the unconventional, how-to, global cuisines, wines and spirits, international travel, history and hidden gems, and even some classic favorites.

We’re really busy right now creating the best shows that celebrate really interesting and unique people who are truly passionate about food. Be sure to join us on-air starting May 31st where we’ll explore cooking in every dimension: farm to table, technique to taste, and classic to trendsetting, local to global.

Cooking Channel Related:

Finding Cooking ChannelTry our handy tool to find the Channel in your lineup.

Cooking Channel — 5 Things To Know

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