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Holiday Gift Guide: 6 Gifts for the Hungriest People on Your List

Zoku Ice Cream Maker

Ready or not, here the holidays come. If listlessly strolling store aisles in search of the perfect gift isn’t totally your thing, we’ve got you covered with these nailed-it gifts for every type of foodie on your list.

For the Ice Cream Lover: Sure, you could just phone it in and give them their favorite pint of ice cream (especially if you threw in the spoon), but for a grand slam, give them a frozen treat of their own creation. Thanks to the  Zoku Ice Cream Maker ($25.95), ice-cream eaters can customize their own mix-ins and have a bowl in hand in just 10 minutes.

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Top 10 Thanksgiving TV Episodes

Thanksgiving dinner is a special time not just for real Americans; it’s also quite a boon to fake Americans. For just about as long as television shows have existed, there has been the very special Thanksgiving episode. Here are some of the most-memorable ones that you’ll probably watch while eating leftovers.

Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes

A Few Favorite Thanksgiving Family Recipes

Grandma Tissy's GravyHappy as we are to dream up exciting new Thanksgiving recipes (every side dish in pot-pie form, anyone?), one of our favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the tradition of favorite family recipes. In a quick survey, we found that office favorites include Grandma’s crazy-addictive stuffing, bourbon chocolate pecan pie (booze in everything, please) and my own mom’s sweet-potato praline casserole (No marshmallows. Ever.), which is quite similar to this recipe.

We also wondered what chefs would pick, so we reached out to one who’s built his restaurant around his appreciation of family tradition. Ian Boden, chef and owner of the Shack in Staunton, Virginia, was inspired by the culinary traditions of his wife’s grandmother, Tissy, who made Appalachian and Southern food in her own home (which she called “the shack”). In talking about Grandma Tissy’s legacy, Boden mentioned her turkey gravy, a recipe that Boden’s wife tasked him with recreating based on her descriptions of it after Tissy’s death. So in honor of Thanksgiving family favorites, he agreed to share the recipe and its story. (Note: If you’re nervous about making gravy from pan drippings, here is a primer.)

Grandma Tissy’s Turkey Gravy

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Side Show on Broadway: “Come Look at The Sweets”

Side Show

Side Show which opened to critical acclaim in New York City on Monday night, is everything a Broadway musical should be. Centered around two joined-at-the-hip twins, Violet and Daisy Hilton, the glamorous, thrilling, epic story follows the duo’s quest for true love and acceptance through the spectacle of fame and the scrutiny of the spotlight.

To celebrate its opening, Cooking Channel teamed up with Zac Young, resident Musical Maestro of Sweets and Executive Pastry Chef at David Burke Fabrick, to create a Sweet Show to match the grandeur of the twins’ incredible Freak Show (you have to see it to understand). Exotic and enticing, playful and full of passion, these recipes — cleverly named for big Side Show numbers — are sure to stop the show at your next holiday gathering. And just like the Hiton twins, what makes these dessert recipes just a little different is what makes them extraordinary.

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It’s Time: Make Leftover Candy Bar Brownies

Candy Bar Brownies

Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to start thinking about all of the ways to use your leftover candy. (For the record, we’ve been known to stash extra candy just to have as leftovers come November.) You could pass it out to coworkers or stockpile it to bring to movies, but we recommend revamping it, perhaps as Leftover Candy Bar Brownies. First, make a simple brownie batter, then add your favorite chopped chocolate candy — peanut butter, nougat, mint or caramel are all fair game. A gleaming layer of velveteen, thick chocolate ganache takes these over the top. Spread a thick layer of it over the top of the brownies, sprinkle with additional leftover chopped candies, like chocolate-covered peanuts or pretzels, and then revel in the candy-coated baked goodness. Happy  Day-After Halloween!

For more ways to turn your excess Halloween candy into scarily good desserts, take a peek at these recipes from Cooking Channel:

You Should Go to South Beach Food & Wine Festival

We’re still stuffed from last weekend’s 2014 New York City Wine & Food Festival, but it’s already time to start thinking about flying south for the winter. The 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival is coming quickly (February 19-22), and trust us: Feasting in Florida in February is a genius idea.

For four days, top Cooking Channel and Food Network talents will converge on the warm, sunny Miami coastline to cook, drink and hang out. The events hit on nearly every taste, whether you’re a yogi, an unstoppable carnivore or an unabashed cupcake fiend. And you’ll be doing it all alongside the food industry’s top talents, including Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, Rev Run, Aarón Sánchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Rachael Ray, Giada de Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and more.

Tickets are already selling out, so get on it. There are tons of events to choose from, but if we had to play culinary concierge, here’s what we’d recommend.

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Cooking with Gas: Where to Find Great Gas Station Food

Ah, the open road. You know you are really and truly on a road trip when you pull into your first gas station and start gorging on gross snacks. What if, however, those snacks weren’t gross? There are only so many Corn Nuts and pieces of beef jerky a person can eat, after all. Some gas stations across this great land of ours have eschewed the gross in favor of the gourmet. On tonight’s season premiere of Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy, you’ll get to pull off the tourist-jammed highway to fuel up on some of these secret gas station restaurants.

You’ll have to tune in at 9:30pm ET to see Jim’s picks, but in the meantime, here are some of our favorite fancy-pants gas stations that serve fancy-pants grub.

The Best Gas Station Food

Tune in to Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy at 9:30pm ET to meet the roadside rebel chefs and their quirky eateries that are off the beaten path.

Fall Fest: Eat As Much Pumpkin as Possible

Bright orange and already popping up on porches across the country, the pumpkin is the most infamous fall signifier. Beyond its decor potential, this member of the squash family is also a bit magical (just ask Cinderella or check out The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). Of all the lore, we’re partial to Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater for his diet and all it’s gourd-infused potential. Tempted to try it? Here are the five ways to start.

1. These pumpkin-packed sticky buns (pictured above) are practically guaranteed to improve any autumn morning. The gooey pastry is topped with a sweet pecan-bourbon caramel sauce for an extra indulgent coating.

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25 Ways to Use Sriracha

Fried Chicken with Sriracha
Sriracha is an addictively spicy hot sauce that has found its way into the kitchens and hearts of cooks around the globe. Although it originated in the Thai city of Sri Racha, Sriracha is now used to kick up all types of cuisines. You can use it on everything from your morning eggs to an evening cocktail. Sriracha definitely carries heat (a dot of the stuff will do the trick), but the hot sauce has a complex flavor; it’s vinegary and slightly sweet behind that red hot heat. Next time you’re craving something hot, reach for a bottle of your favorite Sriracha and get your fix with these 25 ways:

  1. Start off by making your own Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce. It’s an overnight process, but if you properly can and seal it, this homemade Sriracha lasts up to a year.
  2. Kelsey Nixon’s Asian Chicken Burger with Spicy Lemongrass Mayo and Pickled Asian Slaw is a lighter variation on the standard burger. The quick-pickled slaw adds lots of texture and flavor without a ton of calories.
  3. Pimento cheese is a traditional Southern food, made with cream cheese, pimentos and shredded Cheddar. Normally served between two sliced of white bread, try the spicy version, Matt’s Sriracha Pimento Cheese Dip with vegetables and cracker for dipping, in a sandwich or even on top of baked potatoes.

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Five Secret Cooking Oils of Sub-Saharan Africa

 

Nara Seeds

Thoughts of travel in Africa may conjure images of lions and elephants, or safaris seeking photographic trophies or even hidden treasures. True, this is all on offer, but for the culinary adventurer there are different kinds of quests to be had — especially when looking for ingredients to cook with. On a recent safari in Namibia, I “discovered” a rare oil derived from the endemic !nara plant (pronounced with a click sound followed by “na-ra”), which adds a unique, fruity and nutty flavor to meats and vegetables. It’s one of several “secret” oils found all around the continent if you look hard enough.

1. !Nara oil

!Nara is a peculiar-looking spiky melon that grows nowhere in the world but in the Kuiseb Delta, where the Kuiseb River meets the Atlantic in coastal Namibia. For decades it’s been harvested by the Topnaar tribe, who boil the insides to produce a tasty pulp, and eat its oil-rich seeds as snacks. But it wasn’t until 2008 that a German-expat chef realized their potential to be cold-pressed into oil for cooking and cosmetics. Now the chef, Volker Huemmer, and his wife press the unique seeds into small batches of oil, with permission from the Topnaar chiefs and the local government. With the consistency of olive oil, its original taste teeters between sweet and nutty. To accentuate its nutty flavor, it’s infused with coffee beans in one variety; to bring out its sweetness, it’s bottled with a vanilla bean in another variety.

2. Mongongo oil

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