• Baking
  • Your Weekend Project: 5 Dinner Party Recipes to Impress Guests


    On weeknights, we just want to get dinner done, the sooner the better. On the weekend though, we’re ready for a challenge – like planning a multi-course meal with dishes our guests will remember for years to come. Here are 5 recipes to help you show your cooking prowess and plan a dinner party menu to dazzle friends and family.

    Pea Pesto Crostini

    Keep things easy for the appetizer round with a light and bright starter. The 12-minute recipe features a simple pesto with peas, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil.

    Cheese and Chile-Stuffed Mushrooms

    Take stuffed mushrooms to the next level with portobellos. In this vegetarian-friendly recipe, the meatiest of mushrooms is stuffed with poblano peppers, scallions, parsley, mozzarella and wheat germ for a flavorful blend in every bite.

    Osso Buco

    For the main dish, make Giada De Laurentiis’ 5-star recipe for osso buco, which are veal shanks braised in a flavorful sauce of white wine, vegetables, tomato paste, chicken stock and a bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and cloves.

    Vegetable Tarte Tatin

    Go rustic with a show-stopping tarte tatin, a French upside-down pastry. This savory take on the dish is made with earthy root vegetables, which are roasted and baked into a layer of caramel and puff pastry.

    Chocolate Pecan Skillet Cookie

    Cookies might seem commonplace but trust us when we say everyone at the dinner table will be more than delighted when you bake and serve this supersized version in a skillet.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • From Kitchen Stadium to the Gauntlet: Alton Brown Returns to the World of Iron Chef, and We’ve Got the Scoop

    Iron Chef GauntletLet’s get one thing straight: No one knows food quite like Alton Brown. Whether he’s dishing on the internal organ structure of snails or explaining the etymology of soy lecithin, his ability to school us on all matters culinary is simply uncanny, and it’s for largely that reason he made a top-notch host of Iron Chef America for the 12-season run of the series. But now, for the first time since 2013, Alton is returning to the world of Iron Chef, this time as the host of Iron Chef Gauntlet, the all-new elite competition in which seven challengers are set to compete against not only each other but also a gauntlet of Iron Chefs for the chance to join their ranks.

    We checked in with Alton as he prepared for this much-anticipated premiere, and he gave us the inside scoop on what’s to come on Iron Chef Gauntlet, plus his take on how to succeed in this unique beast of a contest. Read on below for an exclusive interview, with Alton, then look back on some of the best culinary fun facts he’s ever shared on Iron Chef America.

    In many ways Iron Chef Gauntlet will be similar to The Next Iron Chef, but the idea of a three-tiered gauntlet in the finale is new. What are you most excited to see from these six episodes?
    Alton Brown: Straightforward cooking at its highest level.

    What do you think fans at home might not realize about what it takes to cook at that very high level?
    AB: That in this situation, you’re cooking against yourself, you’re cooking against the clock and you’re cooking against everybody else.

    We’ve seen you host Iron Chef America countless times before, but your role here will be a bit different. What can we expect?
    AB: Well, my job is certainly different than it has been in the past, because I’m actually judging the first round in each show and deciding who’s going to be going on to the second round.

    And with that comes tasting, right?
    AB: Yes. I will be tasting all of the first-round food, all of the Chairman’s Challenges. I’ll be tasting and deciding.

    Are there certain technical elements or flavors that you absolutely must see in what the challengers offer you?
    AB: No, but if a technique is offered, it must be done correctly. What I’m looking for, and what we’re always looking for in Iron Chef food, is that that Secret Ingredient has to be the focus of the dish. But if you tell me it’s a saute, then it better be sauteed. If you tell me it’s a braise, it better be braised. But that’s all very often up to the description by the chef.

    Is there anything for which you will simply not forgive them?
    AB: Sloppy technique, most certainly. Sloppy knife work. One of the first things that falls off to the side when the clock is running is knife work, is consistent knife cuts, and I won’t put up with that.

    Why is this title of Iron Chef such a big deal? What does it mean to stand in these ranks?
    AB: I think it’s because on Iron Chef, and on Iron Chef America, the food has always mattered most. It’s not a gameshow where people are running through kiddie tubes and climbing walls and swinging on ropes. They’re cooking, and we look for the people who do that better than anybody else does.

    On Iron Chef America, you saw the good, the bad and the ugly go down in countless episodes, so you know what it takes to do well in battle. What kinds of demands will the challengers face when they begin this competition?
    AB: The biggest demand is to not fall into a mind trap. When you’re cooking against the clock, all chefs know how to hurry. They do it every night during service. So you can’t really think about that too much. You can’t think about what the judge is going want, what I’m going want. You’ve got to cook your food. And so you have to create kind of a little dome of protection for yourself to just do what it is you do without letting all of those other circumstances encroach on your little fortress of solitude.

    Tune in to the premiere of Iron Chef Gauntlet on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c.

    Related Reading:

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • The Journey to the Gauntlet: Chatting with Challenger Stephanie Izard from Iron Chef Gauntlet

    Iron Chef GauntletThis. Is. It. The fight to become an Iron Chef is unlike any other culinary competition, with the demands for precision, expertise, intuition and downright excellence the most rigorous in the business. On Iron Chef Gauntlet, seven of the country’s most-elite chefs will come together to prove that their skills are the sharpest — but ultimately just one will earn the right to the run the gauntlet for the chance to join the ranks of the great Iron Chefs.

    Before the competition begins on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c, we’re giving you, Iron Chef fans, the first introductions to the crop of challengers ready to do battle. Today we’d like you to meet Stephanie Izard, a chef from Chicago. Read on below to get to know her style in the kitchen, and be sure to come back to FN Dish all week long as we present a new contender every day this week.

    What’s your style of cuisine, and do you have a signature dish?
    Stephanie Izard: I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish, because I just make a lot of different things and I think my favorites kind of change, but I like to cook foods from all over the world and just keep trying to learn more and more about different flavors. So a lot of focus on Asian cuisines, I would say, whether it’s Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese. But I try to dabble in some other areas too.

    What’s your proudest culinary achievement to date?
    SI: Food & Wine Best New Chef. When I got that I couldn’t even breathe, and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone around me when they called. And Dana, who makes the calls, she was like, “You didn’t sound very excited.” I’m like, “There were people around me.” I couldn’t even explain how excited I was. That was something that was always a goal of mine.

    What’s your strongest skill in the kitchen, be it something technical or mental?
    SI: I definitely don’t have mental skills in the kitchen. I think putting the right balance of acid and seasoning. I’m really good at balancing flavors.

    Why do you have what it takes to be an Iron Chef? What makes you worthy of joining such esteemed ranks?
    SI: I think that because I cook so many different things, I have an array of things I can do, and I’m extremely competitive. So, when I’m given ingredients, I take the competitive nature and I take all the different things that I like to challenge myself to learn how to do. That’s a good winning combination.

    What makes you unique in terms of your culinary expertise or your approach to food?
    SI: I think our approach in our restaurants, of course it’s about the food, but it’s about the front of the house and the atmosphere and everything kind of fitting together just really making you feel warm and welcome and comfortable. And challenging you a little bit, and always getting people to try new things, but it’s very approachable at the same time.

    What do you think fans at home might not realize about what it takes to cook at such a high level?
    SI: I think a lot of times, especially with TV now, people look at being a chef as being a sort of glorified thing, which is awesome, but there are so many people at my restaurants who make it happen. Yes, I work most every day, but the reason I can be sitting here now is because I have such amazing chefs and sous chefs that work for me, and when people come in, they’re like, Oh Stephanie didn’t cook this?” Well, I mean, way back when I did that, but I think people don’t even realize how many hands it takes to get a restaurant to where it is.

    Tell us about a day in your life. What are some of your primary responsibilities and roles?
    SI: I have the three restaurants, and then also I have a book and we’re launching a magazine. So, my days are checking on all the restaurants, managing all of my sous chefs, working on new dishes, working on specials — we have blue plate specials every day at the diner, so I still work on those — and really just coordinating and making sure everything’s happening okay at all the restaurants, trying to run around. And then aside from that, making time for the projects outside of the restaurants. We have a catering company now too, so we focus a lot on marketing and things like that. So you wear lots of hats.

    How did you prepare for this competition?
    SI: I don’t know how you really can prepare for this. Honestly, I took a couple of my dumpling and noodle recipes and memorized the grams, which I was surprised I had the brain capacity to do on the airplane, and I don’t know if other people did the same thing. But there’s definitely some things that I make that have to be very specific in the amounts of measurements, so I tried to memorize those. And then I’m just trying to remain calm and hope that everything that I can do at the restaurants can filter into the competition.

    If you had the chance to battle one Iron Chef, who would you choose and why?
    SI: I guess Michael Symon, since I lost to him on Iron Chef America. It was very close. We made a soufflé. That’s crap. Just kidding. And he’s fun. I think that Michael Symon’s someone that now I’m friends with. I think it would be a fun, friendly battle.

    What would be a Secret Ingredient that you’d dread finding on the altar, and why?
    SI: I mean, just with the time constraints, if they give us each our own whole animal, I feel like that might make me a little bit nervous.

    Is there any dish or ingredient that you don’t care for or will not eat?
    SI: No, I pretty much like to eat everything.

    Beyond a knife and a tasting spoon, what’s one of your favorite kitchen tools?
    SI: I’m pretty simple, but one of the things that I brought with me that I needed was my little Chinese rolling pin. It’s a little marble rolling pin that’s nice, and it stays cold, so it’s good for the dough. It’s very heavy, so it’s easy to push down on the dumplings, and it’s small — little hands making dumplings. It’s so simple, but it works.

    What’s your favorite ingredient to work with these days? Anything new you’re obsessing over right now?
    SI: Fish sauce is my favorite ingredient, and you can tell when you come to my restaurants that we get in pallets of fish sauce.

    What do you like to cook on your days off?
    SI: It’s a little chilly in Chicago right now, but we love using the grill. For Christmas we actually took a couple ducks from Duck, Duck Goat and did grilled peaking duck. So when we moved into our house, the first thing we did was build a grill in the backyard. It’s a gas-wood combo. That’s my favorite.

    Who do you consider to be your culinary mentor?
    SI: That’s a question that comes up a lot, as it should, but I didn’t work for one chef for a really long time and have a mentor in that way, so I think there’s lots. From cookbooks, I think Mario Batali was one of my first mentors, just from reading his stuff. I worked for Shawn McClain, who’s in Vegas now. … I think I’ve learned little bits and things from so many people.

    What’s the first dish you think an aspiring Iron Chef should master?
    SI: They always say just making a nice omelet.

    What do you think is the most-underrated ingredient or dish these days?
    SI: That’s a hard one. Oh my husband is always like, “You should just make French bread pizza. Just do it. Make French bread pizza.” That sounds really good.

    Besides cooking, what do you like to do?
    SI: I swim before work — I’m on a swim team — so that’s how I stay normal. I haven’t done it in a few days, so I don’t feel normal. And we have a baby, so that’s what life is all about right now, spending time with our baby.

    Any guilty food pleasures you’d like to reveal?
    SI: Oh, I eat all sorts of crap. We always have Cheez-Its around the house. I actually took them away for a little while, but they’re back and I’m pretty sure that Ernie, my baby, is going to be a Cheez-It lover as well.

    Is there anything you want to say to introduce yourself to new audiences?
    SI: Hi, I’m Stephanie Izard. If folks happen to come to Chicago, come to Duck, Duck Goat. It’s really fun, and we have this cool little take-out window that’s street food, which I think is my favorite menu of stuff. And there’s not information released yet, but we’re launching a magazine this year, so just keep an ear out for that.

    Tune in to the premiere of Iron Chef Gauntlet on Sunday, April 16 at 9|8c.

    Related Reading:

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 11 Fresh Takes on Spring Recipes from Bobby

    Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black OlivesWhile recent snowstorms and confusing weather patterns across the county might have you revisiting your winter wardrobe, the truth is that spring is officially here. It’s time to move away from soups and stews and venture into all the fresh produce this season has to offer. In celebration of spring, we’ve rounded up some of Bobby Flay’s best recipes that will have you craving the flavors of the season.

    Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black Olives (pictured above)
    As pasta salad season approaches, think outside of the box by using quinoa instead of the usual noodles. Follow Bobby’s lead and boil the quinoa with fresh thyme to infuse it with flavor as it cooks.

    Fish Tacos with Habanero Salsa Fish Tacos with Habanero Salsa
    Nothing adds freshness to a meal like homemade salsa. Bobby mixes tomatoes, herbs and habanero pepper to create a fresh concoction that tops his spice-coated snapper fillets.

    Mustard Glazed Baked Ham and Pimento Cheese BiscuitsMustard Glazed Baked Ham and Pimento Cheese Biscuits
    Bobby starts by baking a juicy ham with a mustard-thyme glaze before piling the meat onto fluffy biscuits with a rich pimento cheese spread.

    Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas
    Turn the time you spend cooking dinner into happy hour with a fast cocktail. When crafting this refreshing margarita, Bobby balances the tart flavor of rhubarb with the sweetness of fresh strawberries.

    Sauteed Kale Sauteed Kale
    For a healthy side dish, kale is a flavorful go-to — especially when the greens are sauteed in garlic and dressed with tangy red wine vinegar.

    Carmelized Onion Spinach and Gruyere Strata with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Gruyere Strata with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes
    Think of this dish as a savory breakfast bread pudding. The cheesy egg custard lends moisture to the casserole, which Bobby likes to serve with juicy cherry tomatoes.

    Buckwheat Noodle Salad Buckwheat Noodle Salad
    Skip your usual Italian-focused pasta in favor of this lighter noodle dish, which boasts bold Asian-inspired flavors. Quick-cooking buckwheat noodles (also known as soba noodles) are tossed with cucumbers, red bell peppers and carrots, then finished with sweet and spicy mixture of honey and chili sauce.

    Carrot SaladCarrot Salad
    Bobby gives this seasonal veggie a spicy twist with a tangy vinaigrette, featuring cayenne pepper, parsley, lemon juice and cumin.

    Peas with Shallots and PancettaPeas with Shallots and Pancetta
    By using frozen peas, this top-rated side dish, studded with crispy pancetta, can be on the table in 20 minutes.

    Crunchy Avocado SaladCrunchy Avocado Salad
    A topping of crunchy tortilla chips adds welcome texture to this 15-minute no-cook salad.

    https://i0.wp.com/thusbakeszarathustra.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GL0813_Grilled_Chicken.jpg.rend_.hgtvcom.616.462.jpeg?w=697Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
    Bobby’s secret to turning out moist grilled chicken? Using skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. For added flavor, he finishes both the grilled bird and the potatoes with a simple roasted garlic vinaigrette.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Ticket to Dine: Why This Chef ‘Uberized’ His Michelin-Starred Restaurant

    Would you eat at a restaurant if you had to foot the entire bill in advance?

    Turns out it’s not that wild of a concept. More and more Michelin-starred restaurants like Eleven Madison Park in New York and Alinea and Acadia in Chicago are converting to a ticketing system where diners reserve their tables by paying for the entire meal weeks, sometimes months, ahead of the booking — even the waiter’s tip.

    Think of it like a Broadway ticket, or seats to a baseball game.

    We have no reservations about purchasing these, yet the idea of paying for food one has yet to ingest is something we’re still getting used to.

    So why are restaurants bothering with ticketing sites like Tock when the rest of the world is on reservation services like OpenTable?

    Acadia Chef Ryan McCaskey likens it to Uber: “I like the idea of the diner not having to worry about the bill at the end of the night, especially after a great meal.”

    The focus, then, gets placed on the experience of the dinner — as more than just sustenance, but as an event in and of itself.

    Though this might seem like a precedent for the postmodern death of the server and the end of his or her services, McCaskey argues that this unburdening in fact frees up the wait staff so they can focus on more important things like wine pairings, conversation and narrative. The diner, in turn, gets to benefit on what really matters: the food.

    The convenience of a prepaid reservation is a benefit to the restaurant, as well. People are less likely to back out. Every year restaurants lose thousands of dollars on no-shows and cancellations. But tickets, like security deposits, guarantee a diner’s commitment. No refunds.

    Jessica Coen sums it up well: “[I]f Beyoncé doesn’t give [refunds] for her live performances, why should a Michelin-starred chef?”

    McCaskey had reservations about this model for Acadia. He felt that there was a need — no matter how much we’ve automated the service industry and food culture at large — for a little wiggle room. Because life happens.

    At Acadia, there are no refunds. But should you be unable to make a ticketed reservation, you have up to a year to reschedule your dinner. The ticketing system requires commitment, but it’s not an ironclad fist.

    Acadia even accepts walk-ins (though reservations are encouraged), especially at off-times. A 5 ’o clock booking will cost you less than a 7 or 8 ’o clock.

    If ticketing is, truly, the future of dining, then maybe it’ll catch up in the way that car services like Uber and Lyft have monopolized transportation in metropolitan cities.

    The question here is whether or not people consider food an event.

    They say food culture is culture. And if that’s the case, it’s no wonder then that America is finally starting to take dinner seriously and treat it as it should be — like a Beyoncé concert.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Modest Lunch Spot in France Mistakenly Awarded a Michelin Star

    Modest Lunch Spot in France Mistakenly Awarded a Michelin StarEveryone makes mistakes, and chortling over those of others can make a person feel uncharitable. (People who live in glass houses and all …) Still, it’s hard not to gawp and guffaw at a recent error — one as amusing as it was alarming — by the Michelin hotel and restaurant guide.

    The august arbiter of taste messed up last month when it accidentally awarded one of its prestigious stars to a restaurant called Le Bouche à Oreille in Bourges, a town in central France. The coveted Michelin star was actually intended for a different restaurant named Le Bouche à Oreille, a fancy fine-dining establishment in Boutervilliers, near Paris.

    While the Bourges bar/restaurant, located on route de la Chapelle, serves hardy lunches to a local working-class crowd seated at plastic-covered tables and has only a part-time cook, the Boutervilliers spot, located on rue de la Chapelle and overseen by chef-owner Aymeric Dreux, serves things like lobster and foie gras to clientele seated in cushy armchairs around elegant tables.

    The Bourges brasserie’s owner Véronique Jacquet told the New York Times that, when she heard on the radio that her modest café had been awarded a Michelin star, she knew straightaway there had been a mistake.

    “I laughed out loud,” Jacquet told the paper. “It was impossible that this could happen to me.”

    Still, all’s well that ends well. After about a week, Michelin apologized for the error. In the meantime, Jacquet’s humble eatery has been “swamped” with customers curious about its mistaken star, she told the Guardian.

    Even sweeter, Dreux invited Jacquet and her part-time chef to come dine at his restaurant. It has a Michelin star, you know.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • What to Watch: A Pantry Makeover on The Kitchen and Mint Julep Desserts on Spring Baking Championship

    The Kitchen
    Start the weekend Trisha Yearwood as she makes a meal for her social media crew with dishes like her Quick Roasted Chicken with Garlicky Herb Sauce and Ginger Peach Crumble with Buttered Pecan Topping. Then, the co-hosts on The Kitchen are transitioning pantries from winter to spring, and Valerie Bertinelli is having happy hour with her glam squad.

    On Sunday night, four more Triple G winners are returning to Flavortown Market, and their first culinary challenge is making a plate of hometown comfort food with only five pounds of ingredients. Then, it’s a horse race-themed challenge on Spring Baking Championship, and Pikachu makes an appearance on Cake Wars: Champs.

    Beef with Snow Peas
    The Pioneer Woman: 16 Minute Meals: Family Favorites — Saturday, March 18 at 10a|9c
    Ree’s making some of her family’s favorite meals, and they’ll all be ready in just 16 minutes. There’s Chicken Mozzarella Pasta for a quick dinner, a snappy Cowboy Chopped Salad, then fast and fabulous French Bread Pizzas with six different toppings. Finally, there’s Beef with Snow Peas (pictured) — a delicious whirlwind meal for her and the girls.

    Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes
    Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: Coffee Talk — Saturday, March 18 at 10:30a|9:30c
    Trisha Yearwood’s social media crew is in the kitchen. After filming Trisha’s online streaming show, Coffee Talk, the gang hangs around to enjoy each other’s company, great food, and of course, coffee. The menu includes Mexican Iced Coffee with Almond Milk, Quick Roasted Chicken with Garlicky Herb Sauce, Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes (pictured) and a Ginger Peach Crumble with Buttered Pecan Topping.
    Berry Crisp Dump Cake
    The Kitchen: Spring Pantry — Saturday, March 18 at 11a|10c
    The Kitchen is doing a pantry makeover just in time for spring. Sunny Anderson turns microwavable rice into Chicken Fried Rice Casserole, Katie Lee makes an easy Berry Crisp Dump Cake (pictured), and author Hilaria Baldwin stops by to make a delicious grain bowl and teach some yoga moves. Then, the hosts “upcycle” cans into can creations and make predictions on new pantry ingredients that will be popular this spring. Finally, Jeff Mauro makes an easy pantry bar snack and Geoffrey Zakarian uses ingredients from the pantry to make a Party in My Pantry cocktail.
    Turkey Cranberry Sliders
    Valerie’s Home Cooking: Homemade Happy Hour — Saturday, March 18 at 12|11c
    Who doesn’t love meeting friends for an after-work drink and some yummy bites to share? Valerie Bertinelli invites her glam squad for happy hour and whips up Turkey Cranberry Sliders (pictured), Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn with Chile-Lime Seasoning, Jalapeno Fries with Roasted Garlic Ranch Dipping Sauce, and Key Lime Pie Martinis.
    Guy's Grocery Games
    Guy’s Grocery Games: Supermarket Masters Tournament: Part 2 — Sunday, March 19 at 8|7c
    The Supermarket Masters Tournament continues as four more GGG winners compete for a guaranteed $10,000 and a shot at winning up to $25,000 more in the finale. First, the chefs have to serve up a plate of hometown comfort with only five pounds of ingredients. Next, the chefs make an elevated burger featuring strange sample table items. Then, the remaining two chefs must serve up a Mexican fiesta after shopping only in the aisles chosen in a game of bowling.
    Spring Baking Championship
    Spring Baking Championship: Derby Desserts — Sunday, March 19 at 9|8c
    Big colorful hats, stunning racehorses, roses and bourbon! The seven remaining bakers celebrate the Kentucky Derby with their takes on mint julep desserts and cookie garlands.
    Cake Wars: Champs
    Cake Wars: Champs: Pokemon — Sunday, March 19 at 10|9c
    Pikachu and the rest of the Pokemon inspire one of the most intense baking battles of all time! Four champion bakers battle for their cake to be the centerpiece of the party, but only one will remain undefeated and collect $10,000. Elvin Gee, marketing manager for Pokemon, joins the judging panel.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Independent Restaurants Are Dropping Fast

    Independent Restaurants Are Dropping FastWhen a favorite restaurant closes, often all you are left with is the memory of a beloved dish. Sure, you can flip through a mental scrapbook of these late, lamented meals from now-defunct eateries, savoring the recollected flavors. But you’ll never actually taste them again. So sad.

    If lately it seems like you’ve been adding pages to that meal memory book at a record rate, a recent restaurant-industry report provides evidence that may in fact be the case.

    The number of restaurants in the United States has declined two percent in the last year, while restaurant density (number of restaurants relative to population) has sunk to its lowest level in a decade, according to the market research firm The NPD Group.

    Independent restaurants appear to have been the hardest hit, showing a four percent decrease in number. The density of independent restaurants has also declined over the past decade — from 1,132 restaurants per million people in the fall of 2007 to 1,002 restaurants for every million people today. Visits to independent restaurants declined by two percent in the year ending December 2016 as well.

    Restaurant chains, meanwhile, fared better, with the total number of chain restaurants actually increasing by one percent. The density of chain restaurants also grew — from 860 restaurant units per million people in fall 2007 to 922 restaurant units for every million people in fall 2016. Visits to chain restaurants rose slightly, by one percent, in the year ending December 2016.

    Greg Starzynski, the director of product management for NPD Foodservice, called the overall decline “the most significant drop” in the total number of restaurants in the United States since the Great Recession.

    “If consumers continue to reduce their restaurant visits,” Starzynski said in a release, “we expect the number and density of restaurant units will continue to decline in response to the lower demand.”

    Get those meal memory books ready, folks.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Ina Garten, Andrew Zimmern Among 2017 James Beard Foundation Nominees

    Ina Garten, Andrew Zimmern Among 2017 James Beard Foundation NomineesEach year, somewhere between March entering like a lion and going out like lamb, the James Beard Foundation announces the nominees for its prestigious annual awards. Considered the culinary world’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, the accolades are bestowed in almost 60 (count them!) categories, spanning areas including cookbooks, broadcast media, restaurant design, and restaurants and chefs.

    The 2017 nominees were announced Wednesday morning at a.o.c., in Los Angeles, over breakfast (Spanish fried chicken with cornmeal waffles; brioche with prosciutto, gruyere and quail egg; pastries) prepared by the restaurant’s James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin, and streamed via Facebook Live for the curious (and possibly hungry) masses.

    If you missed it, no worries. You can find a complete list of nominees here. The winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards, honoring cookbook authors, food journalists, and culinary broadcast producers and hosts, will be announced in New York on Tuesday, April 25. Awards in the remaining categories, including Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design, will be presented at the James Beard Awards Gala, which will be held in Chicago on Monday, May 1.

    Among the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award nominees is Food Network’s own Ina Garten. She has been nominated in the General Cooking category for her book Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Clarkson Potter). The other nominees in that category are Cook’s Science: How to Unlock Flavor in 50 of Our Favorite Ingredients (Cook’s Illustrated), by the editors at Cook’s Illustrated, and Eat in My Kitchen: To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat (Prestel), by Meike Peters.

    Ina has also been nominated for a 2017 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award in the Special (on TV or Web) category for Barefoot in Washington, a Food Network special she hosted and Rachel Purnell, Olivia Ball, Bridget Lumley and Carl Green produced. (Read more about Barefoot in Washington here.) Also nominated in that category are PBS’s Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday for Heroes (Host: Lidia Bastianich; Producers: Lidia Bastianich, Anne Adams and Shelly Burgess Nicotra) and WCVB Boston and wcvb.com’s  WCVB TV Chronicle – Chocolate (Host: Anthony Everett; Producer: Sangita Chandra).

    Another member of the broader Food Network family nominated for a 2017 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award is Andrew Zimmern, who has been recognized as an Outstanding Personality/Host for Andrew Zimmern’s Bucket List, Andrew Zimmern’s Driven by Food and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, which air on Travel Channel and andrewzimmern.com. Also competing in that category are Mario Batali for Moltissimo, which airs on munchies.vice.com, and Emeril Lagasse for Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse, which airs on Amazon Prime Video.

    Ina and Andrew have both won James Beard Foundation awards before. Here’s wishing the best of luck in adding to their culinary-accolade collection.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 5 Obligatory Irish Foods You Should Be Eating on St. Patrick’s Day

    Corned Beef and Cabbage

    Even if decking yourself in green on St. Patrick’s Day isn’t your thing, odds are you can get down with some traditional Irish foods. These hearty dishes are so good, we don’t wait around for St. Paddy’s Day to dig in — but we’re so glad to have another excuse.

    Corned Beef

    Tyler Florence treats brisket to a flavor-packed brine, before slow-cooking it in a Dutch oven for hours on end. In the end, he achieves fall-apart Corned Beef and Cabbage you’ll want St. Patrick’s Day or any day.

    Shepherd's Pie

    Shepherd’s Pie

    For a comforting main dish that is the stick-to-your-ribs cure on any cold winter night, Melissa d’Arabian’s recipe for the meat-and-veg classic, Shepherd’s Pie, is a go-to. Pile a garlicky mashed potato topping, plus a good sprinkling of cheddar, over a meaty base fortified with dark beer for super-rich flavor.

    Irish Soda Bread

    Irish Soda Bread

    Bread baking is notoriously a whole to-do, but Ina’s easy-to-make Irish Soda Bread doesn’t call for any kneading, rising or waiting. Simply throw the ingredients in the mixer to bake a loaf that gains a subtle sweetness from orange zest and currants.



    Serve up a traditional Irish side that one-ups mashed potatoes. Tyler Florence’s Colcannon recipe is made with mashed potatoes and cabbage, and it’s killer against that corned beef you already have in the works.

    Sauteed Cabbage


    Throughout history, plentiful and nutrient-rich cabbage has been a mainstay in Ireland. Ina Garten’s Sauteed Cabbage celebrates this sturdy vegetable, by sauteing it simply with butter, salt and pepper.

    Get more ways to ring in St. Patrick’s Day right here.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!