Over the weekend I attended the Food Network's New York City Wine and Food Festival. There were tastings, book signings, parties, and chef's demonstrations. One of my favorite demos was hosted by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis. The petite and gorgeous chef, who made smashed potatoes, pork chops agrodolce, and chocolate cookies, invited audience members to the stage and candidly answered plenty of questions. You may know that she's the mother of 2-year-old Jade and that she pronounces words like mozzarella with a distinct Italian accent, but during the demo I learned a couple of things I never knew about Giada. Find out what they are after the break!
It's time for my absolute favorite party of the year: my birthday party! It's coming up on Thursday, Sept. 16, and although 29 is not a milestone, that doesn't mean I'm not doing something special. Yes, it will be more low-key than the elaborate five-course dinner I hosted last year. In fact, it will be an intimate affair in Spain! I'm treating myself to some rest and relaxation at a friend's house on the coast of Cadiz. While there, we'll invite people over for an informal Sunday dinner. Since the guests will be Spanish, I want to serve all-American cuisine with a Tex-Mex twist.
We'll start with homemade queso and fish tacos. The queso pairs well with tortilla chips and icy cold beer. Thanks to Giada De Laurentiis's creativity, the fish tacos are miniature! For the main course, I'll grill turkey burgers with chipotle salsa. Yum! Mixed greens tossed with pico de gallo are on the side. Interested in the recipes I'll be using? Read them after the break.
Of all the demos I visited at the Food & Wine Classic, the seminar hosted by Giada De Laurentiis surprised me the most. I worried that it'd be too crowded due to the Food Network star's popularity, but it wound up being one of my favorites. Although the Italian bombshell did spill her secrets for looking great, she definitely demonstrated that she isn't just a pretty face. The lady can cook, and has a sense of humor to boot! She invited three audience members to join her on stage to cook specialties such as cherry tomato pasta and cauliflower gratin, offering plenty of party advice and pasta tips along the way.
See what she had to say after the break.
During her cooking demo in Aspen, Food Network star and fan favorite Giada De Laurentiis opened up the floor to questions. One woman in the back raised her hand and asked the question that the whole world was dying to know.
"How do you manage to cook all this food and still look so great?" she asked. The mother of Jade Marie, now 2 — who looked casual chic in a boatneck tee and cuffed jeans — took some time to talk about how she stays so slim and trim. Find out her secrets after the jump.
My dad is eating healthier, so to help him out, this Father's Day, I won't make a decadent dessert. Instead, I'll be whipping up a flavorful and fruity treat that's enhanced by the grill. When you toss fresh stone fruit on the barbecue, the natural sugars are released and it becomes warm, caramelized, and rich. This recipe takes grilled peaches to a whole new level by tossing them with a brandy syrup.
Then, they're plated in pools of white wine. A dollop of vanilla-laced mascarpone cheese finishes off the delicious dessert. Want to check out the recipe? Here it is.
Didn't have time to plan the workweek's meals yesterday? No sweat. There's still an opportunity to pull dinner together with salad that makes the most of your pantry ingredients. Build on a basic lettuce base with chickpeas, tomatoes, cold cuts, and kidney beans left over from last night's burgers. Toss everything together with a honey-vinegar dressing, and serve alongside a chunk of bread.
The James Beard Awards may be over, but the culinary accolades continue as award show season soldiers on. Today, the nominees for this year's Daytime Emmy Awards were announced, and the list included a number of notable culinary programs and food figures.
PBS and Food Network each have two shows that'll compete head-to-head for the title of Outstanding Culinary Program. For Public Broadcasting, it's America's Test Kitchen and the new travel show, Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth; for Food Network, the shows are Giada at Home and Tyler's Ultimate.
Vying for the Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host award are a number of Food Network stars — Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis — as well as Martha Stewart for her syndicated talk show. Food Trip With Todd English, Eric Ripert's Avec Eric, and De Laurentiis's Giada at Home are also up for honors in outstanding directing.
I'll be rooting for new shows Avec Eric and Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth when the winners are unveiled on June 27. What cooking shows will you be cheering on?
Lately I don't know what's gotten into me, but I simply can't get enough shrimp. I crave the succulent pink shellfish constantly. To feed a recent hunger for spicy, finger-licking-good shrimp, I made this amazing fra diavolo recipe.
Fra diavolo usually refers to a red-pepper-flaked tomato sauce with origins in the Italian-American kitchen. It can be used to season pasta or seafood. When making this scrumptious dish it's important to have your mise en place. The shrimp and sauce come together quickly, so there isn't much time to chop herbs in between the steps.
A wonderfully fragrant aroma fills the kitchen and the result is shrimp that is juicy, savory, and spicy. Serve it with something that will soak up the flavorful sauce: bread, pasta, rice, or as I did, couscous. I promise you won't be disappointed in the recipe — get it now.
If I had to choose one thing to drink for the rest of my life, I would select sparkling wine. I cannot get enough bubbles! Naturally, I'll be pouring it at my half-birthday housewarming. Since I'm guessing a lot of guests will show up with a bottle of bubbly in tow, I'll be whipping up this elegant blissini. It's like a mimosa, but with pomegranate juice. The addition of mint takes this effervescent drink from morning to night.
Get the easy recipe after the break.
On birthdays (and half birthdays), I like to make my favorite foods, thus for my half-birthday housewarming, I plan on serving a spread of delectable Italian bites. The party goes from 7:30-10 p.m., smack in the middle of dinner time, so I'll need to offer a substantial amount of food. I don't want to spend days in the kitchen or prepare anything that requires a plate and utensils; that's why I'll take some help from the grocery store and make four easy appetizers.
From the Italian market I'll purchase charcuterie, an assortment of cheese, marinated olives, grissini, nduja and crusty bread. A quartet of homemade dishes — stuffed marinated hot red cherry peppers, polpette in spicy tomato sauce, roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and arugula and fava-bean crostini — rounds out the menu. To check out the recipes I'll be using, read more