Food Network

Dishing It: Scallops with Tomatoes and Mango

March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm , by

Before we discuss the dish I made for this week’s “Dishing It,” I have one question: Do you know Bal? Bal Arneson, that is. She’s is one of the Cooking Channel‘s newest culinary stars…and with good reason. Bal completely demystifies Indian cuisine on her show Spice Goddess with simple recipes that anyone can make. (Even I, a culinary school grad, am not ashamed to admit that Indian recipes sometimes intimidate me.) She’ll even sell you the organic spices to prepare them, with proceeds benefiting women and children in her native India—talk about DO GOOD!

I chose Bal’s recipe from the March 2011 issue of LHJ (Dinner Made Easy) mainly because I adore scallops and was intrigued by the sweet/spicy sauce that accompanies it. Plus, as a food editor, it’s always fun to try other chefs recipes—especially chefs I admire, like Bal.

I did make a few changes to the recipes. For starters, I used mango instead of papaya, because I prefer it and since the recipe calls for ground coriander, I took the opportunity to also test out McCormick‘s new line of roasted spices. If you haven’t tried them yet, they’re great. The roasted coriander I used had a much more powerful flavor than traditional ground coriander. It was perfect in a dish like this, with just a few ingredients. Also, instead of serving my scallops with shaved Parmesan, I served it with a sprinkling of freshly chopped cilantro.

This recipe could not be easier, with minimal prep. You basically start by searing the scallops. The directions say 2 minutes per side which is the perfect amount of time to cook them. They were tender and moist inside and not overcooked at all. Overcooked scallops are often tough and chewy—no one wants that.

After you cook the scallops and remove them from the pan to rest, you toss in your minced garlic and cook for just a moment. Then you add the spices and cook them for another moment. Then you add the tomatoes. (I used an assorted variety of cherry tomatoes, halving the large ones and leaving the smaller ones whole. This was a good move since the halved ones got a touch over cooked.) Cook them for a few minutes before adding the mango (or papaya) to cook a few minutes more. Add the scallops back to the pan to coat in the sauce and serve over rice. That’s it! So, so, so easy, but also very sophisticated. I would totally serve this dish to guests. I’m definitely adding this recipe to my regular repertoire.

As I devoured the dinner (like I said, I adore scallops), I realized that you could prepare this meal with different ingredients and it would be just as delicious. Chunks of cod or salmon could be substituted or, if you don’t like fish, you could always use strips of chicken or pork. Even cubes of tofu if you are vegetarian. Yum!

All About the First Lady of Iron Chef America: Cat Cora

February 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm , by

Most notoriously known as Food Network’s first and only female Iron Chef on Iron Chef America (Sundays at 10pm/9c), Cat Cora knows a thing or two about multi-tasking in and out of the kitchen. She recently kicked back with us in the Ladies’ Lounge to talk food, family, and philanthropy! Dig in…

What is it like working/competing in the dominantly male ‘Kitchen Stadium’ on Iron Chef America? CC: It’s fast-paced, competitive, and all the chefs, male and female alike, are competitive fighters until the end. I’m proud to still be the one and only female Iron Chef, but will gladly welcome another female chef to join me.
(Any takers, ladies?)

What is the biggest curve ball you were thrown while in the middle of a challenge? CC: One battle that particularly sticks out in my mind was when they uncovered a whole hog that was not butchered, was still a little frozen, and was impossible to break down. They had to actually stop production to have them wheeled out to the butcher and brought back up to us to work with.
(Sounds like those pigs could have used a blanket!)

Do the battles get any less challenging as you do more of them? CC: Not at all! They are all still very intense and stressful, so the best technique as a chef is to just go with your gut. You don’t have time to second-guess yourself under that kind of pressure.

Some women face an equally stressful culinary challenge in their own kitchens: getting dinner on the table quickly without sacrificing nutrition – what’s your advice? CC: We grill out in the backyard a lot, which saves on time and everyone helping can play a part in getting dinner on the table faster. It also becomes an event the whole family can be part of. I give my kids a choice in the vegetable dish we’re having that night, not only to further involve them in the meal, but also to make sure they will be happy with what we’re having. We always eat with the seasons and follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle, so we’ve developed some staple recipes in our household that way.

Read about Cat’s healthy lifestyle, how she’s making the world a better place, and get her easy recipe for Japanese Udon Soup after the jump.

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Claire Robinson’s 5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Holiday Party

November 15, 2010 at 9:30 am , by

Are you in holiday party planning mode yet? Don’t stress, Food Network’s Claire Robinson is here to help! In our December 2010/January 2011 issue she offers five easy-to-make appetizer recipes from her book, 5 Ingredient Fix—now she’s sharing her five tips for planning a successful holiday party.

Offer a variety of foods. “With most meals, you’ll never please everybody,” she says. “But the great thing about appetizers and hors d’oeuvres is that it’s your one chance to have little bites of food that please everybody.” Claire likes to offer meat and vegetarian options, as well as hot and cold food that you can either dip or pop into your mouth.

Keep the atmosphere relaxed and casual. “I find that the best holiday parties are the ones that are a little more low-key. You can let the food be fancy or let guests dress up if they want, but just let it be a casual event and everybody can have a good time.”

Have drinks and at least one appetizer ready for when guests arrive. “I always like to have a signature cocktail and one nibble ready ahead of time to greet people with, because even if you’re wrapping up in the kitchen, there’s still one thing that’s ready to go.”

Spread the appetizer plates around the room. “I like to place the appetizers in a few different spots, because there’s nothing worse than everybody hovering over one bowl of nuts. It also helps keep your guests moving around the room.”

Don’t be afraid to make your own centerpieces. “It could be as simple as filling a vase with a bunch of inexpensive candy canes instead of spending a fortune on flowers. I’ve done everything from putting extra baguettes in big vases to putting fresh herbs in small glasses on the center of the table.”

Sandra Lee’s Recipe for Giving

October 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm , by

While most of us know her as Food Network‘s Semi-Homemade sweetheart, there is nothing “semi” about Sandra Lee’s latest partnership with eBay in which 100% of proceeds benefit Share Our Strength.  Sandra is auctioning off one of her trademark tablescapes each week through the site  in order to help end childhood hunger in America.  Now in its second week, the auction features 13 tablescapes eBay/Sandra Lee Tablescape Auctionranging in themes from ‘Halloween’ to ‘Cocktail Party’ to ‘Garden Fresh’ and in addition to a themed spread, winning bidders will also receive an  autographed copy of Sandra’s new cookbook and a KitchenAid Mixer. “I’m so excited about this partnership, and the tablescapes are absolutely gorgeous,” Sandra told us. “When I create my table designs, the inspiration can come from a flower, a pretty blouse, or the menu itself!”

Sandra Lee CookbookNot one of the top bidders in Sandra Lee’s eBay auction? Not to worry – You can still be a winner in the Ladies Lounge! Tell us why you love Sandra in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of her new {biggest ever!} cookbook, The Complete Cookbook, 1001 Easy Everyday Recipes for The Way We Cook Today (prizing provided by Food Network)*. And don’t forget to watch Sandra at her regular time (Sundays at 11:30a EST) this weekend too see her special Halloween episode. Going once! Going twice! SOLD!

*Rules for Sandra Lee Cookbook Giveaway

Melissa d’Arabian: A Lady Who Does Not Lounge

September 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm , by

You know her from The Next Food Network Star and more recently from her Food Network show 10 Dollar Dinners with Melissa d’Arabian, but now Melissa joins us in the Ladies’ Lounge to dish about motherhood, back-to-school, and her recipe for Doing Good.

Kids are back-to-school and moms are back to stressing about getting food on the table – what is your experience as a busy mom, and how do you make it all work?
Sometimes I find myself at 5:00 wondering where the day went and realize I didn’t plan any dinner. That’s where my experiences as a stay at home mom, and now as a career woman, really inform my recipes for 10 Dollar Dinners. I give the example of using pasta and turning it into a very quick and nutritious meal on those days where you forget to plan something. I try to gear my recipes and tips toward leveraging pantry ingredients into weeknight meals because it is very practical for busy moms. Another version of that is the ‘crisper drawer pasta’ – How do you take what’s wilting in your crisper drawer and turn it into dinner? I think the more people can walk away with not just a recipe but also a strategy and an approach, the better because my recipes are meant to give people ideas of their own.

How do you involve your kids in the kitchen?
I cook with my kids a lot, and while my oldest is just five, it’s important to remember that kids, even young kids, can really do a lot – I tend to stretch them out of their comfort zone in the kitchen, and am often surprised at what they can do. For instance, my {then} 3-year old learned how to dredge cutlets. It just started out with her helping, mixing the egg and whatnot, while I mixed up breadcrumbs in the food processor, but eventually she could manage the entire breading station start to finish. We rise to the occasion around us, but it’s important to involve kids from a young age.

Tell us about your involvement with The Grain Foods Foundation and why their cause is so important to you?


The Grain Foods Foundation raised $50,000 for Share Our Strength through the Bread Art Project, which I got involved in this past Spring – the effort is meant to increase awareness about hunger in America, and is close to me because I’ve seen first-hand what a gesture or helping hand can do for a child. Going from my childhood where we didn’t always have a full fridge to being able to put myself through business school, and to do everything I’ve done so far is, I believe, a direct result of the help I’ve received along the way. I think people probably don’t realize how pervasive hunger in America is, but the fact remains that 1 of every 4 kids struggles with hunger. It’s not always obvious who is struggling through this, when kids see each other at school, or when you see other people’s kids, you often wouldn’t know that some are going home to not enough food or not the right food. As a kid, you sort of accept your circumstances for what they are, and I think that the problem is it’s closer to home than we realize. I was glad to get involved with the Bread Art Project to raise awareness.

To catch more Melissa, tune into 10 Dollar Dinners airing on Food Network Sundays at 12:30pm/11:30c.

Pictured {L-R}: Judi Adams, President of Grain Foods Foundation, Melissa d’Arabian, and Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of Share Our Strength

Aarti’s Party

September 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm , by

After an intense few months of competition, Aarti Sequeria has finally landed her dream job (and mine). She is now the host of her very own show on The Food Network called Aarti Party.  I had the privilege of speaking with Aarti about her whirlwind experience as a competitor, and winner of Next Food Network Star.

What was the first thought that crossed your mind when they announced your name as winner of Next Food Network Star?

I thought “Oh Lord!” I felt gratitude and relief as well as some sadness for my fellow competitors, Tom and Herb, whom I had grown close with over my time on the show.

What is an easy way for people to introduce Indian cuisine into their lives who may be a bit skeptical?

I was intimidated at first as well and I am Indian! I didn’t start off cooking it and the first few times I tried it didn’t come out so well. I try to help people take a step toward bringing authentic flavors into their everyday dishes. For example, the Sloppy Joe recipe is something that is familiar to people and just by adding a few spices you can incorporate Indian flavors into a common dish. I usually get inspiration from what I am craving that day. If I am in the mood for a flank steak I think, “what can I do differently” to inspire something new.

What made you decide to enter The Next Food Network Star competition?

When I applied I had been doing my online show (Aarti Paarti) for 9 months and had picked up a few other jobs online. I realized this was what I wanted to do. All my strengths were built for this type of work. However, I was very intimidated by past episodes and how hard the challenges were, and these people had even more experience than I did!

What was the most difficult challenge on the show?

The Beso challenge with Eva Longoria and Todd English. I was at my wits end and so tired; I didn’t have strength left. I had seen my husband earlier that day and my emotions were all over the place. If I am in a good mood and I cook you can taste it, and unfortunately if I am in a bad mood you can taste it as well.  I wasn’t cooking with joy that day.

More questions on the next page Read more

Healthy Summer Cooking: Enjoy Grilling Without the Guilt

June 8, 2010 at 9:21 am , by

What’s a lady to do when she finds herself caught between bikini season and backyard barbeque season? Eat up! Food Network’s Ellie Krieger dishes how to enjoy summer’s best fare without tipping the scale…

Think Outside The Burger
Summer’s such a bountiful time for incredible local produce, so take advantage of it. Most people think of putting zucchini or peppers on the grill, but Portobello mushrooms and corn on the cob are equally amazing. For a twist on salad, slice romaine  hearts or endive in half, brush them with oil, and throw them on the grill until softened. You get the beautiful flavor that you’re craving, but using seasonal produce versus protein.

Lose the Salt, Find the Seasoning
Even cutting salt modestly can make a big difference in your overall health, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise flavor. I rely on potent flavors and aromatics like garlic, shallots, chili peppers, citrus, and fresh herbs. The important part to remember is that salt shouldn’t be the flavor foundation in any dish. Also, don’t be afraid of the spice rack – cumin and coriander are great to incorporate into rubs and marinades for grilling.

Trim The Fat
Hot dogs and ribs aren’t the only proteins worthy of the grill – lemon-filled salmon, for one, is another favorite of mine. For the more carnivorous crowd, try sticking to leaner cuts of meat (look for words like ‘loin’ or ‘round’). Rather than indulging in a gigantic steak as a whole, try thinly slicing it and serving as soft tacos with lots of chopped veggies and topped with fresh cilantro.

Slim Down On Sweets
I love grilling fruit, but just a piece of fruit seems more like a snack to me. So how do you make it into dessert? Try this: slice a peach in half, pop out the pit, grill it, and put a scoop of ice cream in the center. (full recipe below). Opt for lower fat ice cream that is all natural (no artificial flavors) or frozen yogurt. The important thing to remember when curbing your sweet tooth is to be mindful of portions. Even an ice cream cone, in moderation, is OK because it’s a contained portion compared to spooning it from the pint!

For more healthy ideas, check out Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger  airing M-F at 9:30am on Cooking Channel.

Photos Courtesy of: John Wiley & Sons, Inc./ SO EASY: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week

Recipe: Read more