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August 04, 2006

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook: Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

A delicious side dish that owes its delectable flavor to the large quantities of half-and-half, butter, sour cream, and cheese that go into it. Ina Garten says that if you're being virtuous with the somewhat lean Turkey Meatloaf, you can serve these potatoes alongside it and feel good about it. I'd still like a better meatloaf, but the potatoes are fantastic.

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July 31, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Tortilla Soup

Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and turn it into tasty soup with this recipe from the Food Network Kitchens chapter. There's miminal prep and the end result is very good.

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July 25, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Chino Carrot & Ginger Soup

From Wolfgang Puck, here's a soup that might taste amazing if you can get your hands on the special carrots he recommends, from Chino Farms near San Diego. But what about the other 99% of us who have to use regular carrots?

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July 12, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Sicilian Harvest Salad

My last test from the Michael Chiarello chapter. Even after making this one, I'm not quite sure if it works or not. It's a mixture of savory and sweet ingredients that sometimes didn't seem to mesh very well. My opinion of the salad varied almost from bite to bite.

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July 11, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Bruschetta with White Bean Purée

Another recipe from Michael Chiarello where the proportions are a bit weird. This simple bean purée ended up tasting more like the olive tapenade that's mixed into it. And a bit of "restaurant-itis" sneaks into the ingredients list.

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Food Network Favorites: Salami Salad with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

This is an excellent way to showcase ripe, flavorful summer tomatoes. Michael Chiarello combines them with salami and cheese, and the results are quite good.

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Food Network Favorites: Homemade Tomato Soup

From the Michael Chiarello chapter in Food Network Favorites comes this recipe for soup that works even when flavorful fresh tomatoes aren't available. The proportions are all screwy, however, and the soup could use a lot more tomatoes in it to be worthy of the name "tomato soup."

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June 29, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Grilled Shrimp in Lettuce Leaves with Serrano-Mint Sauce

Another quick grill idea from Bobby Flay. No problems with this one; proportions were good, and the sauce makes a tasty accompaniment to the grilled shrimp.

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June 23, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Grilled Steak & Papaya Salad

It's summertime, and I'm ready to start grilling, so it's on to Bobby Flay's chapter in Food Network Favorites. This is a delicious spicy salad topped with grilled marinated steak. It's a wonderful meal for a summer evening.

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June 22, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Mosaic Chicken Terrine

When Paula Deen doesn't use exorbitant amounts of butter, cream, and cheese, her recipes are very good. This is a very pretty and tasty dish that would be nice for a luncheon or a bridal shower. It needs to be made at least 1 day in advance, and it's not super easy to eat, but it tastes fantastic.

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June 21, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Corn Casserole

Another Paula Deen recipe from Food Network Favorites. Another case of me saying "Yikes!" at the amount of fat that's in the dish. This one's a mixture of canned corn, cornbread mix, sour cream, butter, and cheese. Sure, it tastes pretty good (how could it not?), but is it worth it? Do you really need all that saturated fat in a simple side dish?

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June 13, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Fried Crab Wontons with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

To finish off the Tyler Florence chapter in Food Network Favorites, here's a very good, very time-consuming recipe that's perfect for parties. Delicious wontons filled with an Asian-inspired crab stuffing make for a tasty hors-d'oeuvre. But I wouldn't try this one for a weeknight dinner.

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June 07, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Spinach Salad with Honey-Brown Butter Dressing

A very simple and tasty salad from the Tyler Florence chapter in Food Network Favorites. Just sauté some shallots and butter, add honey and vinegar, and toss. The end result is a yummy wilted salad.

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May 30, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Shrimp Dean Martinis

Because it's shrimp cocktail served in martini glasses, get it? And Dean Martin loved shrimp cocktail!

Er...maybe not, but that's all I've got as far as making sense of the Rachael Ray trademark "cute" recipe title. This is a very simple appetizer, consisting of large, tail-on shrimp hung around the rim of a martini glass that's filled with Ray's version of cocktail sauce. Is it worth the effort to make this sauce?

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May 22, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Eggplant Pasta

My last test from the Alton Brown chapter in Food Network Favorites. The success of this dish all hangs on how you feel about eggplant. It's a polarizing vegetable; people who like it tend to really like it, while those who hate it...well, they loathe it. If you fall into the latter camp, this recipe is not for you.

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May 04, 2006

Food Network Favorites: French Onion Soup

A delicious rendition of the classic, from the Alton Brown chapter in Food Network Favorites. The "twist" is that the onions are cooked slowly in an electric skillet, rather than in a pan on the stove.

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April 19, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Baby Arugula with Country Ham, Goat Cheese, Dried Cherries & Walnut Vinaigrette

From the Emeril Lagasse chapter in Food Network Favorites comes this delicious salad. The flavor combination is very good, and this dish is an excellent accompaniment to the Mushroom Confit recipe. No quibbles with this one, although I think the ham can be left out without any harm to the final dish. If you've got vegetarians to think about, that's a good option.

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April 13, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Bow Ties with Pesto, Feta & Cherry Tomatoes

A quick and easy pasta salad from Dave Lieberman. The yield seemed a bit squirrelly, again, but other than that, there's not much to say about this recipe.

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April 11, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Curried Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

A fresh, light-tasting salad from Dave Lieberman. The preparation is extremely simple and the results are very good. My only quibble is with the yield.

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April 10, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Black Bean Soup

From the Dave Lieberman chapter in Food Network Favorites comes this simple recipe for black bean soup, using canned beans. It's very tasty, but I'd change the presentation a bit.

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March 01, 2006

Food Network Favorites: Spicy Chinese Five-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

It's not the pithiest recipe title ever, but it does describe exactly what this dish is. From the Dave Lieberman chapter in Food Network Favorites, these wings are easy to make and very tasty.

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January 31, 2006

Off the Shelf: Garlic Roast Asparagus

From Off the Shelf comes a tasty recipe for asparagus. This roasting method would work particularly well with asparagus that's a bit past its prime. Slow roasting brings out the flavors and mellows the garlic, especially if you use elephant garlic.

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January 24, 2006

Sara's Secrets: Rick's Black Beans

A very good rendition of black beans. Flavored with onions, garlic, and a smoked ham hock, these beans taste great and get even better after a day or two in the refrigerator.

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January 17, 2006

Sara's Secrets: Butter-Steamed Broccoli with Soy

A very simple, very tasty treatment for vegetables. Steam them in a mixture of water, butter, and seasonings until crisp-tender. It takes one pan and about 15 minutes from start to finish. What's not to love?

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January 11, 2006

Sara's Secrets: Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Chorizo and Greens

Here's a hearty main-course soup from Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals. It took a bit longer to cook than Moulton's instructions said it would, but the end result was very tasty.

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November 30, 2005

Everyday Italian: Endive and Frisée Salad with Blood Oranges and Hazelnuts

A salad that's heavy on the bitter greens. Giada De Laurentiis dares readers to be more adventurous, saying, "Italians aren't afraid of using spicy and slightly bitter greens in their salads, and you shouldn't be either." But for my American palate, the combination of endive and frisée was too unrelentingly bitter. After I substituted some mild green butter lettuce, I liked this flavor combination a lot better.

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November 22, 2005

Everyday Italian: White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

The "Italian version of hummus," according to Giada De Laurentiis. It's an easy dip to make, and would make a nice addition to a buffet table or holiday dinner. Both the dip and the chips can be made ahead of time. The flavor of the white beans is a bit less assertive than hummus, and the oregano-coated pita chips make a good accompaniment.

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November 18, 2005

Roasted Green Beans

Another new recipe from the current issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. These green beans are fantastic: the roasting process brings out their natural sweetness and converts tough, boring old supermarket beans into something special.

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November 08, 2005

Fast Food My Way: Purée of Peas with Mint and Cilantro

This is an excellent example of Jacques Pépin's skill at taking convenience products -- in this case, frozen peas -- and turning them into something special. The peas and herbs combine to create a vibrant, intense green purée that looks and tastes fantastic.

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November 04, 2005

Fast Food My Way: Mushroom Velouté with Almonds

Or, as we call it around here, cream of mushroom soup. This one's much better than Campbell's, though. Pépin uses dried wood ear mushrooms to give the soup extra flavor. They add a nice woodsy aroma and the almonds give a bit of crunch. It's a lovely recipe for autumn.

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November 03, 2005

Fast Food My Way: Greens with Quick Cream Dressing

Jacques Pépin says this was one of his mother's favorite dressings for a green salad or haricots verts. I was intrigued by his statement that the cream contains half the calories of the oil in a conventional dressing, since the very words "heavy cream" scream calories to me. It's true, though: 1 tablespoon of heavy cream contains 60 calories, while 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories. But how does the dressing taste?

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October 14, 2005

Live, Love, Eat!: Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Wolfgang Puck's version of the perennial favorite. Is his better than all the others out there?

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October 13, 2005

Live, Love, Eat!: Chinois Chicken Salad

This is the signature salad at Wolfgang Puck's Santa Monica restaurant Chinois. It's a very nice dish, and easy to assemble, although there are a few things that I'd do differently with the recipe.

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October 05, 2005

30-Minute Meals 2: Romaine Hearts with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

An easy salad that pairs well with some of the richer dishes in 30-Minute Meals 2.

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30-Minute Meals 2: Emmanuel's Baked Artichoke Hearts

Rachael Ray remarks in her notes for this recipe that it's an update of a favorite recipe of her grandfather Emmanuel's. She streamlines his time-consuming stuffed artichoke recipe by topping artichoke halves with bread crumb stuffing and baking. The results are very good.

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September 30, 2005

30-Minute Meals 2: Mexican Fiesta Salad

Don't let the weirdly anachronistic name fool you: this is a recipe for pico de gallo. It makes a lovely accompaniment to Rio Grande Spice Rub Strip Steaks.

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30-Minute Meals 2: Cracked Corn and Cheese Squares

A quick and easy way to dress up boxed cornbread mix.

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.