Tag Archives: Food Network

Paula Deen’s Boys Come to Fairhope

25 Sep

deens bobby

The Deen boys were in town yesterday evening to promote their new book titled “Take It Easy.” Paula’s sons have been doing quite well on their own – thanks to their uber-famous Southern Mama. The guys turned out to be friendly and very down to earth. Bobby was kind enough to pose for a photo and chat a bit with my son Travis. Travis wants to be a Food Network chef when he grows up, so it was a thrill for him. Thanks, Bobby!

deen book

The above is one of 3 Deen Boys cookbooks now in release

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Taking some questions from the audience

Last night’s appearance took place in the scenic French Quarter courtyard in downtown Fairhope. The event was hosted by the wonderful Page & Palette bookstore here in town. Panini Pete’s, perhaps our favorite Fairhope eatery, provided some culinary assistance. They prepared a couple recipes from the Deen’s latest book including a Three Bean Ham Salad and some little Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches. The guys fielded questions from a rather large crowd on hand. Most of the audience was female and in the 45-65 age group. They asked a lot of questions about Paula … as you might imagine. “Is she as sweet as she seems?” YES. “Does she have a cholesterol problem?” NO. “Where is she today?” PHILLY. “When did you last talk to her?” THIS MORNING.  

deens with Panini

The Deens with a hard-working Panini Pete’s employee

The Deen’s had been on the PR trail for about a week now and were looking forward to returning home to Savannah. It was a fun evening but quite sticky in the Lower Alabama humidity. No, Fall has not reached us yet!

To order the Deen Brothers latest book, go to:

http://www.amazon.com/reader/0345513266?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=sib%5Fdp%5Fpt#noop

Chap’s Pit Beef in Baltimore

6 Aug

Guy gets it — Duff digs it — good enough for me!

Panini Pete’s Impresses on 1st Visit

26 Jul

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I was extremely impressed on my first visit to the highly-rated Panini Pete’s in Fairhope, AL. Everything we had was excellent and obviously made with great attention to detail. Case in point, the fries you see above were certianly not your run of the mill deep fried potatoes. Pete keeps the whole potatoes in a water bath until it’s time to serve them. The taters are then removed from the pool and sliced nice and thin. They are then immersed in a hot oil until they emerge golden brown and super crispy. Almost like those Durkee’s potato sticks, but much fresher and better.

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Panini Pete’s is tucked away in a courtyard inside Fairhope’s French Quarter retail district. Just look for the above sign out front and Pete’s legions of loyal diners streaming towards his popular eatery.  

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Reach for this door — you won’t be sorry you did!

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My iced tea resting next to Pete’s laminated “folded napkin” menu.

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My amazing entree consisted of medium rare roast beef, field greens, onion confit, tomatoes, Dijon, and gorganzola cheese on a perfectly baked panini bread. I told my kids it may have been the best meal I’ve had since we arrived on the Eastern Shore some 3 months ago.

If I could buy a franchise from this place I would — in a heartbeat. Panini Pete is going places and I want to be along for the ride. www.paninipetes.com

Mofongo Recipe Getting Lots of Attention

27 Jun

Benny’s in Miami, FL is said to make one hell of a mofongo. Or should I say they make a “mofo” of a mofongo??? The restaurant was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” and has been generating lots of attention ever since the episode first aired.  It doesn’t look pretty, but it reportedly is a taste sensation. Look for McMofongo at your local McDonald’s in the near future.  

According to Wiki, “Mofongo is a popular meatball dish made with fried plantains or yuca. The dish is part of various Caribbean cuisines including Cuban cuisine (where it is known as fufu), Dominican cuisine and Puerto Rican Cuisine.”

Benny’s Mofongo

6 large plantains
6 small garlic cloves
3/4 cup pork rinds
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 cup pure olive oil, plus more for frying

Peel the plantains and cut into 1-inch slices. Put the plantains in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt to keep them moist until ready to cook.

Mash the garlic, pork rinds, 1/4 tablespoon of the salt, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a mortar with a pestle. Transfer the garlic mixture to a bowl.

Heat about 5 inches of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot (or in a deep-fryer) until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 300 degrees. Line a plate with paper towels.

Drain and pat dry the plantains. Fry without crowding, in batches, if necessary, until the plantains are cooked, but not hard, 15 to 20 minutes. It’s best to check the plantains after about 15 minutes; to do so, remove a slice from the oil and cut into it – if the center is still pink, keep cooking; if it’s yellow, the plantains are ready. Transfer the plantains from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain briefly on the paper towels.

Mash the fried plantains with the remaining 1/4 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup olive oil until just soft. Add the garlic mixture and continue mashing until the mofongo is completely blended. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Guy Fieri’s Favorite “Dives”

27 Jan

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There’s nothing quite like a dive. That’s how celebrity chef Guy Fieri views the food universe. Sure, Fieri, a California restaurateur-turned-Food Network favorite (The Next Food Network Star, Guy’s Big Bite, Ultimate Recipe Showdown), can probably afford to eat out these days in the fanciest of establishments. But he prefers places with character — or, better yet, that are run by characters — where the cooking is hearty, the atmosphere gritty and the lines always out the door.

The spiky-haired Fieri, himself no small character, pays homage to such places in what is arguably his best Food Network series to date, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

The show’s simple philosophy?

“If it’s funky, we’ll find it,” says Fieri, who explains that he searches for restaurants that serve “real” food (“I don’t care if it’s just a chili dog, but let it be a righteous chili dog”), and those that have a story behind them.

We sat down with Fieri on a sweltering morning during the 2008 South Beach Wine & Food Festival — he was kind enough to offer us a towel so that we could wipe our brow — and asked him to name a few favorites among the dozens of diners, drive-ins and dives he’s profiled.

Here are his picks:

Benny’s
2500 S.W. 107th Ave., Miami, Fla.
305-227-1232
Puerto Rican cuisine in a luncheonette setting.

“A nondescript joint, run by a family,” says Fieri.

But the food?

It was so good, says Fieri, “I just about lost my mind.”

The menu is heavy on seafood, but the house favorite is the mofongo, a dish made with mashed fried plantains and any number of additions, from pork to chicken.

Pizza Palace
3132 Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, Tenn.
865-524-4388
Yes, pizza in Tennessee — in a decades-old establishment run by Greeks, no less.

But Fieri says it shouldn’t be so unexpected: Greeks are among the best cooks around, known for their expertise in running diners.

At this Knoxville establishment, “Everything they make, they make from scratch,” Fieri notes. And in case you’re not in the mood for a pie, they’re equally known for their — you guessed it — Greek salad.

Mike’s Chili Parlor
1447 N.W. Ballard Way, Seattle, Wash.
206-782-2808
A Seattle fixture since 1922.

“They put chili on spaghetti, chili on [hot] dogs, chili on grilled-cheese sandwiches,” says Fieri.

To top it off — no pun intended — it’s not your everyday chili. “It’s more like a meat sauce,” explains Fieri, adding that it’s made from a secret recipe.

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
2519 Marshall St. N.E., Minneapolis, Minn.
612-788-9069
Don’t let the name scare you: This place is “a real funky joint,” converted from an old motel and coffee shop, says Fieri.

The food fits the spirit, from battered and deep-fried hot dogs (“Red Rockets,” they’re called) to a Hawaiian-inspired pizza with rum-soaked raisins.

Duarte’s Tavern
202 Stage Rd., Pescadero, Calif.
650-879-0464
The restaurant takes up about “three quarters of the town,” says Fieri, noting that the 104-year-old eatery has a “humongous” garden where they “grow everything from berries for the pies to artichokes for the dips.”

Plus, they make a cioppino, the popular California seafood stew, that Fieri promises is “to die for.” (“And I’m a cioppino junkie,” Fieri adds.)

Bayway Diner
2019 South Wood Ave., Linden, N.J.
908-862-3207
This eight-stool Jersey diner has special significance for Fieri since it’s the first location the series ever shot.

Plus, Fieri is a diner fanatic: “You pack everybody in there, they cook right in front of you,” he explains of the appeal of such eateries.

As for this one, he doesn’t wax poetic about a particular dish or two so much as the impossibly small setting, replete with a cramped basement where the roasted turkey is prepared.

Such places, Fieri concludes, are all about “a love affair with food.”

Give Elixer G a Try

4 Jan

elixir-g-collage

If you love the taste of ginger, check this new product out.

I discovered them via Guy’s Big Bite on Food Network.

In the never ending search for the perfect cocktail or martini, one can easily forget about one of the most potent spices of all, ginger. There are many kinds of exciting ginger beers out there, including such stunners as the cult Blenheim Ginger Ale from South Carolina.

Now a new ginger mix, Elixir G, has just hit the market, and was a “Best in Show” winner in the “new products category” at the just convened Los Angeles Food and Wine Show over some pretty stiff opposition. Elixir G is a dynamic mixer that is extremely versatile with every form of spirit imaginable, giving the cocktail that superb ginger taste, and with tequila in particular.

The drink is not available at retail stores at this time, but you can contact the company directly, although they are very selective who they sell to, and are very keen to offer serving suggestions.  

Most of the top bars in Los Angeles and Hollywood such as Yamashiro’s, MaKai, Ocean Avenue Seafood stock the mixer along with Akwa in Santa Monica. Look for it in October at P.F.Chang’s all across the country, with more outlets to be added as the holiday season hots up.

See some cocktail mixes after the jump. 

Here are a few HOT Elixir G cocktail suggestions:

1oz      Vodka
1/2oz   Chambord
1/2oz   Elixir G
Fill with lemonade and top with a dash of lemon-lime soda. Very refreshing in the hot weather. Unnamed as of yet.

Mistletoe Martini

Fill a martini shaker with ice. Mix in.
1 ½ oz Vodka
½ oz Orange Juice
½ oz Cranberry Juice
1/2oz Elixir G
 Add 3-4 cloves, shake and strain into a Martini glass and garnish w/orange peel.

Christmas Carol

Fill a highball glass with ice.
Add:
1 1/2oz Brandy
1oz Sour Mix
Large splash Elixir G.
4oz Lemon Lime Soda
Garnish w/three Cranberries.

Gingerita

2oz Tequila
2oz Elixir G
2oz Sour Mix
Blend with ½ cup ice

Contact ELIXIR G at 714-926-7978.

Guy’s Twice-Fried Plantains

27 Sep

This is a recipe from Guy’s Big Bite on Food Network. Good, spicy island stuff.

To tour Guy’s Food Network set, click on http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/

Alton Brown is Feasting Once Again

31 Aug

Alton Brown goes in search of America’s culinary roots and Caribbean flavors in Feasting on Waves. He starts his journey on St. Kitts (aka St. Christopher), named by and for Christopher Columbus on his second journey to the new world. Alton, like Christopher, is traveling North and West through the Leeward Islands and on to the British Virgin Islands. Alton maintains the spirit of Feasting on Asphalt and seeks out the most authentic and traditional foods of the regions and meets the people who created them. Restaurants are the most obvious targets but Feasting is about the unexpected, so Alton also ventures to find roadside stands, street vendors, farmer’s markets, farms, spice houses and homes of local cooks who make specialties of the region. The show premieres on September 7th, but you can get a sneak peek by visiting  http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ab?nl=FN_082908_28

Florence Keeping it Real on Food Network

29 Jun

One of our favorite Food Network chefs is Tyler Florence. He has not experienced the same over-exposure that has plagued Emeril, Rachel Ray, and Paula Deen. We originally found Paula refreshing but her act has grown stale and overbearing over time. And don’t even get us started about her two boys. Tyler keeps the focus on the food, which is where it should be, right? Florence hails from South Carolina (that’s the Dixie connection here) and often weaves a southern influence or a story from his past into his cooking presentations.

The Sunday morning show Tyler’s Ultimate is always worth watching. Each week he presents his ultimate version of a classic dish — from gnocchi to fried chicken. Florence has also written a book by the same name which includes many recipes from his early TV episodes. Check it out when you can and visit Tyler’s blog page at www.tyler1.wordpress.com

Tyler’s Ultimate Fried Chicken

1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
Kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (recommended: Srirachi)
Peanut oil, for frying
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
3 big sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 bunch fresh sage
1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached
Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1 inch; add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and hot sauce with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture,
then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 350 to 365 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature.

Once the oil has reached 350 to 365 degrees F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay it on a tea towel or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges.

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