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Get Your Tix to the 2013 NYC Wine & Food Festival!

Monday, June 24, 2013 at 09:06 AM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

It’s almost that time of year again! From October 17-20, the 2013 Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival will be taking the Big Apple by storm, and tickets are officially on sale for all the fun- and food-filled festivities. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience world-class events featuring culinary legends, local chefs, and everyone’s favorite Food Network personalities.

Presented by Food & Wine, this four-day culinary showcase is the only place where you can take down a throng of tacos and tequila with Bobby Flay, bite into the country’s best burgers alongside Rachael Ray, belly up to BBQ and the Blues with Robert Irvine, shout “Prost!” over unlimited bier and brats at Andrew Zimmern’s Oktoberfest, or be one of the lucky few to witness Morimoto’s legendary live karaoke. And you can curb every craving imaginable at the epic Saturday & Sunday Grand Tastings.

There’s something for everyone and at every price point, with locations from Manhattan’s West Side to Long Island City. And the best part: proceeds of the festival benefit the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength. Tickets go on sale today—so act fast! Snag yours and get ready to eat, drink, and help end hunger.

Hope to see you there!

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SOBEWFF 2013: Getting to Know Giada De Laurentiis

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 10:02 PM - Posted by Megan - (3) comments

giada de laurentiisBeautiful, successful, talented, funny and down-to-earth. They say you can’t have it all, but Italian culinary icon Giada De Laurentiis sure seems to come close. And whether playing the role of wife, mom, chef, host, spokeswoman, mentor, cookbook author, TV star or pasta perfecter, the sexy Food Network starlet manages to make it all look effortless.

Last Friday during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, I had the pleasure of sitting down one-on-one with Giada at Miami’s Casa Tua restaurant, before her ‘Italian in Paradise’ dinner event. She candidly shared details of her incredibly busy life and dished about cooking at home with her family, embarrassing moments, common misconceptions and more.

I’ve seen you at at all these food festivals, in NY, LA, everywhere — what makes SOBEWFF so special?

It’s the first food festival I ever did. Lee Schrager, years ago, took a chance on me and brought me to the festival. He said “let’s try you out, do one demo, we’ll see what the crowd says and we’ll figure it out. I have a good feeling about this.” Oh, I was so nervous. And Alton Brown, who I am good friends with now, at the time had some sort of conflict and wasn’t able to attend. So, Lee had me cover for him and all of a sudden I went from having one demo to three demos. I was terrified! But I just remember having the best time ever even though nothing went right—I couldn’t even get my water to boil because of the crosswind on the beach, so I kinda just did a Q&A. Even though it was the scariest, it actually ended up being the best. I feel like it all started here, and I have a really close connection to South Beach because of it.

 
What do you cook at home, when the cameras are off?

I make a lot of things that my daughter and husband like to eat because they are my favorite people to cook for. My daughter is a big pasta fan, so lately we’ve been making stuffed pastas, a lot of homemade raviolis, and pizzas too. She’s into anything in a ball shape—meatballs, burgers… she’s been grilling a lot with my husband. And lately, mac ‘n’ cheese cupcakes. She is in love with cupcakes, so instead of sweet cupcakes, we’ve been doing savory ones. My daughter, Jade, eats depending on her mood. She knows what she wants and when she wants it.

 
Other than Italian food, what types of cuisines do you like to cook and eat?

I’ve been cooking a lot more Greek food, and have been playing with Indian food too. And Thai food! My husband, Todd, is a huge Thai fan. And I just went to Thailand in December to shoot my show, so I’ve sort of come up with all these new Thai recipes. I brought a bunch of spices back with me, things that I don’t usually cook with, so I’ve just been experimenting and trying out dishes. It’s been a lot of fun to explore these new flavors.

 
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you on TV?

The first time I ever did live television was on The Today Show, maybe 10 years ago when my first cookbook came out, and I made a grilled chicken breast with spinach and basil pesto. I was on the air with Al and Matt and there was also a food stylist on set. So I’m having a conversation with Al, but out of the corner of my eye, I see Matt cut into a chicken breast and I thought to myself, “that chicken doesn’t look cooked.” It had grill marks on it, but the food stylist never finished cooking it! Matt put the chicken in his mouth and realized it was raw. He ran off set to spit it out in the trash, of course the cameras followed him, and he came back and said “Giada tried to poison me! She will never, ever work on TV again.” I almost died! I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not, since I wasn’t used to him or his humor. I was horrified.

But that appearance got me a correspondent role on the show and I’ve been there ever since. Sometimes when you think of a disaster, it actually ends up being the best thing in the world. You just never know in life.

 
If you could cook a dream meal for one person, who would it be and what would you make?

Marilyn Monroe. I find her fascinating. It’s amazing to me that someone who died so many years ago could still be such an icon. And I kinda just wanna know what her secret was, what was going on in her head. I’d probably make her a nice creamy vodka sauce since I know she liked her vodka, serve it with a good bottle of wine and probably some chocolatey, luscious strawberry dessert. Sexy, romantic, sumptuous and sensual, like Marilyn.

 
If you weren’t a celebrity chef, what career would you want?

I probably would work in politics somehow. Or maybe be a CIA agent or something, I’m fascinated by people that can live in such secrecy.

 
But since you are such a public figure, what’s something most people don’t know about you?

I think people think that I am just so perfect all the time. Ya know, I’m more spontaneous than people think I am. And something I’ve been working on for years is to not use my potty mouth so much. I tend to speak a certain kind of language that I probably should not. And people that know me well say to me, “how can those words come out of that face!? How is it possible?” Hey, I’m working on it.

 
If you had to be stuck in a kitchen with one of your Food Network Star co-mentors, Bobby or Alton, who would you choose and why?

First reaction — Bobby. But, truly, I’d pick each one of them for different reasons. Bobby would have my back and and he’s a great chef. Alton, on the other hand, would make me laugh. He has such a witty personality, so he’d probably be more entertaining in the kitchen, but I don’t think he has the skill set that Bobby has. Alton thinks he has the skill that Bobby has, but he doesn’t. So they both would bring very different things to the kitchen.

 
What would you want for your last meal?

My last meal would be a seven layer chocolate fudge cake. I am such a chocoholic and if I could just eat cakes and sugar and chocolate for the rest of my life, I would. It’s my first choice, always and forever.

 
Grazie, Giada! It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you.

Follow @GDeLaurentiis on Twitter to keep up with all things Giada, including exciting new projects and shows, two children’s storybooks she’s putting out in September and a new cookbook in December.

 
Image courtesy of Food Network

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Spike Up Your Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 09:12 AM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

Since appearing on season 4 of Top Chef, life has been pretty hectic for Spike Mendelsohn. Besides opening an empire of restaurants in the Washington, DC area—including Good Stuff EateryWe, the Pizza and new Capital Hill French bistro Bearnaise (slated to debut in late February)—the celebrity chef can be seen delivering funny one liners on Bravo’s Life After Top Chef and competing in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef.

As if his plate wasn’t already full, Spike has recently teamed up with Captain Morgan to create unique recipes featuring the spiced rum and their newest signature liquor, Black Spiced Rum—a bold flavored Caribbean rum blended with natural spices. So how’d this new partnership come about? “I’ve always been a fan of Captain Morgan, so for me it was an exciting opportunity to partner with them. As a chef, it was kind of an adventure to create these new food and cocktail recipes for the brand. It’s been really interesting and a very fun campaign.” Spike shared with me.

And how he got creatively inspired? “Literally, I pictured myself in a pirate’s outfit on a pirate ship, sailing around the Caribbean and being inspired to create some really delicious food and drinks that incorporate Captain Morgan.” he mentioned. Aye aye, Captain Spike.

Spike was kind enough to share a few of his exclusive recipes, which are sure to spice up all your holiday celebrations. Enjoy!
 

 
Captain Morgan Spiced Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole

  • 10 baked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup  brown sugar
  • 1 cup  butter
  • 1 teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon clove
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1 dash allspice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Captain Morgan® Original Spiced Rum
  • One (1) 16-ounce bag of mini marshmallow
  •  
    Bake sweet potatoes on 375°F for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove pulp with a large spoon and place in a large bowl. Stir together the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg allspice orange juice and Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Salt and pepper to taste.  Next, butter a casserole pan and layer sweet potato mixture then marshmallows. Do as many layers as you can, finishing off with the remaining marshmallows. Lastly, sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350°F for 20 – 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

     

     
    Black Apple Harvest

  • ¾ cup apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dash allspice
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • Juice from one lemon (save the rind)
  • 0.25 ounces apricot liquor
  • 1.25 ounces Captain Morgan® Black Spiced Rum
  •  
    In a shaker, add ice and shake it like your momma taught you. Fill a rocks glass with ice, take a lemon rind and rim the glass. Next, take a thin slice of ginger and rim the glass and then put both garnishes in the glass. Pour cocktail through holes of the shaker. Cocktail should still have some apple sauce texture, but shouldn’t be thick. Lastly, drizzle with honey.

    Note: If you don’t have apricot liquor on-hand or don’t want to make a run to the store, feel free to try without it.

     

     
    Port Royal Punch (serves 25)

  • Two (2) 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice
  • 3 cups mango juice
  • 1 750 mL bottle of Captain Morgan® Original Spiced Rum
  • 4.5 ounces of grenadine
  • 3 oranges sliced thinly and quartered
  • 3 cans of Sprite for fizz
  •  
    In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the above ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass – or glass of your choosing.
     

    Additional recipes can be found on Captain Morgan’s Facebook page.

    Images courtesy of Taylor Strategy and Kraut Rocks

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