Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Few Recipes from my Favorite Food Network Stars

The Straights are Food Network fans. We watch the shows, we get the recipes online, etc. I can't say that I like ALL of it though. If Rachel Ray suddenly appears on the television set, everyone in my family knows to turn the channel immediately! Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me. And I don't find any of her cooking unique or interesting.

Two of the FN stars I go to time and time again for recipes are Giada and Bobby Flay. Although Tyler Florence pops up quite a bit and I do make an outstanding Italian meatloaf that is Michael Chiarello's... but I'll save those two for another time.

I am going to start with Giada. Even though she is a stick with a head, even though she seems to have an obsession with push-up bras, and even though her "over-pronunciation" of Italian ingredients can be annoying, she is a genius in the kitchen. It was so hard to narrow down to one Giada recipe to share. But since I made this Israeli couscous salad just recently for a party and so many people asked me for the recipe, I have to go with this one. It's full of flavor, healthy, and great to take to a picnic since it can sit out longer than mayo-based salads. What I really enjoyed is that I could use our fresh herbs we have been growing. And to be honest, this is the first time I have ever used Israeli couscous and now I am a big fan! I have one recommended substitution. You may have already guessed---- use AGAVE NECTAR instead of the maple syrup!! And if I haven't quite convinced you yet to have agave on hand in your kitchen, use honey. I'm not sure I would love the maple syrup in it, but if anyone wants to try this the way Giada intended, let me know how it is. Here is the link:

The next dish is a little adaptation of a Bobby Flay (the god of grilling )recipe- Buffalo style French cut chicken breasts with bleu cheese sauce. He also includes a recipe for Jicama and watermelon salad, which I did not make. I had never heard of French cut chicken breast, but apparently it is bone and skin on with the wing attached. Like many of the posters who commented on this recipe, I used boneless breasts instead. Then I decided to make the whole thing into a Buffalo chicken salad and served it over iceberg and romaine with celery. What I really like about this dish is that it has all the flavors of Buffalo hot wings which I love (and miss!) The hot sauce is made with LOTS of ancho chili powder and Frank's Red Hot, butter, etc. and for me it is exactly the right amount of spicy. The contrast of the hot chili sauce and the cold bleu cheese sauce is really nice. There were leftovers of both which we will definitely use again. Both sauces are pretty rich, so if you are watching calories you may want to use them sparingly. Here is the link to the original recipe:

If you make either of these, make sure you leave a comment! And tell me who your favorite Food Network Stars are!


  1. I am really enjoying reading your blog. Keep posting!

  2. I couldn't agree more on your choice of favorite FN stars... Those are the main three that I love to watch... I'm also liking Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli (a lot)and still and for always, Ina Garten (she's just a classic chef).... Love reading this Blog and love your editorial on the chefs in this one! Giada is a stick with a head....cute!

  3. Thank you so much Mark!
    I've never watched Anne or Alex, but I'm going to look for them now that you have recommended them.
    I do appreciate Ina too- although I've never tried any of her recipes.
    Thanks for reading! :)

  4. Ha, just realized I'm signed into my computer somehow under Marks email... now how am I gonna change that - didn't you think it odd that Mark would be watching FN? (Hugs -Jill)

  5. I actually didn't think of your husband Mark until I put two and two together. By the way, I do know who Anne Burrell is, and I do like some of the things she does but she's a little nutty for me!