Ahhh, those were the days when I could sit and watch American TV all day long. Hundreds of channels and about a dozen that any thinking person would want to watch. Harsh words, them, but true. My habitual viewing was the US Food Network. I drank in the programmes which introduced me to new recipes and a new style of cooking. It’s a shame that I now find so little to inspire me on the UK food channel. I am almost word-perfect for all of Rick Stein’s series, good though they are, and Market Kitchen lacks the warm and human charm of Jeni Barnett’s Good Food Live. Here is a book, however, that reminds me of my days of enthusiastic viewing.
Food Network Favorites has recipes from some of my preferred American TV chefs. A few of the celebs seem a bit chubbier than I remember but the style of food is the same. Paula Deen is new to me but I love her Southern cuisine. You’ll need access to some American packaged mixes to make some of the recipes but you’ll have no problem finding the ingredients for Paula Deen’s Scallops with Crème Fraiche Mash. Classy but simple. Tomato Pie takes little effort but the result would make a lovely light lunch or a starter for a more formal meal. Artful use of mayo for the topping.
Alton Brown was my big Food Network find. He has the approach of a scientist… or at least a mad professor. Think Heston Blumenthal with laughs. Red Snapper en Papillote is a smart dish although you can use any firm-fleshed, non-oily fish. Your fish will cook inside a parchment paper envelope. This is probably a good dish for a novice cook as the fish is almost guaranteed to be moist. Alton also has a recipe for English Muffins which we in England would call a crumpet or a pikelet. These are traditional yeast batter fried breads with convenient holes designed to hold melted butter.
Emeril Lagasse is a real character. He is passionate about food and is as popular as Gordon Ramsay is in the UK… only nicer. He has his own range of food products but offers you his Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning recipe here. Duck Pastrami is a unique concept. Think marinated salmon and you’ll have the idea. The duck is coated with the seasoning mix and soaks up the flavour for 48 hours then is slow roasted, and matured in the fridge for a week. Slice thin and serve as hors d’oeuvres.
Food Network Favorites will be welcomed by my American readers who will enjoy the printed version of their cooking channel heros, but it’s also a book that showcases modern American food. It’s not all fast burgers, pizzas and hot dogs. Bobby Flay, Dave Lieberman, Giada de Laurentiis, Mario Batali, Michael Chiarello, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Wolfgang Puck offer some inspiring recipes.
Food Network Favorites
Published by: Meredith Books
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018