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We mean that in a good way.

This is Rachael Ray’s recipe for spiced nuts, taken from Food Network which hosts her show. If you’re making this in bulk buy nuts from the market.

Ingredients

2 cups walnut halves
1 cup peeled hazelnuts
1 cup whole unsalted cashews
1 cup whole pecan halves
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground anise
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
1 cup smoked almonds (recommended: Diamond Smokehouse almonds)

What’s Next

Toast nuts in a pan. This usually takes 7 minutes but use your nose as your judge. Transfer to a plate when done. Then, melt butter in the pan, adding your spices. Pour back the nuts. You’re done!

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Mindy Segal was named Chicago’s best pastry chef — and at a
chef portal she shared a recipe that readers can whip up in their own kitchens for a delightful holiday breakfast. Tip: after making the pancakes, stack them up with lemon curd sandwiched between. Pour compote on top.
Yum!

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd:
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter

Blueberry Compote:

2 pints blueberries (4 cups)
1 vanilla bean (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup lemon curd (from recipe)
1 tablespoon orange juice
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter

Pancakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, separated
6 ounces Wisconsin Ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups milk
Confectioner’s sugar

What to do:

Mix 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, lemon juice and ½ cup sugar in a bowl. Whisk away all the lumps. Place over double boiler with simmering water, then continue to whisk until it reaches a thick consistency. Add the butter. Refrigerate until set.

Blueberry Compote:

In sauté pan, combine blueberries, vanilla bean, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, water, 1/4 cup lemon curd, orange juice and pinch of salt. Cook over low heat, until blueberries are tender but not broken down. Let the mixture simmer until it bcomes thick. Turn off the heat, mix in 1 tablespoon butter. Let cool.

Pancakes:

In medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir in lemon zest. Set aside. In large bowl, mix 2 egg yolks and ricotta cheese. Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Whip 2 egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.

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Food and WIne magazine recently released the list of the best new chefs in the United States. These are the next generation chefs, in their mid-20s, and yet already showcasing brilliant talent and drive. Watch out for them!

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Every year, WOlfgang Puck prepares the meal for the prestigious Oscars Governors Ball. Everybody who’s anybody is there. The ingredients must be perfect, the flavors perfectly orchestrated. After all, there are 1,500 celebrity guests there, and they will raise hell if the chicken is even the slightest overcooked.

Puck created a very elaborate menu
that included pizza with white truffles and kumamoto oysters. There were appetizer trays, tapas, sushi bar, seafood bar, buffet. Just a whole lot of food — and madness in the kitchen.

Consider the numbers;350 kitchen staff,6,000 Pieces of hand polished Flatware, and a really long shopping list:

500 Bottles of Laurent Perrier Champagne
2,000 Bottles of Sterling Wine
300 lbs. Smoked Wild Salmon
100 lbs. Natural Certified Angus Beef
600 ea. Spiny Lobster
10 lbs. French Farm Raised Osetra Caviar
250 Whole SMART Organic Chickens
16 lbs. Black Truffles from Perigord, France
10 lbs. White Truffles from Alba, Italy
15 Whole Yellowtails
150 lbs. Big Eye Tuna
25 ea. Thai Snapper
100 Dozen Kumamoto Oysters
100 lbs. Black Farm-Raised Mussels
150 lbs. Little Neck Clams, Farm Raised
300 lbs. Jumbo Shrimp
550 lbs. Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef (American Kobe)
25 Whole Wild Striped Bass

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Note to chefs: never leave your kitchen unattended, especially if your wife hates you.

Australian TV chef John Burton Race got the shock of his life the day after he got booted from the show “I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here!” While he was traipsing around the rainforest, his wife (who he was in the process of divorcing) had closed down his Devon restaurant and fired his entire staff. Workers said they were given only 2 days’ notice, and after Sunday lunch time, they had to empty the fridge and throw out all leftovers. Suppliers — who were just as clueless as everyone else — had abandoned orders of paper towels and oil by the doorway.

The restaurant — Michelin-starred and worth about £1.2 million — was the whole world to John Burton Race. Workers tried to call him but the production company said they couldn’t get in touch with him. “I am annoyed because I have just lost my job overnight and I do not understand why,” said one waiter. Others who stayed in staff accomodations also lost their homes.

Well he’s not the only one left dazed and confused. Calls from irate workers were what woke him up his first morning back in the “real world”. Of course, that’s what he gets for dumping his wife so unceremoniously.

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Jamie Oliver shares his best holiday tips in his personal blog. An excerpt:

1. For 2 or 3 days over the festive period, lose the clutter from the kitchen – that means moving the kettle, condiments, old serving urn your Gran gave you, out of the kitchen to give you space.

2. Order your turkey at least 3 weeks before Christmas day – to ensure you get the best available.

3. Next time you do a bucks fizz, try using clementine juice with champagne or Prosecco (Italian bubbly). Delicious!

4. Indigestion tablets – don’t forget them!

5. To give you some more space in the fridge, take out all the water, alcohol, juices and prepared veg and put them outside….well it is cold outside!

6. Count up all your crockery and cutlery before you start, just in case you are a few short.

7. A week before Christmas, get all the heavy stuff bought and packed away – things like water, beers, fruit, veg, more beers – this means you are not lugging heavy things around at the last minute.

We have a tip for you too, Jamie: most of all: don’t make fun of the names of your friends’ kids!

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A perfect gift for anyone who loves cooking shows and celebrity chefs. No, not kitchen knives or another “Kiss the Cook” apron — but Celebrity Chef the Game. It’s been described as “a combination of Cranium and Bravo’s Top Chef.”

This trivia-based board game lets you test your trivia knowhow and navigate the tricky ladder up to stardom: endorsements, awards, TV deals, and the occassional mad critic. It’s fun and educational. Sample question:

Q:Which of these is a possible designation for wine?

A) Dolphin safe
B) Rabbit safe
C) Salmon safe

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Is this a joke?

Jamie Oliver supposedly made a big boo-boo while talking to Angelina Jolie about her movie, Beowulf.

Jamie kept mentioning Jolie’s daughter Shiloh, but somehow his tongue got all tangled (Angelina must have that effect on men) and kept saying “Piloh S**” instead of Shiloh Pitt.

The chef supposedly apologized to Angelina by sending her a gift of pudding he made from Cheerios cereal. If it is true he’s lucky she doesn’t throw it at his face.

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James Barber, better known as TV’s “The Urban Peasant” passed away at the age of 84.

He died as all TV chefs hope to die — in the middle of preparing a delicious, comforting meal. He was preparing a pot of soup, with vegetables handpicked from his 4 hectare farm in Cowichan Valley.

“As far as we can tell, James was sitting at the dining room table, he was reading a cookbook, and he had a pot of soup simmering on the stove. So he definitely left this world in a way that he would have wanted to, but I think he would have been pretty upset about the timing,” said his wife.

Though Barber had long retired from his show — which ran for 10 years — he had just released the cookbook “One Pot Wonders” in July 2007. He is also known for his cookbook “Ginger Tea Makes Friends.”

Barber was loved for his simple style that made cooking less intimidating and more practical for “regular people.” He’d use ingredients found in corner groceries and gave no-nonsense advice on food budgeting.

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Alton Brown is known both for his zany sense of humor and how he’s introduced “science” into the art of cooking in his show and website. (In other words, he’s a mad food scientist.) But what people don’t realize is that… this man really knows how to cook! And you can see it in how he elevates everyday, ordinary food to blissful perfection.

Like the pancake. His recipe for this humble breakfast food is the best you’ll ever find. Enjoy.

Ingredients

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.

Instructions

2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups “Instant” Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don’t try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes