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Not Just Take Out » food network

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::events:: Food Network Book Signing with Jeff Mauro


I have the greatest husband. Ever. It’s true.

Things I have never been into:

  1. Reality television
  2. Books about a reality television show
  3. Book signings

Well. Time for all that to change. I got into Food Network Star. Way into it. We had to set up a recording for it. I think I bought into it so quickly because the standout players (Jeff Mauro, Vic Moea, and Suzie Jimenez) were just awesome. I was excited for any of them to win. I had already bought into their show. Maybe I was more into it because PTB was watching and enjoying the show with me. He was all for Jeff winning. As he mentions on My Latest Distraction, he can get behind the idea of “every meal in a sandwich, every sandwich into a meal.” If only I would let him eat like that.

Anyway… We were so invested in the show, that when we found out on Monday that there would be a local book signing Tuesday night, we had to make it happen. It wasn’t a book I really thought I needed, but come on…you can’t go to a book signing and not get the book signed. I wasn’t able to make it to the event due to prior commitments, so PTB stepped up and like I said…greatest husband ever.

In all honesty, I think he was looking forward to it. He had the book personalized for me, and while he may never look at the book, I think he wanted to go. I told him beforehand, that he and Jeff could be best friends. Within seconds of meeting him, they were both laughing it up, so I guess I was right.

Based on the pictures, they had an amazing time, but for more on the experience, check out Pete’s post on MLD.

The book is actually a show guide for all seven seasons of Food Network Star. It’s a behind the scenes look at the show’s creation, the contestants, the judges. It seems pretty interesting so far. Throughout the book there are kitchen tips, camera tips, and recipes. Look for a review in the near future. Ok…in the future…I have a baby, when do I read?! If you are that impatient, buy it now on Amazon!

The incredibly short book tour wraps up next week in Chicago, IL.

My new addiction


Off topic from my typical posts, but this seemed to be something I should write before heading off to bed. We just finished watching the season finale of Season 7 of Food Network Star. I had never watched the show before. I have always enjoyed Food Network, but in the past year my love has grown more. When I spent some time unemployed last Summer, it was an easy default when there seemed to be nothing on. Now, with what seems to be little time for anything electronic (tv, internet, etc), Food Network is a safe bet for me when I have a few minutes to relax. There will almost always be something on that I can quickly enjoy without too much thought.

One of the shows that I have really enjoyed is Chopped. It’s a staple of Food Network nighttime. I joke that our bedroom TV can only be on channel 664. I can easily turn on whatever food show is on and fall asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Being the new mom, I am constantly heading to bed before PTB. He can’t fall asleep with the TV on. He came up one night, got so into an episode of Chopped, that he recorded it. A food show we could share? Could it be? With most shows on Summer break, we set up Chopped to record every episode. It has kept us entertained after putting Little B to bed many nights. But this post isn’t about Chopped. Our newfound love of Chopped led us to getting sucked into a repeat of the 3rd episode of Food Network Star. Completely. Sucked. In.

PTB called it. He knew from that episode that Jeff was going to win. I was close! I thought Vic. I quickly changed my tune after a few episodes. We’ve been rooting for Jeff for quite a while. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if Susie got her own show. She’s the Mexican Giada, and I am a big fan of Italian Giada’s. What does Jeff “the Sandwich King” Mauro winning mean?

1. More sandwiches in this house, and I am not a sandwich kind of person

2. Another food show we will be DVRing

3. Another food show we will be DVRing and watching TOGETHER!

I think this might be the first real reality show I got WAY into. I could be wrong though. Maybe it is my lack of time in the kitchen that is drawing me so much to Food Network lately. Either way, I really enjoyed it.

Jeff’s show will premiere next Sunday August 21st at 11:30am Eastern. Give the Sandwich King a chance.

::spicy:: PTB’s favorite Etouffe

This is one of those meals, that I have never followed the recipe for and I have NEVER done the same exact thing twice.  Regardless, it turns out perfect every time.  That may be one of the best parts of this recipe.  You don’t have to be afraid to change it up.  If you haven’t noticed form other recipes, I usually double or triple the called for garlic, so don’t feel like you need to add any of that  😉  As for the chicken, if you are looking for a true cajun dish, substitute from crawfish.  I don’t do fish, so…chicken it is!

What You Need:
Step One

4 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 med-large onions chopped
4-5 celery stalks chopped
1 bell pepper (red or green or a little of both)
8 garlic cloves
2-3 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Step Two
2 1/2 cups stock (chicken, fish, shrimp, vegetable, your choice)
3-4 small tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce, any kind, whatever amount you like  🙂
Step Three
~2lb chicken (or crawfish with the fat removed) cut into bite size pieces**
Cayenne Pepper
1 lemon juiced
handful of parsley, chopped
~1/2 cup chopped green onion
Step Four
2 Tbsp Butter

In a large saute pan (mine is 12″ and I FILL it), melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and create a peanut butter colored roux.  Add all remaining step one ingredients and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While it is cooking, I usually cut up my tomatoes and combine all the step two ingredients to make things a bit easier.

Add all step two ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Your simmering time is when you can cut your chicken into bite size pieces and coat with cayenne pepper.  Just keep mixing the cayenne in.  This is a step that will definitely determine some of you WOW factor with this dish, so careful….

**I have approached this next part in a couple different ways.  I have grilled chicken breasts, and then cut them up.  I have coated cut up pieces and just tossed them in.  And I have cut up the pieces, coated with cayenne, and grilled slightly, but not cooking all the way through.  My main reason for cooking it a bit first, is simply to cook the cayenne into the chicken a bit.  When I toss the chicken into the etouffe uncooked, I feel like all the cayenne came off the chicken…and WOW…the dish was causing tears that time.  So, cutting it up, coating, and lightly cooking is now my favorite method. **

OK!  Once the mixture has been simmering for 30 minutes, skim the bay leaves and thyme from the top and add all step three ingredients.  Increase the heat back to between medium and medium high and cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Add the last two tablespoons of butter.

Serve over hot rice and let me know what you did to change this recipe up!

Serves: 6  Cost:

::you pick:: Everyday Vegetarian



We eat a lot of chicken in our house.  It really is just a way to eat up a ton of herbs, spices, and crazy flavors.  Plus, it is really really hard to mess it up.  Although – if you ask our neighbor…he may tell you we have had to air our apartment out due to chicken incidents…  Sometimes I feel a little light on veggies, and an episode of Giada’s Everyday Italian last summer got me really excited about some vegetarian dishes.  So here it is.  I narrowed down the 100’s of choices available to four.  Vote for which one we should try that you would like to see on Not Just Take Out!

Update: This poll is closed!  Since it was a tie, we’ll go with my pick!  The Veggie Stuffed Pancakes.  Be sure to vote on the ::you pick:: for this week!

all images courtesy FoodNetwork.com

::ideas:: Valentine’s Day



Do you have a plan for Valentine’s Day dinner yet?  Do you and someone special have a tradition?  I don’t think we have necessarily celebrated Valentine’s Day in the commercialized way in our home.  At least I hope we haven’t now that I posted that.  But I will take almost any excuse I can to make a fancy meal.  Why go out and spend so much money on such a busy night?  Keep in mind, you will always have better service at a restaurant on an “off-night”.  Do you really think those people want to be working on holidays and Saturday nights?  Food Network has posted an entire section dedicated to Valentine’s Day.  Choose from a cuddly night, a make-together meal, some aphrodisiacs, or full menu for two.

Also on my LOVE Radar are these adorable measuring sets from ModCloth.com:NJTO_modLeft: Love to Bake Measuring Set; Right: Cupid’s Kitchen Measuring Spoons

Personally, I think I will be making the Alex Guarnaschelli’s Chocolate Truffles.  Unfortunately with my standard measuring sets….What do you have planned?