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Alex Guarnaschelli Shares Her Ideal Summer Comfort Food Menu

Alex Guarnaschelli Shares Her Ideal Summer Comfort Food Menu

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Perfect summer foods straight from the chef’s new cookbook

lev radin/Shutterstock

Alex Guarnaschelli (pictured here with fellow Food Network star Ted Allen) released her first cookbook — "Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook" — this past spring.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli shared some of her favorite summer comfort foods with E!, with dishes from her newly released (and first) cookbook Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. The dishes — Baked Clams with Bacon, Shrimp and Cucumber Salad, and Quickie Strawberry Tartlets — are light, made with in-season ingredients, and quick to prepare.

"I like food that's seasonal and respects the seasons, but I think it has to be light," she told E! of summer comfort food.

Guarnaschelli, a Food Network Iron Chef whose career has brought her to the kitchens of elite restaurants like Daniel and Guy Savoy, grew up in a food-loving family (as you may know, her mother, Maria Guarnaschelli, was a cookbook editor), and in her new cookbook, she returns to simple ingredients and techniques.

“All Americans love comfort food,” she told E!. “But then there's all the nuanced dishes that, because of your culture or whoever was cooking when you were brought up, are your own.”

That, she says, it what she likes best about comfort food, and has instilled that feeling in her cookbook by including familiar recipes — like the Baked Clams with Bacon that she told E! her mother used to make. “On the one hand, it's a universal sentiment,” she said of comfort. “But the other hand, it becomes very specialized and personal."

Alex Guarnaschelli Shares a Yummy Recipe for Your New Go-To Summer Drink

Refreshing watermelon drinks &mdash as coolers or cocktails &mdash are a summer staple. And right just days after Dwayne Johnson revealed his simple Watermelon ‘Manarita’ recipe, Alex Guarnaschelli also decided to share her version. As the official drink of the season, the esteemed chef gave us her formula for her take on the refreshing beverage.

On Saturday, June 27 The Food Network star shared a video demonstrating how to make the drink on The Kitchen where she invited followers to tune in, teasing them with a delicious-looking photo of the final product.

“This watermelon drink is so refreshing. It can be made with or without liquor so the whole family can enjoy together. Check out this and other tasty summer recipes on #thekitchen this morning at 11 am EST on Food Network Discovery,” Guarnaschlli captioned the Facebook post.

For ingredients, you will need 2 cups of watermelon pieces (with no rinds or seeds), 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, and 3/4 of a cup of sugar to make a simple syrup. To transform this cooler into a cocktail, spike it with 4 ounces of a neutral-flavored vodka. For the boozy beverage, you will also need 2 ounces of lime juice, 12-14 fresh mint leaves (torn), and some club soda to top the cocktail.

The recipe can be made in three easy steps. First, you should make the watermelon ice cubes and need to puree the watermelon, honey, and lime juice in a blender until the concoction is smooth. Pour the mixture into a square ice cube tray and let them freeze for 3-4 hours until firm.

Next, to make the simple syrup, combine the sugar with an equal amount of water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then shut off the heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and let it cool.

Finally, for the cocktails, combine the vodka, lime juice, mint leaves, and 2 ounces of simple syrup in an ice-filled pitcher. Top the mixture with club soda. To serve, place 3 watermelon ice cubes in each of the highball glasses and pour the cocktail over.

We most definitely are adding this to our list of watermelon recipes to try this summer.

As a toast to Summer, the New York-based chef and television personality shared her fridge with SheKnows where she revealed her favorite recipes to make in a pinch, her pantry essentials, and her favorite sandwiches &mdash which both would pair well with this drink for a delicious BBQ meal.

For more seasonal drink ideas, click here to see more refreshing cocktail recipes to try this summer.

An Exclusive Look Inside Alex Guarnaschelli’s Fridge

Maybe you’ve watched her deal out some tough love on Food Network’s Chopped, cheered her on as she helps take down Bobby Flay in Beat Bobby Flay or dined on an exquisite meal at her restaurant, Butter, in New York. Either way, when you hear the name Alex Guarnaschelli, one thing comes to mind: outstanding food.

Guarnaschelli is a New York-based chef and television personality starring in shows like Iron Chef America, All Star Family Cook-off, Guy’s Grocery Games, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Supermarket Stakeout and more. She is also the mom to her 12-year old daughter ava and also just happens to be the chair of the Museum of Food and Drink’s Culinary Council. We were lucky enough to chat with this culinary genius and not only did she share her favorite Ina Garten recipe with us, but she let us take a look inside her fridge too.

SheKnows: Tell us a little bit about your fridge and freezer.

Alex Guarnaschelli: My freezer is Jammed packed right now and I&rsquom not going to lie about it. I always have bacon in my freezer. We might have a week where we cook bacon five days in a row and you have to be prepared for that. We also always have pork link sausages, one frozen pizza, frozen vegetables like frozen peas &mdash which just defrosted into a salad or turned into a soup is very versatile. And ice-cream of course. There&rsquos a whole ice-cream section in my freezer. And chocolate &mdash I keep all my chocolate frozen.

SK: What&rsquos the strangest ingredient we would find in your cabinets or pantry?

AG: Different types of pickled fish. This isn&rsquot going to have a big audience. Let&rsquos just say people are not running into the pantry to grab my pickled fish. I&rsquoll put them on crackers or make little sandwiches with mild bread and slices of cucumber because they&rsquore really flavorful but let me tell you I&rsquom alone on that!

SK: What&rsquos your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor?

AG: I love Samoas. I love the nutty and caramel combo. It&rsquos basically a candy bar packed in a cookie.

SK: What does a typical breakfast look like for you?

AG: We often have yogurt or smoothies but I recently burned out on the smoothie trail and have really been digging into the Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry &mdash it&rsquos so fruity and reminds me of yogurt but it&rsquos not as sweet, has more texture and blueberries are one of my all-time flavor fruit. So this blueberry cottage cheese is a real quick way to not have to go to the stove at all which I like.

SK: What was your most memorable meal?

AG: I lived in France for many years. I was working in a very fancy restaurant in Paris and occasionally would take economy road trips to eat food in different parts of France. I wandered into a small bistro with communal tables and stools. The restaurant had no phone, took no reservations and was somehow packed to the gills every day. The husband made lunch and dinner and the wife took orders and served the food. Alain Ducasse was there for lunch that day too. I sat down and watched as the husband lifted a pot full of homemade noodles and tossed it with a vibrant green pesto. The pasta was so hot that there were little basil-filled waves of air that made their way around the tiny room. The wife placed a plate of this pasta in front of me and I took one bite. It brought tears to my eyes because the flavor was so delicious. It was one of the plates of food that made me want to become a chef. It was also, undoubtedly, one of the best things I&rsquove ever eaten in my life.

SK: Do you have any controversial food opinions (for example: avocados are trash, cilantro tastes like soap)?

AG: Controversial opinion number one: a cheeseburger is the best sandwich anybody could ever make or eat. Controversial opinion number two: a hotdog is the second-best sandwich and also, a hotdog is a sandwich! Third, cottage cheese is not just a 1970&rsquos diet breakfast food anymore &ndash it&rsquos uniquely delicious. It offers amazing protein and texture in Italian-American classics like lasagna and baked ziti, it can make a great bread without needing any yeast, it&rsquos wonderful baked with eggs as a twist on the usual repertoire of brunch dishes. It adds nutrition, great food chemistry and tastes savory or sweet depending on what you need it to be!

SK: What&rsquos the one ingredient you hate to work with or encounter in someone else&rsquos dish?

AG: I can&rsquot handle risotto. I&rsquove cooked it in too many restaurants! Mussels are another rocky road for me. Can&rsquot really stand the smell of them cooking.

Alex Guarnaschelli

Few American chefs, much less female chefs, can boast leading Michelin-starred restaurants abroad. Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli can, having embarked on a culinary journey that saw her working in some of France's top restaurants. Today, Guarnaschelli is recognized as one of America’s most accomplished top chefs, acclaimed for her work in the kitchen, as an author, as a social media personality, and as a popular television personality.

The daughter of esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, as a child Guarnaschelli received a global education in food as she was raised on the cuisine of whatever book her mother happened to be working on at the time. But it was not the younger Guarnaschelli’s fate to be only a spectator her mother urged her to be a participant.

Having worked at the iconic Guy Savoy and La Butte Chaillot in Paris, with Daniel Boulud at Manhattan’s famed Daniel, and in Los Angeles at the acclaimed Patina, Guarnaschelli quickly rose through the ranks in whichever city she found herself in. She went on to helm her own restaurants: New York's Butter, The Darby, a unique supper club, and Driftwood Room in Miami.

A Food Network star, Guarnaschelli is the host of Supermarket Stakeout and previously served as host of The Cooking Loft and Alex’s Day Off. She's also been a recurring and guest judge on several prime-time series including Chopped (which earned each of the judges a James Beard Foundation Award for best Television Program), Beat Bobby Flay, an d Iron Chef America (and its many spin-offs). She is currently launching the third season of her Food Network digital series, Fix Me a Plate, in which the New York native takes audiences on an insider’s tour of the city’s best no-frills food spots.

Beyond her television appearances, Guarnaschelli premiered a one-woman live comedy show, Busting My Chops, at Caroline’s on Broadway. She is also a popular mainstay on social media, and was named the Head of Twitter’s Food Council, a group of leading culinary figures who regularly join the Twitter conversation on all things food and food culture. The author of multiple cookbooks, Guarnaschelli's latest work, Cook with Me (Clarkson Potter, October 2020), explores how the relationships with her family have shaped her as a chef and home cook.

A passionate and dynamic speaker, Guarnaschelli also serves as an emcee and provides cooking demonstrations to the delight of audiences. In remarks, she provides lessons from a life steeped in culinary education and adventure, her own travels, and experiences as a mother and in world-renowned kitchens.

She was great! The crowd absolutely loved her and she was very engaged with the demo.

Virtual Cook & Chat with Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

Although Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has earned Michelin stars, her cookbooks have been odes to the valorous home cook. In this memorable, interactive event, guests get to cook and chat with Alex from their home kitchens - a thrill to have such close access to the famed food personality and fan favorite.

A Lifelong, Global Education in Food

The daughter of esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, as a child Alex Guarnaschelli received a global education in food as she was raised on the cuisine of whatever book her mother happened to be working on at the time. During a year devoted to her mother’s work on the manuscript of Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni, Indian cuisine starred at the dinner table months spent working on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Splendid Table ensured that Italian food appeared regularly on the menu. But it was not the younger Guarnaschelli’s fate to be only a spectator her mother urged her to be a participant.

"My mother was always coaxing me from my ‘Barbie land’ under the dining room table to peel potatoes, knead bread or assemble a trifle,” says Guarnaschelli, who jokingly continues, "what else could a seven-year-old have wanted from life?"

In these candid, humorous, and inspiring remarks, Guarnaschelli shares lessons from her personal culinary journey, from childhood, through culinary school, to world-renowned restaurants, motherhood, and running her own business. She empowers audiences to dedicate themselves to their craft, and pursue their passions.

Few American chefs, much less female chefs, can boast leading Michelin-starred restaurants abroad. Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli can make such a boast, having embarked on a culinary journey in France that saw her working in some of that country’s top restaurants, including esteemed chef Guy Savoy’s eponymous three-star kitchen. Today Guarnaschelli is recognized as one of America’s most accomplished top chefs, acclaimed for her work in the kitchen, as an author, and as a popular television personality.

The daughter of esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, as a child Guarnaschelli received a global education in food as she was raised on the cuisine of whatever book her mother happened to be working on at the time. During a year devoted to her mother’s work on the manuscript of Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni, Indian cuisine starred at the dinner table months spent working on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Splendid Table ensured that Italian food appeared regularly on the menu. But it was not the younger Guarnaschelli’s fate to be only a spectator her mother urged her to be a participant.

"My mother was always coaxing me from my ‘Barbie land’ under the dining room table to peel potatoes, knead bread or assemble a trifle,” says Guarnaschelli, who jokingly continues, "what else could a seven-year-old have wanted from life?"

This early exposure to the foods of the world both expanded her palate and determined her future. In 1991, after Guarnaschelli graduated from Barnard College, she decided to explore her culinary interests and began working under the tutelage of the acclaimed American chef and restaurateur Larry Forgione.

Sensing both her innate talent and need for wider experience, Forgione encouraged Guarnaschelli to travel and expand her skill set. Taking his advice, she moved to France to do a work study at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy. After earning her Grand Diplôme in Culinary Arts, she traveled throughout France before moving to Paris to begin a four-day stage at the Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy. Four days turned into four years with Guarnaschelli rapidly being promoted to sous chef at La Butte Chaillot, another Savoy establishment. Though it was daunting to be a young American woman in charge of a French kitchen with ten young male cooks serving under her, she rose to the challenge, winning the respect of all who shared her kitchen in the process.

After seven successful years in France, Guarnaschelli returned to the States to join the venerable Daniel Boulud at Manhattan’s iconic restaurant Daniel, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become sous chef. Thereafter, seeking to further expand her culinary knowledge, Guarnaschelli moved to Los Angeles for two years to join Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group, working at the acclaimed Patina restaurant in West Hollywood before moving to New York to open Splichal's first New York City venture.

In 2003, Guarnaschelli became the executive chef at Butter Restaurant, which provided the opportunity for her to spread her wings and develop a menu based on her own choices and point of view. Guarnaschelli created an American menu spotlighting local ingredients in dishes that allowed their flavors to shine. In 2011, following the success of Butter, she opened The Darby, a unique supper club. In addition to restaurant work, Guarnaschelli also spent a few years instructing budding professional chefs as a chef-Instructor at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education, becoming a member of the ICE Advisory Council. In fall 2015, Guarnaschelli opened Driftwood Room at Nautilus South Beach in Miami, Florida. In a departure from the kitchen to the stage, in 2015 Guarnaschelli premiered her one-woman live comedy show, Busting My Chops, at Caroline’s on Broadway and also appeared in East Hampton at CAROLINES @ THE BEACH in August 2016. A popular mainstay on social media, Guarnaschelli was recently named the Head of Twitter’s Food Council, a group of leading culinary figures who regularly join the Twitter conversation on all things food and food culture.

Guarnaschelli is a recurring and guest judge on several Food Network prime-time series such as Chopped (which earned each of the judges a James Beard Foundation Award for best Television Program), Beat Bobby Flay, Cooks vs. Cons and Bakers vs. Fakers. Alex has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s new series Iron Chef Gauntlet , and as both a challenger and a judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America where she went on to compete on season 4 of The Next Iron Chef. In 2012, she beat nine rival chefs to win The Next Iron Chef: Redemption and joined the ranks of Kitchen Stadium Iron Chefs. Guarnaschelli won the last season of Food Network’s Guy’s Superstar Grocery Games in September 2016 and was a mentor on the second season of Food Network’s All-Star Academy. Alex hosted her own shows, The Cooking Loft and Alex’s Day Off, which launched in October 2009. Most recently, she has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, NBC’s TODAY , The Dr. Oz Show , ABC’s Good Morning America and ABC’s Live! With Kelly. Alex has been featured in publications such as T he Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Food Networking Magazine and Every Day with Rachael Ray. In 2018, Food Network launched Alex’s digital series Fix Me a Plate , in which the New York native takes audiences on an insider’s tour of the city’s best no-frills food spots. The second season was released in fall 2018 and has been greenlit for season 3.

Alex released her first cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook, in spring 2013. In fall 2017, Alex’s second cookbook, The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart won praise from outlets such as Publisher’s Weekly which noted that “…Guarnaschelli nicely chronicles the changes in a shifting culinary landscape.”

Don&rsquot forget the whites

Guarnaschelli also says she likes to spice-dust her egg whites. 𠇊nd then a little bit of scallions, right on the whites with a pinch of salt,” she added. “Then you add the fluffy, whipped cream-y filling, and top it with more scallions and bacon. The white is often neglected in a deviled egg. We put so much into the yolk that no one thinks, ‘oh, I should probably pop a little bit of seasoning on the white.’ So that’s my other big tip.”

How recipes can connect people, generations

Growing up the daughter of a world-famous cookbook editor, Alex Guarnaschelli knew the importance of a good home-cooked meal. Her mother, Maria Guarnaschelli, insisted on cooking every recipe in the books she edited. That meant one year of nothing but Indian cuisine and another full year of cakes.

While cookbooks, with endless measurements and instructions, can be daunting, the best recipes go beyond the ingredients.

In a recent New Yorker article called "The Pleasures of Reading Recipes," Bee Wilson writes: "Like a good short story, a good recipe can put us in a delightful trance."

On The Daily Circuit Wednesday, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of American Public Media's The Splendid Table, said Kevin West's "Saving the Season" shows the ability of a cookbook author to transport readers to another world.

"When you read his recipes, you know that he lives in a clean, well-lit place and his life has a Zen quality to it and you're there," she said. "You can do this with such ease and you can taste it and you can feel it and it's all so simple. It's like meditating."

As a chef, Guarnaschelli values what she calls the "little chef island in your head where you have anywhere from 15 to 30 actual recipes that are random and don't connect or make sense, but they're sort of the motherboard in your computer."

Some of her favorite little chef-island recipes are quick breads, she said, including cheese biscuits.

"This recipe was one of the very first things I ever made in a professional kitchen, but before I was making it, I was eating the results hot every day out of the oven," Guarnaschelli wrote for The Food Network. "While working at Larry Forgione's An American Place, the biscuits would come out of the convection oven in the back of the kitchen just a few minutes before dinner service."

For some, the story of the recipe has more importance than the final product. One caller had family living in Kentucky during and before the Civil War working as abolitionists.

"My great-great grandfather would build barns, and in the barns would be secret passageways and hiding spots for slaves that were on the Underground Railroad," she said. "Part of taking care of people is to take care of their nourishment. A recipe that has been passed along to us was one that was put together and stashed in these locations, so whoever came in could open the jars and have a complete nutritious meal."

The jars typically contained canned corn, beans, potatoes and some kind of canned meat. The caller said she puts it on her menu during trips with her Girl Scout troop, so she can tell the story of how food connects people.


"Sitwell has removed one of the sources of pleasure we get from cookbooks, which is the illusion that we are actually going to make every recipe we fancy the look of," Bee Wilson wrote. "But being asked to read recipes for their own sake, rather than with a view to cooking, gives a clearer sense of how they stimulate our imaginations."

The book is a collection of recipes written by starving women in the Czechoslovakian concentration camp of Terezin during World War II as a way to preserve their favorite meals.

"Things like this were being done all over in prison camps because food was such an identifier for people," Lynne Rossetto Kasper said. "They were the dreams, they were the life that they had lost, but they weren't ever going to lose it. So if you really want to see what a recipe can evoke, and I'm not just talking the sentimentality, but the idea that a recipe is a lifeline for people."

Season 17

Season 17 - January 25, 2020

Take a bite out of the best seafood of summer with Jeff Mauro's Escovitch-Style Mahi Mahi Sandwich with Mango Aioli and Katie Lee's Fried Shrimp. Sunny Anderson cooks up Five-Ingredient Mussels with Garlic Parsley Fries, the hosts Pass the Shark Cake and Geoffrey Zakarian makes a decadent Crab Spaghetti with Zucchini and Basil. Finally, shark biologist Dr. Craig O'Connell joins the gang for a Piece of Cake Party just in time for Shark Week with Geoffrey's "Shark-a-Rita" cocktail and Jeff's Tackle Box Snack Display.

Season 17 - January 18, 2020

Summer party season is heating up and the Kitchen is ready with easy entertaining recipes and ideas. Katie Lee gives turkey a summer makeover with her Citrus Grilled Turkey Breast made with Pineapple Marmalade and Jeff Mauro keeps his side dish short and sweet with the Best Sweet Potato Potato Salad. Then, party prepping is made easy with three no-fail strategies and Geoffrey Zakarian whips up a sharable party plate of Spicy Mediterranean Cauliflower Fries. Finally, Food Network's Molly Yeh joins the celebration with her Party-Trick Peanut Butter Cake and the party wraps up with a tropical frozen treat -- a party in a pineapple!

Season 17 - January 11, 2020

Summer is in full swing and the Kitchen is preparing a week's worth of easy meals that include Geoffrey Zakarian's Orecchiette with Shrimp and Corn as well as Katie Lee's Grilled Chicken and Kale Greek Salad. Sunny Anderson shares a Supermarket Fix to make Chicken Cheesesteaks and Donal Skehan drops by to make a Spicy Steak Noodle Bowl. Geoffrey finishes off the week by making Swordfish Kebabs with Summer Vegetables and Jeff Mauro makes a No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie for dessert.

Season 17 - November 30, 2019

Fourth of July is sparkling with fireworks of flavour from Sunny Anderson's Steak Supreme to Jeff Mauro's Cheesy and Spicy Reuben-Style Brats. Katie Lee puts her twist on a restaurant appetizer with her Grilled Firework Onion and Iron Chef Michael Symon stops by to grill up his Blackberry Barbecue Chicken. Then it's time for a Piece of Cake Summer Party that includes a holiday centerpiece from Jeff, Geoffrey Zakarian's Plop-a-Pop Punch and Katie's Strawberry Shortcake Bar. Finally, learn how to serve fruit salad from a Watermelon Grill.

Season 17 - November 23, 2019

The Kitchen is raising the bar on all your barbecue favourites! First, Jeff Mauro fires things up with his Honey-Glazed Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Then Katie Lee stirs up a side with her Peach Bourbon Baked Beans and Sunny Anderson serves some Easy Apple Slaw with Apple-Jalapeno Dressing. Pitmaster Moe "Big Moe" Cason brings the heat with his Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Thighs, then Baked in Vermont's Gesine Prado stops by to make a Blackberry Cornbread Cake. After everything gets plated, it's time for a BBQ Party using pit-perfect ideas that will turn any backyard into a barbecue joint.

Season 17 - November 16, 2019

The Kitchen is celebrating Dad with a menu full of Father's Day favourites, starting with Sunny Anderson's Grilled Brewed Awakening Rib Roast with 1-2-3 Horseradish Sauce and Jeff Mauro's Roasted Mexican Street Corn Salad. Chef Matt Abdoo stops by to make his Grilled BBQ Buffalo Wings, and Katie Lee cooks up a classic with a twist with her Sausage and Peppers Burger. Geoffrey Zakarian sweetens things up with a Boozy Bourbon Mississippi Mud Pie, and then the hosts share some fun and pun-filled packaging ideas for the gifts Dad really wants.

Season 17 - November 9, 2019

Summer sauces are the star of the menu, starting with Katie Lee's Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken and Cucumber Salad and Geoffrey Zakarian's Seared Scallops with a Caper Honey Sauce. Sunny Anderson and Jeff Mauro share two new sauces for jazzing up grilled chicken: Lemon Pepper Sauce and Cherry Pepper Honey Mustard. Sunny also makes a T-Bone Steak with an "Any Herb" sauce, and Kansas City pitmasters Jason and Megan Day drop by to make a BBQ-inspired Potato Salad. For dessert, it's a head-to-head Sundae Sauce-off with Katie's Roasted Peach Sauce and Geoffrey's Boozy Chocolate Sauce.

Season 17 - November 2, 2019

The Kitchen is beating the summer heat with dishes that don't require the stove. Geoffrey Zakarian thrills at the grill while making his Whole Chicken with Red Bliss Potatoes, Summer Squash and Chili Garlic Butter. Former White House Chef Sam Kass serves up a quick and easy Canned Salad, and Katie Lee throws everything in the bag to make her Bloody Mary Shrimp Ceviche Rice Bowl. Jeff Mauro pulls together Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas, and then Geoffrey uses the leftovers for a simple Cubano Sandwich. For dessert, Sunny Anderson gathers store-bought treats to make a decadent Nunya' Business Chocolate, Cherry and Whip Trifle.

Season 17 - October 19, 2019

The Kitchen is kicking off grilling season with a Red, White and BBQ bash! Katie Lee whips up a fast-casual favourite, her Beastie Burger, and Sunny Anderson makes a twist on a classic with her Grilled Chicken and Corn Pasta Salad. Geoffrey Zakarian prepares delicious Grilled Shrimp Cups with Aioli, and Chef Roger Mooking stops by with his Chicken Wing Skewers. Jeff Mauro and his special sous chef, Food Network's Jason Smith, create a patriotic Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Sandwich Cake before everyone cools off at the refreshing Watermelon Slushy Bar.

Season 17 - October 5, 2019

It's time for fresh air and fresh flavors with Jeff Mauro's Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken and Sunny Anderson's Migas Verde. Geoffrey Zakarian shares a recipe for Grilled Asparagus that uses only five ingredients. Katie Lee has a hack for a perfect Meaty Grilled Pizza, and Jeff puts a "spin" on Summer Salad with Melon and Spinach. Finally, the hosts create S'mores Pudding, an outdoor favourite with a twist.

Season 17 - September 28, 2019

The Kitchen is serving up a Mother's Day lunch that starts with Geoffrey Zakarian's Salmon En Papillote with Tapenade. TV host and cookbook author Debbie Matenopoulos stops by to make an Orzo Salad, and the hosts share edible do-it-yourself snack gifts to treat moms. Daphne Oz joins the celebration and whips up a Frittata with Spinach, Olives and Chicken Sausage, and Jeff Mauro sweetens the deal with a Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with Strawberry Glaze. The hosts go beyond the basic Mother's Day flowers and chocolates with a Framed Silk Flower Gift and Rose Water Truffles.

Season 17 - September 21, 2019

The Kitchen becomes a Garden of Eatin', and Jeff Mauro serves up Peruvian Spatchcock Chicken with Creamy Cilantro Sauce paired with Sunny Anderson's perfect side salad, Spicy Spinach Panzanella. Geoffrey Zakarian mixes things up with a Grilled Ratatouille Flatbread, and Katie Lee teams up with cookbook author Kathy Freston to make Pasta with Mushrooms, Walnuts, Asparagus and Apples. Geoffrey adds sweetness with his Strawberry Rhubarb Buckle, and Jeff uses fresh herbs to make a Berry Basil Salad with Rhubarb Syrup. Finally, the hosts kick-start this season's herb garden with an Indoor Self-Watering Planter.

Season 17 - September 14, 2019

The Kitchen is gearing up for a food-filled fiesta with Sunny Anderson's Sizzlin' Chicken Fajitas and Katie Lee's Easy Chorizo and Potato Enchiladas with a Five Ingredient Sauce. Jeff Mauro proves he's a guacamole master with two new topping ideas -- Spicy Shrimp and Strawberry Mango Salsa. Geoffrey Zakarian makes a heartwarming bowl of Tortilla Soup, and Chef Jordan Andino stops by to make a Crunchy Taco Wrap. Katie Lee wraps things up with a giant Mexican-Inspired Hot Fudge Sundae.

About ALEX

Alex Guarnaschelli is a world renowned chef, who began her international culinary journey at Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris. From there, Guarnaschelli spent four years at a Butte Chaillot, where she was rapidly promoted to sous chef. After great success in France, she returned stateside joining Daniel Boulud at his restaurant, Daniel. In 2003, Guarnaschelli was given the opportunity to expand her repertoire and become the executive chef at Butter, where she has since created her own eclectic American and green-market inspired menu. Guarnaschelli is a recurring judge on the popular Food Network series Chopped and in 2012, she bested nine rival chefs to win The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, earing the coveted title of Iron Chef. She has also been featured as a guest co-host on Beat Bobby Flay. Guarnaschelli is also the author of the cookbooks Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook (2013) and The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart (2017).

Meet a Mom: Chef Alex Guarnaschelli!

You may know Chef Alex Guarnaschelli from her frequent Food Network television appearances, including as a regular judge on Chopped and as an Iron Chef champion. She is also the chef/owner of two critically acclaimed NYC-based restaurants, Butter and The Darby, and has written two cookbooks, Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook and Old-School Comfort Food. We’re fans of her comforting, family-friendly recipes, but what we love most about her is her close relationship with her 12-year-old daughter Ava, shared on their Instagram feeds. (Follow Alex here and Ava here.) We spoke to Alex about cooking with her daughter, what she’s been making during quarantine, raising Ava as a single, working mom and her upcoming wedding. Plus, she shares her must-try recipe for Blueberry Cottage Cheese Churro-Flavored Doughnuts (see below).

We love watching Ava’s love for cooking and trying new foods—how did you raise such an adventurous eater?
I honestly don’t think you can make a kid into an adventurous eater. It comes naturally for each child at a different pace and in a different way. With Ava, I am always cooking up seasonal ingredients and she displays a natural curiosity about food. Some “adventurous” ingredients she loved right off the bat: snails in garlic-parsley sauce, duck hearts, oysters. And others, broccoli, brussels sprouts, took more time and exposure to become part of the repertoire. When I was her age, I remember eating nothing but cheeseburgers. I don’t think my mom would have ever guessed I would become a chef…

So there is hope after all for our picky eaters! Do you have any tips/advice for cooking with kids?
Try something that’s easy and makes kids seamlessly part of the cooking process. Soups are great for that reason. Tomato sauce…. I recently made Blueberry Cottage Cheese Churro-Flavored Doughnuts using Hood Cottage Cheese and it’s a simple recipe that you can make with your kids. Give them tasks like rolling the dough, filling the doughnuts with cottage cheese or covering them with the spiced sugar. This is how my mother got me into cooking and how Ava and I bond now. These doughnuts also have more protein than the average doughnut which is always a plus!

Sounds great! What have you been cooking during quarantine?
Cottage cheese is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen and I use it in a variety of dishes from breakfast to savory snacks and desserts. From enjoying its creamy goodness on its own, to being an unexpected, protein-packed ingredient to a recipe – it’s definitely a staple that I always have in my fridge.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?
I have so many. High on the list is barbecue potato chips. They are crunchy, potato-ey and spiced. They hit all the high notes at the same time. Sometimes I even put them in my baked egg dishes…

Ava has talked about how she loves to cook (obviously – her Instagram is amazing!) but that she wants to go into fashion. Can you share a bit about how you’ve encouraged her to follow her own dreams?
Ava is at an age where her career choices change every couple of weeks. She really seems to love any line of work that requires creativity with your hands. Whether its sewing clothes for the runway, cooking food for dinner or drawing buildings from various neighborhoods in NYC, Ava is an arts and crafty type. I just leave her room to meander and wander and wonder. I want her to love whatever work she pursues.

You have been a busy working mom (as well as a single mom) for many years. What helped you get through any hard times?
I learned how to be a home cook in the last few years. It took some adjusting to not make a gallon of salad dressing as if I were at the restaurant? I slowed down. I thought more about the steps I take to begin and finish a dish. I wrote a book, coming out this October called “Cook with Me” that chronicles a lot of this work. I also built a connection between cooking and eating. It’s struggle for a chef to find both rewarding. The cooking really got me through some hard times. I love watching Ava some to look at what was bubbling on the stove. Very rewarding. We’ve done a lot of bonding through cooking. It made our home warm. Dinner hopefully makes it a place where Ava always feels safe…

Love that. And a big congrats on your recent engagement! What will be on the menu for the reception?
Two chefs have decided to get married and you think we know what to serve at our own wedding? Haha. That will likely be the topic most hotly debated before arriving at a choice. Ava has a big vote in this too…We want it to be like a big party so it will likely be 50 types of hors d’oeuvres passed around all evening. We will need to finish with some cheeseburgers at a diner…

Blueberry Cottage Cheese Churro-Flavored Doughnuts
I love the spiced sugar on the outside of these and the luscious texture of the blueberry cottage cheese inside the doughnuts themselves. These do not require yeast and they don’t take much time to make! They also have more protein than the average doughnut due to the cottage cheese and the flavor is so tasty. You can also make them in advance, cut into the doughnuts, refrigerate for up to 6 hours and just fry when you want to eat them. Note: These do not hang around well once fried. Fry and eat!

Ingredients for the Dough:
2 cups Hood Cottage Cheese with Blueberry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus extra for rolling
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 quart Canola oil, for frying

Ingredients for the Topping:
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Yield: 14-16 doughnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese with the egg, milk, butter and vanilla. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the cottage cheese mixture. Stir to combine. Do not over mix. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Bake: Turn the dough onto a flat, floured surface and roll to about ¾ inch thick. Using a floured round cookie cutter or a drinking glass 2 ½ inches in diameter, cut the doughnut rounds and arrange in a single layer on a floured baking sheet. You should yield 14-16 rounds. Note: You can gently re-roll scraps to maximize dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Get ready: Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot. Heat the oil to 350F over medium heat. Prepare a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel and a slotted spoon.

Fry: Use a slotted spoon to gently drop half of the doughnuts into the oil. Cook on the first side, 4 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them gently on the second side with the slotted spoon and cook another 3-4 minutes. Do not rush this. They may look cooked on the outside but need that full time to cook inside. Remove from the oil and lay them out on the kitchen towel to cool. Bring the oil back up to 350F and repeat with the remaining half of the doughnuts.

Fill the doughnuts: Fill a plastic sandwich bag with the remaining cottage cheese. Cut a hole in one corner of the bag. Use a paring knife to hollow a small hole in the side of each doughnut. Put the end of the plastic bag and inject about 2 teaspoons cottage cheese into each doughnut.

Roll: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin pie spice. Roll the doughnuts in the sugar.

Use Honey to Preserve Your Summer Herbs

To enjoy favorite herbs like basil as the weather gets colder, learn how to make herb-infused honey.

A friend of mine, Bruce, innocently planted some mint in his garden. What’s the big deal? Well, let’s just say that mint is the playboy of the herb world. It grows like wildfire and takes over. So Bruce has found himself in a pickle—instead of having a few mint leaves to make a cup of fresh minty tea, he ended up having enough to make tea for the whole neighborhood for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

He also has purple Shiso or Japanese mint. Now that Bruce is sharing his wealth of herbs, I’ve been looking for ways to use them. I love to pickle vegetables and make fruit jams this time of year so the dreary months of winter are brightened by a reminder of how good the spring and summer are. But how can you preserve herbs to be enjoyed in the same way? Particularly basil. Basil just tastes like summer to me.

The answer is honey. You know you have some. Dig deep in those kitchen cabinets of yours. Next to the oatmeal, behind the oregano you bought three years ago on vacation, there it is: honey. You may not know how long you’ve had it. You don’t really know if it’s bad or good. Looks okay. But how many cups of tea can you drink to wade through that huge jar you bought? The key is to make herb-infused honey, which will retain those summer flavors. Plus, it’s one of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry.

To make the infused honey, I simmer honey in a heavy-bottomed skillet until it bubbles, froths and turns a slightly darker shade from it’s original color. Be careful, while this is a simple thing to do, it is also extremely hot! Stir gently with a spoon to part the bubbles and monitor the color. You want it amber but not super dark. If you let it simmer too long, the honey tends to get bitter.

Next, I took some of the mint (and some basil) from Bruce’s garden and drop the picked leaves directly into the frothing honey. I shut off the heat and allow the herbs to settle into the honey. You don’t want to cook the herbs. Then, I poured it into a jar and allowed it to cool and settle in the fridge for a few days. The result? Delicious!

I drizzled that honey over ricotta cheese with some tomatoes. I also poured it onto vanilla cake with fresh blueberries. I also love it on dark rye toast or over a whole roasted duck. It’s like the perfect handbag for that little black dress. You can experiment with different kinds of herbs, and different combinations of your favorite herbs as well.

Use a neutral type of honey for the above recipe ideas. When I get the chance, I buy the “single variety” (usually yielded from only one type of flower) honeys from a local producer. Darker honeys, like Chestnut and Fir varieties, have a stronger flavor and can over power the herbs. I use those on top of pancakes or to add sweetness to braised carrots or roasted squash. Lighter-colored varieties, like Acacia and Clover, are mellower, and are great for the above ideas. They add their honey “note” but don’t obscure the other flavors.