Blog Posts by Blue Ribbon Hunter

  • America's Best Lobster Roll

    We traveled to The Tasting Table's Lobster Roll Rumble in New York City where restaurants from all over the country battled it out to see who makes the best lobster roll. There were all types of lobster rolls, from the traditional New England style with mayonnaise, to classic Connecticut style with butter, to out-of-the-box rolls like the lobster mac and cheese hotdog. In the end, the glory of first place went to a simple, yet delicious, butter drenched lobster roll from The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine.


    The Clam Shack's lobster roll is a well-known favorite with locals and visitors to Kennebunkport, Maine. It won the Travel Channels Food Wars in 2010, and this is the second year in a row that they won Tasting Table's Lobster Roll Rumble. Their lobster roll has won prestigious awards and accolades, and here's how you can try it at home:


    For four perfect lobster rolls you'll need:


    - Four one pound lobsters (we boil ours in salt water for 15 minutes)

    - Your

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  • Award-Winning Banana Split

    We traveled to The Banana Split Festival in Wilmington, Ohio where ten chefs battled it out to make the most delicious and innovative banana split. There were some amazing banana splits, but only one could win:

    The winning banana split by the General Denver Hotel.The winning banana split by the General Denver Hotel.


    CHEF JENNIFER PURKEY OF THE GENERAL DENVER HOTEL!


    The General Denver's banana split was assembled on top of a freshly made banana funnel cake and topped with three homemade sauces and praline bacon.


    Banana Funnel Cake

    1 cup banana puree

    2 eggs

    1 1/3 cup of milk

    ¼ cup sugar

    2 ½ cup flour

    1 ½ Teaspoon baking powder

    1 ½ Teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ Teaspoon allspice

    Blend all ingredients in food processor until incorporated. Funnel batter into a frying pan with 350˚ F oil. When golden brown on bottom, carefully flip to finish cooking opposite side. Drain on paper towel.


    Peanut Butter Sauce

    1 cup local honey

    ½ cup creamy peanut butter

    ½ cup heavy cream

    Whip until smooth and pourable, add more honey if you need to thin it out

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  • Memphis' Oldest Restaurant

    Memphis, Tennessee is known for it's lively music scene, rich history, and of course it's barbecue, which is why it may come as a surprise that the oldest and longest running restaurant in Memphis is actually a diner. Speros Zepatos, an immigrant from Greece, established Arcade Restaurant in 1919. It began as a small one-room restaurant and eventually evolved into a popular diner. For the majority of Arcade's life, it was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week serving classic country food.

    In the 50's and 60's Arcade was so popular that it attracted celebrities such as Elvis Presley. He would sneak in through the back door and sit with his back to the restaurant facing a mirror so he could still see what was going on behind him. He would order the classic country food. In the late 60's with the death of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., downtown Memphis, including Arcade, shut down. Most of the businesses in that area went out of business, but Arcade managed to

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  • Korean Fried Chicken and Donuts

    When you think of coffee and donuts, does Korean-style fried chicken come to mind as well? If not, then you probably haven't been to Federal Donuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to co-owner and chef, Mike Solomonov, Federal Donuts is "a donut and coffee shop that sells fried chicken". Customers can come in and order just donuts, just fried chicken, or their famous combo of the two.

    Chicken and donuts from Federal Donuts.Chicken and donuts from Federal Donuts.


    The donuts at Federal Donuts are not your average donuts. They use a special Turkish seasoning called baharat in their batter, which adds warm, "pumpkin pie" spices to the mix, as well as some savory spices. The batter is dispensed from a donut hopper and fried. Then the donuts are either immediately coated in sugar and served hot, or cooled so that they can be glazed and decorated. Some of their "fancy" donuts are: French toast, blueberry muffin, cookies and cream, Turkish coffee, peanut butter and chocolate, and strawberry lemonade.


    The fried chicken that they serve is

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  • Steakhouse Secrets

    New York City is home to some of the most famous steakhouses in the country. We traveled to Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan, one of the oldest steakhouses in New York, where we met up with Chef Bill Rodgers to learn what it takes to make a perfect steak.

    Perfectly cooked sirloin at Keens in New York City.

    Look for "Starry-Night" Marbling

    When picking out a good cut of meat, look for a steak with a lot of little flecks of fat rather than a super lean cut, or one with many thick strips of fat. Chef Rodgers refers to this type of fat marbling as "Starry-Night" marbling. Steaks with this type of marbling are likely to be very tender and juicy.


    Don't Salt Raw Meat

    When you salt a piece of raw meat, the salt will absorb some of the moisture from the meat, which could result in a dry steak. Instead, blanch your steaks in the oven before searing, and apply salt after blanching.


    Blanch Your Meat

    Blanching your steak will help you to cook the meat evenly and avoid a bloody center with burnt edges. To do

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  • America's Best Pitmasters Reveal Their BBQ Secrets

    Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Contest

    The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee is the largest pork barbecue competition in the world. Over 250 competitive barbecue teams come from all over the world to compete in this contest with a $110,000.00 grand prize. Teams must compete in one of three pork categories: Ribs, Shoulder, or Whole Hog. This year, the title of Grand Champion went to team Sweet Swine O' Mine from Memphis, TN for their pork shoulder. We met up with them and some of America's best pitmasters to learn their secrets for making award-winning barbecue.

    Don't go above a temperature of 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 212 degrees, so you want to keep your barbecue under that to avoid losing moisture. Most of the pit masters we spoke to cook between 200 and 210 degrees.

    Practice makes perfect. No barbecue team ever came into a competition and won on their first try. Barbecue is an art form that requires a

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  • The Best Pie in America

    The Great American Pie Festival
    The Great American Pie Festival in Celebration, Florida is two days of fun, games, and a whole lot of pie. It is also home to the National Pie Championships, where people come from all over to submit pies for judging, hoping to win "Best in Show" and the title of "Best Pie in America". And the blue ribbon goes to…

    Sittin' on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie by Amy Freeze













    Sittin' on a Sandbar Key Lime Pie
    2013 APC Crisco National Pie Championships
    Amateur Division
    Best of Show and 1st Place Citrus
    Amy Freeze, Avon Park, FL

    Crust
    2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    5 tablespoons melted butter

    Filling
    8 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
    2 whole eggs
    2 egg yolks
    1-15 ounce can Eagle Brand condensed milk
    ¾ cup Coco Lopez (Cream of Coconut)
    ¾ cup key lime juice

    Whipped Cream Layer
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 cup powdered sugar

    Garnish
    Lime slices & white chocolate sea shells

    Directions:
    1. In a bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press

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  • The World's Largest Bake Sale

    Sandra Lee hosted the World's Largest Bake Sale at Grand Central Station in New York City on Wednesday, May 1st. Popular bakeries, celebrities, and chefs came out to donate baked goods to the bake sale, which benefitted the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry Campaign, and the Food Bank for New York City. There were over 50,000 baked goods for sale at five dollars a piece in classic bake sale style. Some notable guests were Ty Pennington, Mario Batali, Wendy Williams, Buddy Valastro, and Dylan Lauren.

    Allison eating the cupcake of the year by Sandra Lee.

    We sampled some delicious baked goods, and in doing so, came up with some amazing tips for you to try at your next bake sale.


    It has to look good. Remember, kids eat with their eyes. When their parent gives them a dollar or two to buy something at the bake sale, they are going to go for the item that looks the best. So if you are making cupcakes, Dylan Lauren of Dylan's Candy Bar recommends trying a bright colored frosting, or adding candy to the top to make it pop.

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  • Tips for Making Great Grilled Cheese from The Grilled Cheese Invitational

    The Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles, California is a yearly festival that brings both amateur and professional chefs together to compete to see who makes the best grilled cheese.  From the classic bread, butter and cheese sandwich, to bizarre dessert grilled cheeses, these competitors made it all.  This year 150 competitors made over 750 grilled cheeses for a hungry crowd of people who served as judges.

    Tips for Making Great Grilled Cheese

    Grilled cheese is easy to make, but it’s also easy to mess up!  The most common mistake is burning the bread, and not melting the cheese.  We asked the competitors for their tips for making perfect grilled cheese and here is what they said.

    Temperature of the pan is key:  If the pan is too hot, you will burn the outside of the bread and fail to melt the cheese in the middle.  If the pan isn’t warm enough, it will take you forever to properly melt the cheese and brown the bread.

    Cover the pan when you cook the first side:  Keep the heat low,

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  • The Original Philly Cheesesteak

    Every native Philadelphian has their favorite place to get Philly Cheesesteaks, but there is only one original: Pat’s King of Steaks.  The story of the cheesesteak dates back to the 1930s when brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri started a hotdog stand in an Italian neighborhood in South Philly.  One day, the guys working behind the counter were sick of eating hotdogs for lunch, so they ran to the butcher and bought some steak.  They fried it up, threw it on some bread, and began to dig in.  A regular customer, a taxi driver, came up to the window to order a hotdog but saw the steak sandwich and requested one of those instead.  They gave him a small one and as he walked away he advised them to stop selling hotdogs and sell steak sandwiches.  The cheesesteak was born, but at the time, they weren’t adding cheese!  The Philly Cheesesteak that we know and love today didn’t come around until the 1960s.  They decided to use Cheez Whiz for their sandwiches because it was the easiest and fastest to

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