You Asked Food Network Stars

By: Victoria Phillips

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October cover

Food Network stars answer your burning questions in the October issue of Food Network Magazine.

Ree, your ranch is pretty remote. How often do you go to the store and how do you plan your meals for the week?

Matt Pelis from Shelburne Falls, Mass.

We have a small grocery store in our town where I can get lots of essentials. I don't plan my meals by the week at all. Instead, I just make sure to have plenty of staples on hand: meats, pastas, beans, canned tomato products, onions, potatoes, carrots and rice. I can whip up most things I need with these basics. When my husband or I pass through town, we'll grab lettuce and other shorter-lived products. And when I'm in the big city, I get things I can't get locally, like jarred pesto, great sauces and relishes.

Ree Drummond

Robert, other than for presentation, is there a reason for placing an apple in a suckling pig's mouth?

Brenda Belongie from Etna, Calif.

I have no knowledge that there's any culinary justification for this tradition. I think it's more aesthetic than anything else — because in America we don't really consume most of the pig. In other countries, people eat every part of it.

—Robert Irvine

Ina, after making whipped cream from scratch, how long can you store it?

Nicole Heisse from Levittown, Pa.

Whipped cream will last a few hours if you add a few tablespoons of mascarpone. You can also make it a little ahead of time and keep the bowl and beaters in the fridge for a few hours, then just give it a final whip right before serving. If you accidentally overbeat it and it looks a little curdled, add some fresh cream and beat it again.

—Ina Garten

Aarón, what is your favorite chile pepper for cooking?

Katie Good from Albuquerque, N.M.

I love chipotle. It has a nice smoky flavor and a mild heat and goes well with just about everything.

—Aarón Sánchez

Sunny, what's the trick to keeping sweet potato fries from getting soggy?

Laura Joshua from Los Angeles

Sweet potatoes have a bit more sugar and starch than their white counterpart, so soak your raw cut fries in water for a few hours before frying to release some of the starch. Also, a frying temperature of 350 degrees F is key so that the inside of each fry gets thoroughly cooked and the outside crisps. And put the fries in one layer on a paper towel-lined plate after frying.

—Sunny Anderson

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