For the unusual and the exotic, turn it to Cooking Channel and Food Network

Curious ingredients, interesting flavors

Andrew Zimmern

No matter how much into food you are, you can always count on Food Network and Cooking Channel to show you something you’ve never seen before.

Be it a cuisine from a far-off land or a little-known protein or vegetable, there is always something that maybe you might want to try or at the very least watch someone else try it and hear what they think. So if you’re bored with your own cooking and looking for new ideas, fire up the flatscreen and check out the following shows.

And nothing is more unusual than the fare that Andrew Zimmern digs into on the Thursday, July 22, episode of his Cooking Channel series “Bizarre Foods America,” which lands him in Pittsburgh to try the goat heart tartare, a cutting edge dish that we won’t try to describe except to say it sounds bloody interesting. Also on the menu are more conventional dishes like stuffed cabbage and braunschweiger.

A little less on the raw side are the munchies Zimmern digs into on “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations” on Monday, July 19, on Cooking Channel, in which he samples what San Diego has to offer, including an octopus tostada, Filipino chicken adobo, So-Cal monster burritos and Mexican-inspired fish tacos. And San Diego is one town that knows how to do fish tacos right.

If it is small bites you seek, “Snackmasters” on Cooking Channel on Sunday, July 18, has chefs Anna Haugh and Aktar Islam trying to replicate a lunchbox favorite, a packet of Quavers, a potato-based snack from Great Britain that dates back more than 50 years and currently comes in flavors like cheese, prawn cocktail and salt and vinegar.

Over on Food Network, chef Michael Symon honors his Greek heritage on the Saturday, July 24, edition of “Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out,” with his own spins on two classic grilled foods: skewered chicken and pork souvlaki with a side of tzatziki sauce and homemade pita bread. Opa!

Not to be outdone, Valerie Bertinelli is testing the boundaries of cookie making on her Sunday edition of “Valerie’s Home Cooking” by making cookies for any time of day, including a breakfast sandwich cookie, thyme and gruyere savory cookies, coconut chocolate chip cookies and chocolate and orange hazelnut cookies.

And on “The Kitchen” on Saturday, greens are the order of the day as Katie Lee Biegel cooks up spicy chicken eggplant boats, Alex Guarnaschelli uses every part of the carrot to prepare her roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto, and Geoffrey Zakarian goes spicy with his spinach and Swiss chard stew with coconut curry greens and lentils.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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