July 2009

Photo of the Day: Homemade Mallomars

Photo from Make and Bake via Photograzing Continuing on today's theme of treats labeled "I want to make that at home!" are these homemade Mallomars from Jess at Make and Bake. Her version have a cinnamon-laced cookie base with globs of homemade marshmallow and a thin chocolate glaze. Recipe and photos on her site—and, as an added bonus, homemade Milanos, too.... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Saturday (August 1) Viva Daisy! (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "TV Night." Daisy makes a crispy creamed corn-filled empanada and cilantro pesto. 9:30 a.m. ET, Food Network Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Secrets to Fish in Cartoccio." Halibut in cartoccio and an apple tarte tatin. (repeat) 10:30 a.m. ET, Food Network 5 Ingredient Fix (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Mediterranean... More

Hot Dog of the Week: Puka Dog

"In the constantly evolving culinary melting pot of Hawaii, it's hard to pick the state's one true hot dog." Past Weeks' Dogs The Philly ComboTijuana DogsTexas WeinersFlo's Hot Dogs, Cape Neddick, Maine Who knew that Hawaii was a gold mine of obscure hot dog variations? Portuguese immigrants first came to Hawaii in the 19th century, bringing sausages and sweet bread buns. American-style hot dogs were introduced to Hawaii (along with spam) by the United States military during World War II. Throw in Chinese and Japanese influence, plus local ingredients, and you get one of the wildest hot dog regions in the world. The Puka Dog is the culmination of sixty years of island hot dog evolution. Puka means "Hole" in... More

Look Who's Talkin': Comments, Quips, and Tips We Have Known and Loved

There's so much going on in Talk week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week. By the Bathroom or By the Kitchen It could be worse. You could be eating at Taiwan's Modern Toilet Restaurant. "The bathroom and the server's station I do mind sitting there, I don't want to hear server's talking about how hungover they are yadda yadda and I don't want to hear the crapper flush along with all the other noises that come from that room. The kitchen I don't mind sitting by, I like to see the cooks do their thing plus sometimes... More

In Restaurant Traditions: The Family Meal

Photo by Wiqan Ang for the Globe A time-honored tradition at many establishments is the "family meal"—when the waitstaff comes together to fill their bellies before a long night's service. (Lucky them; where better for a free meal than a first-class restaurant?) The Globe has a great look at the staff meals served in different Boston-area restaurants. “The best rule to have good staff meal is: Put cheese on it, bake it, and name it,’’ says Jamie Bissonnette at Toro. Any food-service vets out there with fond memories of staff meals?... More

Cukes and Gochujang: Perfect Summer Snack

Growing up, there were tons of cucumbers growing in my mom's garden during the summer, so we never really bought them at the supermarket. Given these fortuitous circumstances, I was always a bit confused about the difference between the ones growing in the backyard and the ones at the store. Whereas the store's specimens were smooth and shiny, the ones I brought to the kitchen sink were rough and a bit prickly. I was going to chalk them up as some sort of weird variety of Korean cucumbers, but I did some research and realized that I'd been eating the pickling variety of cucumbers this whole time. Every cuke and pickle I've ever eaten flashed before my eyes as... More

Snapshots from the UK: Pizza Express's Leggera Pizzas

Some things are supposed to have a hole in the center. Like a bagel. Or a donut. But what about a pizza? I am not one of those eaters who shun chain restaurants for the sake of being an indie foodie. I follow my gut, and my gut often takes me to Pizza Express, a ubiquitous British chain of pizza restaurants (with the usual menu supplements of salads and pastas) that serves thin-crusted, gourmet-topped personal pizzas. In fact, I eat pizza from Pizza Express so often while I'm in the UK at school that I began to feel a bit guilty about it. You've heard of the freshman fifteen; I was worried it might snowball into the grad school... More

It's a Little Quiet in This Corner

Aww. These Talk threads have few or zero replies as of today. Anyone have anything to say? (Psst: PumpkinBear REALLY wants an answer to the first one here.) Pambazos: Got a recipe? "My aunt once brought over a huge plate of pambazos and I immediately fell in love with them. I guess they could be considered Mexican sandwiches. They're made with a type of bread called bolillos. My aunt's were stuffed with a mixture of cheese, potatoes, chorize, and crema and were slathered with a spicy red sauce. My aunt recently moved back to Mexico and unfortunately, has no idea how to work a computer.... does anyone have a recipe they'd care to share?" Help: LOTS of fresh epazote "I... More

The Secret Ingredient: Smoked Salt

I am addicted to salt. If allowed to bring only one thing to a desert island, I wouldn't even have to; the one thing I need to survive, salt, would be in the ocean all around me. One day last year, I walked over to the supermarket with spring in my step--it was my salt cellar renewal day, time to replenish my collection of salt. I stand at the shelves and ponder my options. I saw the famed Maldon sea salt, in its stately box, on the bottom shelf. I thought it would be expensive, and I almost left without it, but something made me check the price. It is English, so for a hefty box of gourmet salt,... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 78: The Julia Child Mantra, Does It Work, Serious Eaters?

"Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health."--Julia Child This famous quote from the late, great Julia Child has been the cornerstone of my serious diet. And that quote was on a sign for all to see, as the guests wandered into the ultra old-line, ultra New York Metropolitan Club for the post-premiere party of Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron's loveable movie that chronicles in parallel fashion the lives of cooking culture icon, cookbook author, and seminal food TV star Julia Child and writer-blogger Julie Powell. It was a good thing the sign was there, because the opportunities for excess were everywhere. New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent had put together... More

Cinnabon-Esque Cinnamon Rolls

Photo from The Cooking Photographer via Photograzing I'm a sucker for Cinnabons—those indecently sweet, doughy cinnamon rolls found at food courts and airports across the country—so I'm tempted to try this recipe for "Cinnabon Clones" from Laura Flowers at The Cooking Photographer. The day I can capture that smell in my own oven, I will be a happy person indeed.... More

Would You Go to a Chain Restaurant on a First Date?

Clueless dudes,* take note: On Glamour's Smitten blog, the women in the comments of the latest Reader's Dilemma ("My Dates Always Choose Chain Restaurants, Which I Secretly Hate") are overwhelmingly in favor of quirky hole-in-the-wall restaurants for first dates. (Except one who says, "I've never even thought of this before, this dilemma sounds pretentious.") Many of the commenters are pretty open-minded, though, saying that choosing a chain wouldn't necessarily be a dealbreaker. I think most folks reading SE would opt for a unique, delicious local place for a date. Before I started dating my current squeeze, I used to keep a list of such surefire date restaurants on hand in case I needed it.** (Which was rarely.) Do you... More

Video: Jeffrey Steingarten Interviews Nora Ephron (Sort Of)

When Julie & Julia writer-director Nora Ephron invites Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten to her house to cook, we knew there was bound to be some interesting exchanges between these two scary smart, unintimidatable, and most formidable serious eaters. Jeffrey doesn't appear as engaged as he does on Iron Chef America, but that could be the editing—or maybe not. The video itself is not as interesting as Jeffrey's article about Nora and the movie, which appears in the August issue of Vogue (unavailable online, of course). The most interesting revelation is in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the piece: "For nearly as long as I can remember, I have envied Nora Ephron." He goes on to... More

Snapshots from Greece: Spanikopita's Cousin, Hortopita

Will the real spanikopita please stand up. Whoever's running the spanikopita marketing campaign really deserves a raise. I was in Greece for almost a week before I realized that what I thought was spanikopita—layers of crispy phyllo dough stuffed with a cheesy, leafy green mess of joy—actually wasn't. It was hortopita, a savory pie cousin that contains horta, or edible wild greens such as dandelions, chard, kale, and lamb's quarters. Horta directly translates as "grass" in Greek, but refers to about 80 different greens (step aside, spinach) growing all over the country—alongside highways, in fields, and many other places with dirt. It's delicious alone (sauteed with lemon and olive oil) but obviously a few hundred times better when feta... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each week we round up our favorite posts and recipes from our friends at The Kitchn. This week, the Kitchn shares homemade Nutella recipes for those who aren't satisfied with the hazlenutty-ness of the store-bought jar kind. Also on the Kitchn, Irish red ales, tips for blueberry picking, the "Miracle Fruit" trend revisited, and no-knead bread on the grill.... More

Critic-Turned-Cook Wonders: Where's The Drama?

Critic Turned Cook follows former Seattle Post-Intelligencer food critic Leslie Kelly on her journey away from the keyboard and into the kitchen. Take it away, Leslie! Rolling out sheets of pasta at Betty. Seattle is such a chill city—frosty, some might say. (I'm not talking temperature. This week, we’re experiencing a record-breaking heat wave.) This casual vibe might explain why I have yet to witness a fiery meltdown in any of the kitchens I’ve worked in so far. Where are the Gordon Ramsay-like tirades? How come these chefs don’t scream at their staff? Nobody has come to blows or exchanged bitter words. No plates have been smashed. At the latest stop on my journey from keyboard to kitchen, a neighborhood... More

The 'United Plates': Food-Themed Prints of All 50 States

We love it when people play with their food. Shorthanded Studio has a set of fifty food-themed prints (dubbed the "United Plates")—designed and silk-screened by Kansas artist John Wayne H., each depicts one of the fifty states in culinary form. Some are a little farfetched (Texas is just a Texas-shaped pile of peas), but others are dead-on: Kentucky as a chicken leg, Maine as a potholder, and poor Connecticut as a TV dinner. Prints $15 each, $35 for 3, available online.... More

Gadgets: The 360 Vapor Pot

"If you open the lid, you can kiss your vapor seal goodbye." When Alaina suggested I test-drive a special "Vapor Seal" pot that had found its way to Serious Eats World Headquarters, my first reaction was skepticism. I knew some serious product testing lay ahead of me. While the 360 Cookware saucepan I was given looked like any well-made pot--nicely buffed stainless steel, an ergonomic handle, the works--its instructional booklet and introductory DVD made clear that this was no normal kitchen gadget. Fifteen minutes into the DVD, I figured I had it down: you throw stuff into the pot, let the cooking process get underway, and spin the pot's lid so that the rising steam forms a so-called "vapor seal."... More

Watch It with Us: 'Top Chef Masters' Ep. 7: Let the Competition Begin

As much as we love the cool grace under pressure and kitchen camaraderie all the master chefs have exhibited so far this season, we're hoping for a little more intensity and, dare we say, drama, as we head into the Champion's Round tonight with master chefs Hubert Keller, Suzanne Tracht, Rick Bayless, Anita Lo, Michael Chiarello, and Art Smith. Perhaps the producers have the same thing in mind, as tonight's Mise En Place Relay Race sounds like an excellent way to ratchet up the intensity. If you're planning on watching tonight's episode of Top Chef Masters, join us here in the comments at 10 pm ET. Who are you betting on to win it all? PS: We're also loving... More

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Tomatoes

Photograph from Manjith Kainickara on Flickr It's Wednesday and that means it's time to round up all of your Weekend Cook and Tell recipes! Last week we asked you to take advantage of the beautiful bounty of summer tomatoes that are just now coming into season. Here are some of our favorite tomato-centric responses: Slow roasting tomatoes in the oven is a great way to concentrate their flavor and bring out extra sweetness. Take a look at tatianak's recipe over at Life in Cowtown. Mr guy went the cocktail route, using his tomatoes to make these bloody marys with fresh tomato juice. Tomatoes were the base for NotAmerican's simple summer sandwich along with some cucumber, salt, and pepper on... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Michael Jackson: Nutritionist says KoP "didn't want to eat food"—except for fried chicken, juice, and trail mix. [E! Online] Born in Fire: An interview with Richard Wrangham, whose theory is that cooking is what spurred human evolution. [Salon] Grade Grubbing: In California, school gardens are springing up, with parents and children volunteering. [LAT] Gelato in Florence: Italian-food expert Faith Willinger on this icy treat. [AFC] Sun Soakin' Bulges in the Shade: Kevin D. Weeks, on how to pick, store, and cook with peaches. (The kind that don't come from a can.) [NPR] Crabby: "New York has pizza. Chicago has hot dogs." D.C. has crab cakes. Jane Black, on where to find the best. [WaPo]... More

Meet & Eat: Joe Bayley, Winner of Last Night's 'Chopped'

On last night's episode of Chopped, contestant Joe Bayley cooked his way through two mystery baskets before facing his final challenge: creating a coherent dessert out of an avocado, some coffee liqueur and a honeycomb. His avocado and ginkgo mousse with coffee ganache and lime-infused honey impressed the judges and sent his opponent packing. Bayley collected the $10,000 prize money—but not before yelling "Ten Gs, baby!" into the camera. I caught up with the Chopped champ—a dear friend and FCI classmate—during a rare moment on dry land, as he headed to a bar in Juneau to watch his own victory. Name: Joseph Bayley Location: Afloat in the Gulf of Alaska Occupation: Chef on board the Island Spirit How long... More

Cakespy on Why Whoopie Pies Ain't All That

Photograph from The Cooking of Joy Cakespy's Jessie Oleson gives the "whoopie pies are the next big thing" movement a good ol' Bronx cheer: Problem one: The Stupid Name. There's no delicate way to say it: Whoopie Pie is a stupid-sounding name. For me, "whoopie" conjures up goofy images of sexual reference on the Newlywed Show and cushions that make farting sounds. I don't know about you, but even adding "pie" after it doesn't serve to cancel out these associations or change them to "irresistible dessert". Ms. Oleson also has problems with "the cute factor" (not much, she says) and their size (too big). I, for one, would still rather eat, look at, or read about whoopie pies than,... More

Serious Green: How to Get Free Fruit via Urban Fruit Harvesting

Photograph from morning_rumtea on Flickr Farmers have been purposefully leaving edges of their fields unharvested and fruit unpicked for the less fortunate since biblical times. Today, groups around the country are translating that idea and encouraging us to do the same--by picking the fruit from your neighbor's tree. Photograph from Muffet on Flickr Urban fruit-harvesting groups started in places where there are abundant fruit trees, such as California. But groups are now popping up all over the U.S. and the world. All of them have one thing in common: making use of food that would otherwise go unused (i.e., rot on the sidewalk). Some groups gather wild food that's growing in a public space, such as a traffic median;... More

My Week Without Corn, Part II: The No Corn-Fed Animal Products Edition

“I’ve basically become a corn-averse vegan." Last week, I wrote about my first seven days without corn. Trying to learn more about just how much of the stuff we consume, I swore off all corn-laced foods for a full week. But as I sipped on cow’s milk and scrambled eggs for my omelets, I started to realize that the corn on package labels was only part of the story. More than half the corn produced in the United States isn’t used for human food—it’s fed to our animals. Eating a steak, in a sense, entails far more corn than drinking a soda. If I really wanted to call myself corn-free, I had a long way to go. So this week,... More

Snapshots from Greece: Spoon Sweets

A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shade of figs. While Greece is great for the salty fiends (olives, feta, and Santorini capers), there are plenty of opportunities to get cavities there too. Syrup-submerged fruits and nuts known as spoon sweets are common to eat alone or with cheese, and for years have symbolized sweet hospitality. A couple we visited wouldn't let us leave with a net-zero calorie intake, so they pulled out the coffee and little plates for spoon sweets. It was something like the Greek answer to British teatime.... More

Video: Hamm's Beer Commercial (1950s)

There's something about these Hamm's beer commercials from the 1950s that make me really want a glass of beer from the Land of Sky Blue Waters. It's probably a combination of the hypnotic jingle, the animated beer-peddling bear accompanied by a singing goose, and the deep, soothing voiceover that goes, "Hamm's...mmmm...Hamm's!" And I don't even like beer. (There's even a Hamm's Club for fans of this former brewery based in Minnesota.) Watch the video after the jump.... More

Vintage Meat Photo Pool

Photograph from Be the HBIC on Flickr Browsing through the Vintage Meat pool on Flickr is an adventure. An adventure of questionable food styling, uncommon recipes, charming illustrations, and whatever's going on in this photo. [via The Retro Blog] Related Share the Meat! Propaganda Posters Sausage Art in Russia Photo of the Day: Meatscapes... More

Serious Heat: Is Death by Chiles Even Possible?

Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat. Photo from jcwadeaz on Flickr Last month, I took two of our interns to New York City's Fancy Food Show to hunt the aisles for spiciness. We separated, and when I met up with them both, they had--separately, mind you--taken a small but scorching sample of a dried bhut jolokia, the hottest chile on Earth. They were both stunned by the heat, gulping up any drinks they could find and ruining their palates for the day. "Did I not teach you anything during your internship?" I asked. Lesson number one of a Chile Pepper internship: Don't eat a sliver of the bhut jolokia unless... More

Is Los Angeles the Best Jewish Deli Town?

Delis are a lot like religion and politics—be careful what you say or somebody will leave the conversation offended. People take a pretty serious stance on mustard type, knishes, and what city is the premiere deli city. David Sax, author of the blog Save the Deli (and the same-named book coming out in October) has chowed on pastrami in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Paris, London, and Poland, but thinks the magic is really in Los Angeles. There has been no grand decline in the L.A. deli scene. Most are packed, sometimes around the clock…The delis out there are bigger, are more comfortable, and ultimately serve better food than any other city in America, including the best pastrami sandwich... More

How to Cook Like Your Grandmother

Photograph from foundphotoslj on Flickr Neither of my grandmas were especially good cooks, but somehow I always left their houses a few pounds tubbier. It's got to be all that butter and every grandkid's inability to turn down a hefty wedge of cake (à la mode, obviously) they already sliced. Oh, grandmas. Michael Pollan may disapprove of all those buckets of cream of mushroom you use, but high five, sister. How to Cook Like Your Grandmother is a blog devoted to this worship of grandmas in the kitchen. You will not see the words "lite" or "skim" on this site—just recipes for things like cheesy poofs and pork chop salad. [via Metafilter] Related Grandma's Pancakes What Is Grandma Pizza?... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Greek Honey: You'll want to bathe everything in it. [Epi-Log] Meat Wars: Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen vs. Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan. [AFC] Wok Plus Grill: The life of a Cantonese barbecue master in Toronto. [Gourmet] Nduja: The distant cousin of sopressata is all the meaty rage. [Guardian] Peanuts, Crackerjack: The best grub at ballparks across the country. [Chow] Tomato Sauce, 365 Days: Ready-made sauces for the whole year. [SFC] Fried Everything: Photos from the Orange County Fair. [OC Register] Food Is Da Bomb: Bombing conspirator sues over prison food. [AP] NYC Fail: The city's health department failed to inspect one in every five restaurants during 2008. [NYT]... More

Blue M&Ms May Help Spinal Injuries

Oddly enough, this was not from The Onion but from Daily Mail: Scientists have found special properties in the dye of blue M&Ms. "The compound, Brilliant Blue G, can block a chemical which makes injuries worse by causing inflammation and destroying cells."... More

Snake 'N' Bacon

The stars of Michael Kupperman's Snake 'N' Bacon are, well, a snake and a greasy strip of bacon. No matter what oddball scenarios they find themselves in, Snake likes to make hissy sounds and Bacon provides bacon-related commentary. Being armless has not stopped the duo from having a Twitter account (@cr_snake_bacon). [via Modcult] Related Existential Food Comics A Comic About Junk Food and Flintstones Vitamins Place Setting from Hell... More

Snapshots from Greece: Loukoumades from Krinos in Athens

"Krinos kind of feels like the Greek version of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, minus all the powdered sugar on the ground." Cafeteria can mean mystery meat and hair nets, or it can mean landmark Athens doughnut hotspot. Since 1922, the good souls of Krinos have been frying loukoumades, or small doughnuts in ring or ball form (in this case, ring) drenched in a honey-citrus syrup. Even though it's on a shopping street near Omonoia Square, instead of being attached to a high school gym, it still gets the cafeteria classification because self-service cutlery and plastic trays are involved. Though there was a pile of fried rings waiting when I approached the counter, they apparently weren't fresh enough. They... More

Serious Cheese: Von Trapp Farmstead's Oma

Vermont's hills are alive with the sound of "Oma!" Brothers Sebastian and Dan Von Trapp (yes, they are related to those Von Trapps) have just released Oma, an amazing new cheese from the Mad River Valley in Vermont. A washed-rind raw cow's milk cheese, Oma's silky texture (soft and supple, but not runny) is perhaps its most unique feature. But its taste delivers too. The cheese is earthy, barnyardy, and buttery, and the raw milk makes for a complexity of flavor absent in most American cheeses of its ilk. "Oma" is German for "grandmother," and the cheese is named after Sebastian and Dan's Oma, Erica Von Trapp, who started the family farm 50 years ago. The farm has a... More

Video: Whole Chicken in a Can

What meal can a housewife whip up for her husband in no time? Chicken in a can! Open! Dump! Delicious! ...Not really! Watch the video after the jump. (Warning: Not safe for those easily skeeved out by a pink chicken lump slathered in colorless goo.)... More

Frysmith, a Fry Truck Launching in Los Angeles

Kimchi pork fries Justifying fries as a whole meal has been one of life's challenges for a while. Frysmith, a gourmet fry truck slated to roll out in Los Angeles this August, has taken on this noble mission. The truck will serve "ethnically infused" hand-cut fries that are piled with enough meats and cheeses, you could sort of argue, at least more than before, that it's a well-balanced meal. Rajas fries It's a scientific process where they throw stuff on top of fries. The menu includes chili-cheese fries (and a vegan version with tomatoes, mixed beans, and soyrizo), as well as Rajas fries (topped with shawarma-marinated steak and roasted poblano chiles), and sweet potato fries with organic chicken and... More

Panda Cake

New to us, via Neatorama, comes panda bread. It's sure to make the hearts of panda lovers everywhere explode with rainbows. Or, if you've ever wanted to eat pandas, this can be your socially safe panda-eating outlet. Basically, it requires strategic folding of various colored doughs (green tea, cocoa) to form the ULTIMATE panda in baked form. Make sure to check out the original Japanese recipe to see other examples of panda cakes, some of which I'm sorry to say look like mutant strains of panda. Because nothing says "I love you" like a panda cake. Related Rubik's Cube Sandwich What's the Prettiest Dessert You've Ever Seen?... More

12 Pickle Facts You Should Memorize Right Now

Impress your friends (or just be "that person who knows a bunch of random facts) by memorizing these 12 Pickle Facts Everyone Should Immediately Commit to Memory from mental_floss. For example, during his 1492 voyage Christopher Columbus gave pickles to his sailors to prevent them from getting scurvy. And look where we are today. Thanks, pickles!... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Monday (July 27) Good Eats (warning, autoplay video): "The Big Chili." Alton examines and makes chili. (repeat) 8 p.m. ET, Food Network Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: "Rust Belt." Tony meets up with his friend Zamir and travels to Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Buffalo, New York in the winter to check out delicious food. 10 p.m. ET, Travel Channel Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (warning, autoplay video): Mama's Cookin'." Wings and waffles... More

Last Week's Contest Winners

Cook the Book: Canal House Cooking, Vol. 1: little orange straw, threedogkitchen, eataholic, LittletonMike, and Phil W. Winners have been notified by email and also appear on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to all who entered.... More

White House Does Not Serve Foreign Beer

Toward the end of the Boston Globe's story today about the whole Henry Louis Gates Jr. affair: "I look forward to meeting Sgt. Crowley under more pleasant circumstances, and having that beer," Gates told the Globe yesterday in an email, saying a date has not been set. He said he’s partial to Red Stripe and Beck’s. He may not get his pick, as they are foreign beers, which are not stocked at the White House, under a tradition dating to the Johnson administration. Hue beer would have totally irked LBJ, had it existed at the time. [via The Awl]... More

Video: The Grill Sergeants, the Armed Forces' Cooking Show

Sick of watching chefs on television cook things you'd never cook at home? Maybe you're watching the wrong channel. Switch to The Pentagon Channel, where the U.S. military has its very own cooking show in The Grill Sergeants. NPR recently profiled the show and its star chef, Sgt. First Class Brad Turner. Sgt. Turner, a native of New Orleans, keeps it real and doable on this weekly half-hour show.... More

Basta Pasta: The Best Pasta You've Ever Had From a Walk-Up Counter

"What real chefs can do with red-sauce Italian." One could be forgiven for expecting very little from Basta Pasta. It sits on a traffic-heavy Cambridge street lined with bodegas and split-level homes. No waiters--just a walk-up counter whose chalkboard menu reads like the Olive Garden's. There's a refrigerator stocked with Pepsi and Gatorade; a flat-screen TV hangs overhead. The name's a little corny. And the owners aren't even Italian. But with one bite of homemade fusilli, none of this could matter less. MIT grad students, the Cambridge fire department, and Central Square denizens have been holding out on the rest of us--Basta Pasta is no ordinary red-sauce takeout. Order well, and the dishes handed over the counter will be phenomenal.... More

Cook the Book: '660 Curries' by Raghavan Iyer

I have a lot of cookbooks—bookcases of them. While it's great to own a bazillion books, it's not the most practical thing if you are, say, moving somewhere. But in all my moves, the one thing I could never bear to part with was my cookbook collection; these books are my only possessions I feel are truly irreplaceable. Some were gifts or flea market finds, some are guides to cuisines that I developed a short-lived infatuation with and some are books that I reference again and again. I'm not sure if it has to do with the ease of finding recipes on the web or the fact that I've moved them so many times, but I have curtailed my cookbook-purchasing... More

Video: Sky Full of Bacon's 'A Better Fish'

Fish is complicated. You can have this one, but not this, and eating that Chilean seabass, oh dear, that might give you awful karma forever. In this beginning of a two-part series on fish, the always enlightening podcast Sky Full of Bacon visits Supreme Lobster, one of the country’s largest fish distributors. SFOB producer-writer-editor Michael Gebert goes behind-the-scenes to understand how the company moves thousands of pounds of fresh fish a week. He talks to sales rep Carl Galvan, who's so passionate about selling the good stuff, he keeps his chef clients updated on Twitter (@chicagofishdude). So much of the seafood discussion is difficult for consumers to navigate but this 22-minute video offers a clear perspective on what happy... More

39th Annual World Pea Shooting Championship

This past Saturday the 39th Annual World Pea Shooting Championship was held in Witcham, England. Competitors had to hit a target made of putty from 12 yards away. The Telegraph reports on the latest in pea-shooter technology (a laser-guided shooter with gyroscopic balancing) and the characteristics of successful pea-shooting (such as "moisture criteria," the optimum amount of saliva on the pea). The winner, Jim Collins, used a traditional peashooter.... More

The 'Julia Child' Rose Cultivar

Rosa 'Julia Child' Wow. Nice find, gutreactions! Julia Child apparently chose this specific rose cultivar, hybridized by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses, to bear her name. "Julia loved the even butter-gold color and the licorice candy fragrance." This rose has a rounded habit and excellent disease resistance, raising the bar for any English-style rose. Julia Child also features a sweet licorice perfume that exudes from each fully petaled flower, as well as a butter-gold color that’s perfectly suited to any landscape. For rose aficionados out there, its parentage is "[(Voodoo x R. soulieana derivative) x Summerwine] x Top Notch," and is hardy in Zone 5 (or Zone 4, with winter protection). [via Talk]... More

Market Scene: Sexy Figs in San Francisco

It's the time of year when it's fun to take visitors to the market. Friends who don't typically shop at farmers' markets will be overwhelmed by the amount of produce that we have available locally and in season, and will be sure to go home with a bag full of summertime delights. The market is bursting at the seams with color and flavor and scents, and it's an exercise in restraint to decide where to spend my budget. My strategy during this time of abundance is typically to find out what products are going to be around for a little while, and then to prioritize from there. Okra have just begun to show up in the market and as... More

Watch It with Us: 'The Next Food Network Star,' Episode 8

If you're planning on watching tonight's episode of The Next Food Network Star, join us here in the comments at 9 p.m. ET. It'll be an open thread—jump in with your comments, observations, or play-by-play as the episode unfolds. This week the three finalists have to come up with a three-course menu for "a group of culinary elite" inspired by the upcoming movie Julie & Julia. Who do you think will be eliminated?... More

This Week in Eating Out

Franks and Slushies: There's a hot dog for every flavor, cuisine, or mood you might be in the mood for at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace in Columbus, Ohio. And who can resist a habanero-lime slushie? Third Time's the Charm: Adam Kuban heads to Veloce Pizzeria, where the Margherita was named Frank Bruni's No. 2 pizza in NYC, and finds the pies there are best eaten immediately. I have no problem with that. Fast-Food Chain Doesn't Crush Childhood Dreams: Chichi Wang rediscovers Potbelly Sandwich Works and finds "very tasty sandwiches for an extremely reasonable price." Family-Friendly Burgers: Head over to Dish in Flintridge, California, for a burger that makes Damon Gambuto "proud to be an American." Addictive Sandwich: Skip... More

Traitor Joe's, a Site by Greenpeace Against Trader Joe's Seafood

The Trader Joe's pirate mascot seems like a pretty easy-going, Hawaiian shirt-wearing guy, until Greenpeace dubs him Traitor Joe. The environmental NGO has devoted a website to the grocery chain's greenwashing, or sneaky ways of marketing products as "green" and environmentally-friendly that aren't. This isn't a protest against pita chips or frozen dumplings—no, the campaign is targeting the red list seafood that Traitor Joe sells from his treasure chest (er, freezer case), singling out the Chilean sea bass and orange roughy. Traitor Joe likes to get his message across in the form of karaoke and Twitter ("Arrrg, I'm at the Brooklyn Trader Joes selling delicious ocean destruction," he recently tweeted.) In response, the real Joe has stated: "We intend... More

In Season: Summer Squash

Photograph from iLoveButter on Flickr Summer squash are a kitchen staple I always turn to in my fridge. They're a delicious way to add some vegetables to a dish, and the simplest dinner in the world is a runny egg over some quickly sautéed coins of summer squash. The crisp squash bits are one of the best bites you'll ever have. Once I bring the squash home from the market, I wrap them in paper towels (two to three per towel depending on size) and stick them in the crisper. And in case you were wondering, zucchini is just one of the many summer squash varieties. [After the jump, an arsenal of summer squash recipes.]... More

This Week in Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: You're crazy if you don't make this Spaghetti all'Aglio e Olio where the "barely solid" tomato flesh "collapses easily into the noodles." Plus, three meals for under eight bucks? Enough said. Serious Salsa: Lisa Fain uses her newfound love of watermlon in creating her alternative take on pico de gallo. Another Excuse to Make Carbonara: Pump up the pasta with this Courgette Carbonara; now you can feel less guilty for having two bowls. Kimboperrific!: Never thought you could make your own kimbap? Take a chance and make this Korean staple the next time you want an easy packed lunch. Aebleskiver Shmaebleskiver: A pancake combined with a jelly doughnut is never a bad thing. Make your... More

'Word of Mouth' Taste-Tests Reverse-Engineered KFC Recipe

"A single bite of the homemade KFC is enough. It's like biting into a dew-fresh ripe peach after eating a canned one. It's obviously the same thing but an order of magnitude better." Earlier in the week, the news splashed that a Long Island, New York, man claimed he had reverse-engineered the KFC's 11 herbs and spices. The secret recipe that Ron Douglas unlocked depends heavily on Accent, a commercial MSG-based flavoring. Everyone blogged about the discovery, but did anyone try it? At least one blog we read did. In England, Tim Hayward (above) of the Guardian's Word of Mouth went for it. But he went one better, asking Word of Mouth readers to help him come up with a... More

This Week's Tasty 10

According to our handy site-metering utility, the top 10 most delicious items across the Serious Eats family of sites this week were ... 1. Videos: A Preview of Amanda Hesser's "Food 52" Website, Plus a Tour of Her Kitchen: Former New York Times Magazine food editor Amanda Hesser—along with food writer and recipe-tester Merrill Stubbs—are launching a new site called Food 52, and in this introduction to the concept, you get a glimpse of Hesser's envy-inducing kitchen. 2. How Do You Define a Grilled Cheese Sandwich? There is plenty of room for interpretation when it comes to this classic comfort-food dish. Some folks like to add prosciutto, but would that technically be a ham and cheese sandwich that's been grilled?... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Sign Me Up: Volunteers sought to eat chocolate every day for a year. [Telegraph] Hair of the Dog: Five morning cocktails; none of the usual suspects. [AFC] Dining 101: Cafeteria food gets better. [USA Today] Clean-Up on Aisle Four: Wondering whether those bulk bins ever get a scrub-down. [Chow] Sweet Surprise: Bringing Sauternes out before the dessert course. [Reuters] Magnum and More: The merits of big-bottle wines. [WSJ] Denny's Dilemma: The Center for Science in the Public Interest sues Denny's for not posting information about its salt content. [Atlantic Food] Global Lunch: A world of sandwiches in LA. [LA Times] One More Burger Roundup: The best burgers in 12 US cities. [Epicurious]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Friday (July 24) Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Chef José Andrés is a guest. 12:35 a.m. ET, CBS Saturday (July 25) Viva Daisy! (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Rehearsal Night Dinner." Daisy makes yellow rice with corn, chicken ajillo, and Caribbean breeze cocktails. 9:30 a.m. ET, Food Network Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "The Secret to Chicken Milanese." Chef Anne makes... More

Wylie Dufresne's Garlic Bread

"We roast off several heads of garlic in foil and then put that through the food mill and blend it with some raw parsley and some butter. You get this really bright-green spread. We get some white hero rolls down the street, slice them lengthwise, toast them really well, spread the garlic butter on, hit them with some Parmesan cheese, and put them back in the toaster and get them nice and golden brown with melted cheese." [Grub Street]... More

Evan Kleiman Bakes a Pie A Day, For the Entire Summer

Pie: Every. Single. Day. If I were forced to choose between pie and cake for the rest of my life, I'd pick pie in an instant, no contest. With pie you can go sweet, you can go savory, you can have chocolate, or you can choose from a rainbow of fruit pies. Pie-making, with the rolling out of dough and tossing of the filing, is such a superior tactile experience to the scoop, sift, and stir hum-drum of making a cake. When my cousin got married, he and his wife chose to have a table full of pies and tubs of Straus ice cream instead of a big ol' wedding cake. I consider this a genius move, and way cooler... More

Look Who's Talkin': Comments, Quips, and Tips We Have Known and Loved

There's so much going on in Talk week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week. Romantical Food Memories... "I once made my boyfriend 3 grilled cheese sandwiches in a single evening. ;)" —gastronomeg The Quickest Snack from Home Instead of Junk Food? "Seriously, there is nothing like a crisp apple. Or a bunch of grapes. Right now, it's strawberries. If you have a fridge, I like some cheese & fruit (white cheddar & apple, brie & dried cranberries, pepper jack & pineapple). I keep a box of Triscuits & some peanut butter at work for just in case.... More

Existential Food Comics

Cartoonist Melanie "Minty" Lewis draws comics of food involved in torrid affairs, viewable on her website, P.S. Comics. My favorite: "Salt & Sugar." If you like these, you can also customize your iGoogle with her lonely lemons! Related Burrito Tape A Comic About Junk Food and Flintstones Vitamins 'The Birth of the Croissant & the Bagel' Comic... More

Tasty Kitchen, a New Recipe-Sharing Site from Pioneer Woman

Longtime Serious Eats friend Ree of The Pioneer Woman is already responsible for some of our favorite recipes, most of which are butter-laden (sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, and chocolate sheet cake). Her new site Tasty Kitchen will be yet another drool-inspiring distraction. The recipe social network allows home cooks to share recipes, rate them, and add notes. Looks like a happy place and really easy to use: just search by recipe or category, and if you want to share your own, join the oven mitt-wearing fraternity by registering here.... More

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace in Columbus, Ohio

Photos courtesy of Harold LaRue, Jen Killius and Kiesha Jenkins. In early July, Columbus, Ohio became home to Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace, quite possibly the best-looking hot dog joint I've seen in a while. The logo was designed by fellow Philadelphia artist and chili-dog aficianado Thom Lessner, whose amazing paintings of hair metal stars and classic baseball players cover every inch of the restaurant's interior.... More

Video: 5 Ways To Knead Doodle Bread

The folks behind Doodle Bread made this cute tutorial video to show you how to knead dough for their product (bread with a colorful shape in every slice!), but their instructions can be applied to all your bread dough kneading needs. Also, a tip for how to know when your dough is ready. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Ceramic and Glass 'Milk Cartons'

The milk jug at left, from home-design shop Abitare ($19, from abitareshop.com), mimics the look of a cardboard milk carton—a playful accompaniment to any coffee or tea service. Or, for something a little more mod, check out the see-through glass version from Fred & Friends ($12.68, from Amazon). [via SwissMiss]... More

It's a Little Quiet in This Corner

Aww. These Talk threads have few or zero replies as of today. Anyone have anything to say? (By the way, looks like we're all hankering for dim sum all of a sudden. What gives? Dim Sum Restaurants in Toronto or GTA? "Anyone have ideas? I'm looking for quality over quantity at a reasonable price. Willing to pay more than the mass produced cart style service places." Chicago Chinatown Dim Sum Recs Probably too late for Chew on That, who's probably been there and back, but it might be worth answering for other people heading to the Windy City: "Going to Chicago Chinatown tomorrow for dim sum. What's your favorite spot?" Breville Convection Oven "Read several threads on toaster/convection ovens on... More

Federal Minimum Wage Goes Up Today

From $6.55 an hour to $7.25. Many small business owners, including restaurateurs, are worried it will affect their ability to survive the crap economy. Of course, this will help a lot of our friends in the food and beverage industry—if indeed their employers don't claim the tip exemption; those workers' hourly minimum remains frozen at $2.13, same as it has been since 1991.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 77: Good Snacks Come In Small Packages

As many of you know, I have gone cold turkey on 100 calorie snack packs. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean my cravings for the occasional sweet or chocolate have gone away. Let's face it, serious diet or no serious diet, sometimes you need the spiritual, emotional, and physical boost only a piece of something chocolate-covered or nutty can provide. I find that is true any time of the year, even now, when I have been eating locally grown strawberries, cherries, peaches, and blueberries with great pleasure. Stone fruit and berries are amazing gifts from nature, but once or twice a week I need something a little more decadent. Given my weight, my body type, and my ability to metabolize such treats,... More

Mixed Review: Instant Miso Soup

In the past several weeks I've had very bad luck with ordering food for delivery. As a New Yorker, this is particularly distressing, as we tend to order takeout more frequently than we turn on our own stoves. It all started with a grilled chicken salad: I asked for the balsamic vinaigrette on the side, it arrived soused in a dressing so thick it bordered on mayonnaise. I practically had to spoon through it just to find the lettuce. Then, I got a falafel platter with ho-hum hummus instead of the babaganoush I had been craving. Finally—and this was the worst of all—my sashimi entree arrived all by its lonesome, without the miso soup. I have no problem sending... More

In Great Ideas: Breakfast Polenta

Photo from Brown Eyed Baker via Serious Eats Flickr pool I thought I'd run the breakfast porridge circuit, but I've yet to try polenta for breakfast. Brown Eyed Baker gives us a recipe for Vanilla & Brown Sugar Breakfast Polenta—"splashed with cream and sprinkled with brown sugar that melts into deliciously sweet puddles as soon as it hits the surface." As soon as I eat corn again, this will be my celebratory morning meal.... More

Any Bring-From-Home Snack Ideas?

Photo from Lighthelper on Flickr Over in Talk, Serious Eats user Ruffles1 asked the community for their bring-from-home snack ideas. In mid-morning or mid-afternoon, I am STARVING! So, if I have not brought something with me to eat or drink, I will hit the vending machines wherever I am... [But] I try to have something with me, so I can stop the hunger. We've gotten some good suggestions so far for nibbles from home—sugar snap peas, crackers with sunflower butter, homemade flatbread with Laughing Cow cheese—but there have to be other creative ideas out there. What's your favorite work snack?... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

McNeurons: A neurologist's look at the McGriddle. [Frontal Cortex] Seasonal Sweets: The Bay Area's best summer-inspired flavors. [SF Gate] Calorie Control: After being forced to label calories, chains like the Macaroni Grill are trying to bring down their numbers. [Atlantic Food] Doctor's Drink: Explaining why doctors have a keen sense for wine. [Telegraph] Gluten-Free Game: Aramark will open a gluten-free concession stand at Denver's Coors Field. [AP] All Night Long: Late-night nosh in Beantown. [Grub Street Boston] Next? Still speculating about Frank Bruni's replacement. [EaterNY]... More

Making A Mario Mushroom Out of A Radish

Photo from Anna the Red There's always seemed to be a lot of crossover between food-nerdism and gaming-nerdism. Case in point: This impressively accurate rendition of Toad from the Mario games, brought to you by Anna the Red's Bento Factory. Check out the step-by-step instructions on her site. (Next up: Bowser?)... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each week we round up our favorite posts and recipes from our friends at The Kitchn. This week, the Kitchn shares an easy recipe for our favorite fluffy, stuffable bread pocket, the pita. Also on the Kitchn, yellow tomato advice, pickling carrots, snarky canvas bags, and lower-in-fat artichoke dipping sauces.... More

Critic-Turned-Cook Reflects on Past Reviews

Critic Turned Cook follows former Seattle Post-Intelligencer food critic Leslie Kelly on her journey away from the keyboard and into the kitchen. Take it away, Leslie! ©iStockphoto.com/joanek At a recent family cookout, my Uncle Hugh asked how work in the kitchen was going. "It's hard—exhausting, really," I said. "I have a new understanding for what goes in to feeding a bunch of demanding diners." "Well, maybe you owe some of those restaurants you reviewed an apology," he teased. Uncle Hugh loved yanking my chain, but weeks later, I was still thinking about what he said. From the other side of the counter, I can certainly see how a critic would drive a cook crazy. Myself, I wasn't the kind of... More

Video: How to Grow a Pear in a Bottle

Get an early start on this year's holiday gifts with a pear grown in a bottle. Of course, there's also going to be some "high value" alcohol added to that bottle, but that comes after all the growing and ripening. Ed Gowans, a food and beverage photographer in the Northwest, explains his hobby in great detail; pears grown in bottles is actually a pretty cool idea. It also seems like a good way to keep squirrels, birds, and other wildlife from getting to them, no? Now if I only had a pear tree. (And, why not, a partridge.) Has anyone else tried this with pears or other edibles? The video, after the jump.... More

Gadgets: The Aebelskiver Pan

Editor's Note: Nikki Goldstein, longtime friend of Serious Eats and our newest contributor, will be checking in with a different kitchen gadget every week. Please welcome Nikki! Few would dare question the power of pancakes as comfort food--what's better than waking up to the smell of warm batter puffing up into cakey vehicles for syrup and jam? If you thought this was the pinnacle of Sunday brunch, meet the aebelskiver. It's a warm, doughy concoction that essentially crosses a pancake with a jelly doughnut. They're relentlessly addicting. While many trek to the few eateries that make these fresh (including Aunt Else's in the Twin Cities area, Shopsin's in New York City, and almost any place in Solvang, California), aebelskivers are... More

Market Scene: Brookline Farmers Market in Brookline, Mass.

Note: Each week, one of our various Market Scene correspondents from around the country checks in with what's fresh at the farmstands in a particular region. Today, Penny Cherubino (Boston Zest) drops by from Boston. The Brookline Farmers Market has been a part of the Coolidge Corner shopping experience for thirty-one years. It's a place of full-flavor shopping with produce, cheese, eggs, ice cream, bakery, specialty foods, beef, turkey, pork, lamb, and fish vendors. It's a busy market, with long lines forming at favorite vendors like Clear Flour Bakery. This family-operated, artisan bakery specializes in creating the authentic breads of Italy, France and Germany. Clear Flour always appears in any list of the best bakeries in the Boston area.... More

Introducing Wheaties Fuel, Super-Manly Breakfast Cereal

Regular Wheaties: Clearly lacking testosterone. If your breakfasts haven't felt very manly recently, good news. Today, General Mills is announcing Wheaties Fuel, the newest incarnation of the Breakfast of Champions—and, the New York Times notes, the first cereal marketed directly to men. The cereal was developed with help from the likes of Peyton Manning, Bryan Clay, and Kevin Garnett (or, at least, with the help of their pictures on the website). Wheaties has developed three prototypes, all substantially sweeter than the original; samples of these will be distributed to an (all-male) testing group, who will vote on their favorite. The final formula will hit shelves on September 9, 2009. Luna Bars, look out.... More

Seriously Italian: Eggplant 'A Fungetielli'

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma checks in with Seriously Italian. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States, channeling her inner Italian spirit via recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats. Take it away, Gina! Photo from effe8 on Flickr I couldn’t help it. They were calling to me: black, shiny, bulgingly beautiful eggplants, piled high at the market. Magnifica! The skin was so smooth and glossy, I could have reapplied my lip gloss in its reflection. Sometimes a vegetable beckons in unexpected ways, compelling and beguiling. I lost my head and loaded up. Mom rolled her eyes when I got home. “That’s a lot of eggplant.” She was right; I went overboard, and... More

'Top Chef Masters,' Ep. 6: Trick in a Box

"An episode of brotherly love." Top Chef Masters soldiers on. Tonight's competition marked the last of six four-way faceoffs, each qualifying a chef for the Champions Round. Next week, we'll see these six chefs go head-to-head—but this Wednesday, there was still one more slot to fill. The Contestants (above, from left) Roy Yamaguchi: Roy’s; Imua Family Services Jonathan Waxman: Barbuto; Meals on Wheels Art Smith: Table Fifty-Two, Art and Soul; Common Threads Michael Cimarusti: Providence; Grameen Foundation Quickfire Challenge: Another blast from Top Chef past—the Aisle Trial. Chefs were each assigned a single aisle at Whole Foods, and could use only ingredients found in that aisle (and purchased with just $20) in their Quickfire dish. The judges? Whole Foods employees.... More

Should Hot Dogs Carry Warning Labels?

Meat sticks with a side of...cancer? Los Angeles Times reports that a vegan advocacy group wants to put cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packages sold in New Jersey. The Cancer Project is filing a lawsuit against five major food companies—Nathan’s Famous, Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer, Sara Lee, Con Agra Foods, and Marathon Enterprises—on behalf of three New Jersey residents who bought these companies hot dogs without knowing that the hot dogs are a cause of colorectal cancer. Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Cancer Project, compares the health risk of eating hot dogs to the lung cancer risk posed when smoking cigarettes, and says that the same information should be made available to customers who eat hot dogs. Do... More

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Picnic

Photograph by uberculture from Flickr Last week we asked you to dine in the great outdoors with our Weekend Cook and Tell: Picnic challenge. The only prerequisite for this challenge was to eat a meal al fresco, and with last weekend's summery weather we've gotten some great picnic-related responses. Here are some of our favorites: Always a wealth of great recipes, Orchidgirl shared some wonderful picnic-worthy salads, including potato, egg, cucumber and dill salad, and cucumber and radish salad. Kalajo put together a pretty idyllic picnic at a Washington winery with a bottle of Viognier and these summer crab rolls. Malecki used the leftovers from the previous night's homemade sushi to come up with this creative picnic pita. A... More

Juan Posada, Taco Truck Photographer

posadaphoto.com "What makes taco trucks unique is the people; the people that work in them and the patrons that visit them. They bring life to streets that otherwise might be dead. The flicker of the grill, the fluorescent lights, the smell of carne asada and people gathered around food enriches the urban experience of many people in Los Angeles." —Juan Posada, taco truck photographer, in an interview on California Taco Trucks... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Carved Veggie Jacko: "Although their 'King Edward of Pop' didn’t even warrant a top three placing (presumably because the three Jackos cancelled each other out: and 'veg sculpting' has strangely become a much more popular category than last year) they took pleasure in the knowledge that the winning entry had used wool in its construction, which is animal matter, not vegetable matter and is therefore cheating in their humble opinions." [West End Whingers] Van Replaces Farmstand: The Local Flavor van is part of an online-ordering system for farm-fresh goods. [WaPo] Squid: Not just for calamari. [Gourmet] The More You Eat: Mark Bittman rethinks canned beans. They're actually good, he says. Well, imagine that. [Bitten] My Goodness: A ton of... More

Quote of the Day

"There hasn't been a food trend this hyped since Pinkberry and its imitators began mushrooming in vacant strip mall storefronts. " —Elina Shatkin, on the nouveau food truck scene... More

Photo of the Day: Blueberry Cheesecake

Photograph from bobby stokes on Flickr Poking around the Serious Eats flickr pool, I was drawn to bobby stokes' photo of a slice of blueberry cheesecake. Either the slice is really small or those blueberries are almost-going-to-explode plump. I'd like to believe the latter. Also, I want that pie.... More

Potbelly Sandwich Works: Big Sandwiches for a Small Price

During a recent trip to Washington, D.C. I was sent on a mission of the self-proposed, self-beneficial kind, to revisit one of my favorite fast-food chains in the country: Potbelly Sandwich Works. By subjecting myself to a variety of their sandwiches, I was to determine once and for all whether Potbelly’s was actually good. Having returned from my journey, I’d like to report back with a stellar "yes" to my query and frankly, I’m much relieved. This is a sore point with me—that sometimes I will harbor the childhood notion that something is delicious only to discover years later that I was mistaken, due mostly to an inexperienced palate. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this sentiment. Have... More

Delicious Products from Yu Wan Mei

yuwanmei.com What's the best thing about satirical newspaper The Onion being sold to the Chinese? That "It's fish time!" according to Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries and Polymer Injection Group. Poking around Yu Wan Mei's website uncovers many gems, such as their promotional video, a glorious company history, and—my favorite—a line of unique products featuring Taste Stick, Yu Wan Mei Miscellaneous Flavor Paste, and Yum-E-Freez Eel Milk, among other questionably useful items.... More

Video: How Hard Is It to Milk a Camel?

Camel's milk is nearly impossible to get in the US, but in the Middle East and other parts of the world, camel's milk is also known as "liquid gold." Wall Street Journal talks to natural medicine practitioner Millie Hinkle about her efforts to bring camel's milk to the US so she can give it to her patients. So how do you milk a camel? Rare and exotic animal breeder Larry Seibel gives it a try. "Forget everything you know about cows; it's much different," he says. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Gallery of Converted Restaurant Storefronts

Methinks that hat used to belong to an Arby's. From Not Fooling Anybody. Not Fooling Anyone documents storefronts whose past lives, mostly as fast food restaurants, still shine through. For instance, that Starbucks looks a bit like a Friendly's, and the Des Moines Police Traffic Unit has "Pizza Hut" written all over it. If you come across any bad conversions, submit your photos! [via Neatorama]... More

Why I Hate 'Hell's Kitchen'

"It's an arms race of foulness." Photograph from the Los Angeles Times I’ve been an Iron Chef fan since before the Food Network wormed its way into basic cable. I’ve watched and re-watched every episode of Top Chef ever aired; Top Chef Masters, too. I’ve even gotten hooked on The Next Food Network Star. But Hell’s Kitchen, whose sixth season premiered last night—I hate. Even as I sit typing these words, hours after the show, I can feel myself seething with rage. It’s not only that I think that Hell’s Kitchen is a terribly crafted program. It’s that it feeds off the very worst of humanity—sure, drawing out the ugliest parts of its competitors, but getting the audience caught up... More

Olympic Figure Skater Brian Boitano in a New Food Network Series

Usually when Brian Boitano and ice are mentioned in the same sentence, it doesn't involve snow-cones and gelato. But the figure skater, who won a gold for the U.S. at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, will have a daytime Food Network series starting August 23 at 1 p.m. called What Would Brian Boitano Make? In every unpredictable episode, Brian hosts get-togethers at his San Francisco home. With a humorous and knowledgeable approach to cooking, Brian puts his unique spin on irresistible dishes like Chicken Paella Burgers, Pear and Almond Crostata, Crab and Avocado Crostini, and Bourbon Bacon Apple Tarts. It seems like they got show-naming inspiration from a song in the film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

40 Farmers Under 40: "Young and energetic idealists who are bringing local, sustainable food back to the table." [MNN] Colonel's Secret Out? Long Island man says he's cracked the recipe for KFC's fried chicken. [Newsday] Cherry Tomatoes: Five fillings help you enjoy them even more. [Tribune] Humpty Dump: World's first camel-milk chocolates going global. [Reuters] Sans Viande: Dining for vegetarian visitors to Paris. [USAT] Seriously? The Early Show positioning tofu as "mysterious." Please. [CBS] SF > NYC-Style Bagels: Recently opened Roland's Bakery "come closer than others we've seen." [Chronicle]... More

Serious Green: Top 10 U.S. Food Policy Locations

If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by all the recent talk about food policy, local eating, and industrial farms it might be time to stop reading and just look at some photos. Over at the blog U.S. Food Policy: A Public Interest Perspective, Parker Wilde has rounded up the top ten U.S. Food Policy Destinations that are an effect of (or are affecting) current food policy in the U.S. today. Wilde, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is a food economist and teaches classes on food policy. He highlights the small farm that Michael Pollan made famous in The Omnivore's Dilemma along with the world's largest pork slaughterhouse. What makes his... More

Snapshots from Greece: How the Boutari Family Saved Xinomavro Wine

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed. The Boutari men. More Greek Snapshots Nescafe Frappe Assyrtiko Wine from Santorini Koulouri The Modiano Market in Thessaloniki Fage Yogurt Souvlaki from O Thanasis in Athens The story of Boutari wines sounds a little familiar. It's like a bizarro Greek version of the Mondavi family in California. Two brothers in the wine business who, after experiencing some friction, decide to split off and go their separate ways. In the case of the Mondavi brothers, Robert left Peter and the rest of the family at the Charles Krug Winery to start... More

Serious Cheese: Is Blue Cheese Gluten-Free?

Photograph from WordRidden on Flickr Your first reaction to this headline might have been, "What do you mean, is blue cheese gluten-free? Isn't all cheese gluten-free?" Well, the short answer is yes. But blue cheese is a potential corner-case that needs some investigation. The reason is that there are steps in the production process of blue cheese where the potential for cross-contamination of gluten is definitely a possibility. Most people know that the blue in blue cheese is actually mold—penicillium mold to be exact, which during aging breaks down the fats and the proteins in the cheese to change its texture to a silky smooth, and to add depth and piquancy to its flavor. Originally the mold would have... More

Video: Hot Pepper

If you're looking for some pep, this "Hot Pepper" video has got it. Besides the title, it has little to do with food, but has enough bop and boop to make your day very upbeat. According to my Japanese cultural consultant and YouTube commenters, Snoopy and the gang have teamed up with Kaela Kimura, a Japanese pop singer, to promote Hot Pepper, a free coupon magazine. The random beeping and booping only cement this match made in heaven. The video, after the jump.... More

Breakfast in Belgium

Photograph from ~Ans~ on Flickr Today is the National Day of Belgium, which celebrates the anniversary of Leopold I taking his oath as the country's first king on July 21, 1831. I was a little surprised to find out that Belgians don't really eat waffles for breakfast. It's more of a snack (or touristy breakfast). Instead, Belgians typically eat bread products with marmalades, sliced meats and cheeses, nut spreads like Nutella, and, this is when you have to love them, just a straight-up bar of chocolate. Related Full English Breakfast Breakfast in Paris [Photograzing] The Greek Non-Breakfast... More

Is Ham the New Bacon?

"There are a number of seriously delicious artisanal hams being made all over this pig-happy country of ours." That is the porcine question of the day. It all started with Italian prosciutto di Parma, progressed to Serrano ham from Spain, and then of course moved to the ne plus ultra of European ham, the black-footed (patenegra in Spanish), called Jamon Iberico. But now American artisanal ham makers are getting in on the act. Herb and Kathy Eckhouse started making extraordinary La Quercia prosciutto in Des Moines, Iowa. How extraordinary? Italian chefs in America who worship at the feet of Parma ham like Mario Batali started taking notice. Now third generation curemaster Sam Edwards working with Heritage Foods USA and Newman... More

Dumbest Allergy Warning Ever

Saw this on Reddit just a bit ago. The eggs at Tesco in Ireland come complete with a label that reads "Allergy Advice: Contains egg." Well, NSS. My guess? I reckon that if it's not explicitly required by Irish law, this warning is the product of an overzealous legal department CYAing like nobody's business.... More

How Do You Define a Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

There is plenty of room for interpretation when it comes to this classic comfort-food dish. Some folks like to add prosciutto, but would that technically be a ham and cheese sandwich that's been grilled? Purists argue that grilled cheese should have just cheese, and that's that. Where do you stand? More

Thousands of Lunch Parties Thrown During Yesterday's Big Lunch Festival in the UK

Photograph from The Ginger Gourmand on Flickr The Big Lunch is a lunch party held throughout the United Kingdom that took place on July 19 as a way for people to slow down and come together build their communities. About two million people participated in street parties and picnics in this event proposed by Eden Project founder Tim Smit and Paul Twivy. Aside from rain hindering a few parties, the event seemed to be successful in getting people out of their homes and talking to their neighbors over food. Jay Rayner shares his Big Lunch experience at Guardian's food blog Word of Mouth. You can view more photos in the Big Lunch Flickr group.... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Monday (July 20) Good Eats (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Crustacean Nation 2: Claws." Alton shows how to handle and cooke lobster. (repeat) 8 p.m. ET, Food Network Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: "Australia." Australia's second most populated city is where Tony is this episode. He'll be sampling the city's many different cuisines. 10 p.m. ET, Travel Channel Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Grabbin'... More

Last Week's Contest Winners

Cook the Book: Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies: kevlney, Sigilum, firni, merstar, and _greenbean. Winners have been notified by email and also appear on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to all who entered.... More

Foie Gras Jelly Doughnut at Le Pigeon, Portland, Oregon

The Faster Times Scott Gold of The Faster Times reports on the foie gras jelly doughnut at Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon: It’s as though the menu had performed the Jedi mind-trick on me: "You will have the foie gras jelly donut." "I will have the foie gras jelly donut." When the server came to take our orders, I pointed at the menu and asked, simply, “Seriously?” ”Oh, yes,” he said. Oh well, I thought. I guess we’re going to do this. As Gold says, it's a slice of foie gras atop a house-made doughnut, with another slice of foie gras on the side. "It was fried fat topped with seared fat, plain as can be." [via Sullivan via... More

"Fast Food Mafia," by ~silentsketcher

"Fast Food Mafia" by deviantART user ~silentsketcher imagines various major chain mascots as members of organized crime. We're sure that, as far as many people are concerned, the depiction isn't that far from the truth. The artist also sends up Wendy, the Burger King, and Colonel Sanders.... More

Quote of the Day: What Julia Thought of Julie

"Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn’t attractive, to me or Julia. She didn’t want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt...She didn’t suffer fools, if you know what I mean." —Book editor and FoJC Judith Jones [via EMD]... More

Cook the Book: 'Canal House Cooking, Vol. 1'

Above: A spread from the chapter on tomatoes in "Canal House Cooking, Volume 1." Below right: The book's cover. Courtesy of The Canal House Studio Photographer-editor-writer Christopher Hirsheimer and editor-chef-writer Melissa Hamilton are no slouches in the food-media world, so it's noteworthy when they team up to self-publish the stunningly gorgeous Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 1, the first in a series of seasonal cookbooks coming out of the Canal House studio the two share in Lambertville, New Jersey. Christopher (the only woman I've ever met named Christopher) is extraordinarily accomplished; she was one of the founding editors of Saveur, she is one of the great food photographers anywhere (her stunning photos grace the pages of The Young Man... More

Padma Lakshmi May Star in Food-Centric Sitcom on NBC

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi may be on television an extra half-hour every week. According to Variety, she would star in an NBC sitcom as a woman working in the culinary world. Possible title: Single Serving. Lakshmi's acting credits also include the ABC miniseries The Ten Commandments, her role as Sylk in Mariah Carey's Glitter, and her turn in a racy burger commercial.... More

Videos: A Preview of Amanda Hesser's "Food 52" Website, Plus a Tour of Her Kitchen

In May, there was a blip on the radar that former New York Times Magazine food editor (and current Recipe Redux contributor) Amanda Hesser—along with food writer and recipe-tester Merrill Stubbs—would be launching a new site called Food 52. Looks like they're beta-testing now—and that you can sign up for an invitation once it launches: Food52.com. But what really caught our eye today is that Hesser and Stubbs seem to have quietly started uploading to a Vimeo account, which is full of what appear to be test videos—along with a couple great nuggets: an introduction to the Food 52 concept, and a video tour of Amanda Hesser's envy-inducing kitchen—complete with the now-customary refrigerator-baring. Watch both, after the jump.... More

World's Strangest Fast-Food Items

Photograph from Tavallai on Flickr The magicians at fast-food chains come up with all sorts of edible creations--each one a little less likely than the last. The San Francisco Weekly lists ten of the world's weirdest, including the White Castle "chicken ring," a Tuna Pie (erk) at Jollibee in the Philippines, and Pita Snacks from Jack in the Box. But are these really the strangest ones out there? I think Domino's Bread Bowl Pasta definitely qualifies. The Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme, too. And there's always McD's--looking beyond our own borders, McDonald's in Hong Kong has served seaweed-flavored French fries; New Zealand, a Quarter Pounder topped with egg and beetroot; and in the Philippines, sweet tomato pasta with hot dogs... More

Locavore 2.0: A More Social iPhone Application for Local Food Shopping

Buster Benson of one-man company Enjoymentland launched his iPhone app Locavore 1.0 earlier this year and has already come out with a second version. In his own words, Locavore 1.0 "told you what’s in season, what’s coming into season soon, and where nearby farmers' markets are located,” while 2.0 “does all of that and also lets you be social about it.” As the app loads, the screen reads, “now rolling up to the market,” which I found pretty cute. The screen then fills with a more or less accurate list of fruits and veggies in season, accompanied by confusing but pretty rainbow-colored pie chart symbols. Then there's the tab that “lets you be social about it,” where you can read... More

Watch It with Us: 'The Next Food Network Star,' Episode 7

If you're planning on watching tonight's episode of The Next Food Network Star, join us here in the comments at 9 p.m. ET. It'll be an open thread—jump in with your comments, observations, or play-by-play as the episode unfolds. This week the four remaining contestants must survive live demos and a beachside seafood challenge. Sounds like trouble: who do you think will survive?... More

Wienermobile Crashes into Wisconsin Home

Photograph from Fox News Imagine sitting at home minding your own business when the Wienermobile comes plowing through the wall. The hot dog-shaped vehicle crashed into a home just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Friday. The driver reportedly hit the gas instead of the brakes when she was turning into the driveway. Nobody was hurt in the accident, but the house and vehicle suffered moderate damage. Too many potential jokes here, don't even know where to begin. [via Jalopnik]... More

In Season: Basil

The thing about basil is that once it gets going, you suddenly have way more than you know what to do with. Sure, there's insalata caprese or pasta caprese or anything caprese, but I have to admit I get a little bored. That classic combination is great--just not every day of summer. I've rounded up some recipes featuring basil used in alternative ways, whether it be as an infusion, in a fresh pasta dough, or simply featured in a chilled martini to sip on the porch. Given half a chance, basil can truly shine when it's not with its BFFs tomato and mozzarella.... More

This Week in Eating Out

Behind the Scenes: Get a serious look behind the making of Marea's fusilli with baby octopus and bone marrow. Experimental Burgers: Seattle's Lunchbox Laboratory serves up an endless repertoire of burger experiments. You can't lost with a dork burger! Surprise! Secret Menu!: Sun Wah Bar-B-Que in Chicago manages to surprise Michael Nagrant via Facebook with a couple of secret items off the menu. Who said Facebook wasn't useful? Mantao in Manhattan: Robyn Lee samples the offerings at Mantao Chinese Sandwiches in NYC, focusing on the namesake steamed sesame buns. Italian Beef Extravaganza: Nick Kindelsperger discovers Chickie's has one of "the best examples of an Italian beef in Chicago."... More

How to Make a Zero-Waste Lunch Kit

Squishy Bowls from Guyot Designs. Reduce your waste when eating on the road by making a zero-waste lunch kit. Wisebread gives suggestions on what reusable and travel-friendly products to get, such as stainless steel drinking straws, utensils attached to metal rings, and collapsible bowls and plates. And for special occasions, get some squishy travel shot glasses for cocktails on the go. [via Lifehacker] Related: Serious Green: Plastic-Free Ways to Transport Your Lunch... More

Turn Your Garage Door Into a Giant Rotisserie

Style-your-garage.com sells something I never thought anyone would want: trompe-l'œil garage door covers. Like a giant rotisserie! Or a wine cellar! Or this not very sanitary meat locker. And this inexplicably giant beer mug. If you want to class up your garage door, this is probably not the way to do it. [via Geekologie]... More

This Week in Recipes

Essence of Salmon: Using a tip from Mark Bittman, salmon burger believer Blake Royer makes salmon burgers for those not yet converted. Nubby Bits are the Best: Fregola, a rolled semolina pasta, is turned topsy-turvy in Seriously Italian's saffron fregola with potatoes and peas. Surprise! Trout!: Intimidated by cooking fish en papillotte? Kerry Saretsky lays it out for you so you'll have no trouble cooking up Nemo this weekend. Simple, Bright, Pasta: Use up the first tomatoes of summer with penne with bacon and raw tomato sauce, a Meat Lite recipe sure to please. Banana + Cream + Pie = Monkey Heaven: Try your hand at banana cream pie this weekend. It's a classic that I've somehow never found... More

This Week's Tasty 10

According to our handy site-metering utility, the top 10 most delicious items across the Serious Eats family of sites this week were ... 1. The Serious Eats Ginger Beer Taste Test "I didn't think I'd overdone it when I walked into the office with seven bottles of ginger beer banging around in my bag. However, by the time I had poured out seven samples of each for five mouths to taste, things were starting to look a little crazy. We are very serious about our taste tests here at Serious Eats, so of course we did it blind-style and highly organized." 2. I Eat ______ Out of the Tin/Jar/Bottle... "...So, when I got home, I proceeded to do something that... More

Snapshots from Greece: Nescafe Frappe

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us all week as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed. As a foam supporter, I was pretty happy about the Nescafe Frappe all over Greece. It's about 35-percent foam, 55-percent super strong instant coffee, and 10-percent sludge sitting at the bottom (percentages may vary; all of that was guesstimated). But the foam is some of the best coffee foam around. The micro bubbles don't dissolve into the drink while you're drinking it—they just sit there until you find a proper scooping device. Talk about some long-lasting, high-definition foamage. To make a frappe: In a tall glass, add a... More

Photo of the Day: The Ultimate Breakfast Pancake

Photograph from Steamy Kitchen via Photograzing Weekend brunch project, anyone? This "Ultimate Breakfast Pancake" from Steamy Kitchen incorporates just about every breakfast food imaginable—bacon, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, plus whipped cream and fruit on top. And this picture doesn't even do justice to the hand-woven bacon mat in the middle. The layer-by-layer pictorial, over here.... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Kogi Copy? Baja Fresh tests a "Korean Taco." [WSJ] Grown-Up Sno Cones: Boozy slushies in New York. [Grub Street NY] Crust-Off: Taste-testing different pie crusts. [Boston.com] Home Chef's Paradise: Coolio (yes, that Coolio) will release a cookbook. [Tribune] Wizard Eats: How to make Butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, and more from Harry Potter. [Slashfood] Just Say No:Whole Foods now forbids its brands to use genetically modified ingredients, and requires them to prove their compliance. [Atlantic Food]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Saturday (July 18) Viva Daisy! (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Date Night." A stress-free menu for date night, with recipes for steamed mussels, rack of lamb "dos chiles," and haricots verts in homemade lemon oil. 9:30 a.m. ET, Food Network Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "The Secret to Grilled Pizza." Two pizza recipes, and on the side, parmigiano sformato and roasted pepper... More

Hot Dog Of The Week: Texas Weiners

Past Weeks' Dogs The Philly ComboTijuana DogsFlo's Hot Dogs, Cape Neddick, Maine The first, possibly most important thing to note about Texas Weiners is that they have absolutely nothing to do with Texas. Originating in Paterson, New Jersey, at Greek-owned hot dog restaurants, a Texas Weiner is deep fried and served with Greek sauce--a smooth, slow cooked meat sauce spiced with cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cumin. It's more of a Greek Bolognese or Saltsa Kima than anything resembling Texas Chili. Legend has it the recipe is a closely guarded secret to this day. A Texas Weiner "all the way" includes mustard and diced onions. Texas Weiners also spread to Philadelphia and across Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania, where they... More

Behind-the-Scenes: The Food in 'Julie and Julia'

Unlike other recent food film releases, Julie & Julia is not trying to make a statement about rejecting corn syrup or starting a compost pile. As director Nora Ephron said in a preview for food and film bloggers yesterday (it officially opens on August 7), it's about the joy of cooking, eating, and living. And a lot of buttah. The French onion soup appears in a happy montage scene between Julie and Julia. "I've never gone through so much butter before," said food stylist and former Martha Stewart Living food editor Susan Spungen who worked on the film. But her biggest challenge was making cheese look melty on screen. It had to be hot enough to stretch "from the... More

Look Who's Talkin': Comments, Quips, and Tips We Have Known and Loved

There's so much going on in Talk week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week. Tiny Kitchen Frustration: Ideas? "...I'd say it's more like riding a unicycle than a bike with a flat tire ... takes precision and stamina, with a side of moxie. But yes, I'd do many things for more counter space, so again, I know your frustration...." —smallkitchen The Honor System: Do Self-Service Farmstands Still Exist? "They are all over South Jersey on the way through Cumberland and Cape May Counties. Around here in southeastern PA (near Philly) you will see lots of kids manning... More

Chocolate Chip Cookie Timeline

Illustration from CakespyIt's hard to believe that the chocolate chip cookie is less than a hundred years old. (Some commenters really don't believe it.) But in its seventy-odd years of history, it's come an awfully long way. Cakespy has an illustrated timeline of the chocolate chipper, including such landmark events as the launch of Chips Ahoy (1963), Cookie Crisp (1977), and refrigerated cookie dough (1980), and the opening of City Bakery (1990). Biggest surprise for me: Cookie dough ice cream didn't appear until the '90s? I'd definitely projected it much farther back into my childhood.... More

Scary: Fungus Outbreak Threatens Northeast, Mid-Atlantic Tomato Crops

Per the New York Times, a fungus called the late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is threatening tomato crops and garden plants in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The spores of the fungus ... are often present in the soil, and small outbreaks are not uncommon in August and September. But the cool, wet weather in June and the aggressively infectious nature of the pathogen have combined to produce what Martin A. Draper, a senior plant pathologist at the United States Department of Agriculture, described as an “explosive” rate of infection. The article says that William Fry, a plant pathology professor at Cornell, has been genetically tracking the fungus and says its spread is due in part to "hundreds of thousands" of... More

Video: Braised Cow Lips = Totally Scary Looking

On Foodtease recently, bloggers Nicole and David tackled cow lips: David and I almost shit ourselves when we took a good look at the beef lips we had brought home from the meat market. This is honestly the scariest looking food we’ve ever seen — even more so because it comes from a cow rather than some other crazy reptile/bird/fish thing where you would expect slime and spikes. Once we toughened up, there was a huge pay off in terms of yumminess. Watch the video below (after the jump).... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 76: 'Papacito, Part II,' Size Matters

The diet books often tell you to measure your progress by putting on the same article of clothing and seeing how it fits. The theory is week by week, month by month, it should get a little easier to get into the pants or the shirt or the belt. I have two belts, one green and one brown, and a handsome red shirt Alaina brought back from India, that I have been using to take the measure of the success or failure of my serious diet. When Alaina gave me the shirt when she came back from India six months ago I could barely button the buttons. Now it fits really well, and it is in my regular shirt rotation.... More

Seattle Starbucks Locations Shed Starbucks Logo

Photograph taken by rudolf_schuba on Flickr Starbucks rose to dominate the coffee landscape by slapping its logo on thousands upon thousands of virtually identical cafés from Jakarta to Peoria. But now, trying to shed its image as a corporate monolith, Starbucks is actually removing its brand from a number of its stores, starting in its birthplace, Seattle. The Seattle Times reports that three un-Starbucksed cafés will open under other names, like the rechristened “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea,” debuting on Monday. It will serve beer and wine, and host music performances, poetry nights, and other community-oriented events. It's still Starbucks pulling the strings—but with no green logos in sight.... More

What's Your Favorite Food Court Stop?

Over at Chowhound there's a great thread about favorite food court eats--like Hot Dog on a Stick, or Manchu Wok, or the now-defunct (but apparently once beloved) Hot Sam's Pretzels. I was always, always a Cinnabon girl, even after the day I realized they packed about half my daily recommended caloric value. Gooey cinnamon treats trump just about everything else in my book. In all honesty, if I were given a month to live, I would probably start every one of my remaining mornings with a Cinnabon. But there's a whole world out there of shiny, colorful food court booths. What's your favorite stop at the food court?... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Sneak Peek: A preview of restaurant critic Frank Bruni's new memoir. [NYT] One Fish, Two Fish: The flavor potential of bluefish. [AFC] Rumormongering: What's next for Nate Appleman? [Eater SF] Phone Feeding: Now you can order both Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts from iPhone apps. [Grub Street NY] Onion Love: An ode to the Walla Walla. [WaPo] Be Kind To Lobsters: Killing a lobster humanely. [AFC] Jersey-Cue: The best barbecue in New Jersey. [Gourmet] Space Taste: The food of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. [EMD] Buy Organic? When buying organic is worth it. [NYDN]... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each week we round up our favorite posts and recipes from our friends at The Kitchn. This week, the Kitchn inspires us to jazz up summer corn. Also on the Kitchn, pouring beer like a pro, tandoor ovens, tarragon-infused lemonade, and a peach-pitting device.... More

Snapshots from Greece: Assyrtiko Wine from Santorini

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us all week as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed. The Sigalas Winery is one of Santorini's best. Photograph by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen. When most people think of Greek wines—that is, if they ever think about Greek wines—they think retsina. Sadly, it's been nicknamed alcoholic Pine-Sol since it was first created with pine resin to help boost the shelf life 2,000 years ago. This hasn't been so great for the rest of Greek wines, especially the non-piney, non-sucky ones. Assyrtiko grapes growing on Santorini. On Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands and a hot tourist magnet,... More

Seriously Italian: Saffron Fregola with Potatoes and Peas

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma checks in with Seriously Italian. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States, channeling her inner Italian spirit via recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats. Take it away, Gina! Fregola is a unique, rolled semolina pasta from the Sardinian region of Cagliari. It is most often compared to the large, pearly Israeli couscous, but I see it as way more exciting. Made with coarse semolina, fregola—or fregula—lacks the polished finish of Israeli couscous; it is misshapen and has a nubby, rough texture that makes it perfect for sopping up and conducting the flavors of sauce and broth. Another key flavor element is the toasting. After the simple dough... More

'Top Chef Masters,' Ep. 5: Junk Food, a Big Dinner, a New Way of Looking at Panna Cotta

Guess who said it: "A good panna cotta, if it's set right, is meant to wobble like a woman's breasts." The Contestants (above, from left) Michael Chiarello: Bottega; playing for Clinic Ole Rick Moonen: RM Seafood; Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association Nils Norén: French Culinary Institute; Friends of FCI Lachlan Patterson: Frasca Food & Wine; The Children's Hospital Quickfire Challenge: Remake Junk Food Ah, very Fancy Fast Food. How accidentally of the moment. As a Bravo tie-in, the cast and crew of Flipping Out—who often eat junk food on the show—will be judging. (You know, this doesn't really make me want to watch Flipping Out. Also: Really? We go from Doogie Howser to these clowns?) Oh, wait. They're not... More

Weekend Cook and Tell: Going Solo

Photograph by Robyn Lee Last week's Weekend Cook and Tell was all about going solo, cooking, eating, and dining alone. We wanted to hear all about what you eat when you are alone, whether cooking for yourself or eating out as a party of one. Some of you find it to be a bit of a chore, or even worse while others relish the prospect of a meal alone. Here is a selection of some of our favorite responses: Malecki took this challenge as an opportunity to eat all of the things that his boyfriend isn't a big fan of. Take a look at this salad: rare steak, runny eggs, and a dirty martini? I think malecki's boyfriend is... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Cookin' Ain't Easy: That's the title of a new cooking show from the Three 6 Mafia ("It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from Hustle & Flow). [AHN] Cool: Will Goldfarb developing a line of "super hard-to-find tools for professional chefs." Cryo guns, dewars, cryo gloves, etc. [Life Vicarious] Prime Numbers: More supermarkets carrying steakhouse-quality beef. [WSJ] Aboard the QEII: "How a cruise ship feeds 4,000 people." [AFC] Julie & Julia: Movie leaves out Julie Powell's affair. [NYP] Dublin, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris: All places where a fast food meal is anything but cheap. $9.16 on the Emerald Isle! [MSNBC] LA: The fresh herbs necessary for Vietnamese cooking are becoming more common in the City of Angels. [LAT] SF >... More

Fryer-Free Hush Puppies

Love hush puppies, but hate deep frying at home? Me, too! Healthy and Delicious contributor Kristen Swensson saves the day with her moment of hush puppy serendipity—hush puppy corncakes. Genius!... More

Photo of the Day: Portrait of Bill Cosby Made of Jell-O Shots

Artist Andrew Salomone made a portrait of former Jell-O spokesman Bill Cosby out of an appropriate medium: Jell-O shots. The configuration of approximately 1,000 cups of Jell-O was unveiled last Sunday at Buoy Gallery in Kittery, Maine. There's an accompanying video of the portrait's transformation over the course of the night. (I assume most of it was consumed by the end.) [via Craftzine] Related Portrait of Obama Made Out of Cereal Photo of the Day: Rainbow Jell-O This Is What the Internet Was Made For: Jello Time... More

Homo Sapiens Caveman Kitchen Tool

ThinkGeek The Homo Sapiens Caveman Kitchen Tool (also known as a stone club) from ThinkGeek will elevate your kitchen to the highest of culinary standards. This sandstone tool can be used to sharpen knives, grate garlic, and tenderize meat. It's even dishwasher safe—something cavemen would've appreciated during those heady Paleolithic times if they had had dishwashers. It's all yours for $39.99. [via ColdMud] Related: In Videos: Squeez Bacon from ThinkGeek... More

Snapshots from Greece: Koulouri, the Thessaloniki Street Food

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us all week as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed. I didn't spot a single hot dog cart in Thessaloniki, but there were a few umbrella-shaded vendors selling koulouri, or biscuit-like rings covered in sesame seeds. They are bagel-shaped, or maybe bagels are koulouri-shaped, considering these date back to the Byzantine era. Unlike bagels, they yield more of a crunch than a chew, along the lines of biscotti.... More

Video: How Pork Rinds Are Made

Many things are probably more thrilling than watching thousands of pounds of pork skins transform from flaccid pink squares to puffy deep fried snack. But you just can't look away—the conveyor belts and tubs full of pork pellets pull you into a vortex of meaty wonder. So, after the jump, watch this video from the History Channel's Modern Marvels and you might wanna pop open a bag of pork rinds afterward. Or never again.... More

Serious Green: Turn Your Lawn Into an Edible Garden

Photograph by Ed Morris & Curtis Hamilton from Edible Estates By now it's pretty obvious that pesticides have a negative impact on our environment and a negative impact on our bodies. Maybe you already make an effort to buy organic food and cosmetics without chemicals, but have you thought about the impact of chemicals that you are applying to your lawn? There's no denying that Americans have a love affair with their lawns. Houses, each with their own plot of green, green grass, are an indelible image of American suburbia. However, by demanding that our lawns stay green and spot-free year round, we are collectively doing some serious damage. When we put pesticides onto our lawns they run off... More

Serious Heat: So Many Spicy Barbecue Sauces, So Little Time

Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat. Photograph from thebittenword.com on Flickr I find that barbecue sauce partiality is heavily influence by how you were raised. So it's no surprise this Alabama gal craves pulled pork with that tangy white sauce of Big Bob Gibson's, famous in the Northern part of the state. There are other barbecue sauces I love, of course, but nothing transports me to my childhood like that mayo-like white sauce speckled with pepper. That is, until I recently tried Big Bob Gibson's Habanero Red Sauce for a round-up of favorite sauces in Chile Pepper's May issue. How can you improve upon a championship red flavor? Add a... More

Cooking with a Friend: Kitchen Compatibility

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. This week, as I was preparing pork stew to be cooked, I stopped and laughed. "I'm glad we have similar cooking philosophies," I remarked to J. I was tossing the pork with my bare hands, trying to distribute the salt, garlic powder, pepper, and flour on the pork cubes. I was being relatively safe—water was running so I could rinse my hands right away to avoid contamination—but nonetheless, the contact with raw pork may have made some home cooks squeamish. I really lucked out that it was J. with whom I started this project.... More

Photo of the Day: Cute Teeth Eating Watermelon

Lardee and Ickle are two milk teeth (baby teeth) that adventure around on the blog My Milk Toof. Like most pudgy, anthropomorphic (and adorable!) teeth, they don't always know when to stop eating watermelon. They also don't have hands or their own set of teeth, which could have made this whole binging process difficult. But they are small enough to nap on the ravaged rind after, which sure looks pleasant. Related Video: Guinea Pigs Eating Watermelon Too much watermelon!! [Talk] Photo of the Day: Talking Watermelon Heads... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Gastro-emergency: An experimental German chef accidentally blew off both hands with liquid nitrogen. [The Local] A Doll's Diet: American Girl doll Recbecca Rubin (a 1914 New Yorker) gets a plastic bagel with cheese (note: not cream cheese). [The Food Section] Coffee Cup Investigation: Discovering "a lively underground market" of "misprint" coffee cups. [NYT] Crab Couture: How to dress a crab. [Guardian] Rachael Ray's Voice: She underwent surgery to remove a benign cyst. [NYDN] Food Inc. for Free: Chipotle sponsors screenings in 32 cities. [EW] German Chocolate Cake: "Execute with thoroughness and precision. Like the Germans would." [Heeb] Fledgling Farmers: A younger generation of organic farmers emerges. [USAT] Video: Spider pizza. Yes, for real. [Slice]... More

Tasting Starbucks 'New and Improved' Items

"The cookies ranged from ehhh to scrumpdiddleumptious." starbucks.com Stopped by a Starbucks lately? You may have noticed, or tasted, something new. In an effort to take on a more wholesome image and win back customers, the company has introduced a new and improved selection of food items under the campaign "Real food. Simply delicious." This means a revamping of all their baked goods (no artificial flavors, artificial trans fats, artificial dyes, or high-fructose corn syrup), and the launch of several new items, like the Vivanno smoothie and Protein Plate (cheese, hard-boiled egg, whole-wheat bagel, grapes, apple slices, and peanut butter). At a recent media preview, I tasted some of the "improved" baked goods on offer at Starbucks nationwide.... More

Snapshots from Greece: The Modiano Market in Thessaloniki

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us all week as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed. I feel like travelers can be lumped into two categories: those who get a high from scouting out the local market, whether an average grocery chain or indoor hall with various stalls, and those who don't really care. Some of my strongest associations with cities are the markets—Eastern Market in Washington, the Delvita chain in the Czech Republic, and the English Market in Cork, Ireland. It's like a breathing museum with interesting characters, local produce, and, the always fascinating, foreign brands and packaging. In Thessaloniki, the second largest... More

Video: A Tribute to Superman Ice Cream

On the kiddie ice cream totem pole, the Superman flavor is pretty high up there, somewhere near bubblegum and cookie dough. But the poor squirts who don't live in or near Michigan probably haven't experienced the red-blue-yellow trio of creamy goodness. Our recent Superman ice cream post inspired Quinn of the Michigan culture blog The Mitten to cruise around the Ann Arbor-area and get to the bottom of this dessert enigma. What's the Michigan connection? Where exactly does the "blue" flavor come from? According to Jim and Forrest Karnopp of Cafe Luwak in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Detroit-based Stroh Brewery stopped making beer during prohibition and segued to ice cream, bringing Superman ice cream into this world. But to this day,... More

Serious Reads: 'The Ramen King and I'

Portions of this memoir read very much like a Murakami novel—the quiet yet inexplicable obsessions of neurotic protagonists, interwoven with the mythicized stories of unknown figures and minor characters that stop just short of the surreal. Struggling with chronic infidelity and frustrated in his career, a disillusioned American thirty-something looks toward redemption by writing confessional letters to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. If there were ever a less likely book premise, I have yet to hear it. All the more so because The Ramen King and I isn’t a work of fiction but a memoir. Author Andy Raskin appears to live for two things: casual dates and Japanese culture, particularly where food and comics are concerned. At the... More

Freezing Eggs

Emilie of Freeze Happy, a blog devoted to freeze-friendly ingredients and recipes, enlightens us about freezing eggs. It's a handy option if: you bought too many and they're about to expire, you want to save the whites or the yolks after a recipe, or you don't live near a grocery store. If you've decided you're not weirded out by freezing eggs, just crack them open, beat them up, and store them in a muffin tin. The little egg-sicles can be defrosted in the fridge. Note: Do not freeze them in their shells. Although, I feel like the third grade boy in everyone kind of wants to know what would happen. Related What to do with 24 leftover egg yolks?... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

"Why Are We So Fat?" Two new books explore evolutionary and economic theories for Americans' mammoth weight gain of last 30 years. [New Yorker] "Mad Men" TV Dinner: Wear vintage attire, sit on old furniture, smoke like a chimney, and cook these recipes. [Epicurious] Brits Go Veg: "Sausage, bacon and roast dinners, staples of the British diet, are on the wane as 'flexitarians' forgo meat." [The Independent] Grant Achatz: "Does the success of the chef and restaurant lead to the demise in the quality of the product?" [AFC] SF: Tomatoes, squash, and corn coming into season. [Chronicle] Not-So-Junk Food: A healthy and organic take on fatty treats. [NPR] Top Chef's Spike: Eating slice after slice as research for his... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Recommended Shows: It's Cupcake Week on the Martha Stewart Show. Each week she feature a cupcake recipe. You can watch each episode online the day it airs on the show's site. 11 a.m. ET, NBC Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations is back! He'll be traveling around Chile in the season premiere. Here is a preview of what's in store for the new season. 10 p.m. ET, Travel Channel Monday (July 13) Martha... More

Last Week's Contest Winners

Cook the Book: The Barcelona Cookbook: Stufsocker, edinat, Erisgrom, eluckstead, and ssultan23. Winners have been notified by email and also appear on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to all who entered.... More

Cook the Book: 'Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies'

While I know that it is usually a mistake to make broad generalizations, I'm going to go ahead and throw this one out there: There are two types of people in the world, those who can cook and those who can bake. I fall into the cook category; I am a pretty good home cook and I've even spent some time cooking in restaurants. I can braise with the best of them and sear like a pro. Sauces and stocks from scratch are a given, and I can roll out pasta like an Italian grandmother. However, when it comes to dessert I get more than a little nervous. I am not a baker. I just don't have it in me.... More

'Print' Magazine's Food Issue

The August 2009 issue of the graphic-design trade magazine Print is dedicated to food. The magazine has done several themed issues throughout its history, but this is the first to deal primarily with the design culture of food. Stories in the issue include a look at packaging that has never changed (hello, Happy Boy!), an inside look at food photographers and food styling, and a photo essay on designers cooking (with the designers' recipes—including Serious Eats fave Swissmiss—to appear on the Print website in the next week or so, I'm told). Sorry for the lack of links; a little birdie at Print says they're waiting to launch their website redesign before uploading stories from the current issue. But you... More

Snapshots from Greece: Fage Yogurt

"It seems to spark an obsessive quality in people." As a Fage enthusiast, I was pretty excited to visit the yogurt's motherland. Within the first few hours of arriving in Greece, I wandered into a corner convenience store and zeroed in on the fridge section. There it was in Greek letters: ΦΑΓΈ (pronounced fah-yehhh). Greeks eat yogurt around the clock: at breakfast (even though they're not big breakfast people), as a snack, and definitely for dessert. To counter the tartness, they pour on the honey. Greeks have a lot of pride in their honey, especially thyme honey, claiming it's some of the best golden sticky stuff in the world. Because of the country's long sunshine periods, the Greek bees can... More

Dear SE: Amazing Dim Sum in Toronto

Note: I just received this email from one of the most serious eaters I know, Steve Trost. Steve was in Toronto and had some serious dim sum. Tell us, Torontonians, did Steve find a winner? He certainly had me salivating. Did he miss anything? —EL In Toronto—see below. At Lai Wah Heen. No carts. All made fresh to order. Add to the list below (after the jump) an amazing sticky rice dumpling with crab meat and equally awesome steamed lobster dumpling stuffed with shrimp and finely diced veg with garlic and butter.There is nothing close in NYC in my eating experience. They also have a gourmet dim sum tasting but only for two at $45 per head, but I managed... More

Video: 'Sky Full of Bacon' Visits Iowa Prosciutto Producers La Quercia

Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert posted this video of his visit to La Quercia in late May, but we haven't blogged it yet, and like all his videos, it's definitely worth watching. Says Gebert: Iowa fills the supermarkets with generic produce and meat... but a few people are trying to show that it can be capable of world-class cuisine, too. That's the mission of La Quercia, whose prosciutto made in a suburb of Des Moines has been raved about by top chefs and food writers. The video, after the jump.... More

MenuPages Blogs Rebrand as Grub Street in Five Cities

New York magazine's Grub Street, heretofore a NYC-based food- and restaurant blog, has expanded to five cities: Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It's less an expansion than a rebranding—New York Magazine Holdings LLC bought MenuPages last year, along with the various city-based blogs that MenuPages published. Grubstreet.com promises to be a homepage for news produced among all those city sites. Refresher course: The Wall Street Journal covered the launch here last week.... More

Critic-Turned-Cook Gets a Beer Lesson

Critic Turned Cook follows former Seattle Post-Intelligencer food critic Leslie Kelly on her journey away from the keyboard and into the kitchen. Take it away, Leslie! Bruce Ryan of Shultzy's pub near the University of Washington in Seattle. I love wine. I started writing a column called "Grapevine" for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, way back when there were 30-some vintners in the state. Now there are more than 600, many of them world-class producers. One of my greatest pleasures in being a restaurant critic was exploring the intriguing wines of the world, savoring the way wine made wonderful dishes taste even better. I once heard somebody describe wine as their favorite condiment. Couldn't agree more. But my knowledge of... More

Market Scene: Summer's in Full Swing at the Hollywood Farmers' Market

Note: On Mondays, one of our various Market Scene correspondents checks in with what's fresh at farmstands, what's coming up, and what you better get while the gettin's good. Today, Leah Greenstein (SpicySaltySweet) drops by from Los Angeles. Heirloom tomatoes. It's baseball season--almost the All-Star break--which in my house means Red Sox games are playing on my TV every night. It also means screening phone calls, not checking text messages, and avoiding sites like Twitter and Facebook, where the multitudes seem to forget we live in the era of the DVR and inadvertently publish game spoilers. The nonstop baseball marathon also means that summer is in full swing, the grill is hot, and the produce at the Hollywood Farmers' Market... More

Snapshots from Greece: Souvlaki from O Thanasis in Athens

Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece. This is the first of her snapshots from that trip. —Ed. I had two priorities during my quick day in Athens: see the Parthenon and digest something from the souvlaki-kebab-gyro family. Luckily there's only one ancient temple devoted to Athena, but there are plenty of kebab-rotating, meat spit-shaving men that look they could be the best. Though my Rough Guide to Athens recommended O Thanasis just off the northeast corner of Monastiraki Square, I needed a second opinion. "The best, the totally best," said the guy who sold me an international converter at a teeny electronics stall along the Eolou Street bazaar. That... More

Free Coffee Alert: Mocha Mondays at McCafe

McDonald's McCafe is starting a summer promotion called Free Mocha Mondays in which you can get a free seven-ounce iced mocha or an eight-ounce hot mocha. Offer good at participating locations nationwide, July 13 to August 3. Find a McDonald's here.... More

This Week in Eating Out

Three Square Meals: After reporting on the deliciousness that is Locanda Verde's breakfast, Ed Levine happily goes back for lunch and dinner. Pizza by Wrigley's: Daniel Zemans enjoys a taste of Roman-style pizza at Pizza Rustica, a cozy pizzeria in the shadow of Wrigley Field. Fusion That Breaks All the Rules: The beef and lemongrass salad at Han 202 in Chicago is one of Michael Nagrant's favorite dishes this year. South African Surprise: Damon Gambuto explores the South African barbecue tradition at Springbok Bar & Grill in Van Nuys, CA and finds that he loves the fries, but the monkey gland sauce disappoints.... More

This Week in Recipes

Perfect Partners: Kerry Saretsky whips up a winning combination of sliced steak and olive tapenade in honor of her friends. Peas Galore: Get your green on tonight with Nick Kindelsperger's side of green peas and sugar snap peas in sesame dressing. Breadcrumbs = Big Flavor Receptacles: Gina DePalma introduces us to verdure ripieni, or stuffed vegetables, as an easy and cheap meal option. Salsa Away the Summer: Homesick Texan's Lisa Fain kicks off her salsa series with a salsa that's not quite the same as her family's favorite, but just as delicious. Offal for Everyone: Try some tongue with ChiChi Wang as she braises it for the first time to make tongue tacos. Squid in Wine: While the roommate... More

In Season: Cherries

There were cherries everywhere as I walked through the farmers' market the other day. This was following an enormous cherry delivery to the Serious Eats office, so I was a bit cherried out by then, but the gorgeous shades of red at the market were a siren call. The deep red of the Bings and the pink blush of the Rainiers just visually exploded. Cherry season runs from late June through August in the Northeast, and this fruit is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. The Rainier variety, my favorite, are the sweetest type and contain 23 percent more sugar than any other cherry. I like fresh cherries, but I've included different preparations here (after the jump) in both... More

Cooking with Blood

Vice Magazine enlists a Swedish friend to cook with blood: Whenever I say, “Eeeeeeeeew” from seeing the big, bloody boogers they try to pass off as food in the supermarkets, my Swedish friend Kristoffer gets all defensive and starts talking about how blood contains tons of iron and vitamins and that students eat it with noodles because it’s so cheap and nutritious. To prove a point, I decided to force him to actually cook the stuff. Related The Nasty Bits: Cooking with Cow's Tongue The Nasty Bits: Lamb's Neck Stew... More

This Week's Tasty 10

According to our handy site-metering utility, the top 10 most delicious items across the Serious Eats family of sites this week were ... 1. Wine and Plastic Cups: Not a Perfect Pairing "If you can't be bothered washing stemware or are worried about fragile stems breaking outside, get yourself some stemless wine glasses." 2. Cookout Etiquette "... In MY opinion, the host should provide some meats, some drinks, some sides, and definitely at least chairs and plates; and that guests should know to bring sides, meats, and whatever else they'd like to share. I guess really, we're trying to venture into more "grown up" parties, since we're about to graduate soon and move on into the real world. How do... More

Photo of the Day: Little Peach Cakes

Photo from Big Red Kitchen via Photograzing If you glance at this photo and see a pile of summer peaches, look again. Robin Sue from Big Red Kitchen shares her recipe for miniature peach cakes, which really could pass for the real thing: yellow cake for the base, buttercream frosting for the crease, and colored sugar to create the "fuzz," plus a cinnamon stick stem and peppermint leaf. More photos on her site, here.... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Cherry on Top: How to use Washington cherries. [NPR] Fat-Fighting Fiber: Roughage is in as a means of losing weight, curbing cholesterol and diabetes. [Seattle Times] Horton Who? Tim Horton's, the popular Canadian doughnut chain, moves into New York City. [NYT] Calorie Restriction: Monkeys on strict, spartan diets live longer, contract fewer diseases, 20-year study finds. [Science Now] Doggone It! Obese children taking part in exercise study fool researchers by attaching pedometers to their dogs' collars. [BBC News via The Awl] Laptop Lessons: Cooking shows broadcasting over the web. [CBS News] More Julia: Vanity Fair's take on Julia Child. [VF] G-Ate: The G-8 pledges $20 billion to help feed the world's hungry. [WSJ]... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Saturday (July 11) Viva Daisy! (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "Family Night." Recipes for barbecued short ribs, tomatillo salsa, spicy collard greens, and chocolate-chile cake. 9:30 a.m. ET, Food Network Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "The Secret to Clam and Cod Cacciucco." A Tuscan fish stew and stewed cannelini beans as a side. 10:30 a.m. ET, Food Network Giada at Home (warning,... More

Hot Dog Of The Week: Tijuana Dog

Note: Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who will be chiming in with his hot dog wisdom and original artwork on a regular basis. Take it away, Hawk! Past Weeks' Dogs Flo's Hot Dogs, Cape Neddick, Maine The Philly Combo The Tijuana Dog--aka the Mexican Hot Dog, Sonora Dog, Border Dog, or Danger Dog--seems to be popping up everywhere these days, even on the East Coast. These bacon-wrapped beauties have actually been sold by Mexican street vendors since the 1950's and slowly made their way across the border to California and Arizona. Tijuana dogs are as versatile as tacos, the only rule being that the dog is wrapped in bacon and cooked on a flat grill or deep fried, and... More

Look Who's Talkin': Comments, Quips, and Tips We Have Known and Loved

There's so much going on in Talk week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week. Given the Chance to Be Cooked for By Any Chef in the World "...Since I am sure he's no longer with us, I'll take Onepercent99. This person is bold enough to pick themself, so that says enough for me. All I ask, is no fru-fru crap or off the wall ingredients. I want real food for real people. Oh, and nothing with mayo!" —Raiders757 What to Eat First Time in Paris "You will probably be ignored or mocked if you hand a Parisian... More

12 Poutines in 12 Days in Vancouver

Photograph from me HUNGRY! File this under "Posts I Should Not Read On an Empty Stomach": a round up of 12 poutines in 12 days in Vancouver, eaten by Phyllis and her husband Kris of me HUNGRY! during their trip from New York. The poutines are scored under four characteristics—fries, gravy, cheese, and overall balance—on a scale of 40 points. They found the best poutine at Brado Pizza, run by a former resident of Montreal (the birthplace of poutine) who brought his love of poutine to Vancouver five years ago. "Everything was perfectly seasoned and the proportions were right on," Phyllis says. At the end of the post, Phyllis shares information on where to buy cheese curds and poutine mix,... More

Mixed Review: Crate and Barrel Jalapeño Lemonade vs. Homemade

A few summers ago, I started making my own lemonade and have never looked back. In the warmer months, I keep a large pitcher in the fridge and add to it whenever it gets low. Sometimes I add strawberries or mint, other times bourbon. Homemade lemonade is easy and inexpensive, and it tastes about a million times better than any store-bought version I've ever had. Recently, while shopping at Crate & Barrel, I noticed a new line of lemonade mixes available in three varieties: strawberry, ginger peach, and jalapeño ($5.95 each). I was curious—they looked pretty good. The jalapeño version especially piqued my interest, as I'd never seen anything like it in the supermarket, where lemonade mixes are generally... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 75: Can (and Should) I Give Up the Flavored Liquid Habit?

I've read all the literature on how important drinking plain water is to any meaningful weight loss effort, but I must admit I am having trouble giving up flavored liquids cold turkey. I have managed to kick the Diet Coke habit. But I certainly haven't given up on diet sodas or soft drinks as a whole. Last night I posted about the joys of Fresca. I drink Snapple Diet Cranberry Raspberry Drink because it doesn't have any caffeine. When I'm up on Cape Cod, I drink Cape Cod Cranberry Dry. It's a local soda made with 5% cranberry juice concentrate. I know I shouldn't, but I drink a bottle a day of the stuff. At least I did last week.... More

What Are Your Homemade Doughnut Secrets?

Photo from Flour On Her Nose via Photograzing Kiara at the blog Flour On Her Nose calls these homemade doughnuts a "work in progress," but they look pretty perfect to me. Any other doughnut makers out there? What's your secret to the perfect at-home doughnut?... More

The Joys of Unnaturally Flavored Sodas

Fess up, serious eaters, do you have a favorite? I think it was a few weeks ago, when I ran into Tom Colicchio, that I found myself confessing my love for Fresca. I had seen an interview Colicchio had done in the New York Times Magazine in which he declared his love of Fresca: "Always in fridge: Fresca. It is just a great drink. No calories; tastes like citrus." During our discussion we both acknowledged that what we loved about Fresca was its taste, even though neither of us could identify its ingredients. Hey, Colicchio is, after all, Mr. Ingredients, Mr. Craft, so it says quite a bit about Fresca if he can't tell us what's in it. So now... More

City Flavor Guide: Grand Rapids

Photograph from powerbooktrance on Flickr Editor's note: Grand Rapids is the home of the Koeze Company, who, as far as I'm concerned, make the best peanut butter in America. They also make terrific cream nut clusters, fresh roasted nuts, and lots of other good stuff, so I figured who better to tell serious eaters where to eat in Grand Rapids than Jeff Koeze himself. Jeff would never say this himself (he's far too modest) but Koeze's two locations are a must for serious eaters in Grand Rapids. Beyond that, here are Jeff's recommendations. —EL Breakfast The wheelhouse for Grand Rapids food is breakfast. My favorite is a vegetarian place called Gaia Cafe. I like it not just because their... More

New Orleans Jazz Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins Smokes 'Cue for Fans

Photograph from dsb nola on Flickr From Putumayo World Music, in an interview with Kermit Ruffins, trumpeter in the Rebirth Brass Band and Barbecue Swingers: So you originally were barbecuing to have some hot food at the [Barbecue Swingers] shows, then the idea just caught on? Yep, the tailgating started [it] all. I would cook hot sausage for the guys during break time, and whatever was left over, we would give it to the fans. Then I bought a big grill and started cooking for everyone, still up [to] today! Sounds like my kind of show. [via Boing Boing]... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each week we round up our favorite posts and recipes from our friends at The Kitchn. This week, the Kitchn shares an invaluable tip: packing spice blends for those cooking on vacation. Three spice blends instead of eleven individual spices? Sounds like vacation to me. Also on the Kitchn, tips on how to cook at home while moving, bacon-wrapped potato bites, setting up a basic home bar, and what to do with that leftover pickle juice.... More

Chicago: The Second Rising of the Han Dynasty

"Fusion which seems confusing and breaks all conventions is sometimes the perfect formula for seriously good eats." Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood is known for many things: It is the birthplace of mayors (or maybe that should be reworded as the cradle of progressive American liberal dictators), including Mayor Richard Daley and his father. It is the home to the our last Major League Baseball Championship–winning team, the Chicago White Sox (though due to their second-class status behind the Cubs, the only way anyone on that team is getting a beer is with their own five bucks—or if they're drinking in Bridgeport). It is also home to many blue-liners and firemen and is one of the last few living enclaves of sausage-fingered... More

Serious Heat: Culinary Russian Roulette with Padron Chiles

Note: On Thursdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with some Serious Heat. This week, she joined forces with travel writer Kate Mulcrone to discover the mystery of a Moroccan spice blend. Photograph from WordRidden on Flickr With the start of summer, the hunt at the local farmers' markets begin for my seasonal chile addiction--pimientos de Padron. In season from mid-June through September, what makes this crinkly, small green chile pepper originally from Spain so magical? It's playing Russian roulette with your food. While a majority of the chiles are mild, there will be about 1 out of 10 that will deliver a pow to your taste buds. Quickly cooked in olive oil and brushed with... More

Watch It with Us: ‘Top Chef Masters,’ Episode 4

From left: Rodriguez, Lo, Peel, and Besh. Top Chef Masters returns tonight! Just like we did with the Next Food Network Star earlier this week, we’re inviting you to tune in with us tonight, at 10 p.m. ET, and join our real-time, open thread discussion. Tonight's episode, "Magic Chefs," features Anita Lo, Douglas Rodriguez, John Besh, and Mark Peel. Who do you think has the upper hand?... More

'What We Eat When We Eat Alone'

The illustrations in Deborah Madison's new book were done by her husband, Patrick McFarlin, whose icebreaker question was the catalyst for the work. Photograph from Gibbs Smith Blog The Los Angeles Times reviews Deborah Madison's new book: What We Eat When We Eat Alone (Gibbs Smith, $25) is not a book of recipes for smaller portions of the dishes people eat every day. It's full of stories about the way people approach food when they are alone, whether they shop or poke around the fridge; whether they cook or simply assemble what they find; whether they eat odd dishes no one else would touch or take the time for an appealing full meal. Some people make a humble meal... More

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Burgers

Photograph by Cassaendra Last week's Weekend Cook and Tell was all about burgers. We asked you to share some of your favorite burger techniques and recipes with us for the holiday weekend and as usual we've gotten some fantastic responses. Here are some of our favorites: Tired of dry beef patties, ChloeA has taken to using ground pork in its place. Sprinkled with brown sugar, salt and pepper, pan seared and served with onion and ketchup, these pork burgers stayed juicy. NotAmerican likes to prep the grill by grilling some bacon before the burgers go on. This technique flavors the burgers with a hint of bacon and keeps them from sticking. Kalajo made burger bun from scratch using this... More

On the Home Canning Trend

Photograph from The Bitten Word Today both Salon and The Washington Post published articles about the trend of canning at home. Kelly DiNardo of The Washington Post profiles food bloggers Clay Dunn and Zach Patton of The Bitten Word and their experience canning tomatoes at home, including their reasons for canning, equipment used, and cost. For a broader look at home canning, Sarah Karnasiewicz of Salon lists reasons behind the trend and gives book recommendations for those new to food preservation. Serious Eats has a handful of recipes from one of Karnasiewicz's recommendations, Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. Related Canning/Jarring - How Do I Not Kill Myself? [SE Talk, 6/3/09] Canning Questions [SE Talk, 9/27/09] In Videos: How to Make... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

North Korea's First Beer Ad (above): "It represents the new look of Pyongyang...It will be a familiar part of our lives." [AdFreak] Food Safety: "We're going to make our new priority preventing (food contamination) from happening in the first place," says VP Biden. [USAT] Regulating School Snack Food: Bill would give USDA oversight even when it comes to school vending machines. [Reuters] Nutritional Labels: Statistics and influence of calorie-labeling on fast-food menus not quite there yet. [WSJ] Napa Valley: The state of the restaurant scene in wine country. [LAT] Convenience Foods: Not all that convenient? [Grist] Nice Jugs: "Jug wines are the Paul Blart: Mall Cop of wines, lovable yet ridiculed." Still, there are some good bottles to be... More

Chicago: Best Food Neighborhoods?

Blake Royer of The Paupered Chef (and Serious Eats Dinner Tonight contributor) is moving to Chicago and asks, "Which are the best neighborhoods for eating and cooking? Nick lived it pretty fancy in beautiful Bucktown, which reminds us a lot of Brooklyn. . . Sing the praises of your Chicago neighborhood!" What say you, serious eaters?... More

Slim Jim Shortage in Effect

File this under "Because We Rarely Have Reason to Talk About Slim Jims": If you're wondering where your beloved beef jerky sticks are, there's a shortage due to a deadly explosion last month caused by a gas leak that destroyed the only Slim Jim plant in the country in Garner, North Carolina, and killed three employees. The company doesn't expect to meet full Slim Jim demand until fall. [via Best Week Ever] Update (7/13/09): Donations to the ConAgra Foods Garner Plant Fund are being accepted through United Way. BlueRidgeNow.com has a feature about the victims and their families. The factory will resume operations on July 27. ConAgra says there is no Slim Jim shortage.... More

Kellogg's UK's Unintentionally Pervy Muesli Ad Campaign

Kellogg's UK has rolled out a new muesli cereal called Nature's Pleasure supported by an ad campaign that features cartoon people in various states of undress doing inexplicable things with their morning meal. Blogger Meemalee picked up her copy of thelondonpaper a couple days ago and paid a little more attention to the illustrated weirdness of the ad than Kellogg's probably would have liked. As you turn the pages, the multipart ad spells out "We've added something new to muesli,", with the dazed-looking cartoon people holding up the message's letters, sitting on them, or just leaning against them and taking a little more of nature's pleasure than one should from breakfast cereal (right). But the company got wind of... More

Rice Paddy Art in Japan

Photograph from karaponeyami.blog.so-net.ne.jp Pink Tentacle rounds up some amazing rice paddy art in Japan, made by "strategically arranging and growing different colors of rice plants." Pictured above is the depiction of a Sengoku-period warrior in the village of Inakadate. [via Boing Boing]... More

Video: The Fast Food Song

I first head the Fast Food Song--at least, the "A-Pizza Hut! A Pizza Hut!" part of it--at summer camp, where it wasn't at all unusual to belt nonsensical songs or break into dance. But I had no idea that in 2003, this version by the Fast Food Rockers reached #2 on the British pop charts. The music video is, er, colorful. Though some parts of their dance are identical to ours (of course you flap your wings when you say "Kentucky Fried Chicken!") there's a lot more to scratch your head about. What's with those shoulder pads? Do fast-food servers really wear corsets? And why on earth is there a big blue dog following them around? Decide for yourself,... More

Chatting with the Women of 'Julie & Julia'

Ladies Home Journal talk to actresses Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, and director Nora Ephron of the upcoming movie Julie & Julia about food, love, and their careers. Also, Meryl Streep's and Amy Adam's favorite Julia Child recipes. Related: Julie & Julia Trailer Now Available Online... More

Cooking with a Friend: Cooking without a Plan

Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. The Cooking with a Friend series chronicles her cooking and menu planning adventures with her neighbor, J. This week, as we did in week 5, J. and I purchased a CSA box of vegetables. It was chock full of seasonal produce including green beans, new potatoes, cauliflower, alliums of all sorts, cucumbers, and fennel. "Does it make you itchy," I asked J. on email, "to try this week's menu on the fly tomorrow?" We had enough vegetables in the fridge and grains in the pantry, and I figured that by adding a few protein elements we could just improvise the menu when we got together on Sunday. To add to the... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Virtual Kitchen: Nintendo DS game Cooking Mama 3 will be out in time for the holidays. [USAT] Tomato, Tomahto: What exactly does "sustainable agriculture" mean? [NYT] Produce Comparison Shopping: Sure the discount grocery costs less than a farmers' market or CSA share, but have you asked why? [Oregonian] Another One: A recall on dry milk brings many products off the shelves. [CR] Food Chain: Increased food-stamp funding helps not only low-income families but those they buy from. [WSJ] I'll Pass, Thanks: How to eat a placenta. [Discover]... More

Photo of the Day: Root Beer Float

Photograph from Very Culinary Amy at VeryCulinary.com has this great shot of a summer root beer float. While I confess I've never been a fan—that weirdly stable soda-milk foam just creeps me out—my little brother used to go crazy over these things. Barq's root beer and Dreyer's vanilla bean ice cream were his standbys, but I bet there are better ones out there. Serious Eaters, any root beer float lovers out there? What are your ingredients of choice?... More

Quote of the Day: Like, Whoa!

"I'm dabbling in it and looking at becoming a chef. [Hervé This] is fantastic. I didn't really cook before, but this book may be changing my life," —Keanu Reeves, after reading This's Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavour [via AFC]... More

Serious Green: Community Supported Bacon, CSA's Move Beyond Squash and Tomatoes

Food makers across the country have taken the idea of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and run with it. There are thousands of traditional fruit and vegetable CSA programs in the United States (go to LocalHarvest to find one in your neighborhood). Generally, consumers sign-up in the winter months for a "share" of a local farmer's harvest come spring and summer. This ensures that farmers get cash for repairs, seeds, supplies, and tools when they need it most: in the barren, vegetable-less winter months when they have no regular income. Doing sign-ups in the cold months also allows farmers to make a better guess of the demand for their product and how much they should plant. Below are... More

Serious Cheese: Tolerating La Tur

"The more acidic the cheese, the less lactose is in there, and the more tolerable it should be for most people." Photo from Murray's CheeseIn the intervening weeks since the last post about my apparent lactose intolerance, not only have I been able to tolerate small amounts of dairy consumed infrequently, I have also spent a lot of time caring for a new baby in our family. All this to explain that a) I haven't yet seen a doctor about my sudden inability to enjoy vast amounts of gelato and Ukranian food, and b) I haven't had much free time in which to experiment with my new-found lactose intolerance. I have generally not shied away from dairy, however, even if... More

Sweet on Walla Walla Onions

The crew at Cavalli's packs Walla Walla Sweet Onions. On a recent trip to Washington state's hottest wine country (both in terms of temperature and explosive growth; the "next Napa Valley" is home to more than 100 vintners), I tasted some great wine, but that's not what I came home with. My trunk was loaded with 55 pounds of Walla Walla Sweets. Before world-class cabernet, merlot and other Euro-riffic varietals were being produced in this corner of the state, Walla Walla was all about the onion. Many of the small Mom-and-Pop farms started by Italian immigrants are still in operation today, the fruits of their labors for sale in roadside stands heading east of the town so nice, they... More

Video: ‘Taco Bell’s New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature,’ from The Onion

On The Onion’s morning news show video spoof “Today Now,” there’s a feature on Taco Bell’s new “100% Green Menu.” What makes it all green, you ask? None of the ingredients are taken from nature—so there’s zero environmental impact! “After all,” the fast food rep reminds us, “at Taco Bell, we have a long tradition of taking as little as possible from the natural world!” The video, after the jump.... More

Served: Goodbye Waiting Tables, Goodbye NYC, Goodbye Served

I blog by day and wait tables in a New York City restaurant by night. I'm excited to bring you Served, dispatches from the front of the house. Enjoy! More than a year ago, I professed in my first Served that I have the best job in the world. A few weeks ago, I told my boss I was leaving that best job in the world. Then I told my friends, my coworkers, and my family. Telling you guys and saying goodbye to “Served” is emotional. I’m sitting here all teary. That job may no longer feel like the best job in the world, but there are still awesome moments—when people fall in love with our Matchbook Tinto Ray, or... More

Summer Nectarine Scones With Nutmeg Sugar

Photograph from 5 Second Rule Beautiful summer mornings call for equally beautiful baked goods, like these nectarine scones with nutmeg sugar from blog 5 Second Rule. And they're perfect for weekend guests or lazy mornings, because, as author Cheryl Sternman Rule notes, "they're very easy to make in advance and freeze. When everyone wakes up, all you have to do is brush the tops with cream, sprinkle them with sugar, and pop them directly in the oven."... More

Photo of the Day: Circuit Board Made of Candy

Phtograph from James Provost on Flickr Here's a sweet idea for tech-geeks: a colorful circuit board made out of candy! Sarah Jargstorf made this cake topper out of chocolate, frosting, and candy to go on her boyfriend's birthday cake. [via Neatorama] Related: Circuit Boards Powered by Corn Syrup... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Watch This! Synesthesia (above) is a surreal short film that looks at food in a rather jumbled way. [Terri Timely via Gastriques] José Andrés's Daily Intake: The renown Spanish chef comes in for the gourmet.com "My Day on a Plate" treatment. [gourmet.com] Wacko: Adam Roberts makes sugar-studded glove-shape cookies as a tribute to late King of Pop. [Amateur Gourmet] New McD's Burger: The Angus Third-Pounder rolls out as permanent menu item in all markets. (On that note, it looks like the Mac Snack Wrap is also out in the U.S. now; I saw a commercial for it last night.) [Chicago Tribune] Roadfood Couple Divorce: Jane and Michael Stern divorced a year ago but still continue to write together. [NewsTimes.com... More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable—and the inevitable episode repeats—it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. Monday (July 6) Good Eats (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "A Rib for All Seasons." Alton shows you the different aspects of ribs. (repeat) 8 p.m. ET, Food Network Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (warning, a video plays automatically on site): "A Taste of Everywhere." Guy goes to a Jamaican/Chinese eatery in Florida and a Mexican restaurant in Utah. (repeat) 10 p.m. ET, Food Network Jimmy Kimmel Live! (warning, a... More

Last Week's Contest Winners

Cook the Book: Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes: LiveToEat, wwe11, Universe Master, coconutgoddess, and Beanalicious1. Winners have been notified by email and also appear on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to all who entered. Twitter 10,000: @tulip518, @lemieuxster, @MelindaCampbell, @GegeBrown, @dianasaurusrex, @reika, @storylaura, @maxiebob, @chriskuech, @trizzum, @raeraekitkat. Winners have been notified by DM via Twitter and also appear on our Contest Winners page.... More

Searching for the Best Boudin in the Heart of Cajun Country

Ever since devouring the Southern Foodways Alliance's excellent oral history of Louisiana's Boudin Trail, I've been champing at the bit to get me some. So when my pal Pableaux Johnson invited me on a culinary tour that included a swing through boudin country, I was on board quicker than you boil a batch of crawfish. This spicy sausage is like so many regional specialties, rarely making appearances outside the area in which it's such a big deal. I don't get that because boudin is one of the most ridiculously delicious sausages around, a mix of pork parts, rice, and assertive seasonings. It's most often found at country stores, though our first taste of incredible boudin was in New Orleans... More

Cook the Book: 'The Barcelona Cookbook'

When The Barcelona Cookbook showed up on my desk, I initially thought it was a Spanish cookery book, or perhaps a cookbook of tapas recipes. As it turns out, The Barcelona Cookbook is both of these and more. It is a collection of recipes from Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurants, a group of six restaurants located throughout Connecticut. While the cuisine served at all of the Barcelona restaurants can loosely be called Spanish, the menu is peppered with international influences from the backgrounds of this restaurant group's two owners, Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer. Mahr-Batuz is a former professional tennis champion and restaurateur, and Pforzheimer is a Harvard-educated chef whose varied resume includes cooking dinners for the Harvard Lampoon, working... More

Video: USB-Powered Mini Microwave in Action

Earlier last month we mentioned Heinz's Beanzawave, supposedly the world's smallest microwave—USB-powered to boot. It nukes the individual-serving baked bean Snap Pots packages available in the U.K. Now, thanks to Tiscali News, we've got full-motion video of the thing—after the jump.... More

Market Scene: Harvard University Farmers' Market, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Note: On Mondays, one of our various Market Scene correspondents from around the country checks in with what's fresh at the farmstands in a particular region. Today, Penny Cherubino (Boston Zest) drops by from Boston. Steps from Harvard Yard, with historic Memorial Hall as a backdrop, you'll find the Harvard Farmers' Market. It's part of the University's Food Literacy Project, which "cultivates an understanding of food from the ground up." One of the wettest Junes on record has delayed sun-loving summer crops in the Northeast. Farms with greenhouse operations have had an advantage by producing some early broccoli and cauliflower.... More

Watch It with Us: 'The Next Food Network Star,' Episode 5

We're going to try something a little different this week. If you're planning on watching tonight's episode of The Next Food Network Star, join us here in the comments at 9 p.m. ET. It'll be an open thread—jump in with your comments, observations, or play-by-play as the episode unfolds. This week things get real with Rachael Ray: who do you think will be going home?... More

Video: The Ross Sisters Sing About Solid Potato Salad

The Ross Sisters were a trio of singing, dancing, contortionist siblings who came to fame in the 1940s. What better way to celebrate the Fourth than by watching some of this great home-grown Texan talent sing about "solid potato salad"? For me, the words "solid potato salad" conjure up images of potato salad entrapped in quaking green Jell-o. Thankfully, there is no such thing. A quick search revealed that solid was a wartime expression for "great," or "good." They're cute, they've got matching outfits, and they can put their legs behind their heads. Plus, I really think their outfits would be the perfect thing to wear to a picnic, pigtails and all. The video starts out so sweet with... More

Kids Can Make Dumplings More Slowly with Bandai's Gyoza Maker

I feel like the most fun part of making dumplings is the part where you crimp the edges and marvel at your hand made dough pouch, but maybe my opinion would change if I tried Bandai's new gyoza (dumpling) maker [English translation]. According to Bandai's website, the gyoza maker is geared towards 8 to 12-year-old girls (no boys allowed?) and their parents, and will be available starting on July 25 for ¥3,150 (about $33). Place the dumpling skin on the rollers, use the included spatula to plop in some filling, close the lid, crank away, and—ta da, dumpling sort of instantly plops into the drawer below! If I were a kid I'd probably love this thing. As an adult,... More

Look Who's Talkin': Comments, Quips, and Tips We Have Known and Loved

There's so much going on in Talk week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week. Ack! 4th of July Is Saturday! "When I do chicken for a crowd, I BBQ thighs on the bone. They are very moist and VERY forgiving as far as window of service goes. I also think they taste better. We're having a Crawdad boil with all the fixin's. We live in the middle of Oregon wine country and this is year three for the Crawfish Feed. Today on Tuesday we are in the false sense of control, Wednesday/Thursday will bring panic, followed by... More

A Different Kind of Flag Cake for the Fourth of July

Photograph from 17 and Baking If you're tired of the typical berry-dotted Flag Cake, Elissa of 17 and Baking has a creative Fourth of July dessert recipe for you: layered hidden flag cake! The flag, featuring an outer blue ring of cake, only appears when you cut into the cake. Elissa explains how to construct the cake and shares a recipe for cream cheese frosting. [via @bakingbites] Related 4th of July: What's on Your Menu? Celebrating July Fourth with a Plop (Not a Bang) A Fruitful Crisp for the 4th of July... More

Our New Tweet Spot

If you haven't noticed it, I figured I'd call your attention to our new "tweet spot" on the homepage of Serious Eats. The latest tweet from our Twitter stream now appears at the bottom of the upper right hand feature box. We use Twitter in a variety of ways, but if you're not on Twitter yourself or are not following us (and, really, why aren't you?!?), you may be missing out on the fact that it's become a bit of a supplemental microblog for us. We often post links there that we're thinking about blogging on the homepage or that, for whatever reason, may not ever appear on the homepage but are still interesting, funny, or useful. So hit our... More

Video: 'Fireworks' by PES

This fireworks display from stop-motion animation artist PES features Peeps, candy corn, Good & Plenty, and more. If only real fireworks caused candy to fall out of the sky. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 74: Can My All-Pie Fourth of July Diet Work?

I am on Martha's Vineyard, where pies seem to be baked on every corner. I can get my pie fix from Mrs. Blake's, The Black Dog Bakery, Little Rock Farms, The Scottish Bakehouse, Fiddlehead Farm, The Old Stone Bakery, Just Pie, Morning Glory Farms, Garcia's, and literally too many other places to mention. I happen to be partial to Mrs. Blake's, because of her flaky crusts and her fruity, not goopy, fillings, but I am not slavishly devoted to her 8-inch round beauties. So faced with this plethora of pies this July 4th weekend I am going to embark on an admittedly gimmicky, some would say radical, others would say ridiculous and silly, one-day diet of just pie. Stay with... More

4th of July: What's on Your Menu?

©iStockPhoto/rojoimages This July 4th the weather forecast is predicting sunny skies all day in my area, so you'll find me basking in the warmth and chowing down on some summer classics. Here's my proposal for a good times menu complete with ribs and rosé! What's on your July 4th menu? Pineapple-Braised Ribs with Honey-Garlic Tomato Glaze: "Succulent, retaining their smokiness while adding a layer of depth with the sweetness from the pineapple braise." The only problem when contributor Josh Bousel made them was that they were gone too fast! As long as I get my six rib share, I'll be happy. Fresh Corn Salad: Corn salad is my favorite side dish when eating outdoors and it makes for a great... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

NASA Drink Comes Down to Earth: The space-orade designed to keep star voyagers hydrated is now available planetside. [space.com] Ground Up: Sonic Youth reflects on its Starbucks music deal. [BeatCrave] How-To: Placate picky-eater houseguests. [Etiquette Daily] The F Word, Indeed: Ramsay's profits dive 90 percent. [The Independent] Couch Potatoes: Researchers say TV ads trigger mindless eating. [US News] Food Prices: Cost of eggs, milk drops most of any staple foods since 2008. [Newsday]... More

Serious Reads: Anne Mendelson’s Milk

Your mother made you drink three glasses each day. There’s probably a carton in your fridge right now. And, as Anne Mendelson likes to remind us, it was every mammal's first food. But even though milk is a staple of Americans’ everyday lives, most of us know virtually nothing about it—where it originated, how it’s being produced, or how unique our milk-guzzling tendencies are. In her James Beard-nominated book, Milk: The Surprising History Of Milk Through The Ages, Anne Mendelson sets out to educate us. Sweeping through the human history of dairy and the advent of modern milk production, before diving into recipes for everything from New England clam chowder to Indian panir cheese, Mendelson pens “the culinary guidebook,... More

Photo of the Day: Monsieur Manatee

After seeing VerySmallAnna's cute paintings of animals and food, I knew I had to make a request. A week later, Monsieur Manatee was born. This red beret-clad manatee likes to nosh on crusty baguettes and bags of treats from Pierre Hermé—just like me! Thanks so much to Anna for making my office space a little bit cuter. If you commission a painting from her, I'd love to see what you end up with.... More

Come on in 'The Kitchn'

Each week we round up our favorite posts and recipes from our friends at The Kitchn. This week, the Kitchn goes on a baking rampage and produces a gorgeous Nutella cake. The chocolate hazelnut ganache is just the cherry on top of the this over-the-top sundae. Also on the Kitchn, how to preserve fresh herbs, frozen nectarine-yogurt pie, cold-brewing iced tea, and using Japanese rock salt.... More

Pastoral Orcas Island Offers Rich Farm-to-Table Options

L to R: Strawberries on the honor system, Chef Geddes Martin and his garden.Toni Hermansen popped open an tiny, briny oyster and handed it to me as I picked out a couple dozen bivalves at the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm on Orcas Island, a bucolic spot about three hours from Seattle. I slurped it straight out of the shell and thought: "Sold!" Actually, I had been thinking about taking home some Buck Bay oysters ever since devouring a half a dozen at the New Leaf Cafe at the historic Outlook Inn in Eastsound, the Island's biggest little city. The entire population of the laid-back island is about 4,500. And driving on the winding roads, you'd swear half the residents... More

Video: Hungry Kitty Begs for Food

This video consists of 17 seconds of "Aww, cute!" followed by nine seconds of "OH MY GOD, oh god, so cute, SOOO CUTE," accompanied by squeals of delight. Or maybe that was just me. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Pez Sues Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

Photograph from What I'm Seeing, which has a nice piece on the California museum. Laughing Squid points to a story in the San Mateo Times detailing the copyright-infringement suit that Pez has brought against the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia. The giant Pez dispenser that Gary Doss and Nancy Yarbrough Doss created that got them into Guinness World Records is at the heart of the lawsuit: Attorneys for Pez Candy Inc. argue that the 7-foot, 10-inch dispenser, which is topped with the head of a snowman, and other uses of the company's trademarked products by the Dosses "deceive the public into thinking that the museum is operating under the authority of Pez."... More

What is Chinese Brown Sauce Made Of?

Photograph by Robyn Lee Brown sauce: the beloved basic in every Chinese take-out joint in America. But what's in it? It seems like there's a different recipe wherever you look—for example, compare the recipes found at Eat Close to Home, Epicurious, and Rasa Malaysia. Besides the requisite soy sauce and oyster sauce, I found variations including beef broth, corn starch, potato flour, Hoisin sauce, ketchup, and, oh, about five hundred other ingredients. At food blog The Heavy Table, Kelly Hailstone tries to find out what brown sauce is made of by calling local Chinese restaurants, but finds no answers. Even her own mother, a native of Hong Kong, wouldn't tell her. I'm not really looking for the authentic stuff... More

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Play Sommelier

Welcome to the Weekend Cook and Tell round up. Last week we asked you to play sommelier by picking a bottle of wine for under $12 and making a meal that would pair well with it. Wine pairing isn't always easy, but as usual we've gotten some inspired responses. Cold beer and barbecue are a match made in heaven, but have you tried a hearty Spanish red with barbecued pork ribs? Great combo, pksmash. Cassaendra and her husband aren't big drinkers, but she delved into her stash to come up with this combination of sake and sukiyaki for this week's challenge. Kalajo had all of the ingredients for this pork top loin roast with asparagus, spring onion, and butter lettuce... More

Leftovers: The Day's Stray Links

Mapping Mario's Genome: PBS's Faces of America series will analyze Batali's DNA, along with others. [The Food Section] YouTube Cooking School: How to turn the video-sharing site into a personal food channel. [News & Observer] New Site: Tina Brown's Daily Beast whips up a food section. [Hungry Beast] Down the Rabbit Hole: Heston Blumenthal unveils Alice in Wonderland tasting menu at Fat Duck. [Telegraph] Well, It Does Bear Repeating: "'Organic' label doesn't guarantee quality or taste," Russ Parsons writes. [LAT] Somen in Summer: "The Japanese eat the wheat noodles out of an ice-water bath, with a variety of condiments. Go ahead and slurp." [LAT] Tomatoes: Lynn Rossetto Kasper tells you how to retain flavor when cooking them. [Seattle Times]... More

Fancy Fast Food

Fast food has been turned on its head by Fancy Fast Food, a blog that transforms items like the Popeye's chicken above into Spicy Chicken Sushi. There are detailed instructions for every dish so if you've ever been interested in turning a Taco Bell tortilla into tortellini, there's now a handy tutorial. If you have your own fancy fast food creations, you can submit them by e-mail as long as you stick to their rules: no additional ingredients other than a garnish, and no gratuitous post-processing in Photoshop. According to their Twitter feed, they were also just offered a book deal. As Fancy Fast Food says, "Why have it your way, when you can have it the fancy way?"... More

Undercover Investigation Reveals Non-Vegan Food at Vegan Restaurants in Los Angeles

Ever felt like that crispy soy chicken just tasted too good to be true? The people behind quarrygirl.com, with the help of a tipster named Mr. Wishbone (it gets crazier) started an investigation into vegan restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Out of these seventeen restaurants, seven failed their tests that detected non-vegan-friendly traces of egg, casein, and shellfish. Relying on stringent testing practices and anti-contamination methods, the reporting extended further when they decided to contact the vegan restaurant supplier, Taiwanese manufacturer, and finally the Taiwanese government itself. Over a thousand of their own dollars later, the reporters had some disturbing answers. The good news? Today, Taiwan introduced new legislation to better regulate food product labeling. The people behind... More

Funny Food-Related Scientific Papers at NCBI ROFL

But..what does it smell like? Photograph from Leslie Duss on Flickr Reaffirm your belief in science by reading NCBI ROFL, a blog dedicated to rounding up funny-sounding, but serious papers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Some food-related examples: using a human taste panel to optimize the "sensory characteristics and acceptance of canned cat food"; reviewing the odor of fresh squeezed orange juice; finding out whether pizza causes cancer; and testing the spermicidal potency of cola drinks. [via Metafilter]... More

'Consumer Reports' Rates Fast Food French Fries

Unfortunately, Consumer Reports only hits the big three--McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. The two redheads get "very good" ratings while the King merely receives a "good," with CR saying what I've always thought about BK fries: "coating detracts from the quality and makes texture a little tough, not crispy."... More

How to Pour Beer

Photograph from Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr If you're content drinking beer out of a can or bottle, or think the foam at the top of a glass of beer is wasted space, you're doing it wrong. Adam Jadhav of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains how to pour beer so you get the most head (foam) and why you should do it—because pouring and foam release the beer's aroma. "Our tongues are far more limited than our noses in sensory perception," Jadhav says. Make sure you use a clean, room temperature glass, and don't tilt it when you pour in the beer. Related How to Introduce Craft Beers to New Beer Drinkers Best Destinations for Beer Lovers... More

Meet & Eat: Matt Skinner, 'Heard It Through the Grapevine' Author

"The thing to think about, most importantly, is to match the weight of your wine with the weight of your food." This week we chat with Matt Skinner, an Australian wine writer and enthusiast, most recently the author of Heard It Through The Grapevine: The Things You Should Know to Enjoy Wine. Name: Matt Skinner Location: Melbourne, Australia Occupation: Wine writer, consultant, and educator How did you become involved in the wine industry at such a young age? I didn't know at age 17 what I wanted to do with my life. I got a job in a bottle shop, like a liquor store, in Australia. They specialized in selling cases of beer and boxes of wine, nothing glamorous. We... More

'Washington Post' Launches New Food Politics Column

Gut Check is a new column that will, in author Ezra Klein's words, be "a provocative look at the policy and politics of the plate. It's about the high cost of cheap meat, and whether eating local actually makes any sense, and why the world might be better off if Congress dissolved its agricultural committees." In the inaugural installment Klein reviews Food Inc. and talks to Eric Schlosser, who consulted on the film.... More

Video: Japanese Robot Girl Makes Coffee

HINA is an impressively dexterous robot girl who can make coffee, from grinding the beans to pouring the water into the coffee filter (granted, with some human help). For more information, check out creator Mujaki's website. Watch the video after the jump.... More

Snapshots from the South of France: Calissons d'Aix

I love nothing better than a bit of food and romance in a story. Luckily, French food lore is full of sexy escapades. (I’ve already told you the one about how Roquefort turned blue.) The region of Provence brims with food, from the minuscule melons de pays at the roadside produce stands, to the almond trees that clutch the rocky earth, clinging down from the breezy mistrals. The city of Aix-en-Provence, one of the urban heartbeats of a region connected by winding arterial roads through vineyard-plaid mountains, has a magical quality to it. On one winding street you'll pass all the usual modern French shops: Princesse Tam-Tam, Petit Bateau, L’Occitane en Provence. At the corner is a church, and... More

Hot Dog of the Week: Flo's Hot Dogs

With July being national hot dog month I thought I'd start off with the dog that gets my vote for the best in the country. Flo's Hot Dogs on Route 1 in Cape Neddick, Maine, is not only the best hot dog I've ever had, but an overall mind-blowing experience. More

Winery's Social-Media Maven Job Search Down to 50 Candidates

Remember Murphy-Goode, the Sonoma County, California, winery that gained widespread attention in the food blogosphere through its search for a social-media maven? The winery dangled a six-month, $60K job with free housing in exchange for someone's skills in marketing the operation via the interwebs. Fifty finalists have been chosen and now appear on the company's website. [via 7x7]... More