Chocolate delights, $600 (and under)
February 14th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

As a firm believer in the almighty power of chocolate, this was big news for me, and every eight-year-old in the country: Last week, Crest unveiled chocolate toothpaste. To be clear, it’s just chocolate (and mint) flavored; the tooth-cleaning power comes from sodium fluoride. But still.
  
This chocolate toothpaste seems perfectly timed for a chocolate Valentine’s Day blow out. Not that you should wrap it in a ribbon and give it out in lieu of real chocolate. Instead, gauge the level of chocolate expertise for your Valentine and gift accordingly (see below). If you choose to make a present of chocolate toothpaste, save it for National Tooth Fairy Day (February 28).
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February 14th, 2014
01:30 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

This Valentine’s Day it’s very important to keep in mind that there’s a paranoid conspiracy floating around our world to the effect that red wine goes well with chocolate. This delusion isn’t quite on the order of believing that the moon landing was a hoax, but it’s pernicious nonetheless.
 
Here’s the deal. Anything you eat that is sweet (e.g. chocolate) is going to make a dry red wine taste more sour and astringent than it already is. So, basically, if you give your date a nice box of chocolates and then serve her (or him) a big ol’ glass of Cabernet, the reaction is likely to be along the lines of “bleah!” And I’m here to tell you, “bleah” is not the word you want to hear at the end of the evening on Valentine’s Day.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Valentine's Day • Wine


On Valentine's Day, stick with the classics
February 13th, 2014
12:15 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Sometimes it’s worthwhile taking the classic approach. If you’re a cowboy, skip saddling up an emu—just ride a dang horse. If you are a lion, do not attempt to browse the tender shoots of the mokukutu bush—just chomp the neck of a zebra and have done with it.

Similarly, when Valentine’s Day comes along, why try to wow your honey with some oddball concoction when bubbly works so well?
 
The choices are vast but the basic equation is simple: If you want actual Champagne, from the Champagne region in northern France, prepare to pay more. Champagne runs from $30 or more a bottle, on up to a couple of hundred dollars a bottle for top wines.

For more affordable wines in a similar mode (i.e., made the same way, and with the same basic grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) look to California sparkling wines. There are many good, affordable choices in the $20 to $25 zone.

And if bargains are what you’re after, both Prosecco (from Italy) and cava (from Spain) produce terrific sparkling wines in the under-$20 price range—possibly not the price point to pop the question with, but good value if your evening is going to involve drowning the sorrows of a gang of embittered single friends.

Here, some excellent possibilities:
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Filed under: Bubbly • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Valentine's Day


February 12th, 2014
01:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

All chocolate starts with the cacao bean. From there, different processing, flavorings, ingredients, and percentages of cocoa solids and cocoa butter can produce chocolate of all sorts. Here’s a sampler of 12.
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Edna Lewis and Judith Jones at the American table
February 10th, 2014
05:15 PM ET
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Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Here’s a tidbit from the latest issue of Gravy quarterly. The author of this piece, Sara B. Franklin, is a doctoral student, food writer and educator. She is currently working on an oral history project with editor Judith Jones, exploring food and memory.

Today, “local” is such a culinary buzzword that it’s almost passé. Good chefs interpret the places from which they hail, and nowhere has this revival of place been stronger than in the American South. In a cultural moment like this, we forget it wasn’t long ago that much of America was ignorant, if not downright ashamed, of its regional cuisines. Judith Jones, a longtime editor at Knopf in New York City, who retired last year at age eighty-eight, helped introduce American palates to international cuisines and elevate domestic regional foodways. Her interest in regional cookery was piqued by Edna Lewis, the Virginia-born chef and writer.

Jones was still a wet-behind-the-ears junior editor at Knopf when she shepherded Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking through publication in 1961. At the time, postwar prosperity brought boxed cake mixes and frozen vegetables to supermarkets, promising quick and easy paths to domestic bliss. Child and Jones weren’t fooled. Really good food, they knew, demanded an attentive and skillful cook, one who wasn’t afraid of having a bit of fun.
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January 31st, 2014
08:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Cindy Y. Rodriguez is CNN's editor for Latino audiences. February 24 is National Tortilla Chip Day.

As a non-sports aficionado, my attraction to game day festivities has been solely food focused. So naturally, I noticed how potato chips have taken less and less space on the snack table to make room for tortilla chips and guacamole.

Although potato chips continue to be the top-selling salted snack in terms of pounds sold, tortilla chips have been increasing in sales at a faster pace than potato chips, especially during this time of year, according to Tom Dempsey, CEO of the Snack Food Association.

And, it's not just tortilla chips selling at such high rates either.

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Filed under: History • Junk • Mexican • Mexico • Super Bowl • Tailgating


January 31st, 2014
12:05 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

2014 is the 50th anniversary of the first Buffalo wings at the iconic Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. So, as we do every year at Super Bowl time, let’s go to the National Chicken Council for some amazing stats:

1.25 billion wings will be consumed during this Super Bowl – that’s 20 million more wings than last year.

There's enough to put 572 wings on every seat in each of the 32 NFL stadiums.

There will be no chicken wing shortage this year; in fact, chicken wings will be about 5% cheaper than they were last year.
 
To celebrate the all-important Buffalo wing anniversary, let’s honor some great wing spots, as well as places to stock up on stellar nachos and chili.
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January 30th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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This snack is on fire. As team rivalries heat up, make sure your game-day spread keeps pace.

This spicy snack stacks all the flavor of Buffalo wings into a cheesy jalapeño pepper filling.

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Slow cooker chile con queso is the best possible party food
January 29th, 2014
12:45 PM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Chile con queso has fallen on hard times; often it’s just Ro‐tel diced tomatoes and chiles mixed with Velveeta, microwaved, and stirred. We wanted to keep the simplicity but ditch the plasticky flavor and waxy texture.

We started with a base of chicken broth, cream cheese, and cornstarch to help stabilize the cheese and prevent it from breaking. For the cheeses, we chose Monterey Jack for its great flavor and American cheese for its superior meltability. We kept the classic Ro‐tel tomatoes but bumped up their flavor even more with garlic and canned chipotle chile.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Content Partner • Dip • Staples • Super Bowl • Tailgating


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