July 15th, 2014
05:45 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 and Cook’s Country magazines, and on our two public television cooking shows.

The juiciness of a perfect summer peach is sublime—except when you want to bake it into a pie. To tame the moisture, we macerate the peaches to draw out some of their juices and only add some of the juice back into the filling. We also use both cornstarch and pectin to bind it, because we find that using two thickeners leaves the pie with a clear, silky texture and none of the gumminess or gelatinous texture that larger amounts of either one alone produces.

Making a lattice top for a pie can be intimidating. But it needn’t be if you use our simple technique: Freeze strips of dough and then arrange them in our prescribed order over the filling. Done properly, this approach gives the illusion of a woven lattice with less effort.

Not only does a lattice top look beautiful, making for a great presentation, but it lets the right amount of steam out, ensuring that your pie won’t bubble over or rupture in the oven. And with some tinkering, we found a way to make one that’s easy as, well, pie.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Baked Goods • Content Partner • Dishes • Fruit • Ingredients • Pie • Summer Vegetables


July 9th, 2014
11:45 AM ET
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(Travel + Leisure) Talk about pigs: Americans ate 1.1 billion bacon servings during the 12-month period ending April 2014, about 6 percent more than the previous year, according to market research firm the NPD Group.

We’re not just eating more bacon, we’re also making better bacon (consider the proliferation of artisanal bacons and chefs curing their own bacon in house) and finding creative ways to enjoy it. There’s bacon butter, bacon soda, bacon-infused booze, and bacon ice cream, to name a few inspired iterations.

New York’s BarBacon is entirely devoted to porky provisions, especially the country’s best bacons, which can be paired with flights of craft beer or bourbon. You can get your bacon to go, as at Bacon Bacon, a popular food truck that roams the San Francisco Bay Area delivering bacon-fried chicken, bacon burgers, and bacon, belly, and butt tacos.

There are dedicated bacon brunches and bacon happy hours, and even a bacon challenge. At Paddy Long’s in Chicago, many have tried (and most have failed) to consume the famous five-pound bacon-wrapped bomb in 45 minutes or less.

Eating bacon doesn’t have to be a sport though. Bacon goes haute at Nashville’s Bound’ry, where it is dehydrated, pulverized, and used as a faux breadcrumb for a fried tomato salad. And it joins forces with another, if improbable, food trend—toast—when paired with puréed peas, mint, and olive oil at Vernick Food & Drink in Philadelphia.

In short, if you’ve thought of a way to consume bacon, we guarantee you someone else has, too. Here, an ode to America’s bacon mania.
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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Bacon • Meat • Restaurants • Travel


June 12th, 2014
12:30 PM ET
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday threw its weight and pocketbook behind the federal investigation of a California slaughterhouse where CNN exposed issues surrounding one of the biggest meat recalls in years.

The latest congressional action authorizes $1 million in additional funding to "provide for a swift completion" of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's probe into the Rancho Feeding Corporation.

Federal investigators have said they believe the Petaluma, California-based company bought diseased dairy cows and processed them when government inspectors weren't there. After the cows were killed, employees would hide the warning signs of cancer by trimming off diseased parts, using a fake stamp of approval or even replacing the heads of sick cows with ones from healthy animals.
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June 11th, 2014
05:00 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.

Vinaigrette may be the most useful sauce in any cook's repertoire, because in addition to dressing greens, it can be used as sauce for chicken, fish, and vegetables that have been grilled, poached, or steamed.

The ingredient list is short and method is simple. So what's the problem? Basic vinaigrette doesn't stay together. By the time you pour it over greens and get the salad to the table, this emulsified sauce has broken and you end up with overly vinegary and oily bites of salad. Which is where our recipe for a foolproof dressing that won't break comes in.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Condiment • Content Partner • Dishes • Ingredients • Salad


5@5 - Practically free ingredients
May 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's note: Brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee recently both hosted and cooked at the James Beard Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards ceremony. Their latest book, "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen" won an International Association of Culinary Professionals award in the American cookbooks category, and the duo are about to launch Cookbook Boot Camp, a two-day intensive workshop for professional chefs and others eager to publish cookbooks of quality.

Like many regions of the country, South Carolina's Lowcountry experienced a cold, hard winter that seemed like it would never end. And it wreaked more than a bit of havoc on the ingredients we forage for - and typically find abundant - come Spring. Something about their being less plentiful made us realize how much we love them and wish they had a bigger platform, a more prominent venue, leagues more supporters.

It’s exciting to have farmers in the South digging deep into seed banks, finding heirloom grains and legumes that haven’t been tasted for decades. But we’d also like to shine a light on these five naturalized plant ingredients that already grow in abundance and are often overlooked. So this is a call to action to chefs in the South - and elsewhere - to get hip to the brilliance of FREE FOOD.

5 practically free ingredients we wish more Southern chefs would use: Matt Lee and Ted Lee
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Filed under: 5@5 • Foraging • Local Food • Scorpacciata • Southern • Spring Vegetables • Think • Vegetables


May 2nd, 2014
08:13 PM ET
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CNN Exclusive by CNN Investigative Correspondent Chris Frates and CNN National Reporter Shannon Travis. 

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA - Earlier this year, a dusty little slaughterhouse in Northern California was ground zero for one of the biggest meat recalls in years. Rancho Feeding Corp. had called back nearly 9 million pounds of bad meat from thousands of unsuspecting stores across the country.

The story of how millions of pounds of bad meat – products the U.S. Department of Agriculture called “unfit for human food” - made it out into the world and triggered a criminal investigation is one of staggering deception and cancerous cows, federal officials familiar with the investigation tell CNN. And the plant where it all went down was also the setting for an illicit romance, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Federal investigators started surveillance on the California facility after getting a tip from a former Rancho employee. In January, federal marshals raided the Petaluma plant and seized the company's records. Days later, the first recall notice went out, officials said.

Investigators now believe that Rancho was buying diseased dairy cows and processing them when government inspectors weren’t there. After the cows were killed, employees would hide the warning signs of cancer by trimming off diseased parts, using a fake stamp of approval or even replacing the heads of sick cows with ones from healthy animals. It’s unclear which employees were involved, officials said.
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Frankenmeat: 'Not bad, actually'
April 30th, 2014
02:30 PM ET
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In a nondescript hotel ballroom last month at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, Andras Forgacs offered a rare glimpse at the sci-fi future of food.

Before an audience of tech-industry types, Forgacs produced a plate of small pink wafers - "steak chips," he called them - and invited people up for a taste. But these were no ordinary snacks: Instead of being harvested from a steer, they had been grown in a laboratory from tiny samples of animal tissue.

One taster's verdict on this Frankenmeat? Not bad, actually.
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Filed under: Food Politics • Food Science • Ingredients • Meat • Technology


How the Perfect Bacon Bowl created so much sizzle
April 7th, 2014
11:46 AM ET
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It's no secret that America loves its bacon. For proof, just look at the crazy success of the Perfect Bacon Bowl, As Seen on TV's newest sensation.

The Perfect Bacon Bowl resembles an upside-down plastic bowl. Wrap three strips of bacon around it, pop it in the oven, microwave or toaster oven and the bacon cooks in the shape of the container - a "bacon bowl." Then you fill it with whatever you want - scrambled eggs, dip, mac 'n cheese.

The Perfect Bacon Bowl debuted in November 2013 on As Seen on TV and almost immediately became a hit. Since then, more than two million boxes have been sold (they come two to a box and retail for $10.99).
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Filed under: Bacon • Marketing • Meat • Small Business • Stunt


April 4th, 2014
01:45 PM ET
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Larry Clinton of Bessemer City, North Carolina, has expressed a wish for his ashes to be buried in a Duke's mayonnaise jar. This is a sentiment behind which we can get.

Not only is the the best sandwich in the universe crafted expressly with Duke's mayonnaise - it also is a source of intense regional pride and identity, as we expounded upon in a mayoni-festo a while back.
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Filed under: Mayonnaise • Obsessions • Weird News


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