November 12th, 2013
12:30 AM ET
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Editor's Note: 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.

What one line do you find in nearly every savory recipe? “Season with salt and pepper.”

But not all salts and peppers are created equal. Here are 12 we like to cook with.

Sea Salt
Most sea salt comes from seawater held in large, shallow ponds or large pans. As the water evaporates—naturally or by heating—coarse salt crystals fall to the bottom. The crystals are then collected by raking. We sprinkle sea salt on salad, meat, and cooked vegetables just before serving so that it maintains its satisfying crunch. Our favorite, Maldon Sea Salt, has especially delicate, crunchy flakes.
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November 8th, 2013
08:45 AM ET
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It's a meticulous harvest which forbids the use of a spade, let alone tractors.

Crouched deep within a field full of purple crocuses, groups of villagers come together every year for a back-breaking fortnight, harvesting saffron.

With great precision, and grubby fingernails, flowers containing the rare, precious spice are snapped away from the stems and dropped inside white buckets.
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Filed under: Big Business • Business and Farming News • Farms • Greece • Spices


October 24th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
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Editor's note: Keri Gans is a registered dietitian/nutritionist, media personality, author of "The Small Change Diet" and spokeswoman for Aetna's "What's Your Healthy?" campaign.

Your mom probably never gave you better advice than when she said, "Eat your fruits and veggies."

But eating healthy may seem harder come fall, when favorite produce options dwindle and less familiar ones appear.

Never fear. Now that warm months are gone - and with them the berries, corn and other produce we find easier to incorporate into our diets - a new menu of foods is available to keep you healthy and happy.
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August 31st, 2013
06:30 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

It may technically be a Saturday, but it sure feels like Fry-day to us - August 31 is National Bacon Day.

While the bacon craze may have reached peak sizzle in the last decade, with dedicated festivals, bacon-based couture, and appearances in non-breakfast courses from sundaes to cocktails, America's fixation with delicious strips of cured pork is nothing new.
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August 30th, 2013
05:50 PM ET
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Today, a federal appeals court decided to uphold California's statewide ban on the production and sale of foie gras, the French delicacy of fattened duck or goose liver. The ban went into effect on July 1, 2012.

The plaintiffs - the Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec (a Canadian association of duck and geese farmers), California-based Hot's Restaurant Group and New York's Hudson Valley Foie Gras - asserted the ban interfered with interstate commerce and was too vaguely worded.

Judge Harry Pregerson wrote the opinion for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying: "Plaintiffs give us no reason to doubt that the State believed that the sales ban in California may discourage the consumption of products produced by force feeding birds and prevent complicity in a practice that it deemed cruel to animals."
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Filed under: Animal Rights • Foie Gras • Food Politics • Meat


August 30th, 2013
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.

Oh, those clever folks at Amstel Bulgaria, always pushing the boundaries. This week came news that they’d installed a beer vending machine on a street in Sofia that - and this is the genius part - would give you a free beer for doing nothing.
 
That meant really doing nothing, i.e., standing there for three minutes in front of the machine, not talking, not texting, not looking around, not dancing a jig, nada. But if you could manage to hold mind and body perfectly still for three minutes, hey, presto, here’s your beer.
 
In light of the Labor Day holiday, it seems to me that being given beer for doing nothing is particularly apt. You’ve worked enough: Now you must relax. Of course, beer vending machines aren’t likely to take off in the US anytime soon, unless they can figure out how to make them check IDs, too, but it’s still a nice dream.

And in the meantime, thanks to the craft beer world’s fascination with high-alcohol beers, here are a few potent - and very good - brews that will pretty much force you to relax (though, of course, you could just down a couple of Amstels, too, if you wanted).
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Filed under: Beer • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Labor Day • Lobster • Shellfish • Sip


Get your claws on these lobster-friendly wines
August 23rd, 2013
10:30 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.

There’s been a fair amount of news recently about the unexpectedly low price of lobster this summer. Due to warming waters and, apparently, a whole lot of randy lobsters as a result, we are in the midst of a lobster glut. The current wholesale price for the things is about $3 a pound, give or take.

While your local restaurant’s so-called “market price” for a lobster may not remotely resemble that number, retail prices are good in fish markets and grocery stores, and in Maine, where I am right now, they’re absurdly low.
 
So what wine goes best with these happily hypnotizable crustaceans? (Seriously: If you stand a lobster on its head with its claws out in front, and stroke its back, it will just balance there, motionless, for quite some time. Excellent party trick.) To get an answer to that question, I stopped by to see Scott Worcester, who runs Sawyer’s Specialties, a bizarrely good wine store in Southwest Harbor, Maine; bizarrely good, because he stocks several hundred terrific wines in a town with only 1,700 people or so.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Lobster • Shellfish • Sip • Wine


iReport: Buffalo fried cicadas
August 21st, 2013
03:30 PM ET
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Nick Schwartz of Fishkill, New York-based Plan Bee Farm Brewery recently joined CNN iReport and decided to share the story of his first-ever attempt at insect-based cooking back in June.

During the Brood II cicada swarm of 2013, he spotted what he describes as thousands of the creatures hanging out in trees and making a buzzing sound comparable to that of a low-flying airplane. So many, in fact, that while he was fishing in Fishkill, he caught a brown trout that appeared to have ingested several cicadas in its belly.
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Filed under: Insects • iReport


August 16th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
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With enough practice any hack can create a CAD rendering of a blender or produce an iPhone mockup that'll earn hundreds of likes on Dribbble, but designing a device that convinces people to make a meal out of maggots? That requires a special level of skill. Designer Katharina Unger is on a mission to make eating insects irresistible.

The recent graduate from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and current Fulbright Scholar devoted her thesis project, called Farm 432: Insect Breeding, to developing an appliance that incubates insects for human consumption. The striking blue and white vessel is stocked with one gram of black soldier fly eggs, and over a period of 18 days, the eggs move through the device's chambers, gestating, reproducing, and ultimately producing 2.4 kilograms of nutritious, if slightly nauseating, fly larva.
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Filed under: Food Science • Insects • Technology


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