Gee, this wine tastes hamtastic!
April 18th, 2014
01:45 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.

Easter and ham. Sure, there are plenty of people whose idea of Easter dinner is roasting up an herb–crusted leg of lamb (or chowing down on a bucketful of Peeps), but if you ask me, ham is the classic Easter food. The rest of the country seems to agree—U.S. ham sales climb to 10 times normal during the week leading up to Easter.
 
This situation, of course, leads to the question: What wine do you pair with ham? The answer is easier once you know a couple of the basic facts about pairing wine and food, specifically regarding salt.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Easter • Food and Wine • Sip • Wine


Lotsa matzo! Great new Jewish restaurants
April 16th, 2014
12:30 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.

The history of Jewish cooking is long. Almost as long is the history of jokes about Jewish cooking. (A bad matzo ball makes a good paperweight. Hahahahaha.)

Just about everyone—with the possible exception of Jewish food joke writers—will be glad to hear that we’re in a new era of Jewish cuisine. No offense to anyone’s grandmother, but several places are using well-sourced ingredients to make superior versions of brisket, babka, and of course, matzo balls.

Here they are, the great new Jewish culinary destinations. When you visit, remember this piece of classic Jewish humor: Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.
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April 14th, 2014
08:15 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.

Yep, it’s true. Mere days before Passover, Manischewitz, the most well-known maker of kosher wine (not to mention matzos), has been sold. The announcement came this past Tuesday; the buyer was Sankaty Advisors, an affiliate of Bain Capital.

Never mind that Bain’s most famous co-founder was, of course, Mitt Romney, who’s Mormon and a non-drinker—there’s some sort of cosmic unlikeliness there that’s just too strange for the brain to handle. But I am going to go out on a limb and say, regardless of who will now profit from all of those many bottles of Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, there are other choices out there for Passover. And some of them are actually very good.

Here are five to look for.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Passover • Sip • Wine


April 11th, 2014
03:00 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 full­time 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.

Hear us out: Everyone and their grandmother makes a traditional brisket for the Seder main course, so why not shake things up a bit with our barbecued brisket? The weather is finally warm enough to grill outside without five down parkas (knock on wood), and doing so will free up your oven space for other dishes like roast carrots, salt-roasted potatoes or oven-roasted salmon (if you’re going for a surf-and-turf effect). Whether you’re in Kansas City, Texas or Jerusalem, the key to good barbecued brisket is the right balance of smoke, fat, moisture and tenderness. A low temperature for a long period of time is a given for this tough cut of meat. We’ve developed a few other strategies as well:
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Bite • Content Partner • Holiday • Holidays • Passover • Passover • Recipes


April 9th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Punjab, India, in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 13, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

Chances are if you've ordered from an Indian restaurant in the United States, the intensely colored and spiced dishes have been Punjabi in origin.

"Most of the good stuff we refer to simply as Indian food comes from here," host Anthony Bourdain says in the season three premiere of "Parts Unknown," where he travels to the northern region of the world's second most populated country.

In Amritsar, India's holy city of the Sikh religion, carnivorously-inclined Bourdain finds himself among a bounty of vegetables cooked in rich, spicy gravies served with freshly baked kulcha, a type of flatbread, out of clay ovens.
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April 9th, 2014
12:05 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.

What do Arinto, Baga, Castelão, Alfrocheiro, Rabigato, Códega do Larinho and Esgana Cão (which, rather evocatively, translates as “dog strangler”) all have in common? They’re all Portuguese grape varieties, which means they are grown in the place that is currently winning my award for most exciting wine country in the world that the U.S. doesn’t know enough about.
 
Wine’s been made in Portugal for at least a couple of thousand years. Wine lovers here tend to know about one or two Portuguese categories—the crisp whites of Vinho Verde, sweet port from the Douro Valley, fizzy pink Mateus in its oddly shaped bottle.

But there are terrific wines being made up and down the length of this country, white and red, from a plethora of local as well as international grapes. Plus, the quality of the country’s winemaking is at an all-time high.

Here’s a start: Four Portuguese regions worth looking into, with a recommended wine or two for each.
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'Round the vend - what food can you get from a machine?
April 8th, 2014
12:21 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.

Spring! Finally! Farmers markets are in full effect, boasting gorgeous and colorful fruits and vegetables straight from the ground, the trees, the bushes.

So this seems like a good time to take stock of all the awesome things you can now get straight from a machine. Asia and Europe have been way ahead of the United States in terms of vending machine cuisine, but now we’re starting to catch up. Happily, a lot of this food is, if not exactly fresh from the soil, at least frequently refreshed inside the vending machine case.
 
Take this quiz to reinforce just how rich America’s vending machine bounty now is.

Which following foods are available from vending machines in the U.S.?

1. Caviar
2. Salad
3. Pizza
4. Champagne
5. Cupcakes
6. Pie
7. Wine
8. Ice cream
9. Burritos
10. French Fries
 
Good luck!
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April 3rd, 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.

For decades, the rule of thumb for recipes has been “serves 4 to 6,” or even more. But many families don’t fit this mold, leaving small households stuck with days of leftovers and lots of waste. Cooks can scale recipes on the fly, hoping they come out right, but kitchen math isn’t as simple as cutting ingredients in half—cooking times and temperatures need to be adjusted, and equipment has to be reconsidered.

Enter our new book, "The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook." Part kitchen manual, part cookbook, it’s the first of its kind to engineer recipes from the ground up for the two-person household.

The test kitchen has spent more than 20 years developing bulletproof recipes for dishes like meatloaf, lasagna, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. Like most recipes, ours typically serve four, six, and sometimes more.

But we’ve realized that households change over time or through circumstance. Our readers started to echo this sentiment. Whether they were single parents, empty nesters, or newlyweds, they wanted recipes for the dishes we’d been developing for years, but they wanted them scaled to serve just two.
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Urban farmer: 'If I do not farm, I’ll get sick.'
April 2nd, 2014
01:00 AM 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. In honor of the SFA's featured oral history project, Women Who Farm: Georgia, we’re sharing “She Spoke and I Listened” by Sara Wood, the group's oral historian.

The evening I met Haylene Green, an urban farmer in Atlanta, Georgia, rain mercilessly poured on midtown Atlanta—and on me. I squeaked across the lobby of Ms. Green’s apartment building and followed her to a small room in the basement. There, she opened a thick photo album with pages of fruits and vegetables from her West End community garden. And she started talking. I put the recording equipment together as fast as I’ve ever assembled it. My job was simple: She spoke, and I listened. All of her answers were stories.

Speaking of his book "The Storied South" on a radio program, folklorist Bill Ferris recently said something that stopped me in my kitchen: “When you ask a Southerner to answer a question, they will tell a story. And embedded in that story is the information that they feel is the answer to the question.”

Oral history, like the most satisfying literature, relies on listening and observation. The way people speak, how they tell stories, where they choose to pause and scratch their nose, to me, is the greatest part of listening. Being an oral historian or a writer requires you to listen as though your life depends on it. What seems like a simple acts is actually the heart of the work. To that end, I share an excerpt from my interview with a farmer who also happens to be a storyteller.

Haylene Green’s Story
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