All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

4 Things You May Not Know About Hanukkah Gelt

by in News, December 24th, 2014

Hanukkah GeltHanukkah gelt, those shiny, foil-wrapped chocolate coins we give to kids — or devour ourselves, when no one’s looking — are a holiday staple in many Jewish households. They have a nostalgic worth way beyond their actual flavor or their price tag, which is usually around $1.50 per sack, though you can pay significantly more for higher-end organic, fair-trade “artisan” coins.

You can use gelt (aka “money”) to gamble with in a game of dreidel (though a greedy winner may get a stomachache along with his or her bragging rights), pile them into a bowl for a holiday centerpiece or simply hand them around after the candles on the menorah are lit and warmly flickering.

You know the holiday experience doesn’t feel totally complete without these glimmering discs, but here are a few things you might not know about Hanukkah gelt:

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Are These Exotic Veggies Poised to Break Out in 2015?

by in News, December 19th, 2014

Mixed VegetablesIf your plans for 2015 include vegging out – as in eating more vegetables – you don’t have to stick with the same old same old. You may as well branch out, like Kalettes spreading their green and purple leaves, into the (relatively) new and different:

Kaletttes? These new hybrid veggies, a cross between a Brussels sprout and kale that’s known to be milder and less earthy than its progenitors, were developed by Britain’s Tozer Seeds and introduced in the United States in 2014. Resembling tiny purple cabbages and featuring a slightly nutty flavor, Kalettes are one of several exotic vegetables that NPR’s The Salt blog predicts are poised for a breakout moment in the coming year, as we cooks and eaters loosen our grips on the comfort foods we clung to during the recession and reach for more adventurous options.

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Shaquille O’Neal Sure Has a Way with an Easy-Bake Oven

by in News, December 18th, 2014

Basketball CourtCould hosting a cooking show be in O’Neal’s future? If his appearance in a recent, totally charming YouTube video (click the play button on the video below) is any indication, he is clearly ready.

In the video, the former NBA superstar (or “the world’s most-sexiest man,” as he IDs himself here) shows off his Easy-Bake Oven skills, proving he knows his way around measuring, mixing, counting and baking — or actually none of the above.

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All You Want for Hanukkah Is a Chicken-Finger-Latke Hybrid? Done!

by in News, December 16th, 2014

Nothing says Hanukkah like a latke crossed with a chicken finger. After all, the holiday is all about making the most of miraculous oil.

Perhaps with that partly in mind, the creative forces behind Sticky’s Finger Joint, New York City’s gourmet chicken-strip mecca, have come up with the perfect way to celebrate the Jewish festival of lights: a hybrid of a latke and a chicken finger that they’re calling simply The Latka.

Sticky’s is no stranger to whimsical regionally or ethnically inspired recipes. (Nor is it unfamiliar to Food Network fans, who will remember the eatery from 3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay.) The “handcrafted fingers” listed on its menu include a Wasabi finger, a Classic General Tso, the Tex-Mex-style Fiesta finger and the marinara-inflected Bada Bing. But the Latka, which features Sticky’s antibiotic-, hormone- and cruelty-free chicken marinated in buttermilk, onion and apple sauce, coated with grated onions, shredded potato and matzoh meal, and fried until golden and crispy – is especially close to co-founder Paul Abrahamian’s heart.

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The Future of Food: Food Network Kitchen Reveals the Trends to Look for in 2015

by in News, December 16th, 2014

The Future of Food: Food Network Kitchen Reveals the Trends to Look for in 2015What do Dewitos (that would be Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew), Candy Cane Candy Corn and Turkey & Stuffing Mini Doughnuts have in common? Yes, they are all things you’ve read about on this blog in the past few months. They are also a harbinger of things to come.

Food Network Kitchen has surveyed the food-trend landscape and gazed into its crystal ball to come up with its forecast for 2015, predicting what we’ll “order, eat, watch and read this year.”

First on the list? “Stunt Snacks” like Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Pringles and Oreo Churros. Consumer product companies “are forgoing the extensive testing and marketing work that comes with launching new products in favor of shocking tweaks to existing ones, grabbing consumers’ attention with a no-apologies celebration of the packaged and the processed,” the Food Network Kitchen team notes. In 2015 we can look for more “collisions of sweet and salty,” “candy bar-flavored sodas” and “flavors found nowhere in nature.”

Here are a few other food trends Food Network Kitchen predicts we’ll see more of in 2015:

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Trend Watch: Food-Inspired Dog Names

by in News, December 14th, 2014

Trend Watch: Food-Inspired Dog NamesWould you name your dog Coconut? How about Kale? Stoli? Scotch? Barley?

Forget Fido. Slide over, Spot. Food-inspired names are apparently all the rage on the puppy scene. Rover.com, a site that helps match pet owners (the site refers to them as “pet parents”) with local dog sitters and calls itself “the nation’s Airbnb for dogs,” has released the results of its annual survey of popular dog names. And while pop-culture-rooted names (think: Rocky and Chewbacca) were de rigueur for dogs last year, in 2014 the naming trend is all about food-themed dog names, which rose in popularity 37 percent this year.

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Home Sweet $77,910 Gingerbread Home

by in News, December 7th, 2014

The Most Precious Gingerbread House (VeryFirstTo)The Most Precious Gingerbread House (VeryFirstTo)

Sure, you could build your own gingerbread house this holiday season – laboring over the icing and gumdrop placement to get them just so. But if you happen to have $77,910 rattling around in your pocket, have an affinity for ginger and gems, and take deep pride in your home, luxury-launches website VeryFirstTo.com has a better idea: The Most Precious Christmas Gingerbread House Ever.

The U.K.-based site has teamed up with Le Cordon Bleu-trained, high-end cake baker Georgia Green, of Georgia’s Cakes, to offer what it says is the “world’s most expensive gingerbread house” – made in the precise image of your own home. The house features “150 AAAA grade South Sea Pearls and a 5 carat unheated Mozambique Ruby,” the company notes, all set lovingly (and one hopes somewhat securely) within curlicues of icing. (You can order your house with extra pearls for an additional fee.) After you devour the bespoke cake, these treasures remain with you as a keepsake.

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Raising Rice Krispies Treats to High Art

by in News, December 6th, 2014

Raising Rice Krispies Treats to High ArtWe think of Rice Krispies Treats as the happy taste of childhood as well as a school bake-sale staple. New York food artist Jessica Siskin, who goes by Misterkrisp on Instagram, clearly thinks of them as sculpting material, perfect for fashioning whimsical edible art.

Siskin, a former fashionista who is currently pursuing her master of fine arts in creative writing, says she began making edible Rice Krispies Treat sculptures two years ago. She had a breakthrough moment one night when she figured out she could add food coloring to the standard side-of-the-cereal-box recipe. She instantly felt compelled to fashion herself a Rice Krispies Treat cheeseburger — and then continued to experiment with other designs.

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Rachael Ray and Fellow Food Lovers Do Good and Give Back

by in News, December 5th, 2014

Rachael RayThe holidays are a time of giving, and by that we don’t mean just the stuff you wrap in pretty paper, tie with a bow and tuck under the tree or exchange in the glow of your menorah – or whatever your tradition may be. It’s a time of reaching out and helping others. But sometimes, that sentiment can get lost in the doorbuster, cybersale rush of it all.

The national movement called #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 as an antidote to the acquisition fever that grips us during the holiday shopping season – the anti-Black Friday or Cyber Monday. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, businesses, charities, community centers, celebrities, and regular folks like you and me were encouraged to do something to give back – through charitable contributions, volunteerism or just doing a lovely, generous thing for another person.

All sorts of people and lots of organizations thought up wonderful ways to help.

Food Network’s Rachael Ray, for instance, helped make a little boy named Ben’s dreams come true. Ben’s response when he found out that Rachael had worked out a way for him to check off not one but two items on his to-see list (Ben is steadily losing his sight) is priceless. Watch here.

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Candy Corn a Christmas Food? Well, Yes, Actually

by in News, December 4th, 2014

Candy Cane Candy CornCandy corn has always been kind of a fall thing, a delicious harvest-colored treat you gobble by the handful around Halloween until your teeth ache and your belly rebels. Yeah, we’ve all been there.

But now – teeth and belly objections aside — you don’t have to stop eating candy corn just because the seasons change. Candy corn can be a winter thing, too: Brach’s has just introduced a version that looks and tastes like Christmas.

Brach’s new Candy Cane Candy Corn features the familiar kernel shape, but swaps in green and red for the usual yellow and orange. Each kernel’s tip is green, its center is white and its base is red.

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