When Food Network Magazine went looking for the best edible gift from every state for our 50 States, 50 Food Gifts story, we hit a snag in Missouri: We were torn between toasted ravioli, a St. Louis classic and this famous, cartoonishly tall Caramel Pecan Levee High Apple Pie from Kimmswick ($47, plus overnight shipping; theblueowl.com). The ravioli ended up in the story, but we think the 9-inch-tall pie deserves a shout-out this year: Twenty years ago, a flood almost destroyed Kimmswick, but volunteers built a levee to save the town. The pie is a nod to the high levee. See the rest of the gifts here.
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Spices like cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg have been used for centuries in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cooking to bring out rich, meaty flavors in savory dishes. Try adding a pinch or two of your favorite baking spice to a rub for meat, or drop a cinnamon stick into simmering tomato sauce. Just remember: A little goes a long way.
Each month, thousands of Food Network Magazine readers submit clever names for the back page’s Name This Dish contest. Previous dishes include coconut fried chicken (winning name: “Hawaii Fried-O“), a stacked salad (“Produce Stand“) and even fried ice cream (“Fryer and Ice“). In the October 2013 issue, we asked readers to dream up names for this steak sandwich (pictured above). Some of our favorites were:
Red Deer, Alberta
Pop quiz: What are the top-five grocery items sold during the week of Thanksgiving, excluding turkey? The obvious — milk, eggs and butter — are top-sellers year-round, including Thanksgiving week, but we were surprised that beer came in fifth across the country, beating out canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce. The fourth most popular item? That depends on which side of the country you’re on: East Coasters buy record amounts of cream cheese, while those in the West are big on packaged fried onions.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Don’t be fooled by the label “Grade A” on a bottle of maple syrup: It’s no better than Grade B. Grade B syrup is darker and has a stronger maple flavor; Grade A is milder. We prefer Grade B for cooking (we used it in a Kale-Sesame Chicken Salad for Food Network Magazine). Both grades are more expensive than the imitation stuff (“pancake syrup”), but real maple syrup is worth the splurge.
(Photograph by Lara Robby/Studio D.)
Pick up an extra bag of cranberries this year and dye a set of napkins for Thanksgiving. Put white cotton napkins in a simmering pot of 8 cups water mixed with 1/2 cup salt for 1 hour (this will help seal the dye later). Meanwhile, simmer 2 cups each cranberries, cranberry juice and water for 30 minutes in another pot, mashing the cranberries; strain and return the liquid to the pot. Rinse the napkins in cold water, squeeze dry and leave one end in the cranberry liquid for 4 hours. Rinse again, squeeze and hang to dry.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Bakers often use coffee in brownies and cakes to bring out the chocolate flavor. But coffee works just as well in savory recipes — especially slow-cooked dishes like Food Network Magazine‘s Slow-Cooker Chili. Try adding a shot to tomato sauce, gravy or stew, and if you don’t have brewed coffee, just dilute a little instant espresso.