In my early twenties, I moved from my hometown of Portland, Ore. to Philadelphia. It was a big move, made even more challenging by the fact that I only knew one person my own age in the entire city (as lovely as it was to be near my 86-year-old grandmother, eating dinner with her at 5 p.m. did not constitute a social life). I knew that my success in Philly was going to hinge in large part on finding friends as quickly as possible. So I got involved.
I hooked up with a cycling club (though my skills on two wheels were shaky at best), joined the Unitarian church down the street and started attending a book club. The reason I was most drawn to these particular gathering points? They all included regular potlucks.
Six ways to be a good potluck attendee »
You’ll probably feel pretty stupid calling it “squeaky cheese,” but as soon as you take a bite you’ll understand why it makes sense.
Sometimes called Greek grilling cheese, halloumi is just that — a dense cheese that holds its shape and won’t drip through the grates when grilled.
And when you chew it? It makes a squeaky sound against your teeth.
Luckily, mouth noises aren’t the real selling point of this cheese. Taste and versatility are what will drive you to find this relative of feta cheese.
Traditionally made from sheep’s milk on the island of Cyprus, halloumi today often is made from a blend of milk from of sheep, goats and cows.
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Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.
As a lover of all things dairy, I especially like sour cream, yogurt, crème fraiche and buttermilk because they add “tang” to my cooking. They get their base flavor from friendly bacterial cultures that actively convert the natural sugars in milk lactic acid through fermentation. So if each of these four tangy dairy variants gets its signature acid zip the same way, what makes them different?
Sour Cream: Take cream, add those miraculous cultures, allow fermentation to partially run its course, and voila. It’s has such a thick texture, it can stand on its own. A dollop of sour cream on a baked Idaho or sweet potato is just delicious. I love adding sour cream to blue cheese dressing instead of mayonnaise. Hot blueberry pancakes topped with cold sour cream? It’s so creamy against the fruit.
Yogurt, crème fraiche and buttermilk »
The first day of school has come and gone, and now it’s time to go grocery shopping with school lunches in mind. Just as adults do, kids crave variety, options and creativity in their everyday meals and especially in their lunchboxes. This year, avoid untouched lunches and hungry, unfocused kids by replacing tired selections with new and fun choices sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
Switch up the predictable rotation of turkey-cheese and peanut butter-jelly sandwiches with Ellie Krieger’s kid-approved Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. Made with whole-grain pasta and loaded with veggies and calcium-rich cheese, this colorful salad will be a welcomed surprise in a lunchbox that’s usually filled with soggy sandwiches.
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When my parents got married in 1970, they did so on a grassy hilltop, overlooking San Francisco. The reception afterward was held in a rented church hall and the meal was potluck. My wedding, which was held in my cousin’s backyard 39 years and one month later, was similarly catered.
I’ve been to hundreds of potlucks, large and small, in my 32 years here on Earth. From the weekly Monday night potlucks at my childhood church to the decidedly basic college potlucks of cheese, chips and bean dip, I find that there is always something joyful in the act of gathering to share food.
This time of year, as we head into the busyness of the school year and the rush of the holiday season, it can be easy to lose touch with friends and family. Put a few get-together dates on the calendar and plan to potluck the meal. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re the one who’s hosting.
5 must-have tips for hosting a potluck »
Are you about over the pomegranate trend yet?
If so, you might want to revisit it one more time. But this time we aren’t talking about chugging the juice or turning it into fancy cocktails.
This time it’s pomegranate molasses, a thick, syrupy concentrate that is sweet and tart and as delicious as it sounds.
To explain pomegranate molasses, we ought to start with the fruit itself.
Pomegranates originated in Western Asia and the Mediterranean, with the best supposedly coming from Iran. The trees produce large, usually red orb-like fruits filled with edible seeds, each of which is covered by a juice-filled membrane.
Seven delicious ways to use pomegranate molasses »
Every week, Mark Oldman — wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers — shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he’ll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.
Contrary to common conception, it isn’t easy being the “wine guy” in restaurants — your tablemates assume you always have a divining rod to the best bottle. But what happens when you don’t get a good bottle? Or when you get a spoiled one? How do you politely send it back without being a jerk?
It was with extreme caution last week that I was in this exact situation: I sent back a bottle of wine at a New York restaurant. Although the server didn’t know of my connection to wine, she had already generously offered me tastes of two other wines they had by the glass. I turned them down gently and instead went with another, a red that she swore by.
Find out how to send a bottle of wine back politely »
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and after a long three-month vacation, kids will be heading back to school in just days. Savor these last homework and activity-free days with friends and family, and prepare quick and easy, in-season recipes that can be made in minutes.
Leave it to 30-minute mogul Rachael Ray to concoct an impressive and flavorful burger in just a half hour. Her BBQ Chicken Burgers With Slaw (pictured above) from Food Network are packed with tangy barbecue flavors, including Worcestershire and hot sauces, garlic and grill seasoning. Topped with a mayo-free cabbage slaw, these burgers are not only filling, but healthful as well.
More quick and easy Labor Day recipes »
Imagine crossing a monster potato with a water chestnut.
That’s jicama for you. And while not much to look at on the outside, the crisp, crunchy texture and clean, sweet flavor inside make this veggie worth seeking out.
First, the basics. Jicama (pronounced HICK-a-MA) is a tuber — a big brown round root. A relative of the bean family, it is native to Mexico and South America.
Though most often eaten raw, such as chopped into salads, jicama can be steamed, boiled, sautéed or fried. And so long as you don’t overcook it, jicama retains its pleasantly crisp texture (think fresh apple) when cooked.
The flavor is on the neutral side, with a hint of starchy sweetness. It really is quite similar to water chestnuts, and can be substituted for them.
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There’s still a couple weeks of warm weather left and what better way to soak up the sun than with a frosty milkshake, at home. But what makes a good milkshake and how can someone at home re-create something as thick and delicious as they’d get at a restaurant?
At the recent Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, I had what I thought was the best milkshake from Bill’s Bar & Burger — a simple cookies and cream concoction. I had to find out their secret to a successful milkshake. I caught up with the creator, Brett Reichler, Corporate Executive Chef for BR Guest Hospitality, several weeks later for the answer.
According to Chef Reichler, there’s no such thing as a bad milkshake. “It’s a pretty personal thing — a person may like a thicker shake over a thinner, or vice versa,” he said. “I prefer a cookies and cream milkshake on the thicker side.” While his first choice is simple, he’s created everything from classic chocolate and vanilla milkshakes to popular flavors like the Apple Pie, Cheesecake, Strawberry and a Campfire Milkshake with toasted marshmallow on top.
5 Tips for the Perfect Milkshake at Home »