All Posts In News

Best Hack Ever: Icemaker Turned Candy Dispenser

by in News, October 27th, 2014

CandyBracing for the onslaught of itty-bitty bite-size Halloween candy that’s about to descend upon your home? Dreading the kitchen-storage issue it presents and wondering precisely how to portion it out to your children (and OK, sometimes, when no one’s looking, yourself)? Then this cool refrigerator hack will not leave you cold.

A Redditor named Deric Peace has turned his refrigerator’s automatic icemaker into a frozen candy dispenser: All he did was put candy where the freshly made ice usually goes. (Important note: Be sure to turn off your freezer’s ice-making function before attempting this.)

Peace, who calls the hack the “best thing” he’s ever done for himself, told Reddit commenters the idea came to him “in a flash,” explaining, “I thought of it while grabbing my last bit of Peanut Butter M&M’s from the bag, and as I looked at the freezer door, I said, hmmm. If this thing spits out cubes of ice, why not candy?!”

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Fruit Flies: Where They Come From and How to Banish Them

by in News, October 26th, 2014

FruitUgh. Fruit flies — so annoying. All it takes is one forgotten banana or neglected tomato and suddenly the airspace in your kitchen is more crowded than O’Hare on a holiday weekend. The little flying pests seem to arrive and multiply out of nowhere, leaving you wondering where, exactly, they come from and what is the best (and fastest!) way to get rid of them.

Let’s take those questions one at a time.

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Another “New Cronut”? Why Knot?

by in News, October 25th, 2014

Garlic KnotsYou’re probably pretty sick of hearing about whatever food trend seekers are currently dubbing the “new Cronut.” I know I am. But the latest food item upon which the label has been bestowed does sound rather tasty, though it has nothing to do with Dominique Ansel, the New York City pastry chef who created the croissant hybrid — the original Cronut — that started it all.

OK, OK, “the latest croissant hybrid that actually deserves a line around the block,” as Brooklyn Magazine describes it, is at the epicenter of self-aware Brooklyn hipsterism — Bushwick — and, more specifically, Roberta’s, maker of delish (albeit ultra-hyped) artisanal pizzas, which just started a takeaway outlet for those hoping to skip the long waits for a table. But the local mag calls the takeout joint’s new garlic knots “revelatory.”

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Rice: A Side Dish Takes Center Stage

by in News, October 23rd, 2014

Easy Parmesan For most of us here in the United States, rice may not always have seemed like the most-inspiring food: Plain, white, bland, sometimes mushy, the stuff our mothers served us was something we may have eaten with little relish. (Sorry, Mom.)

Recently, however, rice’s rep has been changing. Increasingly, American consumers’ palates are expanding to encompass more sophisticated (and more expensive) varieties — like jasmine, basmati, brown and black rice, wild rice, red rice and other exotic blends. Rice sales are growing, the Wall Street Journal reports, and while white long-grain rice is still preferred by many, “specialty” rice is starting to soak up more of the market.

So what, exactly, is driving this trend toward exotic grains? Factors may include our growing interest in foods that are “authentic” and unusual, as well as our desire to make healthier choices — opting for varieties that are higher in fiber or protein, according to the Journal. Plus, the fact that rice is gluten-free probably isn’t hurting sales, given the current popularity of avoiding the protein found in wheat and many other grains.

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Portable Espresso Maker Delivers a Shot of Caffeine with a Few Quick Pumps

by in News, October 22nd, 2014

MinipressoYou’re sitting in your office, your car, a hotel room or the middle of nowhere, or you’re on a biking or camping trip — or heck, you’re just lounging around at home — and you crave an espresso, bigtime, but you’re too far from a fancy machine to make you one. What do you do?

A startup industrial design firm in Hong Kong, Wacaco, is now offering a new way to answer that question: a small, hand-powered portable espresso machine that allows people to “pull their own drink on the go,” the Minipresso.

According to the Minipresso website, the cleverly designed DIY machine extracts at 116 psi, which, the site says, “is exactly the pressure produced by traditional piston-driven espresso machines.” Temperature has also been carefully considered. “Minipresso produces at ambient condition (75 degrees F), an espresso at perfect temperature (152 degrees F in cup) with a nice compact and persistent crema on top,” the machine’s makers maintain.

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America’s Best Burrito? You Be the Judge

by in News, October 21st, 2014

BurritoOn the flour-tortilla-wrapped face of it, finding America’s best burrito sounds like an impossible quest. For starters, how, given all the burrito-serving restaurants across the United States, do you taste all possible winners? And how, given the myriad permutations of burritos — the sheer volume and variety of techniques and fillings and flavors — do you compare different prospects? And then, how exactly can you quantify which is the best?

You’d have to be full of beans and un poco loco to even try such a thing, right?

Well, we don’t want to pass any judgments, but the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight.com recently flung itself full-force at the challenge, biting into burritos and crunching numbers — as only the site founded by statistician Nate Silver can — to arrive at a quantifiable winner.

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What’s So Wrong with Brunch?

by in News, October 18th, 2014

What's So Wrong with Brunch?Who knew brunch — that seemingly innocuous meal that ambivalently straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, that daytime gathering opportunity for those who stay out late and sleep in on weekends, that blood-sugar boon for those enamored of eggs Benedict and fancy frittatas, Bloody Marys and mimosas — could spark such controversy?

“Brunch Is for Jerks,” The New York Times declared on Friday (just before the weekend’s brunch-eating commenced), in a headline atop an opinion piece in which writer David Shaftel declares that he’s “through with brunch” and gripes that the hybrid meal has “spread like a virus from Sunday to Saturday” and “jumped the midafternoon boundary.”

The simmering “brunch backlash,” Shaftel observes, broke through to the mainstream after Strokes front man Julian Casablancas blamed brunch (and those who eat it on Saturdays) for his departure from New York City for parts less urban.

Oh, ho, ho, Shaftel, a former brunch admirer who traces his conversion to hitting 40 and having a kid, has some choice words for brunch. He calls it “a twice-weekly symbol of our culture’s increasing desire to reject adulthood” by throwing three-meal-a-day convention to the wind and “reveling in the naughtiness of waking up late, having cocktails at breakfast and eggs all day.” It is, he says, “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.”

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Wassup with Wasabi? That Green Stuff Next to Your Sushi Is Totally Faking It

by in News, October 17th, 2014

WasabiWe have no myth-busting news to impart about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but we do have one bubble to burst: That little ball of green stuff you’ve been mixing into your soy sauce and calling wasabi all your life is, in fact, not wasabi at all, reports Washington Post Wonkblogger Roberto A. Ferdman. So, um, what is it?

Ferdman quotes sushi expert Trevor Corson: “ … it’s just plain old horseradish, plus some mix of mustard extract, citric acid, yellow dye no. 5 and blue dye no. 1. It comes in big industrial bags as a powder, and the chefs mix it with water before dinner to make that caustic paste.”

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Sweet, Creamy Coffee with Toast on the Side: Donnie Wahlberg Dishes on His Morning Brew

by in News, October 16th, 2014

Donnie WahlbergAlthough a morning cup of joe is surely a way to guarantee a jolt of energy when you need it the most, for many, making and drinking coffee goes beyond the daily caffeine fix. From sipping espresso and people watching at an alfresco cafe to sharing a just-brewed batch with friends at the local diner, coming together over coffee is a tried-and-true tradition, and Keurig is out to make it easier to do that with their new Say Hello with Keurig 2.0 campaign, featuring actor and musician Donnie Wahlberg and focused on encouraging meaningful face time.

FN Dish recently caught up with Donnie, who plays a high-ranking detective on CBS’ Blue Bloods, to find out more about his morning coffee routine and to see if he’s able to resist the police-station temptation of coffee and doughnuts

If you could enjoy a cup of coffee with anyone in the world, whom would you choose?
Donnie Wahlberg: I’d probably choose the president, and I would have a real conversation with him. … Even if I don’t agree with every policy he has, I think he’d be a fascinating person to sit down with.

How do you take your cup of coffee in the morning?
DB: Decaf [with] half-and-half and two Splendas — which is awful. You shouldn’t use sweeteners, but I can’t help it.

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Pure and Simple: The Cold Truth About Clear Ice

by in News, October 15th, 2014

Ice CubesA restaurant in D.C. is making waves for levying an surcharge on patrons who want to savor their cocktails with perfectly crystal-clear ice cubes. To be fair, the equipment needed to make crystal clear ice cubes can be expensive for restaurants, reaching the mid four figures — and if you want to do it yourself, it’s a whole process, involving coolers and chisels.

The advantage to clear ice isn’t just aesthetic — a byproduct of the clear-ice-cube-making process is denser, more slowly melting ice, which will dilute rocks drinks more slowly. That said, a large cube of not-clear ice will do almost as good a job. Use a large silicone ice cube tray to make 2-by-2-inch cubes or spheres that are perfect for sipping drinks.

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