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Five Secret Cooking Oils of Sub-Saharan Africa

by , October 3rd, 2014

 

Nara Seeds

Thoughts of travel in Africa may conjure images of lions and elephants, or safaris seeking photographic trophies or even hidden treasures. True, this is all on offer, but for the culinary adventurer there are different kinds of quests to be had — especially when looking for ingredients to cook with. On a recent safari in Namibia, I “discovered” a rare oil derived from the endemic !nara plant (pronounced with a click sound followed by “na-ra”), which adds a unique, fruity and nutty flavor to meats and vegetables. It’s one of several “secret” oils found all around the continent if you look hard enough.

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Thai Government Builds Robot to Judge Quality of Food

by , October 3rd, 2014

Thai food robot

Everyone knows that a zombie apocalypse will never happen. Some kind of virus that turns us into unstoppable, and hungry, killing machines? Yeah right. A robot apocalypse, however, is absolutely within the realm of possibility. Introducing a robot that knows if food tastes good or not, brought to you by the Thai government.

The Thai Delicious Committee recently unveiled the robot as insurance against crappy Thai food. Essentially, they send the robot around the world to make sure nobody is screwing up any of their national dishes. This nameless, unfeeling robot is outfitted with a bevy of sensors that analyze the chemical signatures of a variety of Thai staples. It then awards the dish a score of 1 to 100. If it falls below 80, the robot sends the offending chef on a ‘vacation.’ OK, that last part is made up. They just get a bad score.

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Hump Day Snack: Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

by , October 1st, 2014

Caramel Apple Cake

Although Mother Nature may still be confused, we’re certain that it’s officially the season of crisp red apples, warm spices and changing leaves. Take advantage of early apples to make this gorgeous baked take on classic caramel apples.  Besides embodying all of the colors of fall, this Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream hits on the flavor, too, combining applesauce, cinnamon, brown sugar and caramel. For a sweet, surprising finish, top the cake with homemade caramel apples!

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Surprising Ways to Eat Your Oats

by , October 1st, 2014

Oat Meatloaf
There’s no doubt oats are a healthy food. After all, they’re packed with soluble fiber (the kind that helps lower your cholesterol and helps keep your blood sugar from spiking) and they’re relatively low in calories (1/3 cup of dry oats clocks in at 100 calories). They also give you a smattering of B vitamins and minerals (including a whopping amount of manganese, which you need for healthy bones). But if you’re finding yourself bored by the regular old morning oatmeal with brown sugar, it’s time to embrace new ways to eat oats.

Steel-cut oats are the perfect backdrop for savory toppings. A fast option is topping it with a dollop of peanut butter, a squirt of sriracha and some diced pineapple. Or bring steel-cut oats to the brunch table by topping with sauteed onions and peppers, cilantro, black beans and queso fresco. You can go the route of cooking steel-cut oats in a slow-cooker overnight, or try quick-cooking steel cut oats to work them easily into a quick meal.

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Sifted: Coffee Ice Cream with Animal Cookies, Chinese Sausage Carbonara + More

by , September 30th, 2014

Coffe Icecream with Circus Animal Cookie Crumbs

Hot Links We’re Loving:

  • So much better than dunking a biscotti in some coffee: Hummingbird High whips up a fun batch of No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream with Circus Animal Cookie Crumbs, mixing morsels of the iced-and-sprinkled childhood classics into each caffeinated scoop.
  • As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But when i am a food blog reinvents classic creamy-without-cream carbonara pasta to incorporate Chinese sausage, you won’t find us complaining. The spiced links stand in for pancetta, imbuing a distinct smoky flavor and a whole different take on fusion.
  • Peanut butter has a lot of best friends, including chocolate and jelly. Combine all three into Chocolate PB&J Cups by Love & Lemons. They’re vegan and gluten-free, and a sprinkle of sea salt will leave you tingling.
  • It only takes four ingredients to make Happyolks Concord Grape Mint Sorbet. A shot of lime and some fresh mint tease out that early fall grape goodness.
  •  If you’re already counting down to weekend brunch, here’s a dish idea. Top with Cinnamon kicks on the griddle for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Vanilla Mascarponebest served to PJs-clad diners with a huge dollop of vanilla-mascarpone whipped cream.

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Dinner Rush! Buffalo Chicken Meatball Salads

by , September 30th, 2014

Football season is here! It’s time for buds, brews and, of course, Buffalo sauce. Like peas & carrots, spicy Buffalo and the ol’ pigskin are meant to be together. It’s one of those rare instances of cosmic serendipity that reminds us that everything is going to be all right.

Lucky for all of us, Buffalo chicken couldn’t be a simpler miracle to pull off. Toss your edible of choice (in this case some chicken meatballs) in a combination of hot sauce, butter and vinegar to get things going. Gild the lily with some creamy blue cheese dressing (follow the homemade recipe below, or go with your favorite store-bought variety) and you won’t even notice the stealth-healthy shrine of salad greens that lurk beneath your Buffalo chicken.

Bonus: Putting these meatballs over salad greens is a great way to round them into a complete meal. Double up on the meatball portion of this recipe and prepare the dressing as a dipper for a simple and satisfying game-day snack.

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Belgian City to Create Massive Beer Pipeline

by , September 30th, 2014

Beer pipeline

Sure, transporting beer to and fro using a truck has worked just fine for the past hundred years or so, but it’s 2014 and humanity demands a more efficient way to get at their hops. Belgium may have just cracked the code: They’ve begun jettisoning their beer underground.

The citizens of Bruges, Belgium, have just approved an underground pipeline that will stretch for miles, transporting beer from breweries to bottling plants. All told, the pipeline will ship 6,000 liters per hour. If only somebody would adapt this plan for pizza.

As of this writing, however, the city has no contingency plan in place for beer-swilling moles or drunken revelers with jackhammers.

Fancypants Ham Sells For 2 Million Bucks (Really)

by , September 27th, 2014
When you think about the price of ham these days, you probably hover in at around 8 dollars a pound. Of course, if you are purchasing it right from the hog, the price tends to uptick a little bit. How much of an uptick? Oh, about two million bucks. That’s right. Somebody bought some pork for an absolute boarload of money.

Everywhere at the Kentucky Fair, a dry-cured country ham is auctioned off for an exorbitant price. This year’s 16-pound bevy of pig parts went for an astounding 2 million bucks. The pig in question wasn’t raised on a steady diet of diamonds; it was just your average ultra-delicious cured hog. So why did it go for so much? It was an auction to raise money for charity, although this year’s entrant beat the record by a full 1.5 million smackeroos.

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This Modern Marvel Toasts Bread and Makes Coffee at the Same Time

by , September 26th, 2014

If life is a difficult trudge through snow, then mornings are a three mile jog through a blizzard in bare feet. In other words, they stink. Thankfully, a group of South Korean tech-wizards have invented a gadget that makes mornings just the teensiest bit more palatable.

It’s called the Baking Pot and, believe it or not, it doesn’t really bake at all. It does brew coffee, however. It also toasts your bread. That’s right. You can now have your coffee and toast prepared via one smartly designed machine. You can use that extra counter space for the juicer you swear you’ll use one day you promise.

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Hump Day Snack: Soft Pretzels for Oktoberfest

by , September 24th, 2014

Soft Pretzels

You don’t have to fly to Germany or even attend an Oktoberfest party to get the authentic experience. Channel the spirit of a Bavarian beer hall at home with this recipe for homemade soft pretzels. Start your from-scratch dough with yeast, sugar, white flour, baking soda and butter, leaving time to let it rest and double in size. When the dough is ready, roll each piece into a rope and form it into a pretzel shape. (Perfect pretzel tip: Make a smiley face holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press them down to connect at the bottom of the “U.”) Then bake them and prepare some spicy mustard and also perhaps sausage, schnitzel and an ice-cold stein of German beer.

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