Three Cheers For the Healthiest Berry Desserts

by , July 5th, 2014

raspberry sherbet

Independence Day may be over, but the summer berry season is just hitting its stride. If your kitchen is bursting with all kinds of juicy gems, here’s a collection of red and blue berry desserts fit for any summer celebration.

Raspberries
Supe...

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Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler — Down-Home Comfort

by in In Season, Recipes, July 4th, 2014

Old-Fashioned Peach CobblerI grew up in Macon County, Georgia. Central and South Georgia are well known for their peach crops in the summer. Summer means peach pie, peach jelly, pickled peaches, peach ice cream and peach cobbler. Macon County is adjacent to Peach County, home of “The Big Peach,” a 75-foot-tall peach mounted on a 100-foot-tall pole — a gigantic totem that makes it pretty clear that peaches are serious business in Georgia. So is July, as the temperatures often soar into the triple digits with a humidity that makes life a lot more comfortable when experienced at a slower pace.

Where do you think the expression “easy as pie” originated? Many cooks are scared of making pie — they don’t think it’s easy! Everyone loves pie, but making it can be intimidating. Even perfectly useful kitchen folk are rendered helpless when pie is mentioned. That’s where the cobbler saves the day. The really great part about a cobbler is that it can be made ahead and is equally delicious served warm, chilled or at room temperature. (Don’t limit yourself to only peaches for this simple and spectacular dessert. Other fruits include blueberry, blackberry, plum, cherry and apricot, depending on what is ripe in your part of the country.)

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First Prize Pies — Off the Shelf

by in Books, July 4th, 2014

First Prize PiesA different pie for every week of the year is a concept that I can get behind. That’s the idea that drives Allison Kave’s First Prize Pies, and the book is a perfectly balanced year of pie possibility. Pie is known for its finicky nature, but Kave sets readers up for success with a thorough rundown of everything you need to make an exceptional pie, from equipment to ingredients. There are step-by-step photo guides for skills that require a little more explanation, like how to peel stone fruit for the Sugar Plum Pie and how to ace your marshmallow topping for the S’mores Pie. Kave tells you everything you need to know about assembling her pies, making this the perfect book for a home cook who hasn’t ventured too far into the land of pies from scratch.

The book’s seasonal recipes feature classics you crave like Apple-Cheddar Pie, Key Lime Pie and Pumpkin Spice Pie. But it colors outside the lines a bit, too, mixing up flavor combinations with recipes like Eggnog Cream Pie in a Gingersnap Crust, Mint Julep Cream Pie and Root Beer Float Pie. There are enough pie recipes in the book to cover each week of the year (and then some!), so you can think of it as a long-term investment in your culinary happiness. Kave balances the recipes to be practical too. There’s a vegan-friendly You-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Pie that everyone at the table will love and a no-bake Banana Split Ice Cream Pie (recipe featured below), which is perfect for the summer months when it’s just too hot to spend hours in a kitchen with your oven blazing. Even summer’s heat is no match for a pie made of ice cream. You can order your own copy of First Prize Pies here.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , July 4th, 2014

gummy bears

In this week’s news: Imagining the coffee-pod version of Soylent; sizing up gummy bears as body-builder food; and creating a non-profit supermarket in a low-income suburb.

Make Mine a Decaf — with Extra Vitamin D
Nestle researchers have...

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Caption It: Mentor Glee

by , July 4th, 2014

Bobby Flay and Giada De LaurentiisGiven their pressure-packed challenges that involve live demonstrations and on-camera pitches, plus plate after plate of POV-focused food, it's no surprise that Food Network Star finalists may find it difficult to impress their mentors. Bobby, Giada ...

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How to Win Summer: Dino-mite Watermelon Carvings

by in Family, News, July 3rd, 2014

Dino-mite Watermelon CarvingsWatermelon’s always been the coolest fruit of summer. When I cut into a watermelon, it’s either for a last-minute barbecue contribution or an instant “side dish” for the kids — seed-spitting contests are just a bonus. It has plenty of vitamins A and C, and it’s ready in two minutes flat. Wedges, cubes, balls of sugary-sweet juiciness — the options are endless and there’s no oven required. But maybe I need to hone my knife skills and take a slice from Vancouver’s Clive Cooper, a government worker by day and artist by night whose latest extreme watermelon carvings give fruit-platter party planners something to, well, chew on.

I thought Cooper and his fabulous menagerie were the “why” of a spike in watermelon searches reported by Yahoo web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse a week or two ago; since then his fierce alligator carving and the latest, the triceratops above, have been stomping their way through food news and Facebook. He’s not the only one; Pinterest is ripe with countless carved characters. Why, after all, should food fans have to wait for pumpkin season to make faces? As to folks searching “watermelon,” they wanted to know how many calories are in the fruit (about 50 per cup) and how to cut it (try Alton’s cut-the-ends-first method); there was also a 500+ percent increase in searches for “watermelon cake” (not a cake at all but a trompe-l’oeil fun fruit dessert), plus plenty of people pondering perennial favorites likes drinks and refreshing salads with watermelon (with feta as a partner; here is Ina’s take, one of my go-to’s for summer guests).

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Stars, Stripes and Everything Nice: 4th of July Treats — Summer Soiree

by in Holidays, July 3rd, 2014

Fourth of July DessertsIf the fireworks are sounding off and you’re more concerned with where your next hot dog is coming from, then let’s not kid ourselves. For a lot of us, some things are best celebrated by way of our stomachs. Since a red, white and blue burger wouldn’t be nearly as cool, siphon your patriotism into tricolored 4th of July desserts, each a perfect ending to your celebratory cookout. There will be no denying — especially if you’re the type to don a red, white and blue getup at the barbecue, which nation you’re celebrating with these tricolored treats.

Lined with fresh cream cheese icing and studded with raspberries and blueberries, Ina Garten’s classic Flag Cake (top right) is 4th of July party gold. With this step-by-step how-to, it’s ultra-easy to make.

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Quick Tip: Max Out Your Grill

by in Food Network Magazine, July 3rd, 2014

If you’re cooking outside and need a stovetop, put a cast-iron skillet or other ovenproof pan right on the grill. Try making a quick sauce for meat this way: Drain your marinade into the pan and bring it to a boil while the meat cooks.

A Salad to Celebrate Summer: Spicy Corn with Watermelon (No Salt Added)

by , July 3rd, 2014

watermelon and corn salad
If you’re searching for a side dish that cools things off and heats them up at the same time, this is the recipe. Two star ingredients of the warm-weather months, corn and watermelon, take a zingy turn with the help of traditional street-corn ...

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How to Make the Ultimate Funnel Cake

by , July 3rd, 2014

The Ultimate Funnel CakeThere are certain foods that are synonymous with amusement parks, fairs and carnivals. One of those happens to be funnel cakes — fried, cakey and doused in powdered sugar. In last Sunday's episode of Star, the remaining finalists and judges headed...

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