It’s the time of year when kids head back to the classroom — and parents head back to the kitchen for another year of lunchbox anxiety. But there’s no need for packable meals to inspire stress. Here are simple lunches worth a spot...
My kids have been in school for exactly four days. Which is about how long it took to remind me that the summer routine of winging it for dinner won’t work anymore. Gone are the afternoons of lazily brainstorming dinner ideas at 5 p.m. from the comfort of a pool lounge chair (“grilled salmon or chicken, sweetie?”). In September, 5 p.m. without a dinner plan wreaks havoc on the delicate soccer-school-homework-ballet ecosphere of our home.
Anyone out there relate? What do you do?
Some common strategies: Race around like a madwoman cobbling together something – anything – that will feed the hungry bellies around the table, letting nutrition take a break for one tiny night. (Anyone?) Go to the drive-thru, or order delivery. Serve cereal (again).
Even the most devoted chocophiles among us may not rush to splash out $23,240 on a toilet made of chocolate, but we may be gratified to know that, if the urge struck, we could.
The self-described “chocoholics” behind U.K.-based online retailer Bathrooms.com are offering a 980,000-calorie loo as part of a 100-percent-Belgian-chocolate bathroom suite that also includes a $11,620 chocolate bidet (210,000 calories), $14,940 chocolate sink (210,000 calories) and – the piece de resistance – an $82,990 chocolate bathtub (8 million calories!). They’re all available individually or as a set ($132,790) by special request via Bathroomsweets.com.
Corn has been part of the American kitchen since Colonial days, as it was a hardy crop, relatively easy to grow and resistant to insects. It was a staple of the Native American diet long before the first settlers arrived and quickly became part of the settlers’ diet. It had a long harvest that extended over a longer period of time than wheat and was cultivated extensively from New England to Georgia. There’s also a long history of corn in the hills and valleys of Appalachia, as corn was better suited to the mountainous terrain than wheat or barley. Corn was eaten fresh in the summer and dried into meal for the winter months. Practicality guided it to find its way in some form, sweet or savory, into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Plants worked hard all summer to deliver varied flavors, shapes and colors. Now it’s time to cook your bounty.
A garden row of seedlings at the season’s start should now be a greenmarket. If you’ve been following along this summer, you’ll have everything you need for pizza sauce (tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, onions) and salads (lettuce, arugula, red onions, edible flowers and beets).
This is the time to use your fresh tomatoes in lieu of canned tomatoes in any marinara or basic tomato sauce. Try Giada De Laurentiis’ version with carrots, celery and a bay leaf, or make Chuck Hughes’ classic pizza sauce. To make the substitution, use 10 to 12 blanched tomatoes in place of a 32-ounce can.
Blueberries are at the height of their season on the East Coast, which means whether you’re picking them from your backyard or the local farmer’s market, it’s time to stock up.
Small but mighty, blueberries are packed with antioxidants, and vitamins C and K. Utilize these sweet treats year-round by freezing them or by canning homemade blueberry jam (pictured above). For more information on your favorite summertime berry check out this Cooking Channel video on blueberries or just get straight to cooking with these 25 ways.
Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan is an all-around stunning book. From the immaculate food photography to the craving-inducing recipes to the yellow polka-dot pattern adorning the pages, Huckleberry is everything you could hope for in a bakery cookbook — and then some. Nathan’s witty stories bring you right into the heart of her kitchen, and it’s easy to feel like she’s unlocked her bakery doors for you and invited you in for a tour.
The chapters roll out based on what time in the morning Nathan and her team start which baked goods, from muffins at 3:30am to biscuits and scones, rustic cakes and tea cakes, breads and other things that rise, flaky dough and its many uses, things baked in a dish, fried stuff, pancakes, cereals, sandwiches, hearty plates each topped with an egg to 10am coffee and other beverages. The substance of each chapter is a marvel, and the book features more than a hundred recipes that you can easily make at home. Nathan gives detailed notes on ways you can change things up, and the balance between sweet and savory dishes ensures that the book has something that will speak to any craving. With food photographer Matt Armendariz’s stunning food images, there’s no way to escape craving the Chocolate Chunk Muffins, the Vanilla French Toast with Brown Sugar-Cranberry Sauce, or My Dad’s Pancakes. The recipe for Black and Blue Oat Bars is included below, in case you just can’t wait to try one of the recipes.
In 2011, a Scottish distillery teamed up with a Texas space research company to see how well whiskey would age in the cold, unfeeling nothingness of space. They sent a vial of unmatured malt and charred oak pieces into orbit. There it sat, spinning along with the cosmos, for three long years. Now it is ready to return home and, more importantly, be imbibed.
It’s actually an interesting experiment. On September 12, the vial will return home and be compared with a control vial, which was relegated to the boring confines of planet Earth. Which one became a better whiskey? Which one gets you to send drunk texts quicker, in the middle of the night, to ex-spouses? The world is about to find out.
This weekend on Food Network, it’s a retro rewind on Iron Chef America as the show goes back to the ’60s on Saturday night. In the morning, there’s a back-to-school episode of The Kitchen with guest Joey Fatone. Also on Saturday morning, watch new episodes from Ree and Trisha: Ree’s making a tailgate lunch, and Trisha’s cooking some updated classic recipes.
On Sunday, tune in for a new episode of Bobby’s Barbecue Addiction as Bobby cooks a Mediterranean feast. And later in the evening, there’s a barbecue-themed episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off with guest judge G. Garvin. Then, on The Great Food Truck Race, the teams head to Oklahoma City, where Tyler tests their time management skills. And on a new Cutthroat Kitchen one chef must use freezer-burned ingredients in a chili.