Classic Cocktails That Are Anything but Old-Fashioned

by in Drinks, July 12th, 2014

The food world is all about trends, and drinks are no different. You can barely walk into a bar right now without finding something containing muddled ginger. And there are plenty of tried-and-true classics that are easy enough to make (and elevate) at home. Drinks like mint juleps, mai tais and rum punch are always great to have in your entertaining arsenal during the summer. Plus, these favorites (below) each have an added twist, so they’re even more exciting than the originals.

Mint Julep: This cocktail is just about as simple as they get. A little bourbon, a dash of sugar and some mint and you’ve got yourself a foolproof refreshment. Bobby’s recipe includes shaved ice, so it’s the perfect option for a hot summer day. Don’t forget the cherry on top for a little sweetness and a splash of color.
Mint Juleps

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A One-Stop Guide to Easy Summer Entertaining

by in Entertaining, July 12th, 2014

Easy Tabletop Ideas for Summer PartiesFrom afternoon pool parties to late nights spent gathered around the fire pit, summer’s all about alfresco entertaining. But between planning the menu, deciding how much food to purchase for your guests and setting the table — not to mention cooking the food — seasonal bashes can quickly become overwhelming for the host. Thanks to Food Network’s Grilling Central, however, and go-to entertaining resources like a party calculator, tabletop tips and crowd-pleasing recipes, you’ll be guaranteed to pull off effortless and enjoyable soirees all summer long.

The key to easy entertaining is preparedness, and whether you’re hosting a few relatives or the whole neighborhood, it’s best to have plans for the days ahead of the bash and for the gathering itself. Once you’ve picked out your recipes, it’s time to shop for them. How much food to buy depends on what you’ll be serving. Check out this easy-to-follow party calculator to learn what to expect in terms of how your guests will approach the food and drinks.

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Spray Cake (Think Whipped Cream) Is Now Actually a Thing

by in News, July 12th, 2014

Spray CakeIs a ready-to-bake cake you spray like whipped cream from a can (and then pop in the oven or microwave) “the future” of dessert? That may be an overstatement, but Spray Cake, an award-winning product created by a couple of Harvard University undergrads, does seem increasingly poised to gain some millennial market traction.

Back in April, Harvard sophomores Brooke Nowakowski and John McCallum took top honors in the Harvard Innovation Lab challenge, along with a $10,000 prize, for their innovative cake in a can (not to be confused with cakes you bake in a can).

Nowakowski told the Boston Herald that the team planned to use to the award as a “launchpad” to bring the product, originally created for a science-of-cooking class, to market.

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Everything You Need to Know About: Langoustines

by in How-to, July 12th, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About: LangoustinesThere are some ingredients that just scream luxury. Think of these ingredients as examples: caviar, lobster, truffles and Champagne. While we may know small bits of information on these products, if pressed for more info, we might struggle to give a detailed description of what they are, where they come from and what makes them so special (and so expensive).

This new feature will put on a spotlight on some of my favorite luxury ingredients. But I hope that when you read these articles, you will be inspired to seek out the best of the best and discover why your favorite Food Network chefs love them so much.

Let’s begin with that sweetest of seafood delicacies: langoustines.

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Summer Tomato Pie — Down-Home Comfort

by in In Season, Recipes, July 11th, 2014

Summer Tomato PieTomatoes, eggplant and peppers are members of the nightshade family. There’s something a bit sexy about those nightshades; maybe it’s the deadly yet beautiful part …. Tomatoes are, in fact, a fruit, but their affinity for other savory ingredients means that they are usually classed as a vegetable. Fruit or vegetable, they are a rock-solid part of summer down-home comfort.

Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full flavor of a garden-ripe tomato — and there is nothing as sad and disappointing as the insipid, lifeless flavor of a tennis ball-like tomato held in cold storage and shipped in a case from the other side of the world. I don’t eat those atrocities and strongly suggest that you don’t either. So, when it’s tomato season, I vigorously support eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible.

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7 Tips to Help You Avoid Getting Food Poisoning

by in News, July 11th, 2014

7 Tips to Help Avoid Getting Food PoisoningYou had a great time at the summer picnic, sampling a little bit of everything. Hot dogs, burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit salad, buttered corn on the cob — your paper plate was heaped high with them all. You left feeling full and satisfied. But you woke up the next day feeling sick as a dog with food poisoning. How do you know which food was the culprit?

Figuring out the “guilty” food item in a food-poisoning outbreak can be tricky, but IBM scientists have designed a new computer system that aims to expedite the process, the company recently announced. The system uses algorithms, visualization and statistical analysis to parse retail and public health data, and then figure out which products are likely to blame in a food borne disease outbreak. And while it can’t predict an outbreak in advance — at least, not yet — it can shorten the time it takes to locate the source and halt the spread before more damage is done.

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The Meat Hook Meat Book — Off the Shelf

by in Books, July 11th, 2014

The Meat Hook Meat Book - Off the ShelfCookbooks written by people who are passionate about their work are the best cookbooks. It’s in this spirit that I present Tom Mylan’s The Meat Hook Meat Book. Mylan is one-third of the braintrust behind The Meat Hook, a little butcher shop with big personality tucked below the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This book is meaty (pun intended). It has everything you need to know about how to select, order, prepare and enjoy great meat — plain and simple. The book overflows with mouthwatering recipes, thoughtfully funny anecdotes and an insider’s look at the art and craft of butchery. Mylan’s wit weaves itself through every chapter, making it an exceptionally fun read.

The deeper into it you dig, the more apparent it becomes that The Meat Hook Meat Book is more than a collection of recipes. If you want to learn about different cuts and how to cook them, this is the book for you. If you’re curious about grilling, smoking, roasting and braising, this is the book for you. If you just want to plan your weekly meals with the confidence of knowing you know how to make the perfect roast chicken, pork chop or steak every time, this is the book for you. If you just want a little more confidence when ordering from your local butcher shop or supermarket butcher counter, this is the book for you. Mylan has thrown open the door to the secret world of a butcher’s life and invited you in for supper.

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