The Once and Future Beans — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 25th, 2012

the once and future baked beans
So often, when I think back to the food of my childhood, all I remember is the seriously healthy stuff. Dark brown whole-wheat bread, carob chips and apple slices dominate my memories of what we ate during those years. However, a recent conversation with my sister brought up a whole other set of food memories.

She remembers the toasted cheese on white sourdough, fruit snacks in our lunches and the fact that just about every Saturday, we ate hot dogs and baked beans for lunch. I don’t know if our parents relaxed their food standards when my sister came along or if my memory is deeply selective. I do know that once prompted, I vividly recalled that baked beans were one of our pantry staples.

Part of the reason my mom was so willing to keep baked beans in the pantry and hot dogs in the freezer was that they were things we could easily help prepare. Opening the beans taught can opener dexterity and the frozen hot dogs could easily be wrapped in a paper towel and microwaved until warmed through. Plus, I’m sure she figured it was a meal that offered plenty of protein for our growing bodies (my mother is a big believer in the power of protein).

With this memory fresh in my mind and Memorial Day looming, it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at a batch of from-scratch baked beans. As is so often the case, a little digging led to a recipe from culinary mastermind Alton Brown. His recipe for The Once and Future Beans helped me nail it on the first try. The active work is fairly minimal, but the beans do need a solid eight hours in the oven, which makes them perfect for a lazy weekend supper and a definite candidate for The Weekender.

Before you soak your beans, read these tips

On the Blogs: An Ice Cream Lock, Cupcake Sausage and a New Cut of Steak

by in Community, May 24th, 2012

ice creamHuffington Post: Sick of people breaking into your ice cream stash? Keep your pint safe with Ben and Jerry’s Euphori Lock.

NPR: How does Vegas Strip Steak sound to you? Oklahoma State University has discovered a new steak and is in the process of patenting the hidden cut of meat.

Wall Street Journal: Men enjoy being in the kitchen, too. Men of Generation X are catching up to women in cooking household meals.

Cupcake Project: What would happen if you filled a sausage casing with cupcake batter and threw it on the grill? You’ve got a cupcakewurst.

Bon Appétit: Have you ever cooked with white asparagus? Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner believes it is “something like foie gras or caviar,” and offers his expertise for the precious vegetable.

Best 5 Memorial Day Weekend Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 24th, 2012


Memorial Day
weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to kick off a sun-filled season than with a menu of relaxed, casual eats and drinks? Check out Food Network’s top five recipes for Memorial Day weekend and serve these beauties at your backyard cookout, holiday barbecue or neighborhood get-together.

5. Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes – Boasting layers of strawberry-laced whipped cream and in-season berries, stacks of cocoa-scented shortcakes from Food Network Magazine are the ultimate summertime dessert.

4. Beer Punch – Sunny’s adults-only punch bowl features fresh berries, a squirt of lime juice, grenadine and two bottles of beer.

Get the top three recipes for Memorial Day

22 Healthiest Summer Desserts

by , May 24th, 2012
strawberry dessert

End your meal with Ellie Krieger's Balsamic Strawberries With Ricotta Cream.

Looking to keep your svelte summer figure? Here are 22 healthy and delectable desserts that have less than 250 calories per serving.

Fruity Treats
Juice and delicious se...

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Low-Mercury Fish

by , May 24th, 2012
tilapia

Tilapia is a low-mercury, low-cost fish with a very mild flavor.

Recommendations for eating seafood can be confusing. Fish can be a low-calorie and heart-healthy choice and the omega-3 rich fish have additional health-protecting benefits. On the othe...

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Star Poll: Pick Your Dish

by , May 24th, 2012

For the bus tour challenge, Team Giada ended up right in their mentor’s comfort zone: Arthur Avenue, the Bronx’s answer to Little Italy. Maybe this added a little pressure — as Team Giada, they couldn’t mess up Italian food! They...

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Restaurant Revisited: University Grill

by in Shows, May 23rd, 2012

University Grill

At the University Grill in Burlington, N.C., Robert Irvine faced three co-owners who refused to get along. Siblings Eleni, George and Manny opened the restaurant five years ago to help provide for their retired parents, but they were facing failure when Restaurant: Impossible came along to help. We checked in with the siblings after their restaurant’s makeover to see how business is going.

A few months after Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team arrived on the scene, sales at the University Grill are up 15 percent. “Everyone loves the new decor,” says Eleni.

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The Afterlife of a Vanilla Bean

by in How-to, May 23rd, 2012

vanilla beans
Every year in the restaurant and out in the field, I use a truckload of vanilla beans. To me, they are as important as flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I consider the vanilla bean the fifth essential ingredient.

So imagine gallons of ice cream flecked with pounds of vanilla beans. Yummers! And how about custards by the kilo with an equal amount of this decadent vanilla sprinkled through every last bite?

So what do you do with pods that served their duty, sometimes even double duty? I could throw them away, but that wouldn’t be prudent. They are extremely expensive and too special to sit in a landfill somewhere in Florida, never really enjoying the fruits of their labor.

A flashbulb went off in my brain. No, not the same magical 60 watt summoning to life the Easy-Bake Oven of my childhood, but a bigger and brighter new fangled one. I realized if I washed the used pods and dried them slowly in the oven on very low heat, I could grind them in a spice or coffee grinder and have the most wonderful vanilla dust.

Get Hedy’s Vanilla Dust recipe