Sweet and Vicious — Off the Shelf

by in Books, August 8th, 2014

Sweet and Vicious CookbookLibbie Summers approaches cooking like a fun adventure, and Sweet and Vicious bursts with color, excitement and inspiration. Her mantras leap right off the page and snare your attention: Welcome the unexpected. Be fearless. Have fun. Be creative.

The book promises right in the introduction that the recipes are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and they do not disappoint. Summers approach to baking is layering flavors together, some that you’re familiar with, and some that will delight and surprise you from the first bite to the last. Sweet and Vicious breaks the baking into chapters on cakes, sweet breads and pastries, savory breads, pies, cookies, canine goods and secret weapons. That’s right: There’s a whole section featuring treats for your furry friends (and my own pup can attest that these recipes are something special).

The section entitled Secret Weapons is the one that really stands out and brings it all together. Libbie gives you recipes for myriad extracts, the essences that take the layered flavors in her recipes to the next level. You’ll also find a handful of especially wonderful drink recipes tucked in there, along with some infused sugar recipes and a frosting guide. Secret Weapons elevates recipes like the Hot Spiced Donut Holes (below) or the Salvation Cinnamon Rolls or the Lemonhead Cake. Sweet and Vicious also contains a lot of supplemental content that you can find on Libbie’s site. You can order a copy of Sweet and Vicious here.

Read more

52 Weeks Fresh: Prepping for Tomato Bounty

by , August 8th, 2014

There’s no such thing as having too many tomatoes, but it does pay to be prepared for the onslaught. The fruits are just beginning to ripen in East Coast gardens, so we have about two weeks to get ready for tomato mania.

Until then, take advantage of near-ripe varieties by making fried green tomatoes. Green ones appear in September and October (when there isn’t enough heat to fully ripen those still growing), so now is a great time to test and refine your techniques for the main event. A dollop of goat cheese on top with some torn fresh basil and cayenne powder will balance the tart flavor. Or keep the stove off by making a raw tomato sauce. Dice fresh tomatoes, and mix them with olive oil, finely chopped garlic and basil, along with some rosemary and sage.

Read more

BBQ Shrimp Po’Boys — Down-Home Comfort

by in Recipes, August 8th, 2014

BBQ Shrimp Po'BoysPo’ boys are iconic in coastal cuisine, especially in southern Louisiana and along the Gulf of Mexico. They’re a New Orleans classic said to have originated in the early twentieth century, the name originating from the hungry plea, “Give a po’ boy a sandwich?” The original po’ boys were hollowed-out loaves of French bread layered with meat, brown gravy and fried potatoes. You can still get roast beef po’ boys with “debris” gravy, a flavorful jus with bits and pieces of roast beef in it.

However, with the Gulf at New Orleans’ front door, seafood has a mighty hold on Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Since time began, folks with less have harvested from the river and seas, for free. We may think of seafood as expensive now, but if you live on a body of water, dinner just might be as close as a hook or a net and a little bit of patience. Seafood po’ boys include fried oysters, fried catfish, fried soft-shell crab and, yes, fried shrimp. Don’t even think about cranking up the deep fryer or even heating up the grill, because these BBQ Shrimp Po’ Boys are poached in a highly seasoned garlic and lemon-butter sauce.

Read more

Five Restaurant Menu Tricks (and How to Avoid Falling for Them)

by in News, August 8th, 2014

Five Restaurant Menu Tricks (and How to Avoid Falling for Them)Restaurants can be risky business ventures — just look at how frequently they come and go. So to make sure their eatery isn’t just another flash in the pan, some restaurateurs employ a few subtle tricks to get diners, once seated, to more readily part with their cash.

There’s the “free” salty snack (chips and salsa, anyone?) placed on your table before the meal to increase your thirst and compel you to order more pricey drinks. And then there’s the way your server painstakingly describes every ingredient in the evening’s specials, but declines to mention the price, knowing you may be too embarrassed to ask. And there’s the way your wine glass keeps getting topped off, so that you get to the bottom of the bottle halfway through your meal and may feel inclined to order another one.

But the stealthiest strategy of all may be the sly tweaks made to restaurant menus to get you to fork over more moolah than you may have intended. Recently The Guardian noted a few such tricks.

Read more

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , August 8th, 2014

frosting
In this week’s news: School bake-sale restrictions spark a tempest in a muffin tin; homemade yogurt is whey better than the store-bought kind; and veganism gets a high-profile new cheerleader.

Bake-Sale Ban: Half-Baked?
Ah, the beauty of the s...

Read more

What to Watch: Shop the Farmers’ Market with Bobby and Tune In to the Finale of Food Network Star

by in Shows, August 8th, 2014

What to Watch: Shop the Farmers' Market with Bobby and Tune In to the Finale of Food Network StarThis weekend on Food Network, the stars of your favorite shows are showing you how to make the most of the warm weather with barbecue specials and inventive summer snacks.

First, join Ree as she takes you through her favorite comfort-food recipes on The Pioneer Woman. After, join the hosts of The Kitchen as they prepare some warm-weather snacks for any occasion.

Then, on Sunday, Ina busts out the grill on Barefoot Contessa, showing you that summer is far from over. Bobby takes to the farmers’ market to create big flavors with fresh ingredients on Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics. Finally, tune in for three hours of competition with new episodes of Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen, and the season finale of Food Network Star.

Read more

Thirsty Thursday: Cucumber-Jalapeño Margarita

by , August 7th, 2014


It’s more than just alliteration; it’s a statement, a proclamation that Thursdays are when the weekend should really start. Kicking it off right is the key, and what better way than with a cocktail that not only takes the edge off, but tastes good too. A hard thing to disagree with, we know. Drink up, get down and go to sleep happy.

Margaritas — a staple summer beverage if there ever was one — are just meant to combat the hot, sticky dog days of summer. While a classic margarita is perfectly delicious in itself, there is also so much potential for adding other exciting flavors.

Take, for example, this Cucumber-Jalapeño Margarita. The traditional fresh lime juice and silver tequila are mixed with savory slices of cucumber and fiery halved jalapeños. The intensity of the spiciness is up to you: the longer it sits and chills, the spicier it becomes. Perhaps this is what it means to fight fire with fire.

Bottoms up, folks!

Read more

The Secret to Grilling the Perfect Steak: Lava

by in News, August 7th, 2014

The Secret to Grilling the Perfect Steak: LavaWhen you’ve cooked steak using lightning (verdict: “tasted good though a little metallic”), built walk-in gin and tonic clouds (one blogger called them a “drunkard’s dream“), turned the roof of a high-end London department store into a boating lake with a waterfall and a “float-up bar,” and pushed jelly way, way past its previous limits, what do you do for an encore?

If you’re Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, you make a meaty meal over 2,100 degree F molten rock. In June, London-based Bompas & Parr, who describe themselves as “Jellymongers and Architectural Foodsmiths,” traveled to upstate New York to team up with Syracuse University art professor and lava expert Robert Wysocki to “see what happens when super-heated liquid rock meets an icy crevasse and a 10-oz rib eye” — and recorded and consumed the results.

Read more

Take a Fried Chicken Road Trip

by in Restaurants, August 7th, 2014

Take a Fried Chicken Road Trip Fried chicken is tempting all year long, but our cravings for it intensify in the summer. Something about digging into juicy, crispy chicken with our hands, preferably while sipping a cold beer or lemonade, just puts us in a summer state of mind. You don’t need to be outside on a picnic blanket eating Grandma’s homemade chicken to achieve this. Once a Southern specialty, fried chicken has made its way onto restaurant menus across the country. Chefs from Philly to San Francisco are brining, buttermilk-soaking, boldly spicing and frying it up, with winning results. Here’s where you’ll find FoodNetwork.com editors’ favorites. Whether they’re served with cream gravy and collards or Sriracha and kimchi, these birds all have one thing in common: They’re downright irresistible.

Check out the full gallery and let us know your favorite spots for a fried chicken fix in the comments below!

Read more