Blog Posts by bon appétit magazine

  • 7 Foods Not To Serve at A Wedding

    Of all of the decisions surrounding a wedding, one of the most fraught is what food to serve. After all, catering costs can eat up half of a wedding budget. And when you're dropping that many grands, you probably feel like you should get something, well, grand.

    Between attending the nuptials of college, high school, and work friends, I have become acutely aware of the obstacles and limitations that wedding caterers face: makeshift kitchens in tents, feeding 200 people at the same moment, trying to please a diverse crowd, and more. These factors make preparing certain foods inadvisable--and others downright impossible.

    Here's a list of foods to avoid at your wedding, at all costs:

    1. Risky Foods: Even if you and your betrothed fell in love over a plate of steak tartare (pictured above), a wedding is not the place for raw meat or eggs, or unpasteurized cheese. Are you trying to create a wave of food poisoning? And while you're at it, let's stay away from the fugu, too, okay?


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  • BA's Best Chocolate Cakes of the Decade

    Whatever the style (dense and fudgy or light and airy) or occasion (Mother's Day, birthdays, or just an ordinary Tuesday), you need a crowd-pleasing, go-to chocolate cake in your repertoire.

    We raided the vault and gathered nearly every chocolate cake recipe we've published in the past decade. Here are nine of our favorites, but browse our collection year by year to pick the next showstopping cake you'll bake.

    Chocolate Sheet Cake with Sour Cream Frosting
    October 2000

    Black Pearl Layer Cake
    January 2005

    Chocolate-Pistachio Torte with Warm Chocolate Ganache
    November 2006

    Bittersweet Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake
    May 2007

    Chocolate Panna Cotta Layer Cake
    December 2007

    Deep Chocolate Pound Cake
    October 2008

    Devil's Food Layer Cake with Peppermint Frosting
    December 2008

    Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
    May 2009

    Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Orange Frosting
    January 2010

    Helpful Tips:

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  • 6 Fun Greeting Cards for Food-Lovers

    Greeting cards can say so much; they can express love, gratitude, sorrow or well wishes. What's better than sharing your deepest feelings on paper? Mixing it with food, of course. Here are six of my favorite food-themed cards, all courtesy of everyone's favorite kitschy/cute online shop: Etsy.

    1. "All Thyme Favorite"

    This card from Dapper Paper is the best in food-based punnery and great for your favorite person ever. $4.50.

    2. "Burger Card"

    Do you want to tell someone you love them, even though they may not be your favorite person ever? Show them some love by comparing them to your favorite food-on-a-bun. This one only works if you really, really like burgers, though. $12.50; Available from Storeyshop.

    3. "I Yam Sorry"
    Did your loved one find out that you don't like burgers all that much? Send them this cute note of contrition. Potatoes and cassavas don't say you feel bad nearly as much as yams do, as illustrated in this letterpressed card from Letterform. $4.

    4. "Cake Card"

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  • What Are Probiotics?

    If you've watched TV recently, you've seen everything from yogurt to cereal advertised as containing probiotics. But what exactly are they and why might you need them? Probiotics are strains of live "good bacteria" that may help regulate lactose digestion, boost the immune system, prevent infections in the digestive tract, and control certain colon inflammations. They are believed to be similar to the naturally occurring bacteria found inside your body that regulate digestion. Because of the many potential health benefits, several manufacturers have fortified popular food products such as cereal, fruit juices, soy drinks, and granola bars with live strains of "good bacteria."

    To incorporate probiotics into your diet, you can also seek out foods that have always naturally contained them, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and buttermilk.
    --Elisa Huang


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  • 8 Reader Ideas to Make Mother's Day Extra-Special This Year

    Mother's Day is next Sunday, and although we have some good gifts for foodie moms and a 27 recipe-heavy Mother's Day Menu Guide, we found ourselves scratching our heads for new things we can do for our moms this time around. So, we turned to you! Reader suggestions on Facebook and Twitter provided us with some great ideas for pampering Mom next weekend, inspiring us to dig a little into our recipe vault. Here, some of our favorite comments from readers, along with our responses:


    Jenny Warwick: At the very least, we'll have my mom over for yorkshire pudds. still have to confer with sis and bro.
    From Bon Appetit
    : Bruce Aidells gave us his recipe for puffy, creamy Cheddar and Chive Yorkshire Puddings

    Bob Vezina: Maine lobster boil with all the fixins!
    From BA
    : Here's an easy stove-top summer clambake

    Cheryl Connors:
    Being that my parents originated from Hawaii. We are going to do a luau feast complete with Kalua Pig, Poi, Potato/Mac Salad, BBQ Meats, Loco Moco, SPAM Musubi, and

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  • Chefs you need to know: Tom Colicchio

    Before the winner of this year's James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Chef" is announced tonight, get to know the contenders--and cook some of their food.

    Among the contenders this year, Tom Colicchio wins for celebrity. Around 3 million people tune in every week to watch Bravo's hit television series "Top Chef," where they'll recognize Colicchio scoring contestants in his role as lead judge.

    But before all that, Colicchio had to learn to cook, which he did partly with the help of his family (as a child he cooked with his mother and grandmother; eventually his father suggested he could make a career out of it) and partly thanks to years spent in kitchens of prominent New York restaurants like The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Gramercy Tavern.

    In 2001, Colicchio opened Craft, the first in a long line of successful restaurants, including Craftbar, 'wichcraft, and his most recent, Colicchio and Sons.

    What go-to dinner do you cook for friends or family?
    At home I

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  • Chefs you need to know: Suzanne Goin

    Before the winner of this year's James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Chef" is announced tonight, get to know the contenders--and cook some of their food.

    Many great chefs have come through the kitchen of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse restaurant, but Suzanne Goin may be one of the best. "She was a standout," said Waters. "We all knew immediately that one day she would have a restaurant of her own, and that other cooks would be coming to her for kitchen wisdom and a warm welcome."

    Eight years after leaving Chez Panisse, Goin did have her own restaurant, but not before training under more culinary superstars like Alain Passard, Todd English, and Nancy Silverton. In 1998 she opened Lucques in Los Angeles, and today she owns four other restaurants in L.A. and Santa Barbara including AOC, The Hungry Cat, and her newest venture, Tavern, which opened in May 2009.

    What do you think defines an Outstanding Chef?
    To be a great chef, you can't cook every plate of food yourself. You have

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  • Chefs you need to know: Jose Andres

    Before the winner of this year's James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Chef" is announced tonight, get to know the contenders--and cook some of their food.

    Jose Andres is no stranger to the James Beard Foundation's honor roll. In 2003, he won "Best Chef: Mid Atlantic" and has since been nominated twice (in 2008 and 2009) for "Outstanding Chef." Two of the chef's five restaurants have been nominated for Best New Restaurant: Zaytinya in Washington, DC (2003) and the Bazaar by Jose Andres in LA (2009).

    Raised outside of Barcelona, Andres is credited with bringing traditional and innovative Spanish cuisine--as well as the concept of tapas--to the U.S. This fall he will join his mentor, Ferran Adria, in teaching a course in culinary physics at Harvard University while continuing to oversee his restaurants, participate in a number of non-profits dedicated to fighting hunger and obesity, and host and produce the PBS television series, Made in Spain.

    With all of your

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  • Chefs you need to know: Charles Phan

    Before the winner of this year's James Beard Award for "Outstanding Chef" is announced this coming Monday, March 3, get to know the contenders.

    Owner and executive chef of San Francisco's much loved Slanted Door, Charles Phan wasn't always swimming in Beausoleil oysters and grass-fed Estancia beef. At 13, he fled Vietnam by hiding in a cargo ship with his parents and five siblings, ending up at a refugee camp in Guam. Eventually, his family saved enough money to immigrate to San Francisco, where each of Phan's parents worked two jobs. As the oldest son, it was Phan's duty to cook for the family--ten people, including his aunt and uncle. But it wasn't until he had years of odd jobs under his belt that he considered cooking professionally. The Slanted Door immediately generated buzz throughout the city when it opened in 1995, and Phan began to change the way the entire country thought about Vietnamese food.

    How did you get into cooking?
    My mother was a phenomenal cook, marrying

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  • Plant Your Own Heirlooms

    We're all accustomed to seeing heirloom vegetables at farmers' markets, but now they're cropping up in America's backyards. Last year, the White House and 7 million other U.S. homes got new kitchen gardens, many planted with heirloom seeds. In 2009, heirloom seed sales increased by 40 percent. "People want to save money," says George DeVault of Iowa-based heirloom seed purveyor Seed Savers Exchange. "But they also are concerned about where their food comes from and how it's grown." Heirloom means being from a species at least 50 years old, or being open-pollinated--i.e., the seeds produce offspring like the parent plants. The Edible Heirloom Garden author Rosalind Creasy says the "late blight" that nearly decimated northeastern tomatoes in 2009 (a strain of which also caused the Irish potato famine) could have been lessened if people had grown tomatoes from seeds or seedlings, including heirloom varieties, from nonindustrial sources, rather than planting big-box-store seedlings

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