Blog Posts by Epicurious.com

  • Frozen Puff Pastry Recipes and Tips for Your Oscar Party

    Learn how to turn this supermarket staple into party-ready hors d'oeuvres, easy main courses, and festive desserts
    by Lauren Salkeld, Epicurious

    Puff PastryPuff Pastry With its decadent layers of butter, light and airy good looks, and endless versatility, puff pastry is a regular on the party circuit. But because of all the folding and rolling of dough, not to mention the serious time commitment required to make it from scratch, homemade puff pastry makes very few appearances outside restaurants and banquet halls.

    The good news is that frozen puff pastry delivers all the specialness of puff pastry without all the hours and elbow grease. This freezer-aisle favorite can be dressed up in myriad sweet and savory ways to create quick and easy hors d'oeuvres, main courses, and desserts. And there's absolutely no shame in using frozen puff pastry: We always keep a package on hand to make palmiers, cheese straws, turnovers, pot pies, pizzas, and tarts. And frozen puff pastry is especially great for home

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  • Calorie Counts: Accurate or Erroneous?

    by Kelly Senyei, Epicurious

    Do you rely on the calorie count of foods to plan your daily caloric intake? If so, you may want to think twice before you take a bite into what you thought was a 250-calorie muffin. A recent video by the New York Times reveals that many packaged foods and restaurant dishes' calorie counts are more erroneous than accurate.

    If the mere appearance of the caloric penalty of a dish on a restaurant menu hasn't been enough to sway your order, perhaps now the lingering doubt over the accuracy of those numbers may be the final blow to direct you to healthier alternatives. The Times tested the calorie count validity of five packaged and restaurant foods, and despite the small sample size, the results prove that the number of calories listed isn't always the number of calories you're consuming.

    See more: How to Shop for a Better Breakfast at the Grocery Store

    After hours of tests and research, food scientists at St. Luke's Hospital Obesity Research Center in New

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  • Taste Testing the New Lay's Potato Chip Flavors

    by Kelly Senyei, Epicurious

    We get to taste a lot of inventive and enticing foods on any given day in the Epicurious office, so when a box of the new Lay's Potato Chips flavors arrived this week, my "I'll-try-anything-once" mantra encouraged me to start snacking.

    The chips are part of Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" campaign, which asked consumers to submit their dream potato chip flavors. Out of 3.8 million submissions, Lay's narrowed it down to three finalists: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha. The chips are available nationwide, and the creator of whichever flavor receives the most fan votes will win $1 million or 1 percent of their flavor's 2013 net sales (whichever is higher).

    See more: Top 12 Cold-Weather Soups

    My strategy was simple: Start with what I anticipated to be the most mild flavor, Cheesy Garlic Bread, work my way toward the Chicken and Waffles, and leave the seemingly potent Sriracha flavor as the finale. And so, without further ado, the results:

    Cheesy

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  • The Best and Fastest Way to Roast Chicken: Spatchcock It!

    by Kemp Minifie, Epicurious

    What's old is new again when it comes to cooking a whole chicken: It's called spatchcocking. Dictionaries differ as to the origin of the name, but from what I can gather, it dates way back--as far as the late 1700s--as a quick method to cook a fowl by splitting it open and grilling it flat, instead of stuffing it whole and turning it on a spit.

    I've been spatchcocking my roast chicken for several months now--if I had a grill I'd use it--and I'm so enthusiastic about the results that I won't go back to the whole roast bird. The chicken cooks more quickly and evenly, and all the skin--not just the skin over the breast--gets golden and crisp. Plus it's much easier to serve; where to cut to separate the leg from the breast is completely obvious.

    Flattening the bird is a cinch to do, but you will need poultry or kitchen shears. Turn the bird breast side down with the drumsticks closest to you. Using the shears, cut on either side of the backbone to remove it

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  • Tips for Cutting Down on Saturated Fat and Trans Fat (Plus Recipe Ideas!)

    by Megan O. Steintrager, Epicurious

    Try substituting vegetarian protein, such as tofu, for meat once a week.Try substituting vegetarian protein, such as tofu, for meat once a week. As we continue February's Doable Challenge to eat for heart health, this week I'd like to focus on fat (after all, today is Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday). Dietary fats can be divided into broad good and bad categories, with the good including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in plants, including avocados and nuts, as well as some animal sources such as fish. The worst fat, trans fat, is found mostly in packaged foods and has been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease. Fortunately, trans fat has gotten much easier to avoid since 2006, when the FDA began requiring food manufacturers to list it on labels. They can still include it in small amounts (less than .5 g per serving) without labeling for it, so it's best to also steer clear of foods with "partially hydrogenated oil" listed on the label. The other bad fat, saturated fat, is found mostly in animal products, including meat, butter, and cream, as well as in

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  • Valentine's Day Chocolate Gift Guide

    Treat your Valentine to a sweet surprise with the most crave-worthy candies, biscotti, truffles, and more chocolate favorites


    by Kelly Senyei, Epicurious



    Whether you're in a romantic relationship or looking for love, the fastest way to win your Valentine's heart is to give the gift of chocolate. Homemade truffles are a swoon-inducing sweet, but if a store-bought shortcut is in order, there are plenty of stylish and delicious choices. Here's our pick of six can't-miss chocolate gifts, including classic bonbons, chocolate-dipped biscotti, and even a cocoa-infused liquor for the perfect after-dinner drink.




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  • The Top 10 Most Frequently Mispronounced Foods

    by Kemp Minifie, Epicurious

    Stewed-Tomato BruschettaStewed-Tomato BruschettaWhat are the most frequently mispronounced foods in restaurants? Not surprisingly, this is a popular topic online. Chefs and waiters must howl with laughter back in the kitchen over diners' garbled attempts at sounding out the unfamiliar words on menus. To be fair though, chefs and waiters aren't always poster kids for proper pronunciation either, especially if they're cooking a cuisine that's not native to their heritage.

    Eat24, an online restaurant food delivery website that covers many cities across the country, prides itself on preventing the possible embarrassment of foreign language-challenged individuals with the mere click of a mouse, but it compiled its own list of mispronunciations anyway, as a service for those who do venture into a brick and mortar restaurant. The list confirms America's continuing love affair with Italian, and the increasing popularity of Mexican, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and South American food. Counting down:

    10.

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  • The Rebirth of the Restaurant Breadbasket

    by Kelly Senyei, Epicurious

    Now that we're in the second month of the year, food predictions for what will be hot or not in 2013 are slowly being vetted. We predicted a declining interest in tasting menus, a sentiment that's proven true in recent weeks, and many correctly anticipated an increased focus on the first taste diners have at restaurants: the bread.

    While cost-saving measures have forced some restaurants to cease serving complimentary carbs, the breadbasket has undoubtedly found new fame on the dinner table. This week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted several restaurants adding oomph to their bread portfolios, including U.S. restaurant chain LongHorn Steakhouse. They also reported that New York City restaurant Commerce spends about $116,000 a year on their famed breadbasket (labor included). I speak from experience when I say that every penny of that $116,000 is well-spent, from the salted pretzels to the poppy seed rolls to the pain d'epi -- all baked fresh and served

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  • 10 Ways to Boost Your Omega-3s for Heart Health

    For American Heart Month, be kind to your heart with our delicious heart-healthy recipes and expert nutrition tips
    by Megan O. Steintrager

    Try pairing tuna and beans. From right: Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches; Tuna and White Bean SaladTry pairing tuna and beans. From right: Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches; Tuna and White Bean SaladFebruary is American Heart Month, so now's the ideal time to think about prevention and take steps to reduce risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To help control your blood pressure and cholesterol, lifestyle changes, which include exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, are crucial to long-term success. Eating smart is also key, and for many of us, that includes cutting down on sodium, saturated fat, trans fats, and sugar. Yet for this month's Doable Challenge, we're focusing on adding something to our diets: more omega-3 fatty acids.

    Omega-3s are a type of essential fatty acid--"essential" because our bodies need them to function properly--and since the body cannot produce enough of them, we must get them from our food. Plant sources such as

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  • February 2013 Horoscope for Food Lovers

    Astrologer Rebecca Gordon offers monthly readings--and recipes for results
    by Epicurious

    Myldwin PierreMyldwin Pierre














    Aquarius
    (January 20-February 18)
    February looks to be a "look good, feel good" kind of month as Venus, the planet of love and beauty, dances through. You're sure to be a magnetic attractor with that sparkle in your eye and extra kick in your step. Enhance what Mother Nature gave you: Eat vegetables high in antioxidants such as artichokes, potatoes, and kidney beans to keep your skin looking smoother and younger. As Venus stays with you throughout the month, take some other steps to beautify: Revamp your wardrobe, consider a daring haircut. Keep in mind, though, that the purpose of these external changes is to reveal and express a clearer image of who you really are. Don't be surprised if you find someone quite different looking back at you.
    Recipe to try: Potato and Artichoke Gratin

    Pisces
    (February 19-March 20)
    It's essential that you take some time out this month for a little R&R. Remember

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