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  • 12 recipes that take the fad out of dieting

    Forget fad diets and get healthy with these delicious recipes for whole grains, veggies, and fruit.

    Is it low fat or low carbs this week? Liquids only? No meat? Every day we're buried in an avalanche of contradictory information on how and what to eat. Forget the fads!

    "To be fad-free means eating a large variety of real foods rather than looking for a magic bullet," says Lola O'Rourke, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

    O'Rourke recommends cutting down on fat and sodium and pumping up our intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. "Get in the habit of using herbs and spices to add flavor instead of relying on salt," O'Rourke suggests. "Include vegetables and/or fruit at every meal and experiment with different vegetables and grains: Variety is one of the cornerstones of good nutrition -- and exploring new options keeps your taste buds satisfied, too."


    Go For More Whole Grains

    Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

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  • Cider is not just for drinking

    This fall staple of farm stands is not just great in the glass. Cider, alcoholic and not, lends an irresistible sweet-tart flavor to whatever it touches, be it pork shoulder, butternut squash, or cupcakes. Here are some of our favorite ways to use cider in the kitchen.


    Mull It Over

    Mulled cider is a great antidote to chilly days. Simply simmer cider with spices like cinnamon and cloves in a pot for about 10 to 15 minutes, strain, and serve hot.

    Substitute Cider

    When making applesauce, use cider instead of water to intensify flavor.

    Braise with Cider

    For a flavorful and healthy alternative to roasting and sautéing, try braising meat or vegetables in cider.


    Soups and Salads

    Onion Soup with Apple Cider

    Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream

    Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Apple Cider and Bacon Dressing

    Fennel and Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

    Main Courses

    Roasted Pork Chops with Hard Cider Jus

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  • Apples: Tips and recipes for America's favorite fruit

    Most apples are great for cooking, whether you're making applesauce, crisps, crumbles, or cake. In general, the apple's sweetness pairs nicely with savory pork, resulting in classic dishes like pork chops and apple sauce and sausage and apple stuffing. For drinks that incorporate apple, click here. And be sure to check out our visual guide to apples.


    Go for firm

    When buying apples, choose ones without bruises or soft, mushy spots. They should be firm for their specific variety (a McIntosh will not be as firm as a Granny Smith).

    Wrapped in the dark

    To keep apples for an extended period of time, wrap each apple in newspaper (don't use paper with colored ink), and then store in a dark, cool place like the cellar or the garage. To keep apples in the fridge, place them in a perforated plastic bag and then in the crisper. Do not store bruised or cut apples since that will accelerate the spoilage of the other stored apples.

    A touch of lemon

    If you're

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  • Rally around five favorite tailgating cookbooks

    Tailgating used to be something that only football fans did. Nowadays, you can find people cooking up a storm, sharing good food and drinks with friends and fellow fans in the parking lots of various venues -- sporting and otherwise -- across the country: Sanford Stadium (Georgia Dawgs), Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals), the New Hampshire Speedway (NASCAR), and yes, even the season's opening night at the Santa Fe Opera. While the origin of tailgating, a Princeton-Rutgers football game in 1869, is debatable, it is nearly impossible to challenge the practice's appeal. As tailgating grows in popularity, more and more tailgating cookbooks flood the market. So we've narrowed down the field to five cookbooks loaded with tasty recipes and practical tips that'll help you tailgate successfully, whether you're a newbie or a pro. There aren't fancy layouts or lots of color photos, and if you're a vegetarian or have dietary restrictions, you'll be hard-pressed to find many recipes that meet

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  • Tequila finds a new flavor: Tabasco spicy

    For years, no bottle was legally allowed to leave Mexico with the word "tequila" on it if it contained artificial flavors. The stuff had to be pure or it didn't get the label. That's why we never saw Jose Cuervo Blueberry or Cinnamon Patron. In 2004, the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico finally allowed flavored tequilas (except pure agave tequila) to be fruitful and multiply. But the rush to release wacky taste sensations never happened. A few companies produced lime- and orange-flavored tequilas. That was about it.

    Today, a new tequila was announced, and I can't tell if this sounds like a groovy, no-brainer slam-dunk of an inevitable partnership or merely a way to slap the ole logo on yet another consumable. Say hello to Tabasco brand Spicy Tequila, slated to hit store shelves this month.

    I haven't sampled any yet so I can't tell if it tastes good or bad. Here's what we do know:

    1) It will cost $22 per 750ml bottle. Quite reasonable.
    2) The first markets to see the

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  • More than one way to cook Alaska fish

    Strange things always happen in election years, but watching Alaskan food get reduced to mooseburgers has been a bit surreal to me. Ever since Sarah Palin loped onto the national stage, even political bloggers have been wondering how to turn a tough meat tender. I guess they never heard of halibut. Let alone how to make a great fish taste fresh longer.

    My consort and I headed way up north back in 1992 for our ill-fated book on American harvests, one chapter of which was devoted to the halibut derby. At that time, conservationists were restricting the catch to two 24-hour periods a year, which meant fishermen were in a frenzy to haul in as much as they could for only two days in June and September. We flew into indescribably gorgeous Kodiak and tramped the docks until we wangled our way onto a boat for about a week -- three days getting to the best fishing ground, three days motoring back -- and it became clear very early that the crew would be thrilled with alternatives to candy

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  • How to keep track of all your nutrition info

    I've visited sites that tell me how many calories are in an apple. That's useful but limited. What if I need the information about two apples and I'm bad at math? What if I want to specify it's a small apple? Or a really large one? More important, I tend to give up trying to track my nutrition because I hate typing in so many keywords (apple, banana, Total cereal, coffee, etc.). And I really detest the subsequent cutting and pasting of results into a spreadsheet or Word document to tally a day's intake. Recently, I found a better system. And it comes from sibling site, which just redesigned and relaunched some killer new apps.

    In a nutshell (you know I love food references, right?), I can search for almost any food I've ever eaten (raw, cooked or even at a chain restaurant) and save these searches. Here's how it works...

    Visit the site (logged in or not) and you'll see a "NEW" icon near something called "MyND." The pull-down menu gives you lots of options.

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  • A solitary supper with fast fish and slow corn

    File this under women behaving bizarrely: I've actually been cooking for myself while my consort has been off in Denver. My new alternative to the burrito has been the perfect summer supper, crispy sauteed flounder and corn on the cob, both of which cook in about the same amount of time. Interestingly enough, I have had no trouble buying a tiny piece of fish at the Greenmarkets (maybe it's because I ask for just one, and they take a solo female eater seriously). But I realized early on that a $3 or $4 piece of flounder does not warrant wasting a 35-cent egg and precious panko for the crust, which inspired me to try simply dredging the fish in chickpea flour, which is one of my staples because it adds such great nutty flavor to fried foods. It turns the fish golden and crunchy so that it needs nothing more than salt and pepper, no sauce.

    The corn has been more problematic, simply because I'm so accustomed to shopping for two. The other day I remembered I had a couple of ears

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  • Open wine with less effort

    I am really not all that big on mechanical openers. I prefer the tried and true sommelier knife opener. However, with the proliferation of plastic corks, opening a bottle of wine at the table has become much more of a chore. I even broke one of my favorite openers last time I tried to uncork a Syrah with a synthetic cork. The new Professional Cordless Wine Opener leaves my sommelier knife and me in the dust when it comes to those pesky corks. After using the included foil cutter, simply place the lightweight opener atop your bottle. Press the "down" arrow to insert the corkscrew and remove the cork. It is that easy. You'll be sipping you Sancerre in no time at all.

    Removing the cork from the opener, is just as simple. Press the "up" arrow and the corkscrew turns and releases the cork. When not in use, the opener rests in the base to charge. A full charge can remove up to 80 corks, so not only is it good for your daily libations at home, it's also great for parties and for use

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  • Making experts cocktails

    Eben Freeman, head bartender at Tailor Restaurant in Manhattan, spent more than 20 hours with us demonstrating how to make drinks for our cocktail video series. He discussed everything you need to know about making classic and modern cocktails, from straightforward martinis to his signature smoked-infused-Coke and bourbon cocktail (The Waylon).

    Bartender Eben Freeman's Cocktail Recipes:


    Mint Julep

    Kumquat Caipirinha



    Eben's key tips:

    Make Good Ice

    Professional bartenders with ample budgets, and space, sing the praises of ice cubes made with a Kold Draft machine because they are colder, harder, and squarer than normal cubes, and melt slowly, too. Thus, they look more uniform (no chips) and won't dilute drinks too quickly. While most home bartenders can't buy a $1,500 (100-pound) machine, they can purchase molds to create similar cubes (at Amazon) and even spherical cubes (at the MoMA store). If nothing else, use large ice

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