Blog Posts by Epicurious.com

  • Summer food safety

    We separate truth from myth to keep you healthy this season.

    Summer is the season when food poisoning is most likely to occur, according to the American Dietetic Association. Since harmful bacteria don't take a vacation, be extra vigilant about preparing, transporting, and serving food this summer. Here are five myths about what's safe, what's not, and how to protect yourself, your family, and your friends from getting food poisoning this summer:


    Myth: Mayonnaise is a major culprit in food-poisoning outbreaks.
    Truth: Store-bought mayo can actually retard the growth of food-borne bacteria thanks to some of its ingredients, including salt and lemon juice. But many dishes that contain mayonnaise tend to be handled a lot - you add celery or parsley to egg salad and then spread it on bread, for instance - so there are more opportunities for the food to be contaminated.
    Safety Tip: Wash and dry veggies before adding them to a salad, use separate cutting boards for meat and

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  • Take it outside! Ideas for dining alfresco

    Sunny days and breezy nights offer perfect opportunities for alfresco dining. From a laid-back morning meal to elegant drinks by the pool, these recipes and tips add up to easy entertaining with plenty of style.

    Summer Entertaining Tips:

    Plan Ahead

    When it's hot and sticky out, you don't want to be rushing around with last-minute tasks. To help you stay calm and fresh, prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Start meat marinating in the fridge the day before, and prep sauces and other recipe components in the morning. Then relax and enjoy the company of your friends.

    Keep Things Cool

    Your party will be livelier and your guests happier if you do your best to shelter them from the blazing sun. If your dining space is tree-free, set up some umbrellas for shade. And be sure to have plenty of bottled water and cold drinks on hand to quench thirsts.

    Freshen Up

    Keep food chilled but easily accessible by nestling serving dishes on larger bowls or platters

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  • What to cook now: summer squash and zucchini

    Summer squash is one of the season's most gorgeous garden ingredients. It's delicious mashed, fried, puréed, roasted, steamed, and grilled, and these great recipe ideas will help you take advantage of its abundance and versatility.

    Choose Wisely

    Look for firm summer squash with vibrant-colored, shiny, unblemished skin. Select small to medium-sized zucchini from two to eight inches long. Larger ones can be tough and bitter.

    Maximize Flavor

    Summer squash contains a lot of excess water. To remove it, lightly salt diced squash and let it stand for half an hour. Rinse the squash and then squeeze dry. The result is squash with a more concentrated flavor.

    Starters

    Yellow Summer Squash and Corn Soup

    Zucchini Pancakes with Basil Chive Cream

    Summer Squash Bread and Butter Pickles

    Zucchini Chips


    Side Dishes

    Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad with Basil-Parmesan Dressing

    Baby Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash Sauteed in Herb Butter

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  • The beauty of beer-can chicken

    With grilling and barbecue, as with almost everything else in life, the general rule of thumb is: Basic is better.

    And it's hard to get much more basic in barbecue than beer-can chicken, which, in my backyard circle, has gone from novelty to steady favorite in little over a year.

    Beer-can chicken's so simple you can pretty much describe it in a single sentence and still be hard-pressed to screw it up: On a grill set up with the ashed-over coals on either side, take a dry-rubbed whole chicken, stick a three-quarters-full beer can with extra holes punched on top into the cavity, prop up the chicken so it stands on the can in the middle of the grill, and cover and cook for about 90 minutes. (You can find a more detailed recipe on this site.)

    And that's pretty much all you need to all but guarantee some of the most succulent barbecued chicken you'll ever have. It's goofy-looking, it's suspiciously simple, and it works.

    Which brings me to the basic-is-better lesson we

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  • What to cook now: berries!

    Sizzling summers bring out berries' sweetest flavors. Perhaps the simplest way to eat berries, other than straight from the carton, is to toss them in sugar and let them stand at room temperature for an hour-sugar draws out their juice and concentrates their flavor. We also love to use berries in cakes, pies, sorbets, and even drinks. Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more.

    Avoid the Duds
    Strawberries should be fragrant and bright red, with no white or green patches near their stems; blueberries should be firm but not hard; raspberries and blackberries should be plump and shiny.

    Prolong Peak Flavor
    Berries have a very short shelf life-their peak flavor and texture only lasts two to three days. To prolong it, immediately discard moldy or overripe berries. Put the remaining berries, unwashed, into a container lined with paper towels to absorb decay-hastening moisture. Refrigerate. Wash briefly in cold water

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  • Chilling foods: dishes that'll help you cool down

    As the weather gets warmer, especially when it's hot and humid, the last place you want to be is in a hot kitchen. But unless you're willing to eat foods that are packaged and don't require any cooking, you'll eventually have to make friends with your kitchen appliances. Some of the recipes below require time to chill, but others are good to go as soon as you've finished prepping.

    Recipe Tips:

    Cut Time
    Cut down on the time you spend in the kitchen by purchasing foods that have already been cooked or can be eaten right out of the can, such as tuna fish, crabmeat, cookies, and rotisserie chicken.

    Ice Bath
    To cool soups and other liquids quickly, fill a bowl with ice and cold water and place the hot liquid in its original container directly into the ice bath. To chill cooked vegetables, chop them, spread them out on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, and stick them in the freezer.

    Make It Tasty
    Cold-temperature foods sometimes taste bland, so plan on

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  • How to pick wines for weddings

    Couples naturally want their wedding to be perfect, from the fit of the dress to the awe factor of the cake.

    Highballs and punch ladled from big bowls have long been staples of wedding ceremonies, yet many of today's brides and grooms seek more sophistication in the beverages they serve at their reception, with wine playing an increasingly large role. Whether you're planning a party for 20 or 200, the questions are still the same: Which wines to buy? How much of each? What does it cost? Can we personalize the experience somehow? And where can I go for more information? We've answered all your questions in 20 money-saving, stress-reducing tips, organized into five categories to help answer all your wine questions.

    Please note: Buying wine in bulk-by the case-can save you money. But not all venues or caterers allow the client (you) to choose or bring the wine, so check with everyone involved before purchasing.

    Red, White, or Rosé?

    Although sparkling wine is a wedding

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  • What's your signature dish?

    I have two friends-Shannon and Kara (the latter authored I Like Food, Food Tastes Good)-who used to throw big parties in their two-story Brooklyn apartment when they were roommates. The space was ideal for having lots of people over, and being the consummate cooks that they were, they would prepare many different dishes but guests were always encouraged to bring something to share, too.

    Maybe it was because they know a lot about food, but for their first party, I was nervous. Not only did I want my contribution to be wholly consumed by the end of the party, I wanted some sort of approval from Shannon, Kara, and my other friends. I brought a large salmon fillet which I dressed up with some olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and some lemon slices. The salmon tasted nice and was really easy to prepare, but honestly, it wasn't all that memorable palate-wise.

    For another one of their parties, I came across this delicious sounding macaroni and blue cheese recipe. It would be my

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  • Spam loaf Hawaiian, and other delights

    Are more people buying Spam to stretch their food dollars? Do you share a secret love of the canned meat product?

    Epicurious Recipe Swap posters have been sharing a variety of methods for preparing and serving Spam.

    Syscrest recalls Spam Loaf Hawaiian: "We would cut slits in the little Spam loaf, but not all the way through. Then we would insert half pineapple rings into each slit, spread a little mustard on top, sprinkle brown sugar on top and bake it in the oven just 'til it was hot and the brown sugar got all glazey."

    Jfain admits that their first attempt at Spam Sushi was intended as a joke: "I made it, expecting the worst, and what do you know, it was great. I made it again for a party and people lapped it up."

    "I am a very closeted Spam Eater," reveals Skyemaire. "I keep it hidden from all my friends, and most of my family. It is embarrassing to admit openly "I like Spam." It's like you lose all your personal power and credibility as a 'foodie.' "

    Skyemaire

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  • How to support your local farmer, and eat well in the process

    Last night I dreamed I was walking down the aisle of a church, my face arranged in a serene, dewily-happy expression, my heart filled with hope and joy, and my hands filled with a vibrant, lush bouquet... of salad greens.

    Today is the first pick-up day for my local CSA membership. And yes, I'm a little too excited about it.

    If you're not totally up-to-date on your sustainable-food acronyms, CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. Participants in CSA programs basically buy shares in the harvests of local farmers; the harvests are then delivered at scheduled pick-up locations and times throughout the season. My CSA's pick-up spot happens to be a beautiful old church in my 'hood in Brooklyn , hence the dream. (I'm not one of those wedding-obsessed people, I swear! I'm already married! Weddings mean nothing to me!)

    There are all kinds of great reasons to join a CSA: You get to support local farmers; you get insane amounts of eye-popping produce, which is often less

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