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  • Host an "Arrested Development" Party

    by Lauren Salkeld

    Frozen Chocolate BananasCelebrate the return of our favorite dysfunctional television family with bananas, ice cream sandwiches, and Cornballers

    One hardworking single father and his awkward teenage son; a lazy shopaholic sister, her never-nude psychiatrist-turned-actor husband, and their movie-executive teenage daughter; a Segway-riding failed-magician older brother; a one-handed younger brother and his vertigo-prone older girlfriend; an alcoholic family matriarch, her fugitive husband, and his identical twin brother

    Take your stair car (avoid hop-ons) to pick up blue body paint, a fur coat, an orange jumpsuit, and a case of bag-and-boil frozen dinners; pop a Teamocil for camaraderie (ignore the numbness and memory loss); write your cousin a love letter; and put on your dress eyebrows-whatever you do, avoid swimming in the ocean.

    A meal that's as dysfunctional as the Bluth family

    The Menu:
    Arrested Development's Bluth

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  • 5 Things You Didn't Know About Pistachios

    by Kerry Acker

    Pistachios/CN Digital Studio

    Move over, almonds and walnuts, there's a new superstar nut in town! With the California pistachio industry making a big push to turn more Americans on to the wonders of the creamy, buttery, heart-healthy nut (even Snoop Lion is on board, as well as Psy); worldwide consumption of pistachios skyrocketing (with China now the leading importer); and chefs using pistachios in ever more ambitious ways, it seems this humble tree nut is enjoying its moment in the sun. Here, five things you should know about the pistachio, plus loads of sweet and savory recipes:

    --The United States is currently the world leader in pistachio production, having surpassed Iran in 2010. And sales are booming, with exports doubling over the past six years from 100 million pounds to almost 270 million pounds.

    --Clocking in at about 3 to 4 calories per nut, pistachios--a.k.a. "skinny nuts"--have fewer calories than just about any other nut. (Plus, studies have shown that if you eat

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  • Say Farewell to the Office with This Party Menu

    by Lauren Salkeld

    Gourmet/Romulo A. YanesHost a Dunder Mifflin-themed evening with our recipes and entertaining tips

    A broken copy machine, several coffee mugs, and as many annoying co-workers as you can stomach

    Iron your best business-casual outfit, then brainstorm ways to offend everyone at the party

    A business-romantic meal that would please the party-planning committee

    The Menu:
    Most of the food featured on The Office is related to someone's lunch or an office celebration, especially office-sponsored birthday parties. We used these moments from the show as inspiration for an Office-themed buffet menu that's perfect for hosting a casual watch party at home. Tuscan Tuna and Bean Sandwiches are a dressed-up version of a classic-remember Andy calls Jim "Big Tuna" because he always eats tuna sandwiches. Mini Lobster Rolls are an easy, affordable way to serve something extravagant and are a tribute to Michael and Holly's

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  • Throw a Great Gatsby Party

    by Sara Bonisteel

    Throw a Great Gatsby party.Host a Roaring Twenties Champagne-fueled bacchanal inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, now a new movie directed by Baz Luhrmann

    "He gives large parties. And I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy." -Socialite Jordan Baker, The Great Gatsby

    Fireworks. Methuselahs of Champagne. A band. Everyone you know and many more that you don't.

    Put all your furniture in the bedroom. Pull out your New Year's Eve finery. Stock up on confetti. Learn the Charleston.

    A soiree so good it will leave revelers with no other recollections aside from that warm feeling of having attended the greatest party of their life. (No pressure on your part.)

    The Menu:
    A catered affair is ideal, but if you don't have the means of the great Jay Gatsby, then fully stock your bar with reserves in waiting, prepare a flotilla of hors d'oeuvres, whip up two suppers (one for early

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  • The Best Texas Barbecue

    by Esther Sung

    The Prophets of Smoked MeatGrilling and barbecue season's "official" start date is still a few weeks away, but this year's batch of grilling and bbq cookbooks are trickling in. Daniel Vaughn's The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Ecco/An Anthony Bourdain Book) kicks off this year's coverage. It's a bit of an odd choice given that it's not a cookbook, per se (though the book does contain a number of choice pitmaster recipes from the Lone Star State). But if there was ever a paean for barbecue written for the common man who just happens to love barbecue, this book might have to be it. Vaughn's career trajectory wasn't exactly straightforward--exactly how does one plan on becoming "Barbecue Editor" for Texas Monthly magazine?--but the trained architect's insatiable zeal for barbecue pays off handsomely in this book. Part travelogue and part food reviews, the book is entertaining as well as sometimes maddening, thanks to Vaughn's subjectivity (there's a lot of

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  • Homemade Soda Tips and Tricks

    Sara Bonisteel

    Use homemade syrups to make classic egg creams as well as flavored sodas.Use homemade syrups to make classic egg creams as well as flavored sodas.Anton Nocito, founder of New York's P&H Soda Co., shares recipes and tips for making flavored soda pop with naturally sweetened syrups.

    Homemade pantry staples are having their moment, with jams, butter, crackers, cheese, beer, and other traditionally store-bought sundries now being made from scratch. But what about soda? Thanks in part to the wide availability of home carbonation machines, crafting naturally flavored soda pops and soft drinks has never been more popular. Anton Nocito, the founder of Brooklyn's P&H Soda Co., has written a new book, Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails, and More, that details just how easy it is to make your own flavored sodas. All you need is a carbonation machine or a bottle of seltzer.

    But does homemade necessarily mean healthier? "Some of the recipe ingredients are barely cooked, so you're getting more vitamins, but I wouldn't consider the sodas healthy," Nocito says. "I mean, it is

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  • Ask Kemp: Chocolate Angel Food Cake and Cheesecake

    by Kemp Minifie

    Kemp Minifie/EpicuriousHow can it be May already? April was a busy month with some good questions. One in particular weighed on my conscience. There's nothing worse than following a recipe and ending up with extreme disappointment--particularly when the recipe involves chocolate, one of the great salves to the soul.

    Q: On Twitter, @SmallDeluxe asks: "Made diabetes friendly cake that had blah taste & texture of a tennis shoe. Did I overbeat my egg whites or was the recipe doomed?"

    Kemp: In order to answer the question fairly, I needed to see the recipe and @SmallDeluxe kindly tweeted a photograph of it. Right off the bat, the recipe looked potentially problematic. It resembled a chocolate angel food cake recipe except that it called for far fewer egg whites (only five compared to the standard 12), and no corresponding reduction in flour.

    In addition, it used less sugar per white (1.6 tablespoons per white versus the more normal 2 tablespoons per white), which isn't

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  • How to Turn Leftover Tortillas into Tortilla Chips

    by Kelly Senyei


    I was born and raised in Southern California, which means no excuses are needed to break out the chips and guacamole. But now that Cinco de Mayo is less than 48 hours away, my tortilla consumption is nearing its annual peak.

    I'm wrapping and snacking on anything that fits inside or on top of a hearty corn tortilla, from enchiladas to tacos, burritos to quesadillas. With Mexican food favorites being enjoyed for breakfast through dessert, there's bound to be a few stray tortillas left without carnitas to hug or pulled pork to cradle. The solution to stray corn tortillas? Transform them into hot, crispy DIY tortilla chips.

    To go from stacks of tortillas to crunchy carriers of guacamole (that is a tortilla chip's sole purpose, right?), simply follow these steps:

    1. Slice your corn tortillas into wedges, or add a decorative flair by using a cookie cutter to stamp out shapes.

    2. Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan

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  • The Ultimate Mint Julep

    JJ Goode

    The classic Kentucky Derby drink requires the perfect balance of mint, sweetness, and bourbon

    It's the drink synonymous with the Run for the Roses, and indeed on Derby Day, vast amounts of Mint Juleps are sipped under cover of splashy hats. The most common version consumed at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby, however, comes from bottles of premixed rubbish, specifically more than 8,000 liters of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail.

    But the Mint Julep, a cocktail of bourbon, simple syrup, and mint served over crushed ice, is easy enough to mix without resorting to ready-mades. Plus, making the drink yourself means you can control its sweetness, which is so often increased to excess.

    See more: Best Burger Recipes

    When to add mint into the Julep equation is hotly debated. Arguments rage over its proper usage, some voting for muddling the leaves with water and sugar, others for infusing them in the syrup, and a third faction maintaining that a sprig as

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  • Cinco De Mayo: Everything You Need to Know About Mexican Cheeses

    Esther Sung

    EpicuriousEpicuriousDiana Kennedy sets the record straight on Mexico's most popular cheeses and dairy products, including Cotija, queso fresco, and añejo

    When you think of some of Mexico's most iconic dishes-tacos, enchiladas, frijoles-chances are, there's cheese involved. Crumbled, grated, sliced, and melted, the cheeses in Mexican dishes contribute salty, tangy flavors and offset some of the heat from chiles and spices. But when it comes to identifying some of Mexico's traditional cheeses (and other dairy products)-namely, the ones you encounter in Mexican restaurants and cookbooks-you're probably stuck at queso fresco and Cotija. Or perhaps your idea of Mexican cheese is the white and orange cheese mix found in your grocery's dairy section. Whichever the case may be, we turned to Diana Kennedy, the authority on Mexican cuisine, to help set the record straight on what is-and isn't-Mexican cheese.

    The Truth About Mexican Cheeses

    First, let's clear up several popular

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