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  • What Happens When Your Favorite Restaurant Closes?

    Sunday night had so much promise. In addition to a new episode of True Blood and the season premiere of Mad Men, I ordered dinner (a potato paratha and chickpea stew) from Lassi, my favorite Indian takeout spot. Everything was going great until my food arrived and I found a note tucked inside the bag informing me that Lassi, my beloved Lassi, is closing at the end of the month. I can't even begin to explain how sad this news made me. It's a good thing I had Lafayette and Eric (my favorite True Blood characters) as comfort.

    In my younger, less-self-controlled days, I might order from Lassi everyday until it shuts its doors, but that would likely just make me miss it more. (I plan to place several orders while I still can but I promise to exhibit at least a modicum of self control).

    The loss of Lassi got me thinking about similarly devastating restaurant closures. A couple years ago, my family discovered that our favorite local restaurant was gone. In that case, the main

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  • Around the World in 80 Dishes: Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables

    In our ongoing video series Chef Shirley Cheng, from The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make classic Japanese tempura shrimp and vegetables

    Want to learn the secret to making light, crispy fried food without a bit of greasiness? In these videos, The Culinary Institute of America's Chef Shirley Cheng shows us how to make perfect Japanese tempura with shrimp and a wide variety of vegetables, including mushrooms, green beans, lotus roots, and shiso leaves. She also demonstrates a classic dipping sauce.

    In Japanese cuisine, tempura is one of several forms of deep frying or "agemono," according to The Oxford Companion to Food. Tempura refers specifically to small bits of seafood or vegetables that are cooked in a light batter. The Companion further explains that tempura can be traced back 400 years and that the name and technique were possibly introduced by Portuguese missionaries (the Portuguese word "tempuras" means "Ember Days," when meat was not eaten).

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  • Top 10 Lemonade Cocktails In Honor of National Lemonade Day

    Today, August 20th, is National Lemonade Day. Which got me thinking about lemonade and how versatile it is. For example: Though it's clearly predicated on the use of lemons, many adaptations lean on other fruit flavors: cherries, raspberries, watermelon, etc. In the last few years, there's been an interest in adding herbs to cocktails, too. Mint is an obvious choice, but basil and rosemary get a few nods too. And finally, lemonade is one of those drinks that taste just as good spiked as not. For teetotalers, and their loved ones, this is ideal.

    The Epicurious Top 10 Lemonade Cocktails

    Sweet Tea with Vodka and Lemonade (pictured)

    Bon Appétit | July 2009

    by Fred Thompson

    Yield: Makes 8


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  • 14 Things to Do with Greek Yogurt

    I realized this morning that I've mentioned Greek yogurt not once, not twice, but three times in recent posts on the Epi-Log. So it must be pretty obvious at this point that I'm obsessed with the stuff. But here's why: If you're trying to cut a few calories, nonfat plain Greek yogurt can stand in for mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, whipped cream, or whole milk, depending on the recipe. It's so thick and rich, you'd never know that it was fat-free.

    And plus, it's just plain delicious. Here are some of the ways I like to use it:

    Dips and sauces:

    -In my somewhat low-fat and really low-fat salad dressings.

    -As a dip for steamed artichoke leaves and hearts: Mix with lemon juice, thinly sliced fresh basil, salt, and pepper. My brother taught me this one--much healthier than the melted butter I used to use!

    -As a dip/sauce for grilled chicken, shrimp, or lamb: Mix with prepared white horseradish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

    -This isn't completely nonfat, but my

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  • Cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less

    Delicious recipes that are easy to make for your family

    Five or fewer ingredients is all it takes to make a really delicious dish. It's true! That's good news for anyone who has to cook for a group of hungry people and doesn't want to spend a lot of time-or money-doing it. Whether it's a weekday family dinner or a Sunday brunch with friends, simplicity is key and these recipes will help streamline the cooking process for you.

    The beauty of working with five or fewer ingredients is that you probably already have some of them in your kitchen, such as olive oil, butter, and maybe even phyllo dough. Rest assured that you will not have to stock up on rarely used ingredients, nor will you have to slave away in the kitchen. Instead, sit back and savor the food and the company.

    Recipe tips:

    • Prepared Foods Are Your Best Friends

    Make the grocery store work for you. Purchasing foods that are already prepped at the supermarket helps reduce the amount of work required

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  • Top Chef Wine, New York Times Wine, Who Isn't Selling Wine?

    How do companies leverage their brands, and attempt to boost sales, in a crummy economy? Sell wine! Who knew?

    Remember when we tasted the Sopranos wine? Now there's Top Chef wine called Quickfire. It's made in conjunction with Rutherford Hill Winery.

    And remember when we reported that The Wall Street Journal was selling wine? Now there's a new wine "club" from the other paper of record, The NY Times. Members can purchase six-bottle shipments for either $90 or $180.

    Don't forget that Starbucks announced it is experimenting with wine (and beer) sales too, at a few stores in Seattle (via NY Post). It's a big topic of conversation over at

    And finally, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's start selling wine too. A few fast-food chains have experimented with the idea, including Burgerville (a 39-restaurant chain) in Vancouver, Washington (via

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  • Taste Test: Salsa

    Our editors tasted 20 brands of salsa and found one clear winner, as well as three good party-pleasing options

    Salsa-the condiment, not the music or dance style-spices up any party, tortilla chip, omelet, or taco. It's the multipurpose sauce that keeps us dipping for more.

    Salsa isn't the only multipurpose condiment-See which ketchup came out on top on taste

    Store-bought salsa should be chunky enough that it dresses up a tortilla chip but does not run down the sides. It should be multidimensional, with the sweet flavor of summer tomatoes, some element of onions, and a subtle kick of hot chile peppers to top it off.

    Three essential issues confronted us before we could start dipping our chips: What style, flavor, and brands should we taste? We decided to let our readers weigh in. So we posted a poll on the Epi-Log blog and asked our readers to choose their favorite style of salsa: mild, medium, or hot. Out of the 600 people who voted, 48 percent of salsa fans said they

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  • How To Cook Fresh Cranberry Beans

    I'm reluctant to call anything having to do with seasonal and local food a "problem," so I'll just say I have a "farmers' market impulse purchase tendency." My latest "oooooooh pretty" purchase was a bag of fresh cranberry beans. I bought these gorgeous pink and white pods just before boarding a train to a beach cottage for the weekend last Friday. The only problem (or let's call it a "challenge") was that I had no idea how to cook them and didn't have access to the internet (i.e., the Epicurious recipe database) or any cookbooks. Read on to find out how it went.

    I did have access to my beloved cast iron skillet (which I recently learned is the beach cookware of choice for the novelist Jhumpa Lahiri too) and the man I bought the beans from told me to "cook them in a pan" so I figured I was good to go. I sautéed garlic, zucchini, and tomatoes in olive oil, then added the cranberry beans and continued to sauté. For some reason I thought they'd be done in about five minutes. They

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  • Problems in Wine-Pairing Land: Conflicting Advice About Tomatoes

    It's been a tough tomato season. Blight. Bad weather. Overfarming. Here's one more headache for tomato lovers: wine pairings.

    No one seems to agree on what to serve with the tricky love apples. Some experts, like Katie Workman at Hungry Beast, suggest that we avoid acidic wines. "Tomatoes are acidic...the first step in pairing is often to eliminate things you don't want: in this case, overly acidic wines."

    Others, like Todd Thrasher at Slashfood, say, no no no, you DO want acidic wines. "Tomatoes are super high in acid... so you usually have to pair tomatoes with wines that are super high in acid."

    Natalie MacLean agrees with Thrasher. As she noted not too long ago in our Epi-Log: "[You need] a wine with enough acidity and tangy fruit flavors to match the tomatoes, such as the white wine pinot grigio or reds like barbera and barbaresco."

    She goes on to say that it depends on whether or not the tomatoes are cooked. Raw tomatoes have more acid. Cooked ones get sweet

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  • Somewhat Low-Fat and Really Low-Fat Salad Dressings

    I love to eat salads, but I really can't stand bottled dressings, especially those horrible low-fat versions with ingredients like guar gum and corn syrup. So when I was dieting for my wedding, I developed a low-fat dressing that actually tastes pretty decent. Now that I'm just trying to maintain my weight loss, I modified the recipe to be a bit richer but still pretty healthy.

    I'm guessing there are others out there who would love to ditch the bottled-dressing habit, so here's how to make an easy, delicious, really-low-fat or somewhat-low-fat salad topper.

    For really-low-fat dressing, whisk together: 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/8 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. This will make enough for one entree-sized salad and tastes like a thin, tangy ranch dressing. Since it's a not very thick, it's a good idea to use a bit more than you

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