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  • Top 5 Ice Cream Trends

    Ice cream is still the, er, crème de la crème when it comes to frozen desserts, but with summer knocking on the door, be ready to see your hot-weather favorite in these Top 5 ways, says Restaurants and Institutions magazine. (We've taken the liberty of choosing a few Epi recipes for your tasting pleasure.)

    Crunchy Sandwiches

    Chocolate Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Caramel Ice Cream

    Sumptuous Sundaes

    Nectarine, Blackberry, and Pecan Sundaes

    Ice Cream Floats
    Caramel Espresso Float

    Double Chocolate Pudding Parfait

    Savory Scoops
    Gazpacho Sorbet with Apple Aspic

    What's your favorite way to eat ice cream?

    by Joanne Camas


    Scream for ice cream with these 24 delicious ice cream recipes

    Don't think dessert can be healthy? Think again with these 10 slimmed-down sweets

    Get ready for a sizzling summer with the complete Grilling & Barbeque Guide

    Think comfort food can't be healthy? These recipes

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  • National Doughnut Day: Where to Score Free Stuff

    Brothers and sisters: It's a hole-y day, National Doughnut Day to be specific. This is not some new marketing idea dreamed up by corporate salesmen. According to legend (OK, Wikipedia, same thing): "National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fund raiser for the Chicago Salvation Army. Their goal was to help the needy during the Great Depression (sound familiar?) and to honor the Salvation Army "Lassies" of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers behind the front lines in France."

    Pastry fans have three options:

    1) Score a free doughnut at participating Krisky Kreme shops. See store locator and call your local shop before zipping over.

    2) At Dunkin Donuts, all you have to do is buy a beverage (coffee anyone?) and you get a free doughnut. While supplies last and at participating stores, of course.

    3) Make your own: Check out the Epicurious database of doughnut recipes.

    by James Oliver Cury


    Scream for ice cream with these 24

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  • 9 Pizza-Topping Personalities

    I've been making and eating a lot of pizza with friends lately, and if there's one thing surer than people saying "Yes" to the idea of making a fresh pizza, it's that there will be a lot of debate about what goes on top of said pizza.

    But they say you learn best from adversity, and I have noticed something in all the friendly arguments. Especially that people seem to fall into a few distinct categories when it comes to pizza toppings.

    Here are the categories I've come up with so far ...

    1. The Traditionalist

    Also known as The Pizza Snob. This is the guy who wants pizza exactly as it was served in Naples from 1889 on, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil, and baked in a wood-burning oven, then finished with extra-virgin olive oil. Otherwise it's "not really pizza." There are variations for New York-style, New Haven-style, Chicago-style, etc.

    2. The Tyrannosaurus Rex

    Otherwise known as The Meat Eater. This is the pizza lover who may or may not use

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  • Top 5 Most Annoying Food-Writing Clichés

    My wife and I play a game when we go out to eat: Name the cliché that food writers would use to describe the place. If the restaurant has a fireplace and it's crowded: It's cozy. If we have the chocolate cake, we know it will be described as decadent by a critic soon. Here are our top five most annoying food-writing clichés. But I'm also curious what readers think. Does your local food scribe make you cringe? How so? Please add your own clunkers in the comments field.

    Decadent dessert
    For some reason this is hard-wired into emerging food writers' brains. If it's a dessert, and not tart or fruity, it must be decadent right? Wrong. Maybe it's sweet. Or made of chocolate. But what does decadent really mean? And how many non-decadent chocolate cakes have you had?

    Cozy interior
    What does this really tell you about a place? Answer: Nothing on its own. Better to say what you see, feel, hear, smell, taste. Chances are the writer is trying to avoid saying that the place is small,

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  • Foods to Eat Before They Vanish (Or Is It Too Late?)

    I've always liked Jane and Michael Stern because they are driven by the kind of passionate, unapologetic appetite that isn't easily sated. That's why they continuously wander the country, looking for the last really good chili dog, up to their elbows in whoopie pies and gumbo, haunted by the vision of the perfect brisket around the next bend in the back-country roads.

    But the interstate odyssey can get tiring and there is something elegiac about their latest book, "500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). There is a sad undertone to the wistful title, a note of nostalgia, fitting for the slumped times, which suggests the party is slowing and too many good things may become a memory soon. Or at least a lot of good edible things.

    That's why the resulting book can read almost like a post-mortem, a last look back at authentically regional dishes that could disappear soon, swamped by generic chain food or the slow erosion of regional boundaries, and

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  • Quick and Healthy Recipes for Uncooked Pasta Sauces

    Over the past few weeks as the weather has gotten nicer I've been running around outside so much that some of my more labor- and/or time-intensive cooking projects (making bread or soup, for example) have fallen by the wayside. In fact I just wasn't cooking that much at all for a couple of weeks. So it was with great pleasure that I recently became reacquainted with a healthy and speedy standby: uncooked sauce for pasta. Read on to find out how my delicious dinner came together in 15 minutes.

    I returned home ravenous from a long bike ride and immediately set a pot of water on the stove to boil. While waiting for the water to boil, I changed out of my bike clothes, drank a bunch of water, and poured myself a glass of wine. The water boiling, I tossed in some salt and penne. While the pasta was cooking, I halved cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped a bunch of basil, minced a couple cloves of garlic, and mixed it all up with some olive oil. When the pasta was al dente, I drained it

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  • Cocktails take center stage in four new books

    It's no longer good enough to come out with a generic guide to cocktails. You need to have an angle. Four of the latest cocktail books focus on the following: wine cocktails, appetizer recipes specifically for cocktails, cocktail culture, and cocktails from Danny Meyer's restaurants. A brief overview of the pros and cons of each, below.

    Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer's Acclaimed New York City Restaurants($19.79)
    Foreword by Danny Meyer

    Pros: Big and splashy color photos, large fonts, index allows readers to search by spirit (vodka, gin, tequila, etc.). Very much a coffee table book, ideal for picture browsing.

    Cons: Table of contents organizes drinks into vague (not especially useful) categories like "inspired flavors" and "casual libations." Good thing they have an index.

    Bixology: Cocktails, Culture, and a Guide to the Good Life ($10.17)
    By Eve O'Neill and Doug "Bix" Biederbeck

    Cute little brown hardcover from the folks at Bay Area

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  • Got Pine Mouth? The Curious Problem with Pine Nuts

    Pine nuts. Almost everyone loves them, and it's hard not to add just a little extra when you're sprinkling them on salads, adding them to pesto sauce, topping off main meals with them, turning them into desserts, or what have you.

    But ever since last winter, an increasing number of people have fallen prey to a curious problem with them: pine mouth.

    That's when eating pine nuts leaves you with a metallic taste in your mouth that can last for weeks afterward, and make eating or drinking anything an unpleasant experience.

    The problems seemed to begin with Chinese pine nuts imported into the U.S. about a year ago. There is no heavy-metal contamination or pesticide or fungus involved, and it doesn't seem related to allergies. Even more confusing, not everyone is affected. A British botanist who's started a blog dedicated to pine mouth suspects oxidation as a possibility, or that a new species of pine nut is being sold.

    Changes in taste (called dysgeusia) often occur when

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  • Healthy Grilling: Low Calorie and Low-Fat Recipes for the Barbecue

    Pump up the flavor in your food using fire, not fat

    No longer relegated to the summer months, grilling has become a year-round affair-in fact, Chicagoans, who are known for their grilling prowess, often battle wind and snow to get to the barbecue. And whether you're fixing meats or veggies, fruits, or even cakes, grilling is a surefire way to impart bold flavor without a lot of added fat and calories. So, push aside the hot dogs on your barbecue grill and make room for some of our favorite lighter grilled sides, mains, and sweets.

    • How to Boost Flavor

    Since the intense heat of the grill brings out food's natural flavors, there's no need to cook with a lot of calorie- and fat-laden oil or butter. Instead, use lower-calorie spice- or citrus-based marinades, sauces, and rubs to add flavor. If some fat is necessary to prevent things from sticking, keep your marinades heart-healthy by choosing monounsaturated oils such as olive.

    • Caution About High Heat


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  • New Trends in Barbecue and Grilling Gear

    If you really want to find out about the latest barbecue and grilling gear, you have to go to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association's national trade show out in Reno , NV . We asked Bill and Cheryl Jamison, intrepid world travelers and authors of the James Beard Award-winning The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining, to share some of their favorite finds this year with readers.

    Epi-log: What were the new trends that stood out at the show?

    Bill & Cheryl Jamison: Probably the biggest thing was the strong emergence of pizza. There have been outdoor pizza ovens for the backyard for a number of years, but now it seems everyone has one. Some were wood burning, some gas powered. Some brick-lined, some metal-lined. Chicago Brick Oven unveiled several licensed Mario Batali's pizza ovens that will heat up in about 30 minutes, much faster than traditional models. Unlike a grill, pizza ovens are not going to do a lot other than pizza and bread really well, and with prices

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