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  • How Many Second Chances Does a Yucky Ingredient Get?

    A lot of good eating happens when you give a dish a second chance.

    Take tofu: I hate it. I find the texture and taste to be odd and artificial. Rubbery and chalky at the same time. If I am going to eat anything tofu, it needs to be fresh and delicately silky. Given the option, I usually pass on it. Recently, however, I gave it another go. I was at a Korean spot called DoSirak in Manhattan , it was few minutes past eight, and my stomach was a-rumblin'. As I waited for a friend to join me, I was served two little dishes, one with kim chi and the other with tofu. After five minutes of sitting in my chair, watching other peoples' dishes pass me by, the synapses in my brain spoke to me: "All we are saying is give tofu a chance." So I went for it. And it was amazing.

    The tofu was had been thinly sliced and was perfectly marinated in this sweet, garlicky, bright red pepper flaky sauce, not too chewy. Aside from the marinade, this tofu stood alone without any assistance from a grain or

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  • St. Patrick's Day Menus

    Celebrate the luck of the Irish with recipes for corned beef, cabbage, soda bread, and more

    There's more to St. Patrick's Day than green beer and plastic leprechauns, and we've got the menus to prove it. Whether you go for the familiar (and delicious) corned beef or branch out with a sophisticated Irish Cream chocolate mousse cake, these recipes will have you toasting the luck of the Irish.

    Irish Brunch

    Wake up to the top o' the mornin'

    Casual Supper for St. Pat's

    Simple and hearty-perfect for fueling up before your celebratory pub crawl

    St. Pat's Dinner Party

    Invite over some friends for the wearing of the green

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  • St. Patrick's Day: What to Eat Before Drinking That Guinness

    I admit it: I'm getting excited about St. Patrick's Day already. The Irish among us may understand, and may also understand the reason why it is the perfect holiday:

    First, you eat. Then, you drink.

    Deceptively simple, no? But think about it: None of the other great drinking holidays involve the formal consumption of alcohol-friendly food quite like St. Patty's. On New Year's Eve, you're lucky if you get a decently-nourishing canapé. On Halloween night, you're too busy shaking the glitter out of your wig to eat. And on the Fourth of July (which, to be fair, comes in a close second), a lot depends on the ratio of hungry guests to prepared grillmasters. ("Two packages of hot dogs for forty people? Was I supposed to bring the loaves and fishes?" Rim shot.)

    The traditional St. Patrick's day feast, on the other hand, incorporates food that has been scientifically proven to make drinking yourself into a sloppy, happy, I'm-going-to-hug-everyone-in-this-bar mess a good idea. Almost.

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  • The Great Irish Soda Bread Debate

    Irish chef Rory O'Connell reveals the traditional way to make this beloved quick bread-and shares his thoughts on its variations

    In the United States , "Irish soda bread" generally means a somewhat sweet white bread made with eggs and butter and studded with raisins and caraway seeds-the "soda" in the name comes from the baking soda (or "bread soda" in Ireland ) used to leaven it instead of yeast and kneading. But some people, like the founders of the U.S.-based Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, insist that there's nothing Irish about this bread-that it's an American invention or at least a corruption of the Irish original.

    To get the straight story, Epicurious turned to chef and cooking teacher Rory O'Connell. O'Connell trained with Myrtle Allen at Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry, East Cork , Ireland , and later became head chef at the restaurant (the post was taken over by Jason Fahey in late 2004, when O'Connell left for a stint with Alice Waters at Chez

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  • Dieter's Diary: Runner's Fuel

    I've been running a lot in, on a treadmill, on purpose. As opposed to running for the train, or running from bears. What I have discovered is this: Running makes you tired. Shocking! Who knew?

    I'm about three weeks into an eight-week training program for a half-marathon I hope to run (believe me, no one could be more surprised than I am about this). So far, I'm really enjoying the actual running part: just me and my iPod, huffing and puffing away. But I'm beginning to understand that I probably need to make some changes if I want to keep this up. I'm zonked.

    So, I need more sleep, first of all. I also need to figure out what I should eat to fuel my running routine. If I'm running a few days a week in the morning, should I eat something particular the night before? If I do a longer run on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, what should I have for breakfast?

    I've done a little research on the subject, and here's what I've found out so far:

    1. Experts say that

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  • Everyday Food Phobias: Fruit, Milk, and More

    A lot of phobias are oddly poetic but some food phobias seem merely inexplicable. A friend of mine is scared of fruit. I had noticed the vague look of abject horror that came over her face, last summer, when I dribbled my way through a week's worth of ripe peaches. And I remember in retrospect, the day she went dead pale when we served the big melon basket filled with melon balls (a fruity epic, the fruit phobe's nightmare) at a barbecue. But the day she fled the room, when I polished my mid-morning apple, was the day I sensed, call me intuitive, something wrong. "Apples," she told me, "are the worst.

    There is something about the sound of the crunch that shoots right through me."

    I'm very accepting of neuroses, since I specialize in them myself, and I often find them charming. But what struck me about her very visceral phobia was the way it suggests how food gets entwined in our brains, and resonates so profoundly. And on a daily basis. Because the fear of the Macintosh, like a

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  • Food Politics: A Real Food Challenge

    I took notice when I saw the phrase real food combined with the last name of Steel. Last fall I published Real Food for Healthy Kids and so when I caught wind of the Real Food Challenge, led by someone with the surname of Steel, I was more than a little curious. Turns out I am related (through marriage) to this Steel and interestingly, his mission dovetails with one of the messages of my book and also with Epicurious' interests, that of supporting local, sustainable, humanely derived, and ecologically sound food.

    The Real Food Challenge seeks to galvanize students to choose "food that is ethically produced, with fair treatment of workers, equitable relationships with farmers (locally and abroad), and humanely treated animals. It's food that is environmentally sustainable, grown without chemical pesticides, large-scale mono-cropping, or huge carbon footprints. Real Food is food that is healthy, tastes good, builds community, and has the potential to inspire broad-scale social

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  • Is Frugal Eating Acceptable in Public?

    If you read the papers, you would think restaurants are doing back flips with hot towels and warm welcomes to pamper patrons now that everyone is cutting back on a very dispensable indulgence. Maybe I'm reading the wrong papers, because I just came from my second encounter in 17 hours with a server who was, shall we say, less than thrilled with this dollar pincher wanting to share orders. Last night it was pizza with pretensions, today it was cassoulet. So much for half a loaf being better than none.

    I know how much I can (and should) eat, so I resent being shaken down to over-order. At 10 o'clock, I wanted no more than one tiny slice, but my consort and our friend were shamed by the snooty server into ordering two (admittedly small) $18 pizzas plus two $9 salads for the table with our bottle of wine. This afternoon I met a new friend for the special $25 cassoulet only because she had proposed splitting one when we made our lunch date. If I braved an entire one alone, I would

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  • Is silicone bakeware a do or a don’t?

    Last month in the forums, Cucinadinana posted this conundrum about the proliferation of silicone bakeware:

    "I still have not invested in [silicone bakeware], because my brain will not accept that these are safe to use. I just envision the cupcakes that are baked in these to be absorbing all sorts of chemicals with exposure to heat. I do not feel as nervous using the pastry brush, because it stays at a moderate temperature during use, and has limited time in contact with food products. ...

    "What makes me nervous is that we have all seen how different products/pharmaceuticals/etc. get approval, and then 10-20 years later, there are reports that say things like, there is now a direct correlation between such-and-such and [health problem].

    "So, my question is, who here uses silicone bakeware, and are there any others that prefer to not use these products? Am I just being a nervous Nelly, clinging too tightly to 'tradition'?"

    Well, Cucinadinana, you're definitely not alone.

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  • The Pleasure is All Mine: Lessons in Cooking for One

    As a single person I mostly cook for one, and while I'm capable of broiling a pork chop and searing a piece of fish, I seem to eat typical "for one" meals like soup or salad for far too many lunches and dinners. Somehow, despite my skills and my own preferences (I don't even like salad that much), I hardly ever make a decent (or well-rounded) meal for myself.

    But, once I started reading Suzanne Pirret's new book, The Pleasure is All Mine, I have to admit, I'm inspired to get back to the kitchen and treat myself to more home-cooked meals. Pirret's book is part memoir, part cookbook: It features 100 recipes (most with wine pairings from Colum Sheehan of New York 's Babbo) as well as short essays about her culinary experiences in New York , Los Angeles , Paris , and London . I see it as the type of book one can curl up with and read as well as take to the kitchen and actually use.

    Pirret's goal is for you to put down the takeout menu and learn to cook for yourself. Not only

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