Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff

  • Greens and Grains Recipe or Our Pre-Spring Lightening-Up

    We're acutely aware that it is not yet spring. In fact, on this Tuesday there is a TV monitor in our office warning much of the country to bunker down for a blizzard. But at this point in the season, we're kind of over all the cold-front excuses for mac and cheese and lasagna. Instead, we're craving those first bright flavors of spring--baby lettuces, radishes, and TKTK--and until they rear their heads from the thawing dirt we'll settle for wholesome winter greens and grains. Gooey cheese and coma-inducing carbs need not apply.

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  • Vote for the Shine Supper Club Winner!

    What we learned this month: y'all are romantics. When we asked for your sexiest dish and your most romance-ready recipes, we swooned at your heartfelt answers. Doug S wrote, "It's not the food, it's the circumstances in which the food is served and eaten," before telling the sweetest story about being laid-off, broke, and having a night so romantic--drinking margaritas with his wife at a Mexican chain restaurant-- that it still burns bright in his memory some thirty years later. When you're in love, Katie pointed out, "scrambled eggs with leftover green beans can be just as romantic as a 5 star restaurant." And we have to agree: a humble meal can set into relief just how gaga you are for each other. Sometimes it's the parking lot picnics that stand the romantic test of time.

    But others of you want the kind of decadent, lazy romance we can understand: "Well, it's breakfast in bed of course," wrote Just a Normal Woman. "Warm baked French Toast, buttery syrup, some beautiful

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  • Cooking with Wine: Do I Really Have to Do That?

    We hope she didn't buy a bottle just for a little pan sauce...There are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Every week, we will track down the answer to that question. Why? Because as much as we love cooking, we're kind of lazy. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

    This week's question comes from Jamie S: "I want to know what the point of 'cooking sherry' is. I always leave it out of any recipes that require it."

    All the experts we asked agreed you wouldn't want to cook with anything you wouldn't gladly drink. "The 'cooking wines' you find in grocery are not worth it," said James Briscione, Chef Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and Food Network's first Chopped Champion. "They have half the flavor of the real thing and are loaded with sugar and salt, which could leave you dish tasting worse than if you had just left the wine out

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  • Brushing Mushrooms Clean: Do I Really Have to Do That?

    Mushrooms in a colanderThere are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Every week, we will track down the answer to that question. Why? Because as much as we love cooking, we're kind of lazy. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

    Please allow me the telling of my longtime favorite joke: A mushroom walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve your kind here." The mushroom asks, "Why not? I'm a fun guy." Ba dum dum!

    Here's the deal: "Mushrooms are naturally very watery," explains cookbook author Dina Cheney. Because mushrooms are like little sponges, the thinking goes that washing them will only make them more waterlogged. "The more watery food is, the soggier its texture and more diluted/bland its flavor," says Dina. In a word, yuck.

    Food science smartie Alton Brown tested brushing

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  • Share Your Sexiest Dish with the Shine Supper Club

    At this point in winter's deep freeze, most of us feel anything but hot. The dry skin on my hand's looks like it belongs to a Golden Girl. My lips are too flaky for red lipstick, and even the most ambitious sidewalk cat-caller has little to respond to: my shape is buried under a couple layers of wool. All of which leads me to believe that whoever decided to "brighten up" February with Valentine's Day was a freak.

    And yet...

    Leaning over a bowl of dumpling soup lends a milkmaid flush to our cheeks (and inspires a new term of endearment). Lusty, falling-apart short ribs warm us from the inside, and a dark chocolate mousse is richly decadent but still airy. These are our sexy foods: our go-to recipes for seduction that can raise temperatures in even the darkest and dreariest winter month. This month, The Shine Supper Club asks you to share your tried-and-true sexiest dish. Here's how to join us:

    1. Write a blog post telling us about your sexiest dish by Sunday 11:59PM PST, February

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  • Meet Camilla of Caffay Way, the January Shine Supper Club Winner!

    Camilla is the newest Shine Supper Club winner!Camilla of Caffay Way brings a taste of Europe to the Shine Supper Club. Originally from Sweden (but now calling Colorado home), Camilla shared her recipe for glogg in our December recipe round-up, but it was her Avocado Cream Pasta with Grilled Shrimp (recipe below) that made her this month's winner.

    What ingredient are you currently obsessed with?

    It's not so much about a specific ingredient, it's more about my obsession with certain cooking appliances. For example, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a cast iron grill pan, which has become a permanent staple in my kitchen. I grill everything: avocado, shrimp, vegetables, chicken, peaches. A few months ago I bought an enameled dutch oven and was cooking roasts and stews 24/7. Now I'm kind of itching for a panini press.

    Favorite food memory?
    Growing up we did not go out to restaurants often. However, every once in a while my parents would take me and my siblings on a European road trip. These trips were so fun and some of my fondest

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  • Beer Can Chicken or Why We're Celebrating the Anniversary of Canned Beer

    You don't need imported beer or a parsley garnish to make great beer can chicken.We can sort of imagine the "wonder what would happen if…" moment that first inspired a cook to shove a can of beer up a chicken's nether regions. It's the same brand of under-the-influence ingenuity that prompted a baker to fold marijuana into chocolatey brownies. But the culinary revelation that is beer can chicken (which also goes by the names drunken chicken, thirsty bird, dancing chicken, chicken on a throne, and the ever-charming beer butt chicken), would never have graced American grills had the first canned beers, Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale, not hit Richmond, Virginia's shelves on January 24, 1935.

    "Here's the biggest news since repeal," reads an ad for canned Krueger's Cream Ale. "Imagine buying Ale or Beer for your home without paying a bottle deposit […] Imagine being able to get twice as much in the same space in your ice-box! These are the modern conveniences made possible by the astounding keg-lined can."

    You know what happened next. The

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  • Vote for the Winning Shine Supper Club Recipe!

    If you ever tire of brown rice and vegetables on your new year's journey to eating better, you needed look no further than the the contributions to the Shine Supper Club for a bit of inspiration. The recipes this month were so fresh (herb and veggie-stuffed summer rolls), so vibrant (winter detox salad), and so creative (lightened jalapeno popper dip, anyone?), we continually felt motivated on to keep eating well (well, most of the time). But as always, there must be a winner. We've narrowed the playing field to 8 finalists. Now it's time for you to vote for your favorite.

    Voting will be open until 12PM PST Wednesday, January 23. The winning recipe to be featured on the Shine homepage and win a copy of The New Way to Cook Light. No purchase is necessary to participate, and the giveaway is open to U.S. residents who are 18 or older. The full rules for the giveaway can be found here.


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  • How to Make Perfect Popcorn (and an Excuse to Eat More Butter and Salt)

    A bowl of homemade popcorn and Dr. Danny Castellano? A perfect night.Whenever I'm trying to avoid the siren snack song of crisp, salty tortilla chips (which I can plow through a bag of myself, no problem), I turn to my old pal popcorn. Have you seen how much those 100-calorie microwave bags make? Enough to easily power a Mindy Project marathon (or, at least, an episode). But if your love of popcorn isn't something you're willing to die for this Saturday, National Popcorn Day, and if, frankly, you could care less about the health food aspects, allow us to suggest old-school stove-popped popcorn as 1) the world's best vehicle for butter and salt and 2) so much cheaper than store-bought. In other words: stop buying the microwave bags. Homemade tastes better (what is that orange stuff on the sides of the bags anyway?) and is nearly as easy as pressing the "popcorn" button on the microwave.

    Related: Snacks for a Movie Marathon

    Can't give up the microwave, no way, no how? Here's a trick: Pour 2 tablespoons of kernels into a paper lunch sack. Fold the

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  • Healthy Recipes so Inspiring, You'll Glow Just Looking at Them

    Can you please pass the kale and millet, because even the most die hard bon vivant among us has probably overdone it on the cheese and chocolate at this point. We're ready to eat greens, we want to put turmeric and ginger in everything, and we want to fit in our pants again. The Shine Supper Club to the rescue, with a recipes to hasten a return to sane eating. Bring it on.



    To join us:


    1. Write a blog post telling us about a healthy recipe you're cooking up this month by Sunday 11:59PM PST, January 20th. Be sure to include a photo and a recipe.


    2. Mention and link to the Shine Supper Club in your post: https://shine.yahoo.com/supper-club/


    3. Tweet @YahooShine with a link to your post and include the hashtag #shinesupperclub. Aren't on Twitter? Email the link to shine_sarahmccoll at yahoo.com. We will compile the links for all participants to include in their posts so all Supper Club members can share in the link love.


    4. Finalists will be posted by 12PM Monday, January 21 with

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Pagination

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