Blog Posts by Gourmet

  • The New Dream Burger

    Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioKemp Minifie, Gourmet Live

    "I'm a meat geek," confides Antonio Mata with pride. Officially a meat scientist and consultant, he's obviously found his bliss in bovine anatomy. Mata spends his days looking for marketable cuts of beef besides the pricey ones with the fancy names. His absolute favorite? The chuck top blade (infraspinatus muscle). Also sold as the flat iron steak, it's the second most tender muscle in the whole animal-the tenderloin being number one-and it's found within the subprimal cut, the shoulder clod. But pit the flat iron against the tenderloin in flavor, and the flat iron wins big. It's robustly beefy.

    Related: 10 Ways to Cook Chicken Wrong

    What gets Mata really excited is that the top blade is unlike any other muscle in any other animal commonly raised for food. When cooked or roasted in dry heat (not braised) most muscles get tough. Not the top blade/flat iron; it actually improves in juiciness and tenderness, "to a point," clarifies Mata. "I actually prefer it

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  • Gourmet Asks the Toughest Critics in the World to Test Pizza--Kids!

    A tester investigates one of Gourmet's pizzas.A tester investigates one of Gourmet's pizzas.By Maddie Donnelly, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    For parents who end up throwing a frozen pizza in the oven at least one night a week to feed the fam, we have some exciting news.

    We put five of the pizza recipes from Gourmet Italian's new Italian Kitchen magazine to the test. But rather than asking food critics or chefs for their ratings, we checked in with the tiny people whose opinions often matter most when it comes to home cooking: Kids. And the results astounded us.

    Related: More of Gourmet's Favorite Italian Recipes

    The winning pizza--handily beating out the four others including a standard mozzarella and tomato pizza--and given loads of "Awesome!" votes for taste, was Gourmet Italian's Fontina, Prosciutto, and Arugula Pizza. The crispy, crunchy crust, soft, gooey fontina cheese, and thinly sliced prosciutto topping won our young audience over. Turns out, if you don't tell the kids it's fancy prosciutto, they assume it's regular old lunch meat and go to town.

    We went light on

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  • Don't Wash Your Chicken Before You Cook It and 9 Other Surprising Tips

    Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioBy Kemp Minifie, Gourmet Live

    Let's just admit it: Americans chow down on a lot of chicken-82.2 pounds per person in 2010 alone! So here are 10 things you should know about our favorite fowl, safety tips included.

    For the best possible bird, DON'T:

    1. Wash the Chicken

    This may come as a shock to all of you who automatically rinse your poultry just before cooking. It certainly was for me. So what's the big deal? Cross contamination! Rinsing your chicken is an ideal way to spew nasty pathogens all over your sink and the surrounding area. Rinsing never did get rid of pathogens anyway. Instead, try to get the meat onto the baking pan with as little contact as possible. Then wipe down your counter with hot soapy water or a mixture of hot water and 1 tablespoon liquid bleach.

    2. Use an Old Plastic Cutting Board
    There's an ongoing controversy about the safety of wood versus plastic boards for cutting raw chicken. As it turns out, old plastic cutting boards must be run through a

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  • The Secret Reason Your Broiler is Burning Your Dinner

    Older ovens usually aren't as tricky.Older ovens usually aren't as tricky.By Kemp Minifie, Gourmet Live

    The best roast chicken I ever ate came out of the Barbie Doll-sized flea market stove in my husband's Lower East Side loft. It had only two settings, ON and OFF, with ON feeling like a few degrees shy of hell. Throw a 3-pound whole chicken inside it and it would be blasted to golden brown with crackly skin and moist flesh in less than an hour.

    There have been endless accounts about the benefits of high-heat roasting. Barbara Kafka even wrote a 464-page book on the topic, and it's certainly been a boon for all of the food magazines cranking out fast weeknight recipes. But there have also been plenty of complaints from home cooks about their incinerated dinners as they tell the tales of when high-heat has gone horribly wrong. The most likely reason? It comes down to the preheat function on many modern stoves.

    Since we all seem to be in such a hurry all the time, some manufacturers have responded with a way to heat the oven faster. If you choose the

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  • ScarJo's a Carb Queen: 5 Things She Actually Eats

    Interview by Adam Sachs, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    Gourmet Live
    sat down with actress Scarlett Johansson to talk food, favorite TV shows, and New York vs. LA. But given her famous figure, it's her love of carbs that interests us the most. Here are 5 of her favorites:

    1. Bagels: Scarlett loves bagels so much that she's recently been contemplating making them herself. "It is impossible to get great ones [in LA]," she says. "I looked online and there were a bunch of videos. It's not as hard as you'd think it would be."

    2. Carrot Cake: "This friend of mine is coming over and he said 'I'll come over for tea.' So I thought, what do we have with tea?" she explains. She settled on serving tiny homemade carrot teacakes.

    3. Banana Cream Pies: "I like banana cream pies," she says. "Those pies are just hilarious. No lemon meringue pie. I don't like lemony things."

    4. Pastries: "I like to bake cakes and pastries and cookies and things like that. And pie. But I'm not a person who is like… 'Mmmm

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  • The History of Weddings & Cake

    Photo Credit: Fairchild ArchivePhoto Credit: Fairchild ArchiveBy Leslie Yeh, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    It seems the whole world is abuzz with what's surely to be one of the most memorable weddings of the century-the royal nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. And while we don't have a front seat to the festivities (who does?), we have been keeping a keen eye on the day-to-day developments related to the can't-miss confection-the royal wedding cake. But that got us thinking … when did cake become such an essential element of exchanging vows? Read on for the sweet history (and a few surprising facts) about why we've come to cut cake on every couples' big day.

    Related: The History of Popcorn and the Movies

    Back in the era of the Roman Empire, the wedding cake was a messy affair. It was customary for a groom to break the cake over his bride's head (to symbolize breaking her virginal state). Luckily, back then the wedding "cake" was usually a dry piece of oatcake or barley bread. In medieval England, other accounts describe the custom of

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  • The Best Places for Sandwich Lovers Right Now

    Kate Sekules, Gourmet Live

    We're in love with bread. Baguette, sourdough boule, bagel, it's all good. Whether in the hands of artisanal bakers, food truck operators, scrappy chefs or top toques, we live for the stuff, and, even more so, for the sandwich. So herewith: our highly unscientific round-up of the latest must-eats in bakery world USA.

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  • The History of St. Patrick's Day and Corned Beef

    By Leslie Yeh, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    As St. Patrick's Day approaches, many images come to mind: leprechauns, rainbows, four-leaf clovers, and on the dinner table, a heaping platter of corned beef and cabbage. But how authentic really is this "Irish dish"? Take a look back in history to discover why you won't find corned beef on the menu this St. Patrick's Day - at least not in Ireland.

    Corned beef-or salt-cured beef-popularly paired with cooked cabbage, has become a familiar centerpiece of St. Patty's Day feasts in the U.S. But this dish is more Irish-American than Irish. In fact, back in the 17th century when the celebration of patron Saint Patrick of Ireland first became an official holiday, pork and bacon were the only affordable meats among most Irish, and beef was considered a rare delicacy.

    In those times, cows were used for their milk, not for their meat. Beef was a luxury only fit for a king, as described in the 12th century Irish poem Aislinge Meic Con Glinne (one of

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  • The History of Popcorn and the Movies

    By Maddie Donnelly, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    Ever wonder why popcorn and the movies go together like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio? Here's a brief history of the duo.

    Popcorn wasn't introduced to the general public as a snack food until around 1840, when it first made appearances at fairs, carnivals, and rallies. In 1885, with the invention of the first portable popcorn machine, its popularity increased dramatically. Popcorn vendors followed the crowds, set up shop, and introduced popcorn neophytes to the joys of butter, salt, and crunch. It was a cheap and tasty hit.

    As fate would have it, the popcorn boom coincided with the dawn of nickelodeon (or dime) theatres. Vendors, quick to spot an opportunity, sold their treats outside of the movies. Though patrons loved it, the mess left behind, the smell of the machines, and popcorn's association with burlesque irritated movie theatre owners, especially as the fancier theaters of the 1910s and 20s were built.

    But as the Great

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  • The History of Chocolate and Valentine's Day

    By Maddie Donnelly, Gourmet Live guest blogger

    Every February 14th love-struck men and women spend more than 1 billion dollars on chocolate products. Blame Cupid for the love-struck part, but why chocolate? What does chocolate really have to do with the most romantic day of the year? Here's a brief history of chocolate and Valentine's Day.

    Our infatuation with chocolate first began 2,000 years ago when it was discovered in Latin America. The Maya and Aztec elites infused cocoa beans with water to form frothy chocolate drinks - the first frappuccinos, if you will - for special occasions and as sacrifices to the gods. The Aztec ruler Montezuma believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac and routinely drank it before entering his harem, thus increasing chocolate's popularity and its association with love and romance. As it turns out, he was ahead of his time. Modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.

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