Blog Posts by foodandwine.com

  • 10 Easy Ways to Master the Grill

    By Food & Wine

    Spicy Thai SteakSteven Raichlen, host of TV's Barbecue University, has written dozens of books on grilling. Here, he distills a library of advice into 10 simple tips to mastering the grill.

    Plus: Quick Grilling Recipes

    1. Grill over wood
    Forget about the gas-versus-charcoal debate: Wood is the only fuel that adds real flavor to food. If possible, use whole hardwood logs in a wood-burning grill. The next best option is to burn hardwood chunks in a regular grill. (Light them in a chimney starter as you would charcoal.) As a last resort, toss some wood chips onto the coals of your charcoal grill--you use hardwood charcoal, right?--or in the smoker box of your gas grill just before you begin grilling.

    2. Keep your cool
    You don't need to bring steaks to room temperature before grilling: There's no appreciable difference in cooking time. Steak houses keep meat refrigerated until they're ready to cook it--for reasons of convenience and food safety--and so should you.

    3. Line it up
    Align the

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  • Mastering the Weeknight Dinner Party

    By Grace Parisi, Food & Wine

    Vinegar-Braised Chicken with Leeks and PeasIf my house is clean and I have a teeny bit of extra time, I actually enjoy throwing midweek dinner parties. The key is having a game plan. For a starter, my warm goat-cheese spread with hot-pepper jelly is nearly as simple as setting out a cheese plate. While it bakes, I put the finishing touches on a quick main course combining meat and vegetables, like vinegar-braised chicken with peas (pictured). For dessert, store-bought shortbread dipped into melted chocolate gives the illusion of effort without looking like I'm showing off. My last strategy is to keep my wine out of sight, so that if the guests bring a bottle, we're not tempted to drink theirs plus mine. It is, after all, a weeknight, and the work day ahead looms large.

    Slideshow: Fast Weeknight Dinners

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  • Five Things Never to Bring to a Picnic

    By Kate Krader, Food & Wine

    Grilled Bread and Marinated Tomato Salad You might be a very successful picnicker, might never have experienced a picnic disaster. But my colleagues in the Food & Wine test kitchen have learned the hard way the best things not to pack for a picnic. Here are five of their top tips.

    Slideshow: Best Picnic Recipes

    Just say no to deviled eggs. They're a picnic staple, but Marcia Kiesel, F&W's test kitchen supervisor, says the best place to eat deviled eggs is in your air-conditioned home or at your favorite temperature-controlled restaurant. The best deviled eggs are messy and hard to pack and shouldn't be sitting on your picnic blanket in the sun for more than a fast few minutes.

    Think sandwich alternatives. Of course there are great picnic sandwiches. But for every good one, there's one that gets completely flattened or soggy, or both. Grace Parisi, F&W's senior recipe developer has a brilliant idea: make bread salads instead. You can mix chunks of toasted bread with virtually any sandwich filling:

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  • Mario Batali on How to Make Pasta

    By Food & Wine

    Butcher's Ragu with Fusilli "The satisfaction derived from making something so delicious out of a pile of flour and eggs is incredible, and the difference between that and store-bought 'fresh' pasta is night and day," says chef, restaurateur and TV star Mario Batali. Here, the pasta master and Italian-food expert shares tips for making the best pasta.

    Slideshow: Outstanding Mario Batali Recipes

    1. The Secret to Light Gnocchi
    First of all, choose the right potato, like russets, never a waxy or "new" potato. Work the flour into the potatoes when they are still warm, but do not knead them beyond just bringing the dough together.

    2. Pasta Dough-Mixing Tips
    When making pasta dough with either an electric mixer or by hand, it's better to start with a dough that's a little wetter than drier so you can add egg and flour a bit at a time until it feels right.

    3. How to Cook Fresh Pasta
    The biggest problem that people have is that they cook fresh pasta until it looks like it's soft enough. You need to

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  • Taste Test: Chips and Salsa

    By Food & Wine

    In honor of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, Food & Wine editors tasted over 25 kinds of tortilla chips and just as many varieties of jarred salsa to create this buying guide. While there are many fantastic chips on the market, processed salsas didn't fare as well, with tasting notes like "Stale spice flavor" and "Wish it had salt and tomatoes didn't taste rotten." Fresh salsa is easy to make, but in case you do prefer to shop for it, we've included a few brands to look for below.

    BEST TORTILLA CHIPS

    WHITE CORN
    Trader Joe's Restaurant-Style White Corn Tortilla Chips
    *Top Pick: Trader Joe's Restaurant-Style White Corn Tortilla Chips, $1.79/ 8.5oz
    "Great crunch." "I'd buy these!" "Nice corn flavor." "These are my new favorite tortilla chip-perfect thickness and crunch."

    Xochitl Totopos de Maiz, $5.99/16 oz
    "Love these. So thin, taste homemade and are salted nicely." "Light, crisp, mild but good flavor. Too thin for dipping, though."

    Tostitos Restaurant-Style White Corn, $3.99/13 oz
    "The chip many of us grew up

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  • How to Ruin Roasted Potatoes and Other Spuds

    By Jasmin Sun, Food & Wine

    Jalapeño-Roasted Potatoes At New York's Minetta Tavern, co-chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr nearly upstage their exceptional steaks with an arsenal of perfectly cooked potatoes--either fried, mashed with cream and butter or simply roasted. Here, they explain how to master potatoes at home by identifying and troubleshooting the most common mistakes.

    Terrific Recipes for Potatoes

    Roasted Potatoes Mistakes

    1. Roasting raw potatoes. Simply tossing raw potatoes into the pan before roasting will guarantee tough results because the high water content will steam out over the course of a long cooking time. "You feel more like you're eating the skin, because the structure just collapses inside," says Hanson. "It also gets too hard. There's crispy, and then there's tooth-shattering." To achieve that perfectly crispy exterior and creamy interior, parboil potatoes until 3/4 cooked, when a knife tip can pierce the potato, but it won't slip off when picked up. Drain before roasting for about 20 to 30

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  • Why the Sprouted Food Trend is Worthy Trying

    By: Kristin Donnelly, Food & Wine

    Super Sprout Chopped SaladFriends dabbling with the raw-food diet have told me about the health benefits of eating sprouted nuts, beans and grains, saying that the process of soaking these seeds (they're all technically seeds) "awakens their life force" as they begin to germinate. The concept always seemed a little New Agey to me, but after noticing sprouted foods for sale at places like Whole Foods-everything from sprouted brown rice to sprouted tortilla chips-I decided to learn more.

    Healthy, Fast Weeknight Dinners

    I reached out to Esha Ray, who sells a line of sprouted grains and lentils called TruRoots at health-food stores, and even in three-pound bags at Costco. "I grew up in India, where cooks often sprout legumes before cooking to make them easier to digest," she says. During the sprouting process, to nourish the tiny shoot as it grows, the complex carbohydrates in seeds break down into simple sugars, and the proteins break down into amino acids; both are easier for

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  • Make Your Own Greek-Style Yogurt

    By Daniel Gritzer, Food & Wine

    Greek-Style Yogurt"Making yogurt is all about getting two ingredients-a starter culture and milk-to interact in the right way," says Ron Marks. A trained chef, Marks is the founder of AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery, a company that recently began selling its thick, Greek-style yogurts throughout the South. Marks explains that a starter culture is a mixture of live, active bacteria that consume lactose, producing lactic acid (which creates a tangy flavor) as it transforms milk into yogurt. The trickiest part of the yogurt-making process is making sure that the cultured milk stays at the right temperature, between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. An electric yogurt maker simplifies the task, but you can improvise by setting the cultured milk near a warm radiator, in a slow cooker or even in an oven. After that, it's just a matter of time-anywhere from five to 18 hours. Here, Marks provides two options for making yogurt at home and shares several of his favorite toppings.

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  • Powerful Food Combinations

    By Food & Wine

    Everyone knows that whole grains, vegetables and beans are good-for-you foods but some foods are even more nutritious when eaten with other foods than they are alone. Here, a look at five health-boosting food combinations.

    Best Healthy Recipes Ever

    Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Carrots
    Powerful Combination #1: Chickpeas + Citrus Dressing
    Vitamin C in citrus juice helps the body absorb the iron in chickpeas.
    Recipe idea: Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Carrots

    INGREDIENTS
    1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
    2 large garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced
    1 bay leaf
    Salt
    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
    1 red onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 cup dry white wine
    1/2 cup strained tomatoes or plain tomato sauce
    3 tablespoons chopped parsley
    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Freshly ground black pepper

    DIRECTIONS
    1. In a large saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 quarts of water.

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  • Kid-Friendly Recipes

    By Food & Wine

    "There aren't a lot of things more important than feeding your family, but even those of us who like to cook sometimes feel like throwing a spoonful of peas at our kids when they're cranky about dinner," says Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook. Here are fabulous recipes to win over picky eaters--children and adults alike.

    More Kid-Friendly Recipes

    Crunchy Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce photo by Tina RuppCrunchy Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce photo by Tina Rupp
    Crunchy Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce
    In this updated kid-friendly favorite, chef Michael Schlow of Radius in Boston uses potato flakes from a box in place of bread crumbs to form a supercrispy crust for cod fillets. Serve with a chunky sun-dried-tomato tartar sauce.

    INGREDIENTS
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
    3 sweet gherkins, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
    2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus wedges, for serving
    Salt
    Cayenne pepper
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons water
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup instant potato

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