July 2, 2006

Food News: Great steaks have common thread -- fat

So, you're having a BBQ for your 4th of July or summer get together and are wondering "What should I get for the grill?" This piece from the Boston Globe offers some good tips for your fiery endeavor.

"Independence Day is the most popular holiday for grilling, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, and steaks are second in popularity only to burgers.

Marbling is the first thing to consider when buying steaks for home, LoSurdo says. While filet is the most popular cut at his restaurant, he prefers the rib eye, sometimes known as Delmonico -- a fattier cut that comes from the lower part of a cow or steer's back."

"LoSurdo notes that per-pound prices for steaks can range from a few dollars to upwards of $20. He advises choosing ``the best thing you can afford... His personal steak preference is a "center cut" from the middle of the loin, an inch thick or better. Go for a bone-in steak if possible because it will have more flavor."

Full article here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 15, 2006

Food can fail, or sail, on strength of spices

A spicy dish is only as good as the spices you use to make it. Here are some spice suggestions and tips from Ana Sortun, chef and owner of Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, MA:

"...it makes sense that you'd want the spices you buy to be richly colored, fresh, and fragrant. To create the eastern Mediterranean flavors that her restaurant is known for, Sortun draws on an array of spices that includes cumin, coriander, pepper, dried oregano, dried mint, Aleppo chilies, cinnamon, allspice, as well as favorites such as sumac, which adds a lemon flavor that Sortun likes on salads."

Full article here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 28, 2006

Are Wine and Cheese Pairings a "No-no?" NewsScientist Seems to Think So

This is an interesting blog post from one of the other blogs I frequently read. In this posting, seems that having cheese with your wine, something that is frequently done at a tasting, pretty much kills many of the wine characteristics you want to appreciate.

"Madrigal-Galan and Heymann offered cheap and expensive versions of four different varietal wine to a panel of expert wine tasters and carried out a tasting session both on the wine alone and together with eight different cheeses. Cheese supressed pretty much all the sensory stimuli wine can give (sourness, astringency, berry flavours, etc) except buttery aroma, probably because cheese contains the molecule responsible for that. One possible explanation proposed for this effect is that cheese protein binds the aroma molecule in wine or that the fat in the cheese may coat the taste buds decreasing the sensibility to wine flavours."

But, as the posting goes on to say "To me a wine-food pairing works not when the food leaves the aromas of the wine perceptible and clear, but rather when the union of the two forms a new pleasing flavour. The realm problem is that the concept of "pleasing flavour" is a deeply personal one."

So, is the initial claim correct or incorrect? I tend to agree with the poster...

Read more here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 6, 2006

Recipes: Macaroni and Lots of Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, for a lot of people, is a "comfort food." I tend to agree. But if your idea of Mac 'n' cheese is something created with a box from craft, or even if it isn't, the New York Times has a really interesting Dining article on it.

Like me, Ms. Spieler believes that macaroni and cheese, which is often served alongside fried chicken or barbecue, deserves pride of place as a main dish. "I love it so much that I want to focus on it," she said. A crisp green salad and a glass of wine turn mac and cheese into a meal, she added.

Read more: Macaroni and Lots of Cheese

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December 22, 2005

Cooking: A Q&A with ... Paula Deen

Whitney Matheson of USA Today has a Q&A with diva of the Food Network, Paula Dean:

"If you've ever watched Paula Deen's show on the Food Network, you know the country cook is mighty fond of fried foods, buttery desserts and the word "y'all."

In 2005, Deen's popularity spread from Hollywood, where she had a small role as Orlando Bloom's Kentucky fried aunt in Elizabethtown; to Savannah, Ga., where she operates two restaurants; to New York, where she developed another cookbook and other food-related projects.

Deen -- No. 53 on my top 100 list -- was on her way to the Big Apple with her husband, Michael, when we spoke last week. She's been so busy lately, in fact, that her voice was hoarse and she hadn't even finalized the guest list for her Christmas dinner."

Full article here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (8) | social bookmarking

December 14, 2005

Wine News: Champagne: How Low Can You Go?

Wondering what to buy for your New Year's Eve bubbly? Well look no further than this NYT overview of affordable but good Champagnes:

"In quest of a few good bottles, the Dining section's wine panel recently tasted 25 Champagnes at the lowest price level, which nowadays can rise up to $30. Contrary to the blithe image that a tasting like this may bring to mind, it was no easy task. Champagne, especially cheap Champagne, can be harsh and acidic, and with 25 glasses before you, before long the tongue seems to swell and the inside of the mouth feels rasped by steel wool. Nonetheless, we were relieved and happy to find some Champagnes that we could recommend enthusiastically."
Full article here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Cooking: A Baker Rolls With the Technology

Get some ideas on new gadgets for your kitchen in this story:

"So, at a time of year when every baker has deep, childlike cravings for new toys, I tried to find some technical help. Over three floury days last week I put this year's crop of baking gadgets through its paces. My shelf of must-have tools already included a stand mixer, a kitchen scale, a Microplane grater and zester and a hand blender. But there is always another peeler to try, a new material to explore."

Full article here.

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 7, 2005

Cooking News: Ever So Humble, Cast Iron Outshines the Fancy Pans

"The Minimalist" Mark Bittman covers the hows and whys of something that's been around in cooking for what seems like forever, but now seems to be coming back into favor:

"As cookware becomes more expensive and the kinds available become more varied, it's increasingly clear to me that most 'new' pots and pans are about marketing. For most tasks, old-style cookware is best. So these days when I'm asked for a recommendation, I reply with an old-fashioned answer: cast iron."

He goes on to detail why cast iron is a great buy, and explains the basics of seasoning and maintaining them. This is a great read. I own a Lodge grill pan and it does an excellent job for things like steak and chicken. Yes, cast iron is more work, but for some things, it can't be beat.

Read the full article here.

Check out the following items from Lodge at Amazon.com.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Lodge Logic 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Lodge Logic 11-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Grill Pan

Lodge Cast Iron Cookware Store at Amazon.com

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November 8, 2005

Cook Book Reviews: Lots of Holiday Gift Ideas for the Cooks in Your Life

Reviews of the latest cook books seem to be popping up all over the place:

‘Queer Eye’ for recipes
Bravo’s gay food guy Ted Allen discusses his new cookbook, ‘The Food You Want to Eat,’ brings his tips and quips to two local venues. Full article here.

The Food You Want to Eat : 100 Smart, Simple Recipes

'Perfect Recipes' for entertaining lives up to title
"Perfect Recipes for Having People Over" by Pam Anderson (Houghton Mifflin Co., $35, hardcover) is the perfect cookbook to have on hand when trying to decide what to serve guests.

It offers flexible and foolproof recipes that also are tempting and satisfying. In other words, perfect recipes for the harried cook.

The 304-page cookbook, illustrated with more than four dozen full-color photographs, includes almost 200 simple recipes that guests are sure to love. Full article here.

Perfect Recipes for Having People Over

Fresh recipes to spruce up your dinner menu
In her new cookbook, ‘Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats,’ the FoodTV host serves up some new ideas for delicious dinners. Check out her recipes:

  • Boo-sotto
  • Scotch and Wild Mushroom Risotto
  • Lemon and Artichoke Risotto with Shrimp

Full article here.

Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats

Powell creates recipes 'odyssey'
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, published by Little, Brown & Co. in September, has taken off like a rocket. The project, which author Julie Powell began as a blog, quickly evolved into a New York Times bestseller, and has even been optioned for the silver screen. Full article here.

Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

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October 19, 2005

Cooking news: Being Rachael Ray: How Cool Is That?

"Though the nation's food elite might cringe, Ms. Ray, 37, is one of the most influential people cooking today. Let the big-name chefs fuss with foams and sous vide. She'll stick with hot dog nachos and "jambalika," a dish that is kind of like jambalaya. With more than 4 million books in print and four shows on the Food Network, Ms. Ray has shown America the way back to the kitchen.

As she likes to say, "How cool is that?""

Though these days she seems to be bordering on overexposure (the Food Network is practically all-Rachael all the time, and she's got a new book, a magazine, and a TALK SHOW in the works) she's still entertaining, and still serves up some great recipes.

"It is hard to catch Ms. Ray not working. She flew her new husband, John Cusimano, to Austin, Tex., in September to watch his favorite band, the Foo Fighters, as a birthday surprise. She spent the afternoon, slightly hung over on margaritas, in her hotel room finishing her third book for Clarkson Potter. On her birthday in August, so sick she could barely talk without coughing, she was at her computer writing recipes."

Full article here (Free NYT subscription required)

Michael Dupuis at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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