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Lynn Andriani (187 posts)
Shockingly, the evening doesn't unfold in daze of gallantness and rose petals.
Well, the Wall Street Journal has found a name for this: "stress spillover" (and here we just thought it was a mean case of the Mondays). In Putting the Honey Back in 'Honey, I'm Home!', Elizabeth Bernstein looks at "the real Witching Hour, that after-work period when we are tired, hungry, desperate to unwind yet still thinking about work" and offers solutions for avoiding a blow-up (read the storyto find out how a man cave and other stress-relieving outlets can help ).
Dr. Oz's 7 ways to reduce anxiety
Take the stress-detector test
4 sanity-rescuing techniques
If you like olive oil and vinegar, try...skipping the vinegar completely. Theo Stephan, founder of the California olive oil producer Global Gardens, and author of the new cookbook Olive Oil and Vinegar for Life, says real (meaning it has no more than 0.8% acidity), fresh, extra-virgin olive oil can stand as a dressing on its own, though you can add fresh herbs or minced garlic, too.
If you like ranch dressing, try... making it with yogurt. Whisk a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and a few spoons of plain yogurt with salt and pepper. Then whisk in a tablespoon of olive oil. The yogurt will give the dressing a tangy zip.
Like every Italian grandma, the books each have their own ways of doing things. Here's some of their most valuable advice:
When it comes to beef, sirloin (93% lean), ground round (85% lean), ground chuck (80% lean) are most popular. Rodgers likes ground round because it stands up well to long simmering. The Meatball Shop's Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow use chuck. If you're using ground chicken or turkey, make sure it's a mix of dark and white meats, with skin. Breast meat is so lean, if you use it alone, your meatballs will be overly dry.
This squash's deep-orange flesh has a sweet, nutty flavor (some even compare it to butterscotch). The more orange the inside is, the more candy-like the taste. Potassium- and beta-carotene-rich, it's a classic and versatile fall vegetable. Ina Garten has a maple-roasted take on it, Jessica Seinfeld puts it in quesadillas and Susan Spungen turns it into a smooth bisque.
Apples, Beer and Cabbage
Oktoberfest actually starts in mid-September, but it runs through the first week of October. You could make this traditional German stew, which includes two different kinds of apples, varying colors of cabbage, caraway seeds and pork shoulder; these crowd-friendly deep-fried sauerkraut balls; or just embrace Oktoberfest for what it really is: an opportunity to drink beer. O asked beer sommeliers for their regional favorites, then sampled their suggestions. Here are some of the most delicious bottles. Also check out The Oxford Companion to Beer, out this month.
Three more things you shouldn't miss, including a cheese spread that's perfect for a night of baseball...
Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, co-creators of the public radio program The Splendid Table, live by Colette's words, "If you aren't up for a little magic now and then, you shouldn't waste your time cooking." They also live by these rules for eating weekends:
1. Enjoy the luxury of having time to make something from scratch, whether it's chicken stock or homemade pasta.
2. Spend a lazy afternoon in a new neighborhood where maybe you don't speak the language, but can find new markets and restaurants. Try Vietnamese, Indian, Ethiopian or one of these other global cuisines.
3. Share the work. Four or six hands at the stove and sink makes you feel less of an imprisoned kitchen wretch.
See Kasper and Swift's new book, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends, for 100 recipes for Saturdays and Sundays, plus ways to incorporate leftovers into "Work Night Encores."
Try a roasted pumpkin pasta dish this weekend
Sweet pears combine with spicy ginger, cinnamon, allspice and clove in this tasty fall dessert
Bats Mobile, $25. Danish modernism meets Goth in this take on the classic nursery item.
NASA Sounds, free. Set your ringtone to feature the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong's iconic "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"--or program your computer to broadcast, "Houston, we've had a problem," every time you make an error on your computer.
Cake Knife, $22. With their vibrant, saturated hues and curvy shapes, these utensils would fit right in at the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Tie Dye Hair Ties, $10.50 for 6. Soft, stretchy retro-cool hair ties look as cute around your ponytail as they do on your wrist.
E-Books and Audiobooks, free. If you somehow missed reading 1984, Frankenstein, The Call of the Wild or one of 17 other required-reading titles in high school, this site tells you how to download versions for free, mostly as audiobooks and e-books, and sometimes as movies and radio dramas.
If cupcake icing were an Olympic sport, this is the woman who would win the gold medal. Her name is Leona, and she's the star icer at Magnolia Bakery's Upper West Side shop in New York City. Leona may have been born with the talent, but you can learn to imitate her technique by watching her in action:
A couple of guidelines from Leona:
1. Monitor the icing's texture constantly. You want it just firm enough to shape into swirls, but not too hard. You'll know the icing is too soft when you're making it if it immediately slaps to the side of the bowl (remedy: put the entire bowl in the fridge for five or 10 minutes and try again). If, while you're working, the icing begins to look shiny, the butter is starting to separate and melt. Put it back in the fridge.
2. Store icing in plastic buckets, which are easier to work from than glass bowls are, thanks to their straight sides. You need a clean icing wand to frost the perfect cupcake; a good way to get it icing-free is to wipe it dry along the edge of the bucket after every swipe.
3. To get the air bubbles out, smooth the frosting by sticking your icing wand straight down into the bucket and stirring like mad.
Here's even more advice on frosting cupcakes, plus secrets to making other foods--like cookies, bacon and cappuccino--look as good as chefs' versions.
Cupcakes for every personality
20 favorite childhood desserts (with an adult twist)
A sophisticated take on milk and cookies
Today is National Pancake Day, which means breaking out the griddle, opening up the syrup and making hotcakes for dinner tonight is more than acceptable--it's practically required. If you're feeling sophisticated, try this pumpkin-y take or Donna Hay's Chinese version. But if you really want to get into the spirit of the holiday, visit Jim's Pancakes, where Jim Belosic, a dad "just trying to make some cool pancakes for my daughter," shows off such outrageous works of pancake art as a 3D airplane, a campfire and marshmallows, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The pig pictured here is featured in Belosic's book, OMG Pancakes! 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love To Eat, which comes out next week.
1. Understand the varieties. You may think cider's too sweet for your taste, but like Riesling, which suffers from a similar image problem, there are dry, "off-dry," and sweet styles. If you're new to the beverage, ask a salesperson to show you a "completely dry" or "extra-dry" option.
2. Don't spend too much. Most good ciders fall between $10 and $25.
3. Buy local, if you can. There are wonderful bottles produced on the West Coast, the Midwest, the East Coast, the Great Lakes region and New England. Two of Itkin's favorites come from New Hampshire (Farnum Hill) and Virginia (Foggy Ridge).
4. Pick up a few bottles. Cider's alcohol content ranges from 2% to 9%--much lower than wine, which is usually 13 or 14%--so you can have a couple of glasses and not feel too woozy.
5. Drink it with anything that you'd eat apples with. The obvious pairing is white meat, especially pork and turkey. Cider is wonderful with cheese, too, especially hard, nutty varieties like aged Asiago, Emmental, Comte or Grana Padano. The offbeat match we love, though, is donuts. The drink's bubbles will scrape excess grease off your tongue (and can you think of a better way to spend a fall afternoon than sipping cider and eating one of these?).
Tyler Florence's Cranberry-Apple Cider Shandy recipe
9 seasonal fall recipes to savor
A delicious pumpkin muffin
Yes. Domenica Catelli's Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins are rich and cakey, with a hearty pumpkin flavor but no butter or sugar. Instead, the recipe calls for high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (I used Whole Foods' 365 Organic Arbequina olive oil, which is fruity and a little peppery) and either maple syrup or agave nectar (I used agave). Other perks: Whole wheat flour and ground, omega-3 fatty acid-rich chia seeds, whose mild nutty flavor is almost undetectable here, thanks to other flavorful ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. (Chia seeds also show up in Lisa Oz's lentils-and-rice dish.) And an entire 16-ounce can of organic pumpkin gives them a deep orange color (using fresh pumpkin probably wouldn't make a difference, taste-wise, since the canned version is more consistent and fresh can vary.)
If I could only find a way to justify eating this other fall classic with my morning coffee.