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Lynn Andriani (187 posts)
A Non-Squishy Sandwich
The heartier the bread, the more likely it won't get soggy. You can also take a few precautions: spread each slice with butter or mayo, keep meat and vegetables on the inside and cheese on the outside, and make sure lettuce is completely dry before building your sandwich.
Snack Mix That Won't Leave a Trail
Unless you want the car covered in orange fingerprints, save the Doritos and Cheetos for once you reach your destination. Instead, try making your own salty-sweet nosh. This mix from Cat Cora includes cereal (such as Cheerios or shredded wheat), mini pretzels, popcorn, peanuts and wasabi-coated dried peas for a spicy kick.
While you can buy many foods already smoked--chicken, turkey and salmon come to mind--doing it yourself isn't difficult, just time-consuming (you've heard the phrase "low and slow," right?). Smokers run anywhere from $50 to more than $400, but it isn't difficult to turn a basic charcoal grill into one using wood chips you've soaked in water.
To make your own smoker, first remove the grill's grate. Push the charcoal to once side of the grill and light it; the coals are ready when they're glowing red or starting to turn grey. Set a heavy-duty aluminum pan, filled halfway with water, on the other side of the coals. Gently lay a handful of wet hardwood smoking chips over the coals; replace the grate, and place the food on the grate.
NPR's food blog, The Salt, talked to a food science expert who says there isn't much evidence that trace residues--which often show up on foods on EWG's signature "Dirty Dozen" list--are dangerous. For instance, just 1 of 744 apple samples tested had a pesticide residue level higher than the government limit, and most were far below the permissible level. (Check out the post to see other results, including for fruits and vegetables in baby foods).
Unsurprisingly, the guide says you'll lower your exposure to chemicals by eating organic produce--but with summer superfoods like blueberries and bell peppers (which, in their conventional versions, are both on the Dirty Dozen list) now in season, it's a relief to know it's better to eat them than to avoid them.
Dr. Oz's list of foods you should always buy organic
How genetically modified foods affect your health
Cut your grocery bill and save the planet
Espresso BellaVitano from BellaVitano in Wisconsin
The rub: Ground espresso beans
The taste: Nutty, coffee-like
Eat it with: Sweet pastries, bagels, chocolate, nuts, dried apricots
Barely Buzzed from Beehive Cheese Co. in Utah
The rub: A blend of South American, Central American and Indonesian beans, plus French lavender buds
The taste: Slightly sweet, with a faint butterscotch flavor
Eat it with: Espresso, honey, stout beer or Sangiovese wine
Cocoa Cardona from Carr Valley Cheese Co. in Wisconsin
The rub: Cocoa powder
The taste: Milky and sweet (though not overly chocolate-y)
Eat it with: A dab of hot fudge sauce, Shiraz wine, cherries
Why you should try pairing rum and cheese
9 recipes for crispy, amazing, gooey grilled cheese
11 ways to make mac 'n' cheese
Pair them with sesame. As every sushi chef knows, cucumber and sesame seeds are a winning combination. This easy salad incorporates both ingredients. Just don't skimp on the chilling time: part of the dish's charm comes from the cool, juicy texture of the marinated cucumbers. Let the sweet-tart interplay of the vinegar and sugar really sink in.
Get the recipe: Sesame Cucumber Salad
Chop them up for gazpacho. Tomatoes are traditional, but cucumbers and onions also make for a refreshing warm-weather soup. Serve the icy, chunky blend with crunchy, garlic-rubbed country bread.
Get the recipe: Cucumber and Onion Gazpacho
Eat them with salty cheese. Minerally halloumi cheese comes from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where locals enjoy it with cold watermelon. Its slight saltiness also makes it a good match for the fresh taste of cucumber and lemon.
Get the recipe: Halloumi Cheese with Cucumber Lentil Salad
Despite wacky spring weather interfering with the cherry crop in some areas of the country, the ripe, juicy fruit--from intensely sweet, mahogany-red Bings to yellowish-red, delicately flavored Rainiers--is still hitting markets around the country this month. The healthy little orbs are fantastic for snacking, whether you serve them over ice on a sweltering summer day or take them out of the fridge and let them warm up first for maximum flavor. But since you should eat cherries within four days of buying them (turns out moldy cherries are nothing to fool around with), you may want to consider putting some of them in an ultra-simple cake or cinnamon-y ice cream. The only catch: how do you remove those darn pits (that is, if you don't have a cherry pitter)?
There are many ways to pit a cherry if you don't have a dedicated tool. You can use a toothpick, a pointy chopstick or a skewer. But the maneuver I like best employs a classic beauty tool: the bobby pin. First, halve the cherry with a sharp knife; the pit will remain in one half. Next, bend a (very clean) bobby pin so it's open a little wider than usual, then angle it slightly to scoop out the pit. I've found this technique is safer than others (no splintered toothpicks, for one), but even better, it minimizes both the amount of fruit remaining on the pit...and the quantity of blood-red juice on your fingers.
Which is why I was happy to stumble upon the Snack Database, which launched in April and now has close to 200 entries. In an interview with Bon Appetit, the site's creator, Beau Johnson, says he would like the tool to be "ever-growing, documenting all snacks and perhaps aiding in the development of new ones." Clicking through the foods, from apples to banana pudding, is inspiring, though not because the photos are necessarily drool-worthy (they're simple graphic images) or the descriptions and tasting notes are enticing (though they're funny; about a peach, for instance, Johnson writes, "It has a very light orange colored interior and a seed in the center that resembles what the core of earth would look like if it were sliced in half.").
Johnson describes the database as "contemporary art, except with a grain of craft and usefulness." Or, as I prefer to think of it, a lookbook for snacks.
4 crunchy treats to go with a cup of tea or a glass of wine
Keep a few of these goodies in your purse at all times
The most ridiculously easy (and delicious) snack ever
Cookie Dough Cream Pie. Or cookie dough doughnuts, popsicles, wontons, fudge or pizza. Food blogger Lindsay Landis' recipe for the addictive sweet is egg-free (and thus safe to eat raw), and in her new book, The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook, she explains how to use it to make cakes, custards, pies, candies, brownies and more.
Apricots. If you've ever been seduced by an apricot's soft, barely fuzzy skin and rosy peach glow only to take a bite and find the inside flavorless, it's time to (re)introduce the unripened fruit's best friend: a plain paper bag. It may be the oldest trick in the book, but the humble sandwich bag seems to have even more magical powers when it comes to apricots, which are in season now. After two or three days in a loosely folded paper sack, they turn amazingly sweet, a feat we have yet to accomplish by letting them sit in a bowl on the counter.
Pea Shots. These crisp tendrils are just the young leaves of a pea plant, but their delicate, fresh flavor perks up boring salads and stir-fries (or just snack on them alone). Find them at farmers' markets now or grow your own; within two or three weeks of planting pea seeds (which you can even do in a window box), you'll have edible shoots.
Iced Tea. Although it seems every summer brings a new crop of bottled teas, there's nothing like home-brewed. This version gets an herbaceous kick from kaffir lime leaves, mint, lemongrass and lots of citrus; while this one combines tea with bits of fresh berries and sparkling water. Depending on how much of the stuff you're guzzling, you may want to invest in Bodum's Ceylon Iced Tea Jug, which Oprah's a fan of, both for both tea and flavor-enhanced water.
4 easy vegetable gardening rules
Outrageously delicious cherry desserts
How to have a fantastic, food-centric summer
"I will turn this car around": A cupcake that actually will make him hit the brakes and do a 180. Sift Cupcakes and Dessert Bar, which has 3 locations in northern California and ships nationally, includes among its stable of treats The Studmuffin. It's a beer and brown sugar cake topped with salted caramel frosting with fleur de sel and spicy cayenne-dusted bacon bits crumbled on top.
"This lawn isn't going to mow itself": A shrub that needs no care other than some sunlight and water. Hirt's Top Hat Dwarf Blueberry Plant is perfect for containers and small spaces (it's about 8 inches tall), and will yield hundreds of delicious full-size blueberries.
"You sleep when you're dead": A breakfast treat that will get anyone out of bed early on a Saturday morning. Vermont company Tonewood Maple's goodies are all fantastic, from the syrup to the candies. But it's the maple cream we're most taken with; it tastes so good it threatens to unseat butter as king of the toast toppers.
"It builds character": Spices that will elevate anything he cooks, whether burgers or scrambled eggs. Chicago-based Lezzet Spices has an exotic but approachable roster, including Red Stamp Pepper, Mediterranean Oregano, Sweet Purple Basil and Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt.
Famous dads share their favorite recipes
What to grill for Father's Day this year
Cool new ice cream combos to try at your next party
From Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough, based on ice creams from Bi-Rite Creamery:
Vanilla and tangerine. A scoop of tangerine granita (or just whole tangerine sections) on top of plain old vanilla results in a smooth and tangy Creamsicle-like effect.
Chocolate and blackberry. The darker and more intense the chocolate ice cream, the better this duo tastes.
Cookies & cream and mint chip. There's a reason Nabisco created a spin-off of Double Stuf Oreos in "cool mint"; this kid's dream combo is a winner.