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Food (179 posts)
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
I think NeverSeconds can inspire some change not just for the school system but for each of us. Lunch should be something delicious, a potentially-photogenic pause in the middle of the day, a chance to refresh and nourish and reboot. Lunch should be, in other words, something that would make Martha Payne proud.
Some Inspirations for Non-Depressing Lunches:
The Ultimate Guide to Non-Boring Brown Bags
Our Favorite Sandwich Recipes
Take Back Your Lunch, Take Back Your Life
Photos of School Lunches from Around the World
With the First Lady's vegetable garden practically a subject of national envy, more and more of us are rolling up our sleeves and following suit. If you're put off by the idea of actually rolling up your sleeves, though, this helpful article explains that raising your own sun-ripened fruits and vegetables isn't the backbreaking, budget-busting hassle you'd think. The piece lays out four easy rules-- such as "pick a spot, any sunny spot. It doesn't have to be large"--and reminds us that a few rows of tomatoes and lettuce don't have to be managed with the same precision as a graded college chemistry lab, despite what all those gardening books say. The White House's garden may be 1,100 square feet, but you can get just as much pleasure from one a fraction of the size.
3 kale recipes you'll actually love to eat
An easy plan for a food-centric summer
8 things to do before summer ends
They're like...peanut brittle.
Except...they're more buttery (i.e., you won't risk cracking a tooth on them).
We love...Cinnamon Walnut Oat, Habanero Beer and Cashew Coconut
Kitchen Table Bakers Crisps
They're like...cheese and crackers
Except...there's no cracker; it's just a disc of toasted cheese that's just as crispy.
We love...Aged Parmesan, Rosemary and Everything
Rhythm Kale Chips
They're like...potato chips.
Except...instead of potatoes, you get a bunch of fresh kale mixed with dressings and "air crisped" at a low temperature.
We love...Bombay Curry, Kool Ranch and Mango Habanero
It's like...classic bar popcorn.
Except...Three ingredients--popcorn, sunflower oil and sea salt--in perfect proportion to each other make it taste just salty enough.
3 new treats to put in your handbag right now
The best things to eat before working out
Oprah's snack secrets
1. Italian Sandwich
Take the popular combination of melon and prosciutto and turn it into a mini open-faced sandwich: make sure the cantaloupe slices aren't too big, and tear the ham into equally bite-sized pieces. Top with a sprig of fresh mint or basil.
2. Sweet and Salty
Cook six slices of bacon, remove from pan and break into bits. Saute half an onion in the bacon fat until translucent. Add a splash each of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and brewed coffee to the pot. Stir the bacon back in and cook slowly until concentrated.
3. Mexican Minus the Tortillas
Saute a diced onion and green bell pepper until lightly caramelized. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp. salt. Add a diced sweet potato and a bit more olive oil, then roast in a 400° oven for 15 minutes. Stir in a cup of rinsed, drained black beans.
In 2010, when Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano moved from Los Angeles to Chicago to open a cream puff shop ("They're the next cupcakes!" they say), the pair realized they'd overlooked one aspect of relocation: making new friends. They tried chatting with people in bars, but "guys thought we were hitting on them," Lu says. "It was awkward." Then they realized their best connections had formed over food. "Eating together is the classic way to socialize," says Lu.
A few months later, the pair launched grubwithus.com, where users browse dozens of upcoming gatherings at local restaurants and then book their seats at a table of strangers also looking to connect. The food is usually served family-style over multiple courses, which helps people settle in and get talking. "Grubbers" must adhere to a few rules, however: Be on time, don't check cell phones, and avoid politics-and-religion talk.
Now in dozens of cities—and available for anyone, in any city, who wants to use the site to set up a dinner—Grubwithus meals have produced friendships, job offers, and a few romances. But Sugano says he and Lu are their own best success story: "We arrived with no social network, and now we have 25 real friends in Chicago." And all because they remembered that before Facebook, there was food. "People say this is a forward-thinking service," Sugano says. "But making time to eat together is old-school. We're just going back to basics.
The restaurant that's changing the face of gritty West Oakland
Down-home done right: Soul food from brown sugar kitchen
Fortunately, there's a new product that makes that choice a little less stark. I recently heard about Just Great Stuff organic powdered peanut butter from Betty Lou's, a Oregon-based company that makes healthy snacks. Powdered peanut butter sounds like the kind of thing that would appeal mostly to astronauts and Boy Scouts, and I was initially uninterested--until I heard that it has 93 percent less fat than traditional peanut butter, and that it comes in chocolate flavor (I should admit here that in those moments when I've needed extra, um, inspiration, I've been known to dip spoonfuls of peanut butter into powdered hot chocolate). Two tablespoons of this stuff has only 40 calories and 1 gram of fat (but only 4 grams of protein versus the 8 grams in the same amount of regular peanut butter).
The ingredient list sounded tame enough: peanuts, coconut sugar (from the coconut palm flower), alkalized Dutch cocoa powder, vanilla powder, Stevia extract and sea salt (all organic). To make the peanut butter buttery, the instructions say to mix 2 tablespoons with 1 tablespoon water and stir until smooth (this creates a slightly watery consistency, so I advise starting with a teaspoon of water and adding more to thicken to your taste). With water, what had started as a bitter-tasting, crumbly powder (not the kind of thing you'd eat from the jar) became a chocolately, peanutty, just-slightly-gritty paste that made me think of Nutella's yoga-teaching, NorCal-dwelling cousin. I loved it, both plain as well as spread on bananas and whole-wheat toast, and I imagine it would be great in smoothies, too. Best of all, I found that the act of mixing and stirring broke my peanut butter trance so I didn't eat it in mindless mass quantities. For a classic PBJ sandwich, I'd still opt for the real deal, but this surprisingly tasty alternative allows me to have my peanut butter (in the house), and eat it, too.
Make your own peanut butter
It's brown butter, which is simply butter that you've cooked slightly past its melting point, so the milk solids turn brown and produce an amazing nutty taste (and smell). It adds a richness beyond what you get from the plain stuff, and is a breeze to make. Just whisk slices of butter in a skillet over medium heat; after it melts, foams, stops foaming and starts forming tiny brown specks on the bottom of the pan, you've got browned butter. (Don't let it go too far, though, or you'll have burnt butter.)
Now, the fun part: where to use this savory creation. Cupcake Project blogger Stefani Pollack makes Brown Butter Cupcakes; Paula Deen incorporates it into the frosting for her Loaded Oatmeal Cookies; Cristina Ferrare stirs lemon zest into it and uses it as a popcorn topping; and this gorgeous O magazine recipe turns it into the basis for Sugar-Crusted Pecan Shortcakes (which go perfectly with peaches, raspberries and whipped cream). Let's see bacon do that.
Author and food writer Cheryl Sternman Rule, who writes the blog 5 Second Rule, is here with inspiration. She's matched seven of the most popular ways to serve chicken--from barbecued to marsala--with sides from her new cookbook, Ripe, that are anything but snooze-inducing.
Rule has a hang-up, you see, that's a powerful defense against boring salads or pilafs: color. She and photographer Paulette Phlipot are so obsessed, they arranged their book into sections on red fruits and vegetables like beets and pomegranates, orange ones such as apricots and yams, and so on. Check out this Oprah.com slideshow for her creative ideas (the fried chicken go-with, Honeydew Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, is reason enough). And next time you feel like chicken (tonight?), you can make an accompaniment that just might steal the show.
4 glorious potato dishes for any occasion
More non-boring sides
11 healthy ways to make chicken