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Archive for November, 2012

Cadbury’s Invents Chocolate that Stubbornly Refuses to Melt

Alchemists the world over have struggled for centuries to create gold from copper, or wine from water. To our knowledge, these labors have remained fruitless. Gold is still precious and wine is still made from grapes. However, alchemists can rejoice in knowing that we at least now have chocolate that doesn’t melt.

It’s true! Candy manufacturer Cadbury’s has announced it has finally solved one of the planet’s greatest puzzles, and invented chocolate that won’t melt on your dashboard on a hot summer’s day. How does this work? The company states they have found a way to break down sugar particles into ridiculously small pieces, thus minimizing the amount of fat that covers them. This, in turn, keeps the finished product from melting in temperatures of up to 104 degrees. In contrast, regular chocolate turns to mush at around 93 degrees. Let’s hear it for technology!

If you prefer the melted kind of chocolate, give our recipe for Molten Chocolate Cakes a go.

American Classics: Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!

Huckleberry Pie Recipe Mark Twain

When celebrating the birthday of an American literary icon, not just any grocery story birthday cake will do. For American food-lover Mark Twain, perhaps the greatest and most mythologized American writer ever, only an iconic American dessert starring an ingredient that shares its name with his most famous character will do. Since Twain loved “all sorts of American pastry” and “fresh American fruits”  this Huckleberry Pie (above) seems like the obvious choice to stick a candle in to celebrate his birthday while rafting down a river reading (or SparkNotes-ing) The Adventures of Huck Finn.

Twain’s love of food wasn’t limited to pie. On one long voyage over seas, he (as he would) waxed poetic about a long list of favorite American foods he couldn’t wait to get home to enjoy. We’ve got recipes for lots of ‘em, and we think Mr. Twain (born Samuel Langhorne Clemens) had pretty good literary and culinary taste.

For example:

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Kitchen Survival Guide: Garlic

Let’s talk about garlic.

Few foods inspire such a love-hate relationship in the kitchen. If you’ve spent hours peeling its flaky skin or scrubbing its pungent scent from your fingers, you know the pain I mean. But it’s hard to avoid: while garlic belongs to the onion family alongside milder chives, leeks, and shallots, there’s no substitute for its strong flavor.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks of the trade to help you cook like a pro – and get the better of this stinky bulb.

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Thirsty Thursday: Satisfy Holiday Cravings with a Gingerbread Cocktail

Let’s face it. Building a gingerbread house is a lot of work. But the holiday season without gingerbread is like Rudolf without a red nose. Before you get your rolling pin ready and your gumdrops assembled, try consuming your gingerbread in liquid form with Alie and Georgia’s gently spiced Gingerbread Housed cocktail.

With just a few simple ingredients and a cocktail shaker, you’ll have a gingerbread treat that came together in just minutes. Start by infusing your rum the day before with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh ginger. Then the cocktail gets a dose of almond liqueur, vanilla extract and molasses, an essential component to anything gingerbread. Tame the robust mixture with a splash of heavy cream, and don’t forget the best part: the frosting and decorations. Rim the glass with snowy white frosting, and decorate with hot red cinnamon candies and gumdrops. It’s everything we love about gingerbread in a festive, holiday drink.

Bottoms up, folks:

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The Chicken ‘N’ Waffles Syrup Saga

Last April Fool’s Day, Torani, a popular syrup manufacturer, boasted they had concocted a chicken ‘n’ waffles flavor of syrup. The Internet nearly burst from collective excitement and the company was forced to admit that it just a cruel joke. The joke got the whole world pining and now the company is setting things right. They have announced that they have indeed created a fried chicken and buttermilk waffle syrup.

It isn’t available in stores but you can get your hands on a bottle online.

Alternative: Skip the sugary syrup and go for the real deal, with Bobby Flay’s recipe pictured above.

Rock This Look: How Nadia G. Looks Amazing Even When Feeling Lazy

Rock This Look: Nadia G's Lazy Day Dishes

There are several degrees of feeling lazy. At the lowest, there’s not wanting to take out the trash. At its highest, there’s being unmotivated to nuke a microwave dinner. It’s okay to spend a day on your couch every now and then, but slip on a pair of Uggs and you’ve lost our support. Take a cue from Nadia, get up and get dressed! There’s an easy way to look amazing, and it never involves sweats or pyjamas.

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When you’re feeling lazy, lifting your arms above your head long enough to lather, rinse and repeat can feel exhausting. And don’t get us started on how much motivation it takes to heat up the curling iron! A simple slicked-back bun is stylish but easier than many other up-dos. We know you hear the call of the baseball cap, but we promise you won’t be avoiding your mirrors for the rest of the day if you just find an elastic and get your hair out of your face. Some lazy days still require you to leave the house, and this bun is work-to-grocery-store appropriate.

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Do the Truffle Shuffle

Freshly shaved truffles are one of those luxury items that just screams “This is for rich people only.” Priced from hundreds to thousands of dollars a pound, depending on the species, these musky mushrooms do not make for an affordable meal. But us financially impaired people appreciate good food, too. So in the tradition of Cubic Zirconia, knock-off designer handbags, and generic antidepressants, lets stock our pantries with truffle salt and truffle oil and tell rich people that we don’t need their stinking (literally) fungus, shall we?

For under twenty bucks you can get either the earthy oil or the salt and add the delicious depth, earthiness and complexity of truffles to your favorite dishes. We truffle salt our deviled eggs and avocado toasts, and drizzle the oil atop salads and even in our cocktails (see crazy recipe below and picture above).

We’ve gathered a few favorite recipes that use truffle oil and/or salt. It’s sure to have your diners thinking you’re a real funghi. Get it??

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Sifted: Nutella Cookies, Holiday Caramels + More

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. For this year’s cookie swap, take it over the top with Top With Cinnamon’s nutella and salted caramel-stuffed double chocolate chip cookies.
  2. Instead of fretting over holiday shopping, give your friends something sure to induce smiles: sweet treats. Garnish with Lemon’s recipe for fleur de sel caramels is a good place to start.
  3. Williams Kitchen’s sweet potato hash egg bake is the perfect solution to a no-fuss, delicious breakfast.
  4. If you’re still recovering from the carbo-load of Thanksgiving, treat yourself to Shutterbean’s persimmon butter lettuce salad.
  5. Christmas music is on the radio, so gingerbread is officially okay to make. We can’t wait to try A Pastry Affair’s muffin recipe.

Craving More?

  • It’s time to bring out the holiday cookie cutters and start baking. Your favorite Cooking Channel chefs created their best holiday cookie recipes just for you.
  • When it comes to homemade gifts, Kelsey’s got you covered.

Fall Fest: 6 Unexpected Cauliflower Dishes

Cauliflower constantly amazes me with its versatility. You can roast it until it becomes delicate, tender and slightly charred, and whatever spices are used become deeply aromatic; you can use the meaty florets to bring a hearty texture to salads or vegetarian chili; or you can blend cauliflower with cream until it lends a luscious consistency to soups and purees. And let’s not forget that in its humble, raw form, cauliflower’s crisp and crunchy texture makes it great for simply dipping. However you choose to cook (or not cook) your cauliflower, this snowy white vegetable gets a whole new appeal when it becomes the star of a dish.

Here are six recipes for creative cauliflower eating:

Get the Recipe: Cauliflower with Sweet Potatoes (pictured above)

This unlikely duo of cauliflower and sweet potatoes is pan-roasted with fresh ginger, coriander, cumin and yellow-hued turmeric.

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Rethink Traditional Hostess Gifts

Hostess GiftsTrade in bottles of wine for bottles of uniquely-flavored bitters as your go-to hostess gifts this year.

We’re barreling towards the end of the year now and are firmly in the midst of party season. From the awkward office mixer (are you the one that always brings the light-up reindeer ears?) to the elegant cocktail party your interior-designer friend always throws that you’re never quite sure how to dress for, your dance card is full.

I don’t know about you, but I’d never really considered the “hostess gift” until, frankly, I was asked to write a post about it. It’s not that I show up empty-handed, but that bottle of wine or grapefruit-flavoured Perrier (my drink of choice at the moment!) in my mitts is usually destined for both the hostess’ glass… and mine.

But, last week, I actually thought it out a bit and tried it. My friend Heide hosted Thanksgiving at her house – no small feat – and so I brought along a little present. Not only did it light her face up, it also made me feel good – a little something to say thank you for getting up extra early so that the table would look good, and a thank you in advance for the hours spent cleaning up after we’re gone.

Here’s the thing with hostess gifts, though; I need them to be practical. Space is at a premium in most houses, and the last thing I want to do is hand over another kitchen gadget that clogs up the catch-all drawer. So here are my suggestions for inexpensive-but-useful little presents that not only show your host or your hostess your appreciation, but make you look good, too!

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