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Archive for February, 2013

Thirsty Thursday: It’s Time to Start Brewing Limoncello

When life gives you lemons, what do you do with them? Do you go to the old stand-by and make a fresh batch of lemonade? That’s a great idea! But wait. Might I suggest making your own homemade Italian lemon liqueur instead? Think of it as an adult version of lemonade.

Start brewing up batches of limoncello, a clean, sweet and beloved lemon-based digestivo from Southern Italy. Brewing your own limoncello will take six weeks, so some patience is required. But as soon as the weather starts to warm up, you’ll have a cool, refreshing drink that showcases the bright, lush flavor of lemons.

And since limoncello requires only a few simple ingredients, make sure they are the best you can find. Though Sorrento Oval lemons are standard, any bright yellow and juicy lemon will do. And for the best results, be sure to use a grain alcohol (not vodka!) to extract the concentrated flavor from the lemon peels.

Though traditionally limoncello is good to sip cold and neat after dinner, it’s becoming increasingly popular in mixed drinks like this Limoncello Spritzer. So get your lemons assembled and start your brewing, because every sip will be worth the wait.

Bottoms up, folks.

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How to Make a Champion Brisket

BrisketTown's Winning Brisket

In my experience, there are two primary schools of brisket: Texas-style (slow-smoked for hours and served with white bread, pictured above) and Jewish-style (oven-braised for hours in a sweet-sour sauce often spiked with Manischewitz). But last week at the annual Brisket King of NYC competition, I experienced this fatty, flavorful cut of beef in ways I’d never imagined.

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Japanese Bakery Makes Bowls of Ramen Out of Cake

Have you gone your entire day without seeing anything new and ridiculous? Leave it to the culinary mavericks in Japan to put an end to that. The Machi no Kumasan bakery in Gunma, Japan has crafted a bowl of ramen that looks like the real thing but is actually made entirely out of cake.

This bowl of “noodles” is actually filled with chestnut and pumpkin cream. The broth? Earl Grey jelly? The green onions and pork? Pistachios and raspberry jelly, respectively. This bowl of succulent sweet goodness goes for $11 USD. Now you can ruin your dinner all you want. They’ll never know.

Seriously, America, let’s get with the program here. We want cakes that look exactly like slices of pizza and we want them now.

Hump Day Snack: Get Hired With a Chocolate Bar Resume

Someone is about to get a Pay Day for the most innovative resume we’ve seen, Bar None. Congratulations on the new job, Nick AKA Mr. Goodbar. You deserve 100 Grand.

While we’re staring at cool chocolate bars, why not browse through our gallery of nostalgic, old-fashioned and retro candy bars. It can’t hurt bringing a few to your next interview.

The Best Mix-Ins For Your Biscuits

Just-out-of-the-oven biscuits are delicious when smothered in butter, slathered in jam or just eaten plain. Take your classic biscuit recipe or store-bought mix to a whole new level with the addition of sweet or salty mix-ins.

1. Bacon and Cheddar (pictured above)
Kelsey Nixon’s Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits feature pieces of crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and chives. Serve them warm with butter.

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Sifted: Brunch Inspiration, Healthy Dinner Options + More


Whiskey Maple Syrup from Life as a Strawberry
5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. Life’s a Strawberry’s whiskey maple syrup corrupts sweet, fluffy pancakes in a deliciously good way.
  2. Add Crepes of Wrath’s spicy baked eggs to this weekend’s brunch menu. The combination of the zesty roasted red pepper sauce, sweet potatoes and runny yolk is perfect.
  3. One look at Damn Delicious’ brown butter cinnamon sugar pull apart bread and you’ll be daydreaming about it all day.
  4. Get your health on with Greek style quinoa patties from The Iron You. The tzatiki sauce on the side makes them extra awesome.
  5. Skip the takeout and make Pinch of Yum’s healthier General Tso’s chicken.

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Dinner Rush! Winter White Turkey Chili

Aside from being painfully chic – what with its “winter white” moniker and all – this recipe is a particularly sentimental one for me as it’s one of the first things my now husband made for me when we first started dating.

You see we both went to culinary school – met there in fact – but he took the road less kitchen-y in favor of other aptitudes (basically, he’s a fantastic marketer and a terrible cook [his words not mine]). Keeping a few culinary tricks up his sleeve, though, he loves making chili and, being that we started dating mid-winter, this recipe has always been a big ol’ seasonal heart-warmer for me.

We call it a white chili because there’s very little tomato in it, but the addition of cumin, beer, tons of beans and a topper of creamy avocado keep it just as satisfying as a traditional red chili. It’s a nice change to help wean you off from the football season barrage.

And take it from a culinary school grad who (claims that he) can’t cook. This recipe is super flexible, welcoming into the pot whatever vegetables you have in the house, and is delicious with the addition of a chopped up sweet potato or chipotle in adobo.

Just make sure to serve it in something chic to keep the momentum going for me, would you please?

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Cookbook Giveaway: Nigellissima

Nigella's Mini Mac and Cheese All'Italiana

Anyone who has ever heard Nigella Lawson describe food in her unmistakable sultry accent knows that she’s a Brit, through and through. But in the kitchen, her style has always leaned Italian. “It was when I was sixteen or seventeen that I decided to be Italian,” Nigella explains in the introduction to her ninth cookbook, Nigellissima. “I simply felt drawn to it, to Italy.”

Nigellissima CoverI hear you, Nigella. Though I’m zero-percent Italian by birth, I’ve been an infatuated Italophile for as long as I can remember. After learning to cook the Italian way during my semester abroad in Rome, I, too, decided to be Italian. Most of what comes out of my kitchen today reflects my adopted heritage.

During her gap year in Florence, Nigella worked as a chambermaid at a family-run pensione and spent most of her free time in the kitchen with Nonna, an Italian grandmother “out of central casting.” Nigella’s recipes in Nigellissima are inspired by the classic techniques used by generations of Italian grandmothers, but she makes no claims of authenticity. The cookbook’s pastas, main dishes, vegetables and sweets all encompass her own personal spin on Italian food. 

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Philly Food Truck Offers Free Tacos For Life

When you think street foods, your mind may drift immediately to pizza and hot dogs. However, thanks to the burgeoning food truck industry, the taco is rapidly becoming many people’s street food of choice. A new taco truck in Philadelphia is trying to get off the ground and offering a tantalizing treasure to early backers. What’s the treasure? Free tacos for life.

A restaurateur named Nick Farina is putting the finishing touches on his Verdad Taco Truck, which will service the Bryn Mawr area of Philadelphia. This being 2013, he has turned to crowdfunding to get things rolling. Smaller donations get you gift certificates, taco parties and the ability to name your own menu item. If you donate $2,000, however, you’ll never have to pay for a taco again. Our mouths are watering already.

Our resident mathematician tells us that in order to make that $2,000 pay for itself, you’d have to eat around 800 tacos. Totally doable, if you ask us.

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