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Mother’s Day Gift Guide — 5 Ways to Win Mom Over

Remember that time your mom literally brought you into this world? Yeah, that might be a hard act to match. We don’t doubt she loved the macaroni necklaces you gave her when you were a kid, but if you want to step it up this Mother’s Day (aka Sunday — freak out!), woo her with some food-centered gifts that really show her the love.

Method 1: Start Strong
If there was ever a day to serve Mom breakfast in bed, May 11 would be it. Start things off right by serving her in style on Reclaimed Wood Trays from West Elm ($69-$115). Load them up with brunch dishes while she sleeps in, and rejoice in the fact that these gorgeous rustic trays are gifts in and of themselves.

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May the Fourth Be With You: 5 Star Wars Kitchen Gadgets

A long time ago, a seemingly wise, old, green being of an unspecific species stole a human’s lunch and asked, “how you get so big eating food of this kind?” So maybe his wiseness is questionable.  Also of questionable wiseness: purchasing any of the following Star Wars-themed kitchen wares to celebrate Star Wars Day, May 4th.

  1. R2-D2 Measuring Cups (pictured above) [via: ThinkGeek]

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Unexpected, Awesome Easter Treats


Does a tiny foil-wrapped chocolate egg just not do it for you on Easter morning? Here are some offbeat, awesome Easter treats actually worth the hunt this Sunday morning.

Chocolate Jesus
In the (admittedly rewritten) words of Cool Hand Luke, “I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my chocolate Jesus.” Though perhaps not for the most humorless Easter observers, this gilded four-inch edible icon ($14.40) from mouth.com is a refreshing update to the standard chocolate chick. There’s also a chocolate Moses if you prefer your edible action figures in pairs. (Available for overnight shipping through the end of the week.)

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Stocking Stuffers for Food-Lovers

The old adage “good things come in small packages” is especially true when it comes to stocking stuffers. To maximize this year’s small pleasures, here are some stocking-sized gift ideas for the food lover in your family, perfect for the…

Baking Mother:
Sometimes a few secret ingredients can make a huge difference in baked goods. Black cocoa (King Arthur Flour; $9.95) is one ingredient that packs a wallop, for the most intensely chocolaty desserts. Vanilla bean paste (King Arthur Flour; $12.95) adds flecks of vanilla to baked goods without the hassle and expense of using a real vanilla bean.

Cocktail-Loving Father:
Ice size really does matter for cocktails — bigger cubes mean less watered-down drinks. This highball ice mold (Sur la Table; $12.95) makes a glacier of an ice cube that fits perfectly into a highball glass. Dad can use it to ice down cocktails, or just tea and soda.

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25 Ways to Use Tahini

Tahini is the glue that holds hummus together — at least that’s what I’ve always thought of it as. But tahini paste, ground-up hulled sesame seeds, isn’t just an ingredient in a dip. This rich and slightly bitter paste stands on its own as a salad dressing, marinade and even as a cooking sauce for meat. Tahini is a staple in North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Greek, Turkish, Israeli) cuisines, and it pairs well with eggplant, cilantro and yogurt (all popular in those cuisines, as well). Store tahini in a cool, dry place like a cabinet. It is particularly resistant to rancidity, which is an amazing quality for a pantry item. Did I mention that it’s a near-perfect substitute in recipes for people with peanut allergies? Like some natural peanut butters, the oil will float to the top of your jar. Don’t worry about that; just mix it in and go on your merry, sesame-filled way.

  1. Let the battle of the canned chickpea hummus versus dried chickpea hummus (pictured) begin.
  2. Once you’ve conquered hummus, try it out in every single variation: Sour Cream and Onion Hummus, Buffalo Wing Hummus, Edamame Hummus and Green Herb Hummus.
  3. Pickled jalapenos and guava jam stuffed into Black Bean Hummus and Gouda Grilled Cheese is a flavor explosion of the best kind.
  4. A tofu twist on classic falafel, Tofu Edamame Falafel, Tofu Tahini with pickled shallots makes for lovely hors d’oeuvres.
  5. Lamb’s earthy flavors pair well with the bright, garlicky sauce in Nigella Lawson’s Lamb with Spinach and Garlicky Tahini Sauce.

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25 Ways to Use Chorizo

Chorizo Fundido

Beery Chorizo Queso Fundido

Just as the hot dog is an American classic, chorizo is a traditional favorite in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. And just as hot dog styles (red hots versus NYC-style versus all-beef versus pork-beef combo versus skinless — you see my point) vary throughout the country, the ingredients in chorizo vary depending on the part of the world you’re in.

The staple ingredients of this dry-cured (read: ready-to-eat) sausage in Spain are pork, garlic and paprika. Chorizo in La Rioja, in the north of Spain, contains both sweet and hot paprika, while chorizo in Andalusia, in the south of Spain, contains black pepper, cloves and dry white wine along with the standard ingredients.

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Princess Bride Wine? As You Wish!

Princess Bride Wine

It has been 25 years since The Princess Bride graced the silver screen, but the characters (and quotes!) are truly timeless. In honor of this cult classic, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is releasing a line of wine called “The Bottle of Wits” with two varietals. (You know the scene, Wesley rescues Princess Buttercup from Vizzini by outsmarting him in a “battle of wits.”)

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The Best 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce Finished

I’m what you’d call a tomato purist. Yep, you know the type: picking tomatoes off salads three quarters of the year, throwing expletives when restaurants dare use mealy, tomatoes in the summer, then eating my weight in caprese salads and tomato tarts and roasted tomatoes and BLTs (heavy on the Ts) all August long.

And of course, there’s tomato sauce — lots of it. If the stuff is made with summer tomatoes, it’s pretty hard for it to be bad. But the best way to highlight summer tomatoes is with three simple ingredients: tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.

I know, not exactly revolutionary. Throw these guys in a pot together haphazardly and you’re likely to get something pretty delicious. But with a little extra care — slivering the garlic, softening it in olive oil, chopping and seeding the tomatoes — it turns into something spectacular, and spectacularly addictive. Here’s how you make it.

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Hakurei Turnips

Hakurei Turnips

It’s not often you hear people waxing rhapsodic over turnips, but these snow white little globes are so crisp and sweet you too will be singing their praises.  I was introduced to the Japanese Hakurei by chef Dan Barber who serves these beauties with just a sprinkling of salt when you sit down to dinner at Stone Barns. Though the Hakurei has developed something of a cult following in recent years, you’re not likely to find them anywhere but at farmers’ markets.

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Crab Feast Food Fight: Maryland vs. Louisiana

Maryland crab feast

Maryland crabs look like they came straight out of the sand; it's really just loads of Old Bay seasoning.

I grew up in Maryland. My husband-to-be hails from Louisiana. Though our hometowns were quite different, one thing unites both states: seafood. We both grew up digging into hard-shell crabs on tables spread with butcher paper, learning as young tykes how to extract as much meat as possible from each one. But that’s where the seafood similarity ends. We happened to visit both families on back-to-back weekends this summer, which presented the perfect opportunity for a regional crab smackdown.

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