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10 Things You Need to Know About Food Festivals (and How to Survive Them)


Around the Cooking Channel and Food Network offices, everyone is gearing up for this weekend’s 7th annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, beginning tonight. For four days, NYC will be taken over by food industry innovators cooking, speaking and feeding folks at nearly 100 different events across the city. Our brazen editors will branch out, attempting to cover as much ground as possible to report back to you hungry Devour and FN Dish readers on the festival’s happenings.

If you’ve never been to a food festival, it’s important to prepare yourself before diving into the gluttonous, glorious adventure that they can be. I recently had the opportunity to attend Feast Portland — a three-day food festival celebrating Oregon’s unique culinary culture — where I learned the hard way that even food editors have finite stomachs. And so, too, do you — so read on as I reveal 10 food festival truths to help you navigate the bottomless bites to come.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Orange Is the New Black Presents The Cookbook

Fans of Netflix series Orange Is the New Black know that food is integral to the story (and backstories) of the women incarcerated at Litchfield Correctional Institution. Prison politics revolve around the operation of the kitchen — and the hairnet-wearing servers wield power by dispensing or withholding helpings of mess-hall slop. As Red says early on in the show’s development, “There’s the people who serve the bread, and the people who eat the bread.”

In Orange Is the New Black Presents: The Cookbook (Bites, Booze, Secrets, and Stories From Inside the Big House) (on sale today), the show’s complex characters are further explored through their relationships with food, revealed in the headnotes to their recipes. You’ll find familiar prison fare from both Red’s and Gloria’s kitchen reigns (and that SHU Moldy Mystery Meat), but more interestingly, the food from prisoners’ pasts that provides glimpses into how they devolved into criminals. There’s Vee’s Butternut Squash Soup, which Taystee devoured as readily as she warmed to her drug-dealing family, and Red’s famous Pirozhki, which symbolizes the past she has left so very far behind.

For Piper, food often serves as a mirror, contrasting her present-day existence with the frivolity of her life with Larry. When Red tries to starve her in Season 1, Piper finds it ironic that she used to subsist on lemon-cayenne-maple syrup cleanses to lose weight, and she yearns for the Whole Foods lifestyle (and the Crack Almonds to be found there). Then there are the types of beverages inmates concoct to get them through their sentences, like Poussey’s Hooch, shared here with the number of different mixers that compose the illicit cocktails. The full-page photos and clever behind-the-scenes tales will give eager binge-watchers something to nosh on until Season 3 is released sometime in 2015 — and plenty of time to prepare a themed viewing-party menu.

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Behind the Wine: It’s Harvest Season in Oregon

vineyard

October is an exciting month in the agriculture world, as peaches and corn give way to apples and pumpkins, prime for the picking. And in certain vine-filled valleys, it’s a lush time, indeed: the grape harvest. On a recent visit to Willamette Valley — Oregon’s up-and-coming wine region known for its bold Pinot Noirs and crisp Chardonnays — we learned that an unusually warm summer had sped up the growing and ripening process, resulting in an earlier harvest. Lucky for us, that meant we were able to get up close and personal with those big, juicy grapes.

To learn all about the harvest process — and see how varying microclimates within a 10-mile radius can yield entirely different grapes — we visited a few different wineries. We checked in with Winemaker Melissa Burr from Stoller Family Estate as she sampled some of the new juices coming off of the vines, and toured Sokol Blosser and Penner-Ash wineries to see how their harvests were progressing.

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Happy New Year: Our Sweet Rosh Hashana Menu

Labor Day Picnic
Sundown on Wednesday marks the eve of 5775 in the Jewish calendar and the beginning of the Rosh Hashana holiday. While most celebrations lack much of December’s New Year’s Eve flair (no Champagne, and there are yarmulkes instead of party hats), the holidays do share one common tradition: Everyone gathers for a huge meal. If you’re looking to amp up your holiday dinner — or you simply want to enjoy a fall-centric menu — give these classic dishes a spin. You might like them enough to incorporate them into your next New Year’s party. After all, who needs caviar when you have kugel? L’shana tova (aka happy New Year!).

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

As any gluten-free baker knows, creating a wheat-free substitute for all-purpose flour might as well require a Ph.D. in chemistry. While a store-bought mix might work for one recipe (say, cookies), it could yield hockey pucks when used for bread or muffins.

The Everyday Art of Gluten-FreeThat was the epiphany that Austin-based Blackbird Bakery founder Karen Morgan had eight years ago while working as a pastry chef in France. French bakers rely heavily on specific flours for their various breads and pastries, so why would we assume one all-purpose option would work equally well in all gluten-free goods? (In fact, the absence of gluten increases the need for precision in flour.)

Since then, Morgan has developed six flour blends to suit all manner of baked goods, from biscuits to cakes. In her new book, The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free (on sale today), Morgan shares mixes in dedicated chapters that showcase a number of sometimes surprising ways to use each of them. Turn her biscuit blend into tacos or ice cream cones; the donut and fritter blend could become fried calamari or gumbo; and the pie and pasta blend is your ticket to Danishes and gnocchi, and so on. Whether you’re allergic to gluten or you have chosen to eliminate it from your diet, Morgan ensures you can have muffins and cookies, rather than homemade hockey pucks.

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25 Ways to Use Basil

Basil plants everywhere else have grown wild this summer and now you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of your abundant supply.

Your first instinct is probably to make a boatload of pesto. Do it. One can never have too much pesto. But once you’ve tired of pesto, it’s time to branch out with your basil options. The beautiful thing about basil is that it’s naturally sweet, so adding it to desserts (pair it with strawberries and ricotta) isn’t too much of a stretch.

Use up the rest of your basil supply with these 25 recipes:

  1. Drizzle Basil Oil over some sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a classic Caprese salad.
  2. Lemon Basil Potatoes make for a fresh alternative to mayo-heavy potato salads.
  3. Pulse together some Italian staples like garlic, basil and Parmesan for a simple side dish on Italian night, Basil Garlic Bread.
  4. Giada’s Tomato, Watermelon and Basil Skewers (pictured above) are drizzled with a balsamic reduction and sprinkled with some sea salt, making for a fresh balance of sweet and savory.
  5. Kelsey Nixon’s take on risotto, Lemon-Basil Orzotto, is a quick and easy weeknight dinner fix.

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Sifted: Brioche with Sour Cream Custard, Plum Upside Down Cake + More

Brioche with Blueberry Sour Cream Custard

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  • Making bagels at home isn’t the easiest DIY project. Instead, opt for a yeasty, no-hole bialy. Baked without boiling, these homemade Bialys by Eat the Love have sautéed onions loaded in the center.

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The Most Insane Carnival Food Ever

It’s no secret that carnivals feature some of the unhealthiest, and most-awesome, foodstuffs known to mankind. But even these festive funtopias occasionally go too far. Here are some of the wackiest and strangest foods that’ll have you tossing your triple-fried cookies all over that dang Gravitron.

The World’s Craziest Carnival Foods

Tune in to Carnival Eats every Monday at 10:30pm ET to ride a food-frenzied roller coaster of culinary delights.

Cookbook Giveaway: Food Network Magazine’s Sweet

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who don’t appreciate desserts, and those who possess insatiable sweet teeth. For the (far wiser, fun-loving) latter, there exists an endless Internet of blogged confections, pinned pastries and ‘grammed goodies to inspire treat seekers to break out their stand mixers. But when it comes to baking, precision (and testing and cross-testing recipes) is key. And that’s where an esteemed brand like Food Network — and its talented culinary staff — comes into play, empowering you with ironclad recipes for drama-free at-home dessert creation.

In the nearly six years that Food Network Magazine has been published, Food Network Kitchen has been enticing readers with spectacular sweets, from burger- or cheese-wheel-shaped fake-out cakes to trusty cookies, cupcakes and pies for big occasions and everyday celebrations alike. Now the magazine editors are publishing Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More (on sale Aug. 19), a book that gathers these myriad treats into clear categorized chapters for swift, sugary kitchen navigation.

Interspersed between the cleanly printed recipes and full-page photos are ideas for amping up basic recipes, like topping cupcakes with alphabet-shaped candies or rolling candy apples in surprising, savory ingredients. There’s something for everyone, from the wee kids to us fully grown kids at heart. (For example: We’re going to take a page out of our sister brand’s book by slipping a little rum into our next barbecue dessert with Boozy Cherry Chocolate Pies, shown above).)

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Red, White and Blue July 4th Berry Cake


The ultimate July 4th meal is eaten outside. It doesn’t matter where — sitting on your front porch, on a picnic blanket in the park, on a city roof, beachside — so long as you’re enjoying a warm summer night under the stars (and, if you’re lucky, watching fireworks). There is just something about the patriotic holiday that makes it best enjoyed in the company of a celebratory crowd (friends, family, neighbors, strangers). These red-white-and-blue cakes are the perfect ending for your festive meal. In addition to having the star-spangled palette, the cakes’ brown butter icing will hold up well at your alfresco gathering.

July 4th Red, White and Blue Berry Cake

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