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  • More Prizes for Scovie Winners 28 Aug 2014 | 4:42 pm

    Columbine Label, one of our sponsors of the 2015 Scovie Awards, has announced that the two Grand Prize Winners will each receive 1,000 product labels (with winners' art work), and all other Scovie winners will receive a $25 voucher to use towards their next order of labels from Columbine. Continue reading →

  • The Compost Pile Volunteers 28 Aug 2014 | 3:16 pm

    From the dirt pile comes the HEAT! Continue reading →

  • Scovie Awards: 11 Days Left to Enter 26 Aug 2014 | 2:27 am

    The Scovie deadline of September 5th is now a tropical storm, but it's building fast into hurricane strength. Don't be left out--enter today. Continue reading →

  • Can Chiles Prevent Colon Cancer? 24 Aug 2014 | 12:20 am

    If your ego ever shoved a chile in your maw that was hotter than your mouth could handle, you learned something very fast: capsaicin loves to piss off pain receptors. Some of us have even learned this lesson twice; once on eating the chile, again when it says good bye on the way out. What you may not know is that capsaicin keeps up the shenanigans all the way through your digestive system, all the way from point A to B. That pain is the basis of research suggesting that chile peppers may prevent colon cancer. Continue reading →

  • Stone Brewing presents: Beers that Burn 21 Aug 2014 | 8:09 pm

    I suppose there will be a day when I run out of hot and spicy alcohol to sip on, but we’re not there yet. On a trip to my local brick-and-mortar liquor store here in Albuquerque, I found several that I hadn’t tried yet, but since this has been a big beer-drinking summer for me, I grabbed some spicy beer to try out. Continue reading →

  • Pork Chops with Georgia Peach BBQ Sauce — Down-Home Comfort 29 Aug 2014 | 12:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Pork Chops with Georgia Peach BBQ SauceWhen I was a child my grandfather would sometimes barbecue a whole hog to mark the end of summer. He was a honest-to-goodness country boy and knew what he was doing with a pig and a pit. The huge beast was split and slowly cooked on a metal grate set over a pit of gray cement blocks above glowing embers. My grandfather would make a basting mop out of a bent pecan branch and white cotton rags, patiently basting the pig with a potent broth of vinegar and salt, letting heat and smoke slowly transform that pig into our Labor Day feast. My sister, the cousins and I would run around in the nearby yard, begging to stir the coals or add split pieces of oak, absolutely anything to be near this unusual scene that utterly transfixed us. To this day, I can close my eyes and hear the sizzle of the fat as it dripped on the white-hot coals.

    Meanwhile, the women were inside the steamy, hot kitchen creating the supporting cast for our Labor Day BBQ: tubs of creamy potato salad, crisp coleslaw, deviled eggs and simmering pots of tangy sauce. As night came on, our mothers hung up their aprons and eventually called us into the house. After a long battle in the bathroom, cleaning off the dirt and the soot, they’d manage to still us and get us into our beds, often a series of cots laid out in rows in the living room. We’d fight sleep as long as we could before crashing, the excitement from the day finally taking hold. The men would stay up all night in shifts tending the pig and the fire, sipping on coffee — and maybe some homemade wine.

    Many of us don’t have that kind of opportunity to go whole hog for Labor Day, but I’ve got just what you need to create your own down-home comfort: Brown Sugar Pork Chops with Georgia Peach BBQ Sauce. I’ve often said it’s not what’s at the table, it’s that we are at the table together. The Georgia Peach BBQ sauce is a pleasantly pungent combination of sweet fruit and spice. It can easily be made ahead — so you’re not in a hot kitchen while trying to herd excited children to bed. The day of, the bone-in chops are brined in a mixture of brown sugar and salt. I like bone-in to give them a bit of added moisture and protection from the fiery-hot heat of the grill. The chops are then grilled until seared, and marked on both sides before a few strokes of sauce at the end of cooking. It’s down-home comfort I’m certain you’re going to love.

    Bon Appétit, Y’all!

    Get the Recipe: Brown Sugar Pork Chops with Georgia Peach BBQ Sauce

    Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.

  • A Mouthful of Stars — Off the Shelf 29 Aug 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    A Mouthful of Stars CookbookPack your bags and grab a fork, because this week you’re heading on a trip around the world with Kim Sunée’s new book, A Mouthful of Stars. Part travel diary and part cookbook, A Mouthful of Stars covers a vast and intriguing amount of ground in its pages. It also offers up an impressive and delectable selection of food from Sunée’s favorite destinations.

    The chapters are broken down into location themes, but you won’t simply find the usual suspect destinations in A Mouthful of Stars. Instead, Sunée takes you on what really feels like a personal guided tour of her favorite international (and a few domestic) food spots. Chapter one takes you to Seoul; chapter two whisks you off to North Africa, India and Mexico.

    A Mouthful of Stars also features recipes from Provence, Paris, Norway, Sweden, Italy and the Southern United States (including New Orleans). The result is a wonderfully eclectic collection of dishes that is both balanced and fun. Craving Korean? Travel to Seoul with the Pork Belly Korean-Style BBQ or make Basic Fresh Kimchi at home. Fancy something French? Perhaps the Cheese and Thyme Pots de Creme from Paris or the Savory Tomato and Pesto Bread Pudding from Provence (recipe below for you to try at home) will satisfy your craving. There are Roast Pork Tacos from Mexico and a Curry Leaf Cocktail inspired by India, and Pan-Seared Salmon with Pistachio-Herb Gremolata from Scandinavia. For your sweet tooth, a Triple Layer Chocolate Coconut Cake from the chapter on dishes from the American South. With this book, the possibilities for fun international dishes are almost endless. Flip through the pages and discover a dish for every mood, every craving, every inclination of wanderlust you might have.

    Sunée’s voice is refreshing and bright, and her stories leap to life right off the page. It’s not hard to indulge yourself in a vicarious culinary vacation through her words. Make no mistake, though, the food is what really puts this book a cut above the rest. You can order a copy of your own here.

    Savory Tomato and Pesto Bread Pudding

    I started making this peasant dish, known as a panade, to use up the leftover crusty bits of pain de campagne and pesto from a summery vegetable soupe au pistou. Sometimes I add a layer of thinly sliced eggplant or zucchini. The inside is soft and rich with garlic while the cheesy crunchy bits of bread on top are the prize and quite addictive. Serve with a green salad dressed simply with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a fruity extra-virgin olive oil.

    In Provence, a pistou is made with just basil, olive oil and garlic. This pesto has nuts and a bit of heat from a jalapeno, and by itself is excellent tossed with hot pasta, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Or chill the pasta and eat as a salad, or serve the pesto with grilled vegetables, fish, chicken or meat. This is also good made with a combination of equal amounts of lacinato kale and arugula.

    Savory Tomato and Pesto Bread PuddingSpicy Walnut Arugula Pesto
    Makes 1 1/2 cups

    2 cups packed arugula
    1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
    1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves or flat-leaf parsley leaves
    1 cup whole walnuts or raw almonds
    2 cloves garlic, peeled
    1 medium fresh jalapeno, stemmed (and seeded, if desired)
    1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Bread Pudding

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 large yellow or white onion, halved and thinly sliced
    1 cup dry white wine
    1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence or thyme leaves
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 (1-pound) round loaf day-old hearty bread such as pain de campagne, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, such as beefsteak, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    2 cups shredded Comté or Gruyère
    1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

    To make the pesto, combine the arugula, basil, mint, walnuts, garlic, jalapeno, cheese, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well blended. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon juice, or salt, as needed. Set aside until ready to use.

    To make the bread pudding, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

    Add the wine and simmer over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and herbes de Provence, and season with salt and pepper; stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and reserve.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 10-inch round or 9-by-13-inch baking dish that’s at least 2 1/2 inches deep.

    Line the baking dish with half of the bread slices, overlapping the slices slightly and cutting to fit as needed. Top with half of the tomato slices and lightly season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the prepared pesto over the tomatoes, then sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese, pressing down on the layers. Add the remaining layer of tomatoes, pesto and shredded cheese. Pour the reserved onion and broth over the cheese. Cut the remaining bread slices into quarters and place over the onion. Gently press down on the bread with the back of a spatula or large spoon so that the liquid is evenly distributed. Top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with lightly greased aluminum foil and bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the top is browned and crisp and the insides are bubbling. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

    From A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels by Kim Sunée, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2014

  • This Week’s Nutrition News Feed 29 Aug 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    In this week’s news: The produce aisle takes a page from the junk food playbook; breakfast proponents get a wake-up call; and new thinking on salt shakes things up.

    Hey, Kids: Do Try This At Home
    Parents encouraging kids to reach for fruits and vegetables may frequently find their efforts undermined by a barrage of marketing that lures young eaters toward chips, candy, sugared cereals and other less-than-healthy snacks. But some marketers and grocers, including Wal-Mart and Giant Eagle, are now ramping up the appeal of healthier snacks by deploying colorful, kid-centric junk-food-style packaging and signage in the produce aisles. The CEO of Giant Eagle told NPR that when she first heard about the kid-oriented produce-section snack stations, she thought, “This is a win-win.” Apple slice, anyone?

    Lunch and Dinner Are Secretly Cheering
    Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, but two new studies have called its lofty status into question. One study determined that skipping breakfast for six weeks had no effect on participants’ cholesterol levels, resting metabolic rates and overall blood-sugar levels. The study found that those who skipped breakfast ate fewer calories, not more, over the course of the day, but they also burned fewer calories than those who ate breakfast, making it a wash. Another study of 300 participants also showed that eating or skipping breakfast didn’t make a difference in terms of weight gained or lost, leading researcher Emily Dhurandhar to conclude that breakfast “may be just another meal.”

    Take That Sodium Advice with a Grain of Salt? 
    Pass the salt; hold the guilt. Writing in the New York Times, Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, cautions that, while eating too much salt appears to be dangerous — leading to higher rates of heart attack, heart failure and strokes — numerous studies, including one recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that consuming too little salt may be even more risky. “When compared with those who consumed 3 to 6 grams per day, people who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day had an even higher risk of death or cardiovascular incidents than those who consumed more than 7 grams per day,” Carroll writes of the NEJM study. He recommends a moderate approach and says current sodium recommendations, which are quite low, may need a shakeup.

    Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.

  • What to Watch: Backyard Weekend Barbecues, and On-the-Go Cooking on Cutthroat Kitchen 29 Aug 2014 | 7:30 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Alton Brown on Cutthroat KitchenFor this Labor Day weekend, Food Network has a great selection of grilling and barbecuing episodes starting with The Pioneer Woman and Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on Saturday morning. Afterward the co-hosts of The Kitchen share their best grilling tips with HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins.

    On Sunday morning Giada De Laurentiis gets a tour of Korea Town in Los Angeles from the king of Korean barbecue. On Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, Bobby focuses on grilling sausages, including beer-glazed bratwursts. On Sunday evening tune in for a new episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off in a sandwich-themed episode with guest judge Jeff Mauro. Then watch food truck rookies race into Austin as they try their luck selling to singles on The Great Food Truck Race. On Cutthroat Kitchen Alton Brown auctions off an Italian scooter, which will turn into one chef’s creative vehicle, literally.

    The Pioneer Woman: Outdoor Cookout, Indoor Grilling

    Ree Drummond and her best friend are throwing a poolside girls’ get-together. Hyacinth’s hosting and Ree’s taking on all the cookout favorites, but she’s making them inside! There’s sticky oven-roasted barbecue chicken thighs, Grilled Vegetables with Cilantro-Yogurt Dressing, Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes and Basil, and for dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream with Peach Syrup.
    Saturday 10a|9c

    Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: Barbecue with a Master

    Trisha Yearwood is getting a barbecue lesson from John Cash, ‘cue master and owner of her favorite local BBQ joint. Afterward, Trisha heads home to test some of her newfound skills on one of her own brisket recipes. John joins her later to taste all she’s cooked up, including Unfried Pickles with ranch dressing, Cooked-to-Death Green Beans and Blackberry Cobbler.
    Saturday 10:30a|9:30c

    The Kitchen: The Barbecue and Grilling Show

    It’s all about barbecue and grilling today on The Kitchen, starting off with incredible Dino Ribs and great cuts of pork for the grill. There are new tasty twists on sides and HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins stop by. Jeff shows how easy it is to smoke on the grill, and Geoffrey Zakarian makes a delicious bourbon cocktail.
    Saturday 11a|10c

    Giada at Home: Giada’s Korean Barbecue

    Giada teams up with the king of Korean barbecue, Roy Choi. Roy takes Giada on an adventure through LA’s Korea Town. Then Giada returns home to make Korean BBQ Beef, Spicy Sesame Bok Choy, Vegetarian Korean Noodles (Japchae) and a Kimchi Pancake for Todd and their friends.
    Sunday 10:30a|9:30c

    Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’s Basics — Sizzling Sausages

    Chef Bobby transforms ordinary grilled sausages into extraordinary sandwiches. His menu features Beer-Glazed Grilled Bratwurst with a Wilted Red Cabbage Slaw and open-faced Grilled New York-Style Sausages with Balsamic Onions and Grilled Tomatoes. And he’s cooling things down with a tea-infused bubbly cocktail.
    Sunday 11a|10c

    Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off: Thinking Outside the Bun

    In this week’s Mini Challenge, the kids have to make whatever they want — as long as the featured ingredient is the one they hate the most! Then in the Main Challenge, Rachael and Guy reveal that the mini chefs must use a sandwich as an inspiration for a multicomponent entree. And who better to judge their dish and Camera Challenge than Jeff, the Sandwich King?
    Sunday 8|7c

    The Great Food Truck Race: Dinner Dates, Austin Style

    This week, Tyler Florence tests the teams on their partnership skills in Austin. The teams are first paired up to sell together all weekend long, and they are then sent for a Match.com event, feeding the hungriest singles in Austin. The next day, the teams must switch trucks and sell their partners’ food. The elimination comes down to a $6 deficit.
    Sunday 9|8c

    Cutthroat Kitchen: When In Rome, Cook on a Scooter

    One chef does as the Italians do and cooks while riding a scooter. Next, one chef pays tribute to a 1950s housewife while making a casserole. Finally, one chef goes the distance as he or she navigates a red velvet maze that stands in the way of victory.
    Sunday 10|9c

  • Scientists Seek to Determine the Best Cheese to Put on Your Pizza 28 Aug 2014 | 2:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Best Cheese to Put on Your PizzaAside from the regional pizza wars that periodically flare up like the flames of a brick oven and the occasional eating-method controversy, most of us probably don’t pause too often to carefully consider our pizza. We just enjoy it. But a research team has recently taken a good hard look at the various cheeses with which we may top our pies in an attempt to pinpoint — with scientific precision — which of them performs best during baking.

    In a new study published in the Journal of Food Science, chemical and materials engineering professor Bryony James and her team at the University of Auckland in New Zealand evaluated the performance of seven different cheeses — mozzarella, cheddar, Colby, Edam, Emmental, Gruyere and provolone — in terms of composition and functionality, using a new technique to assess differences in the way they browned and blistered when baked on pizza.

    But wait, you may be asking, didn’t mozzarella already win the pizza-cheese battle long ago? Well, yes and no.

    “Pizza cheese is predominantly mozzarella. That’s an absolute given,” James notes in a video commentary about the study. “The reason we started messing around with different cheeses was quite deliberately to push the materials properties and the composition properties away from what’s typical.”

    Rather than relying on a human sensory panel to assess cheese performance, the team members developed a “machine vision system” and combined it with image-analysis software and algorithms to help them quantifiably evaluate the cheeses’ elasticity, free oil, moisture, water activity and transition temperature — and how these properties influence color and color uniformity after baking.

    And? Cheddar, Colby and Edam failed to blister due to a low level of elasticity. Gruyere and provolone browned a bit, thanks to an amount of free oil deemed “sufficient” enough to prevent the evaporation of moisture, but Emmental barely did at all. Mozzarella, as we all know, blisters and browns easily.

    But while mozzarella seems to retain its ‘za-topping bragging rights, the authors suggest that, armed with the study results, pizza makers may want to combine the go-to topper with some of the other cheeses assessed to make “gourmet” pies that can be adjusted to accommodate varying consumer preferences and appeal especially to those who like their pizza cheese “less burnt.”

    Still, researchers may yet have more work ahead of them. To limit the number of variables, James’ team analyzed the cheeses on pizza crusts devoid of tomato sauce.

    “The sauce,” she says, “is another question.”

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