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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 →

  • 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.”

  • Bologna the Beautiful 28 Aug 2014 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Bologna the BeautifulBologna is coming back. Not even ironically. I know this because when I say “bologna sandwich” within earshot of my colleagues*, a lot of feelings come out. And nothing goes better with feelings than garlicky, pink meat circles.

    A recent bologna poll I conducted** yielded nearly unanimous “yays and a bunch of exclamation points.” One colleague said “aw,” as if spying an infant hamster sleeping in a sugar bowl. But just because bologna gives us a distant expression and makes us talk in past tense doesn’t mean it’s stuck back there.

    It’s heading directly into the sandwich of the present. Soon, super-thin slices will climb back inside your rye, a mild disk will reappear between your slices of squishy white bread and a sizzling, pink, char-lined slab will sit fatly melting the American cheese in your roll. Whether in your banh mi, within or instead of your tortilla hammocking your taco things or lying like a log on your smoker rack, it will be there, and you’ll still recognize it. Beguilingly tender, amusingly eraser-like, pleasantly wiggly, adorably free of features, the bologna of today is still the same enormous smooth hot dog made from emulsified pork (or beef) plus fat that’s been seasoned with garlic, pink salt and spices and slowly cooked. It hasn’t changed much. But we have.

    Bologna SandwichWe have become used to foods with a story, sliced paper thin and made by people in butcher shops named after Labrador retrievers. But I predict that, continuing the pursuit of origin foods and embracing specifically American foods, bologna will soon burgeon and more chefs*** will be using it. Inevitably we will too. You can leave mortadella, with its girthy mosaic of fat and pistachios, to Italian charcutiers. Bologna’s simplicity is its strength. Bologna’s constancy is part of its allure. Even the USDA defines bologna as homogenous, and bologna seems totally fine with that. We won’t see an influx of ranch- or Sriracha-flavored bologna, but we will find (or even make) some really, really good bolognas. Which I define as bologna that makes us feel happy.

    * Mostly food people I work with at Food Network, where we have many, many feelings, thoughts and theories about foods, and share them and seem never to even get bored of it.

    ** In a non-random sample group of the first 24 people whose email addresses I could easily recall.

    *** Such as David Chang, from March.

  • Day-Off Desserts for Labor Day — Summer Soiree 28 Aug 2014 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Labor Day DessertsWith the backyard barbecues, shoeless picnics and pool parties of the Labor Day long weekend comes the realization that summer is, all of a sudden, coming to a close. Soon enough, we’ll be trading sandals for socks, summer camp for school and iced coffee for the hot stuff. Rather than wallowing in the end-of-summer blues, think of it as an excuse to end the season on a sweet note with Food Network’s collection of Labor Day desserts.

    While we’re still hauling blueberries home by the crateful, spare two cups for Food Network Magazine’s Blueberry Cheesecake Galette (bottom right). Coupled with a smooth, slightly sweet cream cheese layer, juicier-than-ever berries burst open with pent-up lusciousness when they’re popped into the oven.

    Similarly, late-summer blackberries need little more than what’s going on for them to become a noteworthy dessert. Resist doing anything too crazy, and simply cover the tangy berries with a no-fuss crumble of flour, brown sugar and butter for Fresh Blackberry Crisp (top left).

    Any other time of year, a sprinkled, fudge-drenched banana split would be accepted with spoons at the ready. But on Monday, Food Network Magazine’s summer-worshiping Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes (top right) are even more well received, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop warm strawberries and a buttery biscuit.

    When you cut into Alex Guarnaschelli’s Warm Grape Cake (bottom left), you’ll find that the inside is studded with poppable red grapes and sweet, shriveled golden raisins. Don’t serve a slice without the ginger-and-honey-spiked grape topping and obligatory dollop of freshly whipped cream.

    Part of the beauty of a day off is the casual air of it all, be it donning no more than a swimsuit or opting for flip-flops in lieu of dress shoes. In this spirit, whip up a dessert that’s equally laid-back: old-fashioned Whoopie Pies. These cream-filled crosses between mini pies and sandwiches don’t need utensils and can be made up to a week ahead. Think of that as a summer win.

    Get more Labor Day-inspired recipes from friends and family:

    Feed Me Phoebe: Hot Crab Dip with Jalapenos and Scallions
    The Heritage Cook: Four Sauces Designed for Grilled Foods (Gluten-Free)
    Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Grilled Brined Chicken with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
    Dishing with Divya: Baked Vegetable Sacks
    Virtually Homemade: Roasted Summer Vegetables with Lemon Tahini Dressing
    Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad
    Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peach and Blueberry Baked Fruit Pizza
    Devour: Cooking Channel’s Ultimate Labor Day Party Menu
    Dishin & Dishes: Grilled Chicken with Board Sauce
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Heirloom Tomatoes and Two Rice Salad
    Domesticate Me: 10 Fabulous Summer Recipes for Labor Day
    Taste With The Eyes: “End of Summer Rolls” Caprese-Style
    FN Dish: Day-Off Desserts for Labor Day

  • Caption It: Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off Gets Sandwiched 28 Aug 2014 | 9:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Jeff Mauro on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off
    On this week’s Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Sandwich King and The Kitchen co-host Jeff Mauro stops by to judge the kids’ creations, which have been inspired by some classic sandwiches. As the sandwich expert, Jeff knows a thing or two about what a makes a good handheld meal: the ratio of bread to filling, the flavor, the ease of eating, etc. Now he’s looking to see how they’ve translated that to the plate. But will the kids be able to meet his high expectations, or will they let their nerves get the better of them?

    The kids must cook dishes for Jeff Mauro and also pull off flawless presentations in front of him. By the end of the challenge, Jeff will choose both the best dish and the best presentation from each team, and he’ll name the one MVP. So the pressure is on.

    In this exclusive sneak peek from the episode, Jeff is judging one of the kids’ dishes. He points at the plate, denoting something particular or peculiar about it.

    Take Our Poll

  • This Patriotic Grill is a Monster of Form and Function 28 Aug 2014 | 8:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Do you have a souped-up grill currently resting in your back yard? It probably got a lot of use this summer, with copious “oohs” and “ahhs” from your friends and neighbors. However, no matter how many trinkets you have affixed to your mega-grill, it probably pales in comparison to this roving, and ridiculously patriotic, monster grill.

    The grill is the brainchild of Destination America, Ball Park and television host Patrick Norton. What makes it so super? Well, for one, it gets pulled along by a giant truck, features seating room for eight people and boasts over 1,600 square inches of cooking surface. Into trinkets? This thing has got them in spades, from kabob and rib inserts, a veggie grate, stainless steel cooking rods for searing, heavy duty 12-gauge flame stabilizing grids, motorized rotisserie beer tap,  and, of course, a 1600 Watt Amp sound system. No grill is worth its weight in charcoal without being able to blast Country and Western out of a 12″ sub woofer.

    Oh yeah. It’s also so patriotic it would make Abraham Lincoln blush. It features a painted table depicting George Washington riding an eagle, stars and stripes aplenty and a condiment station that doubles as a miniature Mount Rushmore. America!

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