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Retro-Grilling

Retro-Grilling

Dr. BBQ Goes Back in Time

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Super Summer Salsas

Super Summer Salsas

Gwyneth Doland's Favorites

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Firewater: Beverage Etiquette Solved at Last

Firewater: Beverage Etiquette Solved at Last

What Drinks to Serve with Fiery Foods

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Sizzling Seafood, Part Two

Sizzling Seafood, Part Two

More from Mike Stines

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Mulching and Irrigation

Mulching and Irrigation

The Chile Growing Season

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Greek Lollipops

Greek Lollipops

Harald Zoschke Grills Grecian-Style

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Sausage Spectacular!

Sausage Spectacular!

Hot Links from Mike Stines

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  • Scovie Early Bird Special 30 Jun 2015 | 10:26 am

    We are now accepting entries for the Early Bird Special section of the 2016 Scovie Awards Competion. From now until July 29. Continue reading →

  • Amberfyre: Manhattan Black Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce: Burn! Tested 29 Jun 2015 | 4:52 pm

    Amber Button and CaJohn Hard brainstormed this sauce during talk of the big city steakhouses popularized during the 1950s and `60s. It's a blend of Kentucky bourbon, marinated cherries, a touch of vanilla, chile peppers, and what you'd expect to find in many barbecue sauces. Continue reading →

  • Superhot Marinated Jamaican Jerk Pork 28 Jun 2015 | 11:36 pm

    The technique of soaking a food in a liquid to flavor--or in the case of meats, to tenderize the cut--was probably brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. A marinade is easier to use than a paste, and when grilling your jerk meats, the marinade can also be used as a basting sauce. “In Jamaica,” notes food writer Robb Walsh, “like Texas barbecue, jerk is served on butcher paper and eaten with your hands.” Serve this version of jerk with a salad and grilled plantains. Continue reading →

  • Cured and Pecan-Smoked King Salmon with Hot Sauce 28 Jun 2015 | 3:50 am

    The key to preparing salmon this way is to make certain that your smoke is rather cool, about 100 degrees. If it is warmer, decrease the smoking time. This recipe takes a fair amount of time, but most of that is spent waiting rather than working. The selection of sauces served is up to the cook, so feel free to experiment. A horseradish sauce will work also. The salmon can also be served on bagels, as pictured here. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation. Continue reading →

  • Spicy Belizean Grilled Fish Burger 26 Jun 2015 | 1:14 pm

    This particular “burger” is a fired-up re-creation of a fish sandwich one of our editors devoured in the tiny town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize. The restaurant was called Elvies Burger Isle, and the diners sat outside under a tamarind tree on picnic benches. If ever there was a simple to prepare, quick and easy fish recipe with significant heat, this is it. Continue reading →






  • The Truth About Butter Sculptures 5 Jul 2015 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    ButterButter sculptures — big, beautiful and carefully kept cool to beat the summer heat — are a staple and a highlight of many a state fair, churning up all kinds of nostalgic feelings in the masses who admire them.

    But did you ever wonder about the history and mechanics behind those elaborate butter tableaux? NPR’s The Salt blog recently filled its readers in. Here are a few key facts to know about butter sculpture, gleaned from its report:

    1. Edible sculptures of people and animals trace their origins at least as far back as medieval times, when royalty included them in elaborate feasts.

    2. The person credited with bringing butter sculpture to regular folk in America was an Arkansas housewife named Caroline Brooks. Rather than simply churning milk into butter and molding or stamping it into bricks, as was the norm, she sculpted it into a butter portrait of a young woman. The result of her efforts, called Dreaming Iolanthe, was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and was widely considered a thing of remarkable and unique beauty.

    3. In the early 20th century, “ornamental butter” was a frequent feature at Midwestern state fairs — often sponsored by dairy companies looking to boost their profile. These early sculptures could take as much as 1,500 pounds (about 6,000 sticks) to create and were generally aimed at the masses, with no admission fee to see them.

    4. Today, butter sculptures are often made by people who specialize in edible art, and are perhaps equally adept at fashioning art from chocolate and cheese.

    5.  Once kept on ice, the butter sculptures are now created and displayed in refrigerated spaces, sometimes made to be mobile.

    6. While there’s nothing hollow about the excitement we feel gazing upon the butter sculptures we see at Midwestern state fairs today, the sculptures themselves are not generally solid. They often feature a metal infrastructure that gives them their general shape, over which the butter is applied — fairly quickly, as it turns out.

    Now you know.

    Photo courtesy of iStock

  • S’mores Cake — Most Popular Pin of the Week 5 Jul 2015 | 10:00 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    S'mores CakeToasty marshmallows, melted chocolate and crisp graham crackers — what more could you want in a dessert? In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, your childhood campfire favorite is transformed into a decadent four-tiered cake. Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Basic Chocolate Cake becomes the perfect base for the oozing filling, which is made easy with store-bought marshmallow cream and buttery, toasted graham cracker crumbs. Layer the cooled cakes with the filling, and then top with ganache.

    For more dessert recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.

    Get the Recipe: S’mores Cake (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine

  • How to Indulge on Vacation Without Losing Sight of Healthy Habits: Melissa’s Bare-Minimum Plan 5 Jul 2015 | 7:30 am FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Melissa d'ArabianI love summer vacation, don’t you?

    But you know what I don’t love? Getting out of my routine, especially my healthy routines, such as eating well and working out. At home, I know exactly when I will go to the gym, who I will see there (my workout buddies — hi, Heather and Julie!) and what I will eat when I get home. I don’t have to think about it or waste any energy figuring out how to make that all happen; that’s one of the great benefits of setting up solid routines to support our life goals.

    So what happens when I go on vacation? When I am out of my normal routine, and faced with an unfamiliar environment and a list of to-do’s (albeit fun ones!) that involve not just me but my family, too, I can easily find myself going days or even a couple of weeks without following my normal healthy-eating and workout routines. Sometimes, I actually am quite happy to embrace the indulgence and enjoy a little “time off.” Who wants to go to New York City and not enjoy its amazing restaurants?

    For these times, I have created a “bare minimum” plan — things that I can do pretty much no matter where, no matter what — that will keep me at least a little on track while still allowing me to let go of the workout guilt and enjoy time off from the routine. Because vacation should be fun and guilt-free, right?

    You ready? This is what I do when I am letting loose, and it’s totally doable:

    1. Do pushups when I wake up and before bed. I usually do 20 in each set, which takes about 30 seconds, twice a day. I know the rugs of more hotels in America than probably anyone, because I literally hop out of bed and drop down to get my pushups done. I have been known to find a hidden spot in the airport and pop down to do these if I realize I have forgotten. Thirty seconds twice a day is all it takes for my core to get engaged (which helps me keep my core engaged throughout the day) and for the blood to get pumping a bit (which I miss dearly when I don’t do a full workout).

    2. Eat some form of raw produce at every meal. Yes, I may want to indulge in a thick, juicy steak and creamy au gratin potatoes while visiting friends in Texas, but I’ll always start with a salad first. Flaky croissants in France are totally fine, but I include a green smoothie or fruit salad, too. This is my tricky way of including fiber and bulk so that I don’t accidentally eat five croissants (because that could happen, trust me). Every meal has raw produce, even if it means I grab a few celery sticks or an overpriced fruit cup somewhere while on the go.

    3. Eat protein at every meal and snack. I’ll happily have a crepe at the mother-in-law’s house for a snack, but I make sure to include at least a little bit of protein, such as almond butter, cubed chicken or an egg. (This is one of the reasons I carry unsalted almonds with me wherever I go.)  The protein keeps me full enough that I don’t need to load up on empty calories because I’m ravenous. Sugary treats remain an indulgence, not my primary mode of filling up.

    4. Drink extra water. The more I indulge in rich food, the more water I drink. It’s an incredibly healthy habit, it’s cheap and it doesn’t stop me from eating great meals or from enjoying a break from the gym. So I figure, if I’m going to drop two healthy habits for a day or for a week, I’ll increase a healthy habit that doesn’t stop me from eating great meals. And my nonscientific opinion is that the extra water flushes out whatever makes me feel lethargic and heavy, which is how I tend to feel when I overindulge on vacation.

    5. Get extra sleep. I’m already removing energizing exercise and my normal nutritious menu, so I am very careful about making sure that I don’t also tax my body with being overtired. Besides, who doesn’t like an excuse to sleep in a little or take a short nap while on vacation? Studies have shown that when we are well-rested, we automatically make better food decisions. So this one is an important one all the time, but especially when I am indulging in good eats: I get sleep.

    And that’s it. The bare-minimum-keep-it-afloat vacation plan. Pushups, produce, protein, water and sleep.

    Speaking of great meals out of town, I’m now wondering just where should I eat tonight: Bobby Flay’s Gato or Amanda Freitag’s Empire Diner? (Good thing I’ve already had my water.)

  • Now There’s a Restaurant Dedicated to Ranch Dressing 4 Jul 2015 | 3:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Ranch DressingThere are two kinds of Americans: those who like ranch dressing (like, on everything!) and those who frankly fail to understand the appeal. A new St. Louis restaurant is designed exclusively for those who fall into the first category, taking the ubiquitous creamy condiment and rendering it even more so.

    Twisted Ranch restaurant will soon swing open its doors in St. Louis’ historic Soulard neighborhood, offering diners a menu that includes 18 different flavors of ranch dressing — including garlic, horseradish, smoked paprika, tzatziki, cheesy bacon, chipotle and Thai — and features ranch dressing as an ingredient in essentially every single thing on the menu (except dessert, thank goodness).

    “Our menu consists of some very traditional and classic favorites, but they will always be Twisted with Ranch,” co-owners Jim Hayden and Chad Allen, a big-time ranch fan, boast on the eatery’s website.

    Hayden and Allen worked closely with chef Johnathan Tinker to develop dishes that include their special dry-ranch-mix seasoning, which factors into the panko breadcrumbs used in prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella, toasted ravioli and fried pickle chips, to name just a few of the restaurant’s ranch-inflected appetizers.

    Entrees include garlic ranched beef tenderloin, homemade ranched meatloaf and chicken bloomin’ lasagna (chicken and bacon lasagna served in Parmesan ranch sauce). The kids’ menu, which, frankly, almost seems redundant, features ranched mac & cheese and ranch chicken nuggets. The full bar will offer a housemade ranch-infused vodka.

    Why a ranch restaurant, you ask? “We’re trying to break away from the stigma of ranch dressing,” Allen explained to Feast Magazine, “in that people hear the words and think Hidden Valley.”

    And anyway, if you have to ask …

    Want to make your own ranch dressing? Try this recipe.

    Photo courtesy of iStock

  • We’re Bringing Mac Back This Summer: 5 Best Macaroni Salad Recipes 4 Jul 2015 | 1:00 pm FN Dish – Food Network Blog

    Old-Fashioned Macaroni SaladMemorable because of the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing and mix-ins like hard-boiled eggs, smoky ham and crunchy celery, macaroni salad is a popular summer potluck pick, and many recipes can be made with just a few pantry staples and served in under 30 minutes. Browse below for twists on the traditional recipes, like the Neelys’, which adds pimento peppers, and one that uses mild cheddar cheese. Bring one of these macaroni salads to your next backyard get-together and you might notice that it’s finished before the meat even comes off the grill.

     Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad — For a true “down-home” side dish, try the Neelys’ take on macaroni salad (pictured above). They combine the classic ingredients, like freshly hard-boiled eggs, ham steak and mayonnaise, with pimento peppers for a Southern kick and pickle relish for a bit of unexpected sweetness. You’ll have to be patient to dig into this creamy salad, because the Neelys suggest refrigerating it for two hours, which allows the flavors to fully meld.

    American Macaroni SaladAmerican Macaroni Salad — Fresh ingredients are the best way to balance out the richness of creamy ingredients like mayonnaise and sour cream in macaroni salad. Food Network Kitchen uses flat-leaf parsley for brightness, plus a dash of cider vinegar for tanginess in the dressing. Stir up these ingredients with the cooked pasta for a dish that’s ready in just 30 minutes.

    Macaroni SaladMacaroni Salad – Macaroni and cheese have proven themselves the perfect match for one another, and in this recipe they remain a delicious duo. Combine mild cheddar cheese with cooled pasta for a decadent twist on macaroni salad. Celery seed, carrots and onions are added to the mayonnaise-based dressing for additional color and texture.

    Macaroni Salad with Dill and HamMacaroni Salad with Dill and Ham – Fresh dill, ham and baby peas elevate this macaroni salad with heartiness and bright flavor. Food Network Kitchen also suggests tossing the cooked pasta with milk, explaining, “Adding just a couple tablespoons mellowed the dressing and gave the salad a wonderful old-fashioned quality without being goopy or heavy.”

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