- Toy cameras for the retro photographer
- PopSugar City NYC: sweet treats to fete the Fourth
- Affordable, essential cooking tools
- 10 great Summer drugstore beauty finds
- Books, puppies, and grandmas: things that make hot guys hotter
- Patriotic printables for your July Fourth parties
- Whitney Port's fashion tips for a girls' night out!
- DIYs for the Fourth of July!
- The best and worst of June entertainment
- Reach for the stars: Lauren Conrad shares career tips
- Before popping pills, cure your headache with yoga poses
- Hot Dog! Adorable Daschunds
- Steps for creating your own hallway photo gallery
- Happy Fourth of July — see how stars celebrate Independence Day!
- Video: Is Pippa Middleton off the market again?
Posts for June 29th 2011
What would you say is the fastest-growing grape in the country? If you guessed Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, or any of the other usual suspects, you're wrong. The answer's muscat, the sweetly fragranced grape that's often the bane of any drinker who's sworn off sweet wines.
That's right: according to AC Nielsen, muscat is the fastest-growing grape variety in the United States, and even global brands like Yellow Tail have caught on. The Australian wine company's newest label is its 2011 Moscato. As a longtime moscato d'asti lover, but a recent critter wine skeptic, I wasn't sure what to expect. The results were pleasantly surprising.
The wine, while relatively straightforward, managed to be incredibly peachy and floral without tasting soapy, then had a nice level of acidity and a small amount of effervescence to balance out the body and sweetness. "It'd be wonderful with sorbet," one taster commented. I instantly envisioned serving it in a Champagne coupe with a just-frozen-enough scoop of pear sorbet on top. For $6.99, you can't find a better value in this category. Muscat lovers: what's your favorite moscato frizzante?
If it's hot in your neck of the woods tonight, think Tex Mex and make vegetable quesadillas on the grill. Although the recipe has you roast the veggies in the oven, they would be equally delicious charred on the grill. Have the kids help you grate the cheese and assemble the quesadillas. Vegetarians can enjoy the quesadillas as is, but for those who want to throw in protein, cooked bay shrimp, grilled chicken, or sliced steak are wonderful options. Ready for the easy but tasty recipe? Read on.
When it comes to food, I can't resist anything that's in mini form. The same, however, can't be said for kitchen items: miniature tartlet, pie, and saucepans have always seemed too novel and not functional enough for my kitchen. That said, I've developed a recent obsession with mini cast-iron pots after seeing a number of them at the Aspen Food & Wine tents. They're far more versatile than they let on, and I've just purchased my first. Here are a few things I plan to do with it:
- Store seasonings for mise en place while cooking.
- Use as an attractive way to offer guests high-quality finishing salts at the dinner table.
- Make egg dishes for one. Single-serving eggs in purgatory, anybody?
- Grilling outdoors? Place it directly over the grates to create quick drizzling sauces.
If you own any mini servingware or cookware, how do you put it to good use?
From Katie Sweeney
2 poblano peppers
2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/4 of an onion, sliced into chunks
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
8 flour tortillas
1 heaping cup grated pepper Jack cheese
1 cup cooked protein like bay shrimp, grilled chicken, or steak, optional
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Butter, at room temperature for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the poblanos, zucchini, jalapeño, garlic, and onion in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes until the veggies are cooked and just starting to char. Set aside to cool.
- When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the charred skin of the poblanos and jalapeño. Seed the peppers and roughly chop.
- Dice the onion and add them to a large bowl with the peppers and zucchini.
- Press the garlic out of its skin and finely mince. Add to the bowl with the other veggies.
- Add the minced cilantro to the chopped roasted veggies and stir lightly to combine.
- To assemble the quesadilla, place four flour tortillas on a work surface. Top each one with 1/4 cup of the pepper Jack cheese, spreading it evenly over the tortilla.
- Evenly divide the roasted vegetable mixture between the cheese-topped tortillas.
- If using the shrimp or protein, sprinkle 1/4 cup of shrimp onto each veggie-and-cheese-topped tortilla.
- Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of the feta over the top. Season with salt and pepper and cover with the remaining four tortillas.
- Heat a griddle to medium-low. Brush one side of the outside of the quesadilla with butter. Place butter side down on the warm grill. Cook, slowly to ensure that the cheese melts completely, about 7 minutes. Brush the top tortilla with butter and flip. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the bottom is brown, the inside is heated through, and the cheese is melted. Remove from the grill and let sit for 1 minute. Slice into wedges and enjoy. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.
Although she didn't win Top Chef Masters, San Francisco's Traci Des Jardins came pretty close to being the first female Master. After she shared a day of her life with us, she took a quick minute to chat about the Top Chef experience. Here's what she had to say:
On not winning Masters: At that point, Floyd, Mary, and I were ready for the show to be over. We were each playing for charity and each of the charities was worthy of the money. I don't have a killer instinct about why I didn't win. I guess my food simply wasn't as good as Floyd's food. I wanted to see a woman win it.
On doing more television: I love the Top Chef brand. I would do it again for sure. It will be interesting to see what else they do.
On her upcoming trip to Africa: I'm very excited! I've always wanted to go on safari in Africa. I'm going all over. I'm going to see the migration. The best thing is we're following up the trip with a week in Barcelona. It's just a great city; the last time I went the food was spectacular. It's so unique and local. The fish they have there, we don't have here.
On her latest projects: I'm working on a book proposal. It's really thrilling! I'm also still recovering from the filming of the show. It was very intense and took a lot of energy.
Photo courtesy of Bravo
Editor's Note: The following is a guest article written by the always amazing Kelsey Nixon. Here, Kelsey explains how she comes up with the recipes that she features on her Cooking Channel show.
As I chat with friends and viewers about the new season of Kelsey's Essentials, one of the things they find most surprising is that an entire "season" is actually shot in about a week. When we shoot my show we basically move in to the set for a week, and then won't return to the set for several months until it's time to shoot the following season.
Right now season two of Kelsey's Essentials is just kicking off on Cooking Channel and I am in between seasons. As I gear up for the next round of filming, it is of the utmost importance that I am constantly in recipe development mode. After filming an entire season, which is usually around 50-60 original recipes, I am in serious need of some inspiration!
Throwing a Fourth of July celebration? If so, take inspiration from colorsizzle, who created a festive Independence Day scheme for her dessert table.
Inspired by the Interstate signs while driving one day, I decided to design these cupcake toppers and tags for a 4th of July cookout. That lead to this entire "Sweet Street" theme.
The "street" is actually a black tablecloth and the "painted" lines were done with electrical tape. I think this is an idea that guests of all ages will enjoy.