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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Geoffrey Zakarian's Creamy-Spicy Avocado Sauce

<em>My Perfect Pantry</em> by Geoffrey Zakarian

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club in New York shares an unusual recipe for a creamy avocado-based sauce. His new book, My Perfect Pantry, 
comes out in October.

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Best New Chefs

Paul Qui on Costco Cooking and His Favorite Hot Sauce

Best New Chef 2014 Paul Qui

Chef Paul Qui of Austin's Qui is one of Food & Wine's amazing 2014 Best New Chefs. Here, he reveals his current obsessions.

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Chile Sauce 101: Christmas-Style

Andrew Zimmern's Fresh Tomatillo-Poblano Sauce

I am in love with the global pantry, and learning simple ingredients or techniques from other food worlds is something that really thrills me. One small, simple recipe can be built on for years, and provide limitless cooking pleasure.

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Supermarket Sleuth

The Next Sriracha: Mama O's Kimchi Paste

© Michael Harlan Turkell
© Michael Harlan Turkell

© Michael Harlan Turkell

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

New York City-based Mama O’s makes fantastic kimchi—I especially love the bok choy version. I recently picked up a jar of the company’s kimchi paste—an intense, salty, sweet, funky blend of Korean red pepper, garlic, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. The idea is to just add cabbage to make your own kimchi, but I love the paste so much that I use it as a condiment. I’ve served it with scrambled eggs, tossed it with stir-fried vegetables and mixed it with mayonnaise to make my own secret sauce.

Related: Korean Recipes
Spicy Recipes
Fast Asian Dishes

F&W Pantry

The Many Ways to Use Miso

Miso, best known as the base of miso soup, is a rich, salty condiment made from fermented soybeans. In a Korean American kitchen, miso sits on the refrigerator shelf alongside mustard, ketchup and mayo. When I was growing up, we used it in all sorts of things, from soups and sauces to pickling vegetables. Most miso is made with soybeans, but it also can be made with barley or rice; I recently discovered one company that makes miso with chickpeas. How cool! I couldn’t wait to try it, and soon discovered that it hit all of the same notes of salty, sweet, earthy and fruity.

For the Sticky Miso Chicken Wings I developed for our recent recipe “Handbook,” I was craving a spicy glaze with enough sweetness to balance the heat. I used a shiro miso—a milder miso that is pale yellow or white in color and sweeter than it is salty—and combined it with lime juice, fresh ginger and dried red chile. As the mixture simmered and reduced, the sauce thickened and caramelized into a beautiful glaze that really stuck to the wings and was sweet and spicy all at once. But miso has tons of other uses.

One of my favorites is miso butter. It’s so easy to make—simply mix together equal parts of miso and room temperature unsalted butter—and use it to finish dishes with a wallop of umami. Add a dollop to roasted carrots, steamed broccoli and grilled steak, or swirl some into a mixed mushroom risotto. I love pan-roasting spring radishes and their beautiful greens in the miso butter. The radishes mellow out, and the edges start to caramelize and soak in all of the sweet-salty flavors.

Miso can add complexity to dressings. Try whisking some into a simple lemon or mustard vinaigrette to use with coleslaw or salad greens. Toss warm green beans in the vinaigrette for a quick weeknight side dish. The dressing is especially tasty drizzled on sautéed collard greens or brushed onto barbecued chicken and ribs.

A huge bonus of this multitasker is that it keeps pretty much indefinitely in the fridge. You’ll see many different types of miso in the market, ranging in color from white to yellow to red to brown (and every shade in between), so here’s a good rule of thumb: The darker the miso, the more intense, earthy and funky it will be.

Related: 10 Recipes that Use Miso
Homemade Condiment Recipes

Supermarket Sleuth

Best New Butter

Best New Butter

Butterfat-rich cultured butters with additions like maple and sea salt are a tasty upgrade from plain unsalted butter.

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Supermarket Sleuth

Bottled Umami: Blis Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce

© Wendell T. Webber

© Wendell T. Webber

F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

For centuries, Southeast Asian cooks have relied on deeply savory fish sauce as a primary seasoning in many of their dishes. Here, in the past couple of years, fish sauce, like so many other uniquely ethnic ingredients, has wandered into the universal pantry and is now used as a seasoning in non-Asian dishes as well. Red Boat has been my favorite brand of fish sauce because it’s fresh tasting, vibrant and light, and unlike some brands, there’s actually nothing fishy about it. Now, Red Boat has teamed up with the artisans at Michigan-based Blis Foods: They start with Red Boat’s finest 40*N fish sauce, which has already spent a year aging in wooden barrels, and age it for another 17 months or so in proprietary bourbon barrels previously used to age Blis maple syrup. Between the smoke from bourbon and wood and the mellow sweetness from the maple, the fish sauce becomes a rich-tasting, deeply nuanced condiment that’s as delicious in aioli and vinaigrette as it is in the classic Vietnamese condiment called nuoc cham.

Here are some great ways to use it:

Pok Pok Fish Sauce Chicken Wings
Fish Sauce Caramel
Grilled Rib Eyes with Mushrooms and Fish Sauce

Related: How to Cook with Fish Sauce
Delicious Southeast Asian Recipes
More Chicken Wings Recipes

Supermarket Sleuth

Pim's Marmalade


F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

I never knew I loved marmalade until I tried the ones made by the extraordinary blogger/cooking teacher/globe-trotter/marmalade mistress Pim Techamuanvivit, who you can find at chezpim.com. Pim’s marmalades are almost like confections, because they are chock-full of chunky strips of candied peel. (I sometimes pick the peels out, chop them up and add them to scones and muffins.) Every marmalade I’ve tried—and Pim makes different ones every year—has been fantastically delicious and never too sweet. They’re all you need to turn morning toast with butter into a special event.

If you have any left over or are looking for other ways to use the marmalade, here are some great ideas:
White Chocolate Cake with Orange-Marmalade Filling
Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Orange Marmalade 
Orange-Cranberry Scones with Turbinado Sugar

Related: Jam Recipes
How to Cook with Oranges
Delicious Breakfast Pastries

Grace in the Kitchen

Psychedelic Dip

Creamy Beet Dip with White Crudités // © David Malosh

This hot pink beet dip is fun to serve with white and pale green vegetables.
© David Malosh

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

With the holiday season upon us shortly, I look for simple ways to entertain a crowd. I prefer to visit with my guests and not be a slave to the kitchen, unless of course I need a respite from the chaos. One easy way to do just that is to have loads of stuff prepared in advance. Dips and spreads are especially good because they can be made in large quantities and kept in the fridge (in their serving bowls, no less) up until your guests arrive. A departure from the mundane (but delicious nonetheless) hummus is this crazy-good, crazy-colored variation on the classic French onion dip. This one is made with sautéed shredded beets and onions, sour cream, and a splash of vinegar and honey to balance out the flavors. I serve it with an array of vegetables, but it’s also awesome on pita crisps or thick-cut potato chips, especially salt and vinegar chips. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Beet Recipes
Party Dips and Spreads
Holiday Party Dip Recipes

Supermarket Sleuth

Ajvar: A Super Versatile Serbian Salsa (of Sorts)



F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

I stumbled on this delicious, garlicky red bell pepper-and-eggplant condiment/spread/dip a couple of years ago when I was looking at jarred tomato sauces. When I looked it up online, I saw that those who make it from scratch refer to it as “Serbian salsa” or “Croatian relish.” Over the weekend, I used ajvar to make a superquick version of muhammara by pureeing it with walnuts (this is an expert’s version of the real thing). Ajvar is also great on its own, whether spicing up sandwiches, with eggs or with roasted meats or chicken. For an almost instant hors d’oeuvre, spread ajvar on toasts, top with goat cheese and broil. Some brands are spicier and more garlicky than others, but the heat level is usually indicated on the jar.

Here’s a nice recipe for starters: Roasted Cauliflower with Ajvar Dressing. Most well-stocked supermarkets carry at least one version of ajvar.

Related: More Amazing Condiments
Fantastic Party Dips
Brilliant Eggplant Recipes

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.