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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Expert Guide

10 Ways to Use Kale

Squash-and-Kale Toasts

Whatever your opinion of the kale-gone-wild movement to infuse everything with kale, there is a reason to eat more of it. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. Here are 10 go-to ways to use this incredible superfood. Read more >

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What I Learned

Chef Seamus Mullen Remembers a Spanish Food Legend

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

America's legendary Spanish food authority Penelope Casas died last week, having just completed her final tome: 1,000 Spanish Recipes (2014). A prolific writer whose recipes appeared in Food & Wine, Casas's most famous and influential works include The Foods and Wines of Spain (1982) and Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain (1985). Here, Spain-obsessed chef Seamus Mullen of New York's Tertulia honors her legacy.

Penelope Casas and I shared a mutual love for the foods of Spain that ran deeper than just olive oil, Jamon Iberico and paella. Just like Penelope Casas, I first learned about Spain in 9th grade. I was a below-average student in most subjects, however I had an unusual disposition for the Spanish language thanks to an encouraging teacher. Just like Penelope Casas, I went to Spain on an exchange program, both in high school and then again in college. And just like her I also fell for the cuisine.

After returning from Spain in the spring of 1992, I decided to cook a proper Spanish feast for classmates at my teacher's house so I asked him for help. The assistance I received came in the form of a well-worn copy of The Foods and Wines of Spain, Casas's seminal cookbook published in 1982. At the time I didn't pay the book much mind beyond that I had very much enjoyed both the "food" in Spain and (even more so) the "wine" and it seemed to be exactly what I needed for my project.

I don't remember exactly what I made, though I do recall my first attempt to perform la vuelta de la tortilla, the infamous flipping of the Spanish tortilla, which ended with, how shall I say, egg on my face. I'd like to say that I cooked my way through her book, learning the regional dishes of traditional Spanish cookery, experimenting and exploring. But in all honesty, as an 18-year-old high school student, I think I surveyed the book, choosing only the dishes that included wine for cooking so that I could sneak a little pull. Thinking back on that Friday evening in my teacher's kitchen, I wonder if that was the last time I actually followed a recipe word for word? I think it might have been.

I went on to college, both here in the states and in Spain and I cooked in restaurants, both grand and diminutive and just like Casas I returned to New York with a distinct love for the foods of Spain. While I have never yet returned to cooking from cookbooks (I'll look at the ingredients and improvise), her books, all of them, occupy a large chunk of my bookshelf, smack in the middle of the Iberian section. She was one of the first Americans to champion the cooking of Spain and fight tirelessly to keep it from being muddled up and confused with the cuisines of Latin America and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I was lucky enough to meet Casas and even cook for her, and while I never told her that it was her cookbook that, somewhat indirectly, helped launch my career, I'm sure she could see her books in my food. Casas did more, perhaps, than any single other person to bring the foods of Spain to our shores and her love for, and knowledge of, the foods of Spain will live on in our kitchens. She will be dearly missed.

Related: Spanish Recipes by Penelope Casas
Delicious Seamus Mullen Recipes

Know Your Meats

The Most Delicious Cut of Pork You Never Heard Of

End-Cut Rib Pork Chops.

In this series, expert Josh Ozersky offers a guide to buying, cooking and eating meat, in particular those unusual and obscure cuts that are rarely seen in restaurants. 

The Cut: End-cut rib pork chops, as the name implies, are taken from the front end of the rib cage nearest to the animal’s shoulder. Their technical designation in the bible of the meat business, the National Association of Meat Producers guide, is #1410A rib chops.

The Sell: For most of my life, I had a conflicted relationship with pork chops. I loved their golden crescent edges, sickles of the purest and densest pork fat. I loved to gnaw on the bone, too, both for its rugged, toothsome gifts and also for the self-parodic aspects—comic props in the Josh Ozersky Show. However, in between the bone and that rim of lard, I generally found a featureless plain of dry and tasteless meat, a “food desert” if ever there was one.

One day I found some pork chops that had another layer of meat on top of the first; where the chop should have ended was a second thick slab of muscle that was better than the first. I couldn’t understand why this outer piece wasn’t the star of the show. It was like when Hendrix opened for The Monkees. I would later find out that this was none other than the porcine version of the deckle, that precious and obsessed over cap that sits atop rib eye beef steaks. (Rib steaks and rib chops are the same thing, but from different animals.) But whereas serious beef eaters have gotten the memo, pork enthusiasts have not. That ends here. The spinalis muscle’s unique combination of richness, tenderness and firmness outclasses any other muscle by an order of magnitude. And as a bonus, a kind of insider reward, the rhomboideus muscle comes on the bottom of the end cut. Top that, center loin pork chop!

The How-To: Pork chops, unless double cut, rarely achieve that ideal, robust, sizzling browning from a pan or grill. They overcook too fast; the surface buckles against the pan; open flames get one side but not the precious edge; and other misfortunes follow. So predictably, I think they should be fried.

Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and New York magazines; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival.

Related: 33 Pork Recipes
Best-Ever Recipes for Pork, Beef and Ribs
Best Shops for Cured Meats

Kick Start It

The United Skillets of America

In 2011, artist Alisa Toninato created a spectacular map of America made from 48 state-shaped cast-iron skillets. Now, she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to have the patriotic pans mass-produced.

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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

Grace in the Kitchen

Wine Braised Lamb Chops with Garlic and Dried Fruit

© Lucy Schaeffer

A jammy Zinfandel and dried fruit lend a ton of flavor to
these lamb-shoulder chops. / © Lucy Schaeffer

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.

Cooking with wine has been a thread these past few days. Braising, poaching, making pan sauces…all good. I love how when heat is applied, wine goes through dramatic changes with wildly varying results. Best of all is a braising liquid that reduces and becomes a slightly sweet, silky sauce. For this braised lamb dish, I browned shoulder chops and simmered them with lots of garlic, dried apricots and cherries and a full-bodied, jammy red Zinfandel. In a relatively short time, the lamb became tender and glazed with a rich, winey, fruity sauce. SEE RECIPE »

Related: Fast Lamb Chop Recipes
Wine Pairings for Lamb
More Amazing Lamb Recipes

Test Kitchen Tease

Crazy-Good Chicken-Fried Rabbit


Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Crazy-Good Chicken-Fried Rabbit

Justin Chapple

Despite cuteness concerns, rabbit is one of the most sustainable meats available today. It’s surprisingly healthy and leaner than chicken, but still exceptionally flavorful and just as versatile. If you're still thinking rabbit isn’t your thing, just imagine it fried. This week, F&W’s Test Kitchen made this crazy-good chicken-fried rabbit. Like traditional recipes, the rabbit pieces were tenderized in buttermilk, then coated with a combination of all-purpose flour, stone-ground cornmeal, sage, cayenne pepper and salt. The pieces cooked to a golden brown with an extremely crunchy crust in less than ten minutes. A sprinkle of salt and a dash of Tabasco made them even better. This recipe will be revealed in our January issue, but in the meantime, practice with this Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken from F&W’s Grace Parisi.

Related: Fried Chicken Recipes

Test Kitchen Tip

How to Make Ethiopia's Famous Flatbread


Photo by John Kernick

To make the Ethiopian bread injera, you have to ferment the batter. But how do you know it has fermented long enough? Read about how I found out the hard way >

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Test Kitchen Tease

Outstanding Triple-Decker Lemongrass Pork Burgers

Lemongrass Pork Patties with Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Justin Chapple

Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

There’s nothing better than testing a burger recipe to bring back a whisper of summer. This week, F&W’s Test Kitchen made these fantastic lemongrass pork patties with quick cucumber kimchi from Chicago chef Bill Kim of Urban Belly. The patties are super-thin, but powerfully flavored with minced fresh lemongrass, ginger, citrus and Thai sweet chile sauce, which added a bit of sweetness and helped produce a nicely charred crust while grilling. They cooked in only a few minutes and each sandwich was piled high with three patties. But the best part was topping them with the spicy kimchi, which came together in only two hours (traditional kimchi can take days or even weeks to prepare). After salting and rinsing the cucumbers, we simply marinated them with garlic, onion, ginger, sesame and gochugaru—coarse red pepper powder from Korea. These recipes will be available in a few months, but for now, try these panko-coated Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers from F&W’s Grace Parisi.

Related: Favorite Burger Recipes
Amazing Korean Recipes
Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi


Test Kitchen Tease

The Most Amazing Lemon Bundt Cake


Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

The Most Amazing Lemon Bundt Cake

Justin Chapple

Citrus zest packs a big punch, so you usually only need a small amount to lend lots of flavor. We test hundreds of recipes for the magazine, books and our website, which has taught us that chefs, bakers and cooks often call for way too much of it in their recipes. That’s why we were a smidge skeptical when testing this lemon bundt cake from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (co-founders of Baked in New York City). Their recipe called for the zest of ten lemons, which sounded absurd! But, because these boys haven’t led us down the wrong path before—their cookbooks are F&W staff favorites and they're part of our Masters Series—we elected to trust them. Ten lemons and one dulled Microplane later, this cake was exactly what we’d hoped: tender, moist and incredibly lemony. A good amount of sugar creates a lovely caramel-colored crust, and the cake is drizzled with a tangy lemon glaze before being sprinkled with toasted almonds. Look for the recipe in our December issue, but in the meantime, try this grapefruit-spiked Lemon-Glazed Citrus-Yogurt Pound Cake. For more recipes from Matt and Renato, click here or check out their latest cookbook: Baked Elements.  

Related: More Cake Recipes

F&W's Ultimate Guide to Dessert Recipes

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