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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Grace in the Kitchen

Creepy But Sweet

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Chocolate Mice // © David Malosh

These icky-cute mice feature three kinds of chocolate: semisweet in the
creamy, cakey center and white and bittersweet in the crisp chocolate shell.
© 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.

More than Christmas, more than 4th of July, more even than my birthday, I love Halloween! It wasn’t always this way. I think I had to have kids to fully embrace the total fun-ness of it all. Plus, license to consume more sweets in 24 hours than a person should have in an entire month doesn’t pass without great appreciation. In an effort to keep my kids from over-over-overindulging, I sometimes swipe bits here and there, but they’re so maniacal about cataloging their loot that they know exactly what’s there and what’s not. “Hey! Who took one of my Take 5 bars?” A friend of mine (more clever? or more piggy?) laid down the law with her daughter from the very beginning. “You pick half of what you collected and we give the other half to those less fortunate.” Hmmm... When I throw Halloween parties, I always include these chocolate mice along with loads of other sweets and savories. They’re so cute, and kind of gross if you put them all over other foods. When it’s not Halloween, they can be formed into balls for adorable cake-pop truffles. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Spooky Halloween Desserts
Frightening Halloween Recipes
Fantastic Chocolate Desserts

Grace in the Kitchen

Gnarly

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Spicy Cheddar Witch Fingers // © David Malosh

Come Halloween, shape cheesy crackers into creepy witch fingers,
pressing a sliced almond into each one to make the nail. // © 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.

Practically any recipe can be adapted for Halloween with just a few changes. Of course, changing the name is purely conceptual unless you make physical changes to match the name. I turned my favorite cheese coin recipe into perfectly ghoulish Halloween tidbits by rolling the dough into long cylinders, putting an almond “fingernail” at one end and calling them Spicy Cheddar Witch Fingers. SEE RECIPE »


Related: Spooky Halloween Recipes
Ghoulish Halloween Cocktails
Frightening Halloween Desserts

Grace in the Kitchen

Baa Baa Green Sauce

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Lamb Burgers with Green Harissa // © Lucy Schaeffer

Made with Anaheim and serrano chiles, this green gersion of Tunisian
and Moroccan harissa adds bright flavor to grilled lamb. // © 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.

The farmers’ market is overflowing with loads of fiery chiles. A favorite meal of mine is an overstuffed pita filled with grilled meats, tomatoes, feta and harissa. I am addicted to harissa—especially the one I developed for my book Get Saucy. It uses ancho chiles, caraway, cumin and sun-dried tomatoes, and is delicious on everything. But for a change, I wanted something fresh and green tasting. This green harissa uses fresh green chiles of varying heat. Serranos are pretty hot, but Anaheim and banana chiles are pretty mild. Together, along with some cilantro, scallions and garlic, they make the brightest, most refreshing (albeit spicy) sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to lamb, grilled bread and juicy tomatoes. SEE RECIPE »

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Delicious Lamb Recipes
Best Burgers in the U.S.

Grace in the Kitchen

One-Pot Wonder

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Chilaquiles-Style Roasted Chicken Legs

Chilaquiles is a baked Mexican dish that's often made with leftover shredded chicken, tortilla strips and cheese. This version bakes whole chicken legs with tomatoes, hominy, jalapeños and tortilla chips.

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.

One-pot suppers are kind of amazing—especially if you don't dirty too many bowls in the prep. My favorites are ones where a bready/noodly/potatoey base soaks up all the delicious fat and juices from what's roasted above. Case in point is this muy delicioso Mexican-style casserole that combines tortilla chips with diced tomatoes, hominy, pickled jalapeños and spices and tops it with spicy chicken legs. Some of the chips get soggy, while others get supercrispy—but they get infused with all those flavorful chicken drippings. Which reminds me of Sunday suppers when I was a kid—my mom made the most delicious roasted lemon chicken legs. The juices were crazy delicious and rarely made it to the table because we were practically fighting each other off just to dip hunks of bread into the pan. "Bagna!" as my mom would say. SEE RECIPE »

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Fantastic Roast Chicken Recipes
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Grace in the Kitchen

More Than the Sum of Its Parts

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Grilled Okra with Red Curry-Lime Dressing // © Con Poulos

Okra gets charred and tender on the grill; tossing it with lime and store-bought curry paste gives it great flavor. / © Con Poulos

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.

We've done a few really great okra recipes over the years. The ones I love the most have been grilled or pan roasted until lightly charred and tender. The recipe I developed for our September three-ingredient story uses grilled okra that gets glazed with a simple dressing of Thai red curry paste, lime juice and olive oil. It's so easy and quick, it almost doesn't feel right to call it a recipe, but sometimes the simplest things can have the most complex flavors. SEE RECIPE »

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Grilled Vegetable Recipes
Three-Ingredient Recipes

Grace in the Kitchen

Carbo-Load

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Flatbread Lasagna // © Tina Rupp

This decadent lasagna is made with pocketless pita or naan bread instead of traditional lasagna noodles. / © Tina Rupp

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.

My husband's been on a low carb diet kick for several months now (he looks great!), and you'd think that we all would be dropping pounds, since I cook nearly all of the dinners. I'm not making tons of pasta these days, and rice or bread is always now an accompaniment. But I've got to say, I've been craving a great big plate of gooey baked pasta.

This flatbread "lasagna" is probably the most carb-y casserole I've ever made, but it's delightfully evil and, I think, worth the splurge. I developed this recipe for an old column of mine—Tasting and Testing—this particular one about using flatbreads in somewhat unexpected ways. Though I'd never seen anything like this, I'd imagined (when I was hatching ideas) that it would be as if bread pudding and baked ziti got together and made a flatbread lasagna baby.

Aside from not boiling noodles, I tried to make the dish as simple as possible. It calls for jarred marinara sauce (I love Rao's—it's convenient and delicious, but kind of expensive). At home, I always have several quart containers of homemade sauce in the freezer. I've only ever used plain naan or pocketless pita, but now that there are so many flavors, it might be time to try it with onion,  garlic, olive or whole grain.  A futile nod to the health conscious? I think not. In any case, it will certainly test my husband's resolve. Never a saboteur, maybe I'll wait until he's reintroduced bread to his diet or maybe just until he's out for the night. SEE RECIPE »

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Fantastic Baked Pasta Dishes
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Grace in the Kitchen

The South Meets Spain

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Smoky Shrimp and Grits // © Quentin Bacon

This healthier version of old-school Southern grits uses less cheese, no butter and adds iron-rich spinach. / © Quentin Bacon

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.

Shrimp and Grits is one of my favorite all-time dishes. If you're willing to forgo long-cooking grits in favor of quick (not instant) grits, the dish is not only rich, flavorful, creamy and delicious, it's also superfast. I developed this recipe as part of my column on New Southern Classics (Ham Steak with Red Eye Gravy, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, Etouffee). This is one of those Southern comfort foods that can be ungodly rich, with tons of cream, butter and cheese. I lightened it up considerably by taking out the cream, paring back the butter and cheese (it's still pretty cheesy) and folding in baby spinach to add a nutitious punch. One of my favorite Spanish tapas dishes is gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic and oil). I sort of tweaked it a bit by adding smoked paprika, which stands in for smoky bacon, and spooned it over the grits. I'm not a huge calorie counter, though I do watch what I eat. This one never leaves me feeling anything but satisfied and guilt-free. SEE RECIPE »

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Comforting Grits Recipes
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Grace in the Kitchen

Sardines, My Solitary Pleasure

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Open-Face Sardine Sandwiches with Tangy Aioli  // © Sally Gall

Pair these simple open-faced sandwiches with a fresh, lemony white like an Albariño. / © Sally Gall

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.

Oh, Costco, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: Chinese sausages, chapati flour, Israeli quark, Lundberg rice (at a fraction of retail) AND eight packs of Season brand sardines packed in olive oil (yay!). My go-to quick meal often includes opening a tin of sardines, mixing them with some type of onion and mayo or mustard and slapping it on grainy crackers. These open-face sandwiches are definitely a more complex step up but still fast, easy and supernutritious. After my long Saturday morning runs, this so totally hits the spot. My kids aren't convinced (neither is my husband, but at least he doesn't wrinkle his nose), so I tend to enjoy them in relative solitude, which is all right by me, especially after a long run.

It doesn't hurt to wash it all down with a cold, crisp IPA or two—I especially like Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada—but then the whole solitude thing can seem a little depressing (by appearances only). I'm reminded of MFK Fisher (that goddess) and how she prepared herself elegant meals that she enjoyed with wine all by herself. SEE RECIPE »

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Affordable Recipes for a Crowd

Grace in the Kitchen

Ribs Under Pressure

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Blueberry-Glazed Ribs // © Petrina Tinslay

Blueberry glaze makes the edges on these ribs nice and sticky. / © Petrina Tinslay

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.

Way back in April, when blueberries were crazy cheap, I made a huge batch of this yummy syrup to keep on hand for all sorts of great applications (ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, etc.).  Last night, though, as I was rummaging through my fridge, I spotted the syrup and remembered these ribs I made a while ago. Easy enough to pick up at my supermarket, but it was already 6 p.m. and cooking ribs conventionally takes an awfully long time.

The pressure cooker, however, is kind of amazing at quickly braising tougher cuts of meats (also beans, stock, and grains, among other things). I sliced two racks into four-rib sections and nestled them into the pot, to which I added a spice blend of garlic, onion, black pepper, cumin, smoked salt and just enough water to fill about 1/3 of the cooker. Once covered and on high power for 20 minutes, the ribs were fork tender. Just enough time to get the blueberry glaze done. A quick pop on the grill, and 10 minutes later they were on the table. I know I sound like a broken record around the Test Kitchen, but pressure cookers are truly astonishing! SEE RECIPE »

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Pressure Cooker Tips
Recipes Using Blueberries

Grace in the Kitchen

Spicy-Sweet Southwestern Summer Salad

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Chipotle-Corn Salad // © Kristen Strecker

The chipotle chiles for this spicy fresh-corn salad are available in the Latin section of big supermarkets around the country. / © Kristen Strecker

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.

We sometimes joke in the kitchen that a particular chef whom I adore, uses the same three ingredients (often in the same dish) over and over and over: honey, lime and chipotle. Yeah, it's a magical combination, and one I've used often enough, so I can't really get too snarky. In this  dish, though, I've allowed the grilled corn and vidalia onions to be the only source of sweetness. It's balanced by the tartness of the lime and the heat of the chipotles is smoothed out by the sour cream. I love it alongside a smoky charred rib eye or even grilled salmon. SEE RECIPE »

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Southwestern and Tex-Mex Dishes
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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.

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