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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Tasting Room

Awesome Canned Craft Beer

Courtesy of Sierra Nevada.
Courtesy of Sierra Nevada

Courtesy of Sierra Nevada

There are now more than 180 craft breweries putting their brew into cans (out of about 875 total, not counting brewpubs). And that’s a fine thing. I mean, it may be 20 degrees outside, but you’ve still got to drink something at the beach, right? Here are 5 great canned craft beers. »

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At-Home Sommelier

4 Italian Wine Shops to Know

Italy by the Bottle

Photo © Richard Owyoung

Biondivino, San Francisco
The Russian Hill shop hosts frequent winemaker tastings and sells hard-to-find varietals and bottlings. biondivino.com.

Italian Wine Merchants, NYC
Specializes in rare, high-end wines and cellar management for collectors. italianwinemerchants.com.

DeLaurenti, Seattle
This shop has an impressive selection of half-bottles. delaurenti.com.

Wine Expo, Santa Monica, CA
This store and wine bar focuses on Italian and sparkling wines, especially inexpensive bottles. wineexpo.com.

Related: Italian Value Wines
An Italian Wine-Pairing Summit

Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Incredible Butter Fried Chicken

Butter Fried Chicken

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

This dish is in my head more often than not. That’s saying something. It’s one of our monthly meals at the Zimmern house, and its yet another brilliant way to do chicken for a crowd that includes kids. Paired with a bright citrus punch and salty capers, this chicken entrée makes everyone happy. My son starts screaming “butter chicken” and runs up and down the hallways when he comes home from school and learns what’s for dinner. I first ate this dish 30 years ago, served for a family meal one night at a restaurant in Florence where I was a stagiaire. I hadn’t seen butter during my first few weeks in Italy and almost fainted when I tasted this. You will too—please put pillows on the floor the first time you make it. SEE RECIPE »

See More of Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures

Trendspotting

The Incredible Shrinking Plate: Small Plate Boom & Bust

Tapas

Photo © Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

F&W has been spotting food trends for 35 years now. Here, a time line of our greatest hits—and misses during the small plate boom and bust.

1985
In a land of buffets and big portions, a new trend arrives. F&W writes: “The latest word in eating is less. There are many names for the phenomenon—grazing, noshing, snacking—but we’re giving it another: Littlemeals.”

1985
F&W traces the small-plates trend back to its roots, with a story called “What’s All This We Hear About Tapas?”

1997
Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli earns its third Michelin star. Meals at the modernist Spanish restaurant involve three dozen small bites and snacks.

2007
Japanese snacking pubs, aka izakayas, take off in the US. “American gastro izakayas offer Japanese small plates with multiculti twists,” reports F&W.

2007
In a newspaper article titled, “Is the Entrée Heading for Extinction?” chef Tom Colicchio says, “I think the entrée has been in trouble for a long time.”

2009
The trend goes middlebrow, as The Cheesecake Factory debuts a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu with Vietnamese tacos.

2012
The New York Times publishes “The Problem With Small Plates.”

Download the Full Story: 35 Years of Food Trends »

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

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