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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Top 5 Trends in Restaurant Desserts

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Since I'm pretty obsessed with finding great desserts, I spend a lot of time examining pastry menus from all over the country. Here are some of the biggest trends turning up on early fall menus.

Upside-Down Cake Recipe

© Tina Rupp
Upside-Down Cake.

1. Black pepper. Salt continues to be popular, but now pastry chefs are experimenting with pepper, which adds a mild heat to desserts like tuiles, sablés and even cheesecake.

2. Brown sugar. Obviously brown sugar is nothing new, but now it's being called out as the title ingredient in pavlovas, tea cakes, pound cakes and cookies. This recipe for simple Iced Brown Sugar Cookies from Baked in Brooklyn is a great way to embrace the trend at home.

3. Chocolate crémeux. The French word just translates to "creamy." The silky, pudding-like dessert seems to be the new darling on pastry menus. For an Italian take on this classic, try this Milk Chocolate Cremoso recipe.

4. Duck fat, lard and foie gras. These fatty faves are adding a savory element to cookies, profiteroles and even s'mores.

5. Upside-down cakes. Pluot, peach, blueberry, black plum, and of course pineapple are some of the fruits starring in this easy cake. The most interesting fruit in rotation has to be tomato, seen at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. Here's our recipe for the perfect upside-down cake.

Related: 30 Beautiful Desserts
Delicious Chocolate Desserts
Fabulous Apple Dessert Recipes

 

Books

Michael S. Smith’s Kitchen Decorating Tips

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Interior designer to the Obamas at the White House, Michael S. Smith, will release his third book next month: Kitchens & Baths. In it, Smith shares design inspiration for "the busiest and most personal rooms in the home." For a sneak preview, we asked Smith for his top kitchen decorating tips.

Kitchens and Baths

© Courtesy Rizzoli New York

What are some easy ways to update your kitchen?
I think paint is the number one thing. If you have a kitchen that can be repainted, you can do that yourself. You can paint the ceiling a beautiful color. It's a bit more work, but if you have a wood floor, you can stain it, either in a pattern or one color. And many stores sell inexpensive hardware that you can install yourself, or you could change out the front of your cabinets.

How do you optimize space in a small kitchen?
Think about what you really need. If you live in an apartment and have a small kitchen, but don't cook that often, maybe refrigerator drawers instead of a whole refrigerator would be best. Make it charming and utilitarian. Like a boat: very efficient with no space left unused.

How do you approach giant kitchens?
Big kitchens tend to be filled with too much. Do you need a huge refrigeration space? I'd rather have a great bookcase with glass doors to store and protect cookbooks. Or a great niche with a sofa and ottoman so someone can hang out and talk with you while you cook.

What's your favorite kitchen trend?
Reusing things: refurbished stoves, old St. Charles cabinets, and lighting being reused. It is great environmentally and it gives the space charm.

What design elements are you obsessed with?
I really am obsessed with countertops. I think there are so many good options. People get into really expensive marbles. There are some pretty and really inexpensive stones, though keep in mind care issues. Butcher blocks can be inexpensive. CaesarStone is impervious to stains and is terrific. In my own kitchen, I have zinc countertops.

What are some kitchen decorating mistakes?
Trying to give your kitchen an entirely different look than the rest of the house—like if you walk into a fairly traditional house and the kitchen is Tuscan-style, and filled with sunflowers. That's wacky. Know what your house is like and what works. The things that come out of the kitchen, the food and conversations and all of those things matter—the look is important and should be attractive and cheerful.

More Kitchen Design Ideas:
Six Ways to Personalize a Kitchen
F&W Editors Kitchen Wish List
Food Bloggers' Best Kitchen Design Ideas

Recipes

Garlicky Chicken Thighs from The Chew’s Missing Mario Batali

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Garlicky Chicken Thighs

© Lucy Schaeffer
Garlicky Chicken Thighs

ABC’s new food-centric chat show, The Chew, premiered this afternoon. Highlights included Michael Symon showing off his “Got Pork” tattoo, Carla Hall’s 40-year-old Betty Crocker pancake recipe and Daphne Oz’s budget-friendly smoothie recipes (plus a visit from her famous Dr. dad). Noticeably absent from the studio was Mario Batali, who appeared later telecast from a charity golf tournament. Off-site location aside, Batali still managed to whip up a pizza. Here’s hoping the clog-clad chef will be more present in future episodes since we love his affordable recipes, like this one for grilled chicken thighs coated in a crispy, garlicky crumb topping.

Restaurants

Eat Ribs, Help a Future Chef

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© Courtesy of Bravo
Chef Tom Colicchio playing guitar


On Monday night NYC’s Hill Country Barbecue will host Restaurant Industry Night, the first in a quarterly series of events that recognizes different industries and related charities and celebrates them through food and music. Star chef Tom Colicchio will hit the stage with his guitar, no doubt taking inspiration from Season 9 of Top Chef, which he recently filmed in Texas. The event will raise money for the Careers Through Culinary Arts (C-CAP) scholarship program, which helps prepare high school students in underserved communities for restaurant careers.

If you can’t make it to the event, here are some amazing Texas-inspired barbecue recipes from chef Tim Love to try at home.

Sticky Barbecued Beef Ribs

Braised Pork Shanks

Grilled Texas Rib Eye

Charro Beans

Chiles Rellennos

Recipes

Ferran Adrià's Catalan Chicken Shortcut

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Catalan Rotisserie Chicken Stew

© Quentin Bacon
Catalan Rotisserie Chicken Stew

Known for experimenting with futuristic cooking techniques at the now-closed El Bulli, Spanish chef Ferran Adrià shows a simpler side in his next cookbook, The Family Meal. Focusing on the sort of filling budget meals that were served to the restaurant’s staff, the Phaidon tome drops October 1 and features step-by-step photo instructions. It's not the first time that Adrià has exhibited a knack for easy dishes; the superchef shared this recipe for sweet and nutty Catalan chicken stew with Food & Wine back in 2005. The surprising shortcut: store-bought rotisserie chicken.

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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.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.