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By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Recipes

Bacony Chicken with Sauerkraut for Oktoberfest

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

Chicken with Sauerkraut

© Melanie Acevedo
Chicken with Sauerkraut

Starting tomorrow through October 3, more than five million revelers will visit Munich for Germany’s annual Oktoberfest, to down specially brewed beer with hearty, traditional fare. Many of the beer tents serve Hendl, a roasted or grilled chicken dish eaten with fresh soft pretzels or sauerkraut. To recreate the celebration at home, F&W offers budget-friendly braised chicken thighs with a quick sauerkraut combining vegetables, apple, juniper berries and delicious bacon. Plus, a perfect German pretzel recipe.

Related: More German Dishes
F&W's Dana Cowin Does the Chicken Dance on the Today Show for Oktoberfest

Beer

NYC Craft Beer Week Kicks Off Today

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Passport

© NY Beer Week
NY Beer Week Passport

The 4th Annual NY Craft Beer Week starts today and goes through Sunday, September 25. Beer Passports are available for $10 online, or as an iPhone or Droid app, and include a complete list of events as well as coupons for $3 beers at hundreds of local bars. Some highlights by the numbers:
 
- 6 courses of chef Bobby Hellen’s fantastic Belgian-inspired food at Resto on Monday 9/19 for the Ultimate Brewmaster's Degustation Beer Dinner, with two beer pairings per course. Call 212-685-5585 for reservations.

- 10 days to take part in Beer Week events that include tastings, music festivals and pub crawls.
 
- 21 breweries pouring special beers paired with charcuterie, cheese and chocolate at the Brewer’s Choice pairing event at City Winery on the 22nd.
 
- $40 to attend the September 24 Have Beer, Will Travel event at Hudson Terrace and taste 50 obscure beers from NY and Canada.
 
- 150 mile radius of NYC: Eight breweries in this range will participate in the Just Food: Let Us Eat Local Annual Fundraiser on the 21st. Restaurants providing food include ABC Kitchen, Gramercy Tavern and the Spotted Pig, among others. A portion of proceeds from the evening will go to farmers impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Related: Great American Beer, Bourbon and More

Recipes

American Riffs on Classic French Dishes

The October issue celebrates France. Here, delicious new takes on French classics.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup

© French (Canadian) Onion Soup
French (Canadian) Onion Soup

For years, few Americans would admit to loving French food. It seemed so decadent, so fussy, so old-fashioned. But now American bakers are tackling macarons, and chefs and writers are defending the beauty of cooking like the French.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup (left): Chef Hugue Dufour, an alum of Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon, combined French-Canadian style with American comfort food at M. Wells (moving soon to a new location in Long Island City, New York). This soup epitomizes his style.

Crab-and-Celery-Root Remoulade: At Portland, Oregon's Little Bird, Gabriel Rucker (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) tweaks French dishes like céleri remoulade, the mayo-dressed celery-root salad.

Zucchini-Tomato Verrines: Most Paris bistros serve at least one verrine: a multi-textured salad or dessert layered in a glass. This one comes from French-born food stylist Béatrice Peltre of the blog La Tartine Gourmande, whose book of the same name comes out in February.

Soubise: At Frasca in Boulder, Colorado, Brian Lockwood finishes leek risotto with this creamy onion sauce, usually served with meat or fish.

Hollandaise: Danny Grant of RIA in Chicago tops langoustines with a velvety, coriander-scented hollandaise.

Escargot: Pierre Calmels of Philadelphia's Bibou is such a fan of snails, he's been known to dedicate five courses in a menu to them. His signature dish: snails with mushrooms.

Gribiche: At Gather in Berkeley, Sean Baker turns this tartar-like sauce (thickened with hard-boiled eggs) into a salad with duck-egg wedges, herbs, shallots, garlic and mustard.

Related: A Surprising Guide to French Cuisine
The Radical French-Canadian Food of Joe Beef
April Bloomfield's First Trip to France

Ingredients

Dan Barber’s Responsible Chicken Soup

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

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

© Quentin Bacon
Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls.

This week, following a conference in Peru, international activist chefs including New York’s Dan Barber, Spain’s Ferran Adrià and France’s Michel Bras unveiled an Open Letter to the Chefs of Tomorrow on the topic of social responsibility. Much of that involves respecting the environment and food systems, which Barber practices in spades at his Blue Hill restaurants. His recipe for Chicken Soup with Rosemary Matzo Balls honors this model by using up nearly every part of the bird, including wings, back, neck and feet.

Cooking

How to Ruin a Grilled Cheese

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It’s hard to imagine a bad grilled cheese, but melty perfection isn’t a given. Here, the James Beard Award–winning cookbook author behind this year's Grilled Cheese, Please!, Laura Werlin, reveals five ways to fumble this deceptively simple sandwich.

Laura Werlin.

© Maren Caruso
Laura Werlin.

1. Go overboard with bread. The ratio of cheese to bread should be 50-50. “Too much bread prevents the sandwich from getting crisp, which is crucial,” says Werlin. Too little cheese also yields disappointing results: “If you cut the sandwich open and there’s nothing gooey in the middle, why make one? People do that, amazingly.”

2. Slice the cheese. Grated cheese melts more quickly and evenly. If you’re using the right amount of cheese and it’s sliced, it won’t melt before the bread burns—unless you cook it over a low flame for a long time. “Who wants to wait half an hour?” asks Werlin. “Grilled cheese is all about immediate gratification”

3. Add butter to the pan. “The minute you put your sandwich in the pan, it absorbs the fat, and it doesn’t get distributed evenly,” explains Werlin. Instead, spread butter on the bread first. Press down on the sandwich with a spatula to achieve ideal crispiness.

4. Use anything other than a nonstick pan. Cast iron might seem rustic, but the benefits of nonstick are twofold, according to Werlin. “First of all, the sandwich doesn’t stick, but neither does the cheese that inevitably comes oozing out,” she says. “So then you get to pick up those little extra bits of cheese that get all toasty at the bottom of the pan. You don’t want to leave those behind.”

5. Skip condiments. This depends on your audience, since kids might not appreciate chutney, but “myriad ingredients can elevate a grilled cheese sandwich from good to great,” notes Werlin. She likes roasted peppers, arugula, olives and herbs, as well as artisanal breads, like those baked with olives, dried cranberries or herbs. Werlin’s favorite alternative to traditional bread might be the croissant: “You’ve already got the butter built in, and it becomes supercrisp because it smashes down so well. Boy is that good.”

Related: Laura Werlin’s indulgent New American Grilled Cheese recipe, with cheddar, Monterey Jack, cornichons and andouille sausage.
10 Amazing Grilled Cheese 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.

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.