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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Healthy Italian Farmhouse Cooking: Zuppa Verde

Zuppa Verde

Photo © Stephanie Meyer.

Every cook wants to know how to make this superb soup, and the reason is its simplicity. As in all Italian food, simplicity trumps all. A mixture of greens is great in the recipe, but if you just use escarole, so be it. I first had soup like this in Cervinia in northern Italy, on a spring ski trip. Small huts dotted the lower slopes of the ski resort so you could schuss up, eat a bowl of soup and ski off quickly. This is farmhouse cooking at its best. I think the bread makes the soup what it is. You tell me, but I can assure you that this will become a staple of your repertoire right away. SEE RECIPE »

See More of Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures

Supermarket Sleuth

Best Baby Snacks: Little Duck Organics Tiny Fruits

Courtesy Little Duck Organics

Courtesy Little Duck Organics

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

I'm one of those crazy moms that makes all of my ten-month-old daughter's food, except for the occasional treat. My favorite packaged baby snack out there are the Little Ducks Organics Tiny Fruits. Unlike some snacks, which contain a lot of different ingredients, these are just pencil-eraser-sized bits of freeze-dried organic fruit. They are actually so delicious, I can’t help snagging a few myself.

Related: Frozen Fruit Recipes
Tasty Snacks
Healthy Snacks

Trendspotting

Return of the '80s: Pac-Man, Power Lunches and Pasta Bar Thursdays

So the ’80s are back. And they’re way back in the world of food and drinks. Here, clues that show the resurgence of the decade in all its neon pink cocktails and Lean Cuisine glory. READ MORE>>

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At-Home Sommelier

Almost-Extinct Grapes to Try Now

Winemakers across Europe have worked to save indigenous grape varieties from extinction, often bringing them back from a few surviving vines. Here are four to try.

Almost-Extinct Grapes

Illustration © Alex Nabaum

Malagousia
In the late 1970s, winemaker Vangelis Gerovassiliou of Greece helped rescue this silky variety from one remaining vine. Now, wineries around the country make wines with it. Bottle to Try: 2011 Zafeirakis Malagousia ($16)

Nascetta
Native to Italy’s Piedmont region, citrusy Nascetta was virtually gone when winemaker Valter Fissore of Elvio Cogno first started experimenting with it in the mid-1990s. Bottle to Try: 2011 Elvio Cogno Anas-Cëtta ($33)

Godello
Only a few hundred vines of this crisp, minerally white variety were left when Spanish vintners revived it; now there are more than 3,000 acres. Bottle to Try: 2011 Gaba do Xil Godello ($17)

Pecorino
A full-bodied white variety, Pecorino was thought to be extinct when a few final vines were found in the 1980s. Now it’s grown in much of central Italy. Bottle to Try: 2011 Velenosi Villa Angela ($15)

Related: More from F&W's May Issue: 5 Promising New Wine Regions
F&W's Wine Tasting & Travel Guide

Chef Dream Trips

Ed Lee's Vietnam Food Tour

Bun Rieu in Vietnam

Bun Rieu Photo © Ed Lee.

When I go to a Vietnamese restaurant in the US, I always look for a wall calendar, the kind showing an idyllic landscape with a bamboo raft meandering down a calm river, or a pretty girl in a silk dress and long white gloves bicycling through a fruit market. It’s the place I’m hoping to find as the plane descends upon the verdant island of Phu Quoc on the southern tip of Vietnam. But wait, I’m also having flashbacks of Apocalypse Now and Robin Williams yelling, “Goooooood morning, Vietnam!” I try to focus on bahn mi sandwiches and Vietnamese crêpes.

This is my first visit to a country that is so foreign to me and yet so deeply ingrained in my consciousness through history, museums, film, TV and, most recently, through its cuisine. I’m here with Stuart Brioza, from San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions; Bryan Caswell, of Reef in Houston; and Top Chef: Texas winner Paul Qui from Austin—all chefs who have a working familiarity with Southeast Asian cuisine. We’re here with the good folks from Red Boat Fish Sauce to tour their factory and get a firsthand look at the food culture of Vietnam.

On the first day of our weeklong stay, we shopped at the wet markets of Phu Quoc, through a maze of crabs, clams, snappers, cobias, cuttlefish and lots of unidentifiable conch. Chickens and ducks are sold live; pork is laid out on wooden carving boards in the hot sun; and little old ladies poke you to buy lottery tickets. Fresh coconut water was the only thing that prevented me from passing out in the hot sun in front of a dusty table of clucking chickens. At night, we joined an overnight fishing expedition, drinking rum and beer as we pulled in nets full of anchovies that would make their way into the fermentation barrels to become fish sauce after a year. It was a long night, but an appropriate start to a trip where our meals would be perfumed in various ways by this omnipresent ingredient.

We ate at places high and low: From the streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the port city of Da Nang. It was surprising to see some of the dishes we fetishize here in the States, like bahn mi, treated in Vietnam the way they always have been—as basic street cart snacks. I was most excited by the dishes I had not seen before. Here are the nine dishes I will miss the most, the nine reasons I endure 30 hours on an airplane, jet lag and an aching back, the nine reasons I travel. SLIDESHOW: 9 MUST-TRY DISHES IN VIETNAM »

Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, Kentucky. His first cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, will be out on May 1.

Related: 18 Vietnamese Recipes
Best-Ever Southeast Asian Recipes

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