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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Supermarket Sleuth

Delicious Dukkah

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

Every summer, I seem to become obsessed with something new from the Fancy Food Show that takes place in early July. This year it’s dukkah, the fantastically versatile herb, seed and nut blend from Egypt, which seems to go with just about everything. The mix is named for the Egyptian word “to crush,” and like so many blends, the variations are limitless. Most versions seem to include sesame seeds and hazelnuts, along with the herbs and spices, but many also include coconut and chickpeas. Try dukkah in the simplest way, as a second dunk for oil-dipped bread. Then venture beyond and have it as a second dip after yogurt or tzatziki, mixed into other dips as a seasoning, sprinkled on sautéed or roasted vegetables, tossed into salads or as a crust for sautéed chicken or fish. Two brands I especially like are from Gary and Kit’s Napa Valley, and KL Keller Food Ways. Or you can make your own delicious versions: Dukka,
Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree

Related Links: Quick Appetizers
Fantastic Party Dips
Delicious Middle Eastern Recipes


Fashion Week Highlights and F&W Photo Tour Teases

Colorful Macarons

From stellar biscotti to perfectly fried artichokes, photographer and expat @cucinadigitale shared her Rome for the first installment of F&W Photo Tours on Tumblr. We couldn't resist teasing a few shots on Instagram, like this incredible-looking pizza by the slice from Antico Forno Roscioli. Restaurant editor Kate Krader (@kkrader) did some roamin' of her own and headed west to New Mexico where she found an epic green chile burger. Closer to F&W headquarters in NYC, Fashion Week featured spring collections, but our stomaches looked to fall as in Mile End Deli's roasted poussin to Test Kitchen senior editor Kay Chun's (@thisiskaychun) German Chocolate Cake. From the #NYFW Amex SkyBox overlooking the Lincoln Center runways, F&W's Alex Vallis (@avallis) captured a sneak peak of the Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook: chef Eric Ripert's gluten-free apricot profiteroles drizzled with chocolate. The fish master was there himself, for a post-show Q&A with Dana Cowin (@fwscout). Exploring other artistic genres, Test Kitchen pro Justin Chapple presented an open-faced sandwich still-life while director of photography Fredrika Stjärne (@thirdness) displayed the results of a virtuoso salad-making performance. Nothing, however, beat the technicolor splendor of Christina Grdovic's (@grdovic) macaron masterpiece.

Drink This Now

How to Pour a Pilsner

Pilsner Urquell Four Ways

Most American bartenders pour beer incorrectly. At least, that's according to New York's new Czech-inspired beer bar Hospoda, where the staff is trained to generate proper foam, not avoid it. Hospoda even serves draft Pilsner Urquell (the original pilsner) four different and precise ways featuring different levels of suds. “When you have the proper head and the proper glass it can change the taste of the beer substantially,” says beverage director Steven Rhea. Here, he expounds on the benefits of foam, explains Hospoda's various pour styles and offers tips for beer drinkers at home.

The Crème. “This is the most common way to pour a beer anywhere in the world—except for some American bars it seems, which offer no foam on top. You should expect at least two to three fingers of foam, which opens up the beer,” says Rhea. To create the Crème, bartenders open up the tap just slightly, allowing a little bit of beer to come through the microscreens in the tap, exposing it to the air and creating a thick head. After a few seconds, bartenders move the glass up and open the tap completely, pouring the beer under the head at a 45-degree angle. “The head creates a barrier between the beer and oxygen so that the beer will taste less tainted.”

The Slice. “The Slice is symbolic of dragging your mug through the keg and coming up with mostly foam and a little bit of beer on the bottom.” According to Rhea, the style was popularized in the 1970s when Pilsner was advertised as the workingman’s beer. “It’s something in between, for the man who wants to be practical but also wants to enjoy himself. He doesn’t want to drink a big beer because that’s a lot of beer and he has something to do afterwards, but he doesn’t want to drink a small beer because that would diminish his masculinity. So he drinks a Slice.” The Slice is created similarly to the crème but the bartender allows more foam to come through. “I find the pleasure is more in the texture—you have this rich, creamy foam top. It’s just a little more satisfying,” Rhea says.

The Sweet. You won’t be able to find this pour in the Czech Republic; it’s a Hospoda original. Essentially, it’s a glass of foam (it's better than it sounds). Served only in a small size, the Sweet takes the longest of all the pours and is the most precise. “If you pour too slowly it will start to settle by the time you finish. If you pour too quickly it will settle because it’s not going through the microscreen slow enough to create that friction,” Rhea says. “It’s a fine science.” Customers are encouraged to drink the lightly sweet foam quickly. Rhea suggests drinking it as a toast or on Christmas Eve since it looks like snow.

The Neat. Also known as the chochtan, this is the style most commonly seen in the U.S. It has no head. “It’s done in the U.S. because people want to maximize how much beer they’re drinking,” Rhea says. “Generally it’s more bitter and less open. You won’t get the subtle aromas. It’s like drinking red wine from something really tiny or drinking whiskey out of an eyedropper.” That said, Rhea does like to pair the bitter style with a hearty dish like pork chops or steak. To pour a Neat, bartenders clear the lines by letting the tap run for a few seconds until the beer becomes clear, then slip the glass under the stream at a 45-degree angle. “You have to be gentle because any sort of sudden movement will create a head,” Rhea says.

How to Pour Beer (with Foam) at Home

1. Opt for a beer with some weight to it like a Belgian or a German Hefeweizen—or Pilsner Urquell. They hold the head longer.
2. Use a tulip glass or a wine glass. “But resist the urge to swirl the beer around in a wine glass, which makes it flat,” Rhea says.
3. Make sure your glass is dry and slightly chilled.
4. Pour at 45-degrees with vigor.
5. If no foam comes out, try swirling the beer around in the bottle before pouring. “That would be faking it,” Rhea says. But it would work.

Related: America's Best Beer Gardens
How to Cook with Beer
Jim Meehan's Top 10 Best New Bars in the U.S.

Wine Wednesday

Ray Isle's Favorite Wines for Lobster

Steamed Lobster with Lemon Thyme Butter

There’s been a fair amount of news about the unexpectedly low price of lobster this summer. Due to warming waters and, apparently, a whole lot of randy lobsters as a result, we are in the midst of a lobster glut. The current wholesale price for the things is about $3 a pound, give or take. While your local restaurant’s so-called “market price” for a lobster may not remotely resemble that number, retail prices are good in fish markets and grocery stores, and in Maine, where I visit every summer, they’re absurdly low.

So what wine goes best with these happily hypnotizable crustaceans? (Seriously: If you stand a lobster on its head with its claws out in front, and stroke its back, it will just balance there, motionless, for quite some time. Excellent party trick.) To get an answer to that question, I stopped by to see Scott Worcester, who runs Sawyer’s Specialties, a bizarrely good wine store in Southwest Harbor, Maine; bizarrely good, because he stocks several hundred terrific wines in a town with only 1,700 people or so.

“With lobsters? I like Chenin,” Worcester said immediately. “Chenin Blanc. Particularly a Chenin that’s a little bit off-dry and has four to five years aging in neutral barrels.”

This is very specific. For those who don’t happen to have an off-dry Chenin Blanc with four to five years aging in neutral oak barrels sitting by their elbow, he also suggested Chenin Blanc in general, as well as Grillo (a white variety from Sicily), and Chignin (an obscure white from France’s Savoy region). The key thing is that none of these suggestions feature new oak. People often suggest big, buttery Chardonnays as a partner for lobster, but in my experience oak and shellfish aren’t friends; if you do go with Chardonnay with your lobster, go oakless. And I’d also suggest Muscadet—as always, it goes brilliantly with anything that comes from the sea.

A few great lobster wines:

2012 The Curator White ($12) A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sémillon from the talented South African winemaker Adi Badenhorst, this medium-bodied white has a juicy apple-ginger character.

2011 Feudo Maccari Grillo ($13) This Sicilian white is pineapple-citrusy and impressively crisp; a buy-it-by-the-case summer wine.

2012 Yalumba Unwooded Y Series Chardonnay ($13) From one of southern Australia’s oldest producers, this melony, full-bodied wine retains a lot of zippy freshness.

2011 Domaine de la Fruitière Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie “Petit M” ($13) Though it bears a lengthy name, this white isn’t heavy in the slightest—instead it’s lemony, stony, ebulliently crisp and light in alcohol.

2011 Denis et Didier Berthollier Chignin ($16) Chignin, a tiny subappellation of France’s Savoy region, is the source of this impressive, lemon-creamy white.

2012 Pascal Janvier Coteaux de Loir ($17) From an often-overlooked appellation in the Loire Valley that was once the favorite of King Henri IV (how can you argue with that?), this surprisingly complex Chenin Blanc has a focused, minerally appeal.

America’s Best Lobster Rolls
Delicious Lobster Recipes
Affordable Summer White Wines

Dr. Vino's Verdict

High-Proof Pinot: Brilliant or Bogus?

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think Pinot Noir with more than 14 percent alcohol is an abomination? A few years ago, star sommelier Rajat Parr incited controversy by banning Pinots above that threshold from the list at his San Francisco restaurant RN74. Some interpreted this as an across-the-board indictment of higher-alcohol wines, but Parr has said that the rule was simply put in place to pay homage to Burgundy, the French region where the weather is cool and the reds mostly range from 12.5 to 13.5 percent alcohol. In New World regions like Sonoma, where growing seasons can be warmer and grapes harvested later, Pinots can climb easily above 14 percent. Those wines have plenty of fans as well, and many experts would say that Pinots with that much alcohol can certainly be balanced and delicious.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
Wine 101: Pinot Noir
Fantastic Pinot Noir Pairings

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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.

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