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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Tweets of the Week

F&W Followers Love Julia Child and Over-the-Top Birthday Cake

Julia's Favorite Roast Chicken

F&W doesn't expect you to see every tweet we send out (just almost every one). Catch up each week with this top 5 list, plus a bonus from one of our witty followers.

1. @fandw: For the great Julia Child’s birthday, her favorite butter-rubbed roast chicken: http://fandw.me/100yjZ0

2. @fandw: DIY ramen burger: The ramen: http://fandw.me/14uQnIo . The burger: http://fandw.me/RKSS4e

3. @fandw: Don’t wait for your birthday to try this ultimate baked Alaska birthday cake: http://fandw.me/18RSn2g

4. @fandw: This grilled chicken from @andrewzimmern has it all: juiciness, crispy char and herbed intensity. http://fandw.me/14uQ0xm

5. @fandw: Why every bartender needs a cat: http://fandw.me/13ZG6bz @loaneworleans

F&W Fan Tweet of the Week:
The winner of our game of #RumRhymes in honor of National Rum Day is @AlexConison: "In an era of change climatical, Rum is not confined to ships piratical. #RumRhymes"

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Know Your Meats

Shin Steak for the Win

In this series, expert Josh Ozersky offers a guide to buying, cooking and eating meat, in particular those unusual and obscure cuts that are rarely seen in restaurants.

The Cut: Cross-cut beef shank (#117 foreshank in the National Association of Meat Producers guide). If they called it “shin” instead of “shank” it would make more sense. Because that’s what it is.

The Sell: Beef shank is good, and I eat it a lot, and I like it. It is in the beef “friend zone” though, for sure. Beef shank is familiar to most people as osso buco, at least in its immature form (osso buco is generally a veal shank). And I eat it more than might be expected, given my access to big, high-end steaks and roasts. For one thing, shanks are cheap—for the obvious reason that no one likes them—and secondly, they are available at C-Town supermarket, where they practically qualify as a top-shelf selection. Rather than getting the whole shin, which is the size of a fire extinguisher, I tend to get cross-cut shin steaks. Calling these “steaks” is horribly misleading: They are tough and lean, and if you tried to grill them up you would be disappointed. But the meat has an immense amount of dense muscle tissue, not to mention all that gnarly connective tissue, which is basically instant gelatin.

The How-To: The traditional remedy for tough beef shins is simply to boil—or rather, braise—the hell out of them, disguising the resultant gray leather with broth and hot sauce and so on. This is way too much trouble and not that good anyway. Cut the meat off the shin instead, and grind it coarsely for chili. Beef shin is endowed by its creator with a single purpose, and that purpose is chili. All the things that make it bad as a straight-up eating meat—its tensile strength, its too-beefy flavor, its inaccessibility—serve to make it a secret weapon in things like chili and taco filling and meat sauce, where its textural issues are negated and its flavor enhanced. More importantly, all that tough gristle and collagen will melt, binding up the final dish in a dense, sticky, invisible nimbus of silky mouthfeel. Or you can make osso buco.

Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and New York magazines; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival.

Related: Best-Ever Meat Recipes
Delicious Chili Recipes
Fantastic Taco Recipes

Kitchen Trash

This Week on the Web: Cat Doughnuts, Sad Cakes and More

Cat Doughnut

The Internet is a black hole for strange, weird and wonderful things—especially when it comes to food. Rather than dive in yourself, let F&W do it for you. Here, five of the most absurd food items we saw this week.

Cat doughnuts: This week two internet favorites melded into one glorious, sugary treat. Currently only available in Japan, the weirdest thing about them is that they were based on a Japanese cartoon about walking, talking O-shaped cats. 

Wine rings: We have to admit, these ring-mounted wine glasses from Rémy Martin and designer Merve Kahraman are pretty stylish and delightfully practical. Think about the proposal possibilities—the celebratory glass of sparkling is already attached to the ring!

Canada’s cronut burger: The cronut craze continues and has now made its way to our neighbors in the north who have taken it to the next level by adding meat and, of course, maple. Starting today, the Canada National Exhibition in Toronto will be selling maple bacon jam cronut burgers for $10. Say it with us: Oh, Canada.

Muffin top cupcake molds: These silicone molds are shaped like a pair of pants. When filled with batter and baked, a truly meta and possibly prophetic treat is made: a muffin top that looks like a person’s muffin top.

Depressed cakes: Next week the Depressed Cake Shop pop-up in Los Angeles will offer the saddest looking pastries in the world: gray, blue and black doughnuts, sugar cookies and cupcakes decorated with black sprinkles and sad phrases like, “Am I good enough?” If you think this sounds like an experimental new therapy, you're not too far off. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about mental health issues and proceeds go to a branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Related: America's Best Doughnuts
Gifts for Wine Lovers
Before Cronuts: 50 years of Pastry Hybrids

Supermarket Sleuth

Microgreens: Size Isn't Everything

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

For years, microgreens have been in the flavor-burst arsenal of every chef worth his fleur de sel, but recently they’ve started showing up in specialty markets and in grocery stores for home cooks. These leaves and sprigs are just infant versions of familiar mature plants, but their flavor is super-intense (and their nutrient density is impressive too). Sprinkle them judiciously for best effect, or toss them in a tiny salad as a garnish for fish, vegetables, egg dishes or chicken. (Prices vary considerably.)

Related Links: Terrific Summer Salads
Quick Vegetable Dishes
Delicious Grilled Fish

Editor's Letter

Where Dana Cowin Eats

Glen Ellen Star

"Where have you been eating lately?" I get this question all the time. And luckily, it's one of my favorites to answer, since I have the opportunity to try the most amazing restaurants around the country. So here's a little update of where I've been recently.

Glen Ellen Star, Sonoma
The wood-roasted dishes at this adorable Sonoma spot are both homey and smart—each has at least one little trick that makes it stand out. Roasted beets are topped with harissa crumble; asparagus comes with spicy lavash. And the wine list is short, well-edited and (surprising for wine country) quite international. glenellenstar.com.

Carbone, New York
It took me a long time to stop fixating on the lacquered blue-green walls in the front room: They're bold, old-school, shiny. Then I moved to the back room, where Uma Thurman was standing on a chair to photograph a friend. Even without the celeb sighting, I'd have loved Carbone for nuanced and delicious dishes like the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce. carbonenewyork.com.

Calliope, New York
At this small bistro, I had perfectly sautéed local trout with Puy lentils, bacon and walnut vinaigrette, and I reveled in the very Frenchness of it all. calliopenyc.com.

Alder, New York
After 10 years of watching Wylie Dufresne nurture one spectacular restaurant, WD-50, I was excited to try this new venture, which promised to be a gastropub interpretation of his hyper-creative vision. My hands-down favorite dish was the New England clam chowder with "oyster crackers," which was both familiar (it's soup!) and unfamiliar (the crackers are made from oysters). aldernyc.com.

Pêche, New Orleans
I stopped counting after 10: That's how many whole fish I saw waiters carrying out to customers at Donald Link's new restaurant. The whole-animal trend has now been embraced by pescatarians. Two friends and I shared a moist, flavorful grilled redfish with salsa verde. It could have served six! pecherestaurant.com.

Element 47, Aspen
Robert McCormick, chef at The Little Nell hotel's renovated restaurant, makes a broth that is the absolute essence of carrot, pure and fresh, then pours it over carrots prepared several ways—shaved raw, grilled, pickled and roasted. element47aspen.com.

Chefs Club, Aspen
Food & Wine has its own restaurant in Aspen's incredible St. Regis hotel. We serve several dishes from former Best New Chefs, including Missy Robbins, Viet Pham, Jason Franey and Bryant Ng . When I was in town for the F&W Classic in June, I ate through practically the entire menu, which also incorporates dishes by executive chef Didier Elena. I love Bryant's ribs at The Spice Table in L.A., and they were fabulous here, too—spicy, meaty, crisp. chefsclubaspen.com.

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Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.

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