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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


The Most Underrated Ingredient: Homemade Chicken Stock


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

Classic Chicken Stock

© John Kernick
Classic Chicken Stock

In a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal’s "In My Kitchen" series, Louisiana-based chef John Besh asserted, "The most underrated ingredient is a good chicken stock. You give me a good stock, and there’s probably nothing I can’t make." We also exalt this gravy-making essential, which is why our November issue features three chicken stock recipes. F&W's Marcia Kiesel created a fast Pressure-Cooker Stock; David Chang shared his innovative Freeze-Dried Chicken Stock recipe; and legendary French chef André Soltner provided an example of a perfect Classic Chicken Stock that works in small batches.

Related: Thanksgiving Recipes


Rock-Star Road Food


Eating their way across America: Bluesy rockers The Stone Foxes.

© Rochelle Mort Photography
Eating their way across America: Bluesy rockers The Stone Foxes.

San Francisco indie rockers The Stone Foxes were in New York recently for the annual CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. Haven’t heard them yet? You probably mistook them for the Black Keys in a recent Jack Daniels commercial in which they covered Slim Harpo’s bluesy “I’m a King Bee.” I sat down with the band between shows for a rundown of their favorite eats from their last few months of touring (they’re also documenting the tastiest bites on their Facebook page).

Where's your favorite preshow meal these days?

Aaron Mort, bass: Being a vegan on the road is definitely pretty challenging. Going through the South for a week, iceberg lettuce with barbecue sauce was pretty much all I ate, but The Grit is an amazing vegetarian place in Athens, Georgia. Spence got the Mediterranean platter, and the hummus was insane.

Spence Koehler, lead guitar: The Shed in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is just a shack on the edge of a swamp with a barbecue pit and picnic tables, but its baby back ribs are some of the best I’ve ever had.

Shannon Koehler, drums: I tried blood sausage for the first time at the Sweet Afton pub in Astoria, New York. It freaked me out, but I had to trust my bartender’s recommendation. It was glorious. Amen.

Elliott Peltzman, keyboards: I tried the vegan “Chik’n Parmigiana” at Foodswings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I swear it tasted exactly like a real chicken parm. It even flaked like real chicken when you pulled it apart.


What are you washing it all down with?

Spence: I was blown away by the Four Peaks Kilt Lifter Scottish style ale we tried in Phoenix. It’s superstrong but extremely flavorful.

Elliott: We took the locals’ advice and tried Terrapin Brewery in Athens, Georgia. Its IPA is excellent.

Aaron: And of course, the Bay Area has great beer. I love Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder.


What are you excited to eat when you get back to San Francisco in a few weeks?

Spence: I’m baking pumpkin pies as soon as I get home. That’s number one.

Joe Barham, band manager: I’m stoked for organic Mexican food at Gracias Madre. It’s a block from my house, so I go there I lot.

Aaron: I’m going to break my vegan streak for the boozy Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe. It tastes like the bourbon pound cake my mom always makes for Christmas.


5 Ways to Ruin Pasta


Missy Robbins.

© Melissa Hom
Missy Robbins.

Next week, some of the world's greatest chefs will converge on New York City's Eataly for Identità New York, a massive celebration of Italian cooking. The event will pair six of Italy's best chefs with six of New York's biggest names (among them, Mario Batali, Jonathan Benno and Michael White) to talk about trends and teach cooking classes. For A Voce's Missy Robbins (an F&W Best New Chef 2010), this means a reunion with Emanuele Scarello, who was briefly a mentor to Robbins when she apprenticed at his Michelin-starred restaurant, Agli Amici, in Friuli.

Robbins was just beginning to learn about Italian food when she worked with Scarello and his family. "Mama [Scarello's mother] made pasta every morning," she says. "Every day, I would try to beat her down there, and she would already be halfway done at 8 a.m." More than a decade later, Robbins is a pasta master with her own Michelin star. Here, she shares five mistakes for home cooks to avoid.

1. Overcooking it. This might seem basic, but it's the surest way to ruin pasta. For dried pasta, you want some firmness at the center, but you can also tell by color if you're heading for trouble. "If you get to that really white color, it's totally overcooked." Your pasta should exit the water slightly undercooked, so it can finish cooking in sauce.

2. Not salting the water properly. "This is a really big one," says Robbins. To get it right, here's the procedure: Boil the water, add the salt, let the water come back up to a boil and then taste it. "It should be a little less salty than seawater." This is actually much easier at home—where you'll typically only be making one pot of pasta—than in a restaurant kitchen, where the water boils down and needs adjustment throughout the night.

3. Choosing the wrong sauce. Think about where you want the flavor in your dish to come from. "If you want to highlight the filling of a ravioli," says Robbins, "you might not want to use a super-strong sauce." On the other hand, orecchiette, with its tiny, sauce-catching pockets, is perfect for an intense ragù.

4. Not sweating the details. When making fresh pasta, little differences can have a big effect on the finished product. Robbins advocates using extra-fine, double-zero flour ("really, really important"), being careful not to overwork the dough, and letting it rest. As for eggs, Robbins uses only the yolks, which creates incredibly tender pasta.

5. Pouring the cooking water down the drain. "You really want that starchy water," says Robbins. "Even if you drain the pasta in the sink, you should save the water." A bit of pasta water will aid just about any sauce, improving its consistency and lending a little salty flavor.

Related: Fresh Pasta Recipes
Fast Weeknight Pastas
Italian Recipes



Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce for World Pasta Day


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

Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

© Melanie Acevedo
Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

Conceived in 1995 in Rome, World Pasta Day aims to foster appreciation for pasta on every continent. This Spaghetti with Chicken and Thai Peanut Sauce, inspired by Thai satay sauce and tossed with bright scallions, makes an ultraflavorful case for global pasta fusion.

Related: Fast Weekday Pasta Recipes
Great Baked Pastas
Fresh Pasta Recipes


Practice Poultry Roasting with Michael Chiarello’s Roast Brined Chicken


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

Roast Brined Chicken

© Cedric Angeles
Roast Brined Chicken

Thanksgiving is one month from today. Are you ready? While cooking an entire trial meal would be ridiculous, dusting off your roasting skills is not a bad idea. A practice run using Michael Chiarello’s juicy Roast Brined Chicken with Raisin and Pine Nut Agrodolce will help sharpen two important turkey techniques—roasting and brining. Just like an ideal Thanksgiving turkey, this recipe’s leftovers are still delicious the next day, even at room temperature.

Related: F&W's Ultimate Thanksgiving Recipe Guide
Turkey Roasting Tips

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