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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Supermarket Sleuth

Okra: The Best Unsung Frozen Vegetable

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© John Kernick

Chef Marcus Samuelsson's Roasted Sweet Potato and Sautéed Okra Salad.
© John Kernick

F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

I’m usually very pleased with certain frozen vegetables from the supermarket, like baby peas, edamame and whole leaf spinach. Frozen baby okra is at the top of my list right now. I know there are a lot of okra haters out there, but if you’ve never tried it or you’re willing to give it another chance, you just might be pleasantly surprised. Frozen baby okra, in a bag or a box, is actually as good a vegetable as I have ever bought from a farmer. The pods are small and firm and never seem waterlogged or freezer distressed like other frozen green vegetables, and you never have to deal with the prickly fuzz that covers superfresh pods.

Related: Fantastic Okra Recipes
Vegetable Dishes for Carnivores
Quick Vegetable Main Dishes

Drink This Now

The New Old Fashioned

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The New Old Fashioned: No. 10

Whitehall's No. 10 Courtesy of Whitehall

When it comes to cocktails, it doesn’t get much simpler than the old fashioned: spirit (typically rye or bourbon), bitters, sweetener and citrus. The uncomplicated nature of the drink makes it a fantastic blank canvas for bartenders. “The old fashioned is arguably one of the oldest cocktails,” says John McCarthy, the beverage director of New York City’s Scotch-centric Highlands and gin-focused Whitehall. “What’s great is that you can change all the elements and just mix and match.” McCarthy created three riffs on the old fashioned for his fall menus. »

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Hurricane Sandy Recovery 

#DineOutNYC Makes a Difference

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New York City

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy a wonderful movement took root because of a Twitter hashtag. Since November 4, 2,767 people have tweeted 7,420 mentions of #DineOutNYC, which reached 13.3 million people. The online campaign encourages New York residents and visitors to support local restaurants, particularly in lower Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn where restaurants sustained damage from the storm and went without power for an extended period of time. Started by members of the restaurant industry, the hashtag and its associated Twitter account helps restaurants recover by publicizing re-openings, promoting events and bringing chefs together. MORE >

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Wine Wednesday

Mysterious Wine Blends

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© Cedric Angeles

© Cedric Angeles

It’s easy, with wine, to drown in the details. Most of us want to know what grape a wine is made from—Cabernet Sauvignon, say—and where it’s from. Knowing the vintage doesn’t hurt either. And before buying a wine, people usually would just as soon have some idea of whether it’s any good. But beyond that, there’s a hyperabundance of information that is fascinating to the few (wine writers, for example) and mind-numbing for almost everyone else. Try saying “You know, it's kind of amazing, but the grapes for this Central Coast Syrah were grown on a combination of decomposed granite and sandy loam soils!” to someone you're on a first date with. You’ll definitely be watching TV later, alone. 5 refreshingly unpretentious reds that are just plain good. »

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Staff Favorites

Bronson van Wyck's Take-Home Style

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Take-Home Holiday Style

Photo © John Kernick.

Here’s what you’ll find at event planner Bronson van Wyck’s seasonal pop-up shop, through January 3, inside Manhattan’s Overbey & Dunn design store (19 Christopher St.).

Southern-Style Garlands
His garlands often feature magnolia leaves—some are gilded and others are flipped over to show the brown underside, a striking contrast to the dark-green leaves.

Bespoke Garlands and Wreaths
For customers who bring measurements, van Wyck’s shop will custom-make wreaths and garlands from magnolia leaves and other stunning foliage to fit individual spaces. From $300.

Christmas Trees
You can pick out a tree, then have it fitted with lights and hand-painted in amber by van Wyck’s staff. From $1,250.

Tartan Plaids
Tablecloths and napkins, some patterned after the tartan plaid of van Wyck’s mother’s Scottish clan, can be monogrammed in the store while you wait. From $100.

Signature Dressings and Mixers
Van Wyck bottled three kinds of salad dressings (two vinaigrettes and a Caesar) and two mixers (Bloody Mary and margarita) and hired Brooklyn design firm Madwell to create the retro labels. They are available online at vanwyck.net.

Related: Editor Picks: Perfect Presents
Best Christmas Gifts
Incredible Homemade Gifts

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