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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine Wednesday

Spooky Halloween Wines

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Grilled Beef Ribs with Smoky-Sweet Barbecue Sauce // © John Kernick

Pair chef David Burtka's frighteningly human-like beef back ribs with one of these spooky Halloween wines. / © John Kernick

Here’s the way I see it with Halloween wines. There are plenty of wines out there that are propelled by some sort of marketing gimmick—Dracula’s favorite Transylvanian Zinfandel, 2012 Mr. Bones Bug Juice, what have you—but there are also some wines that more organically have a spooky Halloween vibe to them. Here are a few possibilities that would be appropriate served out of black glasses in a Haunted House, and that also actually taste good. The list of Halloween-ready booze. »

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Grace in the Kitchen

Creepy But Sweet

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Chocolate Mice // © David Malosh

These icky-cute mice feature three kinds of chocolate: semisweet in the
creamy, cakey center and white and bittersweet in the crisp chocolate shell.
© David Malosh

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

More than Christmas, more than 4th of July, more even than my birthday, I love Halloween! It wasn’t always this way. I think I had to have kids to fully embrace the total fun-ness of it all. Plus, license to consume more sweets in 24 hours than a person should have in an entire month doesn’t pass without great appreciation. In an effort to keep my kids from over-over-overindulging, I sometimes swipe bits here and there, but they’re so maniacal about cataloging their loot that they know exactly what’s there and what’s not. “Hey! Who took one of my Take 5 bars?” A friend of mine (more clever? or more piggy?) laid down the law with her daughter from the very beginning. “You pick half of what you collected and we give the other half to those less fortunate.” Hmmm... When I throw Halloween parties, I always include these chocolate mice along with loads of other sweets and savories. They’re so cute, and kind of gross if you put them all over other foods. When it’s not Halloween, they can be formed into balls for adorable cake-pop truffles. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Spooky Halloween Desserts
Frightening Halloween Recipes
Fantastic Chocolate Desserts

Trendspotting

It's in the Bag

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Chefs around the country are expanding comfort-food boundaries, serving their carefully concocted dishes not on pristine white china, but in all-purpose brown paper bags.

French Fries in a Paper Bag

French fries in a bag. Photo © Sean Scheidt.

French Fries
At Baltimore chef Chad Gauss’s The Food Market, the steak frites includes a bag of fries topped with fresh garlic. thefoodmarketbaltimore.com.

Chicken Wings
Portland, Oregon’s Nudi Noodle Place serves spicy “devil wings” tossed with rice powder, lime and coriander. facebook.com/nudipdx.

Pig Ears
Chef Jason Vincent offers crispy pig ears dressed with habanero-tinged maple syrup at Nightwood in Chicago. nightwoodrestaurant.com.

Potato Chips
At Alan Wong’s newest Maui, Hawaii, spot Amasia, dinner starts with taro and potato chips in a mustard and onion seasoning. wailearesortdining.com.

Pork Nuggets
Chicharrónes Two Ways” is what chef Phillip Lopez calls his pork cracklings with chunks of roasted pig belly at Root in New Orleans. rootnola.com.

Related: Best New Finger Foods

Supermarket Sleuth

A Trio of Costco Cheeses

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

We don’t have too many staples in our house, but we always have a black-waxed block of Cabot three-year-aged cheddar, a big wedge of Stravecchio Parmigiano-Reggiano and a tub of Greek feta in the fridge—all from Costco. Big-brand supermarket cheese often gets a bad rap, but every one of these cheeses is delicious on its own, and they’re great to have on hand for any number of dishes. I use the cheddar for quickie eggs, for toasted cheese sandwiches, pimento cheese, mac and cheese, and making crisps; the parm for shaving over vegetables, tossing with bread crumbs, making pestos and adding to pastas and soups; and the feta for crumbling onto salads, turning into dips or whips, and for baking to have with olives or with honey.

Related: Fantastic Cheese Recipes
Grilled Cheese Recipes
Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Drink This Now

How to Taste 50 Gins

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American Gin

© Antonis Achilleos

Tasting 30 or 40 wines in the course of an afternoon is no big deal for me anymore, but when faced with tasting 50 gins (for “An American Gin Renaissance” in the November issue), I had to take my time. I found that at most, I could taste about six different gins in one sitting—the alcohol was too strong, the juniper too palate-walloping. Read more >

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