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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Supermarket Sleuth

Kiwi Mini-Mes

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

I love kiwi fruits, but I always buy them rock hard, wait forever for them to soften up and then I forget to eat them altogether. Lucky for me (and you), bite-size kiwi berries are just coming into season now, and you’ll find them at well-stocked supermarkets and specialty food shops. They’re about the size of a grape, with super-smooth, thin green skin, sometimes tinged with gold or deep red. Sweet, tart, juicy and usually sold ripe, they’re ready for popping in your mouth, no peeling required.

Related: Delicious Berry Recipes
Fantastic Fruit Salads
Excellent Fruit Desserts

Supermarket Sleuth

Fantastic Freekah

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

Many years ago, we published a recipe in Food & Wine for frik, or freekeh as it’s more commonly called now, from the always awesome Paula Wolfert. The dish itself was easy, as I recall, but it took three of us more than an hour to clean the toasted green wheat we had purchased (from the only source we could find, Kalustyan’s), separating the grains from the bits of stalk and chaff that clung to them. Fast-forward to today, and this lovely protein- and fiber-rich, slightly smoky whole grain, with the texture of farro and wheat berries, is easy to buy and ready to cook. Freekeh is delicious on its own, with olive oil, salt and fresh herbs; in grain salads, stuffings, pilafs, risotto, tabbouleh; or added to soups.

Related Links: Salads with Grains
Delicious Recipes with Grains and Vegetables
Healthy Soup Recipes

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

Supermarket Sleuth

Chile Crush

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

Every few years we totally fall in love with a new chile, and this year’s crush is the awesome piment d’Espelette, which is produced exclusively in and around the town of Espelette in the Basque region of France and Spain. The pepper came from Mexico in the 16th century and it has been widely cultivated since then; in fact, it quickly replaced the then-more-costly black pepper in many of the traditional regional dishes. You can think of it as a milder, nuanced cousin of cayenne.

Here, it’s turning up on menus from coast to coast, in savory dishes from vegetables and fish to poultry and meats, and in cocktails, too. It’s prized for its nuanced flavor and subtle heat. Because of its AOC designation, piment d’Espelette is pricier than cayenne or any ground Mexican chiles. You can buy it on its own, but it’s also sold mixed with sea salt, in infused oil and as a sweet jelly—all forms are delicious. Watch out, chipotles, whole oil-packed piment d’Espelette peppers can’t be far behind. My current favorite way to use the chile it to mix it with mayonnaise and slather it on fish fillets or steaks before broiling.

Piment d’Espelette is available at specialty food and spice shops, and from The Ingredient Finder.

Related Links: Mild to Spicy Recipes
Global Grilling
How to Cook with Spices

Supermarket Sleuth

Whole-Wheat Pasta That You Can Cook Perfectly

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

I love the flavor of whole-wheat pasta, and I have the patience to stand over the pot while pasta is cooking to get the texture just right. Unfortunately, I’ve been largely unsuccessful with most of the brands of dried whole-wheat pasta I’ve tried. It’s not that the flavor is bad, but I just can’t find that perfect al dente window, when the pasta offers just the slightest bit of elastic resistance when you eat it, but it no longer has a true crunchy bite. I finally found the magic al dente window in the hard red winter wheat linguine from the San Francisco Bay Area company Community Grains. I don’t know whether it is the wheat itself (California grown and milled), the fact that the whole grain is milled together (rather than separated and then recombined, as is often the case in commercial whole-wheat milling) or that the pasta is cut and dried in the traditional (old-fashioned) manner, but the texture is at once hearty, slippery smooth and chewy, and the wheat flavor is super-prominent. We had it with a sauce of spicy sausage, broccoli rabe and pecorino, which stood up to the almost nutty flavor of the wheat.

Related Links: F&W's Favorite Pasta Recipes
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Supermarket Sleuth

Blond Can Be More Fun!

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

You may have recently begun to see caramelized white chocolate listed on dessert menus, in sauces and glazes, in puddings, and in truffles and other bonbons. On its own, it is rich and creamy, with toasty hints of caramel, dulce de leche and browned butter. We’ve made it a few times in our Test Kitchen; it takes a long time to get the chocolate just right, and it needs to be watched carefully at the very end. Thankfully, for home bakers and pastry chefs alike, Valrhona has done the work for us with its new signature version called Dulcey. They’ve named the category “blond chocolate” and it’s available in 3-ounce bars and baking pastilles. The chocolate is delicious on its own, but it makes amazing barks, truffles, sauces, puddings, and ganache fillings and frostings. The other night I chopped some and added it to blondie batter for a creamy hit of caramel flavor, then sprinkled the rest over the top of the hot blondies for an awesome instant glaze.

Related Links: Chocolate Desserts
Best Chocolate in the U.S.
Delicious Chocolate Cookies

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

Supermarket Sleuth

The New Blue

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

It’s been well over a decade since the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company released California’s first classic-style blue cheese, its amazing Original Blue. I was thrilled to try the company’s new Bay Blue Cheese at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco in January. Now it’s going to be tough to choose between the two blues! (I haven’t had the chance to try them side by side.) The new Bay Blue, made exclusively with milk from Point Reyes’s herd, of course (that’s where the “farmstead” comes in), is dense and creamy with a wide, deep flavor and a savory, balanced tang. It’s delicious on its own, in salads, on burgers, or paired with honey, fresh and dried fruits, and nuts.

Related Links: Fantastic Cheese Recipes
Amazing Macaroni and Cheese
Best Grilled Cheese in the U.S.

Supermarket Sleuth

Fantastic Austrian Pumpkin Seeds

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

When you think about Austrian cuisine, pumpkin seeds (and pumpkin seed oil) aren’t the first ingredients that pop to mind. Since pumpkin seeds seem to be everywhere right now, in sauces, on breads and rolls, and sprinkled on every salad I see, it’s a good time to get acquainted with these beauties. Not only are they five shades darker and triple in size to the pumpkin seeds you know, they're mineral-rich and three times as tasty too. You can used them any way you would use pepitas—for snacking, in baking, in granola, in Mexican dishes or toasted and sprinkled on just about everything from salads and pilafs to breakfast porridge. About $16 per pound at natural foods markets nationwide.

Related Links: Healthy Snacks
Tasty Snacks
Delicious Granola Recipes

Supermarket Sleuth

Luscious Lemon Yoghurt

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

Just in time for berries, cherries and all the beautiful stone fruits, Noosa has come out with a new lemon yogurt that does double time—it’s perfect for breakfast, of course, but it can also turn seasonal fruit into a dessert parfait in seconds. The yogurt is super-luscious and satiny-smooth, yet light on the tongue, and the lemony flavor is pucker-perfect. All it needs is a good stir once you lift the lid and it’s ready to go. The company, founded in Australia (hence the “h” in the spelling) but now Boulder, Colorado-based, makes all of its yogurt from milk from local, pasture-raised cows.

Related Links: Yogurt: The New Superfood
How to Make Homemade Yogurt
Delicious Yogurt Recipes

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