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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cookbooks

Salty & Sweet Caramels from San Francisco’s Miette

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

© Justin Chapple
Fleur de Sel Caramels

San Francisco’s modern and positively charming pastry shop Miette makes caramels that are perfectly chewy and firm. It’s a signature texture that Miette’s owner, Meg Ray, achieves by cooking the caramel mixture to the exact temperature of 246 degrees before pouring it into a baking pan to set. This week in the Food & Wine Test Kitchen, we couldn’t resist making the Fleur de Sel Caramels (left) from the shop’s very first cookbook. As promised, the caramels had just enough bite to keep them from being too sticky to savor. With a generous sprinkling of super-fancy French sea salt, the candies were the perfect balance of salty and sweet. If you’d like to try making them for yourself, you will need to pick up a copy of Miette (published by Chronicle Books in June), but until then, surprise your holiday guests with these buttery-good Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Caramels from our own Senior Recipe Developer, Grace Parisi.

Related: Homemade Christmas Gifts
Christmas Dinner Ideas
Christmas Desserts

Recipes

Pre-Thanksgiving Shumai Party

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Heaven’s Dog Shumai

© Justin Chapple
Heaven’s Dog Shumai

It's easy to get wrapped up in the Thanksgiving recipe frenzy, but there are still a few more nights left to cook something far removed from turkey or cranberry sauce. Yesterday in the Food & Wine Test Kitchen, we stuffed and steamed delicious shumai (left) from San Francisco's Heaven’s Dog. The filling combined hand-chopped fatty pork shoulder, shrimp and shiitake mushrooms, all seasoned with fish sauce, soy and sugar.

 

These addictive little bites were so popular among staff that we had to announce a two-shumai-per-person policy. That recipe will be featured in F&W’s Cocktails 2012 book, but with a little help from Senior Recipe Developer Grace Parisi’s demonstration, you can easily whip up these Pork-and-Kimchi Dumplings this weekend.

Related: Fast Asian Recipes
Thanksgiving Recipes

 

Recipes

Towering Layer Cake for the Weekend

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Layer Cakes from Seattle's Dahlia Bakery

© Grace Parisi
Layer Cakes from Seattle's Dahlia Bakery

This week in the Test Kitchen, Food & Wine’s Senior Recipe Developer Grace Parisi tested two unparalleled layer cakes from Seattle’s Dahlia Bakery. Dahlia fills its decadent chocolate cake (top right) with an irresistible bittersweet chocolate mousse and frosts the cake with a creamy hazelnut buttercream. Brown butter yellow cake (far left) provided a rich canvas for white chocolate mousse filling—spiked with a delicate amount of orange liqueur—and bittersweet chocolate frosting. These recipes will be published early next year, but this weekend, you can practice your baking skills on this super-delicious old-fashioned chocolate layer cake from Test Kitchen Supervisor Marcia Kiesel.

Related: Layer Cake Recipes

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Pies and Tarts

Recipes

Alice Waters's Vibrant Red Kuri Squash Soup

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Red Kuri Squash Soup

© Justin Chapple
Red Kuri Squash Soup

This week, F&W's Test Kitchen Supervisor Marcia Kiesel prepared a Red Kuri Squash Soup from Alice Waters that exemplifies the farm-to-table pioneer's culinary philosophy: Cooking should exalt the finest seasonal ingredients. Red kuri squash—sometimes called Japanese squash—produces a gorgeous deep-orange soup that is nutty, slightly sweet and naturally creamy. Waters uses water as a base, as opposed to stock, and enhances the flavor of the soup with simple aromatics like onion and bay leaf. For fun, she recommends adding a variety of garnishes, like pecans, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and our favorite, roasted fennel. This recipe will go to print early next year, but for now, we can recommend a healthy alternative from another West Coast chef: Thomas Keller protégé Timothy Hollingsworth tops his roasted squash soup with pecans and maple-glazed bananas.

 

Recipes

A Fried-Chicken Upgrade for John Travolta

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Fried Chicken from Austin's Uchiko

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that actor John Travolta’s representative tried—without success—to reserve two seats at a West Sussex KFC. A spokesperson for the fried-chicken chain expressed regret: “In hindsight, of course we would have reserved a table for him. It’s not every day you get a Hollywood star eating in your restaurant.”

Johnny-boy should have called the F&W Test Kitchen. This week, we tested some killer fried chicken (left) from Austin’s Uchiko. The eclectic Japanese-American restaurant recommends marinating the chicken in buttermilk, Thai chiles and ginger, then dusting it with a mixture that includes Madras curry. The result: super-juicy, flavorful meat and deliciously crispy skin. The recipe will be featured in F&W’s Cocktails 2012 book, but in the meantime, try these incredible Fried-Chicken Recipes, including Grace Parisi’s Beer-Battered Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Recipes

Meatless Marvel: Vietnamese Tofu Rolls

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Cellophane Noodle and Tofu Rolls

This week in the F&W Test Kitchen, we whipped up recipes from Asian Tofu by respected cooking teacher and food blogger Andrea Nguyen. Her Cellophane Noodle and Tofu Rolls (left) are a clever vegetarian version of the classic Vietnamese pork-skin rolls called bi cuon. Strips of tofu are shallow-fried until crisp and tossed with soy-infused glass noodles, and together, they mimic the chewy texture and saltiness of traditional pork fillings. The tofu-noodle combo is then sprinkled with nutty toasted rice powder and wrapped in delicate rice paper with lettuce and mint. Nguyen serves the rolls alongside a drizzling sauce of lime juice, brown sugar, chiles, garlic and soy. Ten Speed Press will release the book early next year, but in the meantime, here are some phenomenal tofu recipes for the weekend, including Joe Kim’s playful Crunchy Tofu Tacos.

Recipes

Stephanie Izard's Mouthwatering Bread Salad

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Artichoke and Strawberry Panzanella

This week, the F&W Test Kitchen excitedly tested recipes from Stephanie Izard's forthcoming cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen. An F&W Best New Chef 2011 and champion of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 4, Izard serves this popular Artichoke and Strawberry Panzanella at her Chicago restaurant, Girl & The Goat. The seemingly wild combination of braised artichokes, thinly sliced strawberries, crispy ciabatta cubes and basil happens to be extremely delicious—especially when tossed with a garlicky-lemon dressing and served on a hefty slice of fresh mozzarella. Chronicle Books will release the book in November, but F&W has lots of bread salad recipes for a fall supper like an Artichoke Panzanella with Tangy Roasted Chicken Thighs.

Recipes

The Meatball Shop Cookbook

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking, and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls
This week in the F&W Test Kitchen we immersed ourselves in a new book from The Meatball Shop in NYC. Aside from being absolutely stunning, it’s full of casual, delectable recipes, including the super-clever Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls seen here. These phenomenal little bites were perfectly spicy and served with homemade blue cheese dressing and celery. Ballantine Books will release The Meatball Shop Cookbook, by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, in November, but to experiment with the same flavors now, here's a great weekend recipe for Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings.

 

Recipes

Arepas: The Ultimate Culinary Vehicle

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Savory Pork Filled Arepa
Inspired by Zarela Martinez (chef-owner of NYC's Zarela) and Latin ballpark food in Brooklyn, senior recipe developer Grace Parisi created this speedy version of a stuffed arepa, a thick corn-based dough that’s grilled, baked or fried to become the ultimate vehicle for a range of brightly flavored garnishes. Grace filled this version with savory pork and topped it with pickled red cabbage, jalapeños and cilantro. The recipe will endure one more round of testing and tasting before it’s published in our January issue, but in the meantime, here are some of our delectable Latin American recipes to try—including crispy, flaky stuffed empanadas. 

Recipes

Classic Twist Doughnuts

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Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

Classic Twists Donuts

Each year we test hundreds of cookbooks in the F&W Test Kitchen. This week we mixed, baked and fried our way through the new one from Seattle’s infamous Top Pot: Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker, by brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck. The classic twists seen here, with and without glaze, had a deliciously yeasty dough seasoned with a hint of mace and were fried just like your granny used to do it—in a vat of superhot oil. Chronicle Books will release the tome on September 21, but in the meantime, here are some fantastic doughnut recipes (both baked and fried) from the F&W archives.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.