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What recipe still gives you goosebumps? 1. Pull back lid to dotted line. Fill cup to inside line with boiling water. 2. Close lid. Let stand for 3 minutes. 3. Remove lid. Stir well and enjoy. What cooking personality, living or dead do you most admire? Martin Yan. What’s a…More

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The Daily Tout

Just about anything can be soup. Should anything be soup is a whole other question. Apples may seem like a far-fetched ingredient but their natural sweetness is a great counterpoint to a sharp cheese like Vermont White Cheddar. Paired with a tangy relish and a little bread and you’ve got…More

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The Daily Tout

The future of food. Once upon a time, Jell-O wasn’t kitschy and powdered drink mixes were so innovative they were sent into space. It may seem far-fetched, but many of the same scientific principles that occurred during the industrial revolution form the basis for modern cooking, and more specifically…More

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Biz Report

Who says imperfect apples can’t be tasty? In order to cut down on food waste, retail giant Walmart is selling less-than-glamorous produce.  “I’m Perfect” brand apples—with popular varietals like Granny Smith and Red Delicious—made their runway debut in 300 Walmart stores in Florida. Despite bearing bumps and bruises from weather…More

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The Daily Tout

At this point, you can’t mention chocolate without everyone and their mom blurting out the word “Aztec” from their truffle holes. Chocolate is nearly synonymous with the indigenous empire from modern day Mexico along with colorful headdresses, “Montezuma’s Revenge,” and ritual sacrifices. And while the Aztec’s adored chocolate, their love…More

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Artisan Purveyors

What started as a hobby that almost put Jason Burke in the doghouse, is now a celebrated brand of paleo-friendly jerky. New Primal is almost six years old, and growing steadily, standing apart the rest of the nitrate and preservative packed factory-farm jerky brand. Grass-fed jerky with less junk (salt…More

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Awesome Products

Mincing garlic for Eric Teng was always a chore, especially when he resorted to using a garlic press. “I became a single parent and had to cook for two of my kids,” Teng said. “I tried using a traditional press but it was such a terrible tool. I had the…More

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  • Granny Smiths no longer relegated to pie fodder

    Just about anything can be soup. Should anything be soup is a whole other question.

    Apples may seem like a far-fetched ingredient but their natural sweetness is a great counterpoint to a sharp cheese like Vermont White Cheddar. Paired with a tangy relish and a little bread and you’ve got a bowl of flavorful creamy goodness that also doubles as fondue. Here’s how you make a batch.

    Granny Smith and White Cheddar Soup

    Ingredients:

    For soup:

    2 tablespoons butter

    2 tablespoons flour

    3 cups white cheddar, shredded

    1 small white onion, diced

    2 apples, peeled cored and diced

    2 bottles hard apple cider

    1/2 cup of cream

    1/3 cup water

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    For apple relish:

    1 apple cored and minced

    1 shallot, minced

    3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. For relish, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cover and place in fridge to remain cold and for flavors to meld.

    2. For soup, melt butter in a medium saucepan until melted. Add apples and onions and and sautee for five minutes or until lightly golden.

    3. Add flour and stir into apples and onions and cook for a few minutes. Add apple cider and bring to a boil. Add heavy cream and water. Once boil is achieved, drop to a low simmer, cover and cook for half an hour.

    4. Remove from the heat. Puree mixture either in a tight lidded blender on low or with a stick blender. Careful: it’s hot. Once smooth, place mixture on low heat and add cheese. Cook until silky and smooth.

    5. To serve: ladle hot soup into bowl. Top with reserved relish and fresh thyme. Serve with fresh bread.

     

     

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    Food for Thought: Chocolate, from Aztecs to Hershey

    At this point, you can’t mention chocolate without everyone and their mom blurting out the word “Aztec” from their truffle holes.

    Chocolate is nearly synonymous with the indigenous empire from modern day Mexico along with colorful headdresses, “Montezuma’s Revenge,” and ritual sacrifices. And while the Aztec’s adored chocolate, their love was almost completely co-opted from neighboring cultures.

    Much in the way California re-invented sushi and pizza in it’s own, bacchanalian and sunburst image, so too did the Aztecs go—and this is a scientific term—“Coo coo for cacao.”

    Their main diety, the equally loved and feared (see: ritual sacrifices) Quetzalcoatl smuggled cacao down from the heavens to us poor, unwashed homo sapiens, likely taking a cue from Prometheus and that whole fire thing.

    No, cacao pods simply won’t grow in the dryer climates in central Mexico. Chocolate was strictly an import, in many cases a tax or “tribute” imposed on a tribe the Aztecs had conquered. And if you think the kale craze is huge, it’s got nothing on chocolate in the 16th century.

    Cacao beans were such a prized commodity they were often used as currency. Three measly beans bought you a ripe avocado. And as anyone familiar with the beans can tell you: three beans doesn’t exactly amount to a hill of beans. It takes 500 cacao beans to make 1 pound of chocolate.

    Fermented and dried seeds were then processed much in the same way they are today—but much more analog. Beans were ground between abrasive stone and rollers until the solids and cocoa butter within them was unleashed. The bitter mash was mixed with vanilla bean, peppers, and cornmeal which was used to make a bitter—but invigorating drink.

    Think double-shot espresso or a big can of Red Bull.

    And because Theobroma Cacao—the bean’s scientific name—means “food of the Gods,” the stuff was harder to get your hands on than real balsamic vinegar from Modena. Unless you were in the higher tiers of the Aztec caste system, you could have lived an entire life without a sip gracing your lips.

    After some dude named Hernan Cortez conquered the Aztec empire, chocolate made its way to Spain. The Spanish made the drink more palatable by adding sugar. Within a hundred years chocolate houses started popping up across the sub-continent like Starbucks in the late ‘90s.

    Still, chocolate’s hayday wouldn’t truly hit until the late 19th century, when it was pioneered by American industry titan Milton Hershey.

    After the first two candy shops he opened failed, third attempt, the Lancaster Caramel Company was a hit, featuring “Crystal A” caramels made with fresh milk. Eager to diversify, Hershey invested in fancy German chocolate machines which allowed him to mass produce bars with ease. By the turn of the century, he’d sold the Lancaster Caramel Company and dove completely into chocolate, with his Hershey Chocolate Company.

    Like his caramels, the secret to Hershey’s chocolate was milk. It was the focal point of his best selling “Hershey Bars,” which sold for five cents in 1905. At this point in history, most Americans couldn’t afford chocolate. By churning out massive amounts of chocolate, Hershey was able to keep overhead low. And with low overhead comes lower costs, which means he could afford to sell his bars at rock bottom prices.

    Hershey, effectively democratized chocolate, bringing it to the thankful masses.

    Today, chocolate sales account for almost 100 billion dollars globally every year. 600,000 tons of cocoa beans are processed by companies like Mars, Nestle, Cadbury and of course, Hersheys.

    That’s all the chocolate history we’re dishing out today. Until next time: Feed. Your. Head.

    Coleslaw sans mayo makes perfect picnic side

    In my humblest of opinions, slaw is best when it’s cool, crisp and most of all, on the lighter side. Here’s my take, which spices up any barbecue lunch combo or pulled pork sandwich.

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    Who doesn’t love bread?

    There are few things as satisfying as freshly baked bread hot out of the oven. But like youth, beauty and medium-rare rib eyes, bread’s freshness doesn’t last forever. You’re lucky to get a day or two out of a boule or baguette. If you’ve made it at home, sometimes it stales in hours.

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    Croutons: making peace with old bread

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    Homespun Grenadine trumps the saccharine pink stuff in your mini-bar

    It’s unfathomable to most that the bright red syrup found inside most bar sets could actually contain anything resembling fruit. But, in the days before high fructose corn syrup, all grenadine was made from nature’s candy: the many seeded pomegranate.