March 27, 2017
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Fingerling potato salad is made in a skillet and topped with basil and cilantro. ( Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photo )

Anything goes when pairing potatoes and herbs

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Potatoes never go out of style, nor do herbs. So when they are combined, you get au courant yet down-to-earth balancing flavors.

Whether the potatoes are baked, roasted, stuffed, fried, boiled and buttered, mashed or smashed, herbs are fantastic team players, and they don’t even have to be fresh and verdant. Dried thyme, rosemary and oregano can be roasted with new white potatoes and dried dill or parsley work just fine in casseroles.

Split open a baked potato and fill it with a handful of chives, a dollop of sour cream, crumbled goat cheese and pecans, or perfume a potato-leek gratin with sprigs of thyme and parsley or take crisp latkes on a sage spin and add the fresh herb to grated potatoes and onions and mix them with flour and eggs.

Barrel-aging is not getting old: Brewers taking the time to find new flavors

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As if beer and barrels weren’t already synonymous, brewers are increasingly reinventing the role barrels play in brewing. Barrel-aged beers have captured a loyal audience that is growing in its appreciation and numbers every year.

In turn, craft brewers large and small continue to expand production capability to reward the enthusiasm. By seeking out barrels used in aging bourbon, whiskey, tequila, rum and wine, brewers continue to find new and irresistible flavor components. They’re also creating new and varied beers to put into those barrels.

Something fishy going on: Faith traditions amplify Friday night fries

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A Friday night fish fry is often a social occasion featuring fried fish, French fries and coleslaw.

For those adhering to their faith tradition during the season of Lent, it is also a moral and spiritual obligation.

Try meatballs bursting with the flavors of Southeast Asia

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Though students at The Culinary Institute of America face a seemingly endless to-do list, central to their course work is recipe and menu development. At the CIA, food is life, and even the best-managed restaurant is nothing without flavorful, exciting and innovative recipes.

A recent standout is this recipe for Hanoi Pork Meatballs with Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce, which is ideal if you’re hosting friends and family.

A drink worthy of the Oscars

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By The Culinary Institute of America

Whether you are a film fanatic or just in it for the gowns, awards season is a no-brainer excuse for a theme party. Hollywood glitz and glamour offers the perfect opportunity to pull out your fancy Champagne flutes and costume jewelry for an affair to remember.

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When it comes to hosting theme parties, the Flynn family should get an Oscar.

With ten children and a catering company, the Flynns are always helping someone celebrate something. “We celebrate seven birthdays in 46 days. The kids all pick their birthday menus and cakes and help with the cooking,” says Annette Flynn.

Beers to You: Falling for Toppling Goliath

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Decorah, Iowa, can now be added to the list of great beer brewing cities in America.

With a population of just over 8,000, its definition as a city might be a stretch, but the quality of Toppling Goliath Brewing Company’s beers has built a following that is, well, huge.

Drink them in: Cherry cupcakes have ‘old fashioned’ flavor

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This old fashioned cherry cupcake is just the thing for Valentine’s Day. I’ve updated a cake that my mother used to make for my sisters and me when we were children with all the flavors of a bourbon old fashioned. The rosy pink color of the cake immediately brings to mind the Feast of Saint Valentine.

When I drink old fashioneds, I seldom add cherries, but the cherries are essential to this cake. The cake is colored a beautiful rosy pink by the addition of maraschino cherry juice and a generous amount of chopped cherries that add texture and moisture to the light white cake. The cake itself tastes like the best vanilla cake you have ever ate with a soft nod to the maraschino cherries. A fragrant orange-bourbon buttercream tops the cupcakes and completes the adult “old fashioned” flavor.

Make your love a cake

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Have you been on the receiving end of a heart-shaped box? Maybe it was filled with jewelry, but if you’re lucky, it was filled with chocolate. And while a box of candy is a tried-and-true way to say “I love you,” we might know an even better way.

The Culinary Institute of America’s Chocolate Tower Cake is like one big piece of candy for your special someone, with chocolate on the outside and silky caramel on the inside. And there is no better way to express your appreciation and love than with the gift of homemade. Especially if it’s chocolate.

Simmer time: These soups will warm your bones and your heart

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No matter where you live, January requires comfort. Many of us suffer from PHL (post-holiday letdown), some of us feel beaten by broken New Year’s resolutions, and others struggle with cold feet. Literally.

Soup to the rescue, I say. Simmering cauldrons of goodness pay off in spades — from their homey aromas to some substantial nourishment. I like to spend wintry Sunday afternoons making large batches of various soups, then packaging them in to-go containers for family members. Honestly, I don’t know who benefits more, the cook or the recipients. Plus, cooking gets me out of snow-shoveling duties.

Counting croutons: Restaurants tally items for calorie rules

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NEW YORK — How might a bread basket for the table be counted under America’s new calorie posting rules? What about seasonal items, croutons for salads, or pizza that’s cut into squares?

Restaurant and grocery chains scrambling to post calorie counts on their menus by spring have peppered the Food and Drug Administration with queries that offer a window — often complex, occasionally comic — into the ingredient riddles they are trying to solve.

Winter’s bounty: Area greenhouses yield fresh heirloom vegetables

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I’m dreaming of a fresh salad...

Unless you count tomatoes brought in from sunnier climes picked way before the sun ripens them, and cucumbers from California and Mexico, Wisconsin’s winter season leaves our dinner plates pretty barren of fresh produce.

Happy New Beer! Bill Siel offers a guide to exploring new beers in the new year

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It’s a new year, so why not taste a new beer?

Perhaps you’ll taste beer in a new way while you’re at it.

Mix it up: This grain salad might be the key to healthier eating this year

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If you’re anything like the rest of us, you might tend to needlessly overcomplicate your life. You plan an elaborate dinner for a Wednesday night. You schedule a meeting across town at rush hour. With all of the small, daily challenges we face, when it comes to healthy eating, the key to success is making life as uncomplicated as possible, so that choosing the right foods is a piece of ... fruit.

You have likely seen pictures with refrigerators stacked full of organized containers and healthy weeknight meals ready to throw in a slow cooker. It’s a great idea that is probably not in the cards for most of us, but it does serve as inspiration to make one or two small changes that can drastically improve the quality of our lives and our lunches.

On all sides, Kenosha enjoys the craft beer boom

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Like the rest of America, craft brewed beer has made an impact in Kenosha and it shows no signs of retreating.

Curious about the particulars of Kenosha’s beer preferences, I set out to three geographically separate points of sale to find out more about the community’s craft tastes. I visited the beverage managers at Tenuta’s Deli, the northside Piggly Wiggly and Woodman’s.

Turkey with a twist: Try brining, flavor injection or grilling as you prepare your holiday bird

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Roast turkey is a special meal, but by Christmas it can seem like enough already.

By the second round of holiday dinner preparation, many start looking for something different to do.

Here comes Samichlaus! Festive beer brewed just once a year

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Santa Claus arrives only once each year and the same goes for Samichlaus beer.

Named after the jolly old elf himself, it’s brewed just once each year on Dec. 6 to commemorate St. Nicholas Day, while on that same date, the previous year’s batch is released.

One sweet, one savory: Easy recipes for delicious food gifts

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It always feels nice to give a gift that’s homemade. You’ve put time, energy and thought into creating something special.

But how many people really have time to toil in the kitchen making individually glazed and decorated Christmas cookies?

A new look at sweet potatoes: Versatile veggies are colorful, healthful

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From Thanksgiving until Christmas, sweet potatoes will be a featured item on many a menu. With stores currently stocking several varieties of sweet potatoes, it seems like a good time to get to know those large, curiously shaped potato-like veggies.

The term “potato-like” is apt because although they both grow underground, botanically speaking sweet potatoes and white potatoes are not in the same family. Where white are related to tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, sweet potatoes are in the family of flowering morning glory vines.

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