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The Dish
November 11  |  By Jim Shahin Special to The Washington Post
In this California city, you’ll find barbecue like no other The city of Santa Maria on California’s Central Coast is commonly known as the state’s barbecue capital. Its barbecue always features a beef cut called tri-tip, a triangular-shaped piece of bottom sirloin, cooked over red oak.Or so I thought.

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November 4  |  By Jenn Harris Los Angeles Times
Homemade that’s as good (or better) than fast food A group of tired, hungry friends voices a serious craving — not for some seasonal restaurant cuisine or even tacos, but for fast food. Crunchy, melty, salty, addictive fast food.

No one is willing to make a junk food run, but the grocery store is just down the street. Fast forward 30 minutes. The coffee table is covered in dirty paper plates and crumpled paper napkins. A group of tired friends is now on the couch, happily satiated.

This was the scene...

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October 28  |  By Cathy Barrow Special to The Washington Post
Fill and freeze: Your holiday baking starts right here
Admittedly, I start thinking about Thanksgiving desserts sometime around June. Even when there will be no more than six of us for the holiday dinner, I’ll make four pies. There can never be too much pie.

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October 28  |  By Judyrae Kruse The Forum
Eds. note: This column originally appeared in The Herald on May 12, 2008.A pair of Forum cooks jumped right on the request for lemon snickerdoodles and provide the following two-recipe windfall.Mary Taht of Marysville starts us off, supplying a unique whipper-upper made with cake mix and whipped topping.“This is from a Pillsbury ad from years ago,” she says, “and I’ve shared it often. It couldn’t be easier or tastier, and any cake mix brand works.”

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October 14  |  By Bill Daley Chicago Tribune
Jacques Pepin’s new book offers peek into what he cooks, eats at home
Jacques Pepin may be turning 80 in December, but he’s not sounding like a man about to pack up his chef’s knives and walk away from the stove or, perhaps, the camera.“There’s always something new. Life continues,” says the celebrity chef, cookbook author and television cooking show star when asked how he’s doing. Life is continuing — and how.

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October 7  |  By Maureen Abood Special to The Washington Post
The best hummus has no skin in the game
Growing up downstate in Michigan, where so many people have Middle Eastern roots, a girl can eat a lot of good hummus. The best of those for me has always been in suburban Detroit’s authentic Lebanese restaurants, where I first came to know a style of classic “hummus bi tahini” that is thick and rich, ultra-smooth and luscious while still remarkably light.

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September 30  |  By Judy Hevrdejs and Lauren Hill Chicago Tribune
In defense of the humble casserole
Step away from the sous-vide machine and microwave. It’s time to embrace the casserole, that oven-baked creation, and give it the respect it deserves.Its legacy is rich, having sustained humans for centuries — no, not the green bean casserole your granny made in the ’60s, but some of the culinary world’s greatest hits: the pork, sausage and bean cassoulet from France, eggplant and lamb moussaka from Greece and that curly pasta, cheese and sauce lasagna from Italy.

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September 23  |  Herald staff
Make this now: Lark’s John Sundstrom enters dish in national breakfast battle Chef John Sundstrom of Capitol Hill’s Lark restaurant is representing Seattle in the Hometown Breakfast Battle, a competition pitting 135 chefs from 135 cities in a battle to create the best breakfast.Sundstrom’s English muffin with Dungeness crab, green goddess dressing and green apple salad, which uses iconic Pacific Northwest flavors, will go head to head with other chefs’ dishes from around the country.

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September 16  |  By Daniel Neman St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This cookbook, scientifically speaking, is a great for the home cook
I’m in love.I can’t stop talking about it; I want to tell the world. It’s pure, this love of mine. It’s true. It’s forever.It’s a cookbook.Some passions are fleeting. I’ve flirted with a Mediterranean cuisine cookbook. Batted my eyes at a cute little book about Indian food. Once I even sexted an ice cream book.But this time, it’s lasting.

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September 15  |  By Jim Shahin Special to The Washington Post
It’s fun to mix fruit and fire
If anyone ran analytics on this sort of thing, my guess is they’d find that grilling and fruit are both at their peak about now. Unfortunately, they’d probably also find that the two rarely intersect.That’s a shame, because grilled fruit is one of the absolute joys of summer. Grilling fruit is also one of the easiest ways to expand your grilling repertoire.And it’s a nearly effortless crowd-pleaser at a dinner party.

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September 9  |  By Arthi Subramaniam Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Summer’s last hurrah: Take this opportunity to feast on late seasonal produce
Signs that summer is wrapping up have arrived. Kids have started going back to school; NFL preseason games are underway; night temperatures are dropping; and prices of strawberries and blueberries have hit $4 and change.

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September 2  |  By Leah Eskin Chicago Tribune
Teach her to make dan dan noodles, feed craving for a lifetime Order the dan dan noodles, my husband urged. So I did. He's got good taste, and noodles almost always taste good. Besides, I didn't want to admit I'd never heard of dan dan.

The noodles, scattered with pork bits and sesame seeds, lolled in a mysterious red-brown sauce. I stabbed in my chopsticks, swirled and slurped up a silky, spicy extravagance. Way beyond good.

The next time I faced a Sichuan menu, I lunged straight for the dan dan. This version came under a...

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August 26  |  By Russ Parsons Los Angeles Times
Rice bowls: An idea that still bowls her over
When Jessica Koslow put together her first rice bowl a couple of years ago, she wasn’t looking to start a trend. She just wanted to be able to offer something a little different to her customers at her East Hollywood restaurant, Sqirl.Now, of course, rice bowls, their near-cousins grain bowls and even the distantly related porridge bowls are just about the most happening menu items in Southern California.

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August 12  |  By Bill Daley Chicago Tribune
Congee gets flavorful kick-start into lunch, dinner menus
Congee — it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Chefs are spooning up the comforting rice porridge all kinds of ways at brunch, lunch and dinner too.Take Minh Phan of Porridge and Puffs in Los Angeles.“Although porridge is one of the oldest of any and every culture, I think it is only (now) coming into its own modern iteration,” Phan writes in an email. “As for the LA scene, I hope porridge becomes the new ramen” — meaning the reimagined dish of the moment.What is congee?

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August 12  |  By Susan Selasky Detroit Free Press
There are many, many versions of pulled pork from sweet to spicy to those doused in sauce and those on the dry side. And then there’s the option of topping them with slaw, which is my preference.This spicy slaw is one of my favorites to go with pulled pork barbecue.Spicy slaw 1 small to medium head of green cabbage 2 carrots, peeled, shredded 1 red onion, peeled, thinly sliced 2 green onions, washed, ends removed, chopped

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July 29  |  By T. Susan Chang Special to The Washington Post
Solidly seasonal cookbook, but hardly compost-free
“Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons,” By Steven SatterfieldHarper Wave, 2015; $45Steven Satterfield is the chef at the helm of “produce-driven” Miller Union, in Atlanta. What does it exactly mean for a restaurant to be “produce-driven”? According to Satterfield, it means working closely with local sources. It means cooking with scrupulous seasonality. And it means cooking “root to leaf” — the vegetable-and-fruit equivalent of “nose to tail.”

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July 22  |  By Sarah Gish The Kansas City Star
Chill out: Icebox pies and cakes end summer meals on a cool note
When Bobbie Crew was growing up, her favorite treat was her mom’s lemon icebox pie.The pie was far from fancy: It consisted of a vanilla wafer crust cupping a cool pool of custard-like filling made with sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. It didn’t bake in the oven - it set in the refrigerator.Crew, who lives in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and blogs about vegan food at, now makes a dairy-free version of her mom’s lemon icebox pie with soy milk.

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July 15  |  By James P. DeWan Chicago Tribune
A fabulous frittata in just five steps
Given our American infatuation with eggs, it’s peculiar that you don’t hear more about the frittata, an Italian concoction that’s like a cross between an omelet and a crustless quiche.I think people are afraid that it’s too easy to end up with a great, big, eggy mess. Well, grab your whisk and ignore your fears. It’s frittata time.Why you need to learn this

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July 8  |  By Judy Hevrdejs Chicago Tribune
Do you need a spiralizer? We test the gadget of the moment
I’ve seen, used and discarded many kitchen gadgets in my life. In my small kitchen, a fine set of knives is all I need. Still, I was fascinated enough by the love fest surrounding the spiralizer, a tool that cuts spirals and spaghetti-like strips from vegetables and firm fruit (apples, pears), that I tried an inexpensive number last year — and swore (mentally) as I cleaned its “teeth” with toothpicks.

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July 1  |  By Ellie Krieger The Washington Post
A healthful but tasty burger is in the cards
This plump, juicy burger is my desire-driven answer to the nutritional call to limit the portion size of a piece of lean meat to a deck of cards.While that is sound advice, unfortunately the card imagery too often applies to how that kind of burger tastes. The dietitian side of me knows that choosing lean meat is the most healthful way to go, and that a deck-size portion is ample. But the passionate food lover in me wants something bigger, more fun and more flavorful.

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July 1  |  By Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post
Creating potato salads that are always-welcome-at-a-party side dish In summer's unofficial produce pageant, Silver Queen corn reigns perennial, while peaches and late-August tomatoes vie for runner-up honors. Pound for pound, though, a non-seasonal starter gets the double win for talent and congeniality: the potato.

Not just any spud will do. Go for the small, less-starchy models that now come in many colors, with skin so tender that no one would think of stripping them bare. They're the ones that make potato salads the...

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June 24  |  By Linda Gassenheimer Miami Herald
Learn how to buy, store and use good-quality olive oil
We’ve all heard that olive oil is good for us, but does that account for its surge in popularity? Supermarkets have entire shelves dedicated to different types of olive oils. In fact, olive oil production and sales is one of the fastest-growing global industries.Why the oil boom? I set out to learn more about it and how to buy, store and use good-quality olive oil.

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June 17  |  By Gretchen McKay Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Baked eggs a nice alternative to the egg routine Eggs are a cheap and easy source of protein, but you can get tired of the same old way of preparing them, i.e. scrambling and frying. These easy baked eggs (also called shirred eggs) are an elegant alternative.

Prepared in individual ramekins on a bed of baby spinach — abundant this time of year in farmers markets — this recipe is about as divine as they come. Instead of the usual salt and pepper, the eggs gets their zing from an onion-y yogurt sauce and a...

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June 16  |  
A tender homage to savory beignets
If the crisped brown puffs at the very French Bastille restaurant look suspiciously like Southern hush puppies, the answer lies in the Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, restaurant’s previous incarnation. It was a cafe owned by a New Orleans native who served his hometown specialties. Incoming chef-owners Christophe and Michelle Poteaux paid homage by keeping some of that essence on their menu, refining one recipe in particular while they were working at the Watergate before opening Bastille in...

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June 10  |  By Lisa Yockelson Special to The Washington Post
Muffins make Sunday a little sweeter On any given Sunday morning, while listening to the pundits review and spin the news of the week, I'm doing my own whirl-in - with a whisk and a basic piece of bakeware in the kitchen. It's a homey, engaging way to spend the morning and to help digest some of the events a little more sweetly.

Dolled up for the weekend, my muffins turn out glamorously rugged, laced as they are with banana, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, bran and two types of flour; two enrichments, buttermilk...

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June 8  |  By JeanMarie Brownson Chicago Tribune
How to outfit a kitchen for a newbie cook Despite the fact that I've spent a lifetime collecting kitchen gadgets from around the world, I have to say it really doesn't take too much equipment to start your cooking life. Especially if you take advantage of the timesaving options such as precut vegetables and individual portions of meat and seafood sold in today's supermarkets. A decent dinner can be on the table with one good knife, a nonstick skillet and a saucepan. Cook pasta in the saucepan while you saute meat and...

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