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6 Common Burger Blunders to Avoid

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6 Common Burger Blunders to Avoid

While seemingly oh-so simple to prepare, these few mistakes can cause your hamburger meal to end in total disaster. Hambergers make such a simple and delicious meal, avoiding these few simple mistakes can be the difference between a dry, tough burger and a juicy, meaty, full-of-flavor one. Our goal is to achieve a beefy & smoky flavor, with a soft juicy texture that melts in your mouth, and a nice crunchy and caramelized outer layer.

• Avoid Ultra Lean Beef

A great burger starts with the right beef. Stay away from ultra lean beef. Flavor and juiciness is dependent on the fat content of your meat. No 90/10 mixes. Using such a mix will leave you with a bone dry, flavorless, hard piece of cooked burger. The minimum should be 80/20, better yet, 75/25. Cooked right, the juices will come flowing down your chin!

• Avoid Bargin Basement Beef

You might think skimping on good beef will be okay under the bun, melted cheese, grilled onion, and other accompaniments you might lavish on your burger but you’d be wrong. Don’t skimp, use good quality beef.

• Avoid Packing Burgers Too Tightly

Avoid overworking the meat and don’t make hockey pucks. Avoid those special burger molds that cause you to pack the beef in. Hand forming buggers will give you the best shape. Its best to leave it scraggly so you have the most exposed surface area that will give your burger the right char, caramelization and the grill marks to prove it. Dome-shaped burgers can be avoided by using your finger to add a small divot in the center on both sized of the raw burger.

• Improperly Seasoned

A great hamburger needs just great beef, salt and pepper but in the proper order. Adding salt and pepper before forming the patties causes dry burgers and require more salt and pepper than is necessary. Salt and pepper should only be added once the patty is formed and no more than 30-60 minutes before grilling.

• Not Properly Preheating the Grill

Not properly preheating your grill will result in a soggy mess that sticks to the grill. Preheat your grill so it is very hot, you can always adjust the temperature once you start grilling. Then, clean the grill and generously apply oil. These steps will ensure your burger doesn’t stick and you get enough char and caramelization.

• Avoid Playing With the Patty While Grilling.

Once you place the burgers on the grill – leave them alone. No tamping them down – it only squeezes out the juices. Don’t polk, prod, or play with the patties – and flip them just once – this assures your burgers achieve the perfect, slight outer crunch. Well-formed, half-pound burgers only need about 4 minutes per side for medium rare and about 5 minutes for medium. Any longer, and all bets are off.

Once you avoid these six burger blunders, its time to personalize your hamberger. Be creative – a fresh bun. a flavorful melted slice of cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, mayonnaise, gourmet mustard, avocado slices – the list is endless.

Fair Food: Foods Found at State & County Fairs

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State Fair Food

State fair season is beginning and, for many, that means one thing: food. Lots and lots of food, often deep fried, on a stick or deep fried and on a stick.

Can you say candy bar on a stick? Or pizza on a stick? Or, even more perplexing, deep fried Coke.  Then there’s deep-fried Milky Way bar on a stick, meatball on a stick, cheesecake on a stick, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick and don’t forget about the fried pickle on a stick.

Here’s a list of some of the Fair Food Favorites:

Indiana Corn Dog Recipe
Texas State Fair Chili
California Deep Fried Avocados & Dipping Sauce
Deep-fried Cheese Bites & Dipping Sauce
Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Deep Fried Jalapeños & Dipping Sauce
Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese Shells
Deep-Fried Candy Bars on a Stick
Deep-Fried Coca Cola
Deep-Fried Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
Deep Fried Oreo Cookies
Deep Fried Texas Dirt
Peppery Hush Puppies
Chicken & Waffles
Blue-Ribbon Apple Pie
Hot & Spicy Turkey Legs
Funnel Cakes
Waffle Fry Nachos
State Fair Cream Puffs
Baby Back Ribs
Lemonade Ice Tea
Chocolate Caramel Apples
State Fair Sub Sandwich
Sweet Corn Beignets with Bacon-Sugar Dust
Kool-Aid Pickles
Jalapeno Popper Burgers
Corn Ice Cream
Gilroy Garlic Ice Cream
Pork & Black Bean Nachos
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs & The Works
Pizza on a Stick
Baked Elephant Ears
Southern Fried Okra
Best-Ever Fried Chicken
Winning Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie
Jalapeno Popper Mexican Street Corn
Walking Tacos
Ultimate Oreo Caramel Apples
Blackberry Lemonade
The Works Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Maple Chocolate-Covered Bacon
Poutine & Gravy
Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats
Marina’s Golden Corn Fritters
Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sloppy Joe Dogs
Cheesy Chili Fries
County Fair Cherry Pie
Italian Sausage Hoagies
Dessert Waffles
Fried Mashed Potato Balls
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Grilled Seasoned Bratwurst
Rhubarb Ice Cream
Deep Fried Tequila Shots
Deep Fried Pickles
Frito Pies
Cajun Fried Deviled Eggs
Peanut Butter Cream Pie
Salt Water Taffy
Spicy Candied Almonds

State-by-State List of Regional Favorite Foods

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Key Lime Pie

Take a road trip though your kitchen.  One of the hands-down greatest things about eating in America is all the hyper-regional specialties. A food that’s ubiquitous in Louisiana might draw blank stares in Montana, while a Maine delicacy might horrify citizens of neighboring Vermont. We say: why not try them all! We’ve selected one quintessential food from each state, so you can do just that. Remember, there are 50 states: pace yourself!

Alabama – Fried Green Tomatoes
Alaska – Baked Alaska
Arizona – Pork Chimichanga
Arkansas – Southern Fried Catfish & Tarter Sauce
California – Fish Tacos
Colorado – Chili Verde
Conneticut – New Haven-Style White Clam Pizza
Delaware – Dilly Crab Dip
Florida – Key Lime Pie
Georgia – Lattice-Top Georgia Peach Pie
Guam – Kadon Pika
Hawaii – Ahi Poke
Idaho – Twice Bakes Potatoes
Illinois – Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Indiana: Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Iowa: Scotcharoos
Kansas: Kansas City-Style Ribs
Kentucky: Hot Browns
Louisiana: Shrimp Gumbo
Maine: Lobster Roll
Maryland: Crab Cakes
Massachusetts: Clam Chowder
Michigan: Pasty (Meat Hand Pie)
Minnesota: Hotdish (Tater Tot Casserole)
Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Pie
Missouri: Fried Ravioli
Montana: Huckleberry Pie
Nebraska: Hand-Held Meat Pies
Nevada: Beef Jerky and Sour Dough Bread
New Hampshire: New England Boiled Dinner
New Jersey: Pork Roll Sandwich With Egg and Cheese
New Mexico: Green Chile Cheeseburger
New York: Buffalo Wings
North Carolina: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich
North Dakota: Lefse (Potato Crepes)
Ohio: Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Oklahoma: Crispy Cornmeal Okra
Oregon: Marionberry Pie
Pennsylvania: Philly Cheese Steak
Puerto Rico: Mofongo
Rhode Island: Frozen Lemonade
South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits
South Dakota: Chislic
Tennessee: Memphis Dry-Rub Ribs
Texas: Texas Brisket
Utah: Funeral Potatoes
Vermont: Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie
Virginia: Virginia Ham Biscuits
Washington: Planked Salmon With Honey-Balsamic Glaze
West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll
Wisconsin: Bratwurst Stewed With Sauerkraut
Wyoming: Chicken Fried Steak
Washington, D.C.: Half Smoke Chili Dog

20 Pickle Juice Recipe Ideas

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Pickle Juice Recipes Pickle Juice Recipe Ideas

I can remember years ago when I was very young, my mother brined her own pickles. They were the best. But every time I finish the last pickle in the jar and I start pouring the left over juice down the drain, I have a momentary thought of how could that juice otherwise be used again. That tangy, salty, garlicy and acidic juice just has too much potential to not be repurposed. It’s too good to waste.

It’s time for pickle juice to become flavor central in a whole host of recipes. After a little research, here are a few recipes I’ve discovered that highlight all that is good in this nectar:

6 Cocktail Trends for 2017

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Colorful cocktails trends 2017

  1. Mood Cocktails

    Mood cocktails are drinks with personality or emotion and is perhaps the strangest trend for 2017. Bars may soon be doing away with the traditional menu and listing drinks by mood – red to stimulate confidence, yellow for friendship, and black for discipline. Some bars are using aromatherapy by adding scents such as cut grass and smoked pine to evoke nostalgic feelings. Others are creating interesting nostalgic-based menus based on record albums, astrological signs, conspiracy theories, and even color swatches.

  2. Theatre in a Glass

    The best mixologists have always understood the importance of theatre, without going over the top. In 2017 you’ll be seeing more and more theatre in the glass, as drinks makers seek out ever more exciting ingredients, like the butterfly pea flower, which is ph sensitive and will change the color of a drink when mixed with citrus, or the Szechuan Button, an edible flower that delivers an electric hit.

  3. Health Conscious Coctails

    Drinking alcohol is obviously not the healthiest decision one can make but some bartenders are starting to add healthy ingredients — from nutrient-rich veggies to fermented kombucha to trendy activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is said to have detoxifying properties and to dye it a trendy jet-black.

  4. Garnish It!

    Today, most top mixologists recognize that cocktails, at the end of the day, are about fun. The craft cocktail movement was once associated with hidden speakeasies, many of which had an enormous sense of importance about their craft where the entire focus of the experience was on painstakingly designed drinks. Adding a culinary twist to classic cocktails with unique ingredients like roasted grapes, salt-roasted plantains, smoked tomato water, puréed red pepper, snap peas, corn, or even pickling brine to create either sweet or savory culinary cocktails. Today’s mixologists seek acknowledgement for their craft and understand designing for the social media impact of one of their cocktails posted on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.

  5. Latin Influences

    Cocktails are no longer just tequila’s domain to instill a Latin influence. Think South American-inspired cocktails like a Caipirinha using mezcal, cachaça, jalapeño-infused cachaça, serrano chili syrup or pisco. Thanks to the introduction of mezcal, bartenders and consumers have been eager to get their hands on more obscure Mexican spirits like bacanora and sotol. South American and Caribbean spices such as chili powder, Jamaican jerk, and smoked paprika are now popping up in unique and savory creations.

  6. Fermented Cocktails

    Signature cocktails developed out of fermented beverages like coconut kefir, Kombucha, and ginger beer for creations like the new range, especially when combined with lemon, limes or mandarins. On top of being delicious, fermented food and drinks are full of enzymes, vitamins, and probiotics that do wonders for your health. You can also expect more health-conscious cocktails in general — drinks made with everything from leafy greens to chia seeds to activated charcoal.

9 Food Trends for 2017

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Healthy Sushi Burger

  1. Dine-out is Out and Dine-in in In

    Dine-out only food businesses will increasingly be offering delivery only options and brands. UberEats, the food delivery brand for Uber, is making it easier and easier for high-end restaurant meals delivered to straight to your home, hot, ready to eat!

  2. Faux food

    We’ve reached a tipping point for vegetables. Millennial are pushing animal protein to the side of the plate … or entirely off it. With the rising prices of animal protein products, concerns with hormones, and healthy diet concerns, more and more option will find its way into restaurants and grocery stores, and the creation of whole new food product brands. Venture capitalists have begun investing in food companies that are developing vegetarians-based foods that taste like animal proteins, or close facsimiles.

  3. Seaweed Savior

    Expect to see many more food options, including faux foods discussed above, using seaweed and a major ingredient. Seaweed is not only healthy and abundant, its umami flavors are exactly what is needed to boost animal protein-like flavors in vegetarian foods.

  4. Sweet and Spicy is In!

    While our appetites for spicy dishes continues to grow, it is expanding to the realm of sweet things. Think chili and chocolate. Or, jalapeño with honey, stuffed sweet potatoes with Sriracha, Thai chili lime mayo, and grilled watermelon gazpacho.

  5. Food Porn Continues to Grow

    The #foodporn hashtag will continue to grow eyeballs in 2017. Obsessed by chocolate, keen on coffee and mad about prawns, gourmands from around the world share their photos on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Think frankenshakes, chocolate cookie dirt, multi-layer stacked burgers, and ooey gooey cheesy dishes.

  6. Rethinking Pasta

    Noodles made from chickpeas, quinoa, rice flour, flax seed and lentils are still gaining popularity (reminder, they’re gluten-free). For the “zoodle” fans out there, spiralized veggies will continue to own the spotlight, along with other exciting plant options, like kelp noodles.

  7. Africa is the New Ethnic Cuisine

    America’s growing multicultural population is behind the charge for more international food. Relatively under-explored in the United States, African flavors and ingredients increasingly pop up on menus across the country. So savvy foodies are adapting menus to include more dishes rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables and exotic African spice blends from the second-largest continent in the world.

  8. Wellness Tonics

    Forget sugary, vitamin-infused waters—new hyper-functional, ultra-healthy, virtually medicinal beverages are about to flood the market. Tonics with botanicals that have roots in alternative medicine will be popular in 2017. Whether you’re in need of an energy boost, focusing your thoughts, or quality shut-eye, there’s a drink for that—no specialty store required. The most popular ingredients include kava, holy basil, apple cider vinegar, medicinal mushrooms, and maca and ashwagandha. Experience turmeric tonic or cayenne infused Chili Mocha to fight inflammation and free radicals.

  9. Fermentation is In

    Fermentation has fascinated chefs for years as they’ve tried to uncover new ways to create naturally complex flavors with nuanced textures and bright fresh colors. While home chefs have dabbled in rotting foods, the home kitchen hasn’t yet really broken out into mainstream but it will in 2017. Restaurant chefs will likely play into the growing notion that older, bubbling, cultured, and fermented foods are better for your health, for flavor, and for planet earth.

9 Wine Trends for 2017

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Wine Trends for 2017

  1. A Year for Sparkling Wines

    Millennials are important in driving the growth of sparkling wines. And, they aren’t limited for consumption only on special occasions only.

  2. Interest in Chilled Wine Won’t Cool

    More and more reds, especially lighter-bodied ones, are being served cooled. A major trend in chilled wine is growing with fruit-forward styles such as Beaujolais and grenache. Chilling these wines brings out the wines’ brightness and spirit. Will this be the year of ice added to red wine?

  3. Wine By the Glass to Increase in Popularity

    Red, white, rose – why not all three. Consumers like to experiment and they prefer to pair a wine with each course and for each individual’s taste.

  4. Demand for Organic, Biodynamic Wine to Increase

    In general there will be a huge demand for organically grown food. The idea remains same for wines as well, there will be a demand for natural wines meaning the grapes which are grown without use of chemicals and not harming the ecology of the soil. Given the aspirational attitude of Wine consumers, Small batch/Single Vineyards/Single Barrel type of exclusive wines will drive a lot of interest.

  5. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon Will Continue to Dominate Sales

    However, there is a trend toward more diversity. French wine sales are up 23 percent and there are excellent wines available at competitive pricing, particularly from the southwest, Beaujolais Cru Gamay, sparkling Cremants, Languedoc Roussillon and Provence rose and white wines, like Petit Manseng. Others to consider include Spanish white Albariño, Cava and Rioja wines, Chilean and Argentinian reds and South African Chenin Blanc and Syrah. We are also likely to see more East Coast wines from New York, Virginia and Georgia available in Riesling, Viognier and French and American hybrids.

  6. The Wine Slushy to Rule this Summer

    For the summer, wine slushies, a take off from Sangrias, are a perfect recipe. Blending wine, fruit, and ice into a refreshing frozen drink.

  7. Bourbon Barrel Wine

    This is a current trend of 2016, and will definitely be something you’ll continue to see in 2017. Barrels that once held bourbon or whiskey are being refurbished and used to age wine. The oak barrels are charred for aroma and flavor. Adventurous wine drinkers are recommended to try it, which means more people are learning about this type of wine. The popularity of bourbon barrel wine is continuing to increase, and will definitely be a topic to talk about in 2017. So will you take a walk on the wild side and try this type of wine?

  8. Drinking Out Vs. Drinking In

    On-premise wine sales are on a decline, while off-premise wine sales are growing. People want to drink wine by the at home, rather than spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine while they’re out, where the price of a bottle can exceed the cost of the entire rest of the meal.

  9. Coming Out for Canned Wine

    One of the most surprising trends to hit the wine industry in quite some time is that of canned wine. In the past year alone, the sale of canned wine has nearly doubled, largely due to the millennial influence. Reds, whites, sparklers and everything in between can be put into a can without issue, and the end result is a convenient, portable and usually very affordable option that’s tailor-fit for the beach or for entertaining. In many ways, cans help to protect wine, as they don’t allow any light in and are even better at preventing oxidation than traditional corked bottles. There are a handful of cans out there right now, but 2017 will see an explosion of new entries to the market.

A Definitive Guide to Pairing Wine with Vegetables

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Wine Pairing with Vegetables

If you thought pairing wine with fruit is challenging, pairing a wine with vegetables is even more so.  Many vegetables have, such as asparagus and artichokes, and particularly green vegetables, have particular chemicals that interact poorly with many wines.  In addition, there can be an enormous difference between a raw vegetable and one that is roasted.

Check the table below for some of the best wine and vegetable pairings.

VegetablesWhite WineRed Wine
ArtichokesMuscadet, Sauvignon BlancBourdeaux
AsparagusGrüner Veltliner, Riesling, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Bean, lentilsSyrah (Shiraz), Merlot, Chianti Classico, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Côte du Rhône
Bell PeppersBeaujolais
Brussels SproutsRieslingPinot Noir
ChardPinot GrisGamay, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese
ChiliesZinfandel
CornChardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Eggplant, AubergineDry RoséChianti, Syrah
HummusAlbariño, Chenin BlancMerlot, Pinot Noir
KaleRiesling, Sancerre
Gamay
MushroomsDry Sherry
Pinot Noir
OlivesFino sherrySparkling Brut Rosé
OnionsGewürztraminer, Pinot Gris
Roasted/Grilled VegetablesViognierMerlot, Syrah, Zinfandel
SpinachChampagneGamay
TomatoesSauvignon BlancSangiovese
TrufflesChampagneBarolo, French Burgundy, Syrah
ZucchiniBeaujolais, Sangiovese

A Definitive Guide to Pairing Wine with Fruit

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Friut platter and wine

Pairing wine with fruit can be challenging but a great pairing can create an absolutely phenomenal experience.  Some pairings are pretty obvious like strawberries and champagne.  Others, much less so such as apples and a Cabernet.

The chart below makes the process of choosing a great pairing easier.

FruitWhite WineRed Wine
ApplesAsti Spumante, Champagne, Chardonnay, White ZinfandelCabernet
ApricotsChenin Blanc
AvocadosAlbariño, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
BananasGewürztraminer, Madeira, Sauternes,Sauvignon BlancMerlot
BlackberriesMuscat, Riesling, SancerreChâteauneuf-du-Pape, Sangiovese, Rioja, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
BlueberriesAsti Spumante
CherriesMuscatPinot Noir, Port
FigsSherryChianti, Port, Syrah
GrapesChampagne
GuavaRiesling, SancerreRioja, Sangiovese
KiwiRieslingFleurie
Mangos Vouvray
Barolo, Barbaresco, Bardolino
MelonsIce Wine, Muscat, VouvrayBarolo, Barbaresco, Bardolino
OrangeOrange Muscat
PeachesAsti Spumante, Champagne, Chardonnay, Sweet Rieslings from Germany or AlsaceBeaujolais, Bourgueil
PearsAsti Spumante, Chardonnay, White ZinfandelBordeaux
PineappleIce Wine, German Riesling, Sauterne
PlumsBeaujolais, Bordeaux, Bouscueil, Merlot, Tempranillo
StrawberriesChampagne, Ice Wine, Sweet Muscat
TomatoesSauvignon Blanc
WatermelonRose Champagne

 

 

Best Dessert Wine Pairings

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Dessert wines are often over-looked yet can truly enhance your epicurean experience.  A few simple guidelines should make it a fun exercise! The golden rule for pairing wine with with desserts:  The wine should be sweeter than the dessert.    Then, match the flavor intensity of the dessert with the flavor intensity of the wine.

Firstly, back to the golden rule for pairing wine with desserts – the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. Secondly, match the flavor profile of the dessert with the flavor profile of the wine. Here are more specific tips:

  • PX (Pedro Ximénez) – this is a luscious Spanish dessert sherry wine made from dried grapes.  This wine is so sweet with strong flavors of raisins and molasses, it can simply be poured over vanilla ice cream.  Pair with bread pudding, white or dark chocolate desserts, and orange flavored desserts.
  • Sauternes – Sauternes are characterized by a balance of sweetness with the zest of some acidity. Common flavor notes include apricots, honey, peaches but slightly nutty.  Try a Sauterne with Creme Brûlée, apple tart tatin, peach pie, or an English Trifle.
  • Ice Wine – Or, Icewine, are refreshingly sweet with high acidity.  They typically have a medium to full body with a long lingering finish. The nose is usually reminiscent of pear, peach,  dried apricot, citrus,honey,  figs, caramel, and green apple. Riesling style Ice Wines, which are quite common, can be paired with key lime pie, lemon tarts, fruit tarts,  or fruit-based creme brûlée.  Or, drink all by itself.
  • Tawny Port – A Tawny Port with it slightly sweet yet nutty, caramel flavors pairs well with fruit cakes, mince pies, and eggy pastries including custards and flans.
  • Ruby Port – Try a Ruby Port, which has fruity notes and easy tannins pairs well  with a decadent but not too sweet chocolate dessert.  It goes with a chocolate cake with a raspberry sauce, or a dark chocolate fondue,  or a simple chocolate brownie.
  • Late Harvest Zinfandel – Find dried cherry and chocolate notes in Late Harvest Zinfandels.  These dessert wines go well with of course chocolate and chocolate desserts.  Also try it with cheesecakes, cherry pies, and carrot cakes.

One last rule of thumb – leave room for dessert!!!

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