The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

What’s the Difference Between a Macaroon and a Macaron?

What’s the Difference Between a Macaroon and a Macaron?

That one o makes a big difference. READ MORE

Seaweed Bacteria Meet Tummy Bacteria and Decide to Get Along

Eating sushi has made the Japanese more capable of... digesting sushi. The journal Nature has just published a study that found Japanese people carry a gene that allows them to digest carbohydrates specific to nori. All other non-acclimated guts just ignore the extra potential energy while focusing on ingesting all that mercury. READ MORE

Peanuttiest Peanut Butter Cookies

There are many kinds of peanut butter cookie, including a flourless one popular with hounds. They also like other styles that pack extra peanut oomph.

gmm's favorite is Cook's Illustrated's recipe, which uses crunchy peanut butter and ground peanuts. ChefJune says her "hands-down favorite recipe" is the unusual Peanut Minus Cookies, made with maple syrup and brown rice flour but without eggs or butter. "Best peanut butter cookies I've ever made or eaten," she says.

bushwickgirl is a big fan of CHOW's Triple-Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies, which include roasted peanuts and peanut butter chips. "Notice the word 'triple' in the recipe title," she says, "peanut upon peanut upon peanut butter."

Discuss: Favorite peanut butter cookie?

Overheard on the Home Cooking Boards

"Take a mix of different nuts (peanuts, mixed nuts, almonds, walnuts), add a little canola oil, and mix in your blender. Then, take your favorite granola (I make my own) and stir that in to the nut butter, 1 cup granola to 1 pint of nut butter. Totally addictive." – shaebones

"I really enjoy stock made from spiral/glazed ham. I don't have it very often but when I do, I simmer the bone with scraps for about a day; strain, chill, and skim the fat. I then add fresh green beans, a couple generous pinches of tianjin (Chinese preserved cabbage), and some black pepper to make stewed beans. Sometimes, I also add some white kidney beans. I love it ... pure comfort food to me." – Mere962

"I use salami in casseroles and quiches of all varieties. It works well in calzones or on pizza, and a small amount of it chopped very fine and included in a good Italian bread formula can add a tasty and interesting feature to an otherwise plain bread." – todao

The Wisdom of Young Farmers: Amy Rice-Jones

At 28, Amy Rice-Jones has built Bounty Farm in Petaluma, California, from the ground up, transforming an empty lot with dilapidated sheds full of garbage on it into a productive urban farm. The farm is part of Petaluma Bounty, a non-profit with a mission to provide everyone with access to healthy food. As the farm manager, she plans the entire year's production of food, trains and coordinates volunteers, and teaches classes on the farm. Here's what she has to say. READ MORE

Must-Have Garden Party Gear

If you're throwing a barbecue and you're anything like me, you've got some random wine bottles open, getting warm in the sun, or stuff stashed in some broken, ghetto plastic cooler full of half-open bags of party ice. Shouldn't we all strive for a better life? Imagine if you could chill your Lillet and Pinot Gris right there on the patio, in a classy hammered aluminum drink bucket by Roost? (Note to self: Remember to serve Lillet at next barbecue.)

The Pasha Wine and Party Buckets, $77-$143

Live from Guatemala

"My husband said I would get bored with Guatemalan food because it is too simple," says rworange, who moved to Guatemala with her husband for a few months. "After my first few meals, though I doubt I will get bored, I understood what he meant." Guatemalan cuisine is simple, "but honest, fresh, tasty and good," says rworange. There's melon agua fresca and papaya licuado to drink, as well as Central American Coca Cola, made with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The sugar "gives it a more balanced, mellow taste and is not as overly sweet and cloying as Coke in the U.S.," says rworange.

Food is simple and reminds rworange of the American cuisine of decades ago. "Substitute potatoes (mashed, fried, etc.) for beans, white bread for tortillas and lemonade for agua frescas [and] it is basically American ’50s food." Eggs are topped with beans, crushed tomatoes, and crema pura, and they're not just for breakfast. A dish of chicken in "soupy red sauce" served with rice or a thin, fried steak with grilled onions and tomatoes might be lunch. rworange likes the tropical produce—fresh papaya, or tiny finger-sized bananas with a hint of strawberry flavor.

Vendors deliver fresh fish, produce, and other foods directly to your door—very ’50s, as rworange notes. "The family was a bit distressed that these vendors pulling up to the house were not available in the U.S. Ah, for the days when the milkman delivered not only milk, but cheese and other dairy items to your doors."

Discuss: Living and eating in Guatemala

Forkable Flags

A game of guess-the-edible-flag over on Flavorwire is a piece of cake for anyone who's ever seen an Olympics or two, but the charming images are worth a glance nonetheless. Each faithfully interpreted flag is created using foods typical of the country in question; thus a basil, pasta, and tomatoes emblem for Italy, and one of feta and olives for Greece.

READ MORE

What’s the Difference Between Vietnamese and Thai Iced Coffee?

Vietnamese iced coffee (café sua da) is brewed strong with a drip apparatus and mixed with condensed milk. "Using condensed milk is the authentic way to prepare Viet iced coffee," says MVNYC. "Vietnam, like many other tropical locations, uses condensed milk because it does not spoil without refrigeration like regular milk does." Condensed milk is not the only unusual additive; Vietnamese coffee is often blended with chicory prior to brewing. (Café du Monde is a brand commonly available in the United States.) But most Vietnamese coffee in Vietnam, says paulj, is not made with chicory. Instead, it's a blend of the more expensive Arabica beans and cheaper, more harshly flavored Robusta beans. "By itself it is too harsh for American palates that have been trained to like pure Arabica," says paulj. "But it works well with sweetened condensed milk, which has a strong tempering effect."

Thai iced coffee is also made with condensed milk, and it's also often brewed from a blend of ingredients, not just coffee beans. Classic ingredients for the blend include corn and sesame, but in the United States sometimes the additives get left out: "[O]ften I go to places where it is just strong coffee with condensed milk," says Jemon.

Discuss: Do any coffee lovers like Thai/Vietnamese iced coffee?

Onion Marmalade

The most perfect accompaniment to rich dishes with strong mineral flavor like pâté and liverwurst is onion marmalade, says takadi. takadi first experimented by topping bread with liverwurst, fried onions, and pear jam. "The taste was outstanding, and since jam and onions mixed so well, I wondered if there was such a miraculous concoction where they combined the two into one ... onion jam," says takadi. "Next thing I knew, I was buying and eventually making onion jam for the next month and now, if there's something rich and mineral-y, like pâté, steak, or a nice juicy hamburger, I absolutely cannot eat it without slathering a big thing of onion marmalade on top."

Discuss: Interesting accidental discovery story: Onion Marmalade