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

Question the Salad Dressing Status Quo

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Macarons by a Moonlighter

The Italian café Tootsie's is now featuring French macarons, made in-house by a moonlighting Stanford research scientist from Paris. Using ingredients imported from France, she's trying to reproduce the famous Ladurée confections. "They’re very good with intense flavors and lower on the sweetness than the rest of our domestic field," says Melanie Wong, who tried the salted caramel and lemon flavors. The lemon one is lip-puckeringly sour, though.

Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn [Peninsula]
700 Welch Road, Suite 118, Palo Alto

Discuss: Macarons, Breakfast Panino, Etc. @ Tootsie’s at the Stanford Barn (Palo Alto)

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Boards

"It's dry-fried shredded seasoned beef with sliced garlic and whole chiles, garnished with sprigs of fresh cilantro and lime slices—with a delicious intensity." – Cynsa on a new dish, spicy beef, at Burmese Kitchen

"Uni plus subtly flavored pork fat plus charred bread equals brilliant." – felice on sea-urchin bruschetta with lardo at Ame

"Best house-made tortillas I've had (slightly green and sour from cactus in the dough)." – boris_qd on Chilango

Twinkie, Deconstructed and Photographed

Taking a page out of Twinkie Deconstructed, photographer Dwight Eschliman has put together a stark photo essay on the "37 Or So Ingredients" that make up a Twinkie.

From wheat flour to folic acid to glucose, monocalcium phosphate, and monoglyceride, Eschliman's series of simple, striking images brings a sense of visual drama to one of the country's most iconically pedestrian desserts.

Image source: Flickr member Christian Cable under Creative Commons

BPA: It’s Not BP, But Still Bad

However much we’d all prefer to whip up delectable meals each day using local ingredients and wash them down with fresh water gurgling from a natural brook nearby, sometimes it's easier to grab a can of soup off the shelf, a bottle of water from the fridge, and call it dinner. But that soup can and water bottle are riddled with bisphenol A, a.k.a. BPA. It's the main compound in epoxy resin linings, present in plastics and canned goods, has been found in studies to lead to cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and is especially harmful to babies and children. The FDA, after years of proclaiming BPA's harmlessness, is now on the bandwagon along with fearful consumers and researchers, committing $30 million in federal stimulus funds to investigate the consequences of consuming BPA; it will release a report at the end of next year. READ MORE

Where Good Food, Drink, and Soccer Collide

Game one: South Africa vs. Mexico. Kickoff is bright and early Friday morning (if you're on the West Coast, at least). Decisions must be made, but don't get your broekie in a bunch. You want to slurp down some dop and have some lags with your chommas, sure, but you know you'll be too gesuip to work after unless you can eat some boerewors while watching the South Africa vs. Mexico game. We've got you covered on the breakfast front. (Translation for those of you not hip to South African slang: panties, beers, laughs, friends, plastered, sausage.)



Consult our list of locations that feature soccer plus food and drink. READ MORE

A Krinkle in Time

A Krinkle in Time

This week's mission: Finally, Burger King fries you can microwave at home. But will you want to? READ MORE

Where Old Packaging Goes to Die

It seems such a shame to just throw away those gorgeously colored food packages. Why, that picture on the label is practically a still life. Isn't there something useful that can be done with them?

Etsy seller clickit says yes, filling her Etsy storefront with notebooks made from recycled packaging. What parent wouldn't be proud to send his or her child to school with a Natural Light legal-size notebook? I kid. I would of course use it to look sophisticated at work meetings.

Recycled Notebooks, $4 to $7

World Tour, Starring Shrimp

Shrimp are almost universally popular, cook quickly, and are used in the cuisines of many nations.

JoanN loves shrimp and mushrooms in spicy black bean oyster sauce. "I always used to order this in restaurants," she says, "but this recipe surpasses anything I've ever had." Chinese-style shrimp with scrambled eggs is a weeknight favorite of mc22, who says it's "so easy and good and comforting!"

BeefeaterRocks is a fan of New Orleans–style barbecue shrimp, which he serves with cheese grits, while MrsCheese likes this grilled New Orleans–style shrimp with rice.

"Never would have put rosemary with shrimp until this recipe," MrsCheese says of these grilled rosemary-garlic shrimp, "but it's wonderful." Also wonderful are these
lemongrass-ginger grilled shrimp, says goodeatsgal.

For a "stupid easy and fast" recipe, according to corneygirl, peel shrimp; mix yogurt, curry powder or harissa to taste, and a bit of sugar, and add shrimp; broil until done. LaLa calls these black pepper shrimp "super easy, super good."

And a couple of hounds recommend Ina Garten's baked shrimp scampi.

Discuss: Favorite shrimp recipes please

Using the Cool Crunch of Jicama

Jicama is slightly sweet and adds appealing crunch to salads and other recipes.

Becca Porter likes jicama cut into thick matchsticks, sliced Granny Smith apple, two or three supremed oranges and their juice, a couple of limes worth of juice, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. ajcraig makes a slaw of shredded jicama and Granny Smith apples, and also likes jicama with mango, chile, and lime.

ipsedixit makes a salad of julienned jicama, daikon, celery, and carrots, dressed with rice wine vinegar, grated ginger, diced garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.

mandycat likes this New Mexico chopped salad with grilled steak or chicken, and faddyarbuckle eats mango, jicama, and black bean salsa as a salad.

Recipes for cooked jicama are not common, but BeefeaterRocks uses it in stir-fry recipes in place of water chestnuts, and bushwickgirl likes jicama and yucca grated, made into little cakes, and fried.

Discuss: Jicama – how do you use it?