• Baking
  • Standalone Ikea Restaurants May Be Coming Soon

    Standalone Ikea Restaurants May Be Coming SoonDo you find yourself going to Ikea for the Swedish meatballs, the salmon wraps or the inexpensive vanilla ice cream cones as much as for the Billy bookcases or Besta storage combos? The modern-furniture mecca’s top brass has noticed.

    In recent years, Ikea has brushed up its food game, expanding the menus in its in-store restaurants to include new options emphasizing health and sustainable sourcing (see also: carbon-footprint reducing vegan meatballs) and appealing to different kinds of shoppers and diners with upgraded, comfy seating configured in zones. It even opened DIY pop-up restaurants in the industrial-hip London neighborhood Shoreditch, in the Marais area of Paris and in Oslo.

    Now it’s looking to take the next step, bringing standalone Ikea restaurants to the hearts of cities around the world. (So urbanites can get their gravlax and lingonberry fixes even when they don’t feel like schlepping around to look at sofas and throw pillows.)

    Ikea in-store restaurants currently serve about 650 million customers in 48 countries and raked in about $1.8 billion in 2016. About 30 percent of those who eat at Ikea have trekked to the store just to eat, Fast Company magazine reports. (Fun fact: Ikea also exports more lingonberries than any other entity in Sweden.)

    Consequently, the company sees major potential in the standalone urban Ikea restaurant concept, Michael La Cour, Ikea Food’s managing director, recently told Fast Company. “I hope in a few years our customers will be saying, ‘Ikea is a great place to eat — and, by the way, they also sell some furniture,’” he added.

    How do you say “bring on the meatballs” in Swedish?

    Photo courtesy of @ikeausa

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Now You Can Get Your ‘Green Juice’ in Gummy Form

    Sugarfina sure knows how to spot a trend, capture it in candy and conjure a coast-to-coast, crazy-big appetite for its toothsome, tastefully packaged creations. People went crazy for those rosé gummy candies the high-end candy company introduced last summer; the pink-wine-infused sweets sold out in under two hours and launched a wait list thousands upon thousands of eager buyers long.

    Then again, sometimes even Sugarfina’s idea-meisters may not realize just how hungry the public is for one of their high-concept confections. See again, those pink-wine-infused gummies – but also, the company’s latest groundbreaker: “Green Juice” Bears, billed as the first of their kind.

    Sugarfina first announced plans to market “Green Juice” Bears in 2016 as a prank on April Fool’s Day. But customers apparently didn’t get the joke — and started asking how they could purchase them. So the boutique candy company teamed up with cold-press juice maker Pressed Juicery to create a Granny-Smith-apple-hued gummy that blends spinach, apple, lemon and ginger concentrate, and natural spirulina and turmeric colorings. They are available in both mama and baby bear sizes (aw!) and come in bottles of various sizes that will be familiar to the Pressed Juicery faithful. (You can get them online from Sugarfina and Pressed Juicery and at some Sugarfina and Pressed Juicery stores.)

    Produced in Germany, the gummies are also free of fat, gluten, artificial flavors or colors, and GMO ingredients, but they do offer 20 percent of your daily allowance of Vitamins A and C in each serving.

    And if you’re like us, you probably won’t stop at one serving …

    One more thing dog owners may want to note: This year, Sugarfina faked fans out with another April Fool’s joke product. “Barkin’ Bears, our first all-natural, beef-flavored gummies for dogs,” the company posted on Twitter. When customers clicked a link on Twitter, they got a coupon and a message alerting them that the company was not offering gummy treats for pooches “…yet.”


    Photo courtesy of Sugarfina

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • How to Stop a Brain Freeze in Its Tracks

    How to Stop a Brain Freeze in Its TracksI scream, you scream — and sometimes we all really scream while eating ice cream because … brain freeze.

    That sudden, short headache that hits right when we’re eating or drinking something super-cold — which is actually called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia in scientist speak — is our body’s way of telling us to slow down, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., explained in a 2013 news release.

    “Our mouths are highly vascularized, including the tongue — that’s why we take our temperatures there,” Godwin said. “But drinking a cold beverage fast doesn’t give the mouth time to absorb the cold very well.”

    The rapid change in temperature at the back of the throat — where two arteries, one that sends blood to the brain and another that marks the beginning of brain tissue, meet — prompts the arteries to dilate and contract. The sensation is interpreted as pain in the brain, which signals you to ease up on the speed-eating.

    To halt a brain freeze in its tracks, put down the ice cream cone or cold drink tout de suite, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, or sip a warmish drink to restore your mouth to a normal temperature. You can also cover your nose and mouth with your hands and breathe into them to warm the air that’s getting to your palate.

    Then, when you’ve got that brain freeze licked, go back to eating your ice cream — slowly!

    Photo: iStock

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Rustic Meaty Comfort from Josh Cellars and Chef Daniel Doyle

    JCW Blog 4 Chef DanielHumble beginnings often lead to great ends. Daniel Doyle, executive chef and managing partner of Poogan’s Porch and Poogan’s Smokehouse, and Joseph Carr, founder of Josh Cellars, both started at the bottom in their first restaurant jobs: Dan as a dishwasher and Joseph as a bus boy. Since those early days, both have ascended in the ranks of the culinary and wine worlds. Together, they’ve collaborated on the ultimate comfort food pairing of short ribs and Josh Cellars Legacy red blend. It’s a combination that pays homage to their down-to-earth roots while elevating a rustic dish.

    Daniel starts by searing the ribs until they’re deeply browned and caramelized so the final dish tastes extra meaty. He then sautés a trio of onions, carrots, and celery in the rich fat until they’re caramelized too. To get all the flavorful crusty brown bits off the pan and to help this tough cut of meat tenderize while cooking, Daniel adds a whole bottle of Josh Cellars Legacy wine and scrapes the pan. He knows from his years of cooking that the more flavorful the wine, the better the dish. Once the ribs are nestled back into the mixture, Daniel lets it cook in the oven until the meat is fall-off-the bone tender and the whole mixture tastes rich and rustic.

    To complement the deep, warming short ribs, Daniel prepares cauliflower two ways. He simmers chopped pieces in cream to blend into a luxurious puree and he roasts florets until golden and crisp. He also pan-sears pearl onions before simmering them in beef jus so that they become melt-in-your-mouth soft and sweet. Those three sophisticated elements elevate humble short ribs to the type of dish Daniel would serve at the James Beard House, where he’s been given the honor to cook three times. As refined as the final dish may be, it still tastes of pure comfort.

    Its big, bold flavors match perfectly with the richness and complexity of Josh Cellars Legacy red blend, which is made from Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. Joseph actually created this particular blend in honor of his father, Josh, and intended it to be served with steak, one of Josh’s favorite dishes. Enjoying the wine he created for his father in a modern pairing like short ribs is nothing short of a dream come true, made possible by mentors who recognized that he had a knack for wine and encouraged him to pursue a career, first as a sommelier, then as a winemaker.

    The same is true for Daniel, who wouldn’t be where he is today had others in the kitchen not recognized his talent behind the stove. He now tries to do the same for other young cooks and finds great joy in seeing them rise through the ranks and go on to helm their own restaurant kitchens as executive chefs. It’s as satisfying as watching a cheap, tough cut of meat become a beautiful, succulent short rib entrée, glistening with its red wine glaze.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Chefs’ Picks: Butcher Shops

    Caputo's Cheese
    By Brad Japhe

    Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

    Long before the days of all-in-one supermarket shopping, a trip to the local meat market was a near-daily ritual. You’d know the butcher by name — and the butcher would know your order by heart. But by the end of the 20th century, convenience shopping had diminished the butcher’s prominence in American cuisine. Now, a heightened focus on farm-to-table philosophies, sustainability and nose-to-tail meat preparation has resulted in a new rise in popularity for the butchery profession. Read on to find out where meat-minded industry folks shop for chop.

    Neighborhood Spot
    When you think cutting-edge charcuterie scenes, Utah might not be the first place that comes to mind. But Matt Caputo is working to fix that at Tony Caputo’s, his family-owned market and deli in downtown Salt Lake City. With state-of-the-art cheese-aging rooms at his disposal, Caputo is particular about the quality of the proteins that he pairs with his dairy. He doesn’t have to travel far, as his favorite butcher shop — Beltex Meats — happens to be in his neighborhood. “It’s so refreshing to have a place where you can walk in and be sure the owner and head butcher is there working the counter,” Caputo says. “Of course, he is sourcing whole animals from our best local farms, so the steaks are off the charts, but I never miss a chance to pick up some head cheese. The stuff is so fresh and well-made that even timid eaters would not take issue. Just don’t tell them what it is.”


    The Cannibal's Meats
    Gotham Greats
    With locations in New York and Los Angeles, The Cannibal has become a bi-coastal destination for craft beers and butcher-centric fare, thanks to its selection of pate, sausages and other fine meats. Head Chef Fran Derby relies on local butcher shops for continual inspiration, including one run by two ladies. “In New York City, I look to Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamaru at April Bloomfield’s White Gold Butcher Shop on the Upper West Side,” he says. “They source amazing product and treat it with respect. The wealth of knowledge and passion they have for meat is inspiring to me as a chef. It’s everything that a neighborhood butcher should be and I’m thankful that I live just a few blocks away.”

    For all its culinary majesty, New Orleans was long lacking in stellar butcher shops… until Stephen Stryjewski and Donald Link opened Cochon in the city’s revitalized Warehouse District. “You have to sell yourself to your market, so most of what we do are cured items, Cajun-style, and boudin — we sell a ton of boudin,” Stryjewski says. And though the Southern chef has a love affair with cured meats, he appreciates that this is just one aspect of what a good butcher shop should provide. He points to education as a hallmark of any good meat purveyor. “By far the gold standard for well-handled, well-sourced, whole-animal butchery is Fleishers in New York. What makes a great butcher is not just knowing how to cut the meat, but having a great knowledge of how to prepare it.”


    Full-Service Shop
    “A good butcher shop can vary in size and scale, but should always be thoughtful and deliberate in their craft and what they sell,” says John Currence, chef-owner of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi. “I’m loving the rededication to dry-aging. It’s fantastic that you can get a delicious and properly dry-aged piece of meat without going to a restaurant these days.” One of his preferred places to stop when traveling through the meat-lovers’ mecca of Illinois is Publican Quality Meats in Chicago. “What [butcher and owner] Paul Kahan does there is truly remarkable — it’s thoughtful and an incredible experience.” When he’s back home in Oxford, the chef frequents Neon Pig. It’s just old-school and awesome,” says Currence. “At Neon Pig, they cater to the people of neighborhood. They are a full-service butcher shop — a great one in fact — but they also have a cafe and counter service with one of the best burgers out there, and grocery items for purchase as well.”


    Jered Standing
    International Inspirations
    Butchers are uniquely positioned to promote sustainability and ethical practices when it comes to meat consumption. Los Angeles-based cleaver and entrepreneur Jered Standing (pictured above) is a prime example. “I got into butchery as a way to make a positive impact in an area I was ethically passionate about — animal welfare in the meat industry,” he says. “I love studying how butchers do things differently in other countries, then trying it myself and introducing it to people here.” Standing is opening his own butcher shop this summer in Hollywood, with plans to offer pasture-raised meat from small California farms — and he has looked all the way to South Africa for inspiration. “The one butchery I’m most excited about and inspired by is Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Cape Town. The owner, Andy Fenner is just doing everything right. I mean everything. I’m basically just modeling my whole life after his right now.”

    While Standing plans to bring his sustainably-minded spot to Hollywood in the near future, the city is already blessed with Gwen, Curtis Stone’s hybrid space that brings together a butcher shop, restaurant and bar. Stone stresses the butcher’s ability to envision a final product as a paramount skill set. “A chef-minded butcher shop where the butcher knows how to treat the protein sets a cook up for a good experience,” he explains. As a singular example, he points to fellow Australian Andrew McConnell, a chef and restaurateur who opened Meatsmith in Melbourne, Australia in 2015. Inspiration is also close at hand in Stone’s adopted home of Los Angeles, where he frequents The Original Farmers Market for stellar dry-aged meats

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Ice Cream on a Cotton-Candy Cloud? So Dreamy!

    Ice Cream on a Cotton-Candy Cloud? So Dreamy!The dessert of your childhood dreams — or, well, it would definitely have been, if you had thought about it — is now a reality. Hello, soft-serve ice cream nestled in a humongous cloud of cotton candy (pink or blue, of course) and toppings galore. Think sweet treats like M&M’s, smashed candy bars like Twix and KitKats, crumbled cookies, caramel corn, Pop Rocks, chocolate syrup, Gummi Bears, even breakfast cereal.

    The ice cream/cotton candy confections are a specialty at Room for Dessert by Casa Verde, a rooftop cafe in Cebu City, Philippines — and people on Instagram and in the food-blogosphere are pretty darn into them.

    Milk Train in London offers a similar delicacy, while exploring a slightly funkier ice cream color palette, set off against a pure white cotton-candy pouf. Last summer, the Covent Garden cafe’s creations went viral, generating lines out the door that have apparently remained.

    As one commenter on Milk Train’s Instagram page recently noted, “Ice cream solves everything.” Truth. Especially when it’s perched in a sweet, heavenly cloud as perfect as a day at the circus. (Minus the clowns.)

    Photo courtesy of @roomfordessertbycv

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • The Queen Eats One Amazingly Simple Dessert Every Day

    The Queen Eats One Amazingly Simple Dessert Every DayYou might assume that someone who has lived and ruled as long as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has is a total health nut — after all, one doesn’t make it to 91 without making some sacrifices in the food department, right?

    Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’d be totally wrong.

    Darren McGrady, a formal royal chef, gave an interview earlier this month to Recipes Plus, and he revealed quite a bit about the royal family’s eating habits. And since he worked for the Queen herself for 15 years, there’s probably no better source of information on Her Majesty’s favorite snacks and the little indulgences she can’t live without.

    So, what’s the one thing Queen Elizabeth II absolutely must have each and every day? CAKE!

    Do you love her even more now? Because I certainly do.

    No, this 90-plus-year-old powerhouse isn’t letting her obligations to her country hold her back from enjoying some of the finer things in life — but even those finer things are relatively simple. No fussy truffles or trendy mash-up desserts for this world ruler, no, no. When it’s time to treat herself, McGrady revealed that all the Queen wants is a piece of chocolate biscuit cake.

    The cake is reportedly made in-house (or, more appropriately, in-palace), and Her Majesty consumes one slice per day. She loves it so much that, according to McGrady’s interview, it even joins her on journeys, thanks to a senior royal household chef who accompanies the sweet treat on the train, if that’s how she happens to be traveling.

    Does it get any more British (or any more down-to-earth) than that? Queen Elizabeth II, we salute you — for maybe being the most-relatable world ruler of all time.

    Photo: WPA Pool / Pool / Getty Images

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Post-Tax-Return Meals (Whether You Got a Refund or Not)

    Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who’s expecting money back from Uncle Sam this year. Or perhaps you’re like the rest of us who kept crunching the numbers on our returns thinking “This can’t be right…I can’t possibly owe this much,” only to come to the conclusion that: A. Yes…you do. And B. That vacation you were dreaming of is now going to be in Baltimore instead of Bali. Whether April 18th left you feeling broke or flush, here are the recipes to make to celebrate that tax season is over.

    If you’re getting a refund

    Splurge on Surf and Turf for Two (pictured above) for you and your honey: juicy beef tenderloin served medium-rare, jumbo shrimp wrapped in salty pancetta, and tender asparagus spears. Drizzle it all with a homemade herb oil that looks fancy, but takes all of a minute to blend up in a food processor.

    Up your deviled egg game with dressed-up Lobster Deviled Eggs topped with fresh dill, paprika and chunks of sweet (and pricey) lobster meat.

    Dust off the good dishes, your best wine glasses and Grandma’s silver, and throw a dinner with old fashioned glamour. Tyler’s Ultimate Beef Wellington with fingerling potatoes, wilted greens and green peppercorn sauce may call for a lot of ingredients and steps. But this complete meal takes an hour of active time total, and is sure to garner praise from those lucky enough to score an invite to your table.


    If you owe:

    If you didn’t find yourself in the recently-rich club, make a big batch of Black-Eyed Pea Soup. Not only are the ingredients (dried peas, carrot, celery, onion, collards, rice and a ham hock) easy on your wallet, but black eyed peas and greens are thought to represent and attract wealth and prosperity.

    Cure those tax season blues with an umbrella drink like a Blue Lagoon Cocktail…the closest thing to a vacation you may take this year.

    Marc’s Millionaire Shortbread Cookies with layers of shortbread, cookie butter and chocolate will make anyone feel rich.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • Kitchen Cleaning All-Stars in Your Pantry and Fridge

    Getting ready to clean the coffeemaker or scrub away at those unfortunate stains (tomato soup?) in your microwave? Before you reach under the sink for any household cleaning products, give DIY cleaners a try to polish stainless steel, clean grease stains and freshen the garbage disposal. They’re easy to whip up with a few natural ingredients and pantry items.


    The most edible of the cleaning all-stars is also pretty versatile. Cut out a slice and use it straight on stainless steel appliances to remove grease and streaks.

    Clean your microwave and leave it smelling better with some lemon and a bowl of water. Microwave the mix until it boils and leave it to steam for a minute to soften the dried-up gunk on the side of your microwave, before you put in some elbow grease to scrub it away.

    Freshen up your coffeemaker by running a cycle with a lemon juice-water mixture. You can also clean your garbage disposal by running it with a few lemon wedges.

    Make an all-purpose cleaner and wipes with this recipe from The Kitchen, using lemon and orange peels, water and white vinegar.


    In addition to using it in the all-purpose cleaner above, you can add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water for a natural mopping solution that can disinfect and remove odors from your kitchen floors.

    Spray down a cutting board with white vinegar to kill odors and naturally disinfect.

    Seeing chalky white spots on your pans? Boil a mixture of vinegar and water in the pan to clear calcium buildup.


    Salt, our seasoning bestie, plays double-duty in the kitchen by helping lift heavy grime in pans and dishes and preventing fresh grease stains from setting in clothes and carpets.

    It can also clean stains and clear smells from a wooden cutting board with a bit of kosher salt and half a lemon.

    Baking Soda

    Though it isn’t as edible as is, baking soda is probably the best known among pantry items for its cleaning properties.

    Make a paste with baking soda and water to clean tough grime from pots and pans. Use it to clean the oven by leaving the paste coated on the sides of the oven overnight, setting it to heat for an hour and spraying it with a water-vinegar mixture to scrub it off. It can also make cleaning water bottles a breeze.

    Honorable Mentions:

    If you’re having trouble reaching stains at the bottom of a pitcher or glass, use rice to scrub! Add a half cup of rice to a cup of water and a bit of dish soap and swirl away.

    Both yogurt and ketchup (with a bit of salt) can be used to clean and shine copper kitchenware.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!

  • Baking
  • 4 Surprising Sleep Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

    File this under news you probably could’ve guessed: According to a January study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the quality of your sleep determines whether or not you’re going to be in a positive or negative mood the next day. It’s not exactly surprising news, but it serves as a good reminder that getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your health. (And, according to The New York Times, a good night’s sleep is the new status symbol.) So while you know that avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime will help you catch some quality zzz’s, we asked a handful of sleep experts for their favorite — and most unexpected — sleeping tips:

    Focus on staying awake
    “I know it sounds counterintuitive,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm, “but it actually works.” Dr. Kansagra says this technique known as paradoxical intent. “It lessens anxiety, giving your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep,” Kansagra says. Science backs this theory up: According to a 2005 study at the University of Glasgow, participants who focused on staying awake had an easier time falling — and staying — asleep than those who focused their efforts on trying to sleep.

    Try magnesium spray
    Magnesium is one of those vitamins that is known for its sleep-friendly properties. And while it can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate, you can also get your fix another way: Via a spray. Magnesium oil is said to be even stronger than when it’s found in food or pill forms. “It helps relax muscles and decrease cortisol levels,” says Martin-Rawls-Meehan, CEO and founder of sleep technology and mattress company Reverie. “A few sprays on the forehead and chest before going to bed really works,” he adds. And because magnesium naturally helps your muscles relax, the oil could also help with those suffering from restless legs syndrome—another cause of sleeplessness.

    Separate your sheets
    If you sleep with a partner then you know then you’ve probably had to deal a case of stolen covers in the middle of the night. Waking up sheetless can seriously disrupt your sleep, but Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in North Carolina has a simple solution: Separate your sheets. “Avoid a fight over the blankets by using your own,” he says. “You can have one fitted sheet, but for each side of the bed use your own top sheet and blanket,” he adds. “Simply cover it with a duvet, and no one will see the difference.”

    Pour a glass of tart cherry juice
    According to Dr. Caroline Apovian, the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, tart cherry juice is the perfect pre-bedtime drink. “It’s the world’s richest natural source of melatonin,” she says. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and in a recent study, participants who drank tart cherry juice (about 1 ounce of juice concentrate mixed with 7 ounces of water) saw an increase in their melatonin content as well as significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.


    Kevin Aeh is a New York City-based writer and editor. He has written for Time Out New York, Refinery29, New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Furthermore from Equinox and more.

    This article was originally posted on the Food Network and can be found here!