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 From Fantasypumpkins.com, the ultimate Death Star carving.  With the use of stencils, scalpels and copious free time, the art of pumpkin carving has exploded in recent years. Just in time for Halloween, here's a roundup of galleries and links to instructions for a bevy of gourd-carving goodness. Nerd alert! The Star Wars designs even include a Dea…

Have you searched for a place that could offer meals for people avoiding gluten, the wheat protein? I'm doing research for a story on how Western New York restaurants are responding to the needs of people who desire or require gluten-free meals. If you'd like to share, please send me a note that includes where you went, what you had, and how the restaurant handle…

Reporting today's story about how two guys from Kenmore started Lloyd, Buffalo's only taco truck, made me wonder if there's others like them in town. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where Lloyd parks during lunchtime Thursday, would like to see more trucks. (What are those poor people supposed to eat the other four days?) They're crea…

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine and a restaurant design team could be coming to a restaurant near you. As long as the place is thinking of closing. Shooters, a Philadelphia-based television production company responsible for the Food Network's "Dinner: Impossible" and "Food Feuds," is scouting restaurants in Buffalo and other cities for its new show. …

Veteran News Restaurant Reviewer Janice Okun will appear in area book stores in coming weeks to sign copies of her newly released memoir-cookbook, "Buffalo Cooks With Janice Okun." It's a collection of more than 110 of the most beloved recipes published in the News during Okun's 40-year tenure as its food editor, served with a copious buffet of behind-t…

Here's more detailed recipes from "Zombie Cupcakes," the Zilly Rosen cookbook featured in today's Taste section. Below, how to make "Half & Half," the preferred medium for cupcake toppings. Plus, how to make the toothed maws and bloodshot eyes for the "Bludgeon to Survive" cupcakes in the newspaper recipe. Half & HalfMakes ab…

  (Photos by Zillycakes) The pumpkin cupcakes turned into zombie faces by Zilly Rosen and her crew at Zillycakes are meant to be served with a weapon. A bludgeon, to be precise. Rosen said the ghoulish treats are meant to be bashed before they're eaten, which sounds like a lovely idea for 8-year-old boys if you've taken the precaution of&…

I have repeatedly driven an hour out of my way for a restaurant that caught my fancy. Two hours, if I have a chance to get the lunch buffet at the Southeast Asian. So I'm not sneering at the eaters profiled in the Wall Street Journal's article on the lengths to which people will go for a McDonald's McRib sandwich. Naturally, there's a website to he…

A vegan dinner kicks off the seventh annual "World on Your Plate" conference tonight at Daemen College. The two-day event in the Amherst college's Charles J. Wick Student Center, 4380 Main St., explores issues in environmental health, food production and more. There's workshops on subjects like community gardens, organic beekeeping, and raising beef cat…

Here's a canning recipe that married sublime simplicity with the pragmatism of storing an abundant harvest for the winter. There's just three ingredients in these preserved figs, from Liana Krissoff's "Canning for a New Generation," featured in today's Buffalo News. Slow-Roasted Fig Preserves with Lemon(From “Canning for a New Generation,”…

It'll be an all-male crew at the Crisis Services fundraiser Tuesday night. Drew “The Wing King” Cerza, Tim Herzog of Flying Bison Brewing and a roster of other notable men are tying on their aprons to support Western New York's comprehensive crisis center. The men won't be designing the dishes themselves. Restaurants participating include The Left Bank, …

This just in: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino, son of an Italian immigrant, really likes Italian food. The New York Times has a story sharing some of Paladino's favorite places to eat. According to reporter Javier Hernandez: If Mr. Paladino, the rabble-rousing upstate millionaire, has one guilty pleasure, it is fine food — usually fine …

There never seem to be enough croutons in my salad. I want more crunchy nuggets to entertain me while I'm mowing through a pile of health-boosting foliage. Then I met fattoush, at the hands of Mouna Kabalan, the News' Cook of the Month. This Lebanese favorite delivers a lettuce-free salad of parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, dressed simply with fresh lemon and…