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In "The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors," features in today's Buffalo News, Robert and Molly Krause encourage cooks to experiment with tried-and-true flavor combinations, like this blend of thyme, sesame and sumac that evokes the Lebanese spice blend za'atar. Za’atar Roasted Chicken This flavorful spice mix is used as a rub for a roasted chicken. Tr…

News from the front, in the War on Your Diet: there's bacon baklava out there, studded with pecans and gooey with maple syrup. Just so you know. At Dog Eat Blog, Anna writes:  Don't get scared by the phyllo, it's not that bad.  Do get motivated by the idea of chewy, crunchy, bacon- and maple-flavored bites that are the perfect breakfast, snack…

Food and Drink

 Ukrainians don't let ice floes stop them from catching some rays. "Perhaps it's the very discomfort of the climate that makes Ukrainians delight in the outdoors. There's nothing like a walk down the banks of the icy Dnieper River to make one crave the comfort of delicate pierogi," Roma Mandzyk wrote at Buffalo Rising. Tonight, the Ukrainian-A…

Top confectionary arts students from across Canada will try to outdo each other this weekend at Decadence, a pastry competition featuring chocolate and icewine. Held in the Canadian Wine and Food Institute at Niagara College, the three-day affair features a gala dinner with an ambitious menu, seven dishes and dessert, that rivals any "Iron Chef" show in comp…

Saving the last box of Dulce de Leche until the Girl Scouts come back with another supply? Brace yourself. The Wall Street Journal reports that Girl Scouts groups are rethinking their strategy for cookie sales, and less popular flavors will get cut. Lovers of the chocolaty Thin Mints, crunchy peanut-buttery Do-Si-Dos and buttery Trefoils shortbread don't need to fret.…

Watson's Chocolates and their Buffalo-style chocolate-covered sponge candy will get their close-up Monday night on the Food Network. Adam Gertler, host of "Kid in a Candy Store," visited in December with camera crews for a two-day shoot of Watson's Tonawanda production facility and the Watson's store on Transit Road. The Buffalo confectioner will s…

SeaBar's Chef Mike Andrzejewski will reinvent the chicken wing and pierogis at a dinner set for Wednesday at Manhattan's James Beard House, a showcase for innovative chefs from across the United States. It's the fourth time that Andrzejewski has made the trip to demonstrate his cuisine in the Big Apple. The menu here lays out the particulars: Hors d’Oeuvre P…

Neil Gallagher's Cajun-inflected chili, pumped up with andouille sausage, took first place at Sunday's Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off, part of the Buffalo Winterfest. It's a dark, smoky flavor bomb with plenty of heat. Here's Gallagher's recipe, and those of the other winners - a chili based on local beef and tomatoes, and another, judged most creative,…

Daisy Pullman King, the News February Cook of the Month, fried up a batch of these meatballs when we visited recently. Then she had to fry up some more, after the photographer and I ate them up. It might seem like overkill to fry ground beef in oil and butter, but the application of flour gave these meatballs a browned crust that helps make them irresistable. King said the…

If it's February, it's soup time. If you want to go soup shopping, head to North Tonawanda the day before Valentine's. On Sunday, Feb. 13, Zonta Club of the Tonawandas will be hosting its fifth annual Soup Cook Off. Attendees can taste all the soups - there were about 30 last year - and vote for the ones they like best. Admission is $10 adults, $5 ages 6-16,…

Pig butchering as a social event is a tradition going back centuries in rural villages. Only lately has it been translated to entertainment, as a new generation learns to make salami in the city.  On April 19, Chef Bruce Wieszala will disassemble a whole pig, a heritage breed pasture-raised animal from Lockport's T-Meadow Farms. (He likes doing that sort of …

No matter how fervently kids pray for a snow day, smuggling spoons into the freezer and other acts of juvenile juju, they almost always end up making parents wish the school buses had all-wheel drive. "I'm bored." Really? Then get cooking. Here's some recipes that children can make, with adults hovering, and handling knives if necessary. Most use fairly common ingredients…

Here's an intriguing story from the Wall Street Journal on the rising popularity of mushroom kits. Turns out that with a modest amount of fuss, crops of edible mushrooms will grow readily in your house: To get started, a few days of refrigeration may be necessary for the kit, followed by a soak in water. Then in as little as a week, mushrooms will start…

Jim Lahey's recipe for no-knead bread- popularized by Mark Bittman - has become a genuine 21st century baking sensation. The discovery that even novice bakers can turn out crusty, tasty loaves with a minimum of fuss motivated lots of people, in Buffalo and elsewhere, to brave their fear of flour and get busy. Others need a little nudging and a skilled helper to g…

So cocktails are hot again, and exotic cocktail fixings are even hotter. Makes sense that professional booze pushers would want to design signature cocktails. If you're clever enough to concoct a drink that faithfully delivers a familiar taste sensation, with intoxicating liquor? So hot it makes the sun's surface seem like an ice fishing weekend. At Cli…