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Rapper rooting for Killeen boy with cancer

That’s so cool Source: Rapper among hundreds rooting for Killeen boy with cancer – The Killeen Daily Herald: Health


R&A asks members to allow women to join (Yahoo Sports)

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Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates

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When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: A citrus salad to tide you over until spring really comes — and the stuffed dates you’ll want to eat always.

3 AM. My eyes fly open. I’m not sure who or what is to blame — my coughing son, my snoring dog, my hormones, the loud drunken dude passing by our house, the mini earthquake — but here I am, at 3 AM, staring at the ceiling, electrically awake. I am a vibrating blob of neuroses. I am slowly slipping over to the dark side. 

First I go through the minor stuff. Compost must go out tomorrow. Need more floss. Don’t forget to make crêpes for the school party.

Then I jog through the annoyances. What in the world is that smell in the living room? Do I need to report those neighbors with the crazy dog? Where is my favorite potato peeler?

Then I get to the rants. The short-short denim shorts being sold in every single store that I can’t wear because, well, they’re just too short. Eleven-year-old kids glued to their iPods. Those new Jacked Doritos — I mean what’s wrong with original nacho cheese? And why didn’t someone protect Justin Bieber from the perils of fame?

And then I drop into a full-scale tailspin about pesticides and antibiotics and too many cars and global warming. I breathe for my sick grandmother. I ache for my friend whose father just died. I worry about foster kids everywhere, the passengers on that missing Malaysian airliner, and the drama unfolding in Ukraine. 

I want to wake up my kids and kiss them. I want my husband to come home from his business trip so that I can hold his hand and hear his breath. I want to pull myself out of this ugly quicksand and find my way back to my dreams. 

I roll out of bed, walk down the hall, and enter the kitchen. 

I consider a shot of vodka. 

I reconsider. 

I stare at the daffodils and the platter of citrus on my kitchen table. I smile at the explosion of yellows and oranges glowing in the moonlight.

I feel recalibrated.

I return to bed and drift off to sleep assembling over and over again a salad of sliced navel oranges, broiled dates stuffed with goat cheese, and toasted almonds. I make the salad for lunch the next day. And the next. Until all of the citrus is gone and the daffodils are wilted.

Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates

Serves 1, generously 

1 shallot, diced
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 pitted dates
1/4 cup goat cheese (fresh and creamy, not aged)
A splash good balsamic 
2 navel oranges (or Cara Cara or juice oranges)
1 seedless tangerine
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon slivered blanched almonds, lightly toaste
Lemon zest (preferably made with a zester, but a Microplane is fine)
8 parsley leaves

See full recipe (and save it and print it) here.  

Photos by Phyllis Grant 


All About Blanching

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Everything you ever wanted to know about blanching. And more.

After a winter of braising, roasting, boiling, and baking, we are eager for the low-maintenance vegetables of spring: tangles of pea shoots, slices of radish, leggy asparagus, peas popped directly from pod to mouth. When we do cook these tender little things, it doesn’t take much — and one of our favorite ways to do it is to blanch.

Blanching requires little more than putting a large pot of water on to boil, salting it to an oceanic extreme, and preparing your vegetables: trimming your beans, breaking down a head of broccoli. It serves three purposes: to partially cook vegetables, to season them evenly, and to retain their color — the process both makes your asparagus a brighter shade of springy green, and keeps it greener for longer. 

More: Once asparagus arrives, blanch it, then toss it with young garlic and horseradish.

Which vegetables should you blanch? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to sauté thick, fibrous vegetables like collard greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe, or green beans, blanching them first will win you a shorter cooking time and tender — but not mushy — vegetables. If you’ve ever felt that you have to use too much oil to cook your vegetables to your desired softness, turn to blanching — it will get you there faster, without excess oil.

More: If you want to grill hardier root vegetables — like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or celeriac — be sure to blanch them first.

Fava beans want to be blanched. Blanched tomatoes shed their skins immediately. (Hussies.) You can blanch scallions to soften their bite. Almonds even need a bit of a blanch before they turn to milk. The process is a friend to almost any vegetable.

To blanch any vegetable, you will need the following:

  • A large pot
  • Salt (like kosher or sea salt — save the fancy flaky stuff for finishing)
  • Tongs
  • A colander or large fine mesh strainer
  • A bowl full of ice water
  • Prepped vegetables of similar sizes (to ensure even cooking)

Assemble your cast, then get blanching. Here’s how:

First, fill your large pot with water, leaving enough room for your bubbles to bubble and your vegetables to fit without risking a tidal wave. Thomas Keller suggests you use a stockpot big enough that the water continues to boil when the vegetables are added, but a large dutch oven will work, too. 

Salt the water like you would when cooking pasta — it should taste like the sea. 1/4 cup of salt per gallon should suffice. Sit your colander inside your ice bath so that water fills the colander.

Once your water boils, use the tongs to drop in your vegetables. The time your vegetables need to cook will depend on their type and size. Remember that not all broccoli is created equal, and the same goes for asparagus, peas, collards — the whole lot. So give them a good 30 to 60 seconds, then start testing them for doneness. (Be careful not to burn your mouth here — you’ll want those tastebuds for the eating you’re doing later.)

Feel free to keep your pot uncovered — Cooks Illustrated has ruled that vegetables blanched without a cover stay just as colorful and crisp as they do when covered.

Once your vegetables are ready, remove them immediately from the pot and transfer them to the colander-in-ice-bath setup — you want them to be completely submerged. Swish them around a bit, so that the icy cold water is evenly distributed and keeps them from cooking any more than you intended. This bit is often called “shocking.”

After your vegetables have cooled fully, dry them well. You can then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to have on hand for impromptu sautés, frittatas, and salads. They will make for an excellent last-minute addition to a packed lunch. Or toss them with a bright sauce, and be grateful that they don’t need much else. 

Tell us: What are your best blanching tips?

Photos by James Ransom


Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette

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Every week — often with your help — Food52’s Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: You can make baguettes at home — in 4 hours, from nothing — and they’ll disappear faster than your favorite bakery’s. 

Raise your hand if you’ve always wanted to get into the rhythm of baking your own bread. Now raise your hand if you’ve actually done it. 

Too many of us have hesitated, then let the thought slip away. We froze at the technical abyss of caring for a sourdough starter, couldn’t commit to consecutive days of planning and tending. We don’t know what we’re making for dinner tonight, let alone in three days. (But one day we swear this will all come naturally, just as soon as we’ve got that wood-burning oven and proofing cabinet.)

Right. This recipe is the aggressive, no-more-excuses shove that we need.

It comes from Dan Leader, founder of Bread Alone, via William Alexander‘s IACP-award winning Saveur Magazine story on American Bread. Leader developed the recipe to fit in home cooks’ ovens and nestle into their schedules, with ingredients and equipment they’ve got nearby — but he told me, “If I had to make it at Bread Alone, I’d make this recipe.”

If I can make a really good baguette — in 4 hours, from nothing — you can too. It will have a resilient, toffee-colored crust and a honeycombed middle that huffs hot, yeasty air when you tear into it. The smell of it baking will simultaneously make you feel hungry, safe, and accomplished. It will taste like home and like Paris. It might have arrhythmic slashes across the top — some would call them unprofessional; I call them spunky. (If you want to look like a pro, buy a nice lame.)

And it will only take you 4 hours of intermittent attention, and won’t require a starter nor any equipment you don’t already own. You have an oven, baking sheets, an ice cube tray, a skillet, parchment, and a pair of scissors, right? (Don’t you love quizzes like this?) I’d bet you also have salt, flour, and water, probably even active dry yeast. (If not, the closest corner store does.) 

“There are times when I plan out a menu only to realize I forgot to buy a baguette or two and can make this quick.” Food52er Ashley Marie told me. “In addition, I find they’re fun for when I want bragging rights for guests (‘Why yes, these are really HOMEMADE baguettes I made fresh today’).”

Here’s how to do it — as Leader says, “bread baking is more wait than work.”

Stir together yeast and warm water. 10 minutes later, stir in flour.

Let that hang out for 20 minutes to hydrate.

Now add salt and knead for about 10 minutes, till it’s smooth and springy. You could do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook — or food processor, which Alexander prefers — but I think a good knead is better than an hour of psychotherapy, and it’s free. 

Plop it in a greased bowl, seal it with plastic, and park it in a cold oven (or microwave) for about 45 minutes. Its girth will double.


Fold it like a T-shirt, then put it back. Within an hour, it will double again.

Now roll it into three baguette-like tubes. Don’t use much flour — a little sticking will help keep them from sliding around.

Line your tubes up on a floured piece of parchment, then scoot them together with parchment poking up between each tube of dough. Stick rolled towels on each side as ramparts, so the baguettes rise up, not outward in their last stint.

While they double again, heat your oven to 475° F, with a baking stone (or rimless or upside-down baking sheet) in the middle and a cast iron skillet in the bottom (you’ll see why soon).

Once the baguettes are puffed and the oven is scorching, slash the tops with your fancy lame, or just snip them with scissors — a trick I learned from our Test Kitchen Assistant, Erin McDowell. A knife that isn’t razor sharp won’t help you here.

Now this is the only part that takes coordination — pull out your middle oven rack, confidently slide the parchment with loaves onto the stone (or faux-stone), then tuck the rack back in and pour ice cubes into your hot skillet. Shut the oven and walk away. Set a timer for 20 minutes. This steam will help the loaves finish rising before the crust forms. 

And what a crust it will be. Four hours ago, this was still flour in a bin and yeast in a packet. You brought it to life, with the hands you have, the bread experience you don’t. And you’ll do it again soon.

Dan Leader’s 4-Hour Baguette

Adapted slightly from Local Breads (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007) and Saveur Magazine

Makes 3 baguettes

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) tap water, heated to 115° F
1 teaspoon (1/8 ounces) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups (14 2/3 ounces) all–purpose flour
4 teaspoons (3/8 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Canola oil, for greasing bowl
1/2 cup ice cubes

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share — from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what’s so smart about it) at Thanks to Food52 community member Ashley Marie for this one!

Photos by James Ransom


Fairy Bread Cookies

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