Category: Cool Link

Making the Switch to Safflower Oil

courtesy of

Last week my mother came home very excited about frying fish. Naturally I was confused. She kept saying, “wait until you taste this fish.” I assumed it was some special exotic fish she’d picked up a a fishmongers. But it turns out she wasn’t as excited about the bass. She was excited about this flavorless, healthy cooking oil. I shook my head and went back to researching restaurants for Father’s Day.

Shortly thereafter, she brought over a small piece of lightly breaded, fried  fish. It was delicious. “It’s safflower oil. See how it doesn’t smell or taste fishy? And the color is perfect too. My friend says its what the stars use. I knew you’d like that!” Again, I shook my head and went back to enjoying the fish.

safflower bloom

It got me thinking though. Safflower Oil? What does safflower look like? Where does it grow? And if it’s so awesome, why haven’t we heard more about it? So I started doing a bit of research. had MANY postings about the benefits. It turns out that safflower oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil and less saturated fat. Not to mention that it’s virtually flavorless.

I try to limited fried foods in my diet (at least in home cooked meals). But upon greater detail, I may switch completely from canola oil and olive oil to this fabulous safflower oil. Let me know what you find. Which oil do you prefer?


Forget the Food Pyramid… Choose My Plate!

I mentioned in a weekly digest email to my subscribers that I’d like to eat healthier. I’ve done a bit better, but now I’m trying to follow the USDA’s recommendations. And it’s a lot easier than it used to be!

Instead of confusing children with the proportions of the pyramid that I grew up with, the USDA has now opted for a more easily interpreted and visually familiar image: a plate.

In visiting the site, I realized that it offers so much more than an explanation of what foods fit into what section. It actually allows you to customize your diet. Based on your age, weight, height and level of activity- you can find out exactly the amount of each food group you should eat a day!

So instead of paying some consultant or group to help you with your diet, the government offers it for free! Check it out!

100 Dishes to Eat in Atlanta Before You Die

(as compiled by Cliff Bostock, Besha Rodell, and Jennifer Zyman for Creative Loafing)

We’ve picked a mix of classics, favorites and bests — a list that will help you navigate our city in all its gastronomic glory. We also asked a few chefs around town to pick one dish they’d eat before they die— one took the question quite literally — to find out what the professionals hunger for. So dig in — first reader to complete the list wins a heart attack and boasting rights.

Print off a checklist of the 100 dishes so you don’t miss a single bite.

To read more, click HERE.

$20 Dinner with Chef Ryan Smith… plus two recipes

(As written by Wyatt Williams for Creative Loafing  5/2/11)

Behind the pecky cypress-paneled dining room of Empire State South, executive chef Ryan Smith is standing in the kitchen. A hog’s head brines in a pot to his side. A nearby white board is covered with notes like “SIX HAMS OFF CURE MAY 10.” He’s arranged a spread of groceries from the Sweet Auburn Curb Market on the counter in front of him, assessing how best to use the vegetables and legumes — okra, corn, butter beans, pink-eyed peas — that he casually purchased without much of a plan earlier this morning. At the center of the spread, though, are a few cuts that make Smith’s meal a truly under-twenty-dollar affair: two pig ears, a couple of smoked ham hocks, and a big, flat piece of tripe. Hugh Acheson, the pretty “Top Chef Masters” star and part owner of Empire State South, saunters over in pristine chef whites behind Smith and cracks, “Pig ears? Tripe? Yeah, like anyone is going to make that.”

To read more click HERE.

(C) James Camp

F&W: America’s Best and Most Accessible Value Wines

F&W’s Ray Isle makes it easy to find a wonderful bottle no matter where you are—even if it’s a so-so wine shop or a chain restaurant.

(C) Andy Martin

Shopping for wine is great fun—unless you are trying to find a specific wine, in which case it becomes extremely frustrating. That’s because even a good shop can carry only a tiny fraction of the vast number of wines available in the United States. Look for one made in limited amounts, and you’re likely to end up thwarted. But there’s a way to improve the odds. Recently, I tasted more than 70 wines produced or imported in amounts greater than 150,000 cases per year, enough to stock store shelves nationwide. Here you’ll find my 10 picks, plus my favorite new website and wine-finding apps and my six rules for making wine simple and accessible.

5 Accessible Value Red Wines

2009 Alamos Malbec ($11) Made by Argentina’s illustrious Catena family, Alamos’s bottling shows exactly what people love about Malbec: dense, dark-berry fruit and smoky spice notes.

2008 Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah ($12) Bogle released its first Petite Sirah back in 1978, before many people had ever heard of the variety. Petite Sirah is still less well known than it should be, especially given how appealing this boysenberry-scented wine is.

2008 Apothic Red ($14) This lush, fruity blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrahwill be hard to resist for people whose taste leans toward big, supercharged reds.

2007 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($17) Aided by a terrific vintage, longtime winemaker Rick Sayre has created an impressively layered, cassis-inflected Cabernet.

2008 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($24) Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse’s deft touch with Pinot Noir is especially impressive given how much she makes of this basic Sonoma Coast bottling. The wine is elegant and aromatic, with plenty of dark-cherry fruit.

5 Accessible Value White Wines

2009 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling ($9) This off-dry (i.e., lightly sweet) bottling is a good example of how a touch of sweetness can nicely set off Riesling‘s lively acidity. Anyone skeptical of off-dry whites should try the wine with a spicy Asian dish like a Thai curry: It’s an ideal match.

2009 Kris Pinot Grigio ($14) This nectariney wine is made by noted Alto Adige producer Franz Haas, in conjunction with US–based importer Leonardo Locascio. It has much more personality than many similarly priced Pinot Grigios.

2009 Chateau St Jean Sonoma County Chardonnay ($14) Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren’s basic Chardonnay has been a go-to value white for many years now, and the ’09 will only sustain the wine’s reputation. Silky, with an alluring touch of sweet oak, it’s classic California Chardonnay.

2009 Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($14) A combination of grapes from Marlborough’s Awatere and Wairau subregions gives this white a good balance of crisp gooseberry and citrus fruit and the grassy, herbal notes that are the hallmarks of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

2008 Simi Sonoma County Chardonnay ($20) Affordable Chardonnays rarely have this much poise. That’s partly a result of this wine’s blend of regions, in which grapes from the Russian River Valley, the Alexander Valley and Carneros provide succulent fruit, ripe depth and bright citrus notes in equal proportion.

(C) Andy Martin

Useful Wine-Finding Tech Tools

With help from the Web or a smartphone, tracking down a particular bottle is getting easier. Here, three great digital tools.

Snooth Wine Pro Snap a picture of a wine label; this clever app will search its vast database of wines to point you to a retailer and tell you the best prices. $5; Wine Info scans bar codes to bring up wine availability. It can also compare different vintages of the same wine. $4; This intelligently designed new site finds stores that carry a particular wine and generates an interactive map.

Enjoy this blog? Share it with your friends!