Tuesday’s tidbits

picture-13The CIA in Spain

File this one under sites-you-must-bookmark. The CIA (Culinary Institute of America, that is) teamed up with the Spanish trade commissions for food and wine to create the spectacular new Worlds of Flavor Spain Web site. Forget Mario Batali traipsing through Iberia with Gwyneth Paltrow in tow and focus on this gem instead. None other than Ferran Adria and Jose Andres are this site’s co-chairs, and they’ll introduce you to a wealth of instructional videos, dozens of tempting recipes, explanations of Spain’s regional cuisines, glorious spotlights on its cheese and wine, and a marketplace to buy specialty ingredients. The site may be aimed at professional chefs, but there’s plenty here to entertain and inspire the home cook. This one sets a new benchmark for food on the Web.

picture-21Can’t wait to make this

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured the rustic charms of a British meat pie. The only motivation I’ll need to make this adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s pastry-topped meat-and-veg Guinness Pie is a chilly evening.

Not every one is a winner

fwpuddingThe March issue of Food & Wine has a gorgeous special section of 40 healthy recipes. The Creamy Caramel Pudding tempted my sweet tooth, so I made a batch this weekend. The results were…mixed. It’s more sweet than caramel-y (my fault–I didn’t let the caramel cook long enough). But what put me off more was the gelatinous texture, thanks to 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. Still, it wasn’t awful, especially when topped with chopped salty roasted peanuts to cut the sweetness. That’s OK, I’m still eager to try the Beet Salad with Tangerines. But for a more satisfying low-fat pudding experience, try Cooking Light’s Butterscotch Pudding or Chocolate Pudding (make it with dark chocolate–yum!). Both include egg yolks and a touch of butter for a richer–yet still low-fat–pudding.

Tom on Coke

picture-41What’s your opinion of “Top Chef” top judge Tom Colicchio in a commercial hawking the “taste” of Diet Coke during the Oscars? It left a bad taste in my mouth–much like a sip of Diet Coke does, blech!–but I still thought, “Dude, take the money and run.” Add your 2 cents at Serious Eats. Or check out what the community at Epicurious has to say about this tempest in a Coke can. Hey, it’s a diversion from worrying about the economy.

But we still love Fabio

picture-5Speaking of “Top Chef,” I joined a lot of other fans in mourning the exit of Season 5 charmer Fabio. Check out YumSugar’s interview with the man who will surely be this season’s fan favorite.