Apple Cider Gone Wild! Top 10 Cider Recipes

I had my first real fall moment of the year this morning: drinking apple cider. The crisp, cool, thirst-quenching drink is the perfect inauguration for autumn.  You can have it with any meal, for a snack, or warm it up and froth it if you want to go frou-frou. But did you know it can be enjoyed in more than just a glass?

10. Apple Cider Gravy

Though a bold choice for Thanksgiving, a little sweetness may go a long way with your savory turkey. Not convinced? Have you ever put apples or cranberries in your stuffing? Or enjoy spreading some sweet cranberry sauce on your turkey sandwich? Well now your gravy can do you a personal, sweet, favor.

Recipe: Nourish Network

9. Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake

Summer is over. Pineapple is no longer the seasonal fruit, and apples are in. So what do you do with that huge bag of apples sitting in your garage? Make cake…apple cider upside-down cake.

Recipe: Mid-Century Menu

8. Apple Cider Caramel Cake

More cake. This time, adding some creamy icing and caramel will make this a true dessert. Think of it as an alternative to carrot cake. No chunks of orange…just smooth, sweet and creamy cake. Does it feel like fall for you yet?

Recipe: Simply Fine Living

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The Endless Road Trip: Porklandia

Portland, Oregon may seem like the type of hippie-dippie place that knows its silken tofus from its seitan (and it is). But as I recently discovered, these hipsters also know their swine, from head to tail. Oregon is a serious pork-producing state, and Portland chefs get crazy/creative with pig parts of every variety. I ate my way through Porklandia so that you don’t have to.

At Tasty n Sons, nearly every dish, from salads to kimchi to chicken, comes with an egg on top (as god intended). It climaxes with this perfectly golden-brown, intensely crispy fried pork cutlet, served over spinach, with a soft fried egg for a crown.

The Woodsman Tavern is the first place I have ever been served a ham plate and then told the proper order in which to eat the hams, as if this was a fancy wine tasting—from most delicate to heartiest. Each one was prosciutto-thin, but with the full salty taste of a good ol’ Virginia-style baked ham.

Don’t forget the ears! At Whiskey Soda Lounge, a casual spot from acclaimed Pok Pok chef Andy Ricker, they’re stewed in 5-spice and deep-fried until crisp, served with a black vinegar dipping sauce. They’re crusty on the edges and chewy in the middle, with the texture of…well, ear.

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America’s Best New Sandwiches — 2012

You want sandwiches? We got sandwiches. Last year, Endless Simmer’s post on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches was our most-read story of 2011, and even helped turn The New Luther into a bit of a sell-out phenomenon. But America’s sandwich artisans haven’t stopped innovating, and we haven’t stopped salivating. So here we go, for your drooling-at-work pleasure, this year’s list of America’s top 10 craziest, loveliest, cheesiest, most creative new sandwiches.

10. The Noble Pig —  Noble Pig Sandwiches, Austin

Texas may be best known for its beef, but perhaps not for long, if chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez have anything to say about it. Their year-and-a-half-old Noble Pig serves up a namesake sandwich that somehow combines everything that is beautiful about pork products on one truly outstanding sandwich. Tender pulled pork, spicy slivers of ham, and crispy bits of bacon are all mixed together, topped with provolone cheese, and served on toasted, house-baked bread, for a porky trifecta that hits all of the spots. (Photo: Marshall Wright)

9. Pane et Panelle — Bar Stuzzichini, New York

Chickpeas may get typecast as functioning only in falafel form, but it turns out balls aren’t all they can do. Panelle is actually an old Sicilian street food snack—chickpeas and flour formed into light, airy strips and fried in olive oil. Stuzzichini‘s sandwich revives that classic and perfects it, layering crispy strips of panelle on a sesame-studded bun, in between levels of soft ricotta and caciocavallo cheeses. The result is a light-but-addictive sandwich that will make you curse every overly dense falafel wrap that has crossed your lips.

8. Chicharrones Banh Mi — Ink Sack, Los Angeles

There are a million banh mis in American nowadays, but we were most swept away by this version from Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio. At his new Ink Sack sandwich shop, tender slices of pork belly and pork butt are topped with pickled vegetables, plus the kicker — crispy chicharróne fried pork rinds, creating one incredible multi-culti pork bomb.

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Once It Hits Your Lips, It’s So good

I like doughnuts. I like them better than cupcakes and most other desserts, because doughnuts are fried and have that savory bit about them. They’re one of the sweets I can eat a lot of, and I do when I go to the doughnut shop at 8pm and the guy gives me 6 extra for free. Chocolate iced? Forget it. They’re my dessert kryptonite.

So when Krispy Kreme contacted ES and asked if one of us wanted to go to their first-ever Blogger Summit, I jumped on it. To be honest, I was really reserved at first. I’ve never been a Krispy Kreme fanatic, and I felt like I was walking into the McDonald’s of the dessert world — could these doughnuts really compare to my beloved local doughnut shop? Did it matter? Could I like them knowing they’re mass produced from a mix? I knew I wouldn’t see anyone making batter by hand, but I tried to keep an open mind as I departed for the Krispy Kreme Factory Tour  in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Turns out there weren’t any oompa-loompas. Mostly, it was just a big factory with a lot of pallets of ingredients and bags of mix that they produce to send out to the stores. I think I saw shelf stable egg yolk. I’m not sure. Much of the tour resembled my college chem lab rather than any food-serving establishment. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in many parts of the factory…to preserve integrity, and I guess also for liability purposes. Nobody needs pictures of me falling into the glaze river.

The theme of the tour was consistency; every doughnut needs to taste exactly the same. In the lab, they test every batch of dry mix that goes out. After a few hours at the factory, I was feeling discouraged and over the whole “factory farmed doughnut” thing. But then I ate a doughnut fresh off the line. It was still warm with glaze, and I decided that maybe I’d give this company a chance.

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Thanks for Stealing My Idea, Federal Donuts.

I love the local Philly donut shop, Federal Donuts. I really do.

On another note, if you follow the @EndlessSimmer twitter, you know last week I was at the Krispy Kreme factory (details to come, stay tuned!) During our product development session, I made this creation:

Vanilla glaze (only because I wasn’t offered marshmallow), graham cracker crumbs, chocolate drizzle.

(Pic: Krispy Kreme)

And then five days later, Federal Donuts unveiled this on their facebook page:

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