From couponing to home gardening, grocery shoppers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars.
Recipe.com has created a magazine companion that is filled with recipes that include a per-serving cost analysis. The first issue includes topics such as 10 dinners for $10, a month of low-cost meals, using pasta to stretch a budget, and recipes for making popular take-out items at home.
There's also a free mobile tag-reader app that allows you to scan tags throughout the magazine and download recipes to your phone. If you don't have a smartphone, type Recipe.com/tags into your browser to access an interactive list of all the tagged recipes in the publication.
The best 'right now'
Esquire food blogger and author John Mariani listed the "Best Restaurants in Kentucky Right Now" in a recent post and includes several in Central Kentucky. They are:
Lexington's Dudley's on Short, 259 West Short Street; Jonathan at Gratz Park, 120 West Second Street; Malone's, 3347 Tates Creek Road; and Yamaguchi's Sake and Tapas, 125 Codell Drive; and Midway's Holly Hill Inn, 426 North Winter Street, and Heirloom, 125 Main Street.
You can read what Mariani has to say about each at Esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/kentucky-restaurants-070511.
Pick and choose
Courtney Farms in Bagdad has created a "virtual farmers market" to sell produce directly to consumers.
Mary and Shane Courtney, owners of the 94-acre farm in Shelby County, have offered community supported agriculture memberships for two years, but their new A La Carte program is designed for people who want to pick and choose their vegetables. Consumers can go to CourtneyFarmsCSA.com and choose among six locations in Shelbyville and Louisville to pick up their orders.
The program offers vegetables grown at Courtney Farms. They include: beets (candy-striped, golden and red), rainbow Swiss chard, cucumbers, garlic, green onions, squash (yellow and Zephyr, which is part yellow and green), and zucchini. For additional A la Carte offerings, Courtney Farms collaborates with a number of local farmers. They include:
■ Swallow Rail Farm in Simpsonville: asparagus, blueberries, herbs, eggs, lamb, specialty vegetables.
■ Mulberry Orchard in Shelbyville: apples, peaches.
■ Stone Cross Farms and Cloverdale Creamery in Taylorsville: beef, pork, and English-style farmstead cheeses made from local milk in four flavors.
■ Highland Livestock in Waddy: frozen hamburger patties and ground beef, beef jerky in hickory-smoked original and black pepper.
■ Debbie Young in Finchville: Hampshire-Suffolk cross lamb.
■ Cedar Haven Farm in Waddy and Shelby Countian Suzi Rice: blackberries.
■ David Davidson in Henry County and the Hogg family in Shelbyville: eggs.
■ Franklin County producer Mike Salyers: mild and hot sausage, asparagus.
■ Franklin County beekeeper Joel Shrader: raw honey.
■ Fayette County producer Todd Clark: whole chickens and turkeys.
■ Smiley's Strawberries in Washington County: strawberries.
■ Gilkison Farms in Winchester: black raspberries.
■ Steve Isaacs in Nonesuch: table grapes.
All dressed in white
It is Christmas in July at Southern Living. The magazine is challenging readers to create a white cake, and the winning recipe will be featured on the cover of the December issue.
The contest winner will receive $1,000. Two runners-up will receive $500 each, and their recipes will be featured in the dessert story in December.
Here's how to enter: Start with one of Southern Living's five favorite holiday cake batters listed on the Web site, then make it your own. The deadline for submissions is July 31. Go to Southernliving.com/cakecontest.
Ky.'s foodie destination
Grub Street, New York magazine's food and restaurant blog, has compiled a list of the top foodie destinations in each state, with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail representing Kentucky. Here is what Grub Street had to say about it:
"It wouldn't be too difficult to chart your own tour of Kentucky's distilleries, but why bother when the Kentucky Distillers' Association has done the work for you? Just head for the official site to get all the info you need to plan your pilgrimage to America's boozy Promised Land."
The blog also suggests adding Buffalo Trace to the itinerary and stopping at The Brown Hotel in Louisville for its signature hot Brown. Go to Newyork.grubstreet.com/2011/05/51_foodie_destinations.html#photo=18x00055.
10 summer food trends
If you would like to jazz up your summer menus, take a look at Betty Crocker's top 10 summer food trends, then try a new recipe for each.
The trends and recipe ideas include:
■ Cheeky tiki. Originally inspired by South Pacific culture, the fun tiki trend is back in a big way. Make mai tai tiki pops. Rum-spiked frozen treats take the flavors of a tiki cocktail — the mai tai — and turn it into a fruity (and boozy) ice pop.
■ New takes on cupcakes. Dessert lovers are inventing interesting twists on the classic cupcake — even looking to retro refrigerator, or "icebox," desserts for inspiration. Try lemon-ginger icebox cookie cupcakes made with cookies — which, when stacked between layers of whipped cream and then chilled, become cakelike.
■ Spice it up. Bold and big flavors are all the rage, updating classic foods through new flavor combinations and cooking techniques. Make fresh sriracha refrigerator pickles by adding a hot, Thai-inspired sauce that spices up your garden bounty — no canning equipment required.
■ Move over, meat. With vegetarian — and flexitarian — eating gaining popularity, more and more people are seeking meatless options that don't skimp on flavor. Prepare a monster veggie burger loaded with fresh vegetables and tasty chickpeas. It moves veggies from the side to the center of the plate.
■ Easy freezy fun. Frozen ice cream novelties are the ultimate summer treats for adults and kids, leading to interest in homemade ice cream and frozen pops. Fruity fro-yo fun bars call for four ingredients and a few simple steps, so it's easy to make with the kids.
■ Thrillin' grillin.' Grillmasters everywhere are taking lessons from the "tableside" preparation trend, using the grill to bring flavor to unexpected dishes. Make grillside guacamole with fresh avocados, sweet onions and other veggies.
■ Kid food grows up. The foods that we loved best as children always inspire special memories. Make beer snow cones from granita-style beer "snow" and a drizzle of fruity simple syrup.
■ Pie lovin.' This has been declared the "Year of the Pie," and we are seeing (and eating) creative takes on pies, from sweet to savory. Take crunchy graham crackers, melty chocolate, and marshmallows, and put them into a handheld pie pocket.
■ Back-yard green grocer. More people than ever are "shopping" in their own gardens — or at local farmers markets — to create flavorful summer dishes full of their favorite veggies. Make green garden fries from fresh veggies.
■ Switch up the 'wich. Sandwiches are the ultimate comfort food — from old favorites like PB&J and grilled cheese to new obsessions like Korean tacos. We're seeing this trend in everything from food trucks to restaurants devoted to a singular type of sandwich. Serve Greek grilled cheese tacos, a Mediterranean-inspired dish that reinvents the familiar grilled cheese sandwich in taco form.
Recipes are at Bettycrocker.com/redhot.