Lindsay Lohan’s Second Act, a Morrissey Meltdown, and More (Unexpected) Places We Found Food This Week

As of late, I’ve become obsessive in my quest to “find the food angle” everywhere I look. The good news: I find a lot of food where I least expect it. Every Friday, I will present each week’s findings. Here are last week’s.

Arshad Khan, the fetching chaiwalla of Islamabad, Pakistan: Earlier this week, Arshad Khan, an 18-year-old who works as a chaiwalla (chai vendor) in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, was photographed and slapped on Instagram, activating the internet’s collective libido. There he is—Khan, the male analog to Aishwarya Rai, the blue-eyed Miss World winner from the South Asian subcontinent whose beauty compelled Julia Roberts to call Rai the “most beautiful woman in the world.” Khan’s sudden ubiquity online fooled some netizens into thinking his beauty could provide a reprieve for an inordinately complex, unsettling dispute between India and Pakistan, if not thaw tensions between the two countries altogether. Hm. To others, though, he rapidly became a sentient metaphor for chai’s ability to unite all Pakistanis. Hm.

The travels of Eric Trump: The dashing and dapper Eric Trump has stolen more than just “my heart”; he also ventured to an In-N-Out located in Las Vegas and stole some lemonade, hiding it in a receptacle meant for free water! There he was, “snapped” holding a cup rather glaringly filled with maize-hued liquid.

Hong Kong’s very own Starbucks uncle, unfazed and statuesque as a flood raged on: Starbucks uncle, Starbucks uncle. In the midst of some ungainly floods in Hong Kong this week, a 23-year-old Hong Kong resident happened upon an older man sitting at a Starbucks in Hong Kong’s Chai Wan district, his feet steeped in muddy rainwater, and took a photo of him. It circulated rapidly and feverishly. Many scavenged for greater imagistic truths in this photo—was this anonymous geriatric, for example, a “symbol” of the blasé attitude of most people who live in Hong Kong, harboring a disaffected mood towards the torrential goings-on around them? More disastrous than the flood and the musings this photo inspired is perhaps this image’s memefication; netizens with MS Paint across the territory began to situate this poor man, peering at a newspaper, against other disastrous backdrops.

Lindsay Lohan’s plan to “save” Syria’s refugees: Given her remarkable, Fonda-esque fluency when it came to live-tweeting the Brexit vote, Lohan’s interest in helping out Syria’s displaced isn’t terribly surprising. Moved to her action after visiting a Syrian refugee camp in Nizip, Turkey earlier in October, Lohan has decided to partner with German energy drink manufacturer Mintanine and send the refugees she met bottles of the drink. The methodology is more puzzling than suspect, yet Lohan has nevertheless been mocked rather ruthlessly and snidely in many corners of the internet for her endeavor. I believe her heart to be in the right place.

The hideous rumor that Pamela Anderson attempted to assassinate Julian Assange with a vegan Pret a Manger sandwich: Sigh. Stop asking whether this happened; I have already addressed it. To the sandwich mythos, I say—enough.

Morrissey’s meltdown—and a vendor’s backlash: Last month, Morrissey, former frontman for the Smiths who has grown increasingly more difficult defend as I’ve gotten older, attended Chicago’s Riot Fest—with a demand. “Moz”, a staunch vegan and PETA acolyte, told vendors just hours before his set was to begin that they could not sell or store meat during his performance. One understandably disgruntled vendor, Puffs of Doom, growled back and created a parody sandwich in Morrissey’s likeness—the “Pork Morrissey Grilled Cheese,” a gorgon of a sandwich teeming with bacon ranch mac and cheese, barbecue pulled pork, and four kinds of cheese. The vendor revealed their sincere reason for doing so this week, citing a demand from customers for a response in the form of a sandwich. If I must take a “side” in this conflict, I choose Puffs of Doom’s; I have long outgrown my teenage tolerance for Morrissey’s petulance masquerading as relatable miserablism. Perhaps Morrissey will put this ordeal to song, as he has done before.

CBS’ new Candy Crush show: On Tuesday, CBS announced it had ordered a television game show version of Candy Crush, the beloved phone game, in response to apparent market demand. The live-action show calls for two participants to deploy their “wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer Candy Crush and be crowned the champions.” I have never played Candy Crush, so I have no “take” to offer on this development. But the show, on paper, has some appeal—recall Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple, a show with a similar premise that I watched fervently as a child. I caught a rerun a few weeks ago and was bored.

Facebook’s widening reach into every crevice of the way the world lives and interacts: The Silicon Valley behemoth behind the world’s most influential information network has now entered the hideously saturated domain of food delivery, providing another answer to the question that buttresses their mission: “How can we make Facebook more useful in your everyday life?” Now, those who use Facebook will be able to order food directly from restaurant pages. Amazing. I am glad the company is deploying its bountiful resources to address these matters over other, ostensibly less pressing concerns.

Okay, bye.

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Come Shop Food52 at the June Pop Up in Marin, California!

We’re of the opinion that good technology can make cooking easier, better, and more fun. Who could forget the Food-a-rac-a-cyle from the Jetsons or the Back to the Future Hydrator? And it’s not just on television or in the movies. Real-life technology can help you cook the way you’ve always wanted to cook, every time you pull out your chef’s knife and cutting board (and we’ve progressed way past the Makin’ Bacon).

Our latest and greatest tech find? The June Intelligent Oven—the smartest countertop oven we’ve ever seen. Want to see for yourself? June is demo-ing their cooking wonder at a pop up in the Corte Madera Mall in Marin County—and they invited us along to show off some of our favorite kitchen and home goods for you to shop!

While you ooh and aah over our handmade home decor and kitchen helpers galore, you’ll get a chance to see the June oven in action. This brilliant technology (we hear it got a 1600 on its SATs) takes the guesswork (i.e. the anxious sweating) out of cooking. It’s fully-loaded with a camera and LED technology, so it can detect what’s inside the oven—ensuring a roast, toast, broil, or bake to perfection. It’s is even connected to an app on your smartphone that lets you peek at the action and gives you notifications—okay, “beeboops!”—at various points in the cooking time.

Never again will you hope for medium-rare and get medium-well instead. And never again will you slice into your impeccably crispy-skinned chicken, weeping its precious juices, to determine whether it’s opaque all the way through. Now that’s one smart cookie oven (that coincidentally makes cookies).

You’ll be able to pre-order a June Intelligent Oven right at the pop up—plus shop any of our products in the showroom that we’ll ship to your home for free! Ready for the details?


Corte Madera Mall, 1618 Redwood Highway, Corte Madera, CA 94925


Monday to Friday, 10 A.M. to 8 P.M.
Saturday 10 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Sunday 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. (with extended holiday hours to be announced soon)

If you can’t make it, send all your Cali friends our way—or shop the pop-up’s collection to your heart’s content!

What are the tech gadgets you rely on in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments!

Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi

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If there were a time for an official, adoring goodbye to summer flavors, I think this would be it.

Bjork spent last weekend doing the official Fall Clean Up in preparation for winter, and I’ve been spending more and more time inside, working on my Fall Sweater Bod with new fall and winter soups, breads, and other cozy things. The days are still oscillating between WAS THAT A SNOWFLAKE? to WHY DID I PUT MY T-SHIRTS AWAY?, and even though it’s getting dark earlier and earlier, there are moments where you could step outside and almost feel like it’s June.

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But the fall-to-winter switch is really happening, and all of this gives me the image of us collective food lovers standing on the edge of a huge ship, waving to our summer favorites – the tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, green beans, and corn – as we set sail for winter. It’s been real, friends! Thank you for the fresh flavors and juicy bites! We’ll be in touch!

Not to say that we can’t break out the canned tomato sauce and ice-cube pesto stores in the freezer once the snow starts falling – I will be sad and disappointed in us if we don’t – but I think this recipe may be my last bittersweet goodbye to recipes involving fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s time.

Barramundi with Risotto 1 2 Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi

After the last Barramundi recipe I posted, the skillet with the fresh tomatoes and butter and garlic and white beans and such and the one that you all raved about in the comments ♡ and that had me licking my bowl with zero percent shame, I am feeling like we might be onto something with the white-fish-tomato-herb-garlic thing. So what else to do but carry on the torch with this amazing food and flavor combination to see what other magic we can create? Soul sister flavors, similar vibe, NEW FORM.

New form is looking like a few different things.

  1. Still using Barramundi, but this time: fried crispy and golden brown and perfect, with the skin. Okay, hoooooold on. It’s okay to feel your feelings about this. Sometimes it helps to know what you are and what you aren’t in life – and I will be the first to say, I am just straight up NOT the kind of person who is high-class enough to fry a whole skin-on, head-and-eyeballs fish for dinner. I’m more of a freezer shrimp poppers kinda girl // proud // represent. So let me tell you how this skin-on fish situation works for me. Our pals at Whole Foods, being attentive like it is to things like sustainable seafood, not only carry Barramundi but actually offer a skin-on version if you go and ask at the seafood counter. And if you’re not digging the skin situation just yet, it’s okay – you can also get the wonderful regular Barramundi filets and enjoy yourself some melt-in-the-mouth awesomeness just as easily.
  2. Speaking of melt-in-your-mouth perfection, how about a slow-simmered tomato risotto that has the most delicate kiss of fresh tomato-thyme flavor and sings little love notes of Parmesan and garlic to serve as a perfect little bed for your fried, crispy, golden, fish? MORE YASSS.

Barramundi with Risotto 3 Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi

I know a lot of us are looking to make sustainable seafood choices but don’t really know where to start. I’M IN THAT CLUB. And I’m telling you – here’s an easy way to do it: buy Barramundi. It’s a basic white fish that tastes similar to sea bass (the stuff you get a great restaurants? yes. that.) and it cooks as easily as the frozen tilapia that everyone is familiar with. But the bonus is that it has Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s highest rating for sustainability, plus it’s totally clean, mercury-free, and delicious.

See, told you. 9a1f1f447 Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi91821f3fc Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi

Barramundi with Risotto 1 Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi

Even better, October is National Seafood Month! 1f389 Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi If you want to celebrate and try Barramundi – either the skin-on OR skinless filets – be sure to use this coupon! Awyeah.

Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi
Serves: 6
Creamy Tomato Risotto
  • 6-7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • a few cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 4 tomatoes, grated or pulsed through a food processor
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large filets of Barramundi (skin on)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  1. Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan and keep it warm.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Stir until softened. Add the arborio rice and stir until coated with the butter.
  3. Add 1 cup of warm broth and stir until absorbed. Repeat with ½ cup of pulsed tomatoes. Repeat again, alternating between broth and tomatoes, stirring after each addition until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until the risotto is cooked. This will take 20-30 minutes. Add a handful of Parmesan, the remaining chopped tomatoes, and salt to taste and stir to combine.
  4. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add a generous swish of olive oil. Pat fish filets with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (I also cut them in half since they were so big! Eyeball it based on the number of people you’re serving.) Add dry filets to the pan, skin side down, and fry for several minutes on each side. It will be hot and it might splatter, so watch out. When the fish is cooked and golden brown/crispy, remove from the pan.
  5. Serve the fish with the risotto and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan.
  6. For a quick pan sauce, toss some butter in the pan that you fried the fish along with a pinch of thyme and lemon juice. Whisk until combined and serve over the fish.

This post was sponsored by Australis Barramundi. We love love love this delicious, sustainable fish! 

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The post Creamy Tomato Risotto with Pan Fried Barramundi appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

A Chicken and Cabbage Sheet Pan Supper You Can (Practically) Set and Forget

A sheet pan supper suggests a lot: dinner on a single pan, vegetables cooked with proteins, side dishes with entrées, a complete meal requiring minimal fuss and clean-up. It’s the convenience of a crock pot in a fraction of the time.

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Yes, this all happened on a sheet pan!
Photo by Alexandra Stafford

If you’ve made a sheet pan supper, however, you likely know the salient difference: You can’t, or rarely can you, simply “set it and forget it.” The art of a sheet pan supper lies in assessing your ingredients, then employing tricks to ensure the cooking does right by each. You may need to stagger the entrance and exit of the various elements or cover the pan with foil to create steam or adjust the oven rack to achieve more or less browning.

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Photos by Alexandra Stafford

In this chicken and cabbage sheet pan supper, however, the tricks are minimal. First, chicken thighs, tossed in a sesame-soy dressing, roast alone, which allows the hot air, unimpeded by vegetables, to circulate freely and encourages the browning process to being. After 10 minutes, on goes the cabbage, tossed in the same dressing. It’s nestled around and underneath the chicken to fit. About 20 minutes later, when the chicken finishes cooking, off it goes to rest, while the cabbage continues on alone. With its surfaces fully exposed to the heat, the cabbage’s edges crisp and caramelize while any juices pooling nearby reduce and concentrate.

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Look at all that caramelization!
Photo by Alexandra Stafford

In about 40 minutes, dinner is ready. The result: juicy, crispy-skinned chicken and sweet, tender cabbage, flavored by not only the spicy dressing, but also the flavorful drippings of the chicken. It’s an unexpected and unsung boon of this one-pan wonder of a supper.  

Now, here are a few tips for sheet pan supper success:

  • A quick online search will show that classics likes paella, saltimbocca, and chicken parmesan can all become sheet pan meals. Which is to say, you can create your own mash-ups, too! The dressing for this one—coconut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha—was borrowed from this Baked Tofu with Coconut Kale and could work with other vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash) and proteins (steak, fish, pork, tempeh). When considering dressings, use a flavorful oil such as olive or coconut and something sharp to balance it, like soy sauce, vinegar, lemon, lime, or orange juice. Countless spices could be added to the dressing, but be careful of sweeteners—even a small amount of honey or brown sugar will encourage browning and may even burn before everything finishes cooking.

  • Before beginning, assess the ingredients and consider how long it will take to cook each. Use these times to plan which will enter and exit the sheet pan first. Cut vegetables into similarly sized pieces to help them all cook at the same rate.

  • For easy clean-up, you could line your pan with parchment or foil. Rubbing the pan with a 1/2 teaspoon of neutral oil works nearly as well.

  • Use your broiler. If, at the end, everything is cooked through but not browned to your liking, set the sheet pan under the broiler briefly, watching closely to prevent burning.

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Sheet Pan Roast Chicken and Cabbage

By Alexandra Stafford

  • 1
    teaspoon neutral oil, for greasing

  • 1
    tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1/4
    cup melted coconut oil

  • 3
    tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1
    tablespoon rice vinegar (or other)

  • 1
    tablespoon Sriracha, optional

  • 8
    pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks

  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

  • 1
    head cabbage, 2 to 3 lbs.

View Full Recipe

Alexandra Stafford is a writer, photographer, and occasional stationery designer based in upstate New York, where she is writing a cookbook. You can read more of her work on her blog.

What’s your ideal “set it and forget it” meal? Tell us in the comments below!

Why Are So Many Craft Breweries Selling Their Beer in Cans?

The liquor store close by our house has something they call the “beer cave.” It’s an entire refrigerated room dedicated to housing their selection of craft beers. In this cave, over the course of the last handful of years, there has been a marked shift. Walls and shelves of amber bottles have given way to rows of boldly colored aluminum cans. Perhaps you’ve noticed it, too. The number of craft beers in cans has approximately doubled since 2012. And, according to the Brewer’s Association, while about 2% of craft beer was canned in 2011, 2014 data indicated now more than 10% of craft beer is canned.

This means that, while bottles are still more common, cans are making serious headway. So, I wondered, what was behind the shift towards cans? Luckily, I had someone in the know who I could ask: Some of my good friends own a mid-sized craft brewery here in Minnesota, called Bent Paddle, and when they launched three years ago they chose to can their beer right from the start.

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The almighty beer cave.
Photo by Emily Virkre

The answer, it turns out, is remarkably straightforward. My friends at Bent Paddle, the Craft Brewer’s Association, and the “about us” webpage of Oskar Blues—credited with being the first craft brewery to use cans—all say precisely the same thing. Like, exactly the same thing. As in, if this were college it would be an honor code violation. Which made me wonder if there was some kind of conspiracy or brainwashing involved. It turns out, though, craft breweries that adopt cans are swayed by a distinct set of advantages cans have over bottles. Here they are:


The quality of beer can be affected by several things, including exposure to light and to air. Cans are more airtight and block out all light. This reduces the risk of degradation and makes the beer more stable, which is especially important to craft beers since most are not pasteurized.


While glass is recyclable, aluminum cans are even more so. In fact, they are pretty damn close to 100% recyclable. As more of us in manufacturing businesses think more deeply about what our environmental impact is, things like recyclability are compelling factors. A recycled beer can can be back on the shelves within 60 days! Because cans are lighter, they’re also more efficient to ship, which is better for the environment and for breweries’ bottom lines.

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Photo by Emily Vikre


There have been innovations in both cans themselves and canning lines that have allowed for greater adoption by smaller breweries. Cans now have linings that prevent the beer from picking up a tinny taste. And, canning lines cost a lot less than they did just a few years ago, so more small and medium-sized breweries can afford them.


As my friend at Bent Paddle explained, “We always say at Bent Paddle that we like to bring our beer where we like to play—and often times bottles are not the ideal companion.” As canoers, hikers, golf players, and beach goers have decided they want to bring their beer with them for their activities, cans are the more portable option.

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Photo by Emily Virkre

These things are all likely true. Or, at the very least, if they’re continually repeated they will become true, just as common usage can change the definition of a word in the Oxford English Dictionary, or make incorrect grammar correct.

But, let me tell you what else I think: Cans are coming back into vogue because, in about 2008, hipsters decided they liked PBR. It was outside of the mainstream and retro. And it came in cans. That cool, metallic feeling on your lips reminds you of college, of the 1980s, and of an imaginary past when brands were more authentic. Looking outside of the mainstream, Oskar Blue (which, by the way, with great prescience had been canning since 2002, but the brand’s growth began to skyrocket in 2009), was the perfect combination of the PBR-ish look with craft beer taste. Cans became more good. And not just good, but desirable, as people began to give real consideration to claims of cans’ potential superiority.

Our perceptions shift the market and the market shifts our perceptions, and with these powers combined, cans will probably continue to see growth. Plus, you can crush a can on your forehead. Can’t do that with a glass bottle.

Fiveandspice, a.k.a. Emily Vikre, is a writer, self-described “food policy wonk,” and co-founder of Vikre Distillery. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota. You can read more of her writing here.

Do you prefer beer in cans or bottles? Let us know in the comments below!