Starbucks Debuts This Year’s Holiday Cups Available in Stores Now

With Halloween officially over, it’s time to usher in the holiday season. Starbucks is on that wave as they are every year, now unveiling their 2017 holiday cups.

As of this morning at 5 a.m., Starbucks locations across the globe have been stocked with the festive cups, in addition to the ingredients needed to make your drink order extra Christmas-ey.

This year, the Starbucks cups are adorned with black, red and green doodles, livened up by Christmas trees, presents, snowflakes and mugs of hot chocolate.

Again, alongside the holiday cups, Starbucks has also begun serving its familiar cold weather favorites, seemingly including the Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Eggnog Latte and Chestnut Praline Latte.

To further evoke the holiday spirit, the coffeehouse chain is also urging customers to decorate their holiday cups and more importantly, spread random acts of kindness.

Deep-fried Turkey: Delicious or Dangerous?

While you may think the most dangerous thing you can do during the holidays is talk politics with your uncle, starting a kitchen fire because of a deep fried turkey  is a more realistic threat to your safety. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the number of structure fires double on Thanksgiving, causing on average $28 million in property damage1. Cooking causes the majority of these blazes, with grease and oil as the main culprits in ignition2. Despite the astonishingly large number of holiday mishaps, home cooks continue using fats. A select few even engage in one of the most daring of food adventures: deep-frying a turkey.

A quick Internet search for “deep-fried turkey” reveals how dangerous this culinary practice can be. There are plenty of videos and pictures that document the aftermath of a deep-fried turkey fire. A careless and unprepared chef can turn a deep-fried turkey into a deep-fried disaster within minutes. The bird quickly becomes engulfed in a fireball that can be seen from the rest of the neighborhood. So then, what makes deep-frying more appealing than roasting? More importantly, can it be done safely?

The key to effectively deep-frying a turkey is oil. Oil makes the bird both delicious and dangerous. Oil’s interaction with the poultry causes the characteristic crispy golden brown crust that draws people to deep-frying. This same oil, however, can ignite and cause a fire. To effectively and safely deep-fry a turkey, you must understand the science underlying deep-frying.

dft-1

The main appeal of a deep-fried turkey is the texture created by oil interacting with the bird’s skin. In deep-frying, hot oil completely engulfs the food. Put an uncooked turkey in hot oil and bubbles immediately start forming. The bubbles are not from the oil, but from the water within the surface of the bird that escapes as tiny pockets of steam. Water boils at 212 °F, but the temperature of oil in a deep fryer is typically around 350 °F or greater. Because of these high temperatures, the water in the turkey skin rapidly evaporates. This dehydration at the surface combined with the high temperature make conditions perfect for the Maillard reaction.

Maillard reactions create the characteristic deep browning and appealing aromas that you may have experienced when you deep-fry a turkey. These reactions typically occur when proteins and sugars in foods are exposed to high heat (284 – 329 °F): the amino acid building blocks of proteins react with sugars at high heat to create a complex set of flavor molecules. This is why a deep-fried turkey may evoke similar flavors and aromas as seared steak, roasted coffee, or toasted bread. As heat continues to vaporize the water on the bird’s skin, the reaction speeds up and the resulting flavor molecules become more and more concentrated.

While Maillard reactions can also be achieved through roasting a turkey, deep-frying avoids some of the pitfalls of oven roasting. First, because the hot oil completely envelops the bird, the outside gets an even brown coat. The temperature of the oil remains relatively constant as it spreads into every crevice. Such uniformity can be harder to achieve in traditional oven roasting, because of differences in air temperature within the oven. Moreover, poor heat circulation can result in uneven cooking. In extreme cases, you might find one side of the turkey charred, while the other is still undercooked.

Next, because the oil can transfer more heat than air per unit volume and time, deep-frying can allow the bird’s surface to get hot quickly enough so that the inside does not overcook. In deep-frying, oil acts as the workhorse transferring heat to food. By contrast, ovens rely on air to transfer heat. Compared to air, cooking oil has a much higher rate of heat conduction. Heat transfers between substances when the molecules collide and transfer energy. Because a liquid such as oil is more dense then air, its molecules are more closely packed; there are more molecules per volume to transfer energy. As a result, the high heat needed for the Maillard reactions develops much faster in a deep fryer than in the oven. In general, oven roasting generally takes about 2-4 hours, while deep-frying can take as little as 30 minutes. Slower increases in surface temperature, as in the case of the oven, allow for more time for the high heat to spread to the center of the turkey and overcook the inside.

Many deep-frying fans claim that the practice “seals in the juices”, however, internal temperature has a larger impact on moisture. If you’ve ever bit into a dry piece of fried chicken, you know, that deep-frying does not guarantee juicy poultry. Fans claim that oil creates a barrier to lock in moisture, but as previously highlighted, hot oil causes it to vaporize and escape. Even water near the interior can escape if it reaches the boiling point because the crust remains porous. The meat on the inside cooks in the same way as in roasting, but only faster because the oil transfers more heat. Thus, regardless of whether you deep-fry or roast the bird, you need to watch the internal temperature to get a juicy turkey.

While hot oil is essential for transforming your turkey into a delicious brown and crispy treat, properly controlling the oil will keep you safe. The first step is having the proper equipment. While a turkey can be deep fried in any number of large pots you already have, none of them are specifically designed to safely handle 3 gallons or more of hot oil and a giant turkey. Having a deep fryer specific for turkeys ensures that when you use the right amount of oil, the turkey is completely submerged and the oil won’t overflow. Also you can cook with a turkey deep fryer outside; this keeps the hot oil safely away from anything flammable in your home. So if you do make a mistake, it’s far away from anything that can spread a fire.

Next, to avoid turning the turkey into a giant fireball, it must be properly dried. This means checking that the bird is completely thawed and free of excess water. If too much ice or water remain, either can quickly vaporize causing oil to spray into the air. You may have seen a similar reaction occur when you throw drops of water into hot oil to test if it’s reached frying temperature. Sudden vaporization results in tiny droplets of oil spewing out in a fine mist. As microscopic droplets, the oil increases its chances of contacting the burner and reaching its flash point, or the temperature at which a material can ignite. (The flash point is around 600-700°F for many cooking oils.) In the deep fryer, oil won’t get as hot, but as droplets, oil can reach this temperature because of their small size and increased surface area. The ignition of a few small oil droplets can set off a chain reaction that engulfs the entire bird. This is why a seemingly innocent icy turkey can turn into a fireball.

Finally, you may want to consider that deep-frying adds a significant amount of fat to your bird compared to roasting it. The entire surface of the turkey is covered in oil and some may seep into the interior. In general, deep-frying can result in as much as 5 to 40% of a food’s weight in oil3. If you are concerned about your fat intake you might want to avoid this deep-fried treat. However, eating a deep-fried bird only on Thanksgiving likely won’t jeopardize your health too much.

Deep-frying a turkey requires significant culinary effort. Although this cooking method is potentially dangerous, your fowl can develop delicious flavors and aromas that cannot be achieved as quickly in the oven. Whether or not you want to make the investment ultimately depends on what you like about eating turkey. If you only care about juicy meat, then using an oven and monitoring the temperature can be easier. However, if you crave a truly unique treat encased in a crispy brown crust, then deep-frying a turkey may be your next gastronomic adventure.

Top 10 Burger Joints to Satisfy Your Craving

Chow down on the best burgers in St. Pete/Clearwater!

We’ve rounded up the top spots to sink your teeth into some of the juiciest burgers around. What makes a perfect burger? The flavor, freshness, toppings, and, of course, the atomsphere you indulge in. From classic American burgers to gourmet mashups, here’s your guide to the best burger joints in St. Pete/Clearwater.

1 Engine No. 9, St. Pete

Grab a table quickly in this shotgun-style restaurant, especially when the happy hour crowd starts trickling out of nearby bars. With a menu of gourmet burgers and TVs throughout the restaurant, Engine No. 9 is your go-to spot for watching the game with good food and good company.

2 Rococo Steak, St. Pete

An upscale steakhouse in St. Pete with an award-winning burger. Celebrity Food Network chef selected the Rococo Burger in the battle of the ‘Burg competition. What makes this burger so special? The patty is a blend of New York Strip in a 70/30 meat to fat ratio, grilled to your perfect temperature, dressed with bacon onion jam, rosemary aioli, heirloom tomato, and artisan lettuce, all in between a brioche bun.

3 BRGR Kitchen + Bar, Treasure Island

Located in Treasure Island Beach Resort, BRGR Kitchen + Bar offers a dining experience full of contemporary style and retro details. Enjoy a custom seasoned burger paired with house-made sauces and unique toppings while overlooking stunning views of the beach and surf.

4 FarmTable Kitchen, St. Pete

This farm to table restaurant is home to the famous Saint Petersburger, a true work of art crafted up with the freshest ingredients and grilled to perfection. The only thing you’ll need after indulging in this epic burger is a nap!

5 The Avenue Eat + Drink, St. Pete

This lively bar in downtown St. Pete is your go-to spot to enjoy craft cocktails, beer, and gourmet burgers in industrial digs. With an indoor and outdoor bar and patio, come here to watch the game, enjoy live music, and hang with friends.

6 El Cap, St. Pete

Open since 1964, this no-muss, no-fuss burger joint fills to the brim with hungry patrons happy to order burgers a la carte and beer by the pitcher. Wood paneling on the walls, yellow and red condiment bottles on the tables, and servers who get right down to business dictate the vibe.

7 Tarpon Tavern, Tarpon Springs

You might stumble upon the Tarpon Tavern if you go too far on your bike trip on the Pinellas Trail. You’re going to need a tall beer and one of their famous burgers, stat! This cozy low-light tavern situated in a 1920s-era building is the perfect spot to cool off and refuel.

8 Pete & Shorty’s, Clearwater & Pinellas Park

Calling all Iowa expats: This is your home away from home. Pete & Shorty’s is an Iowa bistro down to the posters and news clippings on the walls and the clientele around the bar. You don’t have to be from the Midwest to appreciate a homey experience while chowing down on their popular char-grilled burgers.

9 Biff Burger, St. Pete

A hangout for motorcycle enthusiasts, this local hot spot is family friendly and home to a classic all American menu. Biff Burger has a variety of burgers for anyone to choose from, from small and simple to giant knife and fork projects.

10 Sandbar Grill, Dunedin

You know something is a local secret when it looks like a shipping crate set up in a parking lot, but is still brimming with eager guests. Sandy folks coming from Honeymoon Island State Park stop here for a burger, cold beer, and a chill vibe.

Let us know what you think. Do you have a place we did not mention. Send us your list of favorite places. http://www.727magazine.com

List from http://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com/list/top-10-burger-joints-to-satisfy-your-craving

The Tiny Town In Florida That’s The Next Pizza Capital Of The World

There are plenty of awesome things a town can be famous for, like its landmarks, attractions or natural wonders, but sometimes all a city has to do is make a certain food really well. You’ve probably heard big cities like New York or Chicago referred to as pizza capitals of the country (or even the world), but there’s a tiny town in Florida that might just give them a run for their money.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Chimichurri Recipe

Ingredients

Salmon

  • (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Avocado Chimichurri

  • 1 small avocado, diced small
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp minced red onion
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil*
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a gas grill to 425 degrees. Brush both sides of salmon with the 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season both sides of salmon with salt, pepper and the cumin.

  2. Brush grill grates with oil, place salmon on grill and grill about 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Serve salmon immediately topped with avocado chimichurri.

  3. For the chimichurri:

  4. In a small mixing bowl toss together all chimichurri ingredients while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *You can replace the 2 Tbsp water with 2 more Tbsp evoo if desired. I made this twice and liked that the water version wasn’t so heavy. I just felt there was already enough fat and richness from the avocado and salmon that it didn’t need more oil. Normally I would not add water to chimichurri.

Recipe of the Week: Greek Panzanella with Fried Goat Cheese Balls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups cubed ciabatta bread (I used asiago ciabatta, but you can use whatever good-quality bread is your favorite!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko breadrumbs
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, but into six wedges
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halves
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • tsp dijon mustard
  • tsp honey
  • Canola oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add bread to a medium sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Use hands to toss the bread and coat in the oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Toss one more time. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden brown.

  2. Divide the goat cheese in to eight pieces. Roll each one in to a ball. Add panko, plain breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp oregano to a small bowl. Mix to combine.  Dip each ball in to egg, drip off excess. Dredge in bread crumbs mixture. Dip back in egg, then back in panko. Make sure to get all excess breadcrumbs and egg off each time. Repeat with remaining goat cheese balls. When they are all breaded, pop in the freezer to chill while you prepare everything else.

  3. Add bread, tomatoes, onion and olives to a large serving bowl. Toss.

  4. Whisk red wine vinegar, dijon and honey together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the tomato and bread mixture. Toss until completely coated. Set aside.

  5. Add enough oil to a small saucepan to go up 3/4 of the sides.  Heat to 350 degrees. (I kept mine at a medium heat). Once the oil has come to temperature fry goat cheese balls until golden brown.  Do not overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towels.

  6. Add goat cheese balls and basil to the salad mixture. Gently toss. Serve!

Women Like The Smell Of Guys Who Eat A Certain Diet

What we eat can influence more than our waistlines. It turns out, our diets also help determine what we smell like.

A recent study found that women preferred the body odor of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, whereas men who ate a lot of refined carbohydrates (think bread, pasta) gave off a smell that was less appealing.

Skeptical? At first, I was, too. I thought this line of inquiry must have been dreamed up by the produce industry. (Makes a good marketing campaign, right?)

But it’s legit. “We’ve known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women,” says Ian Stephen of Macquarie University in Australia. He studies evolution, genetics and psychology and is an author of the study.

From an evolutionary perspective, scientists say our sweat can help signal our health status and could possibly play a role in helping to attract a mate.

How did scientists evaluate the link between diet and the attractiveness of body odor?

They began by recruiting a bunch of healthy, young men. They assessed the men’s skin using an instrument called a spectrophotometer. When people eat a lot of colorful veggies, their skin takes on the hue of carotenoids, the plant pigments that are responsible for bright red, yellow and orange foods.

“The carotenoids get deposited in our skin,” explains Stephen. The spectrophotometer “flashes a light onto your skin and measures the color reflected back,” says Stephen. The results are “a good indicator of how much fruits and vegetables we’re eating,” he says.

Stephen and his colleagues also had the men in the study complete food frequency questionnaires so they could determine the men’s overall patterns of eating. Then the men were given clean T-shirts and asked to do some exercise.

Afterward, women in the study were asked to sniff the sweat. (Note: The methodology was much more scientific and precise than my breezy explanation, but you get the picture.) “We asked the women to rate how much they liked it, how floral, how fruity,” and a bunch of other descriptors, explains Stephen.

It’s a small study, but the results were pretty consistent. “Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer,” Stephen told us.

Men who ate a lot of meat did not produce a sweat that was any more — or less — attractive to women. But meat did tend to make men’s odor more intense.

“This is not the first study to show that diet influences body odor,” says George Preti, an adjunct professor in the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

A study published in 2006 found that women preferred the odor of men who ate a non-meat diet, “characterized by increased intakes of eggs, cheese, soy, fruit and vegetables.”

But Preti points out that the relationship between diet and body odor is indirect.

Some people think if they eat a garlic or onion — or a piece of meat — they will smell like that food. “But that’s not what happens,” Preti says. Your breath might smell like the food you eat, but not your sweat.

Body odor is created when the bacteria on our skin metabolize the compounds that come out of our sweat glands.

“The sweat doesn’t come out smelly,” Preti explains. “It must be metabolized by the bacteria that live on the surface of the skin.”

Now, of course, at a time when good hygiene and deodorant use are commonplace, is the smell of our sweat a big concern?

I put that question to the happy hour crowd at a bar down the street from the NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I’m pretty OK with my smell,” Stefan Ruffini told me. That evening he was ordering a burger on a bun and a side of fries, along with a beer. When I told him about the findings of the study, he laughed it off.

“I’ve got a girlfriend, so I don’t worry about these things,” he said.

The study did not assess diet and odor attractiveness among same-sex couples.

“As a lesbian, I haven’t smelled a man in several years,” Stacy Carroll, who was also at happy hour, told me. “I eat a lot of produce, I have a girlfriend, so it’s working out.”

Carroll says people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are more likely to be interested in their health — “feeling good, looking fit” — than their smell.

Chick-fil-A Expands Breakfast Menu With Hash Brown Scramble Bowl, Burrito

Chick-fil-A lovers have long been able to order their favorite chicken sandwich in breakfast form via a biscuit. Now they can get it in bowl form, complete with hash browns. 

The fast food chicken joint announced today the launch of its first breakfast bowl, the Hash Brown Scramble.

The new meal is made with Chick-fil-A’s tot hash browns, scrambled eggs, cheese, jalapeño salsa, and choice of chicken nuggets or sausage.

The fast food chain explains that it wants to give its customers more options and saw an opportunity to reach people looking for breakfast bowls, an increasingly popular option for those tired of breakfast sandwiches.

In addition to the new bowl, Chick-fil-A says it will replace also offer a Hash Brown Scramble burrito, which will replace the current breakfast burrito.

The breakfast offerings are just the latest new offerings at Chick-fil-A. The company began testing a $30 family style meal back in July. A month before that, the chain debuted a gluten-free bun.

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Fajita Salad

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Cajun Seasoning, or taco seasoning
  • 1 bag Lettuce
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Fresh Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, diced

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Salsa, use your favorite
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill or skillet to medium high heat. Season each side of the chicken breasts with Cajun seasoning. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until cooked through.
  2. Assemble the lettuce on a plate or bowl. Top with peppers, tomatoes, and avocado.
  3. To prepare dressing place all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Once the chicken is fully cooked, slice and place over the salad. Top with dressing to serve.

Restaurant Jobs Are the New Factory Jobs

Donald Trump’s ideal economy is defined by brawn. He praises steelworkers, speaks wistfully of coal mining, and tweets boastfully about new manufacturing factories. But 200 days into his presidency, the most promising sector of the U.S. labor market isn’t steel-plating. It’s dinner-plating.

Restaurant jobs are on fire in 2017, growing faster than health care, construction, or manufacturing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls this subsector “food services and drinking places,” and the jobs are mostly at sit-down restaurants, which make up 50 percent of the category. Fast-food joints are the next-largest employer in the category, with 37 percent. Bars—wonderful, plentiful, but leanly staffed—account for just 3 percent. So, I’m just going to keep saying “restaurants” for short.

In some metros, restaurants are powering the entire economy. More than a third of Cleveland’s new jobs since 2015 are in restaurants, according to EMSI data. The same is true for New Orleans, but since 2010.

Unlike mining or manufacturing, which tends to cluster in a handful of regions, the restaurant boom is spread across the country. New fine-dining restaurants, which tend to require more waitstaff, are blooming in all the predictable places—San Francisco, Nashville, and Austin (the Texas capital leads the country in percent-growth of restaurant jobs). But restaurants are dominating local economies in a diverse range of places, from poor metros like Little Rock, to rich places like Washington, D.C., and military hubs like Virginia Beach.

How did this happen? As Justin Fox points out, the trend didn’t appear overnight. For the past three decades, restaurants have steadily grown, as part of the most fundamental shift in American work—from making things to serving people. Between 1990 and 2008, 98 percent of new jobs came from so-called “nontradable” industries that aren’t sensitive to international trade, according to the economist Michael Spence.

In 1990, manufacturing was almost three times larger than the food-service industry. But restaurants have gradually closed the gap. At current rates of growth, more people will work at restaurants than in manufacturing in 2020. This mirrors the shift in consumer spending. Restaurants’ share of America’s food budget has doubled from 25 percent in the 1950s to 50 percent today.

The phenomenon is speeding up. Four of the five best years for restaurant growth on record have happened since 2011. Restaurant jobs have grown faster than the overall economy every month since August 2010. (That’s more than 200 consecutive months!) It’s not just a redundant artifact of the service-sector economy, either. Almost every month between 1996 and 2000—years when job creation soared in a booming economy—restaurant jobs grew slower than the rest of the labor market.

The trend is speeding up, but it’s not clear that we should cheer it—or whether it’s sustainable. Jobs are jobs, but these ones don’t pay very well. The typical private-sector job pays about $22 an hour. The typical restaurant job pays about $12.50. That’s one reason why the Fight for 15 movement to raise the minimum wage has targeted the restaurant industry. What’s more, although it might feel like a golden age of restaurants in America, the truth is that the United States might have too many restaurants, particularly “family-casual” chains like Applebee’s, which have struggled to keep up with rising labor costs.

But the most important feature of the restaurant-jobs boom is not what it may say about the future, but rather the fact that it is happening in the first place. Trump and other politicians often say they want to help the common worker. But then they talk about the economy as if it were cryogenically frozen sometime around 1957. The U.S. still makes stuff, but mostly it serves stuff. To help American workers, it helps to begin with an honest accounting of what Americans actually do.