The Rachael Ray Every Day Restaurant Survey

Eating out tonight?

Before you go, read this. It will make your meal — in fact, your whole night — better. Plenty of surveys ask diners what they think of the restaurants they go to, but here at Rachael Ray Every Day, we decided to do something a little different. We teamed up with the James Beard Foundation to find out what restaurant folks think of their customers. We sent questionnaires to 100 chefs, restaurant owners, managers and other restaurant-industry insiders to find out what you can do to have the best experience possible every time you dine out. Find out what they had to say, and read the whole story in our September 2016 issue, on newsstands now.

Illustration by Jordan Awan

97% are totally fine with menu substitutions. Very accommodating! But then we got down to exactly which substitutions. As the requests became more complex, the number who agreed they were acceptable understandably dwindled.*

Sauce on the side… 86%

An ingredient omitted… 62%

A side dish swapped… 57%

Cooked with no oil or butter… 52%

Made gluten-free… 38%

Made vegan… 35%

“If someone wants the steak well done and without butter, why wouldn’t I do it?” says Andrew Hunter, chef at The Bay House in Naples, FL. “The problem is only when people redesign a dish completely and turn it into something it’s not meant to be.”

*In some cases, percentages add up to more than 100 because respondents could give multiple answers.

77% say you should
eat at the bar

If you can’t get a table at the hot new restaurant, the best tactic, said respondents, is to scrap the idea of atable Read more


Empty Nesters: Decorating a Non-Existent Patio

Home and Market Editor Lisa Freedman and her husband just bought a house two hours outside of New York CityYay! The only issue? They don’t have anything to put in it. Follow her as she shops, tackles some DIY projects and works her decorating magic.

Backyard cookouts top the list of my all-time favorite things. I love everything about them: the way cooking on a grill makes all foods taste better, sitting outside, drinking wine out of a shatterproof cup, eating burgers… the list goes on. We’ve had a few impromptu cookouts this summer, but we’ll have to wait for next summer to really do them up right. Why? Well, we don’t exactly have a patio yet.

Here’s where said patio will go eventually (see above). We want to clear the entire area from the right of the porch to the end of the house and put down pavers. (Actually, there are tons of giant stones around the property, which we’re hoping to reuse for this purpose.) Then, we need a new screen door (one that actually closes) to protect the awesome Dutch door that leads into our family room. And then the area will be ready for our furniture and grill.

Of course, I couldn’t wait for all that to happen before I started shopping! We got this Peacoat Beer Garden Dining Table and Bench from World Market. For the side across from the bench and the heads of the table, we picked out two pairs of metal chairs (these and these) from Overstock. We’ve been setting it all up on the grass for now (see above) and it has been a totally fine (temporary) solution. Oh, and that green cafe set you see is from Target. I got it thinking we’d sit there and drink coffee in the mornings, but we’ve been pulling it over and using it for overflow seating during parties.

We also obviously needed a grill. After lots of back and forth, we decided on the Gas2Coal hybrid from Char-Broil. I cook a ton but neither my husband nor I have a lot of experience grilling. So we thought it’d be best if we have the option to use charcoal or gas, which this grill offers.

Hopefully, by next summer, we’ll be all set up. (Have I mentioned that I hate doing yard work?) But until then, I’ll probably be sitting at this table… in the grass. Check back soon to see what else we’ve been up to.

 


Inside Our Test Kitchen: Get smart about syrup

Maple syrup (or lack thereof) can make or break a stack of pancakes, but not all syrups are the same. Letter grades (“A” or “B”) on labels didn’t make it clear what was inside the bottle, so to fix the sticky situation, the International Maple Syrup Institute suggested more specific categories. The new guidelines would reclassify pure maple syrup sold in the supermarket as Grade A and would include one of four descriptions: golden, amber, dark or very dark.

Golden syrup has a delicate flavor; try it for sweetening tea.

Try this: Sweet-Heat Iced Tea

Use maple-y amber for your short stack. Read more


COVER STORY: Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!

Above: Michelle Obama and Rachael on our September 2016 cover, shot this summer at the White House Kitchen Garden. This 1,500-square-foot plot produces food that is often served at the First Lady’s family meals, as well as at official state functions.

The idea that healthy kids are happy kids has long been top of mind for First Lady Michelle Obama. Through efforts like the White House Kitchen Garden and this summer’s fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge (which Rach joined her for), she’s reminding us all what food should be—nutritious, delicious and always fun! Here it is in her own words:

“We planted the White House Kitchen Garden seven years ago to kick off a national conversation about how we live and eat. Since then, we’ve used it as a teaching tool to show kids where their food comes from and to give them the chance to plant, harvest and taste some vegetables themselves. Despite all the hand-wringing when we first launched Let’s Move!, about how kids are picky eaters and wouldn’t like healthy food, kids are truly embracing these changes. I see it everywhere I go. Kids are harvesting school gardens and learning through first hand experience that healthy food can be fun and delicious, and can make them feel good.

I was passionate about this issue long before I became First Lady, and I plan to work on it long after I leave the White House. Back before we lived in the White House, we were busy working parents, raising two young girls, and we often went for convenience—takeout, microwave meals, fast food Read more


Go For Gold! 10 Golden Recipes for the Olympics

Summer 2016 is here, which means it’s finally Olympic season! There’s nothing like getting so engrossed in a race, match or gymnastics routine that you end up burning dinner on the stovetop… oh wait, does that only happen to me? Sure, we could all try to eat like Olympic athletes this time of year in solidarity with Team USA — superfood cereal, anyone? — but here’s something a little more fun to try: 10 golden recipes! That’s right; mashed potatoes, pizza, cake and more are all fair game here. And we threw in some bonus silver and bronze cocktails, because those are pretty great, too.

Golden Tomato Soup

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Word of Mouth: The New Vegetable Cookbooks

If you rely on the same veg-centric cookbooks each summer, get produce inspo from this bumper crop of recent releases. Then, look out, farmers’ market!

If you like… Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

You’ll love… The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini by Cara Mangini

As the chef behind Little Eater in Columbus, OH, Cara Mangini wrangles veggies for a living. The more than 250 step-by-step photos in her book mirror the encyclopedic Vegetable Literacy, while sharing updated essential know-how for everything from cleaning sandy greens for creamed spinach crepes to prepping fresh artichokes for the grill.

If you like… Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen Read more


Inside Our Test Kitchen: The Best Way to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

In the never-ending quest for easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs, our kitchen crew put three top techniques to the test to see which one was most, ahem, appealing. Check out the results below, along with tasty recipes you can make to test out the winning technique.

3RD PLACE:

Shake ‘Em Up

Place large eggs in a large saucepan (no more than will cover the bottom) and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Drain. Cover the saucepan; shake the eggs until cracked all over. Run cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool, then peel under cold running water.

The results: The idea here is that the cold water slips between the white and the shell, making peeling easier. Shaking the cooked eggs in the pan cracked them quickly, but when it came to peeling, quite a bit of the white stuck to the shells.

Kale Cobb Salad  

2ND PLACE: Read more


Empty Nesters: Building an affordable custom couch

Home and Market Editor Lisa Freedman and her husband just bought a house two hours outside of New York CityYay! The only issue? They don’t have anything to put in it. Follow her as she shops, tackles some DIY projects and works her decorating magic.

A lot of the stone houses we looked at had foyers, which were essentially small rooms with stairs and not much space for anything else. Our house, however, opens up into a decent-sized room with a fireplace and plenty of square footage for a sofa and other pieces. Whatever sofa we put in there would be the first thing people saw upon entering the house, so we wanted to have fun with it. After a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of searching, we decided to go with a custom option from Joybird. It’s a furniture site that lets you pick the fabric and size of your sofa. And the site often runs tons of sales for a percentage off. Turns out, custom furniture isn’t just for the super rich!

We picked the Hyland because of its fun shape and settled on a surprising green. But which shade of green? We had no idea! Luckily, Joybird offers free swatch kits of color families. We were glad we ordered a kit because the colors really do look different in person than online. With a promotional code for 20 percent off (which I got just by visiting the site!), plus free shipping and an option to return the couch for free within 365 days, it seemed like a no-brainer.

We placed our order (in Key Largo Kelly Green) and soon got an order confirmation and this fun diagram to confirm the measurements.

The process did take a while: We placed our order in January and the couch didn’t ship until May. But having never made a couch before, I’m guessing that’s actually pretty reasonable. And now, the big reveal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check back soon to see what else we’ve been buying!


National Lasagna Day: Healthy, Hearty and Somewhere In Between

I have good news and bad news. The good news: It’s #NationalLasagnaDay! The bad news: It’s a million degrees outside. Why, oh why, must this day fall at the hottest time of year? We’d like to have a word with whoever sets these food holidays. November 15th sounds better, right? Hopefully “National Raisin Bran Cereal Day” won’t mind sharing the spotlight. Until then, though, we’re going to go ahead and celebrate anyway. Whether you’re dining al fresco or cranking your AC way up, we’ve got just the recipe for you.

Summer Lasagnas

Yep, they exist! These veggie-based recipes are carb-free and perfect for warm weather.

Mexican Raw Lasagna

Vegetable “Lasagna” Stacks

Hearty-Comfort Lasagnas

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go all-in on that carby, cheesy, meaty slice of heaven.

Lasagna Bolognese

Sloppy Lasagna Joes

 In-Between Lasagnas

These dishes fall somewhere in the middle of 100% comfort food and figure-friendly veggie stacks.

Vegetable Lasagna

Farmers’ Market Lasagna

Want more? Try these 15 pasta sauce recipes to customize your lasagna any way you like it.


8 Fruity and Cheesy Recipes

This summer, we’re revamping fruit salads every which way to make them anything but boring. It’s amazing what a little heat, spice, and cheese can do! Our plum & goat cheese fruit salad, in particular, is kind of surprising but super-delicious. We know every cheese board gets better with grapes or jam, but if you haven’t taken your fruit-cheese relationship beyond that, you really should! Rich, creamy dairy is a natural partner for sweet, juicy, seasonal produce — and it’ll make your fruit-based dishes feel more substantial, too. Here are 8 fun recipes to get you started.

Plum & Goat Cheese Carpaccio with Mint 

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