Rachael Ray

The Mustard Man

In honor of National Mustard Day, we’re sharing with you one super mustard-obsessed man: Barry Levenson. He knows the exact moment he started collecting mustard: 2:30 a.m, October 28, 1986—after the Red Sox lost the World Series. Despondent, he pushed a cart down the aisles of a 24-hour market (“a good place for a walk”). He knew it wasn’t healthy for a grown man to be so depressed over a game. I need a hobby, he thought. Just then, he looked up to see jars of mustard. “They seemed to say to me, ‘If you collect us, they will come.’” Barry quickly snapped up the 30 mustards sold nearby, then mail- ordered more. And more. The local paper ran a story about his collection once it reached 500 jars. A friend of his quipped, “What is this, the Wisconsin Mustard Museum?” For Barry, it was a lightbulb moment. “I didn’t want to look back at my life and wonder what if?” he said. So he quit his day job—as an assistant attorney general for the state—and rented a 1,400-square-foot space. The National Mustard Museum now displays more than 5,300 jars and welcomes 35,000 visitors a year. If you’re one of them, you’ll be able to buy—and taste—450 varieties, watch a video on mustard’s 700-year history and tackle some trivia questions. [Does American yellow mustard get its color from a) saffron; b) food dye; c) turmeric; or d) crayons? If you guessed “c,” you are correct.]

 

If not for mustard, Barry wouldn’t have met his wife, Patti. She heard Barry on the radio, singing a fight song for “Poupon U,” the museum’s so-called university. Patti tracked him down and asked him to organize a tasting at her social club. “I guess you could say it was love at first squeeze,” he said. Barry actually talks like this. He also signs his e-mails “Condimentally yours” and, in reference to a lunchtime interview, quipped, “I’ll bring the mustard!” At the museum, if you’d like to watch a video, you’ll have to do it in the “Mustardpiece Theatre.” What about the condiment inspires this level of devotion (and this many puns)? Barry’s quick to rattle off its attributes: It’s healthy, with a rich history and versatility. “Mustard is a blank canvas,” he says. “You can paint works of art with a little creativity.” To that end, artisans add lemon, lavender and even root beer. Barry insists that each deserves a special place on his shelves. He thinks back on the supermarket trip that started it all: “What struck me was that I’d never be lonely, because I would belong to a community of mustard lovers, and every year we’d all meet up at a collectors’ convention. It turns out nothing like that existed.” In opening his museum, he created something even better.

 

Get one of our favorite mustard-inspired recipes: Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette!

Ice Cream Sandwiches Galore!

To celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, we’re sharing four gorgeous ice cream sammies that are layered with grown-up flavors, but will still make you feel like a kid on summer vacation.

 Start with a double dose of sea-salt-sprinkled brownies, then add a chunk of coffee ice cream and a ribbon of fudge sauce for our Salted Brownie Sundae Bites. Talk about “sundae” best!

 Party-perfect Pistachio Neapolitan Cakewiches are guaranteed crowd favorites — without the work. Just sandwich ice cream between two layers of cake (it can even be store bought!), freeze, then cut into bars.

 We’ve taken what you love most about the Lemon Meringue Pie — tangy lemon filling, perfectly browned meringue — and made it portable with these Lemon Meringue Hand Pies.

Forget cookies and milk, we’ve upgraded the classic combo. Behold: chocolate cookies, a scoop of minty ice cream and a swipe of fluffy frosting in our Chocolate Mint Stacks.

Click for more ice cream sandwich recipes to make this summer.

how about a slice of raspberry cream pie?

Happy National Raspberry Cream Pie Day! Talk about a totally delicious summer dessert. This pie combines the delightful sweetness of fruit with the decadence of cream. The tasty treat is perfect for summer parties and entertaining. Bonus: Our recipe doesn’t even require baking, which is perfect for those hot days when you can’t bring yourself to turn on the oven.

Chilled Raspberry Cream Pie

 

Craving more raspberry recipes? We’ve got ice cream-infused, cocktail-spiked and chocolate-topped raspberry recipes you’ll adore.

I-Heart-Raspberry Sorbet Sandwiches

Raspberry Mojito

Raspberry Summer Pudding

Chocolate-Raspberry Truffle Bars

More summertime sweets:

Easy Berry Dessert Recipes

15 Fast Summer Recipes

Casual Summer 30-Minute Meals

Creative Loafing

To beat the clock and get beautiful bread in no time, you’ve gotta bake smart. Our recommendation: Start with store-bought dough (it’ll be our little secret!), then shape and flavor it how you like. These treats are pretty enough for any breadbasket.

 

 

 Red Onion Pinwheels are the savory sister of the cinnamon bun and full of swirls of flavor.

 

Try these Salty Sticks – that remind us of pretzels! — when you’re tired of your average breadstick!

 

Grapes add a bit of sweetness in our Grape Focaccia, which is a traditional pillowy Italian bread.

 

Get more homemade bread recipes!

Milk your chocolate for what it’s worth!

I don’t know about you, but I’m a milk chocolate person. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good hunk of the dark stuff, but when I have to choose milk is my go-to goodie. And since I try to celebrate National Milk Chocolate Day every day, I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes for the occasion!

 

Milk chocolate and peanut butter are a classic combination–just ask any Reese’s fan out there. Kick it up a notch with our Peanut Butter-Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Tip: Use chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips in this Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding; they melt better than chocolate morsels, which are formulated to hold their shape during baking.

Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding

Transform a campfire staple into a frozen treat with our Bonbon S’mores–your kids will thank you!

Bonbon S'mores

More tasty treats:

Decadent Chocolate Desserts

Fake-Out Desserts

Easy Berry Dessert Recipes

Flashback Friday: Rach’s Tuscan Vacation

Italy is the place where I feel most at home when I’m not at home. John and I were married in Tuscany, and every year we go back for a long weekend with our family and close friends. Then we take a week for just the two of us to celebrate our anniversary.

 

Written by Rachael Ray

 

 

I love to go to markets when I travel. That’s how you get to know the people, the food and the personality of the region. It’s also the most fun and affordable way to eat during the day.

We make no plans whatsoever. Mostly, we walk around all day, trying to get in enough activity to keep up with how much delicious food you’re eating! (A lot.) But I always end up trying to feed all my Tuscan friends so I can cook at the villa as much as possible.

 

More related links:

Rachael and John’s Italian Wedding

The Little Italy’s of America

Italian-American 30-Minute Meals

Hot Diggity Dog!

It seems that every summer one very important question lingers in the air “Hamburger or hot dog?!” and while we’re a fan of the burger (Rach wrote a whole book on ‘em!) we can’t argue against the love for a delicious bite of a grilled dog sandwiched between a pillowy bun. And it looks like we’re not alone—July 23 marks national hot dog day and for good reason! According to recent polls, a quarter of Americans eat only hot dogs during grilling season!

Want some more hot dog celebrating trivia? According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, we eat about 7 billion hot dogs during the summer—that’s 818 hot dogs per second! With all that hot dog eating, the mustard and relish combo might get a little old, so check out our 10 twists on a hot dog (pictured above) to spice up your cook out. Try more of our favorite recipes—from classic toppings to hot dog kebabs—like these favorites:

Cheese-Stuffed Hot Dogs with Spicy Onions

Cheese-Stuffed Hot Dogs with Spicy Onions

 

Chili-Cheese Dogs in Beach Blankets

Chili-Cheese Dogs in Beach Blankets

 

Hot Dog Pizza-Dillas

Hot Dog Pizza-Dillas

 

Hot-Dog-a-Bobs

Hot-Dog-A-Bobs

 

Classic Coney Island Hot Dogs

Classic Coney Island Hot Dogs

 

More Summer Grilling:

Onion Ring Recipes

52 Best Restaurant Burger in the United States

Cocktails, Anyone? Drink Posts

Lollipop, Lollipop

Whether you call ‘em lollipops or suckers, these treats on sticks are pure happiness. In honor of National Lollipop Day, we’ve shared some fun facts, our fave store-bought pop and even a recipe you can make at home!

 

One handmade sucker weighs more than two baseballs! We’ll have two, please.

 

Fun lollipop facts:

  • The famous 1958 “Lollipop” song was written after Julius Dixson arrived late for a song writing session with Beverly Ross. He explained that his daughter had gotten a lollipop stuck in her hair, and that had caused him to be late. Ross was so inspired by the word “lollipop” that she sat down at the piano and produced a version of the song on the spot. The song was written for the duo, Ronald & Ruby, but most successfully covered by The Chordettes.
  • The original machines made 40 lollipops per minute. Today’s machines produce 5,900 lollipops in one minute.
  • The world’s largest lollipop weighed a whopping 7,003 lbs. and was 4 feet 8.75 inches in length, 3 feet 6 inches in width and 5 feet 11 inches in height. Talk about a lot of licks to get to the center of that lollipop!

 

Never thought you could make your own lollipops? Here’s how…

Get the recipe: Chewy-Centered Lollipops

More Candy Recipes:

Carnival Treat Faves 

Candy Recipes for Halloween

Every Day Faves: Eats

 

Sources: wikipedia.com, guinnessworldrecords.com and candyusa.com

The proof is in the pudding

Tapioca pudding is a deliciously unique dessert. We love the fun texture, sweet taste and, of course, all the different dishes you can make with those wee little bubbles. So celebrate National Tapioca Pudding Day with our roundup of favorite bubbly recipes—dig in!

This Coconut Tapioca Pudding recipe has coconut, ginger and mango. Perfect for summer!

 

Tapioca is also used in a bunch of other dishes besides puddings. Our recipe for Halo Halo (a popular dessert from the Philippines that traditionally contains beans, jellies and ice cream, plus flan and evaporated milk) calls for berries and is ultra refreshing.

 

Related Links:

Seasonal Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Easy Berry Dessert Recipes

Taste Test: The Best Greek Yogurts

 

Source: abclocal.go.com

A side of fries with that?

It’s National French Fry Day so what better way to celebrate than with some crispy tots? Whether you prefer classic, garlic or sweet potato fries, there’s a recipe out there for you. No matter the occasion — you can throw a French fry tasting party or simply make a side for your burger — but today’s the day to make a batch of this summer favorite.

 

Fun facts about the French fry:

- French fries account for more than 1/4 of all potatoes sold in the U.S.

- The average American eats 30 pounds of French fries per year.

- Thomas Jefferson cultivated the potato and popularized its eating in the US.

 

 Try out one of these homemade potato favorites, like our Bistro-Style Pommes Frites!

 

Get the recipes: Flavorful French Fry Recipes


 

Related Links:

Rachael’s Most Popular Burgers

Chip Recipes 

Potato Pancake Recipes

 

Source: farmflavor.com and frenchfries.com