Introducing BigOven’s Food Fight: Thanksgiving Showdown

This Thanksgiving, we’re starting a #foodfight! Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday and there are a lot of decisions to make before the big day. Each day, we’ll be asking cooks to sound off on a Thanksgiving-oriented food or social debate.

What exactly is a “Thanksgiving-related debate” you ask?

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This debate is about tradition versus modernity, about appreciating the classics verses updating the dishes we have grown up eating each Thanksgiving. BigOven cooks, what’s your #foodfight? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be asking the tough questions and we want to hear you SOUND OFF.

Check back here daily for a new #foodfight and make sure to cast your vote! Join in the fun on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. One thing is for sure: no matter what the results are, we’ll be serving up some delicious Thanksgiving recipes, tips and ideas, so check back often!

Press Roundup, March 2014

We’re always happy to see the word spread about BigOven. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a gander at what the press is saying about us — here’s a short list of some recent and not-so-recent articles.  Thanks for these mentions, writers!

Journalists, media, logos and screenshots can be found at www.bigoven.com/site/press.  We appreciate you getting the word out to home cooks everywhere!  Just as important, we love reading reviews on Google Play, Windows Marketplace and iTunes – BigOven continues to earn 4.5/5 star reviews on every major app platform.

We’re just getting started.  We love hearing from you, and hope BigOven is making your life easier, and getting you to the home dinner table more often!

Improvements to “My Recipes”

Today we released several improvements to the My Recipes Dashboard.  The “My Recipes” dashboard keeps track of all the recipes you’ve added, marked as Favorite and Try Soon.  You can find it in two ways:  Click the “My Recipes” menu option on any page on www.bigoven.com, or visit www.bigoven.com/myrecipes.  

Related article:  FAQ on Favorites and Try Soons

New features

  1. Easily add to Grocery List — simply mouse-over the tile and click the grocery cart icon
  2. Easily add to Menu Planner — simply mouse-over the tile and click the calendar icon
  3. Easily Remove from Favorites, Try Soons or Added lists — mouse-over and click the minus icon. “Favorites” and “Try Soons”  are two separate lists on BigOven, by design.  Removing a recipe from these lists simply removes it from your list, it doesn’t delete the underlying recipe.
    However, removing a recipe when viewing your “Added” list will permanently delete the recipe from the database.  Don’t worry; you’ll be prompted to confirm!
  4. View as tiles or detailed list

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View your recipes as a list or tiles

Sometimes it’s handier to view everything as a quick list.  We’ve added a list view to the My Recipes Dashboard.  Click the list icon in the upper right to switch to list view:

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Sample list view

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Sample Recipe Tile View

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Existing Features You Might Not Know About

To quickly find a recipe you’re interested in, just start typing the title of the recipe in the text box at the top of the page, or and/or use the dropdown to filter by Course.

Special holiday note for those who are sharing recipes — simply pass along your “My Recipes” web address!

How to share your recipes dashboard:

Click the “Share to Facebook” or “Tweet” links, or simply grab the URL from the browser (it’ll look like www.bigoven.com/myrecipes/stevemur, with your username instead of “stevemur”) and share it with friends!  They’ll be able to see all the public recipes you’ve added, all the recipes to try soon, and your favorites, in one easy place.

 

 

BigOven supports #GivingTuesday with Feeding America

2013-11-18-givingtuesday3Giving Tuesday 2013 (#GivingTuesday on Twitter) is Tuesday, December 3rd.

Earlier this year, Melinda and Bill Gates created the concept of “Giving Tuesday” as a natural successor to accompany the series of days through the Thanksgiving holiday — Thanksgiving, then “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

BigOven is proud to participate in Giving Tuesday 2013, by donating all revenue made during the day to FeedingAmerica.org, America’s leading hunger-relief charity, which helps serve over 14 million children and 3 million seniors.

About Feeding America

feedingamerica

While America is a land of plenty, for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a reality.

FeedingAmerica partners with local food banks, helping to secure food from national organizations, communicate best practices across locations, inspiring over 200 member organizations to best serve their local communities.  They provide low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive.  The network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year.  Serving the United States, the 200+ member food banks support 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms.

My oldest son and I volunteer at our local food bank here in Seattle a few times each year, and I see directly some of the great work that they do.  It takes tremendous logistical coordination to organize and source food, break bulk, package it, distribute it, and distribute fresh and nutritious food to those in need.

CharityNavigator rates the BBB-accredited charity FeedingAmerica 64/70 in terms of efficiency and effectiveness; it’s the leading hunger-relief organization in the United States.  Join us by making a contribution today!

Giving is an opportunity to help create the better world we all want.

We humbly thank all our cooks, partners and employees around the world, and wish you the very best holiday season!

BigOven® proudly partners with Sony and their XPeria® Tablet Z: Kitchen Edition

BigOven is pleased to be pre-installed with the brand new Sony XPeria Kitchen Edition.

Sony’s amazing new Android-powered device is accompanied by $115 worth of accessories, content and recipes. You’ll also get the iGrill accessory, which is a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer that allows you to monitor your food from up to 200 feet away.  And of course, it’s also an Android tablet, so you can choose any app you’d like from Google Play.

Here’s the kicker:  If some of the spaghetti sauce you’re cooking happens to splatter on the tablet, or sticky fingerprints are covering the screen, simply rinse the tablet clean under running water. Let us repeat that for you: simply rinse the tablet clean under running water.  When we tried it here, we said to ourselves, “are you freaking-kidding me?”  But no joke, you can.sony-xperia-tablet-z-kitchen-edition

The remarkable XPeria tablet can withstand being submerged under fresh water for up to half an hour at a depth of 3 feet, making it the perfect cooking companion for even the most “enthusiastic” cooks!

This new tablet also sits on a lightweight, fold-able stand, saving some counter space for your other kitchen items. A 10.1-inch Full HD 1,920-1,200 screen makes it easy to view your favorite BigOven recipes as you move around the kitchen as well. When uploading your own recipes to BigOven, don’t forget to snap a photo with the tablet’s 8-megapixel rear camera! A 2-megapixel camera is located in the front.

Sony XPeria Tablet Z Kitchen Edition

 

 

Syrah: Pairing Wine with Food 101

Syrah, which is alternatively spelled “Shiraz” in English-speaking regions — is a red grape that generally yields a spicy, rich red wine.

Syrah

“Syrah” and “Shiraz” are exactly the same grape.  Yet because “Syrah” is the French spelling and “Shiraz” the Anglophone spelling, which way its spelled often says something about the region and thus the style – Syrah is usually produced in one of the French Rhône styles,  and Shiraz is usually produced more in the Australian or American style.

Syrahs display strong, smooth tannins, and are generally deep burgundy to purple in color.

Shiraz, the most popular winegrape produced in Australia, gets its name from the city of Shiraz in Persia known for its beauty.  The grape was believed to be brought to the northern Rhône valley in France during the middle ages (though some claim that is a myth).

In France, it’s known as “Syrah”, and to bear the special appellation “Cornas”, the wine must be 100% Syrah.  Elsewhere, it is often blended with Viognier, Marsanne, or Roussanne white grapes, or Cabernet Sauvignon (red), each of which typically smooths-out the finish.

Syrah’s Flavor Profile

Syrahs often carry flavors of black cherry, black pepper, blackberry, plum, bell pepper, clove, licorice, espresso and dark chocolate.  So, when wondering what pairs best with Syrah’s, consider these flavors, and whether they’d complement the meal.

Great Pairings with Syrah

As a general rule Syrah (Shiraz) pairs very well with grilled meats, vegetables, wild game and beef stew.

Pairings to Avoid

  • Seafood like sole, shrimp or lobster
  • Delicate dishes
  • Extremely sour dishes

Syrah makes a fantastic Beef Demiglaze Reduction

One of our favorite uses of Syrah is as a demiglaze reduction, and we’ve found no better description of the technique than this expertly-written recipe by sgrishka:

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) with Shiraz Sauce Pan-Seared Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) with Shiraz Sauce recipe

General differences between Syrah regions

In Australia, it’s “Shiraz”, and they produce a great of it – generally a little more delicate, with American and French Syrahs a little heavier and bolder.  Italy, northern France, California, Washington State and New Zealand are also producers of some great Syrahs.

One of our favorite new wineries in Washington State is Avennia, which makes a highly-regarded new Syrah blend (disclosure:  Avennia’s founder is a good friend of BigOven’s founder.)

There are four main blending compositions of Syrah:

  • “Varietal” Syrah or Shiraz. This is the style of Hermitage in northern Rhône or Australian Shiraz.
  • Syrah blended with a small amount of Viognier.  This is the Côte-Rôtie (northern Rhône) style.
  • Syrah, blended equally with Cabernet Sauvignon, becoming quite popular in the US.  In modern times, this blend originated in Australia, so it is often known as Shiraz-Cabernet.
  • Syrah, blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre. This is the traditional style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape of southern Rhône — this blend is often referred to as GSM in Australia.

Cellaring

Syrahs generally should be enjoyed while they’re young – 3 years or less is typically best for most labels.

This is part of our ongoing series introducing food and wine pairings.  At BigOven, we know that some foods just go together.  That’s why we’ve introduced Menus, which let you drag and drop recipes to create ideal combinations, share them with the world and create grocery lists instantly.  We’ve created a Syrah wine “recipe” listing on BigOven – create your favorite menu and share it with friends.

Are these introductory food & wine articles useful to you?  Be sure to “Like” this post.  Happy cooking!

Riesling: Pairing Food with Wine 101

rieslingRiesling (pronounced “rees-ling” is the most popular varietal produced in Germany, and the twentieth-most-popular varietal consumed worldwide.  More than other varietals, the Riesling grape delivers wine with three very distinct flavor packages:  dry, semi-sweet and sweet, depending upon when the grape was harvested. 

All Rieslings have a very aromatic character, typically reminiscent of apples, peaches or pears.  Sometimes, there are delicate undertones of spice and honey. 

Rieslings have enjoyed a resurgence since 1995 due to their versatility and popularity of new trends like ice wines from Canada and Germany.  Here in the US, Washington State is producing some great new Rieslings in the Columbia Valley. 

Since Rieslings, more than many other varietals, show tremendous variety from label-to-label, you can find extremely sweet Riesling (e.g., Eiswein) all the way through extremely dry Rieslings (Kabinetts), and they will taste vastly different. 

If in doubt about whether the Riesling is dry, semi-sweet or sweet, be sure to ask your wine merchant, or look for the categorization (below) on the label. Such variety within the Riesling family makes it difficult to make blanket pairing suggestions, but here are a few that work across the spectrum.

Great flavor pairings with Riesling

Types of Riesling

You’ll find the most popular Rieslings from the northern climates — Germany, Austria, France, Canada, and some from the US.  As mentioned above, they vary considerably in dryness/sweetness, so we encourage you to ask your wine merchant for the one that best suits your occasion or interest. 

From dry to sweet, look for these categorizations:

Dry (“Trocken” in German)

  • “Kabinett” is the classification for dry Rieslings in Germany

Semi-Sweet (“Halbtrocken” in German)

  • “Spätlese” is the classification for semi-sweet/semi-dry Rieslings

Sweet (usually reserved for desserts or appetizers)

The majority of Rieslings from Germany are produced in the sweeter style.

  • “Auslese” is the classification for sweet.  If you do not see any of the classification keywords but know the Riesling is from Germany, it’s probably sweet.
  • “Beerenauslese” is the classification for very sweet.  These are white sweet dessert wine made from grapes shriveled on the vine.
  • “Eiswein” (Ice wine) – German or Canadian White Sweet Dessert wine made from grapes frozen on the vine.  Very, very sweet and delicious for dessert. 

Wine Tasting Suggestions: Pairings

  • Apples and blue cheese
  • Salmon
  • Thai or chinese dumplings
  • Baked ham slices and crostini

This is part of our ongoing series introducing food and wine pairings.  At BigOven, we know that some foods just go together.  That’s why we’ve introduced Menus, which let you drag and drop recipes to create ideal combinations, share them with the world and create grocery lists instantly.  We’ve created  a Riesling recipe listing on BigOven – create your favorite menu and share it with friends.

Are these introductory food & wine articles useful to you?  Be sure to “Like” this post.  Happy cooking!

Private recipes can now be shared via special web address

shutterstock_108317762We’re pleased to announce another new feature for BigOven Pro members:  You can now selectively share any private recipe via a special web address. 

Private recipes are a feature of BigOven Pro, letting you add any and all recipes – even if you don’t want the general public seeing them.  They may be treasured heirloom recipes, or work-in-progress recipes, or recipes you’ve scanned from commercial sources and simply respect, as we do, that such recipes and photos should not be in the general BigOven public archive.  You may want them simply as notes to yourself. 

Sometimes, however, there may still be private recipes that you want to selectively share with a handful of friends or family members via email.  Starting today, you can. 

Here’s how.  Let’s say you’ve got a recipe you’ve added via RecipeScan – “Carmelized Red Onion Relish” — and you had it during the holidays.  It’s so good, you’d like to share it with a couple of other friends.  Simply click on the “email link” button in the upper left on any private recipe page on BigOven.com:

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Notice the lock icon – this means that the recipe is still private, but you can share a special coded link.  If you click it, you’ll be taken to a page where you can email the special link to friends or family:

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When they access the recipe with that special web address, they’ll be able to view, print out, add photos and review the recipe.  If they’re a BigOven Pro member, they can also make an instant copy of it, to add it to their grocery list, menu plan, or more. 

For all users without that special coded link, your recipe remains private; it won’t show up in BigOven general search (only for you, and only when you are logged in), and it won’t be accessible without the code.

Additional notes:

  • To help with security, BigOven adds a “noindex” tag to tell the search engines not to add it to their index
  • Cooks who get the coded link will not be able to add the recipe to a grocery list or menu plan without first making an instant custom copy of it (which is  Pro-only feature.)  However, they can still print the recipe, add comments and photos.
  • Private recipes will not show up in the public recipe search results for anyone other than you. 
  • Private recipes need to be shared one-at-a-time; the code is unique to each recipe.

You are in control of how public you’d like the recipe to be.  You can pin it on Pinterest, email the private URL to as many people as you’d like… but remember, anyone who has the special URL will be able to view the recipe.  Happy cooking!

Pairing wine and food: 25 Great Champagne Pairings

While the term champagne is often used generically to mean a sparkling wine, a true champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France, and is produced under the very strict rules of that appellation.  The first champagne was produced accidentally; the characteristic bubbles were actually considered a mistake. These festive bubbles come from a second fermentation of wine – sugar is added after the first fermentation and the bottles are capped, causing the carbonation to build as the second fermentation runs its course.

A world-famous drink that marks the New Year, anniversaries, graduations, race-winning and other celebratory occasions, champagne has been elevated to a lofty perch by some – too high, we think.  It shouldn’t seem out-of-reach, or even feel inappropriate for pairing with the occasional dinner.  We believe champagne, as well as other sparkling wines, are a fantastic choice for more everyday occasions where they can be savored.

Try pairing champagne with lighter seafood like sole, oysters or halibut.  Many sommeliers even suggest champagne – perhaps the ultimate “highbrow” drink – is extremely well-paired with fried food.

Want to make a weekend even more special?  Invite over some friends for a champagne brunch.  Or grab a bottle of moderately priced sparkling wine and dress it up with the classic Champagne Cocktail or Kir Royale.

What are some great food pairings with champagne?

champagne-appetizer-pairings
The right appetizer pairings can soften and accentuate the crisp acidic bubbles of a good champagne

Suggested Pairings

Pairings to Avoid

  • Extremely sweet dishes (with dry champagne)
  • Grilled red meat
  • Lime
  • Basil

Varietals

Blanc de blancs champagne (“white from whites”) designates Champagnes made exclusively from Chardonnay, while Blanc de noir (“white from black”) designates Champagnes made from Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Menieur.

  • Brut – Very dry and flexible for a range of dishes that do not require sweet infusion.
  • Extra Dry – Less dry and generally used as brut.
  • Dry – With some sugar; can be blended into recipes for a hint of sweetness.
  • Demi-sec – Sweet; most often used to pair with less-sugary fruits.
  • Doux – Very sweet, although not as much as true dessert wines.

What temperature?

We recommend serving Champagne at 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees C).

Tip:  Open a Champagne Bottle Without a Fuss

There are lots of ways to open a champagne bottle.  Here’s one method which keeps the overflow to a minimum:

  1. Stand over a sink or an area that won’t matter if the bottle overflows.
  2. Begin unwrapping the cork – take the foil or other paper over it.
  3. Put your hand or thumb over the cork, and slowly begin removing the wiring which holds the cork in place.
  4. Hold the cork in one hand and the bottle in the other.  Place a clean kitchen towel over the top of the bottle.
  5. Slowly twist the cork in one direction and the bottle in the other.  Continue to twist and unscrew the cork until it pops out.  It will pop out as the pressure releases, but not enough to fly out of your hand.

This is part of our ongoing series introducing food and wine pairings.  At BigOven, we know that some foods just go together.  That’s why we’ve introduced Menus, which let you drag and drop recipes to create ideal combinations, share them with the world and create grocery lists instantly.  We’ve created  a Champagne recipe listing on BigOven – create your favorite menu and share it with friends.

Are these introductory food & wine articles useful to you?  Be sure to “Like” this post.  Happy cooking!

Pairing wine with food: Sauvignon Blanc

shutterstock_89145637Wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape are generally light to medium-bodied and acidic.  Adjectives often used to describe Sauvignon Blancs are “citrusy”, “grassy”, “tart” and “oaky”.  With a tendency toward grassy and green flavors, it’s an ideal pairing with springtime dishes, soups, fish, and even Mexican vegetable and poultry dishes.

Matching Food with Sauvignon Blanc

In our blog post on pairing food with Chardonnay, we offered up the following rule of thumb:

If it’s a dish you might consider putting butter on, Chardonnay might make a good pairing.

Similarly, we’d offer this advice for Sauvignon Blanc:

If it’s a dish you might squeeze a little lime on, or if the dish makes you think of springtime, Sauvignon Blanc might make a good pairing.

These aren’t hard-and-fast rules, of course, but they can be good flavor guidelines when stuck for ideas. 

Notable AOC’s of Sauvignon Blanc

shutterstock_60905947The Sauvignon Blanc vine often buds late, but has a quick ripening, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates that are not overwhelmingly hot.  As a result, great Sauvignon Blancs can be found in many temperate regions.  Some of the most notable ones are:

  • Bordeaux, France (its birthplace)
  • Pouilly-Fume (Loire region, France)
  • Sancerre (Loire region, France)
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Chile
  • South Africa
  • California
  • Washington State
  • Oregon

Our Favorite Flavor Pairings with Sauvignon Blanc

Flavors to Avoid Pairing with Sauvignon Blanc

  • Red meat
  • Salty dishes and salty snacks

Nutrition Information

If you’re a calorie-counter, you might want to know that a 5-ounce serving of Sauvignon Blanc weighs in at 119 calories, according to the USDA.

This is part of our ongoing series introducing food and wine pairings.  At BigOven, we know that some foods just go together.  That’s why we’ve introduced Menus, which let you drag and drop recipes to create ideal combinations, share them with the world and create grocery lists instantly.  We’ve created a Sauvignon Blanc recipe listing on BigOven – create your favorite menu and share it with friends.

Are these introductory food & wine articles useful to you?  Be sure to “Like” this post.  Happy cooking!