New "It" Ingredient, Spoiled-Milk Detectors and a $25 Corn Dog

Spoiled-Milk Detectors

Trend Watch (for Cooks with Deep Pockets): What's the the newest 'it' ingredient among discerning New York City chefs? Ramp seeds ("not the fawned-over leaves or bulbs"), according to Food Arts, which describes them as "tiny, with a pungent punch and an equally sock-it-to-me price tag." Often preserved using salt or vinegar, the caper-like green seeds have a taste that evokes garlic and onion, and they are being used to add punch to dishes. One chef calls them "tiny flavor bombs." But even extravagant chefs are sprinkling them sparingly: Labor intensive to harvest, ramp seeds cost about $120 per pound. [ Food Arts]

Spare Your Schnoz: To tell if your milk has spoiled, you probably subject it to the sniff test — which really means subjecting yourself to the sniff test, but is still better than skipping directly to the taste test. (Yuck — yet expiration dates are not always reliable freshness indicators.) Now you can spare your senses such unpleasantness. Chinese scientists have come up with " smart tags" — small, gelatinous squares — you can stick on containers that change colors to indicate when the food in them has gone bad. [ CBS News]

Borough Bragging Rights: Looks like Brooklyn is taking the Manhattan-born Cronut® craze personally. "We're honestly not trying to take anything away from the Willy Wonka-esque genius of pastry chef Dominique Ansel," Brooklyn Magazine sniffs, but "we've been enjoying cleverly conceived hybrid pastries in this borough before the Cronut® was even a twinkle in Ansel's eye." Among the NYC borough's food mash-ups: the intriguing Chicken and Waffles Cupcake at Robicelli's and the Lemon Meringue Doughnut at Dough, which the mag describes as "deep-fried, citrus curd-filled dough discs crowned with jaunty, toasted meringue hats." Sound good? Fuhgeddaboudit! [ Brooklyn Magazine]

A Trio with Brio: If the culinary threesome behind the New York restaurant company Major Food Group isn't yet on your radar, it plans to change that in 2014. Having brought Manhattan diners Torrisi Italian Specialties, Parm, Carbone and ZZ's Clam Bar, the group is set for rapid expansion, opening new and varied eateries around NYC, at the Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side, at the base of the High Line — uptown, downtown, in Brooklyn, and perhaps soon, beyond, the New York Times reports. "This is the year of Major Food," one of the partners, Jeff Zalaznick, told the paper. "This is an explosive year. All the things that we've been working toward are coming to fruition." [ New York Times]

Bat-Size, Not Bite-Size: Arizona Diamondbacks fans who find themselves suddenly starving at the stadium will have a new concession option this season — a big one. The team is introducing its new D-Bat Dog, an 18-inch-long corn dog smothered with cheese and bacon and served with a side of fries. It'll run you $25. Yes, $25 for a ballpark hot dog. Batter up! Or better yet, make your own. [ @darrenrovell via Yahoo]

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