If you're enjoying a late-summer fruit pie this Labor Day, consider what went into growing and harvesting that fruit. Chances are, it took a lot of human hands to ensure its skin would be perfect and smooth when you bought it.

A Marquette University molecular biologist is experimenting with growing rice in the Midwest.

In the U.S., most rice is grown in Arkansas and California. But with drought conditions in California and the uncertain impacts of climate change, scientist Michael Schläppi has been trying to grow the water-intensive crop in a Wisconsin lab and field.

Four years ago, Schläppi began stress-testing rice using special climate-controlled growth chambers in his Marquette University lab.

It's that time of year when some gardeners and tomato-coveting shoppers face a vexing question: What on earth am I going to do with all these tomatoes I grew (or bought)?

A select few up to their elbows in tomatoes may have an additional quandary: How am I going to prepare different kinds of tomatoes to honor their unique qualities?

We're not shy about our affinity for the Cherokee Purple, a purplish package of sweet, acid and savory tomato greatness.

In the annals of ill-conceived public relations campaigns, the egg industry's war on Just Mayo deserves at least a mention.

Just Mayo is a product that looks like mayonnaise, tastes like mayonnaise and yet contains no eggs. The company behind it, Hampton Creek, has been getting lots of attention.

Josh Tetrick, the company's founder, has big ambitions. "If we're successful, there are a lot of [food] industries out there that are going to have to adjust," says Tetrick.

Serves 2...
This is the most popular recipe that I have ever written, a fact that still slightly bemuses me. It is particularly indulgent and very moreish. So maybe it’s just the combination of salty, buttery, crispy, carb-y goodness, with the umami hit of the tomatoes that does it?
· 1 packet vacuum-packed gnocchi
· 1 tbsp olive oil
· 25g butter
· a few handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
· 1 ball mozzarella cheese
· handful basil leaves
· sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nearly 100 pounds of gleaming, fresh-caught California yellowtail and white sea bass arrived at Chef Michael Cimarusti's Los Angeles-based restaurant Providence on Wednesday morning. But this wasn't just another ho-hum seafood delivery.

The pile of fish marks an important step toward a fundamentally different way that prominent chefs are beginning to source American seafood: the restaurant-supported fishery.

A recent outbreak of Salmonella in frozen tuna might have sushi lovers wondering if it's safe to eat that raw fish.

The outbreak in question began in California in March. All told, it sickened 65 people in 11 states. There were 35 cases in California, with another 18 in Arizona and New Mexico. The rest of the cases were scattered across the country, including four in Minnesota.

Texas has a barbecue joint known as much for the line of people waiting outside as for its tender brisket.

At Franklin Barbecue in Austin, people start lining up around 5 a.m., waiting six hours, chatting with others in line until the restaurant opens at 11 a.m.

This barbecue place is such a big deal that entrepreneurs like Desmond Roldan are cashing in on its fans.

"People know me. I'm a big deal," he says, chuckling.

Sometimes fast food just isn't fast enough. A new highly automated restaurant that opened in San Francisco on Monday looks to speed service through efficiency — you won't see any people taking your order or serving you at the Eatsa quinoa eatery.

This is a story of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It is the story of the meat straw. Yes, you read that right.

"It is a straw made out of pork," explains Ben Hirko of Coralville, Iowa, the man behind Benny's Original Meat Straws.

It's a half-inch in diameter, the same length as a standard plastic straw. And it has a hole running down the middle of it, through which you're meant to slurp up Bloody Marys.

Weeknight Kitchen: Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

Aug 29, 2015

Makes about 1 quart (1 L)
Indians make something they call espresso, but it’s unlike any espresso you’d see in Italy; it’s actually closer to a Greek frappé, a bold brew of instant coffee whipped with an enthusiastic amount of sugar, and then combined with hot water and milk.
I’ve been a longtime fan of that coffee, so when I was first introduced to the Vietnamese version, a drink with very much the same uncompromising intensity, I was sold. When I decided to freeze it, well, then I was lost.

Weeknight Kitchen: Tomato Pesto with Courgette (Zucchini) Spaghetti

Aug 27, 2015

Serves 2
Oh, the joy of discovering courgette pasta! You do need to buy a special julienne peeler/cutter to create it, but it is well worth the investment. The best thing about this dish of courgette spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce is that it is a lower calorie alternative to the traditional pasta dish, so you can eat until you are full. It makes a great lunch if you’re trying to lose weight.
· 4 courgettes (zucchini)
· A pinch of flaked sea salt
· 8 large vine tomatoes
· 2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Molten mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and yeast are the aromas that punctuate summer in Rome.

On a recent day, 7-year-old Filippo Virgo has a hankering for pizza — a classic of the Eternal City.

The problem is that Filippo has celiac disease. This means he gets sick from eating gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains. Pizza is usually out of bounds. And, for a second-grader, that's a travesty.

Filippo's family heads inside Il Tulipano Nero, a classic Italian restaurant — right down to the checkered tablecloth.

This summer, NPR is getting crafty in the kitchen. As part of Weekend Edition's Do Try This At Home series, chefs are sharing their cleverest hacks and tips — taking expensive, exhausting or intimidating recipes and tweaking them to work in any home kitchen.

This week: Making mayonnaise that's just as delicious as, if not better than, what comes out of the jar.

Trying to find healthy food at a state fair awash with deep-fried Oreos and foot-long corn dogs is no easy task.

At the Iowa State Fair, one of the rites of passage is trying food on a stick.

But dietitian Nikki Stahr, who works for the Iowa-based Hy-Vee grocery chain, is running a booth at the fair promoting healthy eating and portion control.

She has her work cut out for her.

There's an old fashioned hand-dipped ice cream stand and a cookie booth right across from her, so she's got some competition for her message of healthy eating.

Fortunately for those of us who are suckers for novelty, every year fruits and vegetables seem to come in more bewitching colors, shapes and flavors. In recent years, we've been transfixed by Glass Gem Corn and the vibrant orange Turkish eggplant.

Across the U.S., small farmers have been struggling for years with low commodity prices and rising production costs. Even for organic farmers, who can justify higher prices, making a profit is tough.

But throughout the Midwest, a new farm-to-table strategy is giving a boost to some farmers.

In the coming months, a few shoppers will encounter a new and unfamiliar phrase when looking at packages of pork: "Produced without the use of ractopamine."

It's the brainchild of David Maren, founder of Tendergrass Farms, which sells pork products from pigs raised the "all-natural" way, on pasture.

Maren first heard about ractopamine years ago, when he was just getting into this business. Maren was talking with his cousin, who raises pigs the conventional way, in big hog houses.

Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher, once likened eating alone to "leading the life of a lion or wolf." This philosopher of pleasures, it seems, was a big fan of companionship. Communal meals are woven into our DNA.

But a lot of us are lone wolves these days when it comes to dining. New research finds 46 percent of adult eating occasions — that's meals and snacks — are undertaken alone.