Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Milk Punch Cocktail

Milk Punch Cocktail in glass with grated nutmeg garnish, and cookies in background

What Santa really wants you to leave out for him

Milk and cookies—that’s what kids will be setting out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. But we think ol’ Saint Nick might prefer something with a bit more, um, substance.

Enter the Milk Punch Cocktail: All the goodness of milk. All the fun of booze.

You can serve this drink chilled, or warm up the milk and serve it hot on a snowy evening. Best of all, the Milk Punch Cocktail is refreshing, and not too heavy—just what Santa needs. After all, you want him to be able to get back up the chimney.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup in bowl

A perfect starter for festive winter meals

December means parties, entertaining, and festive events all around. So we need to whip up some guest-pleasing delights—especially if we’re hosting big dinners.

Main courses always seem to sort themselves out, but what about starters? We want something hearty (to take the edge off those winter appetites). Something out of the ordinary, too—but not difficult to make.

So how about cooking up some homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup? It’s rich and delicious, but not time-consuming.

Once you try it, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff. Ever.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Scofflaw Cocktail

Scofflaw Cocktail in cocktail glass with orange slice garnish

The drink that thumbed its nose at Prohibition

Everybody knows what a scofflaw is, right? But you may not know that the term was coined during the Prohibition era in the US.

Prohibition (which was in effect from 1920 to 1933) banned the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. It failed spectacularly, however. Many people ignored the law and just kept on drinking—both in the privacy of their homes and in unlicensed saloons called speakeasies.

So widespread was this behavior that in 1924, the Boston Herald newspaper ran a contest asking people to create a moniker for these lawless tipplers. The winning entry was “scofflaw.”

A few days later, a bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris created a tasty new drink—and named it the Scofflaw Cocktail (how could he resist?)

Prohibition finally ended in the US on December 5, 1933. So this Friday marks the anniversary of that happy day. Guess what we’ll be drinking to celebrate?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Easy Sweet-Potato Hash with Bacon

Serve as a side, or top with a fried egg for a quick main course

So you’ll probably have some sweet potatoes left over from Thanksgiving dinner, right? And your guests will be hungry the day after, despite the huge meal you served. (Funny how that works.)

If you roast sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, you’ll have the perfect leftover ingredient for a tasty breakfast dish. Or even the foundation for a quick dinner.

This Easy Sweet-Potato Hash with Bacon makes a savory side. Or top it with a fried or poached egg for a one-dish meal. Add a beverage of your choice (if it’s dinner, a glass of wine would go well), and you’re all set.

So hash your mouth.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Roast Squash & Sweet Potato Chili with Kale

Roast Squash & Sweet Potato Chili with Kale in bowl

This vegan crowd pleaser is perfect for Thanksgiving Eve

All of us in the US know Thanksgiving is coming up, right? And you probably know what you’ll be serving for the big meal. But how about the evening before?

Some picky out-of-town guests may be arriving on Thanksgiving Eve. You know the ones we mean: That college student who turned vegetarian. The fussy in-law who insists on having the latest food-fad ingredients at every meal. And so on.

Fortunately, this Roast Squash and Sweet Potato Chili with Kale covers all the dietary bases. It’s vegan, so it will appeal to non-carnivores. But it’s also chili (aka flavorful guy food), so meat eaters won’t mutiny. And it has kale, so it should pass muster with the food faddists. It’s even gluten-free.

Best of all? It’s easy to make. In fact, it’s basically a one-dish meal. So you’ll save time cooking—which will give you more time for arguing around the dinner table. Ah, those family gatherings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Green Tomato Jam

Green Tomato Jam on biscuit

A sweet way to use end-of-season tomatoes

As we’ve moved into autumn here in St. Louis, our garden has continued to put out late-season goodies. Including quite a few tomatoes that didn’t have time to ripen before the summer sun faded.

We happily harvested our green tomatoes—but then had to figure out what to do with them. Fried green tomatoes? Nah, been there, done that. Curried Green Tomatoes? Terrific, but we did that last year. We wanted something really different.

So we decided to make Green Tomato Jam. It’s wonderful with biscuits or on toast. And you can even use it as a “sauce” or garnish on meat (it’s spectacular with pork roast).

But we have to make a confession here: Our favorite way to consume Green Tomato Jam is straight from the jar. By the spoonful. Take that as a warning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Harvest Moon Cocktail

Harvest Moon Cocktail in cocktail glass with lemon slice garnish

A forgotten classic

Autumn is important for us eaters (and drinkers). That’s when farmers rush to harvest crops before the first frost. Then they take those crops to market—which is how the rest of us get fed.

Earth’s natural satellite (aka the moon) even helps celebrate the harvest: Every autumn we enjoy a particularly notable full moon called the “Harvest Moon” (more on that in the Notes).

Here in the US, some of autumn’s bounty traditionally has been distilled into applejack—a hard cider made from North American apples. And applejack just happens to be used in a classic cocktail called the Harvest Moon. Appropriate, don't you think?

Many of today’s imbibers have never tasted a Harvest Moon Cocktail. If you’re among them, get ready for a treat. Just mix up one of these gems, and you may be dancing by the light of the moon.