Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Texas-Style Chili con Carne

Texas-Style Chili con Carne with jalapeno and cheddar cheese garnish

Warm up with a meat-based classic

With autumnal equinox receding in the rear-view mirror here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re entering a period of chilly (not to mention gloomy and rainy) weather. Which is good news, in a way. Because chilly season means chili season.

During the cooler months, we have chili frequently—at least once a week. And although we make chili using all sorts of ingredients (including a mean vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans), there’s something special about a chili that’s heavy on the meat.

And when it comes to meatiness, nothing beats Texas chili. It typically contains loads of meat and chilies—and not much else. Just the thing to take the chill off.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Italian Meat Sauce for Pasta

Italian Meast Sauce with pasta in bowl

Brighten up your pasta with this zesty tomato sauce

Autumn is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means shorter days and cooler evenings. Time for comfort food, wouldn’t you say?

Fortunately, nothing is more comforting than a big plateful of pasta smothered in a rich tomato-based meat sauce. It’s a dish that kids and adults both like, and never tire of. Plus it’s fun to make.

With Columbus Day coming up in the US next Monday (October 13), we think it’s time to celebrate all things Italian. And what better way to do that than to cook up a big potful of meat sauce for pasta? Mamma mia, it’s good!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Delmonico Cocktail

Delmonico Cocktail with orange slice garnish

A taste of New York history

Delmonico’s restaurant opened for business in lower Manhattan in 1827—and forever changed the way we eat out in America. It was the first restaurant to introduce à la carte dining in the US. That was a major innovation at a time when most commercial eating establishments were inns or dining halls, where people ate whatever the house happened to be dishing up that day.

The Delmonico steak (a fancy cut from the short loin) was invented at the new restaurant. So too reportedly were Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska, Lobster Newburg, and Chicken à la Keene (today known as Chicken à la King).

The Delmonico Cocktail was yet another of the restaurant’s inventions. Their house drink was a gin- and brandy-based concoction, livened up with both sweet and dry vermouth.

This sip of cocktail history still tastes great before dinner. Or as a nightcap after an evening at the theatre.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Sundowner Cocktail

Sundowner Cocktail with lemon twist garnish

This Tiki drink is a Hawaiian original

We often use the term “sundowner” for any alcoholic drink we sip when relaxing at the end of the day. Preferably while watching a gorgeous sunset. But the Sundowner is also the name of a specific cocktail—several different ones, in fact.

The Sundowner Cocktail we’re featuring today was created for the Kon Tiki restaurant at Sheraton’s Waikiki resort in Honolulu. More about that history later.

Right now, just focus on the bracing and refreshing flavor that will be coming your way when you mix up one of these beauties. The Sundowner is the perfect end-of-day relaxer or pre-drinner appetite teaser. It’s definitely a drink you should get to know, and soon. Because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blueberry Flaugnarde (Flan)

Blueberry Flaugnarde (Flan) with powdered sugar garnish

This classic French dessert is a simple (yet elegant) way to enjoy summer blueberries

We’ve been enjoying sensational blueberries in our part of the world for the past several weeks. We eat them as snacks, mixed into salads, doused in cream—and of course baked into desserts.

Speaking of which, one of the best desserts we’ve made this year is Blueberry Flaugnarde, a classic French dish. It’s quick and easy to make, and the blueberries just sing with flavor.

Blueberry Flaugnarde is also reasonably light, so it won’t weigh you down during these last hot days of summer. And it’s good hot from the oven, chilled from the fridge, or at room temperature. Perfect for a Labor Day cookout, don’t you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Straits Sling Cocktail

Straits Sling Cocktail with orange and cherry garnish

Mother of the Singapore Sling?

Most people have heard of the Singapore Sling Cocktail, a drink created in the early 20th century at the Raffles Hotel (located in—no surprise—Singapore).

But the original recipe for the Singapore Sling was lost. What we have today is a recreation, and maybe not an exact one. Some mixologists think the Singapore Sling is a not-quite-accurate rendition of another drink that was being served at the Raffles Hotel bar around that time—one called the Straits Sling (locals called Singapore the “Straits”).

More about all this later. For now, the important thing to know about the Straits Sling is that it’s less complicated to make than the Singapore Sling (fewer ingredients). It also has a bright, perky flavor that’s not nearly as sweet. Which makes it a perfect drink for celebrating the last weeks of summer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pasta Caprese

Pasta Caprese on plate with basil garnish

A great way to celebrate peak tomato (and basil) season

It’s been summer for a while here in North America. Which means our veggie gardens are overflowing with ripe tomatoes and knee-high basil. And every farmers’ market has mounds of both. So now is the perfect time to enjoy the classic pairing of these two warm-weather favorites.

If you add fresh mozzarella to the mix—taking an already wonderful flavor combination to an even higher level—you have the makings for Caprese salad. We eat a lot of that at our house, but sometimes we want something more substantial. Something that can also serve as a one-dish meal. Then we opt for Pasta Caprese—which is really just Caprese salad with a pasta base.

Pasta Caprese serves up healthy flavor that almost everyone likes—kids included. It’s also an easy-to-make recipe that can be ready in minutes. You won’t spend much time in the kitchen preparing this beauty. Which means you’ll have more time to enjoy all that summer sunshine.