Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Brainstorm Cocktail

The Brainstorm Cocktail over ice in rocks glass

A drink made with Irish whiskey? Perfect for St. Pat’s Day

If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you have plenty to choose from. In the US, Guinness stout and green beer are traditional favorites. Or maybe you’d prefer a shot of Irish whiskey with a beer chaser (green, of course). And there’s always Irish Coffee.

But this year, how about something different? The Brainstorm Cocktail is an Irish whiskey-fueled elixir, so it’s totally appropriate for the day. And its intriguing flavor will have people coming back for seconds.

If anybody asks how you came up with the idea for this drink, just smile modestly—and tell them it was a brainstorm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

White Bean and Quinoa Soup with Ham

White Bean and Quinoa Soup with Ham in ramekin

Healthy goodness to tame winter’s chill

Polar vortex got you down? Tired of shoveling snow? Then come inside and warm up with a nice bowl of homemade soup.

Here at Kitchen Riffs central, we often turn to soup when winter wallops us. Soup makes an easy (and hearty) one-dish meal. And this bean soup is loaded with lots of healthy flavors.

So it’s just the thing to put Old Man Winter in his place.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with jam

For splendid sandwiches and terrific toast

Is anything better than homemade bread fresh from the oven? The aroma (and flavor!) can be irresistible. And making it is easier than you might think. Hands-on time is only a few minutes—and the flavor payoff is major.

Plus, homemade bread contains no preservatives or additives. So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier, baking your own bread is a great way to start.

But be warned: Once you taste homemade, you’ll never be happy with store-bought loaves again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Red Beans and Rice Soup

Red Beans and Rice Soup with green scallion garnish

A lighter version of a classic New Orleans Creole dish

One of our favorite comfort foods is red beans and rice—that spicy dish found everywhere in Louisiana. It’s particularly nice in cold weather because it warms you up in a hurry.

But it’s also a hearty dish, so it fills you up in a hurry too.

What to do when you want the terrific flavor of red beans and rice, but don’t want such a hefty meal? Just transform the dish into soup.

Red Beans and Rice Soup makes a great one-dish meal. But it’s not quite as caloric as the traditional version—which is a good thing for those of us still trying to lose that holiday bloat.

It’s also a smart way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Which arrives, of course, next week.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The White Russian Cocktail

White Russian Cocktail in rocks glass

Like liquid ice cream

Anyone who’s seen The Big Lebowski has heard about the White Russian Cocktail. The key character in that movie—a slacker known as The Dude—drinks them often. In fact, sometimes White Russians seem to provide 100% of his daily calories.

It’s not hard to see why. With its mix of vodka, Kahlúa, and sweet cream, the drink tastes like boozy ice cream. One sip, and you’ll agree: This drink abides.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

BBQ Beef Brisket Chili

BBQ Beef Brisket Chili in bowl with jalapeño garnish

Beer and barbecue sauce add zip to this cold weather pleaser

Using up leftover BBQ Beef Brisket generally isn’t a problem. Still, a brisket yields a lot more meat than most of us can eat at one meal.

You could make a sandwich (or two) the next day, of course. But how about trying something different? When the weather is cold (as it currently is throughout most of the US), nothing warms you up better than a bowl of chili. So why not use your leftover barbecue brisket to make chili—complete with sauce. It’s like barbecue in a bowl.

And speaking of bowls, if you haven’t already planned the menu for your Super Bowl festivities, this would be a great dish to serve. You can easily prepare it ahead of time and then reheat it on game day.

Plus, it’s a dish that will be new to many of your guests. And since both teams in this year’s Super Bowl have been there before, it’s nice to see at least something new, right?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket

Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket

Outdoor flavor cooked indoors

BBQ beef brisket cooked over a slow, smoky fire? Nothing better. But when the weather is cold—as it currently is throughout much of the US—most of us don’t venture outside to tend a smoker or grill.

We’re happy to turn on the oven, though. Which is handy, because brisket “barbecued” in the oven can have flavor that’s almost as good as the outdoor kind. It even takes a bit less time to make. And it requires very little attention from the cook.

That gives you more time to enjoy other things—like chatting with your guests at the annual Super Bowl party. This year, maybe you’ll even get to see the whole game.