Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pineapple, Coconut, and Carrot Salad

Pineapple, Coconut, and Carrot Salad

A Sweet Salad for Dinner Party or Picnic

With only 3 ingredients — canned crushed pineapple, packaged angel-flake coconut, and grated carrots — this salad is about as easy as it gets.

When I was growing up, this is a salad my mother would often serve on festive occasions.  Visually, it’s a pretty dish.  And it has a pleasant, sweet taste that almost everyone likes.  In fact, it rivals some desserts in sweetness.

If you have trouble wrapping your mind around a sweet salad, just think of it as a loose-textured relish or nonspreadable chutney.

But however you classify it, once you taste it, you’ll call it delicious.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Romano Cheese & Black Pepper Combine in this Easy-to-Make Classic

Cacio e Pepe is an extremely popular pasta dish in Rome. Cacio is Italian for “cheese” and pepe means pepper. Combined with pasta, they form a deceptively simple dish that delivers big flavor.

The cheese of choice is Pecorino Romano, an Italian cheese made of sheep’s milk. It’s similar to Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano), but has a more rough and robust flavor that is also saltier.

Black pepper is an ingredient we all know. Freshly ground pepper, and lots of it, is a large part of what makes this dish delicious.

And the best part of all? Pasta Cacio e Pepe is extremely fast and easy to make. It’s a great dish for a quick dinner — or as a snack after a night on the town.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pimm’s Cup – The Perfect Summer Cocktail

Pimm's Cup Cocktail

The Best Drink You’ve Probably Never Had

Most people in the United States have never had a Pimm’s Cup.  Many have never heard of it.

But Pimm’s Cup is very popular as a summer drink in England (along with champagne, it’s the official drink of Wimbledon).  It has a relatively low alcohol content, so you can enjoy a couple of tall cool ones at a picnic or sitting out on your patio — and still remain clear-headed.

Best yet, it’s a snap to mix.  With Memorial Day a couple of weekends away, you’ve got plenty of time to lay in a supply of Pimm’s and learn how to make this great-tasting drink.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homemade Meringues with Strawberry Sauce

Homemade Meringues with Strawberry Sauce

A Macaron Cousin for Mother’s Day

Meringues - egg white and sugar nests of airy sweetness - are one of those old-fashioned desserts that wax and wane in popularity.

Lately, they seem to have lost some appeal. Which is odd considering that macarons - a cookie-form cousin of the meringue - are all the rage these days.

When I was a child, meringues were the special-occasion dessert at our house, served with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries, and sometimes whipped cream.

Because meringues have the reputation of being somewhat finicky to prepare, I think my mother always mentally held her breath each time she made them. And she probably didn’t exhale until the first bite revealed that, once again, meringue success was hers.

And speaking of mom, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. What better dessert to celebrate with than meringues?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Sauce

Strawberry Sauce

A Classic, Quick Topping for Desserts

Who doesn’t like strawberries?  They’re wonderful just to munch “neat” (whole or sliced).

And they’re delicious when macerated and served with whipped cream over shortcake.  Or baked into pies or tarts.  Or churned into ice cream.  You name it, their unmistakable flavor is one we crave.

So when strawberry season rolls around, we indulge  . . . and indulge and indulge.

At the height of the season, when strawberries are plentiful and inexpensive, we in the Kitchen Riffs household tend to buy carton after carton.  So many that, unless we do something with them right now, they run the risk of spoiling.

That’s often when we decide to convert excess, overripe strawberries into strawberry sauce.