Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

This Classic with the “Naughty” Name is a Great Summer Dish

Although I enjoy Pasta Puttanesca year round, it always seems particularly wonderful this time of year. That’s because the dish is best when cooked for only 15 or 20 minutes — ideal when you don’t want to heat the kitchen with a long-simmering sauce.

And the naughty name? I’ll get to that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

Simple Summer Comfort Food

It’s been hot, hot, hot throughout much of the United States lately, with no letup from the heat immediately in sight. So most of us don’t want to spend more time than necessary over the stove. And somehow the thought of a big, heavy meal sounds unattractive at best, revolting at worst.

No, in these dog days of summer many of us want to eat lighter, but still crave flavor. A cold dish is ideal.

What better than a nutritious and relatively light pasta salad? Maybe the tuna pasta salad so many of us remember from childhood. A simple dish, but – like mac ‘n cheese – one that still delights us today.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Serve this Summer Classic as a Main Dish or Appetizer

Salade Niçoise was born in the French coastal Mediterranean city of Nice. The original Niçoise salad reportedly was a simple affair of largely uncooked ingredients: lettuce (though some insist the original didn’t include this), black olives, sliced tomatoes, bell pepper, anchovies, and sometimes artichoke hearts. These ingredients were tossed with olive oil (no vinegar), minced garlic, and perhaps some herbs. The dish was served in small hors d’œuvre portions, often with a garnish of sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Over the years, peoples’ tastes evolved, and so did the recipe. In the United States today, Salade Niçoise is usually a substantial composed salad that may also include green beans, potatoes, and canned (or seared fresh) tuna.

In its modern form, Salade Niçoise makes a generous (but not heavy) main course, perfect for hot summer weather. With the addition of some good quality bread and a nice wine, it’s a great company meal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mai Tai Cocktail

Mai Tai Cocktail

World’s Best Umbrella Drink?

The Mai Tai is perfect as a summer cocktail: sultry, yet cooling and refreshing at the same time.

And to answer the question posed above: Yes, the Mai Tai is the world’s best umbrella drink. No doubt about that.

But I know that many people scorn the whole concept of umbrella drinks — usually because they’ve had bad experiences with versions that are over-the-top frou-frou or so full of fruit they are sickeningly sweet. So, lest you harbor suspicions about the Mai Tai because of its parasol persuasion, let me hasten to add that this is arguably one of the world’s top ten drinks.

In fact, I’d say there’s really no “arguably” about it.