Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Gimlet Cocktail

Gimlet Cocktail on-the-rocks, White Background

Lime Cordial Adds a Refreshing Tang to This Great Summer Drink

The Gimlet is one talented cocktail. It can cool you down in hot weather. It carries a medicinal heritage (legend says that Britain’s Royal Navy developed it to fight scurvy). And it’s gained celebrity by association with writers Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler — not to mention schlock-movie king Edward D. Wood, Jr.

The Gimlet wins points for versatility, too. It’s equally tasty served “up” or on the rocks. And although it’s traditionally made with gin, it also works well with vodka. You can serve it as a casual afternoon refreshment, as a cocktail before dinner, or at a chic evening function. Pretty amazing for a drink that requires only two ingredients.

Best of all, it has superb flavor. So let’s mix it up, shall we?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mustard Potato Salad

Mustard Potato Salad on Picnic Table with Chicken

This Southern-Style Recipe Is Perfect for Cookouts and Barbecues

With summer here, it’s cookout time.  In fact, next week brings one of the biggest and best barbecue opportunities of the year:  Fourth of July.

And what would a cookout be without potato salad?  One of the tastiest — certainly the tangiest — is Mustard Potato Salad.  It goes particularly well with long-cooked barbecue or meat that has been grilled over hot coals or an open fire (hamburgers, anyone?). 

Mustard Potato Salad is no more difficult to make than Mayonnaise Potato Salad. And you know how easy that is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Bellini Cocktail

Bellini Cocktails with Strawberry Garnish and Roses in Background, on White

Perfect for June (and Other Summer) Celebrations

June seems to be a particularly busy time for celebratory occasions:  weddings, anniversaries, graduations.   And what’s a celebration without a little bubbly to enliven the festivities? 

Flutes of Champagne or sparkling wine, or bubbly transformed into a Classic Champagne Cocktail, are always delightful. But how about something a bit more seasonal?

June is when ripe peaches start appearing in quantity.  And they combine deliciously with bubbly (like Prosecco) in a Bellini.

Delectable, festive, seasonal, gorgeous — what drink could be better for summer celebrations?

Best yet, it’s easy to make (and even easier to drink).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws in Glass, Black Background

Make ‘em Long, Short, or even Round — This Traditional Snack Is Perfect for Entertaining

Looking for an easy-munching snack that delivers better flavor than anything you’d buy in a box?  Something that works as an appetizer or at a cocktail party?  Something casual, but special?

How about Cheese Straws — a traditional Southern snack that wins lip-smacking plaudits at summer festivities and fall celebrations alike?

You can buy these in tins or boxes at upper-end groceries or through mail-order gourmet establishments, but you’re paying big bucks for what is essentially grated cheese mixed with butter and flour.  Something that you can mix together in minutes at far less cost.

And when they’re freshly baked?  We’re talking mouth paradise.

Once you learn how to make these, you may never buy a supermarket snack again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sloe Gin Fizz

Sloe Gin Fizz with Lemon Garnish & Straws, Black Background

A Blast from the Past

When was the last time you had a Sloe Gin Fizz?  Or a Sloe Gin Anything?

I’ll bet many readers have never tasted sloe gin.  Even if you’re familiar with it, it’s probably been a while since you’ve had it.  As in decades.

Which is too bad, because (decent quality) sloe gin has a delightfully sweet-tart taste.  It can be quite refreshing on a hot day, particularly in a Sloe Gin Fizz.  Made properly, it’s a drink that’s ideal for summer sippin’.

So we should get started learning (or relearning) how to mix it.  The sooner we do, the sooner we can enjoy our next (or first!) Sloe Gin Fizz. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pesto Pasta


Fresh Basil in the Market Means Pesto Season Is Here

Have you been seeing a lot of fresh basil in farmers’ markets lately? Have the basil plants in your garden become lush and abundant, seemingly overnight? Yup, that means warm weather is here to stay — and basil is in season.

Basil is an extraordinarily flavorful herb, useful in all sorts of recipes. But it’s the diva in Pesto, where it conspires with olive oil, pine nuts, a hint of garlic, and (almost always) Parmesan cheese to form a substance so addictive that it would be banned if it wasn’t so wholesome. And you can make it in about 5 minutes.

If you have another 10 minutes or so, you can make Pesto Pasta, a stellar main course dish. What’s not to like?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tom Collins Cocktail

Tom Collins with Maraschino Cherry and Orange Garnish

This Lemony Refresher Beats Summer Heat

When the weather turns warmer, we turn to coolers.  Preferably of the tall, slow sippin’ variety.

The Tom Collins is a classic cooler, with a crisp lemony flavor that beats the hottest sun.  It’s gin-based, but you can make an admirable alcohol-free variety for those who don’t drink. 

It’s refreshing and delicious — what more could you ask? 

Oh, easy to make?  It’s that, too.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Roast Strawberry Salad

Roast Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Overhead View with Fork and Yellow Napkin

Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar Add Ping

Ever tried roasting strawberries?  Or serving them as a savory dish rather than a sweet?  Restaurants have been using strawberries this way for years.  Home cooks?  Not so much.

Roasting concentrates strawberries’ already intense flavor.  Toss them in olive oil and seasoning, and their sweetness turns deliciously savory.  Mate with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, and you have the makings of a memorable salad.

We’re talking big flavor — with little effort!  Well worth it for the standing ovation your guests will give you.