Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crab Rangoon Dip

Crab Rangoon dip in red bowl with chip, overhead view on black

A lighter, party-perfect version of a Pupu classic

Need a tasty nibble for New Year’s Eve? You’ve come to the right blog.

Crab Rangoon Dip channels the flavor of a classic deep-fried appetizer—but lets you skip the frying part. So it’s much easier to make, and far less caloric.

At your next party, just set out a bowl of this with some chips. Then watch the hungry hordes descend.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Airmail Cocktail

Airmail Cocktail with lime garnish

A “champagne daiquiri” from the golden age of flight  

Airmail? When I heard the term, I pictured special delivery at Hogwarts. Then I remembered: Airmail used to be a big deal, back in the day.

A few decades ago (when this cocktail was invented), airmail was the most reliable way to deliver important documents quickly. Fed-X didn’t exist. Long-distance telephone did, but it was pricey (and many people didn’t have phones). Email, IM, Skype? Sorry, no interwebs then.

The Airmail Cocktail recalls an era when planes were at the technological cutting edge. Fortunately, however, no advanced technology is needed to shake up this refreshing mix of rum and champagne. And like the airmail of yore, it delivers.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rum-Frosted Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Rum-Frosted Pecan Shortbread Cookies on table, with plate of cookies in background

Double rum makes these flavorful cookies doubly irresistible 

Shortbread with pecans and rum. How did that happen?

Well, Mrs. Kitchen Riffs set out to make some plain shortbread cookies. But she was feeling nut-crazed—and happened to have some nice pecans on hand. So she couldn’t resist grinding them up and adding them to the dough. The result was delish, but it cried out for holiday flavoring. And what could be more festive than rum? In went a couple teaspoons.

The cookies that emerged from the oven were wonderful, with a subtle rum note. Then Mrs K R said, “Oh, hey, it’s holiday time. Let’s get down and decadent!”

So she doubled the fun by adding a rum-flavored frosting. Which made these cookies epic, IMHO.  I bet you’ll agree.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Kir Royale Cocktail

Kir Royale Cocktails with lemon twist garnish

Crème de cassis livens up this festive champagne cocktail

Looking for a drink that screams celebration? Then you should meet the Kir Royale—a gorgeous mix of champagne (or sparkling wine) and crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur).

This classy concoction makes the perfect pre-dinner drink for a big holiday meal. Or serve it as a sipper when you’re getting together for drinks and snacks with the gang.

Even better: Serve it to your sweetie—when it’s just the two of you. What a way to toast the holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lemon-Almond Glazed Cookies

Lemon-Almond Glazed Cookies on table, with plate of cookies in background

Double lemon satisfies your inner citrus freak

Love lemon? Then these soft, scrumptious cookies have your number. They pack a double dose of lemon (zest in the almondy cookie base, plus juice in the glorious glaze).

These cookies are great any time of year, but they’re particularly nice around the winter holidays, when many of us are looking for new recipes.

But be warned: These cookies are addictive. So stash some in a safe place if you want to have any left for Santa.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The French 75 Cocktail

French 75 Cocktails with lemon twist garnishes, in champagne flute and tall glass

This gin, champagne, and lemon juice combo packs firepower

There aren’t many cocktails named after an artillery piece. In fact, the French 75 is the only one I know of.

More on its history later. But all you really need to know is this: The French 75 Cocktail is a delightfully perky combo of gin and fresh lemon juice, topped off with bubbly. Its cool flavor is fragrant, fresh, and fizzy—making it a perfect choice before dinner. I particularly like to drink the French 75 around the winter holidays, when I’m looking for something festive.

So for your next holiday dinner party, pop a bottle of bubbly and mix a round of these high-caliber beauties. And start the evening with a bang.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

PB&J Thumbprint (Thimble) Cookies

PB&J Thumbprint Cookies on black acrylic

Peanut butter and jelly—the classic combo

When I was a kid, my mother would bake batch after batch of cookies during the weeks leading up to Christmas. A dozen varieties at least, usually more.

The assortment varied from year to year. But she always included these PB&J Thumbprint Cookies. How could she not? Everyone in the family clamored for them.

Try them and you’ll understand why.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Seelbach Cocktail

Seelbach Cocktails with Lemon Garnishes in Champagne Flutes

This bourbon-based champagne cocktail brightens up the holidays

Like bourbon? And champagne? Then we’ve got just the drink for you.

The Seelbach was invented around 1917 as the signature cocktail of the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Rumor has it that F. Scott Fitzgerald hung out at the hotel bar while writing The Great Gatsby (remember, Daisy Buchanan hailed from Louisville). And that Gatsby character? He may have been inspired by a gangster Fitzgerald met there—presumably while enjoying this flavorful elixir.

True story? Who knows? What we do know is that sometime during Prohibition (when the hotel was forced to close its bar), the recipe for this drink was lost. Then a hotel manager rediscovered it in 1995.

Lucky for us. Because on Kitchen Riffs this year, we’ll be doing nothing but cookies and cocktails from now until Christmas. As a bonus, all the cocktails will be made with champagne (or sparkling wine, to be more precise).

So stock up on bubbly and grab your party hat. As Gatsby might say, “Time to enjoy some holiday cheer, old sport.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Double Orange Dark Chocolate Cookies

Double Orange Dark Chocolate Cookies on plate, with milk and napkin in background

This classic flavor combo is great for Christmas—or anytime

Back when having fresh fruit during winter was a luxury, good children often found an orange in their Christmas stockings. And if they were very good, a bar of chocolate.

So if you’re looking for a cookie that evokes holiday traditions, what could be more appropriate than one that highlights these two retro-favorite flavors? Like this Double Orange Dark Chocolate Cookie.

Fortunately, these days oranges and chocolate are both abundant all the time. Which is a good thing, because the flavor of this cookie is so rich and intense, you’ll want to make it year round.

It’s a great treat when you’ve been good. And maybe even better when you’ve been bad.