Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Pears and blue cheese make this the perfect winter salad
Looking for a winter starter? Something fast enough for weeknights, but elegant enough for company?
We’ve got it! This Belgian Endive and Walnut Salad makes the season bright. Just add pears (which are at the height of their season) and tangy blue cheese (we opt for French Roquefort), and you have an easy dish that will make your tongue tingle.
And tingle rhymes with jingle.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
This classic dish is easy and company-worthy
Pork medallions (sometimes called noisettes) are small discs of meat cut from the tenderloin or boneless loin. They look fancy on the plate, but they’re easy to prepare.
Dress them up with classic cream-and-mushroom sauce, and you’ll be chef de cuisine.
Best of all, this dish can be prepared about an hour ahead of time, then finished just before you’re ready to serve.
That means stress-free entertaining. Which is the best gift you can give yourself for the holidays, no?
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
A dark-horse drink for the holidays
Ever heard of the Suburban Cocktail? We’ll wager you haven’t.
But it’s worth getting to know. The Suburban’s unusual blend of rye whiskey, dark rum, and port is warming and cheering – just like the holidays are supposed to be.
Plus, the Suburban is named after a horse race. You may find that fitting as you gallop down the final shopping stretch.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Spicy and soothing, this is winter comfort food
When the weather turns cold in our part of the world, we like to head south of the border. Culinarily speaking, at least.
Mexican chorizo sausage makes a dynamite chili – especially when you combine its spice with sweet potatoes. Add some tomatoes, beans, and jalapeño pepper for a dish that will warm your heart and make your taste buds smile.
You like to smile, don’t you?
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
This legendary dish is the perfect home for leftover turkey
Thanksgiving dinner is grand. But then come the leftovers. Turkey again?
No worries. Give those stray slices some swagger in this scrumptious sandwich.
The Kentucky Hot Brown (aka Hot Brown, aka Louisville Hot Brown) is an open-faced turkey sandwich smothered in tangy, cheesy Mornay sauce.
It’s quick and easy to make. So you can get out of the kitchen in plenty of time for those Black Friday sales.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
This baked pasta favorite will liven up your leftovers
It’s November, so there may be turkey in your future. Which means turkey leftovers. Give them a home in this traditional pasta dish and no one will complain about eating remakes.
And you don’t need to stop with turkey. Tetrazzini works with chicken too. Not to mention seafood and ham.
You may even want to save some leftovers and make this dish for dinner guests. That’s our favorite kind of recycling.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys probably drank this before capturing Fort Ticonderoga
The Stone Fence Cocktail (sometimes called the Stone Wall) predates America’s revolutionary war. More history later.
What you need to know now is that the Stone Fence is a wonderful autumn refresher. It’s great as a predinner drink. Like maybe before your Thanksgiving feast? It also works as a Sunday afternoon sipper while you’re watching football.
Drink this and you’ll be the real winner, no matter how your team fares.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
A classic drink that’s perfect for Halloween
Watch out for those scary little ghosts and goblins! We hear they’re out in force this time of year. Fortunately, they can be deflected with small candy bars.
But you may need something stronger when they haunt your house. So how about
the Satan’s Whiskers Cocktail? It has spooky good flavor and a name that fits right in with Halloween. Plus it’s not too boozy, so you can drink it on a school night.
No trick, just treat.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
This creamy, cheesy dish is like savory pumpkin pie
Can’t get enough pumpkin this time of year? Neither can we. Especially when it’s mixed with cream and gruyère in a savory side dish.
So remember: This pumpkin gratin would love an invitation to your next dinner party. Maybe as a plus one for ham or beef roast.
Or even turkey. We hear you may be serving that in a few weeks.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Canned pumpkin makes for an easy and flavorful dish
Your pumpkin patch is calling: It’s tired of all the sweet spices and would like some savory for a change.
We’re happy to oblige. This soup unites the iconic October squash with some of its best pals – carrots, of course, but also chickpeas, ginger, and jalapeños.
This dish is great for weeknight dinner. But it’s also tasty enough to serve as a first course at your next dinner party. So give your guests pumpkin to talk about.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
All the flavor of chili in a fraction of the time
It’s cooling off in our part of the world. And chilly means chili!
But what if you don’t have time to make a big pot of the hearty stuff? Enter this Chili-Spiced Vegetable Stir-Fry. It has all the ingredients you’d find in vegetarian chili. Minus the liquid — and the simmering time.
Chili you can eat with a fork? Works for us.
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Complex yet smooth, this 19th century charmer is spookily good
October brings longer nights, cooler weather – and Halloween. So it’s the perfect setting for The Widow’s Kiss.
This autumnal drink combines calvados, yellow Chartreuse, and Bénédictine. Her alluring, slightly sweet herbal flavor will entice you.
Which is the idea, of course. Won’t you step into our lair?
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Tangy and tasty, but not too hot
Shishito peppers – with their bright flavor and subtle heat – can’t help standing out in this trio.
But corn and curry are no wallflowers – they harmonize beautifully and bring out the best in their pepper pal.
So curry up. Your dinner guests are waiting.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Richly flavored comfort food that’s easy to make ahead
Ready for some fall fare? This deep-flavored dish will take the chill off.
Long, slow cooking tenderizes short ribs and extracts maximum flavor from them. And this dish is best if you make it a day or so ahead of time, then reheat it right before serving. That makes it perfect for company.
So get those dinner invitations ready. No engraving required.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
A tasty and tongue-tingling starter (or side)
When you think of Mexican-style food, you may not picture salad. Let’s change that, shall we?
This green-bean salad works with any Mexican-themed meal. But its mild spicing plays well with other cuisines, too.
Healthy, tasty, versatile. That’s our kind of Mexican hat trick.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
A 19th century classic with smooth (but complex) flavor
As summer fades into fall, we’re looking for weightier cocktails – but ones that still remind us of sunny summer days.
Enter the East India Cocktail. Its name reflects the glory days of the British Empire, when India was the jewel in the crown.
And the drink’s flavor? Well, that’s the real jewel.
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Cool and tasty, the perfect antidote to summer’s swelter
No-bake cake? We’re in!
Especially when it tastes like a Dark and Stormy Cocktail – with whipped cream.
So grab your bottle of rum and get ready to whip up a cool dessert. Yo ho ho!
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Smoky and intriguing – with a bit of bite
Mezcal has attitude. It’s sharper tasting than tequila (a close relative) and carries its smokiness with swagger.
So what happens when you mix mezcal with Campari and sweet vermouth? A Negroni-like cocktail with spellbinding charm.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Fajita flavor taken to the next level
Don’t you hate it when your taco falls apart? Just as you’re ready to take a juicy bite, fajita strips and onions land on your lap.
Fortunately, we’ve found a better way. We disassembled this dish and substituted a bed of cheesy, spicy grits for tortilla wraps. Our version of fajitas is easier to make — and even tastier than the original. Not to mention better looking than a lap full of grease.
Take that, gravity.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
A cool and refreshing New Orleans classic
New Orleans is famous for its cocktails. And one of the most beloved is the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Home bartenders rarely make it, though. Mostly because they’ve heard you need to shake it for ages to make it “properly.”
Well, no worries. We can offer some shortcuts that get great results.
Your wrists will thank us.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
OJ and pineapple liven up this 1930s Hollywood thriller
Peak summer means you need peak refreshment. So we’re looking for cocktails that are lively and juicy.
Like the Honolulu Cocktail, which sports orange, pineapple, and lemon juice. The flavor is sunny and soothing, so it’s perfect for hot summer days.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Tangy and garlicky, this versatile Greek cucumber-yogurt dish is easy to make
Looking for the perfect summer dish? Tzatziki is here!
It’s quick to prepare (no cooking!) and endlessly versatile. You can serve it as a dip, but it also makes a dandy sauce (it’s particularly nice with chicken or fish). Or use it as dressing for salad. You can even thin it out and serve it as soup.
We’ll drink to that. Make ours an ouzo.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Created in 1937 using one of the author’s favorite ingredients
Ernest Hemingway liked his drinks. A lot.
He also liked bullfights – and bullfighters. So a friend decided to create a cocktail in honor of Hemingway and one of his matador pals.
Knowing that Hemingway was particularly fond of kirschwasser (cherry brandy), the mix-master made kirsch a star ingredient in the new cocktail. He wound up with a refreshing drink that’s sort of like a Kirsch Collins. Perfect for chasing away summer’s heat.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Add extra savor to a summertime fave
Summer means cook-outs. And cook-outs call for potato salad. QED, no?
But you don’t have to make the same old spud salad next time. Dish up this curry creation instead.
Curry and potatoes are a perfect pair (just look at any Indian restaurant menu for proof). Curry sharpens the potato-y goodness while adding sensational flavor all its own.
So don’t settle for old-school side dishes. Be curr-ageous.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
This Italian classic is perfect for wine lovers
It’s high summer here, so we’re looking for soothing sippers. Good thing The Bicyclette just rolled in.
This cocktail is tangy and full flavored, but not too high in alcohol. That’s because half the drink is white wine. So it’s a refreshing way to beat the heat.
And because the name means “bicycle,” it’s also the perfect drink for celebrating the Tour de France (our favorite sporting event) – which happens to start this weekend.
Ride – and drink – on.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Fresh mint and red onion brighten this summertime starter
Summer is here in our part of the world, and that means watermelon. It’s wonderful morning, noon, or night.
It works in salads, too. Like this one – where watermelon combines with salty feta cheese and peppery arugula greens (not to mention fresh mint and red onion).
A watermelon starter that’s super tasty and easy to make? That says “summer” to us.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Classic gin-based elegance with raspberry-lemon panache
Ah, wedding season. Time to dress fancy and act grown up. But Uncle Roy will be there, and he drives you to drink. What to do?
Just mix yourself a Clover Club Cocktail. It’s a frothy gin delight with lemon and raspberry notes. Plus, it’s pink – the perfect nuptial hue, n’est-ce pas?
You’ll be drinking pretty with a smile on your face. Even Aunt Edith can’t complain about that.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Tart lemons and saltines combine in this outstanding summer dessert
Citrus desserts? Mais oui! Especially Atlantic Beach Pie, which features creamy lemon filling in a saltine crust.
It’s a lot like Key Lime Pie. But the salty factor takes this dish on a seaside holiday.
Serve Atlantic Beach Pie at your next dinner party – and dream of strolling on the sand. Swimsuits optional.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Orange curaçao enlivens this 19th century classic
We love summer! Here at Kitchen Riffs, it signals the start of our annual Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series (more about that in the Notes).
We’re kicking off this season with the Improved Holland Gin Cocktail (sometimes called the Improved Gin Cocktail). What’s improved about it? The inclusion of orange curaçao, which adds just a hint of sweetness.
So kick back and get ready to sip your way through summer. Proost!
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Ginger-lime vinaigrette adds tingle to this summer starter
Our markets have local strawberries in abundance. Spinach too. So why not let them mix it up in a scrumptious salad?
We add feta cheese and almond slices for depth and texture. Plus ginger-lime vinaigrette for spicy sharpness. The results are delish.
Best of all, this salad is easy enough to make for a weeknight. And fancy enough for a weekend dinner party.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Easy and tasty, great for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas
Yearning for some spicy Mexican, but don’t want to heat up the kitchen during those long summer months? Just plug in the slow cooker – it’s a cool way to make hot Mexican dishes.
This recipe for shredded chicken is easy, tasty, and versatile. You might call it Mexcellent.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
A tangy dish with ginger, garlic, and fermented black beans
Peak asparagus season is short, so we like to take full advantage of it. Hence today’s dish, where asparagus has the starring role in stir-fry.
We combine it with pork in this recipe, but you could substitute chicken or beef. Shrimp would work too. Or you could even use tofu if you want to go meatless.
But whatever you do, don’t forget the asparagus.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
A spicy update to a traditional summer favorite
Warm weather has arrived in our part of the world. That means cookout time! And every cookout needs coleslaw.
This Curried Creamy Coleslaw is a tastier twist on traditional mayo-based slaws. Curry plays extremely well with cabbage – and you can make this as spicy (or not) as you wish.
Spicy for us, please.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
A 19th century delight that’s perfect for celebrating the Kentucky Derby
Watching horses dash down the track is thirsty work. You’ll be pawing the ground for a drink!
How about the Turf Cocktail? It (probably) originated at the Turf Club, which was devoted to the ponies. So it’s an ideal drink for watching one of the world’s most renowned horse races. We bet you’ll like this enough that you’ll want a second.
In fact, this cocktail could become a real hobby horse for you.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
An easy, elegant starter for spring
Want to wow your guests without breaking a sweat? Try this full-flavored starter.
This salad looks (and tastes) like a dish that takes hours to prepare. No need to tell them that you whipped it up in under 15 minutes.
That’ll be our little secret.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Luscious and easy – and perfect for spring
Asparagus season? Yes! We like to celebrate its iconic springtime flavor whenever the local crop is available.
Asparagus combines wonderfully with ham and cream. Add some pasta to the mix, and you have a simple (but wonderful) main course. Or serve half portions as a starter.
The season for asparagus is fleeting. So spear this recipe while you can.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Flavorful and easy, perfect for celebrating
Need a festive dish that can feed a crowd? Maybe something for Easter dinner, or a graduation party?
Enter Braised Ham with Port. It’s more succulent than baked ham, and just as easy to prepare. Those who know only its baked cousin will be delighted to meet this dish.
But accept your guests’ accolades with modesty. No need to ham it up.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
This low-alcohol charmer will make you feel like royalty
OK, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: No, this drink was not named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Rather, it was named for the creator’s wife. But more history later.
What you need to know now is that, despite the drink’s majestic moniker, it’s simplicity itself to make. The Queen Elizabeth cocktail requires only three ingredients: Dry vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur, and lime juice. And because this drink doesn’t contain a base spirit, its alcohol quotient is quite modest.
So low alcohol, but lofty flavor. Make a round of these and you’ll rule.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Garnish with blue cheese or Parmesan for an early springtime starter
We could be fancy and call this insalata di finocchio e pere. But it tastes just as good in English.
The subtle anise flavor of fennel plays well with the crisp sweetness of pears. Add a garnish of blue cheese (we favor Gorgonzola) or maybe Parmigiano Reggiano, and you’ve got a springtime starter that will awaken your taste buds from their long winter’s nap.
So yeah, we love finocchio (no Pinocchios).
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
You can feed a crowd with this spicy Creole dish
Mardi Gras may be over, but that’s no reason to ignore New Orleans-style cuisine. It’s good any time of the year!
So today we’re cooking jambalaya, which is pretty much every-day fare in Louisiana. And why not? It’s a one-pot dinner with outstanding flavor.
Best of all, jambalaya is not hard to make. Most of the cooking is unattended, and you can prepare it ahead of time. That makes for a perfect company dish.
It’s the big easy, you might say.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Meaty goodness with an Irish twist
On St. Patrick’s Day we’re all Irish – and we want to celebrate. So how about some hearty Guinness Beef Stew?
It’s a great dish for entertaining. Because you braise the beef slowly, most of the prep work will be done hours before you need to serve. You can even make this dish a day ahead, then reheat it – the flavor will only get better.
In fact, it will have more flavor than you can shake a shillelagh at.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
This delightful mix of Guinness and Champagne is perfect for St. Pat’s
Sometimes a cocktail’s name really captures it.
The Black Velvet is soft, smooth, and well . . . velvety. Guinness adds dark richness to the sparkle of champagne.
So forget the green beer. This St Patrick’s Day, make it brew and bubbles.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
This fast and flavorful sauce is perfect for weeknight pasta
Looking for quick and delicious? We’re here to help.
Our basic Italian tomato sauce (sometimes called marinara) cooks in half an hour or less. It also has a lighter, fresher flavor than meat-based ragù.
It’s great with almost any pasta shape. You can also use it as a sauce for dishes like chicken or veal parmigiana. Or even as a topping when you make pizza.
Weeknight quick, company ready. Perfecto!
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Classic Italian, made even better with mushrooms and red bell pepper
Ready for rustic? Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, so the idea is to eat as you would on the trail. Or something.
We prefer to cook it in our kitchen, where we can add wine. Not to mention red sauce, mushrooms, and tasty bell peppers.
Our version is still simple to make, though. And you can even prepare it ahead of time, then reheat it whenever.
So you won’t have to hunt around for something decent to eat.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
A fancy dish that’s quick and easy
Want a celebratory dish, but don’t have much time to cook? We have an elegant solution – and it takes no more than 15 minutes to make.
With Valentine’s Day coming up tomorrow, what better time to serve this dish? Just add champagne.
Plus chocolates and flowers, of course.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Perfect for Valentine sipping
Hearts and flowers? Sure! But don’t forget: Your special sweetheart gets thirsty too.
So stir up amour with the Cabaret Cocktail. This smooth charmer combines gin and dry vermouth with Bénédictine liqueur and a dash of bitters. That gives it a hint of sweetness, but not too much.
Because your Valentine is sweet enough already, no?
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Liven up your next party with this easy and zesty dip
That Super Bowl thingy is coming up soon. Party time! And what’s a party without dip?
This Baked Jalapeño Popper Dip would be perfect for game day. You can put it together quickly, then socialize while it bakes. Score!
Not in a Super Bowl party mood? Then just call this dinner.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Not the usual chili
Cold and snowy? That means it’s time for chili! Spicy and hearty = warm.
But why go for the same old same old? Today we’re using lamb and lentils – two ingredients that pair extremely well. You don’t often see them in chili, but why not? Both play beautifully with spice.
This chili would make a terrific main dish for your Super Bowl party. It’s something most people won’t expect, so it can be your own personal trick play. Sounds like a touchdown in our book.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Soothe your winter blues with this classic French recipe for wine-braised chicken
We have a foot of snow in our corner of the world. Time for comfort food! And what could be better than a meaty dish slowly braised in rich wine sauce?
Enter coq au vin, a classic French recipe. It requires some prep work, but the result is so worth it. Serve this at your next dinner party and bask in the adoring applause.
Adoration works for you, right?
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
A bourbon-fueled Tiki classic from Trader Vic
It’s a new year, so time to discover a new drink. Allow us to present the Eastern Sour Cocktail.
This one is a tasty mix of bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, and orgeat syrup. Which makes it perfect for winter, we think. All that citrus has to be great for combating colds and flu.
To your health!