Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

a/k/a the Alexander, this “chocolate martini” is full of holiday cheer

Crème de cacao with gin in the mix, cream shaken in for a heavenly fix . . . . These are a few of our favorite things.

So of course we love the The Gin Alexander Cocktail. It’s a delightful early 20th century creation that seems particularly appropriate for December.

Mix one up and you’ll be tasting a historical tipple. And getting a darn good drink in the bargain.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Cranberry Walnut Bread

Cranberry Walnut Bread

An easy breakfast, dessert, or snack option

‘Tis the season for baking. Cue that sugar high.

Or not. Our version of Cranberry Walnut Bread is sweet, but not overmuch. So you can eat it without fear of bouncing off the walls.

Of course, you may want that bounce, especially during the holiday season. In which case, have seconds. But don’t forget your crash helmet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Liberal Cocktail

The Liberal Cocktail

This timeless charmer will intrigue and satisfy

The US had an election last month, and the results are in: We need a drink! And what more appropriate choice than the Liberal Cocktail?

It’s a bipartisan standard that dates back at least 125 years. So if you’re hankering after some traditional values, this is your drink.

Mix up a round of these beauties, then give us your vote of thanks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Chicken and Roast Cauliflower Soup

Chicken and Roast Cauliflower Soup
A hearty, winter-friendly way to use leftover chicken or turkey

We see leftover poultry in your future. Chilly weather too.

So why not take them both on with this warming soup? Add some roast cauliflower to the mix and you’ll increase the comfort quotient even more.

Who knew you’d be giving thanks for leftovers?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Lentil and Cabbage Curry

 Lentil and Cabbage Curry 

This quick, tasty vegan dish is great for meatless Monday

Need meatless savor in a hurry? Something nutritious and comforting?

Say hello to lentil and cabbage curry. The hearty umami of lentils will tickle the taste buds of even the most confirmed carnivore.

Chew on that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Cranberry Buckle

Cranberry Buckle

An easy, seasonal dessert for fall

Chilly weather and short days can be a downer. So whip up some cranberry cheer.

Cranberries are the iconic autumn fruit, arriving in our markets just as winter threatens. And they’re a staple on Thanksgiving tables in the US.

But they’re also wonderful in baked goodies (like this Cranberry Buckle), where their tart edge cuts through sweet, cakelike surroundings like a happy surprise.

So buckle up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Fin de Siècle Cocktail

The Fin de Siècle Cocktail

Smooth, perky flavor enlivens this bittersweet Martini variant

Ready for some retro? The Fin de Siècle will whisk you back to the golden age of cocktails.

But no need to reset your taste buds to 1920. This drink’s complex, bitter-tinged flavor would be right at home on today’s craft cocktail menus.

And you won’t need to use bootleg gin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Roast Grapes and Chili Crisp Dip (or Spread)

Roast Grapes and Chili Crisp Dip (or Spread)

Easy, Tasty – and Ideal with Crackers, Crostini, or even Ice Cream

Roasted grapes? Yeah, they’re terrific all by themselves. But add chili crisp (a spicy Chinese condiment) and you have a powerful pairing.

We particularly like to use this combo in a tasty dip (which you can also use as a spread, topping, or sauce).

Prepare to smack your lips.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Caramelized Onion, White Bean, and Tomato Soup

Caramelized Onion, White Bean, and Tomato Soup

Deep flavor in this hearty main-course soup

Caramelized onions are smooth and mild, yet intensely flavored. And they make every other ingredient they touch taste much better.

They play a starring role in this Caramelized Onion, White Bean, and Tomato Soup. We like to ladle up big bowls of it for a main course, often served with a side of crusty bread. But you could serve smaller portions as a starter.

Even if onions make you cry, these will soothe your tears.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Italian Sausage and Grapes with Pasta

Italian Sausage and Grapes with Pasta

Savory, sweet, and spicy – and quick enough for weeknight dinner

Sweet grapes paired with savory sausage? Yup, it’s a classic.

This Italian dish is most often served as a simple sauté flavored with balsamic vinegar and sometimes garlic. But we like to combine it with pasta for an easy main course.

With a glass of wine, of course. Because grapes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Modern Cocktail

The Modern Cocktail

This 1904 creation features an unusual combo: Scotch and sloe gin

It’s rare to find a cocktail that uses Scotch. But one that adds sloe gin to the mix? And absinthe? Sounds bizarre, we admit. So of course we had to try it.

And are we glad we did! The flavor is outstanding – much more enticing than the sum of its parts.

Love these new-fangled modern inventions.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Roast Butterflied Chicken or Turkey

Roast Butterflied Chicken or Turkey

AKA spatchcocking, the fastest way to roast poultry

Looking for comfort food as fall chill arrives? Roast poultry is your pal.

Especially if you butterfly the bird first. It’s the easiest path to the perfect plate: No trussing required and the poultry cooks more quickly. It roasts more evenly too – so both white and dark meat come out properly done and juicy.

So in this season of political rivalry, here’s our platform: A chicken in every oven.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Romesco Sauce (or Dip)

Romesco Sauce (or Dip)

A gluten-free version of the famous Catalan tomato-and-red-pepper sauce

Romesco sauce originated in the Catalan region of northeastern Spain. No two recipes seem to be quite the same, but virtually all of them include red chile pepper (both fresh and dried), tomato, garlic, and nuts.

Traditionally, this sauce is served with seafood. It’s also terrific with grilled meat and poultry, or when used as a dip with chips or crudités. Or as a sauce on vegetables.

Versatile and delicious. Two of our faves.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Mediterranean-Style Okra and Tomatoes

Mediterranean-Style Okra and Tomatoes

Adding white beans to this classic braised dish makes for a quick main course

How about a Mediterranean holiday? Virtual, of course.

This Mediterranean-Style Okra and Tomatoes dish features garlic, thyme, and fresh basil. It’s basically a quick braise. Adding white beans makes it a complete vegetarian meal, perfect for weeknight dinner.

So we can’t travel to the Mediterranean? No worries. The flavors can still travel to our kitchens.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Creamy Curried Carrot and Chickpea Soup

Creamy Curried Carrot and Chickpea Soup

Tangy tingle for your tongue in this easy and satisfying starter (or main)

We love to start with soup. Sometimes we stop with it, too.

Especially when the soup is as hearty as this Creamy Curried Carrot and Chickpea Soup. It’s full of luscious cream and nourishing chickpeas. Just combine it with a salad and some bread for a quick and easy dinner.

Curry in a hurry? Just what you need to spice up your weeknight.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Spicy rye and bitter orange usher us into autumn

We’re starting to notice the change of seasons. The sun slants lower in late afternoon, the breeze seems to be freshening.

So let’s sip something autumnal. The Brooklyn Cocktail hits just the right note of spicy and astringent (much like its New York City eponym).

Meet you across the Manhattan Bridge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

White Bean and Tuna Dip

White Bean and Tuna Dip

Perfect for a party – or even as a main for dinner

Dips are a natural for entertaining, of course. But sometimes we even have them for dinner.

And why not? They’re quick to make and quite tasty.

Take this White Bean and Tuna Dip, for example. It’s nutritious and comes together in just a few minutes. Add some bread, plus maybe some crudités, and you have a complete meal.

Ready in a jiffy. Gone in a flash.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Aperol Spritz Cocktail

The Aperol Spritz Cocktail

Cool, colorful refreshment for hot summer days (and nights)

Need a long, tall sipper that’s not too boozy? Just conjure up an Aperol Spritz (aka Spritz Veneziano).

It’s one of the world’s most popular cocktails. And why not? The Aperol Spritz is super refreshing, with a bright, tingly flavor.

It makes an excellent aperitif. And, because it’s low on alcohol, the Aperol Spritz lets you hold off the heat all afternoon long.

Just call it the summer tamer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Sweet Corn Sautéed in Brown Butter

Sweet Corn Sautéed in Brown Butter

Add fresh basil for an extra taste of summer sunshine

Sweet corn is in season around here – and we’re ready for one of summer’s glory foods.

You can eat it right off the cob, of course. Slathered with butter, it’s the ultimate summer comfort food. But it can be a bit messy.

So let’s take those ingredients and combine them into a plated dish. But brown the butter first, for extra flavor. Then add fresh basil for an extra hit of warm-weather goodness.

The result? A dish worthy of a summer dinner party. When we can have those again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Bramble Cocktail

The Bramble Cocktail

A blackberry ramble with London gin

Fresh summer berries. What could be better? Well, maybe a cocktail that salutes their perky flavor.

Like the Bramble. It celebrates blackberries, which grow wild in much of the world — to the delight of berry pickers.

So mix up a Bramble for a hit of summer-suffused refreshment. Without the thorns.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Jungle Bird Cocktail

The Jungle Bird Cocktail

This Malaysian charmer may be the only Tiki drink to use Campari

Ahh, Tiki drinks: The soul of sweet laid-backness. Nothing bitter about them.

So what is Campari doing in this cocktail? Just enjoying a tropical vacation with its new friends, Jamaican rum and pineapple juice. The result sings like a nightingale and ruffles no feathers.

Mix up a Jungle Bird next time you’re yearning to fly away to Kuala Lumpur. And make enough for your friends. They’ll flock to this one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Margarita Cheesecake Mousse

Margarita Cheesecake Mousse

Tequila and lime-fueled tingle in a cooling summer dish

Cheesecake? Absolutely! But who wants to turn on the oven in this heat?

Enter Margarita Cheesecake Mousse. It’s a rich, no-bake tongue pleaser that’s loaded with flavor.

The taste mimics that of its namesake cocktail. But there’s no hangover if you have one too many.

We’ll, um, drink to that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Mr. Bali Hai Cocktail

Mr. Bali Hai Cocktail

This Tiki classic is the signature drink of a famous San Diego restaurant

The days are long and hot in this part of the world right now. So you need a refreshing cocktail, no?

Preferably a slow slipper with lots of fruit juice and a healthy jolt of rum.

So may we introduce you to our friend, Mr. Bali Hai? We think you’ll get along.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Moroccan-Spiced Cucumber and Chickpea Salad

Moroccan-Spiced Cucumber and Chickpea Salad

Healthy Mediterranean flavors power this summertime main or side

When the heat is on, we like to eat cool. Enter the main-course salad.

This Mediterranean dish has a base of crunchy cucumbers and toothsome chickpeas. Then we spice it up with Moroccan-themed flavors.

We had planned to visit Morocco in person later this year. Looks like that won’t be happening, so we’ll have to travel virtually – with the assistance of our recipe collection.

Our imaginations will visit the sights. But our taste buds will get the real deal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Leatherneck Cocktail

The Leatherneck Cocktail

This homage to the US Marine Corps sports blue curaçao

Fourth of July is coming up. So let’s pursue some happiness, shall we?

And what better choice than the Leatherneck Cocktail? It honors the US Marines – who played a starring role in America’s war of independence.

Back in the day, the Marine uniform included a high leather collar. So “leatherneck” soon become a nickname for Marines.

That collar was uncomfortable – very stiff and rough. But its namesake cocktail? Comfortably smooth. And just stiff enough.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pasta Salad with Tonnato (Tuna) Sauce

Pasta Salad with Tonnato (Tuna) Sauce

Ham and peas add scrumptiousness to this summer classic

Pasta salad is a summer staple. And why not? It’s loaded with flavor, easy to make, and generally delicious. Plus, you can prepare it ahead of time.

It’s also versatile – you can change up the ingredients or the pasta shape to make a new (yet comfortingly familiar) salad each time.

Just think of the pastabilities.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Gin-Gin Mule Cocktail

The Gin-Gin Mule Cocktail

Mint and ginger spice up this modern classic

Mules, we’ve heard, like to boast that their ancestors were horses. And true to form, this drink descends from some thoroughbred cocktails (more on that later).

But right now, you need to slake your thirst, no? So let’s mix up this refresher.

It’s a summery combo of gin and ginger beer (hence gin-gin), topped off with a fragrant mint garnish. And it can charm the hind legs off a donkey.

So lift a glass of this to your lips and kiss our  . . . mule.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Tonnato (Tuna) Sauce and Dip

Tonnato (Tuna) Sauce and Dip

This classic Italian dish is basically tuna mayonnaise

Tuna + mayo? Primo flavor pair.

This classic recipe makes it even better with capers and anchovies. Then smoothes the mixture into a velvety sauce.

Tonnato sauce is great on veal (and other meats, too). If you thicken it a bit, it turns into an excellent dip for crudités or chips.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Rose Cocktail

The Rose Cocktail

Light on alcohol but full of flavor, this Parisian classic is a refreshing summer apéritif

Sipping a cocktail in the City of Lights – what could be better?

But traveling to France is a challenge right now. So we need to conjure up the spirit of Paris at home.

Starting with this pastel enticer. The Rose Cocktail has herbal tones and fruity highlights, yet its profile is decidedly dry. That makes it perfect for sipping before dinner. Or on the deck during a hot afternoon.

The Rose has a low alcohol quotient, so you can have two without worries. That may come in handy: We have a feeling this is going to be a long summer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Chicken and Black Bean Nacho Dip

Chicken and Black Bean Nacho Dip

All the flavor of regular nachos, but easier to make (and eat)

Nachos! What could be better?

Well, how about easier-to-make nachos that don’t fall apart on the way to your mouth?

Enter this nacho dip. All the traditional nacho yum in a dip that stays put on tortilla chips.

Your washing machine will thank you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mexican Cucumber, Tomato, and Bean Salad

Mexican Cucumber, Tomato, and Bean Salad

Serve this vegan delight as a starter or a main

The weather is warming up in our part of the world. So? Salad days! 

This classic combo of cucumbers and tomatoes is one of our faves. We’ve added black beans and sweet corn, then infused the vinaigrette with lime, cumin, and coriander.

The result? A terrific Mexican-themed salad. You can serve this as a first course, but we prefer to make it a main. Add some crusty bread or tortillas, and you’ll be happy chompers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mushroom and Chickpea Curry

Mushroom and Chickpea Curry

Green peas and jalapeño liven up this quick, healthy one-pot dish

Pantries and freezers: They’re the new go-tos during this involuntary staycation. Fortunately, your menu doesn’t need to suffer.

Most ingredients in this dish are things we usually have on hand. The fresh components (such as mushrooms and jalapeños) are ones that keep for a few days, so you don’t need to run to the grocery store too often.

We made this dish for a weeknight dinner. But we would happily serve it to friends for a weekend feast. When we can see friends again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Old Pal Cocktail

The Old Pal Cocktail

Make friends with a Prohibition-era charmer

The Old Pal is practically cocktail royalty. His daddy is the classic Negroni. And his sibling is the charming Boulevardier Cocktail.

The Old Pal himself sports rye, dry vermouth, and Campari. That makes him the lightest, driest, and spiciest of the trio.

Just the personality you want in an old pal, no?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Taco Soup with Chicken

Taco Soup with Chicken

Traditional flavor in a quick dish = easy Taco Tuesday

Tacos. What’s not to like? Well, they can be messy to eat, OK. But we have a fix for that.

Taco Soup gives you all the flavor with none of the greasy lap blobs. It’s an easy one-pot dish that’s perfect for weeknight dinner. But it’s still jazzy enough for weekends.

Of course, this dish is a natural for your Cinco de Mayo celebration next week. And May 5th just happens to fall on a Tuesday this year.

We think that’s a sign.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Penicillin Cocktail

The Penicillin Cocktail

Drink to your health!

Let’s be clear upfront: Antibiotics like penicillin don’t work on viruses. So this won’t cure COVID-19.

But the Penicillin Cocktail can help ease the coronavirus blues. With its smoky, soothing flavor, this drink is attitude adjustment in a glass.

So mix up a round for your next virtual cocktail hour. It’s good for what ails us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

We Need to Take Some Time Off

Black Velvet Cocktail

Alas, not an April Fools’ joke

We’re sad to report that Father of Kitchen Riffs passed away recently. The “oldster,” as we affectionately called him, was 99 and lived a good life. His doctor advised us several weeks ago that the end was coming, but it’s still a shock when it does.

So we’re taking two or three weeks off.

Oh, and the picture that tops this post? It’s the Black Velvet Cocktail, which reportedly was invented to commemorate the passing of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.

It’s an appropriate drink for us this week. We lift our glasses to The Oldster.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Spring Lamb Stew

Spring Lamb Stew

Celebrate the return of warmth with this classic dish

Spring means flower buds, baby bunnies – and fresh, local veggies.

Spring Lamb Stew – called Navarin Printanier in France, where it’s very popular – is a century-old dish that’s perfect for the season. After a long winter, who doesn’t want to celebrate with the freshest produce from local markets?

Spring fever never tasted so good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Irish Leek and Oatmeal Soup

Irish Leek and Oatmeal Soup

This ancient Celtic soup is a great way to eat your oats

Ready to eat like a Druid? Because this dish dates back millennia, to the ancient Celtic world. It was originally called Brotchán Roy (or maybe Brotchán Foltchep – opinions differ).

The flavor combination may sound unusual, but our version is delish. In fact, it tastes like cream of leek soup.

So give it a try. And decide that oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast anymore.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Glazed Carrots with Guinness

Glazed Carrots with Guinness

The perfect side dish for St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef and cabbage for St. Pat’s? You’ll need a side dish.

What better than these colorful (and nutritious!) Glazed Carrots with Guinness?

Eat your veggies in style. You’ll probably want seconds, too. Because beta-carotene, right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Irish Rose Cocktail

The Irish Rose Cocktail

A delightful way to enjoy Irish whiskey

St. Patrick’s Day is on the horizon. So we’ll need to have a drink. Or three.

And what better drink than Irish whiskey? It’s good on its own, of course. But if you’re inclined to fill your shaker with ice, the Irish Rose is one of best cocktails you can mix up to celebrate March 17th.

It’s a beautiful drink, too. And as we know, pink and green pair nicely.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic

This quick and tasty recipe is a great way to eat your veggies

Love pasta, but need more veggies? We have just the dish.

This recipe is light on the pasta, heavy on broccoli. It’s sauced with a dollop of olive oil (but includes plenty of garlic for flavor).

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic is easy and fast, so it’s great for quick weeknight dinners. It’s even tasty enough for weekend company.

So take a walk on the light side.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Port Wine Sangaree Cocktail

Refreshing and flavorful, this classic is delightful any time of the year

So how’s the weather? Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter. This drink will thrill whatever the temperature.

We favor the chilled version of this cocktail. But serve it warm if you need some cold-weather cheer. It’s an all-season pleaser.

No matter where in the world you happen to be, it’s the perfect time for a Port Wine Sangaree (and that even rhymes).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

This comforting soup is dinner in a bowl

Warming food that’s simple, quick, and tasty? Bring it on!

This meaty, spicy Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup is easy enough for weeknight dinner, but flavorful enough for sharing with friends. Like, when you’re watching a big game on TV.

We hear there might be a super-big one coming up soon.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Hot Toddy Cocktail

The Hot Toddy Cocktail

Beat winter’s chill with this classic libation

January means serious cold in our part of the world. Time to warm up!

And what’s more warming than a Hot Toddy? It combines the firewater of your choice (we prefer rum, but any brown liquor works) with a bit of sugar and boiling water. The result is a smooth sipper that will chase the chill away.

Oh, and if you’re unlucky enough to have a cold? The Hot Toddy will make you feel loads better.

Just what the doctor ordered.