When I was a kid, my parents always made iced tea in this vintage sun tea jar, complete with big 70s yellow poppies and a broken spigot. I never really realized what they were doing by sitting that thing on the back porch...besides making us chase extra fast to grab missed catches and tags during our neighborhood kickball game.
It's a pretty clever idea, the sun tea...when its this hot outside, the last thing you want to do is boil a big kettle of water and cool it down for hours to make a cold drink. But know what's even awesome-r, and quicker? Simply making great ice tea in your refrigerator overnight.
I'm so crazy pumped for my camping and canoeing trip this holiday weekend that I can barely sit still. And, oh, buddy, you better believe I'll be making some smokey and toasty s'mores over the campfire. See, I live in the city, and city with very strict open flame laws (I think it's actually illegal to light a match on the sidewalk), so a blazing campfire is quite a treat. I get to be around one around once a year, which is about how many s'mores a year I can stand, so it all works out.
If you wanna join me on my trip, I'll gladly make you one with my reknown two level heat technique, but if you're staying urban this summer - don't worry. Here's two tricks for making great melty s'mores that are totally worth the calories, at home.
With July 4th on tap for this weekend, we're so deep into grilling season our tongs barely have time to cool down between uses.
Gratefully (ha!), Mark Bittman has assembled a massive collection of grilling recipes that can be prepared super quickly, with "vast majority [taking] less time to prepare and grill than it takes to watch your coals turn white. [Or] If you use gas, they’re still almost as fast as heating up the grill..."
Bittman begins with veggies and fruit, moves through meat, nails fish and shellfish, kills kebab, slays salads, bangs out burgers, sandwiches, and breads, and comes to a close where any meal should - with dessert.
"Why preserve a lemon," you're probably asking. Well, cause they're fabulous, and the secret ingredient of North African cuisine. With a jar of these homemade guys, you now have access to a whole new twist on Mediterranean cuisine, without a shred of Parmigiano Reggiano in sight.
Farm City author Novella Carpenter shares this story: "There’s this lemon tree in an abandoned lot a block down the street from my house (and urban farm) in Oakland, CA. For months I’ve walked past and thought, “Damn, that’s a lot of lemons!” Meyers lemons, I could smell them — sweeter than regular lemons... If we didn’t pick them all, they would have gone to waste. It’s also good for a lemon tree to have its fruit picked. Harvesting stimulates it to make more fruit, to flower and go on doing its job. And so we picked almost all of them."
Still not convinced its worth your time? Just Google it. You want some of this. Promise.
Famed NYC breadmeister Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza crust was a total game changer when it was published in the New York Times. Its fantastic: I've used this exclusively for the last two years or so, and really excels on super hot surfaces, like the outdoor grill. But burning a whole batch of charcoal isn't always convenient or practical, and there must be an in-the-oven technique for making great, thin-crust Neapolitan style pizza.
Indeed, there is. My fave food blog Serious Eats has come up with a no-pizza stone required technique for great, crispy pizza in the average home oven, using Lahey's no-knead Co. recipe and the two-pronged approach of a screaming hot inverted cast iron skillet and a blazing broiler.
The three things I love most about summer are, in order: 1) That it stays light outside until nearly 10 p.m., 2) Permission and reason to grill outside until nearly 10 p.m., and 3) the fresh local food that I grill outside until nearly 10 p.m. Okay, so perhaps my summer evenings tend to look mostly the same...but of course they do! All that fresh local produce deserves its time in the sun (boo...), and where I live, the two superstars are local sweet corn and crazy awesome tomatoes.
So, you might imagine I end up with tomato sandwiches and grilled cobs at least three nights a week. And most often, my tomato sandwiches are the standard BLT - why improve on a classic? But last night, I tried this vegetarian tomato sandwich from Country Living, and i gotta say... it's totally a keeper. Made with beefsteak tomatoes, rustic bread, smoked bleu cheese, and rosemary mayo, it gets it right on all accounts.
Some people would say "absolutely not..." but I'm convinced.
Instructables Living editor Scoochmaroo has done it again. "The best of all the homemade Twinkie recipes we tried, these organic vegan twinkie cakes will knock even the most conventional meat-eater's socks off...It's no small undertaking, but the resulting cakes are so delightful, you won't begrudge a moment of effort, and your friends will be begging you for more."
Tofu cream filling! Wowza.
I'm with Good Eats author Kenji on this one - a perfectly cooked and seasoned fresh McDonald's french fry is the epitome of everything a fry should be. Great, right? 'Cept there's a few problems... 1) it's rare that a McDonald's franchise produces perfectly cooked and seasoned fries, or that when you get them they're guaranteed to be fresh; and 2) I don't eat at McDonald's. Ever.
So this is the kind of helpful article that simply makes my toes curl and rush to the grocery store immediately. Hamburgling a few frozen McDonald's batches to dissect them with great scientific inquiry, Kenji came up with four 'perfect fry factors:
I have a friend who hasn't quite outgrown that terrible habit of taking small, human or animal shaped things (toys, action figures, gingerbread men...) and placing them in compromising positions. Like...every time.
I'm certain he's done it with gummy bears, though I'm not sure if I was present for that one. But next time the opportunity presents itself, I'll now have this trick to encourage him to create a different sort of "Adult Gummy Bears"...by soaking them in alcohol.
I've seen Skittles-flavored vodka before, but the emphasis there was on infusing the liquor itself. This how-to from Cut Out and Keep one ups that technique, as at the
With Memorial Day behind us, it's OFFICIALLY grilling season, and nothing tastes like summer more than a well-formed, well-seasoned, and well-grilled hamburger. Many purists would argue that ground beef, salt, pepper are all that should ever go into a burger, but with some many resources, techniques, and traditions available to us, why not supplement that classic juicy beef patty with a few new options? Especially some that are so flavorful, you can keep the ketchup bottle in the fridge.
New York Times writer and author Mark Bittman explores the art of the best at-home burger - including beef, lamb, and pork - that starts with buying
I know, I know...It's June 1st, and Cocktail Party Month has just finished up, but this round up of great, inexpensive liquors and spirits is too great not to share. Master food blog Chow has created a great list of tasty and quality liquors that are great for mixing drinks or for entertaining. They'll beat the pants off of the diluted, toxic junk they sell in the grocery store, and are great options for those spirits that you don't generally prefer, but want to keep in your home bar for guests, cooking, etc. A couple bourbons, a few ryes, two tequilas, a rum, and gin, all clocking in under $20.
Limoncello is a sweet, lemon-flavored liqueur that originates from the southern regions of Italy. It's usually served chilled and straight up, as a lovely after dinner digestif. It has a strong lemon flavor, but contains none of the sourness associated with lemons, since its made by infusing the peel of the lemon, rather than the juice.
And SiNCE its merely lemon peel infused into high proof alcohol, it means you can make it at home! In bulk! It only takes three ingredients - lemon peels, sugar, and grain alcohol, and about three months.
The Manhattan is the cocktail that can best show what rye whiskey can do. It was invented in honor of the election of New York Governor Samuel Tilden in 1874.
The classic recipe features a 2:1 ratio of rye to vermouth, stirred in a mixing glass, then strained into an iced martini glass. Variations include a perfect Manhattan, made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, and a Rob Roy, which is made with scotch, recipe below.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz sweet vermouth (or 1/2 oz each dry and sweet for a perfect Manhattan)
- 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Maraschino or Bourbon cherry, for garnish
1. Add all the ingredients into
There's a really weird origin story that surrounds the Collins. And by really weird, I mean some sort of hoax that I'm not quite sure I get. The Wikipedia article leaves me quite confused, but this post at Mental Floss explains a bit better:
"The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874...begat The King of Cooling Drinks, the Tom Collins. The hoax kicked off with a prankster telling a group that they were being talked about by the loose lipped Tom Collins, and then sending them on an angry goose chase to find him.
In 1874, the Steubenville Daily Herald reported that the hoax “belong[ed] to New York, where it was played with immense success
There's no clever, charming story to detail the history of the Sidecar - no one really knows where it was invented, or by whom, though the Ritz hotel in Paris claims it was invented there in the late 1910s.
Regardless, this is a fun one that'll make you feel like you're back in the post-prohibition swing days. It's usually served up, in a chilled martini glass with a sugared rim, but might also be served in a rocks glass with ice.
You may not know it yet, but the Negroni is your new favorite cocktail. It's strong, balanced, absolutely delicious, and makes a perfect pre-dinner cocktail that'll match nearly anything you're eating during the warm months.
The drink was supposedly invented in Florence in the 1920s, when Count Negroni asked the bartender to pump up his Americano (equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari, served tall with soda water) with gin.
And if you're brave enough to flame an orange peel, it's totally worth it. The toastiness of the orange oils mixed with the bitters and the spices of gin is a very fine thing indeed.
As grill season continues to be more and more feasible (i.e. the May showers give way to sunshine again), many of us are looking for new flavors and sauce to try on our grilled amazingness.
So, might I suggest Joe's Jerk sauce, from the fabulous illustrated recipe site, RecipeLook.co.uk. It seems like you could puree it up in bulk, then store it in the fridge for a few weeks.
The pairing of wine with food is a classic tradition. Sommeliers - wine stewards - spend years training their palattes to not only recognize the subtle differences between wine vintages, but also learn how each of wine's qualities interact with different foods to make a explosive tastebud experience.
But, the complexity and diversity of beer can also match the variety of flavors in your meals. Craft brewers exercise great care to create subtlety and nuance in their brews. So, sure, ambers will always go great with pizza and cheeseburgers, but don't stop there.
The Bellini was invented in the 1940s at Harry's Bar in Venice, the famous destination spot for elite tourists and celebrities, like Ernest Hemingway (Much of Across the River and into the Trees is set there), that was also the birthplace of beef carpaccio.
Bellinis used to only be made during the summer months, when fresh peaches were in season, but thanks to modern technology, flash-frozen peach purees are available, allowing Bellinis to stay on brunch menus everywhere.
These make great pre-lunch starts, and somehow works equally well on the backside of a meal as a dessert. And if you do it well, it becomes an interactive experience
Okay - begin clever quips...now.
How about, "We these shoes, no one minds putting their foot in their mouth..."
Or..."If German peasants had taken to wearing these shoes, Hansel and Gretel could have been much more efficient finding their way back..."
They're edible, but not wearable, but if left out, they'll dry themselves and stick around forever.
[via Design For Mankind]