While watching Nancy Silverton make pesto, I had one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. To quickly season a batch of celery leaf pesto, Silverton grated in garlic; she explained, "I like to Microplane my garlic. It's so much easier than chopping it." The next time I made a recipe calling for the aromatic vegetable, I experimented with her technique and was delighted by the results. It's a quick and simple way to infuse a dish with lots of garlic flavor and it doesn't require the hand strength of a garlic press. Genius! Have you ever grated garlic with a Microplane?
During the Summer, you can almost always find the ingredients for pico de gallo in my fridge and pantry. This delightful Mexican condiment has a fresh tomato base and is flecked with raw onions and minced jalapeno. Just-squeezed lime juice adds a refreshing tartness. If I have cilantro, sometimes I'll stir that in, too.
To simply enjoy the pure flavor of pico de gallo, serve as a dip with crunchy tortilla chips. Or use the versatile mix in a number of creative ways. Place on top of grilled fish or steak. Stir into a salad of mixed greens, or fold with cooked couscous. Toss with shredded chicken and you've got a quick filling for tacos or enchiladas frescos. Place in between soft tortillas with cheese and make quesadillas. Puree in the food processor for a smoother salsa.
See? The possibilities are endless. Get this recipe that you'll be making well into Fall.
This information might change your life. To prevent an avocado from browning, spray it with a little bit of cooking spray. When I first heard of this concept, I wasn't sure if it was true. But I tried it myself. I ate half an avocado and sprayed the remaining half with Pam. Then, I covered it with foil and refrigerated it. Days later, I pulled the avocado from the fridge and was shocked it see it was not brown at all. Seriously, try this; it's amazing!
If you're taking the time to make your own hummus, why not go the extra mile and serve it with homemade pita chips? They're so easy to make, you practically don't even need a recipe! The best thing about baking pita until it's toasted and crunchy is that you control the seasonings. Depending on what you serve it with, adjust the spices to mimic the flavors in the dip. I offered these chips with red pepper hummus packed with lots of garlic, so before baking, I dusted the triangles of pita with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Get the uncomplicated method now.
There are some things in life that aren't supposed to be messed with. One of those things is the BLT sandwich. This traditional combination of crunchy bacon, lettuce, and juicy tomatoes is perfect just the way it is. While you can serve the trio on fancy bread, I prefer to make them on toasted whole wheat, because that's the way my dad made BLTs when I was a girl. Same goes for the condiments: you could add mustard or aioli, but good-old jarred mayonnaise is fine.
The key to a good BLT is to use high-quality ingredients and to be generous with the bacon! To check out my method, keep reading.
Before Summer is over, why not enjoy a piece of meat at its purest? I'm talking about a perfectly grilled steak! Grilling steak may seem like a no-brainer: you season it and throw it on the barbie, but with a little extra care you can take your steak-making skills to a whole new level. I asked Chef Mark Richardson of MKT Restaurant — Bar, the restaurant at The Four Seasons in San Francisco, to show us how it's done. Glean his technique and tips for juicy, pink medium-rare steak just in time to celebrate National Filet Mignon Day (today, Aug. 13):
- Be wise when shopping. Premium steaks come from the rib and loin section of the beef. Speak with your butcher and ask him to point you in the right direction.
- Bring the steak to room temperature. Take the steak out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking.
- Remove excess moisture. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel before cooking. "Any excess moisture that's sitting on a steak will keep the steak from directly contacting the cooking surface," Chef Richardson notes.
- Season well. Season liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper. "My favorite peppercorn is Tellicherry, which is left on the vine longer, so they develop a deep, rich flavor."
Although my fridge is stocked with all sorts of sauces and condiments, the one thing you won't find is bottled salad dressing. Why? It's really easy to make a simple and delicious vinaigrette. It takes only a couple of minutes to make and is far healthier than anything processed.
While there are tons of recipes out there, this one — which comes from my girlfriend Sonia — is my everyday vinaigrette. It's a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard.
Sometimes I'll throw in chopped herbs or a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese or a shallot instead of garlic, so feel free to make the recipe your own. To enjoy this tangy, garlicky dressing on a big bowl of mixed greens, read more
Spain's cheap variation of sangria, tinto de verano, is quite simply a red-wine spritzer. Refreshing and delicious, this concoction is my go-to drink when I'm in the mood for something light. This easily drinkable cocktail is a delightful alternative to beer and wine.
Choose a mixer that suits your taste buds (sparkling water, San Pelligrino Limonata, and Squirt are variations that I've made), and always garnish with a lemon wedge or wheel. Keep reading for the dead-simple recipe.
My favorite Greek condiment is tzatziki, a cooling sauce that's served with grilled meat, souvlaki, and gyros. It's made with Greek yogurt that's been strained, so it has a super thick texture, and cucumbers. This recipe calls for dill, but you can add whatever herbs you have on hand. Parsley works well as does mint and basil. Check out the method after the break.
One of the world's most sublimely simple pleasures is roasted garlic. There's something so wonderful about the soft spreadable cloves that are sweet and slightly caramelized. I can't help but pop them out of the paper and into my mouth or slather them on French bread.
Roasted garlic is also a great flavor enhancer for all sorts of dishes from salad dressings to pasta sauces. Anytime I need a last minute appetizer, I'll roast a couple of heads of garlic, then throw them on a plate next to some bread, cheese, and olives. It totally fools people into thinking you've made something special. But really, the technique is so easy!
Leftover pasta is one of the world's least appetizing leftovers. It never tastes as good the next day, and it's hard to transform it into a delicious new dish. However, one creative and tasty way to make use of it is to put it in a frittata! Although it may sound gross — I was a skeptic at first — leftover spaghetti is an excellent filling for frittata. When cooked with eggs, the pasta simply tastes starchy and similar to potatoes. Read on to learn how to make a leftover pasta frittata.
If you haven't yet taken the time to celebrate National Hot Dog Month, it's not too late! Gather your friends 'round and set up your very own hot dog bar, complete with delicious toppings, so loved ones can load their dogs with whatever their hearts desire. It's an easy and fun way to feed a large crowd, and would be great after a day at the beach or playing in the park. See how easily a hot dog bar comes together.
Did you know you can make your own version of Kahlúa at home? It takes three weeks for the coffee beans to infuse the vodka and rum mixture, so you'll want to prepare this ahead of time if you plan to use or give it as a gift.
What most don't realize is that the best bartenders are busy mixing up everything from homemade Baileys to fresh grenadine. The techniques they use to make these superior mixers are easily adaptable for the home.
A few weeks ago when I decided to make this, I spoke with San Francisco star bartender Scott Baird. Although most recipes call for simply a clear spirit like vodka or light rum, Baird insists on a mixture of vodka and dark rum for a rich flavor and thick syrup-like liquid. To look at his recipe, read more
Although the classic meat and fruit pairing might be pork and apples, it's time for another combination, lamb and blackberries, to take the spotlight. I recently enjoyed this spectacular duo on a warm Summer night.
With its meaty lamb, sweet berries, and tangy horseradish, it was exciting to experience a new range of flavors. Since the sauce requires little chopping and the lamb cooks in under five minutes, this dish comes together quickly.
From raspberry fro-yo to buttermilk sorbet, we're all about making our own ice cream. While I've been making the frozen dessert at home for years, there was a time when I was intimidated by the egg- and cream-based custard. How do you keep the eggs from scrambling? What's the best way to flavor it? Does one have to chill the mixture completely before putting it in the machine? These are questions that I've asked myself, and since you may be wondering the same thing, I'm sharing my tips for making ice cream.
Prep Things Right
- Before you start to make ice cream, place the machine's canister in the freezer. It has to be completely frozen (this takes about 24 hours) for the ice cream maker to function correctly.
- Begin to make the ice cream several days before you plan to serve it (you'll see why shortly).
- On the first day, make the ice cream base. When pouring hot milk or cream into egg yolks, do so very slowly. It is possible to scramble the eggs, so the slower you add the hot liquid, the better!
- Strain the base through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl or large ziplock baggie before chilling. If any egg scrambles, it will be strained out.
- Let the ice cream base chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Read on to learn more helpful ice cream hints.
Today marks National Mojito Day, a holiday we wholeheartedly support because, let's face it: there's no drink more refreshing than the classic mojito. The light, fizzy, tart, herbaceous cocktail was originally created in Cuba and made with yerba buena, a type of spearmint. These days, different variations and flavors of the mojito can be found all over the world.
The ingredients for the classic version are simple — rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint — but the resulting cocktail is absolutely sublime. Keep reading to get the recipe just in time to celebrate today.
Here's a fun idea for a party that both children and adults will enjoy: an ice cream social! This traditional gathering, which dates back to the 18th century, is a great way to get people together. It makes a delicious event during the Summer when the weather is hot, so why not throw one now before the kids head back to school? From scrumptious sauces to marvelous mix-ins, here's the perfect menu for the ultimate ice cream bar.
— Additional reporting by Emily Bibb
It's time to get festive this Independence Day: show your patriotic pride by cooking with red, white, and blue ingredients. Many of the season's most delicious offerings — strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and blueberries — fit the color scheme, so don't be afraid to get creative. Here are nine dishes to inspire your all-American celebration.
— Additional reporting by Susannah Chen
Chances are, you're obsessing over what to make this Independence Day. A grill is definitely involved, but what else? From dressed up watermelon slices to the best burger recipe, let this festive menu inspire you. It's filled with classic dishes that highlight Summer's wonderful produce. Like all things American, it's a little excessive, but in a good way!
— Additional reporting by Anna Monette Roberts
Sometimes plain old corn on the cob can be boring. You have it over and over again during the Summer, and it's always the same. However, this July I've decided to remake corn on the cob, starting with this delicious recipe. The corn is grilled with the husks on, and then it's coated with a spicy-sweet glaze. The glaze is a mixture of butter, maple syrup, garlic, and chipotle chiles.
It's an easy recipe with extraordinary results. This corn is amazing and unlike any corn I've had before! The combination of maple syrup and chipotle chiles is perfect; the two ingredients balance each other out, so the glaze isn't too sweet or too spicy. It's a classic side with a modern twist, and it pairs well with everything from barbecued chicken to Cuban-style pork. Here's the recipe.