Although it can be enjoyed all year long, I crave pound cake during the warmer months. Thick slices are transformed into a spectacular dessert when caramelized on the grill. Thin pieces become moist when smothered with fresh berries and fluffy whipped cream. Chunks can be layered with custard and stone fruit in a trifle or simply topped with ice cream and sauce in a sundae. With classic pound cake, the dessert possibilities are endless! Traditionally a pound cake was made with a pound each of flour, sugar, and butter, but nowadays, the recipe is a little different. Once you've mastered the technique you can experiment not only with the final preparations, but with mix-ins as well. Stir in fresh citrus zest, different flavored extracts or liqueurs, chocolate chips, etc. But first: here's the basic recipe.
While packing for an annual picnic at Hog Island, I struggled with what to bring for dessert. I wavered between many different dishes but ultimately went with sugar cookies. Unlike butter cookies or shortbread, these golden disks are moist and chewy. The ingredient list is similar except there's more sugar and less butter involved. As a kid, sugar cookies became my best friend at the first bendable bite. Years later, as an adult who entertains, they're my go-to hostess cookie because of their ease, portability, short baking time, and adaptability. See my favorite recipe — and some simple variations on it — when you read more.
Although the title is a mouthful, these chicken breasts are super easy to put together. There's no marinating involved, so you can make the chicken at the last minute, even on a weeknight. In the recipe, plain chicken breasts are grilled and once they're cooked, they get doused in a mixture of herbs, citrus juice, and oil.
That's where the fun comes in: use whatever herbs and citrus you want! When I recently made it, I used lemon juice and parsley, but the possibilities are endless. Orange juice and tarragon, lime juice and cilantro, lemon juice and basil, even grapefruit juice and rosemary would work! Want to experiment with citrus and herbs? Read on for the technique.
Herb butter, or compound butter as it's sometimes called, is a great technique to have in your Summer cooking arsenal. Actually, herb butters are so awesome that I use them year round! But in the warm months, there's a plethora of fresh herbs to choose from — parsley, basil, oregano, etc.
The method is easy: you combine a bunch of chopped herbs and seasonings with room-temperature butter. Use the butter immediately or roll it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Once you've made the butter, there are countless ways to use it.
Rub it under a raw chicken's skin before grilling or dot onto just-grilled steaks. Smear on bread before toasting or corn-on-the-cob after cooking. Toss with cooked pasta or shellfish. The recipe is incredibly adaptable, so choose the herbs that you like. Ready to learn how it's done? Read on.
Moist, delicious banana bread is one of life's simplest pleasures. It's awesome with coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, or a glass of sparkling wine late in the evening. It's a nostalgic dish that so many enjoy. Wrapped in pretty packaging, banana bread also makes a wonderful edible gift. Most people have strong feelings about mix-ins, but I like to toss in a small handful of chocolate chips for extra richness. While you probably already have a tried-and-trusted banana bread recipe, I thought it was high time I shared mine. Check it out now.
Once you've learned how to make homemade mayonnaise, it's fun to get creative and make different mayonnaise flavors. My favorite, shown here, is basil-garlic mayo. It's a creamy, tangy, and fragrant spread that's delicious slathered on sandwiches or served as a dip alongside grilled vegetables like artichokes and zucchini. It's easy to put together: simply whisk the mayo with the herbs and seasonings of your choice. The addition of citrus goes a long way, as do other condiments like hot sauce or horseradish. All you need to know are the basic proportions; to find out what they are, keep reading.
Romesco sauce is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated sauces out there. The traditional dish, which is native to Spain's Catalonia region, is a mixture of almonds, garlic, oil, and roasted red peppers. I don't have it that often, but when I do, I always wonder why I don't eat it more! It has a gorgeous color, thick texture, and slightly sweet nutty flavor. Think of it as a red pesto and use on pizza, atop grilled fish or chicken, or tossed with pasta. I'm making it a point to serve romesco more often; to do the same, get the recipe after the jump.
Since attending a lunch that celebrated Greek wines, I can't stop thinking about Greek cuisine. 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. I use Ina Garten's recipe, but I add a bunch of chopped mint to it. The most important ingredients are the yogurt and cucumbers, otherwise, you can add whatever herbs you have on hand, parsley works well as does dill and basil. Check out the method after the break.
When I first started cooking, I thought homemade mayonnaise was incredibly intimidating. The traditional method, which involves whisking oil drop by drop into egg yolks, sounds like an arm ache waiting to happen!
Luckily, modern technology allows home cooks to enjoy the luxury of creamy and rich mayonnaise without working up a sweat. If you have a food processor or immersion blender, mayonnaise takes only a feel minutes to put together.
The resulting condiment is unlike any jarred mayo; it's thick, but light and perfect for making dips or spreading on sandwiches. In the end, I've realized it's quite easy to make homemade mayonnaise! Want to give it a try? Here's the recipe.
On Saturday mornings, I often enjoy watching Marcela Valladolid's Mexican Made Easy on Food Network. She cooks authentic cuisine with traditional ingredients. One ingredient that she always uses is Mexican crema. Somewhere between sour cream and crème fraîche, Mexican crema is a slightly sour, cooling, and creamy condiment.
Although you can purchase it at many ethnic markets, it's super easy to make at home. It's also wildly delicious: I couldn't stop myself from dunking chips into it and eating it like a dip. It pairs wonderfully with all types of Mexican food, from steak tacos to cheese quesadillas — basically anything you would have sour cream with. Ready for the recipe? Keep reading.