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TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Pancakes

Bacon Corn Griddle Cakes

Carrot Pancakes

Flavor Flours Book

[1] Bacon and corn griddle cakes from Recipe Girl—and here’s her recipe. [2] Carrot pancakes with salted yogurt, gluten free. Here’s the recipe from Jessica Koslow at Bon Appetite (photo Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott). [3] You don’t need to use wheat. Check out these flours (photo courtesy ).


September 26th is National Pancake Day. Normally, we’d make our favorite: buttermilk pancakes topped with smoked salmon, crème fraîche and chopped dill.

We’d love them with a topping caviar: We’ll have that daily when our ship comes in.

But until then, we’re not highbrow: Another favorite is chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips, topped with bananas and sour cream.)

Today’s tip is: Take a fresh look at pancakes.

Cultures around the world eat pancakes, both sweet and savory. Some have them as a main dish, some enjoy them as street food.

There are so many choices:
From Danish aebleskiver to Russian blini and latkes in Europe, to Chinese scallion pancakes and Japanese okonomiya, filled with shredded cabbage and other choices from shrimp to vegetables.

In Malaysia, apam balik—folded pancakes—are made with rice flour and stuffed with a sweet peanut filling.

In Somalia, anjero is a fermented, crepe-like pan bread made from sorghum and corn flowers. It looks like a thin pancake and is topped with sugar or beef. In South Africa, pannekoeke look like tacos, folded over with a popular filling of cinnamon custard and streusel.

The fold-over technique is also used in the cachapas of Colombia and Venezuela: corn pancakes folded over grated queso mano or mozarella, and grilled until melted.

Click the links above for the recipes.

Take a look at the different types of pancakes in our Pancake Glossary.


1. SELECT a flour: buckwheat, chickpea, chestnut, coconut, corn, nut, oat, rice, sorghum, spelt, teff, wheat, whole grain, etc.

  • Explore: Here’s a terrific book on cooking and baking without wheat flour.
  • Mix the batter. Check online recipes to see if you need to alter proportions.
    2. ADD your favorite ingredients:

  • Proteins: bacon, cheese, ham, sausage (chicken, pork), roe, seafood
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, sage, thyme, etc.
  • Spices: cardamom, Chinese five spice, cinnamon/pumpkin pie spices, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, pepper, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, dried fruits, stone fruits, tropical fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrot, corn, onion/green onion, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.
    3. PICK your toppings:

  • Dairy: butter or compound [flavored] butter, from jalapeño to strawberry; crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt
  • Sweet: honey, syrup
  • Garnish of choice: Bacon, crumbled or grated cheese, toasted nuts
    4. FRY and serve.


    We love this article from National Geographic, and recommend it as a short read on the history of pancakes.

    Archaeologists have discovered grains on 30,000-year-old grinding tools, suggesting that Stone Age man might have been eating grains mixed with water and cooked on a hot rock.

    While the result not have looked like the modern crepe, hotcake, or flapjack, the idea was the same: a flat cake, made from batter and fried.

    Ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes topped with honey, and a Greek reference mentions toppings of cheese and sesame as well.

    These foods were not called pancakes, but the first mention of “pancake” in an English dictionary dates to the 16th century: a cake made in a pan.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Flat as a pancake” has been a catchphrase since at least 1611.

    For the rest of the pancake’s journey to modern times, head to National Geographic.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Purple Potatoes

    Just a few years ago, purple potatoes were hard to find, especially for our Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (here’s a bonus recipe), popular fare for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

    Thankfully, things have changed. Once called purple Peruvian potatoes, they are now grown worldwide in response to consumer demand, so are much more readily available.

    Millennia ago, many potato varieties grew wild in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in what is now Peru.

    Along with many other varieties of potatoes, they were cultivated around 3000 B.C.E. by the Incas.

    Imagine European cuisine without potatoes! But they were unknown until the Spanish conquistadors reached the shores of Montezuma’s empire (modern-day Mexico) in 1519. Potatoes sailed back to Spain a few years later.

    See the history of potatoes and the different types of potatoes.

    In addition to the vividly colored flesh—some purple, some blue—purple potatoes* have a creamy texture and are rich in flavor. Their starch level is medium, so purple potatoes are an all-purpose potato.

    Creamy and earthy-tasting like russet potatoes, the color is very dramatic. Depending on their species, some varieties have a nutty flavor, some varieties become a lighter lavender shade after cooking.

    There’s also a purple-fleshed “Okinawan” sweet potato, a staple in Hawaii. Look for it in Asian markets. decreasing the risk of stroke and macular degeneration. †Purple potatoes are now grown around the world.

    Try them baked, broiled, fried or mashed to add color and style to your meals. Make purple potato chips as as a beguiling snack, side or garnish.

    As with all potatoes, blue/purple potatoes originated in Peru, where the Incas cultivated many varieties of potato (see the history of potatoes). The color can become lavender when cooking. The starch level is medium, so purple Peruvians are an all-purpose potato. They are moist and earthy-tasting, sometimes with a nutty flavor; and the color is very dramatic. Purple potatoes are not only prettier, they have higher levels of polyphenol antioxidants to protect body cells against free radical damage (see this article from NBC News). They can help lower blood pressure, without causing weight gain: guilt-free potatoes!

    A purple-fleshed sweet potato used extensively in Hawaiian cuisine, your best bet to find these are in Asian markets or online.

    The skin is tan, similar to the familiar russet potatoes; but the flesh is a bright magenta color. The Okinawa purple sweet potato has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture.

    The Okinawa is a member of the sweet potato family: order Solanales, family Convolvulaceae, genus Ipomoea, species, I. batatas. Its subspecies is Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki.

    The white potato is of the same botanical order, Solanales, but diverges from the sweet potato at that level. The taxonomy of the white potato is: order Solanales, family Solanaceae, genus Solanum, species: S. tuberosum.

    Okinawa potatoes can be cooked like any sweet potato: baked, boiled, candied, mashed, roasted, scalloped or steamed.

    The Okinawa sweet potato is not related to the purple yam, ube, which is popular in Filipino cuisine and creates dishes of intense purple color.

    The term “yam” is often used incorrectly in the U.S. Yams are not members of the potato order, family, etc., but are from a totally different order. Be is from the order Dioscoreales, family Dioscoreaceae, genus Dioscorea, species D. alata.


    Purple Peruvian Potatoes

    Blue Potatoes

    Okinawa Sweet Potato


    [1] Purple potatoes—in fact, all potatoes—originated in what is now Peru (photo Mona Makela | IST). [2] Some varieties have blue flesh, a result of the soil pH and other factors (photo courtesy Burpee). [3] Okinawa sweet potatoes (photo courtesy Melissa’s). [4] Ube are not potatoes (photo courtesy

    *The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that create red, blue and purple colors, depending on the pH of the soil and other growing factors. These antioxidants may help with everything from fighting heart disease and prostate cancer to lowering blood pressure.


    Purple Peruvian Potato Croquettes

    Purple Potato Chips

    Purple Potato Soup

    [5] Purple potato croquettes (photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). [6] A fancy hors d’oeuvre, purple potato chips with caviar (photo Bethany Holdhaus | Wedding Edibles). [7] Purple potato soup (photo © Family Spice).



    Try this recipe from, made with Idaho Purple Potatoes.

    A croquette is a small portion of fried food coated with bread crumbs. It can be made from cheese, fish and shellfish, ground meat, mashed potatoes or vegetables, variously seasoned.

    Filling Ingredients

  • 4 pounds purple potatoes
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup herbs (parsley, thyme), chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt (more to taste)
    For The Breading

  • All-purpose flour
  • 5 egg yolks, whisked
  • Coarse bread crumbs (we prefer panko)

    1. BOIL the potatoes until fork tender. Carefully peel the potatoes while warm, discarding the skins and placing the meat of the potato in a food mill or a food processor with the paddle attachment.

    2. WARM the cream and butter and add to the potatoes and add all filling ingredients except the eggs. Completely blend until the potatoes are smooth and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated.

    3. SPREAD the potatoes out on a cookie sheet or a one-inch sheet pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and cool overnight in the fridge.

    4. CUT out the desired size of the croquettes with a cookie cutter or ring. Set up a breading station of flour, the whisked eggs and the bread crumbs. To bread: Coat the croquette in the flour, brushing off the excess. Completely coat with egg and transfer to the bread crumbs. Repeat this process for a double breading.

    5. FRY the croquettes in oil until golden brown, finishing in the oven until hot and ready to serve.

  • Fashionable Niçoise Salad
  • Purple Potato & Red Beet Salad
  • Rainbow Pizza


    RECIPE: Rum Punch For National Rum Punch Day

    September 20th is National Rum Punch Day. While the word “punch” conjures up a large bowl of drink, the word actually derives from the number five in Sanskrit and Hindi.


    Punch is a general term for a broad assortment of mixed drinks, made with or without alcohol. The word “punch” derives from the Hindi word, panch, from the Sanskrit is panchan, five.

    In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit; hence the name.

    Punch was “discovered” in India by the British sailors of the East India Company. The concept was brought to England in the early 17th century. From there it spread to other countries.

    While Western punch recipes generally contain fruit or fruit juice, fruit isn’t essential. Nor is an elegant punch bowl required: a pitcher is fine, and in many cases, it’s more practical.

    You can also make just one punch drink at a time. Here are two recipes for individual punch drinks—rum punch, of course, to celebrate National Rum Punch Day.

    For serving in tall glasses, get some fun straws.

    It’s hard to resist 144 cocktail umbrellas for $4.79, but we resisted.


    This classic rum punch uses two different types of rum: white and dark. If you don’t have both, use what you have.

    Because this recipe is in “parts,” you can make anything from a single glass to a party portion, without any calculations.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part Bacardi Superior (white rum)
  • ½ part Bacardi Select (dark rum)
  • ¼ part grenadine
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • ½ part cranberry juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced

    1. COMBINE ombine all liquid ingredients iIn a large container. Refrigerate until chilled and enjoy. If making a large batch, just before serving…

    2. POUR into a large punch bowl, stirring in ice. Garnish the bowl with floating lemon slices. Serve each glass with a lemon wheel.

    This recipe, from Inspired By Charm, uses coconut rum and dark rum. No dark rum? Try it with all coconut rum.


    Rum Punch

    National Rum Punch Day

    Yellow Striped Straws

    [1] Grenadine and orange or yellow fruit juices create the “sunset” effect (photo courtesy Inspired By Charm). [2] Get out your Mason jars (photo courtesy The Blond Cook). [3] Tall drinks deserve a fun straw (photo courtesy Balloon Red).

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 ounce dark rum, plus 1/2 ounce to splash on top
  • 1 ounce coconut rum
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Garnish: lime slice

    1. POUR into a glass the pineapple juice, orange juice, 1 ounce dark rum and 1 ounce coconut rum. Gently stir.

    2. SLOWLY POUR in a splash of grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom to create the “sunset” coloration.

    3. ADD 1/2 ounce of dark rum to the top. Garnish with a slice of lime and serve.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 25+ Substitutes For Hamburger Buns

    National Cheeseburger Day is September 18th, so have fun with it.

    Instead of your personal standard, branch out and make your CB special. You can do it by using a different:

  • Ground meat or blend
  • Cheese
  • Condiment(s)
  • Toppings
  • Stuffing
    For inspiration in these areas (you might call it foodporn), check out
    But today’s tip is the easiest of all: Think outside the bun.

    So many different types of bread—plain or toasted—are waiting to cradle your burger.


    What should you use instead of a hamburger bun? The easiest answer:

    Walk down the bread isle of your market and see what speaks to you. You’ll find more than enough yummy choices to re-envision your burger.

  • Bagel burger (garlic or everything) or simit burger
  • Baguette burger (or other French bread)
  • Brioche burger
  • Burger on rye
  • Challah burger
  • Cornbread burger
  • Croissant burger (great with pretzel croissants)
  • English muffin burger
  • Ezekiel 4:9 burger or Genesis 1:29 burger (both breads have lots of whole grains and legumes)
  • Focaccia burger
  • French toast burger
  • Garlic bread burger
  • Indian bread burger (chapati, dosa, naan, paratha, roti)
  • Italian bread burger
  • Nut bread burger
  • Olive bread burger
  • Pizza crust burger (a great use for leftover pizza dough)
  • Potato bread burger
  • Pumpernickel burger (add sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing for a burger version of the Reuben sandwich)
  • Pupusa burger (pupusa is a stuffed corn tortilla)
  • Onion roll burger (or other specialty roll)
  • Rustic loaf burger
  • Sourdough burger
  • Toast burger (toast white, whole wheat, whatever you have)
  • Wrap burger

    We second that motion! But don’t make an obvious switch among American, Cheddar and Swiss slices. Consider:

  • Blue
  • Brie or Camembert (the difference)
  • Feta
  • Flavored Cheddar (we love a burger with Cabot Chipotle, Garlic, Horseradish and Jalapeño Cheddars)
  • Fontina
  • Gouda
  • Gruyère
  • Jack or Pepperjack
  • Jarlsberg
  • Havarti or other butterkäse
  • Washed rind (“stinky”) cheese:* Epoisses, Muenster d’Alsace,† Limburger, Pont l’Eveque, Stinking Bishop, Taleggio
    *It’s a personal thing, but we love stinky cheeses, both in general and in the way they complement the grilled, beefy aroma and taste of the burger. The aroma is not necessarily representative of the cheese. But the cheese is specifically crafted to create those earthy scents.

    †Munster d’Alsace, also called Alsatian munster and French munster (optional spelling muenster), has nothing in common with bland American munster, except that they are both cheeses.


    Baguette Cheeseburger


    Focaccia Cheeseburger

    Cheeseburger On Sourdough Bread

    Pita Burger

    English Muffin Burger

    [1] A baguette cheeseburger (photo courtesy Ian Warf | Pinterest). [2] In France, McDonald’s serves the McBaguette (photo McDonalds). [3] Try a hard roll, and don’t be afraid to go rectangular instead of round (photo courtesy [4] We love a burger on toasted sourdough bread (photo courtesy Omaha Steaks) [5] Pita: a natural pocket for your burger (photo courtesy Droolworthy Daily). [6] A natural: the English muffin burger (photo courtesy Thomas Breads).


  • Use fresh meat: The more freshly ground the meat is, the more tender and flavorful the burger.
  • Keep the meat cold. Patties will stay as juicy as possible when they’re cooked cold. Putting the patties in the fridge also helps to keep the flavor-carrying fat from dripping out.
  • Stop flipping! Flip only once: Constant turning will toughen and dry out the meat, and if you flip too soon, the burger will stick. Cook two minutes per side for rare, three for medium-rare, four for medium, and five for well-done.
  • Don’t press down on the burger! When a burger is pressed with a spatula, the juice is pressed out, taking all that moistness and flavor with it.
  • Move a cheeseburger. To add cheese, move the burger to the cooler side of the grill, top with cheese and cover the grill for a minute to let the cheese melt.
    Thanks to Crawford Ker of Ker’s Winghouse for these tips.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 10+ Uses For A Trifle Bowl

    English Trifle Bowl

    English Trifle Bowl

    Peanut Butter Trifle

    Homemade Edible Arrangement

    [1] A classic English trifle (photo courtesy [1] This modern trifle combines peanut butter pudding and pretzels. [3] A good-for-you substitute. Move over, Edible Arrangements (photos #2 and #3 courtesy Pampered Chef).


    Trifles are one of the easiest desserts you can make—and impressive to present. Most of the ingredients are purchased ready-to-use, with only custard or other pudding requiring a few minutes of preparation.

    A trifle is a layered British dessert of fruit, sponge fingers or sponge cake soaked, custard, and a topping of whipped cream. Other ingredients can be added (gelatin/Jell-O, cookie crumbs) and the cake can be soaked in alcohol.

    Trifle is an evolution of a fruit fool, a dessert that probably originated in 15th -century Britain. Puréed stewed fruit was swirled with sweet custard.

    The classic was (and is) gooseberry fool, but seasonal fruits—apples, berries, rhubarb—were also used.

    Other countries have their own versions that followed the British concept. In Italy, for example, zuppa inglese, a layering of liqueur-soaked sponge and custard, appeared in the late 19th century.

    The first known reference to a trifle appears in 1585 in a cookbook, The Good Huswifes Jewell. It was flavored with sugar, ginger and rosewater (a recipe for the well-do-do, as sugar and spices were costly).

    The trifle evolved to include a layer of crumbled biscuits (cookies) and alcohol-soaked sponge cake or sponge fingers (ladyfingers) as the bottom layer. Brandy, madeira, port and sherry were used to soak the sponge.

    When powdered gelatin* became available in 1845, a layer of fruit “jelly” was added to recipes.

    As was so common among the fashionable in Renaissance Britain, France, and other European countries, new foods engendered new styles of dishes and flatware. For trifles, a straight-sided pedestal glass bowl showed off the beauty of the layers.

    Today, many people prefer bowls without the pedestal (easier to store), and modern ingredient layers that range from layers of chocolate cake, peanut butter pudding, pretzels and Oreos.

    Glass bowls with or without a pedestal are used for other desserts and can also be repurposed. Anyone who owns a straight-sided glass bowl has already figured out how to use it for layered dips, layered salads (fruit, green, pasta) and as a fruit bowl.

    It can serve as anything from a bread basket (nice with muffins at brunch) to a chip bowl.

    Here are more ways to use a trifle bowl. Thanks to Pampered Chef for some of these ideas and photos.



  • Candle Holder. A trifle bowl can make a candle holder with lots of flair. Just place a flame-proof base inside the bowl, place a pedestal candle on top, then fill around the base with any festive decoration: pretty stones, marbles, nuts, wine corks, wood chips. TIP: For the dinner table, use an unscented candle.
  • Centerpiece. For fall, fill the bowl with apples, chestnuts, dried wheat, gourds, Indian corn, mini pumpkins or a combination (photo #4). For the holidays, use candy canes, ornaments, pine cones, or mini evergreen trees (photo #5). For summer: sand and seashells, topped by a starfish. With any season, you can also place that pedastel candle in the center.
  • Desserts. Nouvelle trifle: Think of how to expand beyond the classic. Butterscotch pudding and pretzel layers? Banana pudding and ‘Nilla Wafers? Oreos and whipped cream? Baked Alaska? It’s so much easier to layer the cake and ice cream. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue. Or create a stunning fruit salad, either in colored layers or like the one in photo #3.
  • Drinks. Serve party punch or even ice cold shrimp cocktail. It makes a great visual impact that doesn’t require any additional decoration. Beautifully presented food speaks for itself!
  • Flatware. For buffets, wrap the flatware in napkins and present them in the bowl.
  • Flower Vase. Grab a bouquet or two of your favorite blooms and arrange them in the bowl. To hide the stems, try filling the vessel with rocks, fruit, or even crushed ice. Not much of a florist? No worries: Decorating your table with a few vases that have the same flower in the same color creates a pretty, modern look.
  • Ice Bucket. Make it the centerpiece of your drink station. Mini bottles of wine or champagne look just plain adorable displayed in the bowl.
  • Parties. Fill them with anything, from candy to party favors.
  • Punch Bowl. A smaller punch bowl can contain a mocktail version for those who don’t want alcohol (photo #6).
  • Snacks. Chips, pretzels, Chex Mix, etc.
    What else?

    We look forward to your suggestions!
    *Gelatin was first extracted by boiling animal bones, in 1682. But this laborious process was only undertaken in large kitchens with staff to prepare it. While gelatin is pure protein, it is colorless, flavorless and odorless, so it also needed to be enhanced for serving.


    Fall Centerpiece

    Christmas Centerpiece

    Trifle Bowl For Punch

    [4] Fall centerpiece. [5] Christmas centerpiece. [6] Punch bowl (all photos courtesy Pampered Chef).




    EVENT: Mad. Sq. Eats (a.k.a. Madison Square Eats Fun Food Pop-Up)


    Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwich

    [1] Beijing street food from Mr. Bing—soon to open a retail location at 152 West 28th Street (photo courtesy Mr. Big). We loved our Peking Duck-inspired rice crêpe. [2] A red velvet ice cream sandwich with cream cheese ice cream from Melt.


    It’s one of our favorite times of the year in Manhattan: The semi-annual culinary pop-up market, Madison Square Eats, is in Worth Square through October 7th. It’s hosted by Hosted by Urban Space, a foodie vision of wonderful.

    The triangular island between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, 24th and 25th Streets, is filled with wonderful things to eat.

    The almost-fall air and the leafy view of Madison Square Park across Fifth Avenue create an alfresco dining event that is a choice way to nibble. It’s the same with the spring version.

    Regrettably, we were stuffed to the gills after only four kiosks. The solution: Go back tomorrow.

    This edition of the market, now in its ninth year, brings global favorites to outdoor dining, with tables and chairs dotting the center of the island. Some vendors have restaurants; others are only available for catering and pop-ups.

  • Amali Mou (Greek cuisine)
  • Bangkok B.A.R. (Thai street food)
  • Bar Suzette Crêperie & Bistro
  • Chingu
  • Domo Taco
  • Gotham Poke (Hawaiian-style chirashi, finally popping up in NYC)
  • Hill Country Barbecue Market
  • Hong Kong Street Cart
  • Ice & Vice (shaved ice sundaes and floats)
  • Inday (Indian inspired cuisine)
  • Jicama “California Street Food”
  • Khao Man Gai NY (Thai)
  • La Sonrisa Empanadas
  • Mayhem & Stout
  • Melt Bakery (ice cream sandwiches)
  • Meltkraft (grilled cheese)
  • Mr. Bing Beijing Street Foods
  • Paella Shack by Barraca
  • Palenque Colombian Cuisine
  • Red Hook Lobster Pound
  • Renegade Lemonade
  • Roberta’s Pizza (fired right in front of you in a big pizza oven)
  • The Cannibal Beer & Butcher (braised meats and beer)
  • The Truffleist
  • Two Tablespoons
    Don’t eat beforehand, bring cash, and have a great time!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Instead Of Cinco De Mayo, Celebrate September 16th…With Reposado Tequila

    Blue Nectar Reposado Tequila

    Tequila Manhattan Cocktail

    [1] Reposado tequila is the preferred type for celebrations [2] Distrito Federal is Manhattan cocktail that replaces the bourbon with tequila (all photos courtesy Blue Nectar Tequila).


    Many Americans look forward to celebrating Cinco de Mayo each spring. This relatively small Mexican holiday commemorates a regional battle in 1862, long after Mexican Independence was declared. More Americans celebrate it than Mexicans!

    Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day.

    That honor goes September 16th, known as Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores, the town where the battle began). It’s the most popular holiday in Mexico.

    Here’s the scoop on Mexican Independence Day, commemorating the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence from Spanish colonial rule in 1810.

    As with America’s Independence Day, the Mexican National Day of Independence is a patriotic holiday, with celebratory drinks, food and fireworks.

    Today’s tip: Wherever you live, celebrate Mexican Independence Day on the 16th.

    The folks at Blue Nectar Tequila tell us that the most popular type of tequila consumed in Mexico on national holidays is the more aged (and more expensive) Reposado, not the clear Blanco (a.k.a. silver or white tequila—here are the different types of tequila).

    Blanco is aged not at all or up to two months, while Reposado and Añejo tequilas are aged longer: Reposado for six months to a year, Añejo for one to three years. Aging gives layers of complexity to the spirit.

    While tequila was first produced in the 16th century by Spanish immigrants to Mexico, aged tequila styles such as Reposado and Añejo did not appear until the early 1900s.

    Some producers began to age their tequila in oak casks left over from red wine, brandy and rum that had been imported for consumption by the Spanish aristocracy.

    This stroke of genius changed the overall quality and taste of basic tequila, which at the time was raw-edged and without complexity.

    So today’s tip is: Celebrate September 16th by sipping a glass of Reposado or Añejo tequila, neat or on the rocks, enjoying the flavors with each sip.

    Or try one of the cocktails below, or this wonderful menu of tequila cocktail recipes.


    Reposado tequila has a woodsy quality that pairs well with beef-based, poultry and pork-type main dishes. (complementary flavors in recipes include orange, cinnamon and honey).

    Instead of America’s go-to grilled food for Independence Day, a favorite dish in Mexico is pozole, a classic soup made of hominy and pork.

    In modern times it’s also made with beef, chicken, seafood, or vegetables and beans. Here’s a selection of pozole recipes.

    For dessert, have churros or dark chocolate with Añejo tequila.

    And sure: Bring on the guacamole, salsa, chips and esquites—Mexican corn on the cob.

    The classic bourbon-based Manhattan cocktail is the inspiration for this Mexican version, which is named after historic Mexico City, an area known as Distrito Federal.
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Reposado or Añejo tequila
  • 1 ounce sweet red vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: brandied cherry

    1. COMBINE the spirits and bitters in a cocktail glass. Add ice and stir until cold, about one to two minutes.

    2. STRAIN into a coupe glass, garnish with the cherry and serve.



    Ingredients Per Drink

    The vodka-based Cosmo is remade with Reposado teqila.

  • 4 lime quarters
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ½ ounces Reposado tequila
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: lime wheel

    1. MUDDLE the lime quarters with the simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, orange liqueur and cranberry juice.

    2. TOP with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wheel.


    Tequila Cosmopolitan Cocktail

    [3] The Mexipolitan: A Cosmopolitan with tequila instead of vodka. Calling Carrie Bradshaw!



    Blue Nectar Tequila, is a hand-crafted, super-premium tequila that focuses on agave-forward flavor profiles.

    While by Mexican law Reposado must be aged a minimum of 2 months, Blue Nectar Reposado Extra Blend is aged 6-8 months and then blended with three-year-old Extra Añejo, to deliver hints of vanilla and smoke.

    For more information on the different expressions of Blue Nectar tequila, visit



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven

    September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day, honoring the original modern pizza, the Margherita. It was named after Queen Margherita, consort to Umberto I, King of Italy from 1878–1900.

    As the story goes, during a visit to Naples, she asked the best pizza maker in town, Don Raffaele, to make her a pie. He made it in the colors of the Italian flag, a simple but delicious pie of basil, mozzarella and tomatoes. Here’s the history of pizza.


    Simply this: a steel case that sits on top of a gas burner and cooks your pizza atop pizza stones. There’s no electricity, no wood chips, no nuthin’ but the Pizzeria Pronto and your gas range.

    We love it: from the pizza stones that create an oh-so-delightful crust to the top quality ingredients we used. As long as we have dough in the fridge, we can have a pizza anytime we want, better than anything delivered. efficient new way to make pizza at home.

    Pizzeria Pronto is made by Companion Group, a company that began more than 30 years ago with the original Charcoal Companion charcoal chimney starter. The line now includes other grilling tools and accessories, and the Pizzacraft® line of artisan-quality pizza stones, pizza ovens, tools and accessories.

    In 2013 the company launched the first propane-fueled outdoor portable pizza oven, which pre-heats in 10 minutes and cooks the pie in 5 minutes. In 2016, the indoor Pizzeria Pronto® Stovetop Pizza Oven was released nationwide—the first gas range-powered indoor oven.

    Small but mighty, Pizzeria Pronto transforms your favorite dough and toppings into perfectly-cooked pizzas in just minutes (after all, the name means “pizza in a hurry”). With its heat-efficient design, it traps and reflects heat to harness the power of your gas range, creating an optimal cooking environment of up to 600°F. Yet, the room is no warmer than if you used your oven.
    How To Use Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven

  • Simply place the round oven over a gas burner and turn on the flame.
  • The inside of the oven reaches 600°F, much higher than a conventional oven.
  • It preheats in 15 minutes and cooks a personal-size pizza in 6 minutes. TIP: If you want to keep the first pizzas hot while you cook more, keep them warm in a conventional oven preheated to 500°F.
  • You also need a personal-size pizza peel to insert and remove the pizza from the oven. The company sells one separately.
    The electric plug-in pizza ovens we’ve tried can’t hold a candle to it.

    It’s well worth the space it requires if you’d like to make pizza weekly or more often. We don’t have extra room in our kitchen so we did a bit of housecleaning. So long, old backup food processor and biannually-used waffle iron.

    Pizzeria Pronto is available at major retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma and online. Williams-Sonoma carries a gray-top model instead of the standard red-orange model shown in the photos.

    Prices vary but it’s currently $106.27 on Amazon (a deep discount off the MSRP of $179.99).


    Pizzeria Pronto

    Pizzeria Pronto

    Pizzeria Pronto

    Pizzeria Pronto

    [1] Place the oven on the stovetop and turn up the flame to preheat. Add the pizza. [2] Close the oven door. [3] Cook for six minutes. [4] Remove the pizza, fragrant and bubbling. Photos courtesy Pizzeria Pronto .

    Before buying, take a minute to look at the bottom of this page to see if your gas burners will work.


    We invited the crowd over for a pizza party and bought (or over-bought, as is our won’t) the ingredients: regular and whole wheat doughs, sauces and cheeses for red and white pies.

    We provided lots of toppings: anchovies, garlic, jalapeños, mini meatballs, mushrooms, olives, onion and zucchini. But the crust (dough purchased from Fairway), sauce (the Classico brand Riserva line [not Bertolli Riserva]), mozzarella and ricotta (Bel Gioso) were so good that most people opted for a plain pie.

    We personally, however, had anchovies from Cento: not salty, just right.


  • Steel casing with a heat-efficient design (you won’t feel that it’s 600° of heat).
  • Ttwo Cordierite baking stones diffuse the heat and deliver a perfect crust.
  • Very little assembly required. You need no technical skill whatsoever.
  • The built-in thermometer tells you when it’s time to add the pizza.
  • A moisture vent on top prevents the crust pizza from becoming soggy.
  • Dimensions: 16.93 inches x 14.25 inches x 6.69 inches. Weight: 14.7 pounds, which we (non-athletic female) had no trouble lifting.
  • Not for use with electric or induction stoves.

  • You’ll need cornmeal (semolina), so the bottom of the crust doesn’t stick to the stone plate.
  • Be sure to have a good pizza cutter and a brush to clean the pizza stone afterward.
  • One package of store-bought dough (we bought the fresh dough that comes in a plain plastic bag), meant for one large pie, makes two personal pizzas.



    RECIPE: Blueberry Ice Pops For National Blueberry Popsicle Day

    Blueberry Ice Pops

    Blueberry Cream Ice Pops

    [1] Puréed blueberries, perked up with a bit of lemon juice (photo courtesy Will Cook For Smiles). [2] Make a creamy blueberry pop with yogurt or non-dairy milk (photo courtesy A Healthy Life For Me). Here’s the recipe with almond and coconut milks; the recipe for a yogurt pop is below.


    September 1st is National Blueberry Popsicle Day, following close on the heels of National Cherry Popsicle Day, August 24th.

    Here’s the history of Popsicles (a happy accident!).

    But the name of the holidays needs to be changed. The Popsicle® brand doesn’t make blueberry Popsicles (here are the current flavors), for starters.

    Regardless of the flavor, only Unilever can call its ice pops Popsicles.

    Well sure, you can call it Popsicle for your own private use; but try to give brands the respect they deserve. Call them ice pops instead of Popsicles®, a slow cooker instead of Crock-Pot®, a food processor instead of Cuisinart®, tissues instead of Kleenex® and lip balm instead of Chapstick® (and on and on).

    Anyone can make or sell blueberry ice pops. And making them couldn’t be easier.



    First, chose what kind of blueberry you’ll use: blueberry juice, fresh or frozen blueberries. See the conversion table below.

  • 24 ounces blueberry juice (our favorite is Knudsen)
  • 1 pound bag frozen blueberries, puréed*
  • 1-2 pints fresh blueberries, puréed*

    Next, choose your sweetener. These are pretty low caloric pops if you use non-caloric sweetener or agave (you need only half the amount of agave, as it’s twice as sweet).

  • Agave
  • Granulated (table) sugar
  • Honey
  • Non-caloric sweetener (the different types of sweeteners)
  • Simple syrup

  • 1/3 cup water
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice (add a 3:1 ratio of juice to zest if you like)
  • Ice pop molds or paper cups with sticks or plastic spoons

    1. BRING bring the sugar (or other sweetener) and the water to a boil in a small sauce pan over high, stirring until the sugar (or other sweetener) dissolves. Transfer to a large measuring cup or other container and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until cool. If using blueberry juice, it may be sweet enough to avoid this step. Taste and decide.

    2. COMBINE the blueberry juice or puréed blueberries with the lemon or lime juice. Add the sweetener/water mix to taste. (The juice may need far less sweetening than the fresh or frozen berries.)

    3. STIR thoroughly and pour into ice pop molds. Freeze for 4-6 hours, with the mold tops on. If you’re not using ice pop molds with built-in handles, insert a stick into each mold after 1 or 2 hours when it can stand up straight.

    4. RUN the molds under warm water to release the pops for serving.


    These measurements are from Volume equivalents will vary based on size of the berries.

    Depending on how many pops you’re making and how many ounces are in each mold, determine how much fruit you need:

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries = 2 cups
  • 1 pound bag frozen berries = 3-1/2 cups
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries = 9 oz


  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tables honey or other sweetener (see list above
  • 2 cups vanilla or blueberry Greek yogurt (or any flavor)

    1. PURÉE the blueberries and sweetener together (see footnote below).

    2. POUR into a large bowl, add the yogurt mix gently: For a swirled effect, use a spatula to make swirls in the bowl. You can also add the yogurt first, then the blueberries, to get a half-and-half effect in photo #2, above. Otherwise, combine thoroughly for a lighter purple pop.

    3. TASTE and adjust sweetener if desired, then pour into the molds or cups. Freeze for 4-6 hours, with the mold tops on. If you’re not using ice pop molds with built-in handles, insert a stick into each mold after 1 or 2 hours when it can stand up straight.

    4. RUN the molds under warm water to remove the pops.


    Blueberry Yogurt Pops Recipe

    [3] Don’t have ice pop molds? Use paper cups and sticks or plastic spoons. But ice pop moles are inexpensive. If you enjoy making pops, treat yourself to a set.

    *To purée, place the berries in a food processor or blender and blend on high speed until the consistency of a smoothie.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ways To Use Toasted Marshmallows

    National Toasted Marshmallow Day is August 30th—not a day of the year that begs for a steaming cup of cocoa.

    So we put on our thinking toques to see how to best use toasted marshmallows in the summer, and how to to toast them without a campfire or fireplace.

  • S’mores, of course, or a variation. Check out these S’mores recipes and variations other than graham crackers. (National S’mores Day is August 10th).
  • Cocktail garnish for a Black or White Russian, Chocolate Martini, Espresso Martini, Irish Cream Liqueur.
  • Cookie or brownie sandwich.
  • Cupcake, cake, pie, pudding or tart garnish (make an easy tartlet with lemon curd).
  • Grilled marshmallow and fruit skewers.
  • Iced coffee, iced latte, iced hot chocolate.
  • Ice cream or sundae topping.
  • Milkshakes.
  • Peanut butter toast: Top toast with PB and marshmallows, and chocolate if you like!
  • Shots, with marshmallow vodka (made by Pinnacle, Skyy and Smirnoff).
  • Sweet potato garnish.
  • Toasted “Fluffernutter” sandwich, replacing the fluff.

    And remember: There’s marshmallow goodness beyond Campfire and Jet-Puffed. Check out gourmet marshmallows.

    Vegan? There are delicious vegan marshmallows from Dandies, all delicious.

    Even if you have a fireplace, you sure don’t want to light it up today.

    Who needs a fireplace—or a campfire? There are other ways to toast marshmallows.

  • On a stove: If you have a gas stove, you can toast the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown—about a minute, depending on how “toasty” you like it.
  • With a candle, an unscented one. Turn down the lights for romance.
  • For best results, hold the marshmallow about two inches away from the flame and turn it continuously. This way, the marshmallow will melts from the inside out and brown evenly.
  • A fondue fork is ideal for toasting because it has a protective handle, but impaling the marshmallow on the tip of a regular fork works, too. You can use skewers, as well; bamboo skewers will not heat up and are easier to hold. You’ll need to soak them first, though, so they won’t catch fire!
  • Avoid toasting over Sterno: The marshmallows will smell and taste of it. A votive candle will work, and if you’re having guests, you can put a votive at each place setting.
    The Fastest Way To Toast A Batch Of Marshmallows:

  • The Broiler! Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet and set the oven to Broil. When one side is at your desired tastiness, turn them over. If the marshmallows are not browning evenly, rotate the pan.

    Chocolate Martini With Toasted Marshmallow Garnish

    Toasted Marshmallow Garnish on Milkshake

    Toasted Marshmallow Garnish

    [1] The best garnish for a Chocolate Martini? A toasted marshmallow—and maybe a rim of graham cracker crumbs (that’s a S’mores Martini). Here’s the recipe from Eclectic Recipes. [2] Serve a toasty marshmallow with a cool shake. Here’s the recipe from Honey and Birch. [3] Garnish any dessert or sweet snack, like this cupcake from Cake Boss Baking.




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