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TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Tomato Clafoutis

Clafoutis (cluh-FOO-tee) is a rustic tart, initially made with cherries in the Limousin region of south-central France, where black cherry trees abound.

Today, other stone fruits and berries are also used. When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries—apples, berries, pears, other stone fruits including prunes—dried plums—the dish is properly called a flaugnarde (flow-NYARD).

In the centuries before ceramic pie plates were invented (during the Renaissance), the filling was placed into a hand-crafted dough with no sides (think of a galette, or a pizza with a higher side crust).

The fruit is placed in a pie shell and covered with a flan (custard)-like filling; then baked until puffy. The fruit is not only inside the custard, but tempting nuggets pop through at the top.

The recipe originated in the Limousin region of France, where black cherries were plentiful (red cherries can also be used). The name derives from the verb clafir, to fill, from the ancient language of Occitania, the modern southern France.

Fruit clafoutis can be served warm, room temperature or chilled; vegetable clafoutis are better warm.
 
RECIPE: SAVORY TOMATO CLAFOUTIS

A savory clafoutis is similar to a quiche. Without a crust it is a savory custard, and can be made in a pie plate or in individual ramekins.

This recipe was contributed by Karen, FamilyStyle Food to Go Bold With Butter, a source of wonderful recipes.

Karen made the dish as a custard, without a crust. You can do the same, or use a pie crust or a crust of crushed biscuits/crackers.

Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes. Serve it warm from the oven or room temperature, for brunch, lunch or dinner, or as a first course or snack.

For a more artistic presentation, use cherry tomatoes in an assortment of colors. You can also combine cherry and grape tomatoes.

 
Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes in assorted colors, halved
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt*
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • Optional crust
  • Optional garnish: marinated tomato “salad”†
  •  
    __________________
    *We used rosemary salt, a blend of sea salt and rosemary. You can make your own by pulsing dried rosemary (or other herb) and coarse salt in a food processor. Start with a 1:3 ratio and add more rosemary to taste.

    †We cut up the leftover tomatoes and marinated them with diced red onion and fresh herbs in a vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drain it thoroughly through a sieve and then use it as a topping or a side garnish.

     

    Cherry Clafoutis

    Mixed Berry Clafoutis

    roasted-tomato-clafoutis-goboldwbutter-230

    [1] A classic clafoutis, a custard tart with black cherries (here’s the recipe from FoodBeam.com). [2] This mixed berry clafoutis is from The Valley Table, which highlights the cuisine of New York’s Hudson Valley. It is garnished with fresh berries and a side of crème fraîche. [3]A tomato clafoutis with flavorful summer tomatoes (photo courtesy FamilyStyleFood.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Prick the bottom of the pie shell all over with a fork. Line the bottom with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust begins to color around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside and raise the oven temperature to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the tomatoes and butter on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt to taste. Roast 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and begin to caramelize. Transfer the tomatoes to 9-inch round or square baking dish, or set aside until Step 5.

    3. REDUCE the oven temperature to 375°F. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar in large bowl until lightened and creamy. Stir in the flour, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan and the cream.

    4. BEAT the egg whites in separate bowl or heavy-duty mixer until they form soft peaks. Fold into yolk mixture until blended. Pour batter over tomatoes and sprinkle with basil.

    5. BAKE 18-20 minutes or until batter is puffed and light golden. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and serve warm.
     
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF PIE

    Invented by the ancient Egyptians, for some 2,000 years food was not baked in containers (e.g. pie plates, baking pans), but completely wrapped in dough. The dough wrap was called a coffin, the word for a basket or box.

    Here’s the scoop.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Filet Mignon “Sculpture” For National Filet Mignon Day

    Here’s some food fun for National Filet Mignon Day, August 13th:

    Instead of serving the meat flat on the plate, create a filet mignon “sculpture”: a commemoration of the tenderest cut of beef.

    In this example from Rue 57 restaurant in New York City, the filet is set against a mound of mashed potatoes, and surrounded by:

  • Jus
  • Pearl onions
  • Peas
  •  
    Two croutons (toasted baguette or ficelle slices) garnish the dish, but you can crown the mashed potatoes with sprig of chive, rosemary or thyme instead.

    You can tailor the dish any way you like. For example:

  • Serve the jus on the side.
  • Add mushrooms or other vegetables.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT BEEF CUTS IN OUR BEEF GLOSSARY.
     
    WHAT IS JUS?

    Jus, pronounced ZHOO, is the French word for juice. With meat or poultry, it refers to a thin gravy or sauce made from the meat juices.

    The fat is skimmed from the pan juices and the remaining stock is boiled into a sauce, adding water as desired.

    Some cooks use additional ingredients to add flavor; for example, brown or white sugar, garlic, herbs, onion, salt and pepper, soy sauce and/or Worcestershire sauce. Our mother was fond of Gravy Master.

    In France, it would be argued that such additions are not jus, but a more complex sauce.

     

    French Dip Sandwich

    [1] Honor filet mignon on its national holiday, August 13th (photo courtesy Rue 57). [2] The French Dip sandwich, roast beef on baguette with a side of jus for dipping. Here’s the recipe from One Perfect Bite.

     
    “Au jus” (owe-zhoo) is the French culinary term that describes serving the meat with its pan juices.
     
    CAN YOU NAME THE AMERICAN SANDWICH THAT IS SERVED AU JUS?

    In the U.S., jus is served as a side in a small bowl, with a French dip sandwich: a roast beef sandwich on a hero roll or baguette.

    Here’s how the French Dip originated: another happy accident.
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT SANDWICH TYPES IN OUR SANDWICH GLOSSARY.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Fruit Tart Recipe

    Yesterday, August 11th, was National Raspberry Tart Day. It follows on the heels of National Raspberry Cake Day (July 31st), National Raspberry Pie Day (August 1st) and National Raspberries & Cream Day (August 7th).

    We celebrated with a homemade raspberry tart. It took fewer than 20 minutes. Thanks go to our dear friend Carol, who taught us the too-good-to-be-so-easy recipe below, many years ago.

    All you need is a shortbread crust, raspberries and a jar of apple jelly. The jelly is melted into a light coat of glaze, which not only adds shine but keeps the fruit from drying out

    Prep time is 15 minutes to make and bake the crust, plus cooling time and 5 more minutes fill the crust with fruit and brush the fruit with melted jelly.

    It’s one of our go-to desserts, whenever we need something quick and impressive.
     
    WHAT ABOUT TARTLETS?

    There’s actually an even faster way to celebrate: Make tartlets (individual tarts). Buy pre-made tart shells and fill them with fruit curd, jam or preserves (the difference).

    It’s hard to find buttery shells ready-made. Our favorite is Clearbrook Farms bite-size mini tartlet shells. If you buy a brand that you think isn’t great for dessert, you can fill the shells with chicken salad or other savory food, from scrambled eggs to Seafood Newburg.

    But just get out the butter and make your own shell. Show off the fresh fruits as they deserve.
     
    USE BERRIES OR STONE FRUITS IN THIS RECIPE

    You can make this recipe with soft fruit, such as berries and ripe stone fruits (nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.).

    Other fruits, like apples and pears, need to be baked to become soft enough for pastries.

    You can mix different fruits together in whatever artistic combinations you like.
     
    TART PAN TIPS

  • If you don’t already have a tart pan, buy a good one. Cheaper ones can be flimsy and rust-prone. The pan will serve you for the rest of your life, for tarts, quiches, and as an extra pie pan in a pinch.
  • Buy a large pan: 10 to 12 inches.
  • If you don’t have or want a tart pan, you can use a pie pan, but it won’t have the classic shape: straight sides and a perfect fluted crust.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE THE DIFFERENCESBETWEEN PIES & TARTS.
     
    RECIPE: EASIEST TART FOR BERRIES & STONE FRUITS

    Ingredients

  • 2 pints (4 cups) berries or equivalent sliced stone fruit, plus extra*
  • 1 jar apple jelly
  •  
    For The Crust

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  •  
    Optional

  • Filling base: almond cream (frangipanerecipe) or pastry cream (crème pâtissiére) recipe
  • Cream cheese filling (†recipe below)
  • Garnish: chopped pistachios, crème fraîche or mascarpone
  •    
    Easy Raspberry Tart

    Raspberry Curd Tart

    Fruit Curd Tartlet

    Apple Jelly

    [1] An easy raspberry tart from Lottie And Doof. A tart pan has a removable bottom to show off the fluted edges of the crust. [2] Another easy way: make tartlets (individual portions) with fruit curd. You can buy both the shells and the curd, but here’s the recipe from from-scratch recipeSnixyKitchen.com. [3] This tartlet from Ostyeria Morini in New York City is served à la mode. [4] Versatile apple jelly makes a delicious fruit glaze (photo courtesy Smucker’s).

     
    __________________
    * Because different diameter pans require different amounts of fruit, buy an extra pint or pound “just in case.” You can serve it to guests who avoid baked desserts, or enjoy it yourself tomorrow.

    †Combine 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

     

    Raspberry Jam Tartlet

    Mini Tartlets Lemon Curd

    [1] You can fill tartlets or mini tartlets with jam (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] Mini tartlets filled with lemon curd (photo courtesy Aida Mollenkamp).

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH the berries and pat dry gently with paper towels; use fresh paper towels to further drain; set aside. If using stone fruit, slice, skin on, and place in a bowl.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Combine the crust ingredients and press the dough into a tart pan. Bake it for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown (not beige). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. When it reaches room temperature…

    3. FILL the crust. If using an optional base (cream cheese, pastry cream, etc.), use a spatula to fill the bottom of the crust. Then set the fruit in concentric circles or other attractive pattern.

    4. MAKE the glaze. Melt the apple jelly and use a pastry brush to brush it over the fruit.
     
    TARTS, TARTLETS & MINI TARTS: THE DIFFERENCE

  • Tart. A tart is a multi-portion dessert, made in a fluted pan with a removable bottom. As with a pie, it is sliced into individual portions. The crust is thicker than a pie and the tart can stand on its own outside of the pan. Typical tart pan sizes are 8, 9, 10 or 11 inches in diameter.
  • Tartlet. A tartlet is an individual-size tart, typically 4 to 4.75 inches in diameter. The bottom may or may not be removable.
  • Mini Tartlet. A mini-tartlet is a bite-size tartlet, approximately 1.75 inches in diameter, made in mini tartlet pans. The bottom is not removable but it’s easy to lift out the pastry.
  •  

      

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    RECIPES: National S’mores Day Cocktail

    Combine chocolate liqueur, marshmallow vodka and graham cracker crumbs into a special cocktail for National S’mores Day, August 10th.

    Numerous recipes abound, but we had fun with this one, adapted from ACocktailLife.com.

    You can also use chocolate vodka and marshmallow syrup, or a cream liqueur in any combination.

    You can use a simple rim of graham crackers and a single marshmallow garnish, or go over the top.

    Serve in a Martini glass or other stemmed glass (you can use a wine glass).

    RECIPE: S’MORES COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces marshmallow vodka (Pinnacle and Smirnoff make it)
  • 1 ounce chocolate liqueur
  • 1 ounce creme de cacao
  • 2 ounces cream or half & half
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 2 standard marshmallows
  •  
    For The Rim

  • Chocolate sauce (fudge sauce)
  • 1 crushed graham cracker
  •  
    Substitutions

  • No marshmallow vodka? Use vanilla.
  • No creme de cacao? Double the chocolate liqueur.
  • No cream? Use milk (the drink will be less rich).
  • Alternative garnishes: chocolate-covered marshmallow, pick of mini marshmallows, Mallomar
  •  
     
    Preparation

     

    Smores Cocktail

    Smores Cocktail

    [1] What’s a S’mores celebration without a S’mores cocktail? Photo and recipe courtesy ACocktailLife.com). [2] More subtle, this variation uses white chocolate liqueur (from Carrabba’s Italian Grill | Facebook).

     
    1. CREATE the rim. Crush the graham cracker into crumbs on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Place the chocolate sauce into a shallow microwavable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Dip the rim of the glass into the chocolate, then into the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside to set.

    2. COMBINE the marshmallow vodka, chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao and fresh cream to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake well and pour into the prepared glass.

    3. TOAST the marshmallow garnish. Place the marshmallows at the end or in the center of a skewer. Use at the end to set the skewer into the drink, use the center to lie the skewer across the rim. Hold the skewer over an open flame to lightly toast (if your skewers are bamboo, soak them first). Add the skewer to the drink and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Ice Cream & Berries Shortcake

    Ice Cream Shortcake is an easy dessert, simply combining berry ice cream, fresh berries on refrigerator biscuits. It’s easier to put together than an ice cream cake, and even easier than conventional shortcake since you don’t have to whip the cream.

    We adapted this recipe from the Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.

  • If you prefer, you can use only one biscuit half per person; or spread the usually plain top biscuit half with jam.
  • Use whichever berries you prefer, or a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries.
  •  
    Because today is National Raspberries & Cream Day, we’re making our shortcake with raspberries.
     
    RECIPE: EASY BERRY SHORTCAKE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
  • Ice cream of choice (suggested: strawberry, other berry or vanilla)
  • Fresh berries
  • Optional: berry jam or preserves
  • Optional garnish: mint sprig, rosemary sprig, or other decorative herb you have on hand
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BAKE the biscuits and let cool.

    2. SPLIT the biscuits and spread the bottom half with the optional jam. If using the top biscuit half, spread with jam as desired.

    3. TOP with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with berries. Place the top biscuit half on the plate (jam side up if using, otherwise top side up) and serve.

    CHEFS COLLABORATIVE COOKBOOK

     

    rhubarb-ice-cream-shortcake-TheChefsCollaborativeCookbook-230

    The-Chefs-Collaborative-Cookbook-230

    How easy is this? Refrigerator biscuits + ice cream + berries = an impressive dessert. Photos courtesy The Chef’s Collaborative.

     
    More than 20 years ago, some of the most revered chefs in the world—including John Ash, Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, Nobu Matsuhita, Nora Pouillon, Michael Romano and Alice Waters—looked at the way Americans were eating and decided that they had to help change it.

  • They had watched while processed foods replaced fresh food in our supermarkets.
  • They saw family farms disappear and huge agribusiness corporations take over.
  • They worried about obesity in children and adults, and the associated illnesses.
  • And they realized that Americans were losing the joy of cooking and eating fresh food.
  •  
    In 1993, these visionary chefs founded Chefs Collaborative and vowed to use their influence to educate us, the public, about a better way to nourish ourselves that is also better for the planet.

    Their stated goal: Support small farms, healthy food and sustainable agriculture for everyone. They’ve been a significant force in the food revolution that’s improved the way Americans eat.

    Chefs Collaborative members contributed more than 115 recipes to creating a cookbook: recipes that can be made by the home cook.

    Each section (fruits, meats, vegetables, etc.) also provides information about the principles of sustainability around the ingredient, with information provided farmers, artisan producers, breeders, environmentalists, and activists.

    Get your copy of The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious Recipes from America’s Great Chefs.

    It’s also a great gift for anyone interested in these issues.

      

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    RECIPE: Raspberry & Cream Croissants

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/raspberry cream croissant truwhip 230sq

    Whipped Cream & Berries

    [1] For breakfast, snack or dessert, here’s how to celebrate National Raspberries & Cream Day (photo courtesy TruWip). [2] No time to hand-whip cream? Try Reddi-Wip in Original or Chocolate (photo courtesy Reddi-Wip).

     

    This year for National Raspberries and Cream Day (August 7th), we had Raspberries and Cream Croissants for breakfast.

    You can also enjoy them for a snack or dessert.

    The first time we made this recipe, we used hand-whipped cream; the texture is just perfect for spreading. This morning, hungry for breakfast, we defaulted to our stand-by, Reddi-Wip.

    We had a can of Original Reddi-Wip and a can of Chocolate Reddi-Wip. Take your choice: Both were delish. And we admit to adding some chocolate chips with both.

    The winner, however, was mascarpone and raspberries.

    RECIPE: RASPBERRIES & CREAM CROISSANTS

    Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 fresh croissants
  • 3 cups whipped cream or other topping*
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (substitute pistachios)
  • Optional chocolate chips (ideally mini chips)
  • __________________
    *A can of Reddi-Wip does the job.

     
    Preparation

    1. MIX the TruWhip and almond extract in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in the raspberry jam until slightly marbled.

    2. SLICE the croissants horizontally and generously spread with the cream. Top with the fresh raspberries and a scattering of slivered almonds and optional chips.

     
    TIP: If the raspberries are too plump such that you can’t easily eat the croissant, first cut them in half.

    We adapted this recipe from TruWhip, a dairy-free whipped topping.
     
    NO FRESH RASPBERRIES?

    Try these variations:

  • For the whipped cream: clotted cream/Devon cream, cream cheese, crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) (more about these products)
  • For a snack or dessert: vanilla ice cream
  • For the raspberries: a layer of raspberry jam or preserves, frozen raspberries
  •  
    NO CROISSANTS?

    Substitute biscuits or toast. Or top pancakes, French toast or waffles with the raspberries and cream.

    The toppings also work as a cookie spread.
     
    NO RASPBERRY JAM?

    You can fold puréed raspberries into the whipped cream, or just use plain whipped cream.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frittata For Dinner

    For breakfast, lunch or dinner, make a frittata (frizz-TA-ta).

    A frittata is an Italian-style omelet, set in the frying pan in the oven*—no folding required. We’ve been making them for years, because our omelets never looked neat enough and we had no patience to work on our technique.

  • With an omelet, the filling ingredients are placed on the beaten eggs that are setting in the pan. As the omelet continues to cook, it is folded with a spatula to envelop the ingredients (that’s the part that requires practice, practice, practice).
  • With a frittata—the name comes from the Italian friggere, to fry—the eggs and other ingredients are mixed together, then cooked more slowly than an omelet. The egg mixture completely fills a round skillet: no folding. The result looks like a crustless quiche. The name derives from the Italian friggere, to fry.
  • As with a quiche, a frittata can be served at room temperature
  •  
    WHAT TO PUT IN A FRITTATA

    Sometimes we add so many vegetables that we end up with “veggies bound with some egg.” You can added anything else you have, from beans, to leftover grains and potatoes.

    There are countless frittata recipes online, with oven, stove top or stove top/broiler cooking techniques. We prefer the oven—it’s the easiest for us—but try them all to see which works best for you.

    Consider:

  • Cheese: any kind, crumbled, cubed or shredded as appropriate
  • Fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley or other favorite
  • Heat: fresh or dried chile, hot sauce
  • Meats: bacon, ham, sausage
  • Miscellany: canned artichoke hearts, capers, olives
  • Seafood: crab, scallops, shrimp (great when there aren’t enough left over for a main dish)
  • Vegetables: Anything goes (see list† below)—pre-steam as necessary
  •  
    National Farmers Market Week begins tomorrow, so head for yours and make a selection.

    RECIPE: KITCHEN SINK FRITTATA

    This “kitchen sink” frittata shows that you can take whatever you have in the fridge or pantry and toss it together for delicious results. We once had a “Surprise BYO” brunch with friends; everyone brought a favorite ingredient (we had extra ingredients in the fridge in case everyone brought the same thing).

    If you don’t have or like any of the ingredients, substitute what you do have.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch salt (more saltiness comes with the feta)
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Optional: a shake of red pepper flakes or other heat
  •  
    Plus

  • Side salad
  • Toast or bread and butter
  •  

    Potato & Sausage Frittata

    Avocado Arugula Frittata

    Frittata Recipe

    [1] Use boiled potatoes and sausage for this family favorite. Here’s the recipe from Applegate. [2] You can top a frittata with fresh ingredients (photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico). [3] You can put anything into a frittata. This “kitchen sink” recipe is below (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    _______________________
    *You can also use the stove top and broiler, but in the oven no flipping is required.

    †Try any blend: avocado, asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, carrot, chard, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, onion/leek/green onion, potatoes (boiled/roasted), spinach, zucchini and so on.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Beat together the eggs and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Add the feta and whisk together.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a 6” cast iron pan. When hot, add the garlic and onions and cook until they start to color, about 3 mintues. Add the corn, tomatoes and basil. Lower the heat to medium and cook together for about 5 minutes until the onions are how you like them. Then scrape the contents into a bowl and let cool.

    3. REGREASE the bottom and sides of the pan. Mix the egg mixture with the corn and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake until the center of the frittata is just set and no longer jiggling, about 15 to 20 minutes.

      

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    RECIPES: Top Rum Cocktails For A Party

    Daiquiri Cocktail

    Dark & Stormy Cocktail

    Daiquiri

    [1] The Daiquiri, invented by an American engineer in Cuba (photo courtesy TemperedSpirits.com). [2] The Sidecar, made with dark rum (photo courtesy Hyatt Regency| LA). [3] Our favorite rum cocktail is the Banana Daiquiri. Here’s a recipe from CookingWithCurls.com*.

     

    August 16th is National Rum Day. This year it’s on a Tuesday, but that’s not stopping us.

    We’re having a rum cocktail party the weekend before and the weekend after, to try and compare as many rum drinks as we can.

    If you like this idea, here are the top rum cocktails (although there are scores and scores of them).

    Since rum is distilled from sugar cane (actually, the molasses left over from refining the cane juice into sugar crystals), it’s not surprising that these are sweet drinks.

    All have added sugar and many have variations (e.g. Banana Daiquiri, Pomegranate Mojito).

    All have their traditional garnishes, from lime wedges and mint sprigs to a pineapple wedge and gardenia†.

    For your consideration, here are recipes for the top rum cocktails (don’t get mad if some links make you sign into the website, to verify that you are 21 or older):

  • Bacardi Cocktail: rum, lime juice, pomegranate grenadine.
  • Bacardi Rum Punch: two rums, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice.
  • Blue Hawaii: rum, vodka, blue curaçao, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix.
  • Coquito: super creamy with coconut milk, cream of coconut, condensed and evaporated milks.
  • Cuba Libre: rum, Coca-Cola, lime (a.k.a. Rum & Coke).
  • Daiquiri: rum, lime and sugar over ice.
  • Dark ‘N’ Stormy: dark rum and ginger beer.
  • Hot Buttered Rum (Rum Toddy): dark rum, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices, butter.
  • Hurricane: two rums, orange juice, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine.
  • Long Island Iced Tea: rum, gin, tequila, vodka, triple sec, Coca-Cola
  • Mai Tai: two types of rum, curaçao, lime juice
  • Mojito: rum, lime, mint, soda water
  • Pina Colada: rum, coconut cream, heavy cream, pineapple juice
  • Planter’s Punch: dark rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine
  • Scorpion: rum, cognac, orange juice, lemon, mint
  • Sidecar: rum, triple sec, lime juice
  • Zombie: two rums, triple sec, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine
  •  
    …not to mention the Bahama Mama, Beach Bum, Brass Monkey, Bushewacker, Flaming Volcano.
     
    We could have a party that just includes rum drinks with evocative names!

    FINAL TIP: Drink responsibly, unless you’re hosting a sleepover party.
     
    __________________
    *Our own recipe per drink: Toss in the blender 1 very ripe banana, 3 tablespoons ounces white rum, 2 tablespoons banana liqueur (it delivers a richer banana flavor), 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice.

     
    †As far as anyone can tell, the Scorpion was first served 1930s at Honolulu bar called The Hut. “Trader Vic” Bergeron (“Trader Vic”) picked up the recipe a decade or so later at his bar in Oakland, tweaked it a bunch and multiplied it by about four, and thus birthed the Scorpion Bowl, a large-format cocktail now served in Tiki bars and seedy Chinese joints around the world.The Scorpion, when served in a bowl large enough to float the flower.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate National Sandwich Month & National Panini Month

    August is National Sandwich Month, time to move beyond your standard choices and try something different.

    Since August is also National Panini Month, we dragged the panini press out of the closet (no room on the counter!) and invited a group of friends to a “Panini Brunch.” They asked what they could bring, and we told them: whatever you want to drink with your panini.
     
    FOR A PANINI BRUNCH

    Starting with ciabatta bread, everyone picks his/her sandwich ingredients from a selection of:

  • Cheeses: brie, cheddar, gruyère
  • Meats: ham, turkey
  • Condiments: fresh basil and dill, cherry preserves, fig jam
  • Fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley
  • Veggies: arugula, avocado, caramelized onions, grilled vegetables, pickled jalapeños, sliced tomatoes
  • Garnishes: olives, cucumber pickles, other pickled vegetables
  •  
    We added a mixed green salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. For dessert: biscotti and Italian dessert wine (look for Moscato d’Asti or Vin Santo).

     
    PANINI HISTORY

    A panini press is an electric sandwich grill consisting of two metal plates hinged together. The hot plates are clamped down on a prepared sandwich, pressing it into a dense sandwich while toasting the outsides of the bread with the signature grill marks and warming the filling (in the case of cheese, melting it).

    Before sandwich grills, toasters or griddles were used to make toasted sandwiches. Thomas Edison invented an early sandwich grill in the 1920s, but it didn’t take off commercially.

    Fast forward: Sandwiches toasted in a panini press became popular in Italian bars and cafés in the 1970s and 1980s. The trend spread internationally, and in another decade, panini presses could be found in appliance departments across the U.S.

    The sandwich grill—the panini press is the Italian version— made it possible to brown two slices of bread at the same time.

    Panino means “little bread” in Italian, and literally refers to a roll (a “little loaf”). Panino imbottito. “stuffed panino,” refers to the sandwich, but the word panino is also often used alone in context to refer to the sandwich.

    In Italian, panino is singular, panini is plural. English speakers adapted the words: panini for singular, panini for plural.
     
    PANINI TIPS

  • The bread is important. It needs to be bread sturdy like ciabatta, yet soft enough to allow grill marks (crisp-crust baguette doesn’t work). Ciabatta isn’t an “accessory” bread: It adds flavor to the sandwich.
  • Reconsider buying standard deli meats and cheeses that are thinly sliced. You need more substantial slices of meat in order to give the best texture to the panini the best texture. Use “dinner slices.”
  • Use other condiments. Save the everyday mustard and mayo for untoasted sandwiches. Consider flavored mayo (jalapeño, wasabi), along with chutney, majo-jam mixtures, honey mustard (make your own by blending Dijon and honey) and preserves.
  •  
    MORE SANDWICH IDEAS

    Don’t want panini? How about:

  • Award-Winning Peanut Butter Sandwich Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes
  • Lamb Sandwich Recipe
  • Naan Bread Sandwiches
  •  
    And don’t overlook:

  • The history of sandwiches
  • The different types of sandwiches
  •  

    Turkey Panini

    caramelized-onion-green-tom-panini-RICKS-230

    Grilled Vegetable Panini

    breville-panini-press-SLT-230

    [1] A panino of turkey, cheddar and sliced apple (photo courtesy USApple.org).[2] One of our favorites: turkey, gruyère, caramelized onions and tomato (photo courtesy Rick’s Picks). [3] Grilled veggies (photo courtesy PotsAndPans.com). [4] A panini press (photo courtesy Breville).

     

      

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    RECIPE: Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Violet Bakery Cookbook

    [1] The best cookies use jumbo chunks of top-quality chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco). [2] Here’s the cookbook
    (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press).

     

    May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day…and so is August 4th.

    It may be that one is simply Chocolate Chip Day, and the other Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Emails for clarification have not been answered.

    But who would complain about a second Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?
     
    WHAT IS “THE BEST?”

    In subjective areas (as opposed to who crossed the finish line first), “the best” is in the eye of the beholder…or more accurately, on the palate.

    You know what you like. If you’re still searching for CCC* perfection, consider this recipe. The only challenge: finding room in the freezer for the cookie sheet!

    RECIPE: VIOLET BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 16 Large Cookies

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips†
  • Parchment paper
  • __________________
    *Chocolate Chip Cookie!

    †We use Callebaut or Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. LINE a small baking sheet or pan—one that will fit inside your freezer—with parchment paper.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined but not too creamy. You are not aiming for light and fluffy; that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.

     
    3. COMBINE the flour, salt and baking soda in another bowl and whisk together well. Add to the butter and egg mixture along with the chocolate; mix until combined.

    4. SCOOP individual portions of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet or pan; or use spoons to pat each portion into a little ball. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or up to a month. You can bake them right away, but the cookies will be slightly flatter and less even. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 355°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies evenly on the pan, leaving enough space between each one so they have room to expand during baking: They will almost double in size! Rest the frozen dough on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the oven.

    6. BAKE for 18 minutes, until the center of each cookie is slightly soft and under-baked, but the edges are crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving. These cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

    TIP: If your cookies aren’t as crisp the nest day, place them on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and warm them in the oven. The heat will drive out the extra moisture, making them crisp again.
     
    THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK

    While the chocolate chip cookie was born in the U.S.A., this recipe comes from London’s popular Violet Bakery. Alice Waters calls it “a little corner of Northern California in east London.”

    Get your copy at Amazon.com.

     
      

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