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TIP OF THE DAY: Feijoada For The Olympics

Feijoada Recipe

Feijoada Light

[1] Feijoada at Sushi Samba, a Brazilian-Japanese restaurant with locations in New York City, Florida, Las Vegas and London. [2] A lighter version of feijoada from SimplyRecipes.com.

 

To get into the grove of the Rio Olympics, we turn to Brazilian fare, beginning with its national dish, feijoada (fay-ZHWA-dah).

A hearty, smoky stew of beans and salted, smoked and fresh meats, it is served with white rice and sautéed collard greens are served, along with a set of garnishes that including orange slices and farofa, a toasted cassava flour mixture (think of cornmeal made from cassava and see photo #5 below).

It’s a one-bowl dish of comfort food, and is the traditionally Sunday dinner in Brazil (as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is in England).
 
WHAT IS A NATIONAL FOOD

A national food is a popular dish made from local ingredients prepared in a particular way. It’s part of the country’s sense of identity, like Austria’s wiener schnitzel and Hungary’s goulash, Korea’s bulgogi (hibachi-grilled beef wrapped in lettuce leaves) and the U.K.’s roast beef with yorkshire pudding.

According to Wikipedia, during the age of European empire-building, nations would develop an entire national cuisine to distinguish themselves from their rivals.

The U.S. has no declared national food; nor do countries such as India. There are too many diverse ethnic groups with specialized cuisines to choose a single national dish.

In Latin America, however, dishes may be designated as a “plato nacional” (national dish).

 
In addition to feijoada, examples include:

  • Argentina’s locro, a hearty stew of beef or pork or tripe and red chorizo, corn and other vegetables.
  • Colombian’s ajiaco, a soup that includes chicken, three varieties of potatoes and a local herb, guanaco.
  • Dominican Republic’s and Panama’s sancocho, a heavy soup/light stew.
  • Peru’s ceviche, made from any combination of fresh seafood and a variety of marinades (here’s a recipe template).
  •  
    Whatever the national dish, there are as many versions as there are cooks.

    Feijoada, for example, can be spicy for mild, eaten with a spoon or so thick, you can eat it with a fork.

     

    RECIPE: FEIJOADA, BLACK BEAN STEW

    This recipe was developed for American cooks buy Hank Shaw of SimplyRecipes.com.

    (It’s hard to find fresh pig ears, tails and preserved malagueta chiles in many American supermarkets, but if you want a truly authentic recipe, here it is from the Centro Cultural Brasil USA. Not to mention, the traditional recipe is a two-day preparation.)

    You can make it for own; for example, top the greens with bacon, or lighten the meats and smokiness by substituting chicken sausage and/or thighs.

    Pair it with iced tea, beer, red wine, or red sangria.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry black beans
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound carne seca (dried beef) or corned beef, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound fresh chorizo or Italian sausage
  • 1 pound kielbasa, linguica or other smoked sausage
  • 1 smoked ham hock or shank
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • Water to cover
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • Salt
  •  
    Sides & Condiments

  • White rice
  • Collards, kale or other greens, sautéed with onions and garlic
  • Orange slices
  • Farofa
  • Pork rinds
  • Fresh parsley and/or green onions
  • Hot sauce
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Feijoada cookdiary.net 230

    Feijoada Garnishes

    Farofa With Raisins

    [3] Feijoada is served family-style, scooped from a pot with passed garnishes (photo courtesy CookDiary.net). [4] Feijoada and its traditional accompaniments (photo courtesy Centro Cultural Brasil USA). [5] Farofa, a dish of toasted cassava flour, can be layered with ingredients from herbs and olives to peas and raisins. In feijoada, however, it is served plain (photo courtesy Blog Da Mimis).

     
    Preparation

    1. COVER the beans with boiling water and set aside.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder. When browned, remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

    3. PLACE the onions in the pot and brown, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape up the fond (the tasty browned bits on the bottom). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and add the garlic. Stir to combine and sauté for two minutes more.

    4. RETURN the pork shoulder to the pot, along with the other meats, bay leaves and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

    5. DRAIN the beans and add them to the stew pot. Simmer covered, until the beans are tender, about 90 minutes.

    6. ADD the tomatoes, stir well and taste. Add salt as desired. Simmer uncovered, until the ham begins to fall off the hock, 2-3 hours.

    7. SERVE with sides and condiments.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Remove Food Stains On Teeth, Hands & Fabric

    If you’ve ever drunk more than a few glasses of red wine; eaten lots of beets, berries or carrot purée; you know that food can stain teeth, as well as the hands used to prepare it and the clothes worn to make or eat it.

    Even white wine can stain: It has both acid and some tannins that make teeth susceptible to pigments in other foods.

    According to Web MD, tooth stains are caused by:

  • Acids, which make tooth enamel softer and rougher, so it’s easier for stains to set in.
  • Chromogens, compounds with strong pigments that cling to tooth enamel.
  • Tannins, plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth.
  •  
    Red wine is a triple threat, with all three.

    Tea stains teeth more than coffee: In addition to the acid they both share, tea also contains tannins.

    Fortunately, there are remedies.
     
    TO REMOVE FOOD STAINS ON TEETH

  • Brush right away; use a paste with a bit of whitening agent. Keep a toothbrush at work.
  • Swish water around in your mouth if you can’t brush. It’s not as effective as brushing, but better than nothing.
  • Use a straw. The liquids are sucked to the roof of your mouth, so bypass your front teeth.
  • Get your teeth cleaned professionally. A professional cleaning and polishing helps to smooth the fine cracks in tooth enamel where color gets trapped. Regular polishing also helps to reduce the amount of staining.
  •  

    Baby Beets

    Orange Beets

    Except for the uncommon white beets, beets stain (photo #1 courtesy Burpee, photo #2 courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

     
    TO REMOVE STAINS ON HANDS

  • Use a salt or sugar scrub. Some people buy them for skin exfoliation, but you can sprinkle coarse salt or sugar on wet hands and rub to exfoliate. You can also use olive oil instead of water. After rubbing, rinse off the scrub off and wash your hands with liquid dish soap. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
  • Clean fingernails with baking soda. Make a rub by adding some lemon juice to the baking soda. Scrub with a nail brush.
  • Prevent them in the first place. Get a box of plastic food-prep gloves for a song: 500 gloves for $9.
  •  
    TO REMOVE STAINS ON FABRIC

  • Immediately blot, not rub, with a paper towel. Then use a laundry pre-stain stick or liquid detergent. Wash ASAP in cold water (the sink is fine).
  • Soak in cold water with chlorine or oxygen bleach if the stain persists.
  • Launder in cold water if needed.
  • Use a fabric-appropriate bleach: Chlorine bleach is preferable if it is safe for the fabric.

  • Get an adult bib from Dress Tiez. We have two and love them: They’re waterproof and easy to clean.
  •  
    MORE HELP

  • For red wine and other stains, we’ve had great success with Wine Away spray. It aso removes coffee, blood, ink, fruit punch, sauces, red medicine stains, even pet stains. Try it on anything.
  • There’s also a pocket size for dining out.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Crunchy Fried (Or Baked) Tortilla Strips

    What more crunch in your summer salads?

    Toasted croutons and chow mein noodles have long served that purpose.
     
    OTHER CRUNCHY OPTIONS

    You can also add slices of bell pepper, bok choy, carrot, celery, fennel, kohlrabi, radish or water chestnut; florets and stalks* of broccoli and cauliflower; and even nuts (try cashews).

    Romaine is the crunchiest lettuce; you can substitute or add shredded cabbage.

    But one ingredient we’ve been enjoying lately is fried tortilla strips.

    It had not been top-of-mind for us until the lightbulb turned on as we were crunching on the Skinnylicious Mexican Tortilla Salad at The Cheesecake Factory. These strips are more flavorful than chow mein noodles and most packaged croutons.

    We asked ourself: Why don’t we use them on every salad?

    We headed to the supermarket and found bags of fried tortilla strips, from Fresh Gourmet’s slender Tri-Color Tortilla Strips to Mission’s standard strips that are wide enough for dipping.

    But you can easily make your own, simply by cutting corn tortillas into strips and frying or baking. The only difference is that yours will be fresh, warm and all natural. Bonus: You can control the amount of salt.

    There’s nothing better than homemade tortilla strips, warm and fragrant from cooking. They’re made the same way as tortilla chips; just in a different shape.
     
    RECIPE: FRIED TORTILLA STRIPS

    Ingredients

  • 4 six-inch corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  •  
    Plus

  • Deep-fry/candy thermometer
  • Wire skimmer
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STACK the tortillas. Cut them in half, then crosswise into thin strips (you can use a pizza cutter). Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels, for draining.

    2. POUR 3 inches of oil into a 4-5 quart pot. Clip the thermometer to the pot and heat the oil over medium-high to 350°F. Test the oil with a drop of water from the tap. If it sizzles, it’s ready; if it splatters, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat for a few minutes.

    3. ADD half of the tortillas to the oil carefully—that oil is hot!—and use a wire skimmer or slotted spoon to stir often so they don’t burn. The strips should be submerged in the oil until golden brown (about 3 minutes).

    4. REMOVE the tortillas with the skimmer or a slotted spoon, allowing the excess oil to drain back into the pot. Spread the strips on the paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
     
    If you won’t be using the strips within a few hours, let them cool and store them in an airtight jar.

     

    Tortilla Strip Garnish

    Tortilla Strips

    Tortillas

    [1] Mexican Tortilla Salad. Here’s the Skinnylicious recipe from Cheesecake Factory. [2] You can make your strips long as in the first photo, or short like these (photo courtesy Heather H. | Food.com). [3] Beautiful colors of tortilla chips (photo courtesy Ramiro Valencia, D.R.).

     
    Spicy Variation

    This option brushes the tortillas with seasoned oil, before stacking and cutting.

  • 1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1?4-1?2 teaspoon ground red chili flakes
  •  
    COMBINE the oil and spices; brush one side of each tortilla with the mixture and proceed with steps above.
     
    Oven Variation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. SPRAY a baking with cooking spray and spread the the strips, trying not to let them overlap. Sprinkle with salt.

    3. BAKE for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
     
    USES FOR TORTILLA STRIPS

    In addition to a salad garnish, try them on:

  • Mac & Cheese, instead of toasted crumbs
  • Sandwiches, including burgers and franks
  •  
    __________________
    *There’s no reason to toss the bottom stalks of broccoli and cauliflower. The reason people do is because we’re accustomed to eating the “pretty” florets. The stalks are just as delicious—and they’re the parts used to make fancy purées. We cut them into coins and steam or roast them.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Summer Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Bread salad, like French toast and croutons, is one of those delicious foods invented by necessity: Poor people needed to get another meal from leftover bread that had gone stale.

    Large croutons are was a main ingredient of the salad, rather than the small American-style croutons used as garnish.

    Panzanella, the Italian word for bread salad, is a Tuscan-style bread salad made with a loaf of day-old (or older) bread, cubed into large croutons and tossed with vinaigrette or other dressing to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are then added.

    The translation we have found for panzanella is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the vinaigrette or water in which it was soaked. While crusty Italian loaves were used in the original, you can use any bread from baguette to challah to semolina raisin to sourdough.

    While today’s recipes can be rich in ingredients, the peasants who originally made it foraged to pull together vegetables from the garden—cucumber, onion and tomato—and possibly purslane, a salad green that grows wild.

    Early recipes were heavy on the onions, the cheapest ingredient to pair with the bread. When there wasn’t enough oil to spare, the bread was moistened in water.

    Today, this peasant dish is a popular first course for all in Italy. It doesn’t appear often on menus of U.S.-based Italian restaurants. That’s too bad, because it’s a dish worth knowing.

    So today’s tip is: Make a panzanella. As long as you have vinaigrette- and bread, you can create the salad from anything. It‘s a great way to use up anything in the pantry or fridge, including leftovers.
     
    MIX & MATCH PANZANELLA INGREDIENTS

  • Bell peppers, celery, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Anchovies, beans, chicken, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella or other cheese, tuna
  • Lettuce and other salad greens (we especially like the bite of arugula or radish)
  • Fresh herbs (basil is great here)
  • Capers, olives, pickled vegetables
  • Rice and other grains, boiled potatoes
  • Fruit: apple, berries, grapefruit, orange, stone fruit, watermelon
  • Bread of choice
  • Vinaigrette of choice (consider an infused oil or vinegar)
  •  
    RECIPE: SIMPLE PANZANELLA SALAD

    In our home, summer isn’t summer without lots of panzanella salad. Made with the season’s produce bounty, it‘s a refreshing summer dish that takes just minutes to whip up.

    This recipe from Sunset Growers represents the original, simple salad, made glorious by the freshest ingredients.

    It’s been made better-for-you by substituting the standard rustic bread for a whole wheat loaf.

    Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups whole wheat bread cut into 1 inch cubes, about 1 rustic loaf
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed
  • 3 kumato* tomatoes, standard cut into 1 inch pieces or cherry cut in half
  • 3 yellow tomatoes, standard cut into 1 inch pieces or cherry cut in half
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  •  
     
    __________________
    *Trader Joe’s sells these reddish brown-green tomatoes (see photo at right). The idea is to provide color contrast as well as flavor.

       

    Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Octopus Panzanella Recipe

    Kale Panzanella Salad

    Kumato Tomatoes

    [1] In panzanella, Tuscan bread salad, croutons are a main ingredient, not a garnish (photo courtesy Sunset Growers). [2] A truly sophisticated take from Beauty & Essex restaurant in New York City: Croutons like fat piano keys are lined up and topped with salad and octopus. [3] Half kale, half croutons, with accents of apple and bacon (the recipe from FoodFaithFitness.com). [4] Kumato tomatoes (photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE).

     

    Chicken Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Panzanella salad with added chicken (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Toss to fully coat the cubes. Place the cubes onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast until crispy (about 15-20 minutes), tossing every 5 minutes. When the bread is done…

    2. COOL slightly and then return it to the large bowl with the crushed garlic. Toss gently to distribute garlic evenly. Set aside.

    3. STIR together in a large salad bowl the cut tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and half of the salt.

    4. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, black pepper and remaining salt until fully combined. Continue to whisk briskly while slowly drizzling in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

    4. ADD the bread to the salad bowl and toss the vegetables lightly. Add all of the dressing and toss again to coat all ingredients. Set aside for 10-12 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the basil and toss lightly to distribute it evenly before serving.

     

    MORE PANZANELLA RECIPES

  • Basic Panzanella Salad (basil, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes)
  • Chicken Panzanella Salad
  • Panzanella & Fruit Salad
  • Zucchini & Bell Pepper Panzanella
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Cheeses

    Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad

    Arty Caprese Salad

    Watermelon Caprese Salad

    [1] Yellow tomato Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers | FB. [2] Artistic Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Great Performances | FB). [3] Watermelon Caprese Salad. You can also use mango and other stone fruits (photo courtesy Watermelon.org).

     

    On the hot days of summer, lighten up on your cheeses. Switch the heavier blues, cheddars and washed rind cheeses for delicate, creamy ones.

    Even fresh year-round cheeses like chèvre, feta, mozzarella and ricotta taste better in the summer.

    Here’s the 411 on cheese:

  • Cheeses are seasonal based on the feed and milk availability. Goats and sheep, for example, cease producing milk over the winter, when they have bred, until they give birth.in spring.
  • With modern freezing techniques to preserve the curds, goat’s and sheep’s milk curds, previously available only in spring when the animals give birth, are available year-round.
  • In the spring and summer, the animals from artisan cheesemakers graze in the field, eating grass and clover. The seasonal diet gives more dimension to their milk, with floral and grassy notes.
  • Fresh curds + richer milk = the best cheese of the year.
  •  
    No one will stop you from getting your fill of aged Gouda, Roquefort or Stilton, but we prefer to save them for the cooler months.

    There are many semisoft, semihard and hard cheeses at peak for summer. Your cheesemonger can guide you to the best semi-hard and hard summer cheeses in the store. On the soft, fresh side, here are our favorite widely-available cheeses:
     
    FOUR FAVORITE SUMMER CHEESES

    All pair with burgers, pizza, green salads and fruit salads.

    Mozzarella

    Pay a bit more for artisan mozzarella. As opposed to rubbery factory mozzarella, it’s freshly made, and has a delightfully different texture from the standard “pizza mozzarella.”

    Pair it with its soul mates, fresh basil and summer tomatoes; then:

  • Tuck it into omelets.
  • Make grilled cheese sandwiches or panini.
  • Toss with pasta and salads (ciliegine and perlini, bite-size mozzarella balls, work better here).
  • For appetizers and the summer “cheese course,” combine ciliegine with cherry tomatoes and other vegetables, cubed meats or rolled proscuitto. Use skewers or an artistic plating.
  • For dessert, do the same with fruit.
  •  
    And get your fill of perhaps the most famous summer mozzarella dish, Caprese Salad.

  • You can substitute mango, stone fruit or watermelon for the the tomatoes.
  • You can substitute feta, goat cheese, ricotta, even tofu for the mozzarella.
  •  
    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: basil.

    Feta

    Feta—crumbled, cubed or sliced—pairs with almost every summer fruit and vegetable. Tip: Some feta is very salty. Go to the cheese counter and ask to taste it first, or get a recommendation for a packaged brand with less salt.

  • In omelets.
  • In Watermelon-Feta Salad or crumbled over green salad.
  • On skewers—appetizer and dessert.
  • With grilled lamb, pork or poultry (turn it into a side with good olive oil, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs).
  • On burgers: beef, turkey and especially lamb.
  • On pizza, anchovies, capers, olives and onion slices.
  •  
    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: cilantro or dill.

     

    Fresh Goat Cheese

    Fresh goat cheese is soft and creamy, with a bit of tang. Along with ricotta, it spreads easily on bread.

    As with mozzarella, fresh goat cheese loves summer tomatoes. Try it:

  • On crusty baguette, with tomatoes or grilled vegetables.
  • In omelets.
  • With green salads (slice a log into rounds and place on top of the greens.
  • Ditto with fruit salads or a fresh fruit plate.
  •  
    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: basil or mint.
     
    Ricotta

    Soft and creamy ricotta is can be called “Italian cottage cheese,” and can be used in the same ways.

    You can mix in any seasonings and use the flavored cheese in even more ways. Ricotta loves a drizzle of honey.

  • Spread on toast and bagels, with optional honey or berries.
  • DIY ricotta bowls for breakfast or dessert (see photo #4).
  • Substitute for mozzarella in a Caprese Salad.
  • Pair with fresh fruit and optional yogurt.
  • Sweeten for cookie sandwiches or dips.
  • Whip with sweetener and a touch of cinnamon for “cannoli cream.”
  • Use the cannoli cream instead of whipped cream to top fruit, puddings and other desserts.
  •  
    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: chives.
     
    HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CHEESE?

    Test your knowledge—or build it up—with our Cheese Glossary: the different types of cheese, categories, techniques, etc.

     

    Ricotta Caprese Salad

    Ricotta Toppings

    [1] Top a salad with a spoonful or two of plain or flavored ricotta (photo courtesy Del Posto | NYC). [2] DIY ricotta bowls are customized to whatever you want: fruit, seeds, even chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mix Up Some Coolers

    Blackberry Cooler

    Peach Wine Cooler

    Watermelon Cooler Recipe

    Bottled Wine Coolers

    [1] Blackberry cooler (photo courtesy FreidaFroo.Wordpress.com). [2] A peach wine cooler (here’s the recipe from TasteOfHome.com). [3] Watermelon cooler with green tea and white wine (photo courtesy Serendipitea.com). [4] Commercial wine coolers: the lowest common denominator (photo courtesy Majestic Brands).

     

    WHAT’S A COOLER?

    Short for wine cooler, a cooler is a tall drink typically made with wine, fruit juice and soda water (you can use any glasses you have).

    It’s a less complex relative of sangria. Don’t like wine? Try the latest cooler incarnation, the beer cooler.

    Modern coolers are refreshing summer drinks that trace their ancestry to hot-weather countries in ancient times.
     
    HISTORY OF THE WINE COOLER

    Wine-based drinks have long existed in the Mediterranean, the birthplace of wine. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine production found to date has been in Georgia (c. 6000 B.C.E.), Iran (c. 5000 B.C.E.), Greece (c. 4500 B.C.E.), and Armenia (c. 4100 B.C.E.).

    The wine could be drunk straight or mixed with honey, spices or other ingredients, especially by the kitchen staff of rich households and at public drinking houses for the hoi polloi. It was a less sophisticated product than today’s wine, with no sophisticated fermentation or aging techniques. Thousands of years before stoppered glass bottles were invented, wine was stored in clay jars.

    Flash forward to the present: Wine coolers have been sold commercially since the early 1980s [Source]. Bartles & Jaymes, a brand of E & J Gallo Winery.

    The latter makes flavors dozens of flavors, including Strawberry Daiquiri, Fuzzy Navel, Margarita and Piña Colada.

    However delicious these may sound, they were formerly made with wine that Wikipedia calls “the cheapest available grade,” since most of the wine flavor in obscured by the sugar and the fruit juice. According to Lucas J. Meeker of Meeker Vineyard in Sonoma County, domestic wine coolers were largely made from a base of apple wine.

    Today, many bottled wine coolers have no wine. Because of a quadrupled excise tax levied on wine beginning in 1991, most brands replaced wine with cheaper malt. Bartles & Jaymes calls their revised product line a “flavored malt cooler.”

    The malt, according to Meeker, renders the result more like beer but still largely the same: “a largely flavorless base beverage is combined with flavor and color additions, then carbonated and bottled.”
     
    WINE COOLER RECIPE TEMPLATE

    Blend your own recipe to find create your signature wine cooler. To develop your recipe, use a shot glass to combine 1/3 each of wine, juice and sparkling water.

    Choose one from each group:

  • Wine: red, rose, white
  • Fruit juice: cherry, cranberry, grapefruit, pineapple, etc.
  • Fizzy water: club soda, mineral water, seltzer, flavored seltzer (alternatively, Ginger Ale, 7-Up, Sprite)
  • Optional sweetener: agave, honey, simple syrup, superfine sugar
  • Optional: splash of fruit liqueur (adding spirits turns the drink from cooler to cocktail)
  • Optional garnish: berries or other fresh fruit, mint or basil leaves (tip: you can use frozen fruit, which will help keep the drink cold)
  •  
    Here’s a recipe for a green tea cooler from fine tea purveyor Serendipitea:

     
    RECIPE: GREEN TEA WATERMELON COOLER

    Ingredients For 4 Tall Drinks

  • Seedless watermelon or 1.5 cups watermelon juice
  • 1.5 cups dry-yet-fruity white wine*
  • 1 cup Dragon’s Well China Green Tea (or substitute), brewed and chilled
  • Optional garnish
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the watermelon and run it through a fine mesh sieve (yield about 1.5 cups juice).

    2. WARM a teapot with a little hot water, discard, place the tea leaves in the pot, allowing heat of the pot to release the bouquet of the tea leaves.

    3. HEAT water to below boiling (approximately 180°F). Steep 1 teaspoon (2.5 g/8 oz. cup) up to 3 minutes & refresh cup as desired. Vary the time according to taste with this caveat: steeping tea leaves beyond 3 minutes does not give you more flavor, only bitterness.
     
    __________________
    *Try Albariño, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, Muscat, Pinot Gris/PinotGrigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Watermelon Salad

    Watermelon is one of the edible geniuses in the Cucurbitaceae family, also called the gourd family. The most important family members comprise five genuses:

  • Citrullus: watermelon and some other melons.
  • Cucurbita: squash (including pumpkin), summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini), some gourds.
  • Cucumis: cucumber, some melons.
  •  
    Non-edible members include:

  • Lagenaria: inedible (decorative) gourds
  • Luffa/loofah: a fibrous fruit that provides the loofah scrubbing sponge
  •  
    Sweet melons have long been an anticipated summer treat. Pperhaps the most beloved is watermelon: sliced and eaten as hand fruit; sipped as juice, in cocktails, fruit soup and smoothies; made into dessert as fruit salads, popsicles and sorbets; grilled as a side; added to salsa; and so much more.

    Today’s tip: Consider adding watermelon to your salads. It fits as easily into savory salads as sweet fruit salads.
     
    WATERMELON SALAD INGREDIENTS

    Mix and match watermelon with these ingredients:

  • Cucumber (check out the different types of cucumber)
  • Cheese: bocconcini (mozzarella balls), feta, goat cheese, ricotta salata, other cheese
  • Fruit: berries, citrus, cherries, dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.), heirloom tomatoes, mango, other melons
  • Greens of choice: bell peppers, endive, mesclun, romaine, radicchio
  • Onion: chive, red onion, scallion, sweet onions (consider pickling the onions)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, mint, parsley
  • Protein: grilled chicken or seafood
  • Spicy: baby arugula, jalapeño, radishes
  • Also: pistachios, roasted beets, water chestnuts, whole grains for grain bowl, summer squash
  •  
    Dressings

  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Blue cheese dressing (light!)
  • Honey-lime vinaigrette
  • Infused olive oil (citrus, herb)
  •  
    RECIPE: WATERMELON CAPRESE SALAD

    This festive salad [photo #2] can be the appetizer or the fruit and cheese course. It was created by Gina Homolka of SkinnyTaste.com.

  • You can combine the ingredients below into a standard watermelon salad with a balsamic dressing (cube the watermelon and cheese)
  • If you don’t have a large star-shaped cookie cutter, use another shape.
  •  
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • Half seedless watermelon, in 16 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (buy or make your own)
  •  
    Plus

  • 4-inch star-shaped cookie cutter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT 16 from the watermelon. Save the trimmed watermelon for another use.

     

    Watermelon Salad

    Watermelon Caprese

    Balsamic Syrup

    Watermelon On Vine

    [1] Watermelon and cucumber: cousins in a simple salad with red onion (photo courtesy WinesOfSicily.com). [2] An artistic version from Gina Homolka. See more of her inspired recipes and photos at SkinnyTaste.com. [3] Homemade balsamic glaze (photo courtesy EatBoutique.com). [4] Watermelon on the vine (photo by Fred Hsu | Wikipedia).

     
    2. ARRANGE the watermelon on a platter or individual plates. Top each with the mozzarella, arugula, 1/4 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Top with a watermelon star, drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.
     
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF WATERMELON
     
    WHAT IS BALSAMIC GLAZE?

    Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar reduced into a syrup.

    It can be used on savory and sweet foods.

  • No added sweetener is needed for savory uses: aged hard cheeses*, eggs, grilled meats).
  • Consider adding sweetener only if you plan to use the glaze on sweet dishes: berries, cooked fruit dishes, fruit salad, ice cream, pudding).
  •  
    The better the balsamic vinegar, the better the glaze.
     
    Ingredients

  • 16 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon honey or sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the vinegar to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. (The glaze will further thicken when it cools.)

    2. REMOVE from the heat; taste and stir in the optional sweetener and salt. Let cool completely.

    3. STORE in the fridge in an airtight jar.

     
    __________________
    *Hard aged cheeses include Cheddar, Cheshire, Emmental, Gouda, Gruyère, Mimolette and Parmesan/Parimigiano Reggiano, among others. It is also delicious with Roquefort and other strong blues, and with over-ripe bloomy-rinded cheeses like Brie and Camembert.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Throw A National S’mores Day Party

    Classic S'mores

    Fancy S'mores

    S'mores Pie Recipe

    [1] Classic S’mores (photo courtesy Dandies vegan marshmallows [they’re great]. [2] Gourmet S’mores made with a Petit Écolier chocolate-topped biscuit and a chocolate chocolate chip marshmallow (photo courtesy Plush Puffs gourmet marshmallows). [3] No-Bake S’mores Pie (photo courtesy Brown Eyed Baker; here’s the recipe).

     

    National S’mores Day, August 10th. We all know the recipe for s’mores, but just in case:

    To make these sandwich cookies, you need one or two marshmallows, two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate bar to fit the grahams for each. The marshmallow is toasted and placed on top of the chocolate and the bottom graham, followed by the top graham. The heat of the toasted marshmallow melts the chocolate into a gooey delight. Don’t forget the napkins.

    We’ve got lots of favorite s’mores recipes (the list is below), but this year we’re having a S’mores party with a twist.
     
    SUBTITUTES FOR THE CHOCOLATE BARS

  • Chocolate mints (e.g. Andes Mints)
  • Flavored chocolate bars (e.g. Lindt’s Crunchy Caramel with Sea Salt Bar; chile, coconut, orange, raspberry, toffee, etc.)
  • M&M’s
  • Nutella
  • Peanut butter cups
  • White chocolate
  •  
    SUBTITUTES FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKERS

  • Brownies or blondies (slice the squares in half)
  • Chocolate chocolate chip cookies With White Chips (or butterscotch chips, PB chips, etc.)
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Chocolate chocolate chunk cookies
  • Gourmet graham crackers (or homemade)
  • Pavlovas (meringue cups)
  • Peanut butter cookies or other favorite
  •  
    SUBTITUTES FOR THE MARSHMALLOWS

  • Gourmet marshmallows
  • Marshmallow cream (e.g. Fluff)
  •  
    ADD-ONS

  • Bananas, blackberries, blood oranges, strawberries, raspberries or other fresh fruit
  • Bacon
  • Cherry cheesecake spread (mix cream cheese with cherry preserves)
  • Dulce de leche
  • Nuts
  • Toasted coconut
  •  
     
    THERE ARE RECIPES BELOW, BUT FIRST…

     
    THE HISTORY OF GRAHAM CRACKERS, MARSHMALLOWS & CHOCOLATE BARS

    We don’t know who invented S’mores, but the Girl Scouts certainly popularized them: The first published recipe is in their 1927 handbook.

    S’mores around the campfire has been a happy tradition: a stick, a fire, two toasted marshmallows, a square of chocolate and two graham crackers get you a delicious chocolate marshmallow sandwich. The combined flavors of toasted marshmallow, melty chocolate and crunchy grahams is oh-so-much tastier than the individual ingredients (or, to quote Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

    The name of the sandwich cookie comes from its addictive quality: You have no choice but to ask for “some more.”

    But you don’t need a campfire, or even all of the classic ingredients, to celebrate with S’mores, as you’ll see below. Don’t have a heat source to melt marshmallows? Use Fluff or other marshmallow cream.

  • Graham Cracker History
  • Marshmallow History
  •  

    MORE S’MORES RECIPES

  • S’mores Baked Alaska
  • Cinnamon S’mores and a cappuccino cocktail
  • Creative S’mores Recipes
  • Fancy S’mores (banana split, peach, peanut brittle etc.)
  • Grilled Banana S’mores
  • Gourmet Marshmallow S’mores
  • Ice Cream S’mores
  • S’mores With Other Types Of Cookies
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake, Ice Cream Pie and Cupcakes
  • S’mores In A Cup Or Mason Jar
  • S’mores Cookie Bars
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake
  • S’mores On A Stick
  • Smores On The Grill
  • Triscuit S’mores
  •  
    NOT ENOUGH?

    Check out these 25 different S’mores combinations.

     

    S'mores With Homemade Graham Crackers

    Ice Cream S'mores

    [1] S’mores with artisan graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate (photo courtesy Burdick Chocolate). [2] Ice cream sandwich S’mores with S’mores ice cream—chocolate ice cream with pieces of marshmallows and graham crackers (photo courtesy Babble.com).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Combine Summer Fruits & Vegetables

    Corn & Peach Salad

    Removing Corn Kernels From The Cob

    [1] Mix summer fruits and vegetables into a salad or a grain bowl (recipe below; photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers). [2] Use the “bundt technique” to neatly remove the corn kernels (photo courtesy SimplyRecipes.com).

     

    Mix it up this summer. Beyond fruit salads and mixed grilled vegetables, combine the two produce groups into new concepts.

    Almost everyone has made a mixed fruit or vegetable recipe, but how about mixed fruit and vegetables?

    Think grilled pizza with figs and yellow squash or arugula and nectarines; raw or grilled skewers (bell peppers, cucumbers, melon, stone fruit, summer squash), or the corn and peach salad recipe below. Here’s a reference list for your combinations:
     
    SUMMER VEGETABLES

  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, loganberry, raspberries, strawberries
  • Melon: cantaloupe, casaba, crenshaw, honeydew, persian, watermelon
  • Stone fruits: apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • Miscellaneous: avocado, grapes, fig, loquats, longan, lychees, mango, passionfruit
  •  
    SUMMER VEGETABLES

  • Colorful: beets, bell pepper, corn, red jalapeño, radishes, red endive, red onion, tomatoes
  • Green: arugula, baby spinach, butter lettuce, Chinese long beans, edamame, French beans, green beans, sugar snap peas, tomatillos, watercress
  • Pale: bok choy, cucumber, chanterelles, endive, sweet onions, Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Summer squash: crookneck, yellow squash, zucchini
  •  
    Plus

  • Whole grains for a grain bowl
  •  
    RECIPE: FRESH CORN & PEACH SALAD

    This refreshing summer salad is delicious with grilled proteins, roast chicken, or on a salad buffet.

    You can prepare steps 1 and 2 a day in advance.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4-6 ears fresh yellow corn (2 to 2-1/2 cups kernels)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • 2-3 cups greens, washed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup shredded/julienned fresh mint or basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or flavored vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1/2 lime)
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Optional: red chili flakes
  • Optional: whole grains, cooked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLEAN the corn and cut the kernels from cob. It’s neater if you use the bundt pan technique: Steady the ear of corn in the hole at the top of the funnel of a bundt pan (see photo 2 above). When you cut the kernels, they fall into the pan for neater gathering. If you have a silicon pad or other nonslip surface, put it under the bundt pan before you begin,

    2. COMBINE the corn, peaches and seasonings to taste in a medium bowl. Add the oil, vinegar and lime juice; toss to coat. Add the seasonings to taste. When ready to serve…

    3. PLACE the greens at the bottom of a serving bowl or individual plates (if using grains, add them first). Top with the corn and peaches, then the mint or basil. If using a serving bowl, toss before serving.
     
    Grilled Variation

    You can grill the corn and peaches before making the salad.

    1. BRUSH the shucked ears of corn and halved peaches with olive oil and grill on a covered grill over medium heat for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn occasionally for even browning.

    2. REMOVE from the grill and let cool to the touch. Then cut the kernels and slice the peaches.
     
    Caprese Variation

    Make a Caprese Salad of peaches and tomatoes, with the corn substituting for, or in addition to, the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with basil and olive oil.

    Here’s a recipe.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY : International Spins On Potato Salad

    Homemade potato salad is one of our favorite summer sides. Mom’s recipe combined sliced boiled red jacket potatoes, small dices of red onion and green bell peppers, chopped parsley and dill and sometimes, chopped hard boiled egg, bits of carrot or sweet pickle relish. It was bound with mayonnaise blended with a bit of Dijon mustard.

    We’ve discovered a world of variations over the years, greatly aided by the greatest recipe book of all time, the internet. Each summer weekend, we try to make a different one.

    This week, we received three international-themed recipes from the Idaho Potato Commission, a resource with dozens and dozens of potato salad recipes. We’ve included some of them at the end.

    After you’ve perused the recipes, check out the different types of potatoes in our Potato Glossary.
     
    RECIPE #1: MASSAMAN CURRY POTATO SALAD

    First up, Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic used Thai spices—Thai red curry paste and crushed red pepper flakes—to create Massaman Curry Potato Salad (photo #1). It can be made up to two days in advance.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Idaho (russet) potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup mayonniase
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste), plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COVER the potatoes with 2 to 3 inches of cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook with the lid ajar until the potatoes are fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and cool for a few minutes.

    2. WHISK together the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: mayonnaise, vinegar, red curry paste, coconut sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Gently add the potatoes and all but 1 tablespoon each of the peanuts and the scallions. Stir gently to combine. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    3. TRANSFER to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoons of peanuts and scallions and more chili flakes as desired. Serve chilled.
     
    RECIPE #2: PERUVIAN POTATO SALAD

    Potatoes originated in Peru, so it’s about time someone created an homage potato salad.

    The recipe (third photo) incorporates aji amarillo paste, from the Peruvian yellow chile pepper (Capsicum baccatum). It’s a popular ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. You can find it in an international or Latin supermarket or online.

    Corn originated a few countries away in Mexico.

    The recipe is from Melissa Bailey of Hungry Food Love.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup chorizo, cooked and crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •    

    Thai Curry Potato Salad

    Potato Beet Salad

    Peruvian Potato Salad

    Idaho Russet Potatoes

    [1] Thai Curry Potato Salad. [2] Estonian Potato Beet Salad. [3] Peruvian Potato Salad. [4] “Idaho potato” generally refers to the russet potato variety grown in the specific terroir of Idaho (all photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).

     
    Preparation

    1. BOIL the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them sit until cool enough to cut into small cubes.

    2. WHISK together the mayonnaise and aji amarillo paste in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    3. ADD the potatoes and gently combine until well coated. Add the rest of the ingredients and gently combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

     

    French Potato Salad

    Provencal Potato Salad

    German Potato Salad

    [4] Classic French potato salad. [2] Provençal potato salad. [3] German potato salad is served warm with a bacon vinaigrette (photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission).

     

    RECIPE #3: CLASSIC FRENCH POTATO SALAD

    Want something lighter? Here’s a classic French-style potato salad, re-created by Lisa Goldfinger of Panning the Globe (photo #4).

    There’s no mayo here: The dressing is white wine vinegar and tangy Dijon mustard.

    This recipe can be made up to two days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

    If you’re a fan of French food, also take a look at this Ratatouille Potato Salad recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (3 large potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking water (from the potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground white or black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a large pot halfway with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Peel one potato and slice it crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices, dropping the slices into the water as you go to prevent discoloration. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.

    2. BRING the water to boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender, 3-4 minutes. Check doneness by tasting; don’t overcook.

    3. SCOOP out about ¼ cup of the potato cooking water and set aside. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. While the potatoes are warm, add the wine and 2 tablespoons of cooking water. Toss gently to combine and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the liquids to absorb, tossing occasionally.

    4. COMBINE in a small bowl the vinegar, mustard, scallions, parsley, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Pour the dressing over potatoes and toss gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

     
    MORE POTATO SALAD RECIPES WITH INTERNATIONAL FLAIR

  • Argentinian Chimichurri Potato Salad
  • Brazilian Potato Salad
  • Caprese Potato Salad
  • Estonian Potato & Beet Salad (Rosolje)
  • German Potato Salad with bacon and bacon vinaigrette
  • Guacamole Potato Salad
  • Japanese Potato Salad
  • Kimchi Potato Salad
  • Korean Potato Salad
  • Mediterranean Grilled Potato Salad With Seafood
  • Mexican Chipotle Potato Salad
  • Mexican Jalapeño Potato Salad
  • Mexican Spicy Cilantro Pasilla Potato Salad
  • Middle Eastern Potato Salad
  • Niçoise-Style Potato Salad
  • Provençal Fingerling Potato Salad
  • Ratatouille Potato Salad
  • Russian Potato Salad with beets, carrots, dill and peas
  • Tuscan Potato Salad
  •   

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