No Mother’s Day brunch is complete without a cocktail that’s as fabulous as mom herself. This year, try something that’s light, refreshing and seasonal, like our Strawberry-Prosecco Sparkler.
HOW TO: Drop a sugar cube into each of 6 glasses and douse with a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Pour prosecco, champagne or other sparkling wine over top; garnish with sliced strawberries.
This sipper is both sweet and tart, and will pair perfectly with your spring brunch menu. Happy Mother’s Day!
Weekends are so 2009! Cinco de Mayo falls on a Monday (excuse me, lunes) this year, and that plays right into my margarita-mixing, tortilla-chip- dipping hands—because Monday is one of my favorite nights to entertain. For one thing, it makes scheduling a snap. Finding a weekend night when four or five friends are all available? Forget it. It seems the later in the week a get-together is scheduled, the more likely people are to cancel as the snowball of obligations threatens to roll over them. But on Monday nights, everyone seems to be free! Even more importantly, Mondays have a built-in low-key vibe—you’re practically prohibited from making a fuss. Here are my three relax-the-rules rules.
1. No Elaborate Hors D’Oeuvres
On Mondays, pre-dinner nibbles are anything I can pour directly from a bag, box or jar into a bowl, or unwrap and plunk on a plate: olives, fancy potato chips, cheese and crackers, salted nuts. For a Cinco de Mayo party, the classic is also a crowd-pleaser. Chips and salsa coming right up!
2. Serve a Make-Ahead Main Course
The beauty of Monday is it comes right after Sunday, a day I actually do have time to cook. The goal is to make a one-dish meal, like chili or chicken enchiladas, that I can simply heat up the next night when everybody arrives. That way, it’s no big deal if I race home from work at 6:45 and guests are due at 7.
3. Put Someone Else on Dessert Duty
I remind whoever it is that we’re on the no-shame-for-store-bought plan. If she gets the urge to bake brownies, fantastic. But if she wants to swing by the store for a few pints of ice cream? Make mine chocolate-chocolate chip, please!
My Margarita Musts:
1. A salt rim.
I’m easygoing about rocks versus no rocks—ice changes a cocktail’s strength, not its taste. But salt is mandatory to brighten and balance a margarita’s sweet-sour flavors.
2. Mid-shelf tequila.
Save the smooth, aged, expensive tequila for sipping on its own. Margaritas are best when they’re a little rough around the edges
3. Fresh lime juice.
You’re forgiven if you like your margaritas no-salt, top-shelf or served in a plastic tumbler shaped like a saguaro cactus, but back away from the bottled lime juice. If that’s all you’ve got, switch to beer!
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, you’re definitely going to need a fruity and refreshing blended drink to was down all those chips and guac. Rather than making the classic margarita or piña colada, blend something up that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit sour and is just as festive looking as the sombrero on your head: a Lemon-Berry Freeze.
In a blender, puree 2 cups ice cubes, 3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, 3/4 cup vodka, 6 hulled strawberries and 2 tablespoons Campari until slushy. Divide among 4 glasses; garnish with lemon slices.
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
With Passover less than a week away, it’s time to start stocking up leavening-free recipes. Matzo is always a big staple in many of the meals, but rather than just slathering it in marinara sauce and cheese and calling it pizza, switch things up with recipes that utilize matzo in creative ways that won’t leave you feeling underwhelmed before the seder is even over. Treat it like bread crumbs or crackers in these dishes, and you may even find yourself making them after the eight days are over!
In a food processor, pulse 1 sheet matzo until it resembles dry breadcrumbs. Moisten with a splash of water. Mix with 1 lb. ground beef and a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley. Roll into twelve 1 1/2-inch balls and bake at 400 degrees until no longer pink in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce (and over pasta after Passover!). Serves 4.
Matzo Brei & Brie
Soak 2 sheets matzo in warm water until slightly softened, about 20 seconds. In a nonstick skillet, melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Crumble matzo into bite-size pieces and add to skillet. Add 2 beaten eggs. Cook, stirring until set, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with a handful of dried cherries and 2 oz. diced Brie. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Serves 2.
Matzo-Crusted Maple Salmon
In a resealable plastic bag, finely crush 1 sheet matzo; season with cayenne and salt. Brush 2 salmon filets (6 oz. each) with pure maple syrup. Press the matzo crumbs onto the top of the salmon to coat. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO. Bake at 400 degrees until opaque in the center, about 10 minutes. Serves 2.
Place 3 sheets matzo in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a saucepan, boil 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar, stirring until thick, 3 minutes. Pour over matzo. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Immediately top hot matzo with 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Let soften; spread. Top with 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Soften in oven 1 minute. Drag toothpick over top to swirl. Chill. Serves 8.
Click here for more Passover recipes.
What does a “women’s” food magazine look like nowadays? While some of our readers might say “Every Day with Rachael Ray,” there’s a new(ish) mag in town devoted exclusively to celebrating women and the food that they make (and love). It’s called Cherry Bombe, if you haven’t heard of it, and this past weekend the magazine came to life in New York City at its first ever conference, deliciously called “The Cherry Bombe Jubilee.”
Photo courtesy of Cherry Bombe
The day-long event attracted all-stars from the culinary world (Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Marion Nestle, plus plenty of others), as well as inspiring ladies from other walks of professional life—makeup maven Bobbi Brown shared her cosmetics success story; Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, promoted Fed Up, her upcoming film on the link between sugar and obesity.
Cherry Bombe’s founders, Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond (who also starred in our April Southern brunch feature), curated panels that ran the gamut from food politics to entrepreneurship, and real talk prevailed. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in New York City and the Los Angeles restaurateur Suzanne Goin had a frank (and at times grim) appraisal of what it means to juggle motherhood and have a restaurant. Goin fought back tears when she recounted a story of her son telling his babysitter, “Some kids don’t have nannies, they have moms.” (Did we mention that the moderator, Bon Appétit’s Christine Muhlke, had her own toddler in her lap for much of the interview?!)
Challenges were identified, to be sure (“maybe we should change the model for what we consider success for women in food,” suggested former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl in response to recent cries of inequality in the kitchen). But mostly, the discussions were encouraging for attendees, many of whom represented different parts of the food world today—cooking, academics, business ownership, farming, writing and more—and most of whom were women. “At 25 I didn’t actually know I could have a career in food,” said Reichl in a closing interview. And we all know how that turned out. If things have changed so dramatically since Reichl was 25, then think how much more they can change in the years ahead? To be discussed, perhaps, at next year’s Jubilee.
If you’re channeling your inner Irish this weekend, don’t stop with the “Kiss me, I’m Irish” tee and pint of Guinness. A true St. Patrick’s Day isn’t complete without a hearty menu full of flavor (and booze) that’ll make you feel like you’re in the homeland. We’re taking classic Irish flavors and St. Pat’s traditions and transforming ‘em into delicious dishes that you’ll definitely want to eat more than once a year. The best part? They’re super simple, so you’ll have plenty to time to join in all of the festive fun. Happy St. Patty’s Day!
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You may not be roaming Bourbon street, sipping on hurricanes and munching on beignets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still embrace the New Orleans-famous holiday of Mardi Gras. It’s Fat Tuesday, people, and you should be celebrating. Whether you’re looking for a snack native to the Bayou or a full blown Big Easy dinner, we’ve got the perfect recipes to suit your fancy. So dig out your beads and masks and get cooking, y’all!
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We know the days leading up to Valentine’s Day can be a bit hectic, especially if you’re trying to plan the perfect meal for your sweetie. Stressing over stroganoff? Going crazy over creme brulee? Here’s a dessert idea that’s quick, easy and just as easy to look at as it is to eat: Cran-Raspberry Truffles.
Creamy raspberry-tinted white chocolate gets coated in a bittersweet chocolate blanket and topped with dried cranberries for the ultimate after-dinner treat. The best part is you freeze ‘em in between steps, giving you plenty of time to work on your other dishes! Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Bacon lattes, crazy guacamole combinations and Vegemite Toast: When it comes to trying exotic foods and flavor combos, the staff at Every Day with Rachael Ray is always down. But this idea had us a little mind-boggled (not to mention sweaty after consuming): Chocolate-covered jalapeño peppers!
FTD is an online flower and gift shop that, just like most retailers, is gearing up for Valentine’s Day. These spicy treats definitely caught our attention! Each pepper is hand-dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate and arrives perfectly chilled and fresh. But beware! Each pepper is raw, so watch out for a mouth full of seeds, the spiciest part of the pepper.
The thought of eating spicy peppers with chocolate was pretty foreign to us, but after one bite we knew we had found a winning flavor combination. The chocolate cuts through the raw heat of the pepper, but still leaves your mouth a little toasty (depending on your spice tolerance). This is a treat we’d love to share with our Valentine — as long as they’re just as open to trying to new things as we are. Click here to save $10 on your purchase, and still get it in time for the big day!
We’re at the 1-week countdown to the most romantic day of the year! We know proving to your sweetheart just how romantic you can be can seem intimidating, especially when Valentine’s Day lands on a weekday, but here’s a fast idea that’s impressive, yet simple enough for any rushed morning. Send your honey to work with a homemade English Danish in hand. They might even forget that it’s a weekday, after all!
Wouldn’t it be cute to cut out hearts in the center? They always say everything tastes better with love! Get the full recipe here.