What do I feed 12 boys, ranging in age from 7 – 14 without spending my entire weekly grocery budget on that one meal? We have done away with hot dogs and instead have adopted sausages in it’s place. After much thought, grilled sausages with homemade condiments is the route I will be taking. Setting everything up, buffet style, works with a crowd. Add a big bowl of veggie chips, cut up fresh cucumbers and jicama (spiked with fresh lime + chili powder) and just maybe all of this good stuff will counteract the sugar high that will ultimately be taking over the evening.
I like to prepare for the hectic week ahead and doing as much prep and organization in advance keeps me sane through out the week. Onion marmalade, ketchup, barbeque sauce, teriyaki, and homemade sodas can easily be found in our fridge, stored in glass jars of all shapes and sizes (I hoard glass vessels). I have recently gotten into making chutneys and this tomato chutney has become a a household favorite.
This is a fantastic recipe that makes great use of fresh summer peaches. Cobbler is a classic summer dessert and just about as American as Apple Pie. The clever folks at Cook’s Country have mastered a method that prevents the cobbler from sitting in too much liquid.
Traditional cobblers are usually made with a biscuit-like topping and can be made with almost any fruit, although peaches are my favorite. I usually make biscuits with buttermilk or heavy cream, but the yogurt really works well here.
Top the warm cobbler with some vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
Cocktails aren't an afterthought at parties and weddings anymore. Just ask Talmadge Lowe, the co-founder of a roving underground cocktail club and catering company. He's among several bartenders who have built their own drinks catering companies and raised the quality and customization of cocktails at events.
"People are going to go to the bar first thing they do, and they’re going to go back to the bar several times," Lowe says. "So why not design a bar to be just as special as the menu?"
And since summer's the height of L.A.'s private event season, here are five cocktail caterers who are bringing the craft of cocktails to the party.
Strawberry Shortcake seemed to always mark the beginning of summer when I was growing up.
Although we get strawberries almost year round in California, they always taste best in early summer. We always made our “shortcake” with biscuits.
This is a pretty foolproof method. When you stir slightly cooled melted butter into cold buttermilk, the butter will clump.
Although this might look like a mistake, it's one of the secrets to this recipe.
I’d flown to New York for too short a time and then extended my stay because I had too many things to do and then flew home. Crowded/full flights both ways, a little delay, and by the time I reached L.A., I was flat on my back. Jet lag. No. Fever.
And for me a completely curious thing - since I think the cure for the stomach flu is a chili dog or a hamburger please with French fries - absolutely no appetite. None. I was nervous about that.
I didn’t eat anything for two days – don’t discuss my metabolism, two hours is a long time for me.
But by the third day, I still didn’t feel like I could eat anything.
Unaccustomed to any processed food, maybe blame it on the “cheese plate” if you can call it that that comes packaged on the plane if they put enough on and you can in fact purchase one, I felt only the freshest thing would do. Not even chicken soup. (I have a theory by the way that chicken soup is not a curative but quite the opposite, but that’s another story.)
All I wanted was some kind of broth, no, something slightly more substantial. Home-made vegetable soup. The easiest thing in the world.
Moms and grandmas love blueberries. Think about it. Doesn't your family have cherished recipes for blueberry pie and blueberry muffins? What about blueberry cobbler and frosted blueberry sweet rolls?
Why are blueberries so beloved? It could be their association with lazy summer days, Fourth of July cookouts, or time spent baking in grandma's cozy kitchen. Whatever it is, blueberries are sweet and easy-going, like the girl next door.
But like the proverbial librarian who lets down her hair, blueberries can also be sexy. That's right. Sprinkle plump, juicy summertime blueberries on peppery wild arugula or watercress for a stylish salad.
When Jeff watches t.v., it’s typically one of three types of shows: sports (he’s a guy), nature/science programs (he’s a doctor), and cooking competitions (I’m stumped). He’s not so much into instructional cooking shows, though he doesn’t mind Giada’s Everyday Italian (he’s a guy). What he really likes are the cooking competitions, like Top Chef and Iron Chef America.
One night last summer, we saw a particularly inspiring episode of Iron Chef featuring Bobby Flay, Jeff’s second favorite chef after Cat Cora (he’s a guy; Jeff, not Cat, that is). We like Bobby’s creativity and the way he makes ordinary grilled food seem chic.
So the following day when I went to the library, I checked out a couple of his books, including Grilling for Life and Boy Gets Grill. They were mixed in among a 4-foot high pile of cookbooks (including many baking ones) that caught Jeff’s eye when he came home.
Picking through the pile like he was looking for the perfect apple among many bruised ones, he paused upon seeing Bobby’s books. “Hon, why do you have two Bobby Flay grilling cookbooks?” he asked. “Because he’s the guy you really like on Iron Chef, so I thought I’d check out some of his recipes,” I replied. “So, are you planning on just reading them or actually making something from them?” he asked.
“Making something. Why else would I have gotten them?” I said. (Though we both instantly realized the flaw in that argument—for the next three weeks, the closest thing those baking books would come in contact with is dust.)
“But hon, we don’t have a grill,” he said delicately. “I know we don’t have a grill, but we will some day,” I said.
Proof positive that my patience (or lack of) is worsening by the year (and my memory, too): I checked our records (record-keeping nerd that I am), and, in fact, we picked the first of this years Sungolds and Early Girls EARLIER this year than last year–and the year before! (That’s tomatoes from the garden, not the hoop house. The hoop house ones came almost a full month ahead of the field tomatoes.)
So I must officially stop complaining about the tomatoes (and everything else) being late this year, especially because now they’re officially here! Time for salsa and bruschetta. Finally.
I wish there were more savory recipes that feature the cherry. It's sweetness and texture provide the perfect contrast for so many flavors. I love making a pan sauce with cherries and pouring it over pork tenderloin, it's delicious that way.
But this weekend I was inspired to use cherries in a salad. I happened to serve this Fresh Corn and Cherry Salad alongside my favorite preparation of rib eye steak. Everyone loved it.
Not to mention it was just so beautiful and colorful on the table. This recipe serves 8-10 people easily, so it is perfect for a large gathering of friends or family. You'll want to toss it right before serving as the arugula is a delicate green.
Zucchini is a favorite of gardeners because it's so impressive. It grows quickly and sometimes to staggering sizes. It's not my favorite for cooking with, because it's fairly bland and watery. I do appreciate that it adds great moisture to cakes and muffins as well as soups. I just find it doesn't add much in terms of flavor.
But I have recently discovered my new favorite way to enjoy zucchini! Yes, enjoy it! Because what's more enjoyable that potato chips? This recipe is the zucchini equivalent of potato chips. Ok they aren't as hearty as potato chips and I wouldn't use them for dipping, but they are very crisp and tasty.
Thin slices of zucchini slowly cook, dehydrate and then crisp up in the oven. The results are very crisp thin chips, that have a mild flavor, similar to toasted pumpkin seeds. That makes sense, since both are squash. You may be surprised at how much the zucchini shrinks in the oven. The slices in the photo were next to each other when I put them in.