Summer

Carrot Salad Makes a Great Sidekick

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by David Latt

carrotsalad.jpgWhat comes with an entrée may be more flavorful than the entrée itself. Grilled chicken breast is a case in point: it's ok, healthy but flavor-wise, nothing special. Put a side of homemade carrot salad on the plate and everything changes. The addition of the creamy, spicy carrot salad compliments the neutral flavor of the breast. I'm in heaven.

The key to that sentiment is "homemade". Carrot salad bought from upscale Gelson's or even Nate n'Al's just won't do. I've taken the classic deli recipe and given it a couple of flavor enhancers: a pinch of cayenne and golden raisins soaked in lemon juice. With those added flavors, the salad can hold its own with an infinite variety of dishes: grilled chicken, steak, hamburger, pork chops, lamb chops, duck, even an avocado for a vegetarian meal.

POM Pomegranate Barbecue Ribs

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by Peter Krause

bbqribs.jpgTo some, May means the Kentucky Derby. To others, the start of the summer growing season. To many backyard chefs, May is the start of barbecue.

Barbecue used to be a very regional thing. One area might mean pork while another means beef. Some barbecue chefs prefer to smoke, some to grill, and some to braise.

There are passionate arguments about dry (a spice rub) vs. wet (cooking with the sauce), and even the ingredients in a sauce, whether the meat is cooked in it or not.

I like to barbecue, and I don’t like to get drawn in to one technique over another. No matter the method, barbecue is just good food. 

I’ve made a tasty POM pomegranate juice barbecue sauce for pork baby back ribs. The sweet spice of the sauce is a nice balance to the salty, tender rib meat.

A Dilly of a Burger

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by Sue Doeden

horseradish_burgers.jpgIt is only right that during International Pickle Week we should all eat at least one pickle. You're probably thinking, "National Pickle Week?" Yep. It's true. International Pickle Week was founded more than 60 years ago by the Pickle Packers International, a trade association serving the pickling industry.

I've already started celebrating with one of my favorite pickles -- Black Pepper & Garlic Babies sold with both Del Monte and Gedney labels. I love them. But, then, I'm a pickle person. I think my dad had me eating pickles and olives as soon as I had teeth to chew them.

With Memorial Day weekend just ahead, the grills will be heating up. And many of them be cooking burgers.

Years ago, my friend, Micky, gave me a recipe for ground beef burgers that had horseradish mixed into them. I'm not sure where she got the recipe. She is a cookbook collector and I know she especially likes Junior League cookbooks. Maybe the recipe came from one of them.

Why You Should Never Eat Canned String Beans

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by Susan Russo

beans.jpgIf there were a contest for worst canned vegetable, chances are good that string beans would be the winner. Or beets, which are equally repugnant.

Canning is unkind to string beans. They become disturbingly gray and mushy. You can't even chew them; they just disintegrate in your mouth. As for the flavor, it's salty at best and metallic at worst. So do yourself a favor, and don't buy canned green beans. Ever. Frozen are much better, but fresh is superior in every regard.

Fresh string beans are appealing: slender, firm, and brightly hued. Though string beans are available year-round, they're especially abundant from late spring through late fall. If available, buy Blue Lake Beans. They've become the darling of chefs who prize them for their sweeter flavor and exceptional crispness.

There is one golden rule for cooking string beans: Do not overcook them. Follow that, and you're good to go.

 

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