Mint lends a summery flavor to savory and sweet cooking, and perks up drinks.
Mint is great in condiments, and is a classic pairing with lamb. BeckyAndTheBeanstock makes an easy mint chutney: Purée 3 cups mint leaves, 2 cups cilantro leaves, a sprinkle of sugar, a jalapeño, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a food processor, then serve as a dip for bread and veggies. Erika L makes a sauce for leg of lamb with chopped mint and basil, olive oil, and garlic; brush it on the lamb while cooking, and serve more on the side. Or try CHOW’s Braised Lamb Shanks with Mint-Parsley Pesto.
morwen buries mint leaves in sugar for easy mint flavoring, and steeps mint in vinegar, which she uses to dress fruit salads. Sooeygun says, “We grow ours pretty much exclusively for ice cream.” “The ice cream with real mint is so much better than what you buy,” agrees karykat. “No comparison.” Steep the leaves in the hot milk and cream, then strain and use to make the custard. lfirebrand makes lemon-mint granita. “Can’t get easier or more refreshing than that!” he says.
“In this story, it was the chicken that came first,” says the New York Times in its endearing profile of artist Hope Sandrow, who’s made her chickens her life’s work.
A chance encounter with a rooster in the woods led Sandrow to bring it home and start a flock. Three years later, the artist’s work centers almost entirely around said flock: Sandrow is known for her poultry portraits (Agnes Gund, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, ordered 40 rooster paintings to give away as Christmas gifts last year), and for the cartons of eggs she sends regularly to art world luminaries with a card that documents the family tree of each egg. “The challenge, Ms. Sandrow said, is for the recipient to figure out whether to eat or save the eggs.”
Returning from vacation to your real life is hard. Being greeted by a foul-smelling garbage disposal and a refrigerator drawer filled with green slime does not make it any easier. Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn has posted a handy list of “5 Things to Do in the Kitchen Before You Leave for Vacation” to avoid any nastiness when you get home. It’s a good checklist, and the comments contain more reminders, like cleaning old coffee out of the coffee maker (which I wish I had seen before my last trip, when I left the grounds in my espresso machine—oops).
What do you do in your kitchen before you go on vacation?
Like other vegetables, potatoes are delicious grilled. Most hounds prefer to parboil waxy potatoes. This gives “a nice crisp outside and smooth texture inside” when they’re grilled, says Infomaniac. Cut them into same-sized pieces so they cook evenly, recommends goodhealthgourmet. Thick slices or wedges are easiest to turn with tongs. Smaller chunks can be grilled on skewers; leave the skin on and thread the skewer through the skin on each piece to provide a sturdy anchor.
Infomaniac doesn’t parboil russet potatoes. He brushes them with oil, starts them over direct heat, and moves them to indirect heat to finish cooking. ipsedixit also prefers not to parboil. His instructions: “Slice into thick wedges. Rub with some garlic. Brush with olive oil. Place over hot coals until tender.”
Making pancakes from scratch is almost as easy as using a mix, and the flavor is much better. A few simple techniques help guarantee a light, fluffy texture.
mels finds that folding an additional egg white beaten to soft peaks into the batter creates “the lightest most tender pancake I have ever made.” Others simply separate the eggs in their recipes, beat the egg whites, and fold them into the batter (Siobhan is a fan of Hannah’s pancakes, which uses this technique). Folding in beaten egg whites “makes all the difference, especially with heavier add-ins or recipes with cottage cheese or ricotta,” says amyzan, who adds, “Egg whites also work wonders with whole grain batters, so you don’t have to sacrifice texture for nutrition.”
Letting pancake batter rest for 15 minutes before cooking makes for lighter pancakes too. This is especially true when whole-grain flour is used because it takes longer to absorb liquids, notes amyzan. And, according to greygarious, replacing half your recipe’s milk with applesauce “not only improves flavor but makes the pancakes more tender.”
You may think that the media’s the enemy, but how about this: The Telegraph reports on a UNC survey that suggests, “People who had between eight and 14 drinks a week were 37 per cent less likely to develop the devastating neurological condition [of Alzheimer’s].”
Of course, there’s a catch: “Those who drank more than that were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease.”
BiscuitJones made a delectable fresh peach syrup from “puréed fresh peaches, sugar, peach brandy, and a little vanilla.” It all simmers together for about 15 minutes until the syrup coats the back of a spoon. It’s perfect on ice cream, of course, but that’s just the beginning.
JK Grence the Cosmic Jester votes for peach margaritas: “Just replace some of the Triple Sec with the peach syrup,” he says. “I’d say a good mix would be 1 1/2 ounces tequila, and 1/2 ounce each of Triple Sec, peach syrup, and fresh-squeezed lime juice.” (Here’s a cocktail-specific recipe for puréed peaches.)
Peach syrup could also be a genius glaze for chicken or pork, brushed on toward the end of cooking so that the syrup just caramelizes. goodhealthgourmet thinks it would work well over whipped ricotta, grilled fruit, or strawberry shortcake. spellweaver16 wants to try it as Sno-Cone syrup. LeahBaila recommends making peach butter by combining a teaspoon of syrup and two tablespoons of room-temperature butter (it’s good for biscuits, she says).
And there’s always peach-stuffed French toast, says JK Grence the Cosmic Jester. “Mix the peach syrup with cream cheese to taste (and if you have any fresh peaches chop some up finely and mix it in too), slice a pocket into thick-sliced challah or brioche, smear a tablespoon or two of the cream cheese in the pocket, and make French toast with that.”
Alice Waters loves the Ha-Ra Club and SF Moo Moo Cakes. OK, she doesn’t. Or if she does, she’s not saying so publicly. Instead, she’s revealing via Google Maps that she loves Zuni, Boulette’s Larder, and, er, Chez Panisse.
The news is really hardly news and really hardly warranted the press release (about celebrities using its lists feature) that Google Maps sent out. It’s a totally reliable and unassailable list of quality, sustainability-minded restaurants, food purveyors, and cultural institutions. And it’s totally predictable and boring. Isn’t it fair to want her to go a little more far afield than her own restaurant?
The New York and Chicago styles of pizza get all the press, but Steve likes slightly lesser-known New Haven pizza and much-lesser-known Old Forge pizza (originating from Old Forge, Pennsylvania). “Almost everyone adores New Haven Pizza, and almost nobody knows anything about Old Forge pizza,” says Steve. Perhaps there’s a reason for this.
“New Haven pizza has a firm crust that is highly prized and not easy to make taste good,” he says. “It comes out of a very hot oven all bubbly. And Old Forge pizza looks like it came out of an Easy-Bake Oven. Yesterday.” Old Forge pizza has “grainy” cheese, a tomato sauce with onions, and a heavy crust. New Haven pizza uses either fresh mozzarella or a cheese blend and has a thin crust, says Steve.
Despite its appearance, Old Forge pizza is delicious. “I fell in love with it,” says Steve. “Despite the fact that the crust is thick, it is airy and light. The bottom is very crispy. And the oniony tomato sauce is extra tasty, a different ‘kick’ entirely.” Steve is happy to report there is enough deliciousness to go around for more than one style of pizza. “Vive le difference,” he says.