While I love an overstuffed sub, some occasions call for a daintier sandwich. One of my favorites is the traditional cucumber and cream cheese sandwich served at high tea. On this week's episode of Between the Bread, I show you how to make the American version with this recipe for a Benedictine cheese sandwich. Created in Louisville, KY, at the turn of the century, this crustless sandwich combines cucumber, cream cheese, and scallions and is perfect for serving at a bridal shower, a luncheon, or a sophisticated picnic. Watch the video to learn how to make this easy, chic sandwich this Summer.
"Pimm's Cup" is fun to say and even more fun to drink. But what exactly is Pimm's No. 1? Like Southern Comfort or Fernet-Branca, this type of liquor is synonymous with its brand; Pimm's No. 1 is just that, and nothing else.
This gin-based booze hails from England and carries a lower alcohol content (25 percent) than most hard liquor. For that reason, it's one of my absolute favorite ingredients for daytime drinking, and the Pimm's Cup — featuring ginger ale, cucumber, lemon, and mint — is the ultimate delivery vehicle. You can throw back two or three yet not be knocked down like you might be by a bloody Mary. Get the Pimm's Cup recipe now.
The grilled cheese is one of America's great comfort foods, but rather than debate how to make the perfect classic version, we're mixing it up in honor of Grilled Cheese Month. This sweet, savory, and unexpected honey-basil grilled cheese combines slightly sweet wheat bread, a drizzle of honey, fresh herbs, and sliced tomato with a one-two cheese punch of fontina and mozzarella. Watch and learn how to make this serious contender for your new favorite cheesy sandwich.
Thank goodness Mad Men returns for its sixth season this Sunday; any longer, and I might have taken up a three-martini lunch habit. I am giddy at the return of retro style and classic cocktails. Even as it evolves, the 1960s-set show always shines a compelling lens on American cocktail culture. Celebrate the return of this tribute to classic libations by mixing up a drink (or three) featured on the show.
Until I read Imbibe by David Wondrich, a wonderfully nerdy book about the history of boozin', I thought an old fashioned was bourbon served over ice, sugar, bitters, and a muddle of oranges and maraschino cherries. But turns out, that fruit-laden recipe is pretty much the antithesis of what an old fashioned cocktail was intended to be.
When bartenders first started serving cocktails, they were ridiculously simple: some type of spirit (usually bourbon or gin), gum syrup, bitters, and a shaving of nutmeg. But by the 1870s, so many variations had been introduced — the "fancy cocktail" with curaçao, the absinthe "improved" version — that purists wanted a return to the original formula. Hence, the old fashioned cocktail, with the slightly fancier lemon peel taking the place of nutmeg. To get the recipe, read more
Maybe it's just one long sugar rush, but getting creative with Peeps candy is becoming a national pastime. We've seen Peeps dioramas, re-creations of TV shows, and this delicious idea: a Peeps fluffernutter sandwich. Just like the childhood favorite sammie of marshmallow fluff and peanut butter but made with Peeps, this flavor combination helps cut down on the sweetness of the confections for a gooey good time. Here's how to make it.
In California, we've been getting some awesomely delicious avocados lately. Chalk it up to avocado season, which runs from Spring to Fall. Even if you don't live in the Golden State, chances are, that green fruit you're savoring is from here anyway. 90 percent of the nation's crop comes out of California. From sandwiches and salads to salsas and other tropical-tinged flavor combinations, avocado is surprisingly versatile. Here are 10 of our favorite ways to enjoy it.
Cooking with cast iron can be intimidating — not to mention heavy — but once you try it, it's easy to become a convert. I love my pan for indoor grilling and making skillet breads; it distributes heat incredibly evenly. Cast-iron pans can even help boost your iron intake.
But be warned: you can't treat cast iron like any old pot. To make sure it lasts as long as possible — basically, forever — you have to do some things differently. Before using your cast iron for the first time, you need to "season" it. This process will protect your pan's surface from moisture and rust. Find out how to care for cast iron.
Happy almost Mardi Gras! Feast on New Orleans favorites far beyond Fat Tuesday by stocking your kitchen with these local food favorites. Online you can find a surprising number of New Orleans delicacies — from hot sauce and seasoning blends to beignets and café au laits — and they're ready to be shipped straight to your belly. Check out my 10 favorite New Orleans food essentials to fill the pantry.
As we head into the weekend, it's time to turn our attention to the very important topic of brunch cocktails. Though a bloody mary or mimosa is the obvious choice, I find that a Ramos gin fizz functions as an excellent morning drink.
If you're a fan of fizzes, you'll find plenty of the gin-infused variety. This classic version, invented by New Orleans barkeep Harry Ramos in the late 1800s, uses orange flower water as a French twist. Though it sounds heavy, it's surprisingly refreshing and frothy. To get the recipe, read more
Could a chicken take your relationship to the next level? This legendary recipe for "engagement chicken" has led to hundreds of marriage proposals. Even if you're not looking to get hitched, it makes a perfectly easy and comforting meal. Watch our video to learn about this chicken's storied history — and, of course, to learn how to make it.
Some after-dinner drinks double as desserts. Others, like Italy's amaros and other digestivos, help settle your stomach. The classic Stinger cocktail offers a little of both.
A simple, elegant marriage of white crème de menthe and brandy, the Stinger delivers an invigorating one-two hit of digestion-aiding mint and a sweet finish. This cocktail isn't for everyone; if the mint sounds off-putting to you, it might taste that way, too.
But to many of us, the first sip of a Stinger tastes surprisingly oh-so-right, a strange yet captivating combo that gracefully concludes a heavy meal. Get the classic cocktail recipe.
I first encountered Britain's famed cheese and pickle sandwich at a pub in London, and despite its simplicity, I've never been able to re-create one as delicious as my first. But I've come close with the help of Branston Pickle, the sweet, salty, and tangy British condiment that tastes like chutney made with diced veggies and spices.
I like Branston, but its potent taste can be polarizing, which is why pairing it with a sharp cheddar makes a classic combination. Sometimes shredded, sometimes cut into thick slices, the cheddar should be bold; I used Collier's Powerful Welsh Cheddar, which lived up to its promising name.
This probably goes without saying, but this salty sammie is best washed down with a pint of beer. For the recipe, keep reading.
Get in on this gimlet action. Today's Summer jam is smooth and mellow, with just a bit of zing. Normally, I find gimlets too tart, but shaken with a scoop of blueberry preserves, this version of the classic gin and lime cocktail offers a deep sweetness to cut the acidity.
Since it's sweetened with fruit preserves instead of sugar, this cocktail still has a kick, and straining the ingredients keeps it light on the tongue, even with its dark color.
I'm a bourbon drinker, but manhattans and old-fashioneds just aren't as satisfying in the Summer. If you're looking to switch brown liquor for a clear spirit in the warmer months, the gin new fashioned is a good way to dabble.
I got this recipe from Nolet's Silver Gin, which sent along a bottle of booze and some sour cherry marmalade as part of its Cupboard to Cocktail program. Of course, you could make the drink with any gin, but this silver version (from the makers of Ketel One) is exceptionally verdant, smooth, and just slightly fruity.
I like the idea of using marmalades and jams in cocktails, because you can buy the ingredient and use it for many things. Plus the cherry and citrus combination has a nice Summer vibe.
Get your Summer jams on and make a gin new-fashioned.
If your dad tends to his home bar as if it were his livelihood, then it's hard to go wrong gifting a nice bottle of booze. It's thoughtful, not too expensive or too cheap, and — unlike a new gadget or a DVD — it's not a problem if he already has one.
Maybe I'm biased: since my dad and I share a love for cocktails, I find myself often shopping for top-shelf spirits that aren't superpricey but also aren't run of the mill. Based on years of research, here are my recommendations for all types of drinking dads. Of course, I'm always looking for new booze to try, so add your own gift ideas in the comments.
Happy National Cognac Day! Ever since "Hennessey" was first name-dropped in hip-hop lyrics and Tim Meadows's Ladies Man started sipping Courvosier, I've been curious about cognac. With all the VSOPs and XOs, cognac can be intimidating. So if you're also wondering what all those letters on the labels mean, I've put together a little primer.
- Cognac is a brandy, but not all brandies are cognacs. The name refers to brandies produced in the Cognac region of France, made from white wine grapes that are first fermented, and then double distilled.
- From this distillation, you get a liquid called eau de vie, which is aged in oak barrels to become cognac.
All those different letters refer to how long a cognac is aged. Find out what they mean.
Michelle Obama exudes elegance, so it's no surprise that her recipe for chicken salad with herb vinaigrette is simple and sophisticated too. In honor of the First Lady's first cookbook, American Grown, coming out on May 29, I whipped up this easy and healthy dinner salad.
This salad celebrates Summer greens, herbs, and grilling season, though if you don't have a grill, the chicken is just as delicious if you cook it in a broiler, like I did. The grill-laden marinade and sherry vinaigrette complement each other for a fresh flavor that requires little adornments. To marinate the chicken, just mix up the lemon zest, herbs, and enough olive oil to coat. I only marinated mine for about 20 minutes and that was plenty to create a flavorful, golden browned breast.
I also served the chicken a second night atop a salad with fresh corn and avocado, and it was still a standout. Considering how extraordinary fast and easy this recipe was, I'll definitely be making it again. Get the recipe now.
It's National Burger Month, and we find ourselves asking: what makes a burger a burger? Is it the bun? Or the patty? Must it be made with ground beef, or can it be any kind of ground meat or protein? It all depends on how you define "burger," which is truly an existential question for our modern foodie times. Before we get bogged down in a highbrow burger debate, let's do this the easy way: click through the gallery of burgers and cast your vote on which should be considered a true burger and which ones are undeserving of the title.
Happy National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! In honor of the holiday, I'm sharing a contemporary update on what happens to be one of my favorite nostalgic foods.
I've said before that some of the best sandwiches evoke memories, and this recipe goes back when I was maybe 7 or 8, and my mom fixed me some waffles before realizing we were out of syrup. She improvised to make this sandwich, and "peanut butter and jelly waffles" soon became one of my favorite meals. Like the nonwaffly version, this PB&J is very easy to make and can inspire countless variations: almond instead of peanut butter, different flavors of waffles or even waffles from scratch, honey in place of jelly, Elvis-style with bananas, and on and on.
This time I used Eggo cinnamon waffles, which I highly recommend. The only requirement for this breakfast or lunch sandwich — and what sets it apart from a traditional PB&J — is using hot, toasted waffles, which melt the peanut butter in just the right warm and comfy way. To see my recipe, keep reading.