Dinner Parties and More

The British Serve Cucumber Sandwiches To Avoid A Sticky Wicket

In the film Moonraker, Hugo Drax asks James Bond, “may I press you to a cucumber sandwich?”      Are you looking for something to serve in the tea breaks at your club’s cricket matches? Or perhaps you would like to offer your guests a light mid-afternoon snack? You might also be looking for a nice addition to a picnic and a luncheon.      The answer: serve cucumber sandwiches. They are, of course, very British, and modern variants (largely of American origin) exist. They can include cream cheese, chopped dill or spices,…

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late corn grits

Corn Grits From Late Season Corn

Simply Perfect      The chef, Jacques Pepin, was asked what dishes he would request for his last meal. He said one of his choices would be hand-picked freshly-shelled peas straight from the garden with butter and sea salt. This shows a great culinary experience doesn’t have to involve exotic ingredients, dozens of spices, and complicated techniques. It can be a simple dish. As a matter of fact, in the case of Pepin’s peas, any further additions would detract from this basic but perfect concoction. Another Great but Simple Dish      I recently…

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Rustic sauteed mushrooms

Julia’s Mushrooms.

How Would Julia Do Mushrooms?      While searching for a side dish that contains sautéed mushrooms, I decided the place to start was  to see what Julia had to offer. Known and recognized everywhere, Julia Child was a culinary legend and a household name. Her persona was larger than life, and she had an infectious enthusiasm for both cooking and for having a good time. Few people have had as much influence in elevating fine dining in this country as she, and cooks worldwide owe Julia a large debt of gratitude…

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Colatura di Alici

Spaghetti alla Colatura di Alici – Revealing Another Secret Ingredient

  I’ve never particularly liked anchovies. To me they are great in small amounts, such as when I make a Caesar salad. But if I am faced with a pizza with those furry strips decorating the top, I will select the piece with the fewest anchovies. Liquid Gold    In several of my recent readings, they made references to colatura di alici (a fish sauce made from anchovies). One article in Slate actually had the heading “The Italian Anchovy Juice That Might Change Your Life.” Well, that sounded intriguing, so I decided…

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Shrimp Caramelized With Chardonnay Sauce

    First of all, are prawns and shrimp one and the same? Although they have a similar appearance, they are not. We can talk about membership in different crustacean families, but the main difference is their habitat: “Shrimp come from both fresh and salt water and can live in both cold and warm waters; if they come from cold waters, then they will be smaller in size. There are more saltwater than freshwater species. Prawns come from fresh water, and are much larger and meatier, like a langoustine. Their meat…

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BLT

This IS The BLT To Die For

     I love a BLT, and I’m not alone. In polls where people were asked about their favorite sandwich, the BLT was either at the top or close to the top of every list. And it’s so simple: two slices of bread, mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. That’s it.      Not all BLTs are great. I’ve been served many that I didn’t think were very good at all. What I think sets a great one apart from the others are (1) the quality of its contents and (2) the way it’s prepared….

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Patio Toad

The Margarita Lifestyle – Chippin’ Dippin’ and Sippin’

     There’s nothing like a cool and tasty margarita on a hot summer’s day! It’s a grand accompaniment to go along with the guacamole and homemade chips I posted last week (click on Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors). All are made with fresh ingredients, and everyone knows chippin’, dippin’, and sippin’ is the perfect Rx for summer. So here it is – the best recipe ever for The Perfect Margarita!  Pitcher     Two Servings      6 oz.              3 oz.             Lime juice (two limes = about 3 oz.)      ½ cup           ¼ cup        …

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Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors

     If you live in a four-season climate, you know the first part of June is  the best time for entertaining outdoors. Lawns and foliage are fresh and green; the flies and mosquitoes aren’t yet in peak form, and it isn’t so ungodly hot.  After waiting all winter, margarita season has finally arrived.      Are you looking for something besides salsa to serve with a pitcher of margaritas? Prepare a delicious guacamole dip made with fresh ingredients and serve it in a molcajete (a traditional Mexican version of a mortar…

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Tomato salsa

Summer Is Tomato Salsa Season

There’s Nothing Like Fresh Salsa     Fresh salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when that first July tomato ripens on the vine. In a good year, it might last into the middle of September. In Defense Of Grocery Store Providers     It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types,…

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Pimiento Cheese Spread

WANT TO ENJOY A CHEAP LUNCH? EAT AT THE MASTERS AND ORDER A PIMIENTO CHEESE SANDWICH      Scheduled for the first full week of April, the Masters is the first major of the year, and unlike the others, it is always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club. It’s a private course in the southeastern United States, in the city of Augusta, Georgia. The setting is beautiful. It is run with clockwork precision. It showcases the best golfers in the world. But you know all of this.     …

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