By Helen Rosner, Photo by André Baranowski
Forget the horses, forget the ladies in giant hats - nothing says Kentucky Derby like a mint julep. It's a perfectly balanced cocktail: Bourbon, mint, sugar, and gently melting ice, strong at first and (depending on how long it takes you to drink it) sweetly sippable by the bottom of the glass. But bourbon isn't the only one that can play this game: the julep is part of the family of cocktails known as smashes, where mint and crushed ice combine with any number of sweetening agents and spirits.
RELATED: See all our Friday Cocktails »
The classic julep will never go out of style, but this Derby Day we're planning to shake up something different. We've concocted 7 variations on the original - mint-spiked tipples that make great use of cognac, moonshine, peaches, strawberries, ginger, and even Chartreuse - plus one ultimate recipe for the original; they're all perfect whether you're spending a sunny afternoon watching the ponies, or just
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By Helen Rosner, Photo by André BaranowskiRead More »from Friday Cocktails: The Mint Julep
Read More »from A Tex-Mex Menu for Cinco De Mayo
Often mistaken for Mexico's Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the victory of a small Mexican army over a much larger French force at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, during the French occupation of that same year. This small but symbolic triumph signaled to the world Mexicans' determination to remain free of foreign interference. Today this event is remembered with fiestas, feasts, and parades, particularly in the border towns of Mexico and the United States, where entire communities come together in an enthusiastic display of appreciation for the shared history and heritage of both cultures.
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Although I can't claim any Mexican ancestry, I still find great fun in inviting a few friends over to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Since I have a long day ahead of me before I get home tonight to kick back with margaritas, I want to keep things simple when it comes to providing food for the festivities. My husband is a big fan of taquitos,
Mesclun-the name means "mixed" in French-is the traditional combination of baby lettuces available year-round in most supermarkets. But during spring, when newly sprouted baby lettuces begin to appear at local farmers' markets, it's possible to appreciate the particular characteristics of individual varieties. Bibb is a delicate, buttery leaf; arugula is a long, spiky, mildly bitter one; crisp romaine is ideal for Caesar salads; watercress has a bright, peppery flavor; and mizuna has a gentle spicy zing. And those are just a few of the more widely grown varieties. The distinctive flavor of a green early in the growing season tends to hold as the lettuce matures, but baby greens are sweeter and have a much more concentrated flavor than mature greens. In texture, baby greens are more delicate, refined, and tender than mature lettuces. Best when eaten raw, baby lettuces are ideal in salads and sandwiches, while mature lettuces can withstand the heat of cooking. Most farmers sell bothRead More »from What's in Season: Recipes for Spring Lettuces
By Jenny Lee-Adrian On a recent warm spring evening, I sipped on a lively red cocktail at Little Giant, a restaurant on the Lower East Side in New York City. More acidic than sweet, their Strawberry Rhubarb Smash has bourbon and lemon juice like a whiskey sour, but brightened with an unsweetened rhubarb simple syrup and fresh spring strawberries.Read More »from Friday Cocktails: Strawberry-Rhubarb Smash
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A few days after my dinner there, I decided to make the drink myself. I cut rhubarb stalks into small pieces and simmered them in water along with seeds of half a vanilla bean. (Tasha Garcia Gibson, who co-owns Little Giant with Julie Taras Wallach, says the pulpy rhubarb mass that's leftover after the syrup is drained is great on yogurt with granola or Grape-Nuts.) I mixed the syrup with bourbon, muddled strawberries, lemon, and mint. It was like holding spring in a glass, with the whole summer ahead of me to look forward to. See all our Friday Cocktails »
RECIPE: Strawberry Rhubarb Smash
There's nothing like a good steak, and the meals at Las Vegas steakhouses are legendary. Conjure up a leather booth, mix a martini or a Manhattan, and tuck into this classic menu: iceberg wedges with creamy blue cheese, crisp home fries, creamed spinach, and a perfectly-seared steak topped with a velvety horseradish zabaglione. And don't forget the chocolate layer cake for dessert!
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- Manhattan Cocktail
- Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese
- Creamed Spinach
- Porterhouse with Lemon Thyme Butter
- Pepper-Horseradish Sauce
- Home Fries
- Chocolate Layer Cake
RELATED: Spring Produce Guide »
RECIPE: Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese
This hearty wedge salad, which contains the classic elements of a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, is a version of one served at Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York City. SERVES 2-4
FOR THE DRESSING:
4 oz. blue cheese, such as Maytag
2 Read More »from A Classic Steakhouse Dinner at Home
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, grow in places as diverse as China and South America, but we associate them mostly with Mediterranean cuisine. These large, flat legumes, which resemble lima beans, grow in pods that are discarded unless the beans are especially young. Usually favas must be skinned as well as shelled; this is easy to do after they've been cooked briefly in boiling water and dropped into ice water. Fava beans work well in stews and thick purées, or can simply be steamed and eaten with salt and a squeeze of lemon.
- When purchasing fresh fava beans, look for bright green pods that are free of yellow patches. Large beans are starchy and firm, while smaller ones are sweeter and more tender.
- If you are buying shelled beans, make sure they are tender and have a smooth surface.
- To store shelled fava beans, spread them out in a single layer and cover them loosely with plastic wrap for up to three days.
Available from March through September, Read More »from What's in Season: Cooking with Fava Beans
Of all of the regular tasks we undertake in the SAVEUR test kitchen, reorganizing the liquor cabinet must be the most fun. Today, we spent a fascinating hour smelling, categorizing, and tasting the various liquors of the world that have accumulated in our bar over the last few months. We found everything from single malt whiskeys, to French Pernod, to Czechoslovakian Becherovka (a bitter liqueur containing 32 herbs), to a stash of four bottles of Martini Rosso (is there a secret vemouth fan in the office?).Read More »from Friday Cocktails: The Paloma
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So inspired were we by the bounty that we've decided to bring you a regular Friday cocktail recipe to ensure we're making full use of our newly tidied liquor shelf. But what to make first? Tempted as we were, we pushed the banana liqueur and Kahlua to the side and reached instead for the tequila.
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It was short work to settle on the cocktail: the Paloma, a refreshing fizz made with grapefruit, lime,
After a long winter, our taste buds crave a tropical vacation. The next best thing to a trip to Baja, Mexico is to virtually transport ourselves there with a dinner party. Start the meal with a refreshing pop with a handmade cocktail of tequila and tangerine and a tangy, crunchy ceviche. For the main course, a warming spiced pork stew served with corn tortillas and various toppings is festive and fun. And to top it all off: an addictive, gooey, peppery pound cake with caramelized pineapple. -Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill in L.A. and Las Vegas
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- Tangerine Mint Sparkling Margarita
- Baja Ceviche Tostadas
- Carne Adobada (Red Chile and Pork Stew)
- Fried Plantains
- Refried Black Beans
- Mexican Rice
- Corn Tortillas
- Pickled Red Onions
- Peppered Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
- Ice Cream or Sorbet
RELATED: What's in Season: SpringRead More »from Dinner Party Idea: An Escape to the Tropics
What we call ramps are actually wild leeks that are native to the forests of eastern North America and grow as far west as Minnesota. In many places, they are one of the first edible plants to break through the soil in the early spring; foragers know them by their narrow green leaves and red-purple stems.Read More »from What's in Season: Cooking with Ramps
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For centuries, Native Americans valued vitamin C-rich ramps for their capacity to cleanse blood and fight scurvy. Throughout southern Appalachia, the appearance of ramps each year remains an occasion for festivals and celebratory meals.
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A member of the lily family, ramps can be substituted for leeks, scallions, garlic, or onions in all kinds of dishes. Strong and garlicky in flavor, with a pungent aroma, whole with leaves intact, they are delicious grilled and served over creamy grits, or baked into an elegant savory tart while the white stems alone make an addictive pickle, or an unexpected aioli
One of spring's most vibrant vegetables, slim asparagus spears can be enjoyed in many ways. We think they're equally beautiful when seared and wrapped in prosciutto, puréed into a creamy soup, dressed with a citrusy salad, baked into a casserole, or in a simple sandwich. For even more ideas, check out our collection of A Dozen Asparagus Recipes.Read More »from 5 Great Ways to Use Asparagus
Seared Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus
This recipe comes from Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville, Oregon. According to chef/owner Nick Peirano, you may also charcoal-grill these bundles. For the syrup, he uses ordinary balsamic vinegar-nothing expensive-and sometimes adds a pinch of sugar at the end to sweeten it. SERVES 6
½ cup balsamic vinegar
36 thick spears asparagus, trimmed
18 slices prosciutto
3 tbsp. butter
1. Put vinegar into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by about two-thirds and slightly syrupy, 8-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside to let syrup