Blog Posts by Zester Daily

  • No-Stir Risotto for a Kid-Friendly Dinner

    Make an easy variation on risotto for a great weeknight family dinner.By Laura Holmes Haddad

    As a mom of two, there are a few dishes I hardly make anymore. I used to be that girl standing at the stove, leisurely (even lovingly) stirring risotto in my copper risotto pot while sipping a glass of wine. But those days are gone, at least until my now-crawling infant son stops climbing up my legs and my daughter is in grade school (she's 4½).

    Related: Why does a family dinner make a difference?

    But the risotto girl inside me was revived when I stumbled upon Ina Garten's recipe for "risotto." The quote marks are in there because this is not the classic risotto; this is a brilliant, mom-friendly "risotto" that takes away the spoon and uses the oven instead.

    Related: Real family dinners from a professional.

    And not only is the process a salvation for moms, the flavors are perfect for kids. (Skip the peas if your kids are the white-foods-only sort; or mix in pureed butternut squash for a little color and a serving of vegetable.)


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  • 3 Recipes for Summer's First Stone Fruit: Cherries

    Sour cherries are coming in to season.By Martha Rose Shulman

    If you were a bird that followed cherries from state to state you could spend May and early June in California, June into July in the Pacific Northwest and July into August in the Midwest. You'd never be hungry.

    The best cherries for baking into pies and strudels are sour cherries, also known as pie cherries. Most of the commercial production in the United States is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. When I was 19, I worked for a summer with migrant farm workers in Central Michigan. One day toward the middle of August, many of the people I'd gotten to know disappeared for a week "to go work in the cherries."

    Related: Make brandied cherries like Chez Panisse.

    One family, with whom I'd been learning to cook Mexican food, brought me a few heavy bags full of small bright red Montmorency cherries when they came back. I can't remember what I did with them then, but if they'd brought me those cherries today I'd have made this cherry strudel.

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  • Celebrate Juneteenth with Classic Black-Eyed Peas

    Black-eyed peas: Perfect for a 'Texas Caviar' recipe.By Jessica B. Harris

    African-American calendars are slightly different. Along with Christmas and Memorial Day, Easter and the Fourth of July, they include such specifically African-American Holidays as Kwanzaa in December; Pinkster Day, a holdover from Dutch Pentecost celebrations; and Juneteenth (June 19), the Emancipation celebration that ushers in the summer season. Juneteenth's genesis goes back to the days of enslavement, and thoughts of the day the enslaved referred to as the day of Jubilee.

    Related: When did soul food get too hot to handle?

    It began in whispers on Sept. 22, 1862, as a trickle, titillation, a corner of hope. Word slowly spread. Overheard by house servants plying heavy silver ladles and proffering bone china platters, it was passed along in unheated cabins where moss and rags plugged up the holes to keep out the winds of the upcoming winter. It was whispered over bowed backs in cotton fields, murmured in tobacco barns among the leathery leaves. It

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  • Cool Off and Stay Healthy with a Refreshing Mango Lassi

    Mango lassi brings all the refreshing coolness of a summer treat, with none of the guilt.By Ammini Ramachandran

    Sweet to spicy, there is a mango recipe to please every palate.

    Today, mango is popular around the world and featured in the cuisines of many countries. While mangoes are most often consumed ripe in the United States, many Asian countries have appetizers, salads, pickles and main courses that call for ripe or unripe mangoes. Green mango lends that perfect astringent note to mutton, fish and chicken recipes.

    Related: How about a treasured family mango recipe?

    Mangoes are native to India, Burma and the Andaman Islands. During the fourth and fifth centuries B.C., Buddhist monks took mango on their voyages to East Asia. The Persians took mango to East Africa about the 10th century. The Portuguese, who arrived in India in the 15th century, took it to South America, the Philippines and West Africa. The Mughals, and later the Portuguese, selected, grafted and cultivated generations of mango plants.

    Related: Recipes to survive monsoon season in

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  • Discover Dragon Fruit Recipes This Summer

    Exotic dragon fruit makes for easy, cool dishes.By Kathy Hunt

    Whenever I travel, I try to live by the adage, "When in Rome ... " In Iceland I sampled pungent hakarl, or putrid shark, while in Cambodia I ate slithery snakehead fish. What lingers in my mind most is dragon fruit plucked fresh from the vine in Vietnam. Possessing hot pink skin; thick, green spines; black-specked white or rosy flesh; and a grenade-shaped body, the juicy dragon fruit remains one of the flashiest and most memorable foods around.

    Thanks to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture ruling, this flamboyant fruit no longer needs to be a mere memory for me. This spring, the U.S. began importing dragon fruit, or pitaya, from its native soil of Central America. Countries such as Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama can now stock American markets with this exotic produce.

    Related: Four noodle dishes from Vietnam that you have to try.

    A member of the cactus family, dragon fruit thrives in tropical climates. Hence I could consume it in Vietnam

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  • The Classic Vietnamese Sandwich You'll Love: Banh Mi

    Classic Vietnamese banh mi.By Kathy Hunt

    If you live in or near a major city or a Vietnamese community, you've no doubt witnessed the bánh mì craze. Known as the Saigon, Mekong or Vietnamese sub, as well as a Vietnamese po' boy, hoagie or pork roll, this hearty sandwich has captured the hearts -- and stomachs -- of chefs and diners around the country.

    Related: Check how a Po'boy gets a Vietnamese lift in New Orleans.

    Bite into a crispy bánh mì and you'll soon see why people have fallen in love with this traditional Southeast Asian street fare. Made from a long, sliced roll resembling a miniature baguette, the sandwich possesses a light, crunchy exterior that complements its zesty, moist interior.

    Inside the bun everything from pâté to sliced ham to grilled pork loin to grilled lemongrass chicken to fried tofu can appear. Dressed with pickled daikon radish and carrots, fresh cilantro, chilies and mayonnaise, this versatile sandwich provides bursts of contrasting flavors and textures with every

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  • Beyond Pie: 3 Recipes for Rhubarb

    Rhubarb is in season now.By Zester Daily staff

    Early summer means the arrival of fresh rhubarb, but we bet you can't think of a thing to do with it other than make a rhubarb pie, right?

    This year get adventurous with a trio of recipes that will use up a nice big bunch of farmers market rhubarb and make your family beg for second helpings.

    Related: Rhubarb's favorite partner in most recipes -- strawberries.

    From Denmark, this rhubarb trifle with rye bread recipe from Trine Hahnemann makes a beautiful and sophisticated dessert, perfect for an outdoor potluck meal.

    Rhubarb Trifle with Rye Bread

    Serves 4


    For the rhubarb:

    1 pound rhubarb

    2 cups sugar

    For the cream:

    1 cup goat or plain yogurt, or crème fraiche

    2 tablespoons sugar

    1 vanilla pod

    For rye bread crumbs:

    4 slices rye bread

    2 tablespoons coarse sugar


    1. Heat oven to 375 F.

    2. Rinse rhubarb and cut into slices. Place on a baking stray and sprinkle with

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  • Sip on 3 Super Summer Cocktails

    Explore cool, refreshing cocktail recipes from around the globe.By Zester Daily staff

    Bored with the same old mixed drinks? Summer is the perfect time to discover a new favorite cocktail, so we have a trio of fresh, cool drinks that are great for a warm evening on the patio or a sophisticated get-together with friends.

    Related: Are elitist cocktails wrecking our bars?

    Ricardo Zarate, of the Los Angeles restaurant Picca, says this Peruvian cocktail is his favorite way to feature that country's signature liquor pisco.

    Contributing: Corie Brown

    Chilcano de Anis


    Squeeze of lime juice

    ½ ounce ginger syrup

    ½ ounce anise syrup

    Shot of pisco

    Soda water



    1. Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.

    2. Top with soda and pour over crushed ice.

    3. Garnish with mint sprig and a spritz of Pernod.

    Related: The Internet puts great cocktail recipes just a click away.

    Short for a petit punch, 'ti punch, is a classic mix of lime,

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  • 5 Ways to Liven Up Asparagus

    Caramelize asparagus for a flavorful punch.By David Latt

    The arrival of asparagus signals that summer's bounty is close at hand. But asparagus can seem like an old partner, familiar and not very exciting. Pushing the boundaries with the addition of caramelized garlic, onions and almonds transforms an old friend into an exciting, new companion.

    Growing up, my mother served only canned asparagus so my earliest association of the plant was with the words "soggy" and "tasteless." After a visit to Paris during college, I discovered the deliciousness my mother missed.

    Related: Ready to fire up the grill? How about grilled asparagus salad with tomatoes and feta?

    In those days, my preferred preparation of asparagus was decidedly old school: cooked in boiled water with salt in an asparagus steamer I had purchased from a kitchen supply store during a time I bought all manner of infrequently used specialty items, such as a truffle shaver and corn on the cob holders.

    Steamed for 10 minutes and plated, the asparagus

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  • Cool off with a fresh, homemade version of the Arnold Palmer -- half iced tea, half lemonadeBy Sandra Wu

    During the hot summer months, my go-to drink is an Arnold Palmer (otherwise known as a half-and-half). This half iced tea, half lemonade hybrid combines the best features of each original beverage in a lighter, more refreshing form. Not sickeningly sweet or mouth-puckeringly sour, not too tannic.

    While decent store-bought versions of the two basic components are certainly available, I'd rather make each of them myself.

    Related: Want to quench your thirst with an organic bottled tea? Check out Honest Tea.

    It doesn't hurt that I have access to the (free) delicious lemons that hang temptingly over from my neighbor's side of the fence to mine. And with a cabinet full of assorted loose-leaf and bagged teas, I just can't bring myself to pay for the bottled stuff.

    Related: Preserve lemons at the peak of season to savor later in the year.

    Making the concentrate takes some time but isn't difficult. The first step is to steep quite a few tea bags in a

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