The Relish Tray Spreads Out

Text and Photo by Kerri Conan

My youth was dotted with pecan-crusted cheese balls, the hub of every respectable 1960’s aluminum party platter. The display varied from hostess to hostess—and competed for coffee-table real estate with full ashtrays and empty highball glasses—but relish trays were an obligation taken seriously. There might be devilled eggs and vegetables marinated in red wine vinegar and dried oregano. Cubes of salami and bacon-wrapped cocktail onions. We kids ate canned black olives we had stuck on our fingertips as we ran outside to play; the adults dragged a Ritz through the artichoke dip on their way to the bar.

Now, as an adult, I can hardly go a day without an assortment of piquant snacks, especially during the holidays. And my guests are frequently subjected to the same fate. But instead of confining the selection to a tray, I scatter little bowls and plates across the whole dining room table and call it “The Relish Spread.” Continue reading

Posted in American, Cocktails

Watermelon All Day Long

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You don’t need an expert to tell you that watermelon is just about the most refreshing thing you could possibly eat in the middle of summer, and that the first and best way to “prepare” it is to just cut it up and devour it, letting the juice drip down your face and spitting the seeds (more on these in a minute) as far as you can.

When the weather is clammy and the watermelons are juicy and sweet (and cheap), it makes sense to have them on hand pretty much all the time. And that means there may be instances when your innate creativity (or boredom) might drive you a little further. Luckily, there are many worthy and refreshing things to do with watermelon that are somewhere between simple slicing and full-blown cooking.

Read the rest of this article, here.

Posted in Cocktails, Produce

Minty Green Tea Granita

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By Freya Bellin

If you’re looking for a way to break the heat this summer, a granita just may be the answer. The beauty of a granita is that it’s sort of a shaved ice/slushie hybrid. It crackles into crunchy, icy layers that can be eaten with a spoon, or melted a little and slurped through a straw. It’s incredibly refreshing, easy to make, and will definitely cool you down. The granita melts quickly, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you’ll just end up with some sweet iced tea at the bottom. There are endless combinations of ingredients for flavorings – you could skip the tea and just use lemon and mint, or you could add some berries to the steeping step, or serve it with fresh berries. Regardless, this is sure to be a new summer favorite. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Cocktails

When Life Gives You Limes: The Limeade Primer

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By Mike Hawley 

[Mike is one of these guys who does most everything right. Limeade, too. – mb]  

When I’m sweating my way through the tropics (my haunts are Cambodia and all over south and central Asia), my drink of choice is lime soda, with lots of fresh squeezed lime juice. I usually don’t take sugar or syrup with it because limes are sweet enough over there, though they’re still tart. Interestingly, a pinch of salt when it’s stinking hot, or when the limes are really acidic, can help.  

Back home, up here in the frigid North (i.e., Boston, where it was simmering near 100F last week) I love limeade. Or Margeritas. Or gin and tonic with a huge amount of lime juice. But most especially, I love limeade. I like lemons, too, and what follows also applies when life gives you lemons.   Continue reading

Posted in Cocktails, Travel, Uncategorized

Mint Juleps, the Wrong Way

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By Kerri Conan

I spent most of Derby Day in the herb garden under the wide brim of my manky sun-block hat, transplanting seedlings into containers. Our first year in the house, we made the mistake of putting peppermint in a worn out wooden barrel. By the end of the season sprigs and roots had bust out the seams and now, more than a decade later, we have a nice little mint patch alongside the deck.

As I wrapped up the day’s work my husband Sean mixed up the first mint juleps of the season—in honor of the race of course, and to celebrate that the herb has somehow managed to be pleasantly prolific without taking over the whole property. There’s a lot to be said for wrong turns. Continue reading

Posted in Cocktails