Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

My dad came to visit this past Saturday, which I think was officially the hottest day of the summer. It was a brief visit but I was so excited to have him here, and I planned an itinerary that allowed him to take in more culture and great cuisine in 36 hours than most people do in a month. He arrived late Saturday afternoon when I was home between performances, and I made my killer Summer Bread Salad with Cherries, Arugula and Goat Cheese which we devoured with lots of bubbly. On Sunday I introduced him to A Voce Columbus, my favorite restaurant discovery this summer, and we went to Sarabeth’s on Monday morning when there were no weekend brunch crowds to battle. I decided that Sunday was “Bring Your Father To Work” Day, for I got tickets for Dad to see my matinee of “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center followed directly by my evening concert with Harry Connick Jr. at the Neil Simon Theater. Talk about a jam-packed day! But brunch reservations and theater tickets aside, the one thing I did to truly prepare for his visit was make Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee.

I’ve written in the past about my dad’s coffee devotion. From the time I was a little kid, the man sought out great coffee beans before such a thing was commonplace. While my friends’ parents all drank coffee made from pre-ground beans in a can, one of my happiest childhood memories is the sound of Dad’s Krups grinder whirring away at any time of day or night, immediately followed by the most exquisite coffee aroma wafting from the kitchen as he made his rich brew in a French press pot. My dad and great coffee are indelibly linked in my mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Quickest Zucchini Saute

How are you all holding up in the heat? I don’t know about you, but I am struggling to ward off severe heatwave-induced crankiness, and I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. However, one of the few things that this brutal summer heat has to recommend for itself is that it coincides with zucchini season. And that means that you can make yourself a Quick Zucchini Sauté over and over again, and you’ll only have to turn your stove on for three minutes to make it.

It is the ideal summer dish, one that won’t cause you to break a sweat. It’s pretty too, for the zucchini are cut into pristine little matchsticks: pale in the centers but tinged with dark green on either end. These matchsticks are practically perfect already, but once they spend less than a minute in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and garlic, they become quite special. And when these tender-crisp zucchini are crowned with a scattering of slivered almonds and chopped fresh mint, the whole dish truly sings.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grapefruit Ginger Coolers For A Heat Wave

If I may just state the obvious, it is unbearably HOT. I am subsisting on cold soups and endless glasses of iced coffee these days, and I’m sure that many of you are doing exactly the same thing. I shouldn’t bother to apply make-up anymore because it melts down my face the moment I step out the door, and I have resorted to sleeping on the couch in my living room because that’s where the air conditioner is. Since I don’t know when the heat is going to break, I must not delay a moment longer in sharing this Grapefruit-Ginger Cooler with you.

In honor of my brother's birthday today, it makes sense that I should post a cocktail recipe. As I have written in previous posts, Peter is a true artist, not only with a pen and brush but also with a cocktail shaker. I’m not just a biased big sister saying this, for my brother has had new customers come into his restaurant, order two cocktails and leave a hundred dollar bill telling him to keep the change for “this was the best martini I’ve ever had in my life”. In short, the man knows what he’s doing behind the bar.