Thursday, July 30, 2015
     

Food

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
This July 13, 2015 photo shows grilled gochujang chicken thighs with feta and fresh mint in Concord, N.H. The gochujang has kick, but doesn't overwhelm, being both salty and savory with a touch of sweetness. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

For many years, I was hooked on Thai red curry paste, a thick, unctuous seasoning that packs a little heat and a lot of savory deliciousness. It's great whisked into vinaigrettes and marinades, smeared straight up onto steaks and chicken, blended into meatloaf and burgers, even pureed into hummus.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
This June 22, 2015 photo shows weekend lemon chicken diner in a bag in Concord, N.H. Chicken legs and thighs are luscious in texture and full of flavor and protein. They also are much lower in saturated fat than most cuts of red meat, and they offer more iron per serving than chicken breasts. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d‡-Arabian. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Life is busy. We don't always have the luxury of thumbing through our favorite cookbooks, marking appealing recipes with sticky notes for dinners sometime off in the future when we will somehow have time to salt-cure a cod or dry-age a side of beef in our garage fridge.

Sometimes, we just need to get dinner on the table. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should still be tasty and nutritious.

Enter the chicken leg and thigh!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Fresh  blueberries

July marks National Blueberry Month and this year marks 100 years since the first blueberries were commercially sold out of Whitesbog, New Jersey.

Today, blueberries offer a wide variety of beneficial properties, in addition to being sweet treats for warm summer days.

They are not only a staple in the White House kitchen garden, but on chefs' and celebrities' plates around the country.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Chickpea Crust Pizza Margherita is ready for the oven.

If there's a more basic and universally loved dish than pizza, I can't name it. Bread, cheese and tomatoes ... Perfect!

Unless, that is, you're one of those poor souls who is sensitive to gluten.

Happily, here's a pizza that swaps out the traditional Italian wheat-based crust for a chickpea "flour" crust that's popular in many parts of the world. And it's just in time for the start of tomato season.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Chocolatly Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

If you love ice cream, it doesn't matter what time of year it is, you'll eat it.

But when it's hot and humid, and you want something to cool off your inside, if not your outside, then it's got to be ice cream.

And homemade ice cream treats? Even better.

These recipes from QVC's David Venable are just too tempting.

Peaches and cream

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
This June 8, 2015 photo shows grilled pineapple fruit salad in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Want an easy way to add a little punch to your otherwise humdrum fruit salad? Just add some heat.

In this case, we tossed pineapple rings on the grill for just 4 to 5 minutes per side. The intense heat of the flames caramelizes the natural sugars of the pineapple and adds a smoky char. Once the pineapple rings come off the grill and cool a bit, they can be chopped and tossed with all the usual fruit salad suspects.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
This June 8, 2015 photo shows bratwurst grinders with apple, cheddar and sauerkraut in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Anybody can grill a hot dog, slap it on a bun and dump on the usual ketchup and mustard.

So how about going a bit beyond the ordinary this July Fourth?

Rather than your basic dog, up the ante by grilling up bratwurst sausages or peppery kielbasas. They are bigger, meatier and way more flavorful.

For toppings, we went decidely German, filling our buns with sauerkraut, cheese and sautéed apple.

Bratwurst grinders with apple, cheddar and sauerkraut

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 teaspoon sugar

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
This June 8, 2015 photo shows raspberry rhubarb cream pie with oatmeal crust in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

A basic strawberry rhubarb pie is a delightful and iconic part of summer, but why let it rest at that?

This summer we decided to crank it up and take this pie to a whole new level. We started by ditching the usual cooked strawberries in favor of fresh raspberries. The raspberries get arranged over a simple but deliciously tart-sweet rhubarb compote.

And we didn't stop there. We layered all of that over a vanilla pudding, giving us the best of two worlds fruit pie and cream pie.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm not a fan of potato salad that tastes like a bunch of spuds smothered in mayo. I want more. At the very least, I want to taste the potatoes. Trouble is, potatoes are pretty bland if not properly seasoned. They also need to be seasoned at the right moment during the cooking process. Here's how to make that happen.

To start, be sure that the water in which you boil the potatoes is well salted. The potatoes will absorb the salt as they cook. When they're done, you won't taste the salt, but the potatoes will start to come alive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Mid-Century Macaroni Salad

We reached all the way back to the "Mad Men" era for inspiration as we crafted this classic July Fourth side dish.

It's macaroni salad in all its tangy, comfortingly mayonnaise-rich, decades-ago glory.

This is pasta salad as your parents or more likely your grandparents remember it. You won't be able to stop shoveling it onto your plate.

Want to make it more substantial? Shredded cooked chicken would be a fine addition, as would cooked and crumbled bacon.