I wish I could say that I picked Hitachino Nest Beer out of a blind tasting lineup. Truthfully, however, it was the little red nest owl staring me down from across the beer aisle. I took a closer look and I was further intrigued after seeing the words, Red Rice Ale. I picked up a few bottles to take with me to our picnic, and it sure did hit the spot. Trust me, the Red Rice Ale from Hitachino Nest Beer is expressive in every way. I’m usually not a fan of malty beers, which it is, but this is different. This is complex, like no beer I’ve ever tasted. Bursts of bold ripe fruit combine with earthy, roasted, rice flavors, and very reminiscent of sake.
The thing that gets me most excited about summer is all the wonderful sweet fruit available, especially strawberries. I also love the idea of packing desserts in jars for picnics. So, when I thought about the perfect picnic dessert, strawberry shortcake in a jar instantly came to mind. I changed up the traditional shortcake by adding sweet basil, which gives the dessert a subtle light herby dimension – perfect for a warm summer day.
- 1 3/4 pounds of strawberries, rinsed and quartered
- 1/2 cup of sugar plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced sweet basil
- 1 1/2 cup of cold heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup of sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
The recent wave of glorious weather can only mean one thing. It’s picnic season! Whether it’s spending an afternoon in a park, enjoying an outdoor concert, playing at the beach, or relaxing after a daylong excursion, a casual, yet well prepared meal is the highlight of any picnic. For the next couple of weeks we’re sharing a slew of picnic-friendly recipes and tips for putting together that perfect outdoor meal . . . just in time for summer!
We’re so excited to be starting a new weekly series “Yum, We Love . . .” featuring a selection of our favorite links around the web!
- Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck, the proprietor of Charles Chocolates, who gave me a tour of their new store and kitchen in San Francisco. His passion for chocolate clearly comes through in all the incredible handcrafted chocolate confections. My favorite? This Salty-Sweet Cashew Bar with whole roasted cashews. TO. DIE. FOR.
My first bartending job was at a popular Spanish tapas restaurant in Berkeley, CA. We took pride in our cocktails. Our bar manager put together a great list, always going above and beyond to assure we had the freshest ingredients on hand. I can confidently say that we had, at the time, some of the best margaritas, mojitos, and caipirinhas in town. We did not, however, make very many mai tais. In fact, the first time a ticket came through for this classic rum-based cocktail, I frantically searched through the several recipe books we kept behind the bar. Each book had a different recipe, all calling for some combination of rum, grenadine, and tropical juices. None of which, unfortunately, were the least bit accurate. Sadly, this trend still continues today. The mai tai is misinterpreted more than most. My intent is to share this classic version that I’ve enjoyed over the years. This iconic tiki drink is meant to highlight the rum, rather than syrups and juices. If you can’t find Jamaican rum and/or rhum agricole, substitute a premium aged rum of choice. Needless to say, I still feel bad for the diner that ended up with my unenthusiastic pineapple umbrella medley.
- 1 oz Jamaican rum
- 1 oz rhum agricole
- 1/2 oz orange curacao
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz orgeat
- 1/4 oz rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water)
- crushed ice
- mint sprig for garnish
If you cook, bake, or are like me and enjoy making cocktails at home, you’re likely to squeeze a ton of citrus. Being the gadget nerd that I am, I’m constantly on the lookout for cool new tools for the kitchen. While the Breville electric citrus press is my favorite for large batches, it hardly beats the satisfaction of hand-juicing your own using one of these charming designs.