December 2, 2012 – December 8, 2012

Buttermints

If you've ever been to a fair-to-middling dining establishment, you recognize these mints. The resemblance doesn't extend to flavor, however; buttery, sweet and rich, they taste like little bites of frosting. More

Linton Hopkins' Sauteed Georgia Trout with Watercress Puree and Mandarin Salad

Despite its restaurant-quality presentation, Linton Hopkins' Sauteed Georgia Trout with Watercress Puree and Mandarin Salad featured in Adam Roberts' Secrets of the Best Chefs, is a relative breeze to prepare (for a chef-y dish) and worth any extra minute of effort. The trout is simply salted and seared, skin-side down for a crisp crust and barely-cooked flesh. A puree of watercress, leeks, and cream forms the base of the dish, and the whole kaboodle gets topped with a bright, bracing salad of mandarin oranges, fennel, dill, radish, and parsley. It's a beautiful plate of food, and tastes even better than it looks. More

Melissa Clark's Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes

It'd be a shame to pass over a described as a "masterpiece." Full stop. In Secrets of the Best Chefs, Adam Roberts is totally enamored of Melissa Clark's recipe development process. And his adoration is most evident in his headnote to Clark's recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes. It's a relatively simple recipe (duck breast gets an hour-long rest with garam masala and salt before being seared, finished in the oven, and topped with a pan sauce of grapes, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) with show-stopping results. More

Dreams Never End

This cocktail came to us from John Evans of NYC's Black Market. It features a rich pear syrup to soften the bite of rye whiskey. Evans calls for Old Overholt rye, but Bulleit works fine, too. More

Filibuster

This maple-sweetened rye cocktail was created by Erik Adkins of Heaven's Dog and the Slanted Door in San Francisco, and appears in Left Coast Libations, which is an excellent collection of cocktail recipes from West coast bartenders. If you tend to like cocktails from the family of Sours, this one will be right up your alley. More

New Brunswick

This variation on the classic Brunswick cocktail from Ehren Ashkenazi of The Modern in NYC features fresh grapefruit juice along with rye whiskey. Ashkenazi uses Lillet Rouge to balance it out, but we like the richness of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth instead. More

Mott and Mulberry

This cocktail was created by Leo Robitschek of The Nomad and Eleven Madison Park in New York City. It spices up apple cider with rye and Amaro Abano, an amaro that's a bit more bitter than Averna, and a bit less mentholated-tasting than Fernet. More

New York Shrub

To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using. Simple syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. More

Daniel Patterson's Grilled Brassica with Dandelion-Green Vinaigrette

Broccoli and cauliflower are staple vegetables in my kitchen, so I assumed I'd eaten these brassica in just about every way possible. But Daniel Patterson's recipe for Grilled Brassica with Dandelion-Green Vinaigrette in Adam Roberts' Secrets of the Best Chefs proved me wrong. Patterson grills an assortment of brassica--including vibrant romanesco and leafy rape and cicco--until well-charred and tender. He plates the vegetables with plump bulgar wheat, a squeeze of lemon, and (best of all) a verdant, bitter dandelion vinaigrette. More

Alice Waters' Olive Oil Fried Eggs with A Crown of Herbs

Alice Waters has built her reputation on simply prepared, fresher-than-fresh produce-based California cuisine. When Adam Roberts visited her in Berkeley while writing his Secrets of the Best Chefs, she spoke of salads and cheese tacos; but it was her Olive Oil Fried Eggs with a Crown of Herbs that left the greatest impression. She gently fries up to six eggs at a time in an ample pool of olive oil showered with upwards of half a cup of chopped herbs. The eggs turn a bit crisp on the bottom, but stay velvety on top--crusty, garlic rubbed bread is all that's needed to accompany the simple dish. More