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July 2013

Best Mega Mint Mojitos

Mojito2

Mojitos make a great summer cocktail – refreshing citrus and mint hit the spot on a hot summer day. I always have a ton of mint growing in pots (it spreads like crazy), and this is a perfect way to use it up. The best version involves a little advance prep and there are no shortcuts for a delicious, authentic Mojito. It’s important to muddle the mint to release its full flavor, and I like to use mint infused simple syrup to further intensify the flavor. Many recipes call for lots of mint in the glass, but I find it makes it messy to drink, just a sprig for garnish is all that’s needed.

Download Best Mega Mint Mojito recipe

 

15 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig for garnish

½ ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce Mint Simple Syrup (recipe below)

Ice

2 ½ ounces light rum

1 ounce chilled club soda

Sliced limes

 

1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice and Mint Syrup. Add ice and the rum, shake well and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with the club soda and garnish with the mint sprig and a slice of lime.

 

Minted Simple Syrup

1 ½ cups packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

 

1. In a saucepan bring sugar, water and mint to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer syrup, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on solids, and cool. Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

Muddle mint

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Best Classic All American Potato Salad

Classic American Potato Salad 3

Summer barbecues just aren’t complete without this classic side dish. Everyone has a favorite version, and when I’m looking for an authentic home cooked version, this is my recipe of choice. As a kid, I was pretty fussy about what was in it, and my mother was forced to prepare a pretty bland version. Feel free to alter the ingredients to your own taste – some people might not like the addition of chopped pickles, but I think it really perks up the salad. If you don’t have sweet pickles, you can use and equal amount of sweet pickle relish. 

Download Classic All American Potato Salad recipe

2 pounds russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1 medium rib celery, chopped very fine (about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons finely minced red onion

3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet pickles (not relish)

1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

½ cup mayonnaise (see note)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon powdered dry mustard

¾ teaspoon celery seed

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill weed

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 large hard-cooked eggs , peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (optional)

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

2. Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. Add vinegars, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and, using rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. Let stand, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until potatoes are just warm, about 20 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together celery, onion, pickles, relish, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, dry mustard powder, celery seed, parsley, dill, ½ teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, gently fold dressing and eggs, if using, into potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour; serve. (Potato salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

Classic American Potato Salad cut russets

Classic American Potato Salad cut potatoes

Classic American Potato Salad cut potatoes egg

Classic American Potato Salad herbs

Classic American Potato Salad ingredients

Classic American Potato Salad bowl