To some of us, summer means sleep-away camp, ice cream sandwiches and catching fireflies at dusk. To others, it means Jell-O shots. I fondly remember (some of) a delightful week spent at the Eastern shore right after I graduated from high school. Somehow we found time to break away from spitting off the balcony and doing beer bongs just long enough to whip up a batch of cherry-flavored Jell-O shots. We used an Everclear-to-water ratio of about one to none, I believe, and consequently the shots took forever to gel. Luckily we were already too wasted to care! We slurped that mucky red ectoplasm right out of the ice cube trays like pigs at the trough! If any of this sounds familiar, you'll appreciate Jiggelo, a new book full of recipes for gelatin shots. You may think your Jell-O shot days are over. You may be wrong. Sure, the majority of these concoctions sound like they might only be appealing to the 18-year-old You, but couldn't the more mature You get excited about a Jell-O shot based on the classic Negroni cocktail? Think about it—not just plain orange gelatin but a delicate balance of gin, sweet red vermouth, Campari and mandarin orange segments. Wouldn't you be the most popular dad at Saturday's soccer game? I thought so. Pick up a copy of Jiggelo by Mary Breidenbach, Barrett J. Calhoun and Sharon L. Calhoun (paperback, Ten Speed Press, $12. 95).
After a months-long spate of serving only dinner, Nob Hill hot spot Scalo is again serving lunch. The lunch menu, unlike Scalo's inventive dinner menu, does not offer dishes grouped by size (small, medium or large plates). Instead, it is a brief and modest menu that is so affordably priced even the most frugal diner couldn't complain about the bill. A bowl of gazpacho with peeky toe crab costs only $6, a housemade sausage sandwich with bell peppers, onions, mozzarella and Napa cabbage slaw runs only $9 and the fried chicken club with penne pasta salad is a reasonable $8. Stop by and check it out Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“Grilled chicken must be the most frequently botched food in America.” So begins this new book from Santa Fe-based cookbook authors who brought us the popular backyard smoker book Smoke and Spice. For this volume, the authors devoted their full attention to a particularly worthy topic—they're right about grilled chicken; it's almost always overcooked and devoid of flavor. In Chicken on the Grill's first chapter, the Jamisons offer simple, uncomplicated methods for avoiding the most common pitfalls, advising grillers to keep the grill's lid open while cooking and maintain a moderate heat using a hand test. Other chapters focus on skewers; boneless, skinless breasts; chicken salads and pastas, whole chickens and sandwiches. The recipes range from Asian to Southwestern to East Indian and will leave you with absolutely no excuse for serving plain-old dry chicken breasts.
This column is in response to a reader's e-mail that asked, “Could you do a little list of food or herbal remedies for sunburn sometime soon? Someone told me [to try] mashed potatoes for sunburn and I am wondering if there is something more inconspicuous. ...” Mashed potatoes? Now that's an entertaining thought. If laughter is the best medicine then surely slathering oneself in cold mashed potatoes would take the pain away.