Michael Cecconi is the former mixologist at New York’s Back Forty; he's currently the head bartender at San Francisco's Two Sisters Bar and Books, and teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education. Here he shares a quick summertime drink idea, called a Scotch Blossom: 2 ounces of Scotch, 1 ounce of honey simple syrup, 1 ounce of lime juice, 4 to 8 mint leaves, and ice. Shake vigorously, add soda water, and enjoy.
French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
No lie: macarons can be fairly finicky to make, in that they might spread into uneven shapes or form dark spots on their tops -- but even if they're not as beautiful as bakery specimens, they will still be delicious. The smooth chocolate ganache filling sandwiches the light, chewy-inside, delicately-crisp-outside chocolate macarons together, for a classic French dessert you shouldn't be afraid to try making.
Oven-ready in just 20 minutes, these whole-grain donuts are much lighter in calories and sugar than the typical sour cream cake donut. Topped with a touch of glaze and nutty pecans, these delightful bites are a truly satisfying breakfast treat.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
Best Chicken Quesadilla
Crunchy, gooey, and crazy delicious, these chicken and cheese quesadillas are super simple to make, and even easier to eat. Before you start, prep some pico de gallo (or whatever kind of salsa you like) and guacamole for topping, and don't forget the sour cream.