Summer is here and it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year! The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, and everyone is outside enjoying the weather making it prime time for entertaining family and friends with barbecue and cocktails by the beach, lake or even in the backyard by the pool. I’ve put together some party planning and decorating tips for the perfect summer outdoor beach party, along with some menu ideas featuring lots of fresh seafood, finger foods, and refreshing fruits and veggies.
One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer outdoor beach party is a Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil and tarragon, lots of veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for some extra crunch, and fresh sautéed savory shrimp. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.
I made this amazing summer salad using my KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender - check out the full post on KitchenEnthusiast.com for the full recipe and all my fun tips on creating the Perfect Beach Bash this Summer!
CLICK HERE FOR PARTY PLANNING TIPS AND THE FULL RECIPE! http://blog.kitchenaid.com/tips-perfect-beach-party-recipe/
As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I got inspired to make a LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Cake with Strawberry Coulis to celebrate.
I wanted to create a simple cake that highlighted the flavors of the strawberries and Raspberry Chambord liqueur, and used a yellow cake mix flavored with vanilla and almond extract, along with some pureed strawberries and Chambord. I made a classic Vanilla frosting to use in between the cake layers and the top of the cake as a canvas for my lovely Strawberry heart design.
To make it even more luscious, I made a Strawberry Coulis for the base of my Strawberry heart on top of the cake. I simply chopped up some strawberries, added water, sugar, vanilla and Chambord; then boiled it down into a thick strawberry glaze.
Top off the glaze with more fresh sliced strawberries creating a LOVE-LY heart shape. Cut into slices and sip some bubbly to celebrate with your honey.
A LOVE-LY Strawberry Chambord Valentine’s Day Cake
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped strawberries, pureed
- 2 tablespoons Raspberry Chambord liqueur
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Vanilla Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Strawberry Coulis:
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Raspberry Chambord Liqueur
- 1 cup sliced strawberries, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 and grease two 9 inch round cake pans.
- Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat on low with a hand mixer for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour cake batter into both pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cakes cool on a wire cooling rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
- Vanilla Frosting:
- In a medium bowl, beat the butter until light and smooth with a hand blender. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Strawberry Coulis:
- Add chopped strawberries, water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and Chambord in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring well. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until Strawberry Coulis thickens into a glaze. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Cake Assembly:
- Place one layer of the cake on a large plate or platter. Spread Vanilla frosting on the top. Place the second layer of cake on top and spread the rest of the Vanilla frosting on top.
- Spread the Strawberry Coulis on top of the cake making a heart shaped pattern. Layer the sliced strawberries on top of the glaze also in a heart shaped pattern.
- Slice cake and serve with a glass or two of bubbly.
Also in spirit of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Shari’s Berries has some delightful and lovely gift packages to send to your honey. One of my favorite things to go with strawberries is Champagne, of course, along with some luscious chocolate to pair. Check out their Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec & Godiva gift set and more chocolate and Valentine’s Day goodies online here.
Demi-Sec, a slightly sweet style of Champagne, is at its best when served with desserts. Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, marked by fresh peach, nectarine and orange blossom, pairs beautifully with Godiva‘s assorted deep dark chocolates, smooth milks, velvety ganaches, classic truffles and pralines. Truly irresistible!
Each gift set contains:
All photos, recipes and copy on this post are intellectual property of Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. This post was not paid advertising and all opinions are my own.
- Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne (750 ML)
- Godiva 19-piece Assorted Chocolates in a gold ballotin gift box
It wouldn’t be the holidays without catching up with friends and family and coming together for a fun holiday brunch with friends that I only get to see a couple times a year. There’s nothing better than gathering in the kitchen and around the table to eat, drink, and laugh together over some great food and drinks.
Holiday Brunch with the Girls
We decided to all bring a dish for our brunch (I love potlucks!) – I made a Caramelized Onion, Ham and Gouda Tart, my Sister brought a Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry and Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Vinaigrette. We also had homemade Chicken Empanadillas from my friend Julie, a Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Casserole by Donna (our gracious host!) and Rachel’s Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread was to die for! Teresa brought some gorgeous Christmas cookies and Peppermint Bark for dessert. Here’s a roundup of our recipes for the perfect holiday brunch..enjoy!
Caramelized Onion, Ham & Gouda Tart
This savory tart recipe is perfect for the holidays and easy to make. You can either make it in a 9-inch tart pan or in a pie dish. It has tons of chunky ham, lots of gooey melty cheese, and caramelized onions, covered in a creamy egg custard with herbs baked in a crunchy, flaky pie dough. You could also substitute crispy bacon or prosciutto for the ham, and use any melty cheese you like. The caramelized onions and garlic give it a tangy sweet flavor that goes perfect with the cheesy creamy custard.
- 1 refrigerated pie shell dough (fresh or store-bought)
- 1 cup cooked and cubed ham
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup Gouda cheese, sliced or shredded (can also substitute Gouda, Cheddar or another soft cheese that melts well)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out pie dough into a 9" pie dish, overlapping dough 1 inch over edge of pie dish. Flute edges.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and butter and onions.
- Saute onions for about 5 minutes until soft, add maple syrup and stir.
- Saute onions for another 5-10 minutes until they become caramelized and golden brown, add garlic and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together sour cream, egg, egg yolk, light cream, fresh thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to make the custard filling.
- Scatter the caramelized onions into the pie shell, and top with diced ham and cheese.
- Pour custard over the top evenly into the shell. Bake tart for 10 minutes.
- Take tart out of the oven and cover the crust edges with strips of foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown..
- Let tart cool on a wire baking rack, cut into wedges and serve.
- Note: if using homemade dough, pre-bake tart shell covered in foil with dried beans or pie weights at 400 degrees F for 15-17 minutes, then and add meat and veggies and custard filling and bake for additional 20 minutes or so until the tart is set.
Recipe inspired by Andrew Zimmern's Bacon-Onion Tart, Food & Wine Magazine
Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry & Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Viniagrette
This is one of my favorite Winter salads made with a gorgeous combination of flavors and textures. It has fresh sliced pears, toasted pecans, crumbly bleu cheese and red onions, bathed in a slightly sweet honey vinaigrette.
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce or 1/2 bag mixed greens, chopped
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
- 3/4 cup crumbly bleu cheese
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1-2 pears, cored and sliced
- 3 tbsp veg oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey, heated
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Chop lettuces and slice onion, add to large salad bowl with cranberries.
- Core and cut pears into thin slices. Toss some into salad, save some for topping.
- Heat honey and make dressing; toss with salad ingredients, top with crumbly bleu cheese and sliced pears.
- Combine vinegar, warmed honey, salt and pepper in a blender or whisk together well in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly stream in olive oil whisking vigorously until all oil is blended into a gorgeous vinaigrette dressing.
- Toss with salad ingredients.
Chicken Empanadillas (Empanadas)
This is a classic recipe for Chicken Empanadillas (or empanadas). It has a flaky buttery dough surrounding a savory mixture of shredded cooked chicken, onions and spices, then lightly fried to crispy golden brown perfection. Serve with fresh tomato salsa for some extra heat and Latin flavor.
- 1 tbsp. Evoo
- ½ lb. cooked chicken breast & thigh
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- ¼ cup Tomato Sauce
- 6 Spanish Olives Stuffed with Minced Pimientos, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. Sofrito
- 1 packet Sazón with Coriander and Annatto
- 1 tsp. Minced Garlic or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. Dried Oregano Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 package (14 oz.) Discos (Yellow), thawed Corn Oil, for frying
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shredded chicken and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more.
- Stir in tomato sauce, olives, Sofrito, Sazón, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
- On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll out discos until ½” larger in diameter. Spoon about 1 tbsp. meat mixture into middle, fold in half to form a half moon; moisten edges with water and pinch to seal closed, or seal with a fork.
- Fill a deep saucepan with oil to a depth of 2½”. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking (350°F on deep-fry thermometer).
- Cook Empanadas in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once, 4 – 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of salsa.
- Makes 10 to 12 empanadillas.
Gluten-Free Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Egg Casserole
This is a healthy and delicious gluten-free egg casserole made with spinach, sautéed mushrooms, onions and cheese baked into a fluffy savory dish that will feed a crowd and leave room for the heavier fare at the brunch table.
- 1 large bag (10 oz. each) spinach
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
- 1 1/2 packages (8 oz. each) sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick® mix
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs
- Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle spinach, 1 cup of the cheese, the mushrooms and onion in pie plate.(I personally recommend sautéing the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes first to soften them before adding to the casserole.)
- In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.
- Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
- Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread
This recipe for Monkey Bread is sure to be a huge hit at your next brunch gathering with friends. It's super easy to make, using Pillsbury biscuits and is topped with brown sugar, butter, walnuts and cinnamon baked into a caramelized construction of sweet buttery goodness. It won't last longer than 5 minutes - promise!
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts among the biscuit pieces.
- In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
- Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
Recipe from Pillsbury.com
As I reflect on 2013, this has been a year filled with challenges and opportunities, adventures and growth both personally and professionally. Good times and bad times, which I’m thankful for and have made me stronger. Wishing all of you a Happy New Year 2014 and health, happiness and good eating! Cheers! xx
The Christmas Holiday and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and there’s no better way to celebrate the occasion than to pop open a bottle of gorgeous bubbly sparkling wine. Most people automatically think of Champagne when it comes to sparkling wine but there are actually some great selections of Cava and Prosecco that fit the bill too. But what is the difference between them all and how do you pick one that suits your palette and your budget?
I interviewed some of NYC’s top Wine Directors and Sommeliers in town: Joseph Camper of db Bistro, Laura Williamson of Jean-Georges, Jason Arias of Txikito, Peter Mastrogiovanni of La Cenita/EMM Group and Joe Campanale from Epicurean Group; to unveil the mystery behind all three sparkling wines and get some recommendations, food pairings and recipes to help you plan your holiday cocktail party in style.
The main difference in the three sparkling wines comes down to a few things: the grapes, the region, the soil, the fermentation process and temperature.
Champagne (also known as “cremante”, comes from only two regions of France: Rhones and Epernet, from either large houses that use blends of grapes or grower champagne from smaller private farms (also known as “farmer fizz”), according to Joseph Camper, Sommelier at db bistro moderne. Champagne has a distinct taste as well – a bit chalky and ‘yeasty’ with a minerality flavor.
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine; generally a Dry or Extra Dry wine; normally made from Glera (“Prosecco”) grapes. Prosecco is produced in the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy, and traditionally, mainly in the areas near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso. It is the fruitiest of all three sparkling wines, and unlike Champagne is usually produced using the Charmat method in which the secondary fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks making it less expensive to produce. Prosecco comes in either fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) varieties.
Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain made in the traditional method of the French sparkling wine Champagne. The wine was originally known as Champaña until Spanish producers adopted the term “Cava” (cellar) in 1970 in reference to the underground cellars in which the wines ferment and age in the bottle. Cava has an ambiguous, well-balanced and neutral flavor. It’s looser knit, and has a less complex process in its making compared to Champagne.
French Sommelier – Joseph Camper, Sommelier of db bistro moderne
When people think about sparkling wine and France, of course their mind goes to the wonderful region of Champagne–which is in fact wonderful, because Champagne (in my opinion) is THE best wine producing regions in the world. While Champagne may be my dessert island wine, there are several other noteworthy sparkling wines from France. The top regions, aside from Champagne are: Burgundy, the Loire and even the Jura.
A few things to know about Champagne:
1) There are three primary grape varietals used, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Most wines are a blend of all three, though there do exist some special bottlings that focus on just one of the three grapes (i.e., Blanc de Blanc is made entirely from Chardonnay)
2) With the arrival of the age of “Grower Champagne” (or as Terry Theise would say, “Farmer Fizz”) there is more focus on soil and specific sites, and we are seeing more vintage and single vineyard wines in the market than ever before!
RECOMMENDATIONS & FOOD PAIRINGS:
Sommelier Joseph Camper says that “Champagne works with almost all foods. It’s the greatest wine in the world.”
Vilmart, Grand Cellier: (not to be confused with Grand Cellier d’Or from the same producer): Vilmart GC, is in my opinion one of the greatest “entry-level” (price wise) Champagnes made, even though it is better than most prestige cuvées. It has incredible balance and precision, and therefore I would pair it with opening courses–raw fish, oysters, lobster, etc.
Egly-Ouriet, Viellissement Prolonge: Egly-Ouriet V.P. is crazy good. It tastes almost like Burgundy with bubbles. DON’T serve it in a Champagne flute, but rather in a larger, more typical wine glass to really enjoy the full array of the wine. It spends somewhere around 70 months on the lees, or yeast (!). For this wine, richer fare is called for–Turbot or Dover Sole, Veal. Butter! Also due to the autolytic quality of the wine it is unreal with umami flavors like soy. Crazy tasty with Asian food. BYOB anyone?!
Cremant du Bourgogne –
Val de Mer Cremant du Bourgogne: Sparkling wine made entirely from Chardonnay from the region of Chablis. Kimmeridgean limestone at its best! Serve with shellfish.
Cremant du Loire –
Francois Chidaine, Montlouis-Sur-Loire, Brut “Method Traditionalle”: Sparkling Chenin Blanc from one of the hot shot producers of Mountlouis and Vouvray. It’s technically, a Multi-Vintage wine, but there is always a code on the back of the bottle that reveals the vintage. Current release is 2011.
Domaine Huet Petillant: Also sparkling Chenin Blanc, but bottled at a low atmospheric pressure (less bubbles and certainly less aggressive–sometimes appears “flat” in the glass).
Cremant du Jura –
Tissot Cremant du Jura: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Poulsard: A ringer for champagne in its aromatic profile, though a bit softer and more floral. The perfect aperitif. Just drink it, by the gallon with or without food!
Photo Credit: Kristen Hess
Sometimes cocktails take not one, not two or three, but MANY rounds of testing to get it just right! This cocktail is just that: just right. Head Bartender at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Upper East Side cocktail lounge Bar Pleiades, and consulting bartender for the new db bistro cocktail menu, played with chocolate and red wine’s affinity for each other with this drink, as well as berry shrub’s red wine-berry fruitiness and Byrrh (a French wine based aperitif flavored with quinine). To make the drink, Byrrh is infused with cocoa nibs overnight. Pomegranate seeds are dropped into a champagne flute, and topped with a mixture of Rye, Cocoa nib infused Byrrh, White Crème de Cacao and Berry Shrub and Orange peel. When the drink is topped off with Champagne, the pomegranate seeds try, and try again, to rise to the top of the glass with the Champagne bubbles!
Try, Try Again
1 ounce Rittenhouse Rye
.5 ounce Cocoa nib infused Byrrh
.25 ounce White Creme de Cacao
.25 ounce Berry Shrub
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Stir and strain into champagne flute with bar spoon full of pomegranate seeds at bottom of glass. Top off with champagne.
French Sommelier – Laura Williamson, Master Sommelier, Jean-Georges
Raventos i Blanc, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain
Cavas Llopart Brut Rosé, Catalonia, Spain
Drusian Brut Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy
NV Hebrart Brut Rosé Champagne, France
1996 Legras and Haas Blanc de Blanc Chouilly Grand Cru, Champagne, France
Semi-Sweet Sparkling –
Renardat-Fâche Bugey Cerdon Rosé, Savoie, France
Semi-Sweet Sparkling – Grilled Foie Gras Dumplings, Papaya, Red Wine Syrup, Passion Fruit paired with Renardat-Fâche Bugey Cerdon Rosé, Savoie, France
Champagne – Toasted Egg Yolk, Caviar and Herbs paired with 1996 Legras and Haas Blanc de Blanc Chouilly Grand Cru, Champagne, France; Roasted Venison, Quince-Madeira Puree, Broccoli Raab and Cabrales Foam paired with NV Hebrart Brut Rosé Champagne, France
Blood Orange Bellini
photo credit: Kristen Hess
Makes 8 drinks:
1 1/4 cups fresh blood orange juice
1 bottle (750 ml) dry Crèmant d’Alsace, chilled (Prosecco or Cava can be substituted)
3 tablespoons orange liqueur, preferably Cointreau
Pour the juice, Crèmant, and orange liqueur into a large glass pitcher. Immediately and carefully pour into 8 champagne flutes and serve.
For 1 drink:
5 ounce Champagne (Prosecco or Cava can be substituted)
Juice of 1 blood orange
splash of Cointreau
Blood Orange French 75
photo credit: Kristen Hess
1 ounce Gin
Juice of 1 blood orange
3 oz Champagne (Prosecco or Cava can be substituted)
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1 splash Cointreau
Serve in a Champagne flute and garnish with a blood orange triangle (made by slicing a blood orange wheel into 3rds)
Recipes by Laura Williamson, Master Sommelier, Jean-Georges
Latin/Argentinean Sommelier – Jason Arias, Txikito
Master Sommelier Jason Arias and Executive Chef Alex Raij of Txikito NYC recommend Cava and Champagne choices that reflect their Basque, Catalan and Argentine holiday traditions with a classic Basque 75 cocktail and high quality seafood and pasta pairings.
Gramona (entry level to vintage)
Brut Nature (driest) – Juve y Champs
Avinyo and Raventos
Mas Foraster – rose cava
Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque
Cava and Champagne – High quality whole fish and mollusks and crustaceans (raw or cooked, or served in soup); Salt Cod Cannelloni (Canelons) and Pasta
Photo Credit: Txikito
Beach plum Gin or Patxarran (Basque sloe berry liqueur)
Bruised sage leaf
On rocks with splash of 7 up
Recipe by Sommelier Jason Arias, Txikito
Spanish/Mexican Sommelier – Peter Mastrogiovanni, La Cenita -Emm Group
La Cenita is a new Spanish/Mexican tapas restaurant in the Meatpacking District, part of the Emm Group. They have a focus on using very fresh and unique ingredients in their cocktails and also do a lot of house infusions with tequila including creative flavors such as prickly pear, jalapeno, coffee, cocoa nibs and bacon.
Head Corporate Beverage Manager, Peter Mastrogiovanni recommends the following Sparkling Wines and food pairings for the holidays if you’re looking for a Latin twist to your menu. Head Bartender Billy Potuin also shares his special cocktail recipe for La Ciderita – a light and boozy, warm and wintry cocktail that has an interesting take mixing sparkling Cava with tequila and Spanish cinnamon. It’s all natural, using honey and lemon and cranberry bitters and not too sweet making it a great cocktail for the holidays.
Everyday – Segura Viudas Brut
Splurge – Poema
Everyday – Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut Reserve
Splurge – Perrier – Jouet
Cava and Champagne – Chicken Mole Taquitos and Snapper Nectarine Ceviche
Photo Credit: Kristen Hess
2 ounces Canela-infused Herra Durra Reposado
.75 ounce Cinnamon Syrup
.75 ounce Apple Cider
.75 ounce Laird’s Applejack
.5 ounce Honey Syrup
.25 oz Lemon Juice
4-5 dashes Spiced Cranberry Bitters
Shake, strain up in martini glass, top with Sparkling Cava wine. Garnish with a Canela (or cinnamon) stick and dried cranberries
Recipe by Lead Bartender Billy Potuin, La Cenita
Italian Sommelier – Joseph Campanale, Executive Beverage Director, Epicurean Group (dell’Anima/L’Artusi/Anfora/L’Apicio)
Cava - is from the Cava region in Spain. It is made in the same method as Champagne as is less fruit-forward than Prosecco. It doesn’t have the acidity or minerality of good Champagne but the best examples can be quite delicious. Some of my favorites are:
Everyday - German Gilabert $12
Mid - Avinyo Cava Brut NV $20
Splurge - Cava Recaredo Brut Nature $32
Prosecco - Made from the Prosecco grape in the Veneto region of Italy. This is fruit-forward and can be a little sweet. If you use prosecco in a cocktail remember that it can have some sweetness. Also it lacks the yeasty flavors of Champagne/Cava.
Everyday - Ca’ Furlan Prosecco NV $10
Mid - Sorrelle Branca Prosecco di Valdobbiadenne “Extra Dry” NV $15
Splurge - Case Coste Piane Prosecco Frizzante Naturalmente 2011 $20
Champagne - The highest quality of all sparkling wine, it comes from the Champagne region of France and is made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a local grape known as Pinot Meunier. Go for the smaller producers who grow their own grapes (Grower champagne). At their best, Champagne is crisp, mineral driven wine with a ton of complexity from high-quality grapes and aging on the lees (spent yeast). I think it would be unwise to use one of these in a cocktail.
Everyday - Pierre Brigandat NV $30
Mid - Gaston Chiquet Grand Cru Blanc des Blancs NV $52
Splurge - Vilmat et Cie “Couer de Cuvee” 2004 $125
Cava - Parmigiano Cheese - this hard, nutty cheese will complement the creamy bubbly Cava. Cava’s earthiness will be reflected in the cheese as well as the creaminess from the lees aging but the bubbles will cut through the richness.
Prosecco - Thai Food - Prosecco’s fruit-forward aromatics will complement the exotic, full-flavored Thai food. The chill of the wine and (sometimes) residual sweetness will cool down spicy Thai or complement the sweeter food.
Champagne - Fried Chicken - There is something just absolutely fun about the high-low pairing of fried chicken and Champagne. They were made for each other. Fried chicken is the fatty, crunchy poultry that needs a crisp, bubbly wine to cut through the grease and complement the crunch. This is a great flavor and texture experience.
Photo Credit: Epicurean Group
1 oz. Milagro Silver tequila
2 oz. Grapefruit Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
2 oz. Prosecco
2 dashes Fee Bros. Grapefruit Bitters
Grapefruit Peel for Garnish
Shake tequila, grapefruit juice and simple syrup over ice and double-strain into a flute. Top with prosecco and grapefruit bitters. Garnish with a grapefruit peel. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Epicurean Group
Ten Past Twelve
1 1/2 oz. flor de cana white rum
3/4 oz. Lillet
½ oz. Orchard Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lemon
Rose Cava topper
Stir all ingredients together. Spank beer glass with rosemary stem. Pour ingredients over ice in a beer glass, top with Rose Cava of your choice. Enjoy!
Recipes by Joseph Campanale, Executive Beverage Director, Epicurean Group
I recently did a fun food styling TV segment for Mario Lopez and Avocados from Mexico on the Bethenny show and NBC New York Live. The segment featured Mario discussing his new cookbook Extra Lean, demonstrating how to use fresh avocados in your everyday cooking for delicious healthy meals. I made his Chicken Enchiladas with Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salsa for the show – it turned out absolutely delicious and was a hit backstage! I also made some gorgeous Avocado, Mozzarella and Tomato Salad Bites for the Bethenny Show that were super cute and delicious. Here’s the recipes and some fun behind the scenes photos from the show!
WATCH THE VIDEO FROM NY LIVE NBC SHOW
Chicken Enchiladas with Black Bean, Avocado and Corn Salsa
6 corn tortillas
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
6 oz cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 tbsp canned green chiles
1/2 cup mild tomato salsa, divided
1/2 cup low fat shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack recommended)
Hot sauce (optional)
Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place in the oven to warm.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onions and peppers. Season with salt and oregano and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, green chiles, 1/2 cup salsa, and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted.
- Remove tortillas from the oven and spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
- Place 1/4 cup of chicken mixture in a tortilla, roll up and transfer to baking dish; repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Top tortillas with Black Bean, Avocado and Corn Salsa and cheese and bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with chopped scallions, additional Black Bean, Avocado and Corn Salsa and serve with hot sauce, if desired.
Black Bean, Avocado and Corn Salsa
Serves 4 – 8
1/4 cup vinaigrette salad dressing
1/4 cup sliced scallions
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp grated lime peel
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
In large bowl, whisk together salad dressing, scallions, cilantro and lime peel. Stir in beans, corn and red pepper. Add avocado; toss gently. Season with salt, if desired.
photo: Kristen Hess
Avocado, Mozzarella and Tomato Salad
Serves: 4 – 6
- 2 Hass Avocados from Mexico, sliced
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 pound mozzarella
- 1 1/2 ounce bunch of fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- With a small knife or “shark”, cut the little stem end out of the tomato using a serrated knife, cut the tomatoes into 1/3 inch slices.
- Slice the mozzarella 1/4 inch thick.
- Alternate slices of Avocado, tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves like playing cards on individual plates.
- Drizzle on the olive oil and vinegar.
- Season with salt and pepper.
photo: Avocados from Mexico
Set and Mario Lopez photos: Kristen Hess
The Fresh Honey Cookbook
I love cooking with honey – not only in the Fall or dead of Winter, but all year around. It’s such a nice substitute for regular sugar and gives a warm, homey flavor to almost all types of recipes. I recently picked up a copy of The Fresh Honey Cookbook, by Beekeeper, Caterer, Chef and Spokesperson for The National Honey Board and Café owner Laurey Masterson of Asheville NC. I fell in love with her vibrant recipes using different varieties of honey throughout all 12 months of the year – she offers honey-tasting tips and recipes featuring seasonal ingredients for dishes both savory and sweet.
Each chapter is organized around a specific honey for the month including orange blossom, tupelo, avocado, eucalyptus and blueberry honey and more. In January, she has a recipe for Meyer lemon and Honey-Marinated Chicken Skewers, Pork Tenderloin with Orange Blossom Honey Mustard and Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic. In the Summer, she features delicious fresh recipes for Grilled Garlic Shrimp with a Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Vermont-Style Summer Squash Casserole, and Broiled Peaches with Sourwood Honey.
She also goes into detail about her experience as a beekeeper and teaches readers how bees make honey, how it’s harvested, what they can do to help the bee population and what is going on in the hives throughout the year.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the book for the chilly months of the Winter season. Enjoy!
roasted delicata squash with tuscan kale
Delicata squash is naturally sweet and pairs so nicely with the kale and the other tastes of Italy and the Mediterranean. This recipe calls for pine nuts, which are quite expensive these days, but the buttery texture and flavor is so delicious that I am reluctant to suggest an alternative. This dish is great as a lunch salad or as a warm side dish. She recommends pairing this with her Deviled Beef Bones recipe made with Eucalyptus Honey (recipe follows).
3 Delicata squash (about 3 pounds total)
Extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bow-tie pasta
2 bunches Italian (Tuscan Lacinato) kale
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into 1-inch chunks (there’s no need to remove the edible skin). Arrange on a baking sheet and spray or brush with olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Roast 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool.
3. Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
4. Remove the leaves of the kale from the stems and cut into large pieces. Set up a steaming basket over boiling water, and steam the kale just until bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and keep them bright green.
5. Toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until light brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (Stay nearby while you’re toasting. Left unattended, they can easily burn.)
6. Combine the pasta, kale, squash, and pine nuts in a large bowl. Toss, and then add the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Enjoy!
deviled beef bones
Laurie grew up with these wonderful beef bones, which were leftovers from the standing rib beef roast served at her Mother’s Blueberry Hill restaurant. The fat rib bones have a lot of meat and are enough to make a substantial meal out of them. They are served in a barbecue sauce that is a dark, wintry mixture featuring Eucalyptus Honey, which resembles molasses or Louisiana cane syrup. It is then combined with mustard and served as a delicious sauce for the beef bones.
Eucalyptus Honey varies from light amber to very dark brown, depending on where the eucalyptus is growing. It has a stronger taste then the lighter honeys, but is very pleasing to folks who have a more adventurous palate. This dark honey is perfect for the chillier days of Autumn and Winter.
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon eucalyptus honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6-8 whole beef rib bones, cooked
- Preheat the oven to 425°F if using cooked ribs, or 450°F if using uncooked ribs.
- Combine the dry mustard, salt, Dijon mustard, vinegar, honey, molasses, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Whisk well.
- If your ribs are already cooked, place them on a baking sheet, brush with the barbecue sauce, and cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish them under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until crispy.
- If your ribs are not cooked, place them in a baking pan, brush with the barbecue sauce, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F. Brush the ribs again with the sauce and return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes longer. Remove the ribs once more and brush with more sauce. Turn the heat to broil and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, until the ribs are crispy (but not burned!!). Serve warm.
pears with blue cheese, toasted pecans, and chestnut honey vinaigrette
I get excited by the proliferation of pears in the market in the winter. I imagine what it would be like to live in Washington or Oregon. And so, though they are not local to me in December, pears are available and abundant and become the foundation for this delicious salad. Sweet, salty, bitter, and sour: All four tastes are in this salad, which makes it a memorable one for your guests.
This recipe uses a Chestnut Honey, which is one of the stronger honeys prized in Tuscany as a local taste. Italians appreciate many more bitter flavors than we do, and it has a big taste explosion for your palate. The color, flavor and smell of Chestnut Honey varies depending on the source of the Chestnut trees. Descriptors go from light and slightly pungent to extremely strong, breathtaking and lingering.
For the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey, preferably chestnut honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
¼ cup pecan pieces, toasted
4 ripe but firm pears
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (Maytag)
1. To make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and stir with a wire whisk until well mixed. Drizzle the oil into the bowl in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. To make the salad, toast the pecans in a small dry saucepan for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, watching carefully and tossing often so they don’t burn.
3. Cut the pears in half from the stem to the blossom end. Remove the core, and cut each half in half again.
4. Arrange the pear quarters on individual salad plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and toasted pecans and, just before serving, drizzle with the vinaigrette.
easy tarte tatin
I love tarte tatin, the inverted apple pastry, but I am not the best baker in the world, as I’m not really patient with careful measuring. Frankly, I am much more comfortable cooking than baking. But this recipe will produce a grand result even if you’re not a serious baker. And if you have any leftovers, they make a great breakfast.
Get the best tart local apples you can find. With that start, you’ll do very well.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup honey, preferably eucalyptus or local honey
3 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for the pastry
Ice cream for serving (optional)
1. Following the instructions on the package, thaw the puff pastry. This will take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of pastry. You should be able to unfold it without breaking. Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the honey. Stir well to blend thoroughly. Carefully arrange the apple wedges in the bottom of the skillet in a decorative pattern, taking special care on the first layer, as it will end up being the top of the tart. Take care, also, to fill in any holes with other apple pieces. Continue to layer the apples until you have used all the apple slices. Since they will shrink as they cook, you want the uncooked apples to be higher than the edges of the skillet, so add more if needed.
3. Cook over medium heat on the stove until the juices bubble up and change from clear to a rich amber color, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the heat and the consistency of your apples. As they cook, press the apples down with a rubber spatula; once the juices are visible, baste the apples with the juices. Keep an eye on them and don’t allow them to burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
5. Roll out the thawed pastry on a floured surface, until it is a square that can comfortably fit over the skillet. Lay the puff pastry over the cooked fruit, making sure that the pastry completely covers the apples. Tuck the pastry into the sides of the skillet, sealing in the apples.
6. Bake the pastry-covered skillet in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up and turns a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
7. Place a serving platter on top of the cooked pastry and, holding tight, flip the skillet over so that the tart comes out of the skillet and ends up on the platter, pastry side down. Remove any of the cooked apples that might have stuck to the skillet and tuck them into the tart as needed.
8. Serve with ice cream, if you like, though it is perfect just as it is.
“Excerpted from The Fresh Honey Cookbook (c) by Laurey Masterton, photography (c) by Johnny Autry, used with permission from Storey Publishing.”