Petite Lobster Tail, Asparagus Cream, Caviar

Lobster, Asparagus Cream, Caviar

First Course
Petite Lobster Tail, Velvety Asparagus Cream, Caviar

Looking for a stunning start to your next dinner party? To entertain in the New Year in style? Replace that ubiquitous dinner salad with a petite lobster tail atop a luscious asparagus cream at your next soirée. Even if it is just a soirée for two…

Lobster and asparagus have always made a stylish pair, so here asparagus is turned into a luxurious cream sauce while a fancy petite lobster tail becomes a posh vehicle for caviar.

And the beauty of this dish it that it is equally exquisite served either hot or cold. Depending on the occasion, the weather, your menu, your mood… whatever it may be – choose the hot or cold version for your very elegant first course.

Petite Lobster Tail Recipe

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What to Serve with Caviar

What to Serve with Caviar

Champagne and Caviar

What to Serve with Caviar?

Caviar is always a good idea. And they don’t always have to be the most expensive fish eggs on the block. A jaunty presentation with several great accompaniments, and a favorite sparkling wine or chilled vodka can make for a most memorable experience.

Purists prefer to eat expensive caviar off the back of the hand, between the index finger and thumb so as to enjoy that pure unadulterated burst of the sea.

But it is also quite fun to put out many accompaniments and let your guests experiment with their own special pairings and combinations. Try fresh-shucked oysters with a dollop of crème fraîche topped with caviar. Or maybe a warm blini with butter, hard-cooked egg yolk and finely minced onion with caviar on top…

Perhaps 2021 will be a year to indulge and to allow oneself to enjoy life’s finer pleasures… and not wait for a special occasion?

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Got a Blender? Make this Cold Soup!

Chilled Beet, Fennel, Kefir SoupChilled Soup Bliss

Beet, Fennel, Kefir, Sour Cream
Horseradish, Lemon, Garlic, Dijon Mustard

You can chug this chilled soup from a tumbler and be in heaven, but ladle it into cold shallow bowls and garnish with some fantastic accompaniments, and it will be one of the most extraordinary hot weather soups you’ll serve this summer.

It is garnished with a dizzying array of chopped hard boiled egg, a kefir drizzle, radish, sliced pickles, lemon, chives, and fennel fronds.

The best part is the mind-blowing complex flavors with tangy notes from the kefir, earthiness from beets, hints of anise from fennel, a pungent kick from the Dijon mustard and a peppery kick from the horseradish.

The second best part is how easy it is to make. Combine the soup ingredients in a blender until smooth, chill until nice and cold – and there you have a perfect summer soup… simple and easy enough to enjoy for lunch today or with jazzy garnishes that make it elegant enough to serve at your next al fresco dinner party.

This recipe was inspired by the famous Eastern European Cold Beet Soup called Holodnik. I add fennel, Dijon mustard, garlic, and prepared horseradish to the traditional ingredients for a more spicy and complex flavor profile. Chopped bread & butter pickles replace the usual cucumber to add sweet and sour elements.

Chilled Beet, Fennel, Kefir Soup Recipe

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Compelled by Stanley Tucci To Make a Negroni

To Make a Negroni

A Negroni by the Pool

After watching Stanley Tucci prepare the ubiquitous Milanese cocktail on Instagram, I felt compelled to make a Negroni.

His definitive pronouncement of “that’s good” after a sip of his aperitivo drove me to make the legendary Italian drink right then and there. Well, that, and his suave debonaire manner…you just have to see the video for yourself.

It was neat to see Mr. Tucci concoct a cocktail especially because we just re-watched the movie Julie & Julia as a diversion from these pandemic days, where the actor excels as Julia Child’s husband Paul.

As luck and a well-stocked bar would have it, I had all the ingredients necessary, including my favorite vermouth in the refrigerator, one fresh orange on hand, and frozen ice orbs. And today just happened to be opening day at the pool, Le Résort Ataloré!

So we enjoyed a Negroni by the Pool, basked in the exceptionally warm weather and simply uttered, “that’s good.”

Just like Stanley Tucci.

What Does a Negroni Taste Like?

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Chicken Soup with a Big Comforting Matzo Ball

Chicken Soup with a Big Comforting Matzo Ball

Chicken Soup with a Big Comforting Matzo Ball

If this were a normal Passover, I would be in Chicago right now with 15 lbs. of brisket in the oven, a huge pot of chicken soup on the stovetop, plus some 100 matzo balls in production, prepping for a  fabulous multi-course meal for my family and friends as I have done for the past two decades.

Since, unfortunately, this is not a normal Passover. I am in Las Vegas, not Chicago. And I’m not cooking a multi-course meal for thirty-five, I’m cooking for one. Just a nice bowl of my chicken soup with a big comforting matzo ball.

Happily, in spite of the global pandemic, we’ll still be holding our Seder and holding tight to tradition. We will all Zoom in on the internet at sundown on Wednesday to retell the Passover story of how we were slaves in Egypt before God led us to freedom with signs and wonders. Each year at Passover we go on a journey in our hearts from slavery to freedom and from sadness to joy. This year is no different in that respect.

Big Matzo Ball Recipe and Matzo Ball Secrets

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Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

Eggplant Steaks, Restaurant Style

A couple months ago we had an absolutely delightful and completely unique meal at Roy Choi’s restaurant, Best Friend, at Park MGM on The Las Vegas Strip.

“Best Friend is… Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS. Hip hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. I want Best Friend to energize the minds of people looking to experience the best in life. Whether they are from Hollywood or Hong Kong, D.C. or Down Under, I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite. LA food in Las Vegas. Los Vegas. Best Friend. Forever.” – Roy Choi

Blown away by the KALBI Korean BBQ marinated bone-in short rib; SLIPPERY SHRIMP crispy rock shrimp, chili mayo, walnuts; ELOTES kewpie mayo, lime juice, tajín, cotija, cilantro; and EGGPLANT SCHNITZEL.

The eggplant was simple yet elevated with its silky interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce was intriguing, creamy, and mustardy. Fresh peppery green arugula provided the perfect balance to the fried eggplant. Brilliant.

In his endearing, personal, and somewhat irreverent cookbook L.A. Son, Chef Choi writes, “I make a mean schnitzel.” Yep, he sure does.

Eggplant Steaks Recipe

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Fresh Yuzu Bohemian Cocktail

Fresh Yuzu Bohemian Cocktail

Fresh Yuzu Bohemian Cocktail, Yuzu Foam

It’s cocktail hour! And time to use the yuzu. The fruits on my Southern California yuzu tree are at their ripest. On a trip back to LA last week, we picked the yuzu and flew home to Las Vegas with a big bag of fresh citrus fruit. It’s OK to carry on the plane per the TSA. Good to know!

An extremely aromatic fruit, a basket of yuzu perfumes the whole room. No wonder that it makes an equally aromatic cocktail; a heady complex floral elixir with notes of mandarin orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

The traditional Bohemian Cocktail is made with grapefruit juice. Substituting fresh squeezed yuzu takes this cocktail to a whole new exotic level. The foamy head adds a layer of luxurious richness and creamy texture to balance the tart invigorating citrus. A dash of bitters always finishes a classic cocktail with more aromatic notes and cool understated stylish flair.

Fresh Yuzu Bohemian Cocktail Recipe

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