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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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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A Moist, Tasty, Satisfying Vegetarian Meatloaf
Oatmeal, Quinoa, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Gruyere Cheese
Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
The somewhat mysterious walnut loaf on the vegetarian restaurant menu seemed way too heavy for lunch, so I ordered the sprouted salad instead.
While the salad was completely delicious, I was still curious about that hearty, compelling “vegetarian meatloaf” so I decided to make one at home.
While researching vegetarian walnut meatloaf recipes, I came across several that sounded similar to our local restaurant’s version. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original recipe is over 2 decades old, from famous vegetarian chef Deborah Madison.
Madison recently noted that 20 years ago she would add cheese to many of her recipes. These days however, with the variety and quality of vegetarian ingredients, she no longer relies on cheese to substitute for the meat. In this vegetarian meatloaf, cheese does play an important role…but vegan cheese should work fine too.
In my interpretation of the recipe, I substitute oatmeal and quinoa for Madison’s brown rice, and make many other adjustments as well, but credit for the concept definitely goes to her.
Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy Recipe
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Smørrebrød is a Danish word that simply translates to buttered bread. What comes after the butter has been spread, however, is where plain bread is elevated to an absolute art form.
There is specific etiquette associated with composing and consuming these fabulous Danish open-faced sandwiches:
- It would not be prudent to lift the sandwich to the mouth and risk the precious toppings falling off. A knife and fork are required.
- Proteins are not mixed, each smørrebrød has a stand-alone special protein.
- Several types of smørrebrød sandwiches are to be eaten in a particular order: herring is always enjoyed first, then other fish, then on to meats and last, cheeses.
- The bread is always spread with a generous portion of butter, for taste, of course, but it also adds a protective layer to keep the other ingredients from turning the bread into a soggy mess.
- Dense dark rye bread is the bread used most often, and always paired with herring. But sometimes white bread is used and often paired with smoked salmon.
- The toppings always generously cover the entire piece of bread in an artful manner.
In planning to make a sardine smørrebrød, I chose ingredients that have a natural affinity for the fish: fennel, orange, lemon, dill, onion, garlic, chili. As always, color and texture enhance the taste, so I added peppery pink radish and some edible flowers too. It is the presentation that makes this open-faced sandwich so compelling.
Sustainable wild-caught sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Ounce per ounce they boast more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water, and as much protein as steak.
Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s and low in mercury due to their petite size on the food chain. Canned sardines are readily available and have a long shelf-life. Lightly smoked canned sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil that are cleaned and scale-free are preferred.
Mimosas make the perfect sparkling orange accompaniment. Be sure to toast with friends between bites. Cheers and Skol!
Sardine Smørrebrød Recipe
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Candied Pepitas, Creme Fraiche, Pink Peppercorns
Is it a drink? Is it a soup? Is it an amuse bouche? Yes. Yes. Yes. Complex in flavor and compact in presentation – these kabocha shooters are excellent for Fall entertaining. Kabocha, a winter squash also known as Japanese pumpkin, has a delectable taste with beautiful flesh the color of turning Autumn leaves.
The soup’s sweet profile includes nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla, and brown sugar while the savory side contains caramelized onion, garlic, ginger, and dry sherry. The roasted squash is blended with the various ingredients and a touch of cream. All this flavor is packed into a little shot glass where a rich cultured cream floats atop and a sticky-candied-crunchy pumpkin seed garnish is perched on the side.
Kabocha Shooters Recipe
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Palos Verdes Pastoral at Terranea Resort
Thirty years ago in 1988, our community chose sanctuary over sprawl and open land over bulldozers, and launched the Land Conservancy on a journey to preserve and restore open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California.
Palos Verdes Pastoral is the Conservancy’s most important annual event, allowing it to raise support, funds, and awareness for the conservation and management of 1600 acres of permanently protected rare coastal habitat.
Pastoral is an enchanted fundraising dinner that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive experience at Terranea Resort featuring the best of California handcrafted, organic, and sustainable foods.
This year Pastoral was inspired by the colorful state of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s major gastronomic centers. It shares many native plant species with the Peninsula; those include lily, sunflower, coastal sage, and cactus. Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra, created a menu with foods sourced from local artisan ingredients and Terranea’s award-winning garden. The menu highlighted staples of Oaxacan cuisine such as squash flowers, sage, prickly pear cactus, dragonfruit, chocolate, and mezcal.
In addition to the camaraderie, gourmet foods, stellar wines, and ambiance that is truly second to none – the evening increases awareness of the important work of the Conservancy in protecting and stewarding our open space and nature. We celebrate the mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all.
Preserving Land and Restoring Habitat
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Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
Toasted Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Mint, Basil
Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup, Edible Flowers
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea
Hey! How’s your summer going? Hot enough for ya? Try this Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl – it’s a bright, light, and simply delicious summertime meal. Perfect for these sweltering days…there is no recipe per se, just a combination of healthful ingredients that have a particular affinity for each other, all arranged in a bowl. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan too.
Enjoy the salad/grain bowl al fresco along with refreshing Lemon Verbena Iced Tea – the high levels of essential oil contribute to a delightful citrusy aroma and lovely lemony flavor.
Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
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