Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
with
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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Mexican Hot Chocolate with Molinillo

Mexican Hot Chocolate with Molinillo

Chocolate Caliente Mexicano
Chile de Arbol, Canela, Vainilla

Sweet and spicy, warm and frothy, authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate couldn’t be more delightful or welcome on a chilly winter’s day.

Spicy hot chiles de arbol and aromatic cinnamon sticks are simmered in a pot of hot milk for about ten minutes, then removed. Luxurious dark chocolate granules along with vanilla extract are stirred into the spiced milk until the chocolate has completely melted. A molinillo (Mexican whisk) is placed into the pot and rotated between the palms in a twisting motion to create espuma (froth).

The molinillo is hand carved from solid wood and burnt to create artistic darker shades by artisans in Mexico.

The elite ancient peoples of Mexico would ceremoniously pour their chocolate drinks from one cup to another to create a froth in which the spirit of the drink was said to lie.

Ingredients for Two Mugs of Mexican Hot Chocolate:

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Hot Mulled Wine with Orange, Spices, and Scotch Whisky

Hot Mulled Wine

Hot Mulled Wine
Orange, Spices, Scotch Whisky
Amarena Cherries

Whether on the slopes or off, Hot Mulled Wine is guaranteed to ward off that winter chill.

A fruity orange juice reduction has a touch of sweetness, warming spices of cinnamon and clove, the exotic flavor of star anise and the unique herbal fragrance of bay. A hearty Cabernet Sauvignon (that’s not too oaky or tannic) is simmered with the orange spice mixture until piping hot.  The wine is fortified with a generous splash of scotch whisky for an extra kick.

When it comes to hot mulled wine, the garnish is important! We jazz it up, otherwise, it just looks like murky fermented juice in a glass. Orange slices and cinnamon sticks are a traditional garnish. Additionally, we skewer luscious amarena cherries to enhance the dark fruit characteristics of the wine. Skol!

Hot Mulled Wine Recipe

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Ringing in a Dazzling and Delicious New Year!

New Year's Eve Appetizer

Ringing in a Dazzling and Delicious New Year!
Beggar’s Purses
and
British Cheese Toasts

Happy New Year Friends! May it be filled with dazzling and delicious dishes. And no shortage of exceptional adult beverages either. We are ringing in 2018 with a couple fabulous appetizers…pairing them with outstanding Champagne and Single Malt Scotch.

Champagne, smoked salmon, and caviar are an undisputed flavor trifecta. Here, premium smoked salmon is stuffed with a dollop of creme fraiche, then tied into an adorable bundle and topped with caviar.  Toasted brioche is the perfect vehicle for serving these little beggar’s purses, although a knife and fork are required. Forever elegant NV Billecart-Salmon Rosé is totally enchanting, with flavors of sweet spice and wild strawberries, it continues to be the Champagne that should be married to smoked salmon. And not just because of the name.

Our second appetizer is designed to pair with Scotch Whisky. Rich salty cave-aged English cheddar heightens the sweet notes in the Scotch. Peppery arugula and pickled watermelon radish offer the perfect counterpoints. Talisker Single Malt is from Carbost, Scotland on the Isle of Skye, it’s full-flavored and wonderfully peaty, with compelling flavors and brisk scents of the seashore in every luscious sip.

New Year's Eve Appetizer

Beggar’s Purse and British Cheese Toast Recipes

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Holiday Drink Contest and Party Planning Tips

Holiday Drink Contest

Holiday Drink Contest

This year’s chic party theme was “Le Holiday en Blanc” where guests were fabulously dressed in winter white, the decorations were white with sparkly gold and silver accents, and the signature drink, of course, was white.

The ingredient list was posted a week prior so everyone had the opportunity to secretly submit their festive ideas for the name of our workplace holiday party’s Signature Drink. The prize was dinner for two at our favorite Southbay restaurant, Baran’s 2239. The contest created quite a buzz leading up to the party…

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Totally Captivating Yuzu Tea

Yuzu TeaTotally Captivating Yuzu Tea

We harvested the last of this year’s yuzu fruit today. It is a neat fruit to grow in the garden because it can be used in so many different recipes and is edible when young and green all the way into the late fall when it is ripe and yellow. An extremely aromatic fruit – a basket of yuzu perfumes the whole room. And it makes an equally aromatic tea: a heady floral elixir with notes of mandarin orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit.

The yuzu tea recipe is quite simple. Cut the fruit in half around the equator and remove the seeds. The seeds are large and plentiful but easy to extract. I use the skinny end of a teaspoon to pop them out. Slice the fruit into slivers. Without taking too much trouble, remove as much pith as possible. Place cut fruit in a bowl and muddle with a good amount of sugar. Once well-muddled, place the yuzu/sugar mixture in a teapot and pour in boiling (filtered) water. Steep only briefly then pour the sweet citrusy tea into mugs, along with some of the soft rinds and flesh which are edible too.