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…
Continue reading “Holiday Drink Contest and Party Planning Tips”
Totally 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.
Hibiscus-Rose Infusion aka Agua de Jamaica y Rosas
Ladies, are you looking for the perfect non-alcoholic summer beverage to complement your offering of those Southern French Rosés and Pink Champagnes at that upcoming soirée?
Meet Agua de Jamaica y Rosas. This gorgeous-hued, refreshing hibiscus-rose infusion is tart and sweet with a dreamy rose perfume. Your girlfriends will be delighted with this heady flower elixir!
Hibiscus-Rose Infusion Recipe
Continue reading “Hibiscus-Rose Infusion aka Agua de Jamaica y Rosas”
Strawberry Caprese Salad with Burrata
Not that our favorite Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil) needed any improvement, but here, the classic savory summer salad is transformed by adding sweet strawberries & balsamic syrup. The combination is stellar.
Super-juicy and seductively aromatic, strawberries highlight the what is most memorable about this time of year’s produce. Tomatoes and strawberries have a curiously delightful affinity for each other. A light drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar adds a touch of sweet acid that brightens the entire dish. Creamy rich burrata takes the mozzarella to the next level.
By choosing only the best ingredients – fresh picked Italian basil, the juiciest most flavorful heirloom tomatoes, ripest organic strawberries, and high quality olive oil & aged balsamic vinegar – this salad can stand alone as a most satisfying evening meal. Serve with a good chilled rosé, and this dinner more than anything will evoke the pure taste of the season. No better way to enjoy a hot summer evening…
Strawberry Caprese Salad with Burrata Recipe
Continue reading “Strawberry Caprese Salad with Burrata”
Olive Harvest Celebration and Palos Verdes Pastoral
It just doesn’t get more local than this! At the upcoming Palos Verdes Pastoral to be held on October 9th at Terranea Resort, Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra will be serving an enchanting dinner inspired by the dishes of his childhood. “The mountains were my backyard and the sea was my front yard,” reminisces Chef Bernard about growing up in France’s Basque Country.
The menu will awaken diners to the flourishing textures, colors, and aromas of the charmed Basque region. The Chef brings a true garden-to-table concept to the event – not because it is fashionable, but because it is natural, the way cooking should be, he says.
In France, they relied on local products and let the season dictate what is on the table. Menus would follow the rhythm of Mother Nature. The Palos Verdes Pastoral dinner will be flavored with uber-local ingredients from the Palos Verdes Peninsula including estate-grown olive oil, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, lemonade berries, rosemary, sea salt, and honey.
Continue reading “Olive Harvest Celebration and Palos Verdes Pastoral”
Olive Oil Bundt Cake
Luxardo Glaze, Cherries, and Candied Orange
Inspired by last week’s Evolving Manhattan Cocktail with Luxardo Ice Sphere, here Maraschino Liqueur shows up as a glaze for a not-too-sweet bundt cake featuring fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
Luxardo Maraschino, a liqueur distilled from the leaves, pits, stems and skins of sour marasca cherries has an almond-like, subtly bitter complex cherry flavor.
Nicely browned on the outside, with a soft moist interior, the simple yet impressive cake is enhanced with candied orange and those luxurious luxardo cherries and their heavenly juice. And a complementary basil garnish is much more interesting than the ubiquitous mint sprig.
Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Luxardo Glaze Recipe
Continue reading “Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Luxardo Glaze, Cherries, and Candied Orange”
The Evolving Manhattan Cocktail
With Luxardo Ice Sphere
As time passes and the Luxardo ice sphere melts slowly into the Manhattan cocktail, the original drink morphs into another, namely the Brooklyn.
One of the five drinks named for the New York City boroughs, the Brooklyn is much lesser known than its neighbor from across the East River, the Manhattan. The distinguishing ingredient in the Brooklyn is Luxardo Maraschino, a liqueur distilled from the leaves, pits, stems and skins of sour marasca cherries. It is not overly sweet with an almond-like, subtly bitter complex cherry flavor.
The first sips of this Knob Creek Manhattan are delightfully fierce and quite boozy with rich, woody, caramel Kentucky bourbon flavors only slightly tempered by the fruit and spice attributes of French red vermouth. The Maurin Rouge tastes of ripe cherries and raisins with spice notes of cinnamon, cardamom and clove. A couple dashes of Trinidad’s Angostura Bitters, add a distinctive herbal flavor and a layer of complexity.
When sipped slowly, over time another cocktail all together will unfold. One that is less intense, as the ice has melted, flooding the bourbon with the distinct flavor of Luxardo Maraschino and a hint of orange bitters.
The Manhattan has mellowed while the characteristics of the Brooklyn have emerged. Now is the time to nibble on those authentic luxurious Italian cherries. Dark, dense, chewy, and sweet-tart, they’re surprisingly worth the $20 for an 8 oz. jar.
Continue reading “Evolving Manhattan Cocktail, Luxardo Ice Sphere”