Category: Drinks

Margarita Sangria

Margarita Sangria

Since the first person made wine, there have no doubt been myriad variations on that theme. Additions, subtractions, trials, errors…even wine made from water if you include the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first and always best miracle. I’m not in the habit of quoting anyone’s scripture on the blog, but this is my very favorite Bible story ever, of course, so bear with me:

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Spiked Gazpacho with Crab

Spiked Gazpacho with Crab

It’s a drink, it’s an appetizer, a first course, a meal, or all of the above. Definitely cool and summer stunning in chilled, heavy on-the-rocks glasses with a crostini side-car, this Spiked Gazpacho with Crab would eat happily out of small bowls, coffee cups, wine glasses, or … …

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50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #48 – Cat Cora’s Grapefruit Margarita

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #48 – Cat Cora’s Grapefruit Margarita

Grapefruit Margarita by Cat Cora

On the journey with fellow food bloggers through Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, we’re heading on fast toward the finish line with number 48, Cat Cora (b 1968.)  Each week, we feature one special woman who has made an impact on what goes on the table when we sit down to eat.  Some we’ve know well; others have been new to some of us.  If you’re interested in the celebrity food world, you’ve heard of this week’s Cat Cora (Iron Chef, Around the World in 80 Plates), who hailed from Jackson, Mississippi where she was raised in a Greek restaurant family.  Soon after college she found her way to New York and the CIA for culinary school.   Training further in first-class kitchens in France and New York, she finally found her way to California where she now lives with her partner and four sons.  

Order Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist
In addition to cookbooks, restaurants, a line of food, wine, and cookware, as well as the tv shows (click here for her You Tube Channel), Cat is also involved in a variety of causes… 
Outside of the kitchen, Cat is known for her philanthropy. She is President and Founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization that originated in response to the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Modeled after Doctors Without Borders, the not-for-profit gathers the culinary community together to raise funds and provide resources for important emergency, educational and hunger-related causes. Recognizing Cat’s altruistic determination in the food world, UNICEF named her a nutritional spokesperson to help raise awareness for humanitarian crises around the world.

In June 2010, Cat joined First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Chefs Move To Schools campaign in an effort to provide nutritional guidance and education from professional chefs to schools nationwide. Cat is presently working on adopting an elementary school near her home in Santa Barbara, CA.  (courtesy catcora.com)

Want more info about Cat and her recipes?  Check out her website here . 
Follow Cat on twitter here.

But first, mix up this heat-beating  grapefruit cocktail as a trial run for your Memorial Day cook-out.  I am not much of a spirits drinker (as a foodie I’m into wine–it goes with food!), but I do drink the occasional  finger of island Scotch come January in St. Paul, a shot of Asbach-Uralt if I’m stuffed up with a cold, or the ubiquitous summer margarita on the patio.  You could say I’m a  medicinal drinker!   I  do like the idea of something different with a nod toward healthy (has grapefruit, right?) and so had my husband and friend Jim whip these up for us to try last weekend.  That’s right, I didn’t even make these babies; I’m fessing up.  I don’t grill outdoors and I don’t make cocktails; I don’t want to learn.  I do make great sangria and will make you some if you come to dinner in the summertime.  So there.  Try these:

cat cora’s straight up grapefruit margaritas  makes 4 cocktails

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 2 large grapefruit)
  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbs superfine sugar (plus extra for rim)
  • 4 cups crushed ice

Directions

Run a lime wedge over the rim of each glass and dip in superfine sugar. Shake all ingredients together in martini shaker, strain out the ice, carefully divide the margarita mixture among four glasses and serve. 

Taster’s Notes:  I thought these a tad sweet for my taste and would increase the lime juice next time.  Otherwise–a beautiful, refreshing start to our Mother’s Day cookout.  We also made a non-alcoholic version with grenadine and grapefruit juice.

~
I blog, on this project, with a tasty group of writers.  Read up:

Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

   
If you liked this, you might like my Greek Chicken Salad to go along with the margarita!

Mother’s Day Dessert

two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
Making the shortcakes–I did the ice cream, too.  May blog the whole thing!
Baked a glazed Korobuta ham–Bourbon-Orange Glazed— Wednesday for my choir’s last rehearsal.  Berkshire pork is worth the price and this is my new go-to recipe (Fine Cooking) for big groups or holiday ham.

You see where they are–getting the tablecloth full of dog hair!
Allium in my west garden–everything is way ahead of schedule.

 Egg Salad on my Dinner Place Blog (Cooking for One) this week :
                “An Egg with a Few Greens for Supper”

Sing a new song,

Alyce
New Year’s Day Brunch for Eight

New Year’s Day Brunch for Eight

Do you want to just sleep away New Year’s Day?

Maybe you want coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee… and maybe a football game later. Much later.

But if you’d like a touching, warm beginning for the New Year (and, honey, it really is 2010), this sweet and savory meal is for you. You might not need anything else the rest of the day.. especially if you don’t make it until 3pm. Smile.

I’m praying your Christmas and Hanukkah were great… This is just the eighth day of Christmas; did I do the math right?

8 maids a milking……………… Whoa. Just the thought makes my hands hurt.

Our tree stays up for the 12 days of Christmas. When the wise men arrive on January 6 is when I’m comfortable beginning to take down an ornament or two. Why not give it it’s full due?

Epiphany is an incredible season of its own. I love the word

EPIPHANY

Look it up and read the definitions. You need an epiphany; I know. I do, too.

Meantime, the menu.

Pomegranate Sparkler
Fresh Fruit Salad
Balsamic Fried Tomatoes
Sweet Potato and Black Forest Ham Frittata
Whole wheat toast/butter and jam
Stollen (an easy one)
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

Recipes are in the order in which you should make them………
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
Make your coffee just how you like it. Make lots.

POMEGRANATE SPARKLER

Into each of eight flutes, pour equal amounts of pomegranate juice and champagne or cava (an inexpensive and super Spanish sparkler) or prosecco. No New Year’s Resolutions needed.
A few frozen raspberries or cranberries in the bottom of the glasses add a dash of seasonal red.

STOLLEN
2 loaves. Each serves 8-10.
Great to make ahead and freeze. This recipe makes two. Keep one for later or take one to a friend. This is an easy stollen… not to worry about a thing. If you can make banana bread, this is just a T-tiny step above. No yeast. The original recipe that I’ve changed over a couple of years and bakings at sea level and at altitude came from Susan Westmoreland @ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, linked here.
.

2 c ricotta cheese
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
2 c dried tart cherries (other dried fruit works)
1 c toasted walnuts, chopped roughly
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
4 lrg eggs (use extra large at altitude)

4 2/3 c unbleached white flour
1 c white, granulated sugar
3 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease two large, rimmed cookie sheets or baking pans.
Mix together ricotta, cherries, nuts, vanilla, lemon peel and eggs. Set aside.
In food processor, mix (using steel blade) flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in cold butter and process until meal-like. Pour flour mixture into a large bowl. Mix in ricotta mixture by hand until the dough hangs together.
Do try this at home…………….or ask kids to help. They aren’t afraid of bread!
You’ll have a lovely dough by now and you need to turn it out onto a floured board or counter and divide it in half. With floured hands, gently knead each piece of dough about three times. With floured rolling pin, roll one piece of dough into 10” by 8” oval. Fold oval lengthwise, bringing top half over or that the bottom of dough extends by one inch. Repeat for second
piece of dough.

Pat /roll out; roll over…….Place each stollen on a prepared baking sheet. Bake about an hour until lightly browned and toothpick placed in center of bread comes out clean. Transfer bread to wire racks and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar. Slice as desired. 1 1/2 inches is good serving.
Wrap extra stollen in double layer of foil and freeze or deliver to friend.

FRUIT SALAD

Cut up 2 cups each of four of your favorite winter fruits and mix well in large bowl. If desired, mix in 1/2 c sour cream and top with shredded coconut.

Suggestions: Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, pineapples…….Whatever’s good at your market!

BALSAMIC FRIED TOMATOES

Slice two large tomatoes and saute them in a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 T top-quality balsamic vinegar and cook 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and serve with frittata.
SWEET POTATO-BLACK FOREST HAM FRITTATA

2T olive oil
2 small red potatoes, chopped roughly
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2# asparagus, chopped (remove bottom couple of inches)
1/4# Black Forest ham, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 eggs, well beaten
1 c Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large (12-14″) skillet, measure oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add both kinds of potatoes and onions. Saute until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add asparagus and ham and saute until the crisp has just worn off the asparagus. Add beaten eggs and cook, stirring, for five minutes or so, stirring often. When the eggs are about half-cooked, add Gruyere cheese and place in oven. Bake until crispy and the eggs are set to your liking. Turn pan over onto large cutting board and shower with Parmesan. Cut into 8 pieces and let your friends or family serve themselves. (While frittata bakes, make your toast.)

Share with someone you love!
Happy New Year, friends………….as you sing any new or “auld” song,

Alyce–Could there be anything better leftover? Add a little butter.

Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving by Walt Waldo Emerson

For each morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.

Visiting my friend Sue last month, we talked a little about Thanksgiving.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I don’t know; I haven’t decided. I would so like something really simple,” said she.

“I know exactly what you should make,” said I.

Well, of course, I had the idea and, truthfully, had done something like it before, but I had to flesh out the menu and, naturally, try it all out. And, while I adore Thanksgiving, I know it can get out of hand. You don’t know it’s gotten out of hand until you start the dishes and are still washing glasses the next day. Mostly, it’s worth it. Occasionally, though, you want a holiday to BE a holiday for everyone, including you. Well, you and one other person, a special one.

This menu is for that Thanksgiving. I include directions for a Thanksgiving for two, which is delectable. To be two, I mean–and, yes, the food, is, too. I’d say it’s more for two with plenty of leftovers, so perhaps I’d say there’s enough for four people. The whole thing easily doubles to serve eight and so on. I began cooking this meal at 6pm and we sat down (after taking boocoo pics) at 8:15. I had time in there to have a glass of wine and a couple of teensy starters, though I did have to set the table earlier in the day. I think it could have been done more quickly if I had had the recipes worked out ahead; I was improvising and writing as I went. If you try it, let me know the time!

I had so much fun doing this meal. Isn’t that what it’s about? Hope you do, too.

MENU

  • Starters:Olives and Pistachios–set out in small bowls with wine
  • First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (bought from deli)
  • Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
  • Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
  • Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
  • Bread: Corn Muffins from the bakery
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
  • Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream

Cook’s Hint: Get the turkey and root vegetables in the oven and then make the brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce. Set the coffee up to be ready to push the button as soon as the meal is done. If you had no time to set the table, get your friend to do it while you cook! He or she is in charge of the wine, too. Why not?

RECIPES——

OVEN-ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES W/ ROSEMARY

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
5 new potatoes, cut into fourths (don’t peel)
2T olive oil
1t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly-ground pepper
3T fresh rosemary, minced

Place all vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet, mixing them well. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Using your hands, toss. Bake about 40 minutes until tender. You can cook these at the same time you roast the turkey; times are similar. Put these in the top oven rack and put the turkey in the bottom of the oven.

TURKEY ROULADE, STUFFED WITH PROSCUITTO/SAGE/ONIONS
1 boneless turkey breast 3-4 pounds
6 slices proscuitto
3T olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T fresh sage leaves, sliced very finely
Kosher Salt
Freshly-ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a small skillet, cook onion for five minutes in 1T olive oil. Add garlic and sage and saute until onion is limp. Set aside.

Lay turkey breast out flat and roll with a rolling pin until breast flattens out a little. You might need to pound it lightly. Salt and pepper the turkey well. Lay the proscuitto on breast, one piece at a time to cover, and top with the onion-sage-garlic mix. Using both hands, roll breast up gently to form a roll @5 ” thick, placing seam at bottom. Cut four 15″ pieces of kitchen twine. Slip each piece of twine under the turkey roll and tie roll together gently in four places, spacing the ties out evenly. Salt and pepper well.
Place other 2T olive oil in roasting pan and warm over medium heat on stovetop. Gently remove turkey roll to the pan and brown for 4-5 minutes, searing meat. Turn over and salt and pepper that side as well. Brown again for 4-5 minutes.

Place in bottom third of 400F oven and bake another 35-40 minutes until thermometer registers 160. (Your root vegetables are in the top of this oven) Remove from oven and let rest five minutes or so. Slice into about eight slices or as you desire.

If vegetables are done, you can still leave them in to keep very warm while the turkey rests.

PAN-ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH PARMESAN AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

12 fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and trimmed (Take l layer of leaves off and
cut off bottom tiny core) and cut in half
2T olive oil
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, “grated” in long pieces with a potato peeler
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
Kosher Salt and freshly-ground pepper

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add brussel sprouts. Stirring frequently to avoid burning, but still to brown nicely, cook brussel sprouts for about 10 minutes. Add parmesan and pumpkin seeds. Turn down heat to medium-low and cook until sprouts are fairly well-done, but still somewhat crispy. Take care to not burn the parmesan; it should be quite brown. Salt and pepper well.

Homemade Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Apple

1 package fresh cranberries
Water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lemon, cut into fourths
1/2 large apple, diced, leaving peel on
1/8-1/4 t red pepper flakes to taste

In large, deep skillet, place cranberries. Add water to cover well only. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Let boil 2-3 minutes and lower heat to simmer. Cover and simmer until fruit is tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room-temperature. Also good cold.

–Cook’s Note:

Easy to serve the meat and all the vegetables on one big platter:

Very easy!!! Here are my pumpkin custards…. Pie without crust.

“There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy:
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie.”
(well, almost!)
Some Thanksgiving Books You Might Enjoy (in no order):
CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING, by Wende and Harry Devlin. (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1971; also Aladdin Paperbacks, 1990)
This book contains a great cranberry bread recipe….
GIVING THANKS: THANKSGIVING RECIPES AND HISTORY, FROM PILGRIMS TO PUMPKIN PIE, by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver and Plimoth Plantation. (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2005)
THANKSGIVING 101, by Rick Rodgers. (New York: William Morrow, 2007; also in 1998 by Broadway Books)
HAPPILY GRATEFUL, compiled by Dan Zedra and Kristel Wills (Seattle: Compendium, 2009)
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING by Jean Craighead George; illus. by Thomas Locker. (New York, Putnam, 1993)
Some random thoughts about Thanksgiving——
Thanksgiving as a spiritual discipline or as a way of life is something quite interesting and lovely on which to meditate. Try it; I’d love to know what comes up.
Here are a couple of my thoughts:
I think thanksgiving is a way of living responsibly…
As a faithful person, I know I am healthier when I have a grateful heart. To not be grateful in all circumstances introduces the possibility of becoming a victim– to which there is no solution or cure.
When I live thankfully, I then live in a better place in all ways.
We all just keep working on it!
Thanksgiving, it’s not just for dinner anymore.
Sing a new song as you give thanks,
Alyce
Chicken Taco Salad Bar Party for 25

Chicken Taco Salad Bar Party for 25

Why do we shy away from inviting a group-any size, really- of people to eat at our table (or sit on the floor) and warm their hearts with us? What stops us? Larger parties just put people to shaking their heads and sort of pulling their lower lips to one side, gritting teeth, thinking about the need to paint the house, clean the carpet, re-do the bathroom, install new lighting fixtures, buy all new dishes, pots and pans and wine glasses, and, as my husband says, “alphabetize the spices.” In other words, we want to do everything that ever needed to be done (preferably in one week/day? or less) in the last five years. (Above and below photos-favorite family/friends come visit for the chicken salad taco party in honor our our daughter’s college graduation.)
Once, many years ago now, we were having our good friends, Susan and Charles (with kids) over for a Christmas night buffet. Early that afternoon, my lovely guy decided it was time to pull apart the kitchen chairs and re-glue them. Oh, boy. (I did stop him.)

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