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Archive for the ‘Drink’ Category

Ginvent Calendar

In Drink on December 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Ginvent2

It’s 12.12.12, which means that we are halfway through our advent calendars. For many of us, like my four-year-old son, advent calendars look a lot like this faux chalet, below, that I got at Barneys years ago, hiding See’s foil-wrapped milk chocolates (I’m a California girl, after all) behind each door.

advent calendar barneys

 

If you’re like me, your advent calendar looks a little more exciting. It looks like the most GENIUS present you may have ever received in your life. A GINVENT CALENDAR! Last month, my friend Missy Suicide bestowed me with this inspired and splashy gift of 24 3cl bottles of top-shelf gin. Each evening after the boys have gone to bed, I’ve opened up the day’s door to discover a little splash of gin for a nightcap gin & tonic. Day One started off with a familiar favorite:

GinventHendricks

But best of all, I’ve made some fun new artisanal discoveries, as well as revisiting a couple of forgotten stalwarts. Here are Days 6-12:

ginvent6thru12

 

Can’t wait to unlock the remaining 12 as we countdown to Christmas. And for those of you still searching for that perfect gift for the gin loving lady (or gent) in your life, you can thank me—and Missy Suicide—later. First, gin up.

 

 

Let’s Drink to Mother’s Day

In Drink on May 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Flowers, spa treatments, breakfast in bed—it’s all good. But after the kids are in bed, what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a well-deserved drink? One of my favorites is The Lulu (above)—a delicious muddle of basil and strawberries topped with Prosecco, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Aperol, created by friend and celebrity caterer Lulu Powers.

Also in the fruity family is the beloved Pimms Cup cocktail. Grab some blueberries, strawberries, oranges and fresh mint at the farmers market in the morning and make a pitcher in the afternoon. These taste even better when enjoyed with friends.

For something that packs a little more punch, try a refreshing Vodka Rosemary Lemon Fizz. The nonalcoholic version of this sophisticated drink is equally delicious for moms-to-be. Just skip the vodka and add more club soda.

Or, if we can’t wait until the kids are in bed, why not start the day with my friend Laurie’s perfect Bloody Mary?

Another entry in the morning cocktail category, a favorite riff on the bellini: Peach Tarragon Bellini, a recipe I developed for Bon Appétit magazine. Or just skip the peaches and tarragon and go directly to champagne. Cheers!

Tangerine Dreams

In Drink, Recipes on April 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Recently I got several pounds of tangerines in my CSA farm bag and promptly put them to nostalgic use. For those whose happiest childhood memories involve a Creamsicle—that perfect balance of tart, sweet and creamy—this Creamsicle Float from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques is made for you. Goin suggests using tangelos, which are sweet and not too acidic and have very few seeds. But tangerines will also do the trick. I made these for Easter and again the following week when my inlaws were visiting. I’m hoping someone will make them for me on Mother’s Day.

To make, squeeze 1/2 cup of juice per serving (or juice from two to three tangerines depending on size and juiciness). In each glass place a large scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Pour over 1/2 cup tangerine or tangelo juice. Top with seltzer. Serve with a straw.

Do You Take Your Coffee Wet or Dry?

In Drink on March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

Earlier this year, I ordered a cup of single-origin Verve Ethiopian Worka to-go and grabbed a bag of the same beans from SO (which stands for Single Origin) in the Original Farmers Market. Despite my protest that I don’t like super fruity coffees, the barista assured me it was “amazing.” And amazing it was. But not in a good way. At first I thought the fancy pour-over technique must be to blame for the drink’s curiously familiar nuances, but when I got the beans home and brewed a pot myself, my 3 year old confirmed what I was already thinking. “Mommy, I smell poop.” More specifically, it smelled like a dirty diaper, a sentiment I uncharitably tweeted later that day.

But I’d had enough. Single Origin. Coffee Cupping. Pour Over. Cold brew. Coffee culture was, to my mind, spiraling out of control—and this coming from a wine writer! Don’t get me wrong. I love coffee, and I love GOOD coffee. But I hate that at the serious coffee joints in San Francisco and New York that a cup of joe is accompanied by a condescending sigh when I ask to add a splash of milk to a sludgy cup. So it was with great surprise that I opened a friendly email from Colby Barr, owner of Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, in response to my unfriendly words about his elite beans.

“Sooooooo, you didn’t like the Ethiopia Worka. Cool,” he wrote in an email entitled “Worka no Workie.” And thus began my education. The Worka, he explained, is what’s known as a “dry-processed” coffee. Dry processed coffee beans, or cherries, are dried with their skins on, which leads to an influx of sugars and fruit compounds into the coffee. “Wet-processed” coffees are stripped of their skin and fruit (i.e. pulp) before the beans are dried, yielding cleaner, crisper coffees—the kind of coffee I like to drink. He sent me these photos to illustrate:

Wet-processed coffee beans

Dry-processed coffee beans

“I think it’s safe to say that you do not like dry-processed coffee,” Colby concluded. “They can be love/hate for sure.” So I decided to give one of Verve’s wet-processed coffees a try and got a pound of Don Mayo from Costa Rica, which I served at brunch that weekend to a bunch of neighborhood girls. Everyone—myself included—loved it. Creamy and smooth with honeyed notes, it was perfection. And I’ve tried several more of Verve’s wet-processed coffees and am one smitten customer. And for those of you who like fruit bombs (and, I’m sure, all sorts of nuanced molasses complexity that is lost on me), do give the dry-processed beans a try. Thank you, Colby!


Penne alla Vodka

In Drink, Food on January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

If there is one dish that is dreadfully out of fashion that I unapologetically adore, it’s penne all vodka. Yes, that’s vodka pink sauce my friends and no, it is not 1972. I love Lidia Bastianich’s version, which includes a hit of heat from crush red pepper. Go liberal on that. And, if you’re feeling like you need to class up the joint, serve with a smoky, smooth bottle of 2009 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino ($30) from Tuscany, available at Larchmont Village Wine & Spirits and BevMo.

 

Ice, Ice Baby

In Drink, Recipes on December 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

We are officially in the holiday season having logged two parties this past weekend with four on the docket this week. The highlight of my own holiday party is a Champagne Pomegranate Punch (the most requested recipe in my arsenal). We serve it in a big punch bowl with a sliver punch ladle from my mother, and the night before I make an ice mold. What goes into the ice changes based on mood, so get creative! First you’ll need a bundt pan. Place lemon slices, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves—or really, whatever fruit and herbs suit your fancy—in bottom of pan.

Fill with water about 2/3 full as the water will expand when it freezes. Freeze overnight, and remove about 1/2 hour before serving so that it slightly melts to loosen sides.

Turn into punch bowl. The ice will slowly melt, which is a good thing considering how much white rum I sneak into that punch. Happy holidays!

A Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y

In Drink, Media on November 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

A great honor to guest post today on my friend Lizzie’s awesome blog TOMBOY STYLE (her book by the same name is being published by Rizzoli this spring)—and on one of my favorite topics, whisk(e)y! Pour yourself a stiff glass of Ardbeg Supernova and head on over to TOMBOY STYLE for a Girl’s Guide to Whisk(e)y, and say “hi” to Lizzie while you’re there!

A Little Thanksgiving Something on the Side

In Drink, Food on November 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

This year—more than most—Thanksgiving’s pending arrival has caught me completely by surprise. Perhaps that’s because for the first time in over a decade I won’t be cooking, or at least I won’t be cooking the main event. I’ve been asked to bring a side dish—so I’m bringing two. My friends Vanessa’s excellent Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine, Pomegranate Molasses, and Mediterranean Herbs and Nicki’s favorite Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Pine Nut Bread Crumb Topping were standouts last month at our cooking club. We all made our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and while I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite from the lineup, these two were particular show stoppers.

Photo by Tim Morris via bonappetit.com

Photo by Elinor Carucci via bonappetit.com

Looking back through the archives, I thought I’d share a few other ideas from Thanksgivings past. And would love to hear what you’ll be bringing to the table this year. Something tells me I’ll be back in the kitchen next year and really, when it comes to my favorite meal of the year, it’s never too early to start planning…

I LOVE these Pearl Onions Glazed in Port with Bay Leaves. They provide a nice bright note to some of the heavier flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

My go-to and totally decadent Escarole Cornbread Stuffing—rich with prosciutto, fresh ricotta, parm and wild rice. What’s great about this is that it’s all prepared stove top so you’re not fighting for oven space, and then you stick it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the parm just after you’ve taken the turkey out to rest.

This is my all-time favorite Brussels sprouts recipe that’s rich with butter, shallots and fennel—from my friend Carolynn (who cowrote Nancy Silverton’s latest book, The Mozza Cookbook). I’ve made this for the past 10 or so Thanksgivings, so I’m taking a break this year and making the Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts Gratin (which is epic).

And for heaven’s sake, let’s not forget about cocktails! This Champagne Pomegranate Punch is probably the most-requested recipe in my arsenal. I blogged about it last year over on Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog. For recipe, click HERE.

Emergency Kits: Foodstuff Edition

In Drink, Food on September 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

Last spring, I wrote a story for the Los Angeles Times Home section about emergency kits. In that article I focused on pre-made kits you could buy online, but while researching the topic I checked in with my friend Hugh, a man with a plan. Hugh had, of course, assembled his own earthquake kit and said he’d recently added boxed wine.

“I’m all for building some joy into the kit, and none of the commercial ones have it,” he said. “Come doomsday, what’s wrong with eating cherry smoked oysters on water crackers with warm pinot grigio from a mylar bag?”

All joking aside, he has a point. The most likely scenario in which we Angelenos would need a kit would be an earthquake—a situation that might find one without power or services for several days. (And God forbid we consider anything worse.) If you look at FEMA’s guidelines for what to pack, they address the idea of comfort foods in their list of essentials:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples—sugar, salt, pepper
  • High energy foods—peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons with special dietary needs
  • Comfort/stress foods—cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags

It makes sense. Also important to remember are special items that kids or people with special dietary needs might require. Our family got a standard kit from the Red Cross, but we needed to get canned goods so I stocked up on bottled water and some food essentials. What’s in your kit? Here’s what’s in mine…

Bumblebee Chunk Light Tuna in Oil: While I love love love the fancy Ortiz Spanish tuna pictured at the top of this post, it seemed a little spendy for an emergency kit so I went with my go-to commercial canned tuna instead.

MaraNatha Organic No Stir Crunchy Peanut Butter: When it came to peanut butter, I didn’t mind splurging a little. I have a serious addiction to this peanut butter. As in, I have a mild peanut allergy and still eat the stuff everyday. The hour or two of congestion that follows is totally worth it.

Edward & Sons Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps: These are my toddler’s very favorite crackers. They’re low sodium, gluten-free and surprisingly good. I’d be lying if I pretended Tiny G is the only one eating these.

As a treat with some protein and fiber hidden in there, Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars Honey Almond Flax aren’t bad as granola bars go. These are not as exciting as, say, a ricotta- and yellow cream-stuffed cannolo from Mike’s Pastry in Boston, but they have a longer shelf life.

I also picked up a tin of my favorite Dean and Deluca Swedish Fish, but I’m afraid they didn’t make it through the night…

Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino

In Drink, Food, Recipes on August 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Each Wednesday I pick up a bag of fresh produce from my local CSA, and each Wednesday I am faced with the challenge of what to do with another bunch of kale. The dilemma has recently escalated thanks to the Pressed Juicery cleanse I embarked upon two months ago—the only lasting results of which have been that the very mention of kale renders me completely hostile and irritable, much like the cleanse itself.

And yet the kale keeps coming. Today my friend Christine offered me a lifeline and shared her husband Andrew’s recipe for a raw kale salad with lemon juice, salt and grated pecorino. I remembered seeing a similar version in the New York Times from Melissa Clark, which I ended up using (minus the bread crumbs). And you know what? I’m ADDICTED! The flavors are so fresh and tangy, and the cheese adds just a hint of nuttiness. It was spectacular alongside grilled corn from our farm bag and a beautiful piece of Alaskan salmon my sister brought over this evening:

Melissa’s recipe calls for Tuscan kale, but I used curly kale and julienned the raw kale into tiny slivers, as my main objection to other raw kale salads you find at, say, Whole Foods with larger pieces of kale is the lock jaw that comes from chewing the stuff. I hope you enjoy Melissa’s recipe as much as I did! And of course, keep the kale ideas coming!

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino (slightly adapted)

This recipe also appears in Melissa Clark’s excellent cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite

1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale)

1 thin slice country bread (part whole-wheat or rye is nice), or 1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse)

1/2 garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Trim bottom 2 inches off kale stems and discard. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place kale in a large bowl.

If using bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic into a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).

Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.

Oh, and don’t forget to “garnish” with a gorgeous glass of 2009 Ponzi Rosato Pinot Noir ($15)…