Evolving Manhattan Cocktail, Luxardo Ice Sphere

Manhattan Cocktail with a Luxardo Ice Sphere

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.

The Evolving Manhattan Cocktail With Luxardo Ice Sphere

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.

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One Ingredient Transforms Classic Greek Salad

Try Adding Sweet Peaches to a Savory Greek Salad

Classic Greek Salad with Peaches

In an ephemeral memory, I remember her disappointment when being served a Greek salad long ago at some swanky Chicago restaurant. It had all the requisite ingredients, but was composed with lettuce. Lettuce, she told us, was not supposed to be in a Greek salad.

With absolutely no Greek ancestry whatsoever, my wonderful mother was an ardent fan of Greek food. When she would return to Chicago to visit family and friends, dinner out with my Aunt Alice for Athenian chicken was on the top of her list.

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Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

Julia Child and Loup de Mer

As Julia Child tells the story, “Simca, Paul, Patricia, and I… penetrated into this beautiful courtyard and were seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis.

It was a splendid lunch, moving from apéritifs to pâté of fresh duck livers and truffles, thick slices of pain brioche, a timbale, tomatoes and a green salad. But the real reason we were there was for the loup de mer, a Mediterranean sea bass.

If you’ve been cooking for a long time, you can usually guess how a dish is made. Simca and I studied every detail of this remarkable loup, and tried to deduce its secrets.

The waiter appeared, and I asked him a few questions, which he was only too happy to answer. It’s delicious, we agreed, as we polished off our lunch. And it really shouldn’t be too difficult to make.”

Excerpted from My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

How to Cook Loup de Mer Fillets

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Spaghetti al Pomodoro with a Twist

Spaghetti al Pomodoro with a Twist

Spaghetti al Pomodoro with a Twist

Beautiful summer tomatoes and fresh basil are calling out for spaghetti. Spaghetti al pomodoro. But how can we make a refreshingly simple recipe of spaghetti with tomato sauce just a bit more interesting?  How, just give it a twist! Turn the pasta into a “caterpillar.”

And for more interest, exchange the recipe’s predictable pinch of red chili flakes with Korean chili threads, shilgochu 실고추, finely-sliced dried chilis that are reddish brown in color with smoky red pepper and fruity flavors, and a medium degree of heat. They are cooked in butter for about a minute to soften then tossed with the spaghetti, adding a vibrant accent to the dish.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro with a Twist

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Mandilli di Seta al Pesto {Handkerchief Pasta} #glutenfree

Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree

~ Mandilli di Seta al Pesto ~
Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy-Style Pesto
Edible Begonia, Basil, and Pecorino Romano Garnish

Imagine a pasta that is a gorgeous shade of olive green, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional noodles. One that is full of plant-based pea protein, organic, and gluten-free. My friends at Explore Cuisine make such an extraordinary noodle. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour.

Usually used for lasagna recipes, here the rectangular green lentil sheets stand in for handkerchief pasta in a beautiful mandilli di seta adorned with edible begonias. The basil pesto is an elegant creamy-style, unlike its more grainy rustic cousin. The method of plating mandilli di seta is also unique – pasta handkerchiefs are dipped in the pesto, coating the entire noodle with the dreamy sauce, then they are artfully folded onto the plate.

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Simple & Elegant: Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli

How to Grill Veal Chops and Baby Broccoli

Grilled Veal Rib Chops & Baby Broccoli

A simple preparation is definitely best for letting the natural virtues of this premium cut shine through. Veal rib chops sliced from the middle of the rack are super tender with an elegant flavor, they need no major enhancement. A brief marination in naturally fermented soy sauce and olive oil deepens the umami qualities of the crusty exterior.

The young beef steers are milk-fed and humanely-raised, allowed to move freely in small groups. Where grass-fed veal is more like beef, here milk-fed veal is paler in color, much more tender, and milder in flavor.

While they are quite pricey for everyday dining, don’t wait for a special occasion to give these exceptional chops a try – at least once this summer!

Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli Recipe

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Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries

Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries, Tomatoes, Edible Flowers

Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries

watermelon cubes, grape tomatoes, micro cilantro, nasturtium whorls
edible flower petals, celery leaves, fruity olive oil

I purchased the obligatory feta cheese, tangy Bulgarian Feta to be exact, to garnish my watermelon gazpacho. But when it came time to plate my chilled soup, I thought watermelon + feta is way too predictable and the homogenous pale red soup needed some extra visual pizzazz. Additionally, I wanted to serve a soup that would appeal to my #glutenfreevegan friends… enter blackberries, grape tomatoes, and edible flowers.

The soup recipe is quite intriguing – a balance between sweet and savory -a summery marriage of juicy watermelon and red ripe tomatoes. Spicy green chile, cool cucumber and pungent red onion round out the flavors while my beloved vinagre de jerez is the spark that gives gazpacho its unique character. Good fruity olive oil adds a rich mouthfeel.

Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe


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I Promise To Make Your Mouth Water

Carnitas, Polenta, Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Avocado, Fresh Corn, Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Mexican Crema, Pickled Radish and Red Jalapeno, Cilantro, Cotija Cheese

Carnitas, Polenta, Pumpkin Seed Kale Cilantro Pesto
with

Avocado, Corn, Pumpkin Seeds, Mexican Crema
Pickled Radish and Red Jalapeno, Cilantro, Cotija Cheese

What started out as an idea to make a deconstructed pork tamale, morphed into one extremely mouth-watering dish. Creamy polenta with fresh corn is topped with a pumpkin seed kale cilantro pesto. Braised pork shoulder is fried in a bit of oil to give it crispy edges, then piled on top. A dizzying array of garnishes make the dish come alive – avocado, somewhat spicy pumpkin superseedz, pickled radish and red jalapeño, cotija cheese, mexican crema, cilantro.

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I am so pleased to be working with SuperSeedz and their marketing team to develop recipes utilizing their amazing pumpkin seeds. SuperSeedz is an innovative snack company that has reimagined the pumpkin seed – adding flavors like cocoa, cinnamon & sugar, cayenne, curry, and more.

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Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Super Spicy Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin SuperSeedz

Add some spice to your next cocktail party. Sure, you will be serving a cheese platter and some type of charcuterie. But also give your guests something unexpected. A fruity-sweet-spicy option on the buffet.

Super spicy chocolate covered banana bites with pumpkin seeds will blow them way. This little snack-on-a-stick is absolutely not for kids. The chocolate and pumpkin seeds are indeed super spicy.

SuperSeedz is an innovative snack company that has reimagined the pumpkin seed – adding flavors like cocoa, cinnamon & sugar, cayenne, curry, and more.

Dry roasted in small batches without the shell, they have redefined the traditional plain pumpkin seed into a variety of creative flavors that provide a healthy, nutritious standalone snack.

Standalone, absolutely, they rock. But cooks like me will also be inspired to give them a try in all sorts of recipes.

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By the way, my banana bites are not frozen. As adults, let’s enjoy our cocktails and keep our teeth happy without having to bite into something frozen solid as a rock.

Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

It really is super spicy…sweet & savory. And quite healthful too. One perfect bite on a stick. Irresistible.

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Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?

Let me tell you why we do.

First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.

Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?

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