Showing posts with label sparkling wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparkling wine. Show all posts

Monday, December 31, 2012

Gala Parfait: Feast of the Seven Fishes


You know what they say, Italians do it better.
Christmas is no exception. I had heard of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a coursed Christmas Eve tradition to count down the hours to Christ's midnight birth, but never have I experienced it. Until this year.
On the Table Set's holiday episode this year we decided to shake up tradition and go intimate dinner party instead of all-out Xmas bonanza like last year. Add my co-host Greg's recent collaborators Alaska Seafood graciously sharing some of their top-of-the-line sustainable seafood and our Buone Feste was heartily underway.



AND the table is set (no pun intended). In fact, Greg is such a pro I believe it was set a full day in advance.


As per usual, we had too many cooks in the kitchen — That's because some of our most talented friends were in attendance. Seven courses for seven wonderful cooks. And for extra credit, seven beverage pairings. No lazy bloggers 'round here!


To serve as guests arrived, I thought Philadelphia Fish House punch seemed a fitting choice.


Course #1: The Cuisinerd and her main squeeze are no amateurs when it comes to sea bugs, and they knocked us flat with their Grilled Alaskan Oysters and Mignonette Trio: Spicy Chipotle, Cilantro Lime, and Classic Cocktail Sauce. (Seriously, these sauces should be sold in jars.)


Their offbeat pairing choice of Cantine Elvio Tintero Grangia frizzante (90% Favorita and 10% Moscato) created a wonderfully dry and fizzy bridge to the next course.


Course #2: I volunteered for the amuse bouche. Starting with salmon roe, I got inspired by dishes from LA's Son of a Gun restaurant and in the sexy NOMA cookbook. For added depth I first cured the roe in a beer brine. I used Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel's sweet and spicy Route Des Épices rye beer brewed with black and green peppercorns.


The finished amuse comprised of a Rye Crisp with Maple Cream, Beer-cured Salmon Roe, Green Chile Sugar and Fennel Top.


Course #3: Jackie the Beeroness (also behind Domestic Fits) wowed us all with her comforting Seared Alaskan Scallops wtih Smoked Sweet Corn Puree and Stout Balsamic Reduction. A sparkling wine cocktail with fresh basil and elderflower liqueur was an elegant brace.


Course #4: Chef, artist, and former Table Set guest Brian wove a tapestry of a "soup course" with his Seared Halibut over Forbidden Rice with Miso Pork Broth. For a cleansing respite, fresh lavender-infused spa water was paired.


Course #5: It wouldn't be a Table Set supper without something showy from Andy. His "Surf 'n' Turf" entree was no exception. Here, oceany Uni Capellini with Scallop, Bonito and Nori Crumble met earthy Rye Toast with Pine Nut Porcini Butter for a unique twist on the concept.
It was paired with Kabaj Rebula, a full-bodied Slavic white wine (100% Ribolla) capable of standing up to the intense flavors of the dish.


Course #6: Salad after entree? Why not?! Salad with crab? Hit me! Joy the Baker made magic with her crisp and refreshing Alaska Crab, Apple and Pomegranate Salad — a new Insalata di Mare classic. Get her recipe here.


Six courses in, I can hardly recall what we were drinking anymore... but my blurry photo shows that it was bubbly, and that we were having fun!


Course #7: And boy, the fun wasn't over yet. Greg built a mountain of it with his festive Caffè e Frittelle Dolci (Coffee & Donuts) — Glorious rosemary glazed donuts studded with gummy Swedish Fish, a highbrow/lowbrow win. I think I had seven.

In all, a beautiful night of subtlety, skill, festivity, and togetherness. Thank you to Alaska Seafood and all of our lovely guests!


Video and additional photography courtesy of Ted Houser

Friday, March 16, 2012

Buvare: Black Velvet


We drink from time to time on-air while we record The Table Set podcast, but our St. Patty's day episode was next level (is Andy.. drunk?). Irish stout bottles littered the table between our microphones like the aftermath of a long night at Tom Bergin's Tavern. But what's that? A Prosecco bottle? Why that's because Andy brought over a sampling of stouts and porters to try in one of my favorite beer cocktails - The Black Velvet. A sensuous marriage of sparkling wine and stout, this year trade in your green beer for an elegant moussey treat.

Listen to The Table Set: Green Beer

Black Velvet

1 part Guinness Irish Stout
1 part dry Prosecco or brut Champagne

Fill a flute or Collins glass halfway with Guinness.
Top slowly with bubbly (over the back of a spoon carefully for the layered effect).
Enjoy, you're classy!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Buvare: Gilded Cava Punch


It's awards show season!
On the Table Set we have been discussing how to gussy up your next plain ol' TV party into something to remember. This honey-kissed sparkling punch that I created for Homefries U would make a classy sipper for an Oscar party, or an upscale afternoon with Oscar the Grouch.

Listen to The Table Set: Stay Tuned

Gilded Cava Punch

1 pint Krupnik Honey Liqueur
1 cup Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup rich simple syrup*
4 bottles Cava Brut
1 liter club soda
Fee Brothers Plum Bitters

In a pitcher, combine honey liqueur, vermouth, lemon juice, rich simple syrup and 10 dashes of bitters, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. To serve, pour the mixture over a large block of ice in a punch bowl and slowly add chilled Cava and club soda. Garnish with lemon wheels.
Serve in wine goblets.

*Rich Simple Syrup

1 cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until a rich syrup develops. Remove from heat, cool, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homefries U!

If these ladies look like they're up to something... That's because they are.

Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean Benjamin are the stars of the Joy the Baker Podcast on a little network I sometimes talk about called Homefries. They like to have fun, talk about doughnuts, relationships, cookies, travel, sticky buns, and wombats. But what if for one weekend they could [literally] share the fun with their listeners?

One house in Palm Springs, some help from some friends, and a freezer full of ice cream later and Homefries U was totally in session!
Guests were greeted Friday night with - what else? Punch! I made up this batch of deliciousness with Krupnik Honey Liqueur, Dolin Blanc vermouth, fresh lemon juice, soda, Fee's Plum Bitters and a healthy dose of Cava Brut. Yowza!
Joy and Tracy made everyone addictively edible soup for dinner - vegan coconut carrot ginger heaven or chunky delish tomato situation. Winners.
After dinner there was, well, more punch to finish! And nails to paint. That's right. Not your average food blogger gathering. SEO? What's that, a sparkly blue?
Morning meant coffee cake, choco-studded banana bread, fresh fruit and lots of coffee.
An informative photo workshop led into the really good stuff - A brunch cooking demo. Joy and Tracy worked out a killer how-to brunch menu from A to Z. Then we ate it, of course.
Frittata time. Tracy doesn't mess around with bell peppers. Lady's got skills.
Breakfast pizza: the way into any sane person's heart.
After brunch everyone took a break for fizzy cucumber spritzers and pool time. Even Joy!
Craft hour included making herbal and fruit sugar infusions. And friendship bracelets. What else?
Happy hour is when things started getting REAL. Spiced nuts, cured salumi, and fresh-popped corn whet everyone's palate for a LOT of booze tasting.
Whitney from The Crush came out to teach everyone how to be a sexy sparkling wine dilettante in four tasty steps. And a frugal one at that, each wine is available for under $20 at DomaineLA.
Trust me, Whitney knows her stuff. And this Grotta del Sole Gragnano rules.
Cocktail time! Still a little loopy from the bubbles, I wasted little time getting everyone in a tizzy about one of my favorite and oft misunderstood spirits - Gin.
And you really can't talk about the history of gin without addressing its grandaddy, Dutch Genever, a malty juniper spirit back on the market thanks to Lucas Bols, the oldest Dutch distillery still in production. A distilled malt wine, Genever resembles a malt Scotch or white whiskey more than gin, and is great on its own, sipped out of a tulip glass alongside a beer (the traditional way) or mixed in an old-fashioned.
We also talked about London Dry, Plymouth, and New American styles of gin. And you can't leave out Hendrick's. If anything will convert a room of skeptics, a chilled sip of Scottish Hendrick's Gin with a cucumber slice does the trick. To lead into dinner we mixed up a bevy of Aviation cocktails with Plymouth Gin, the most winning of the pack.
What would a Sunday morning be without doughnuts? Joy and Tracy couldn't disappoint, and absolutely did not with their chocolate glazed and powdered perfect confections. (Not kidding, this chocolate doughnut was the best I've EVER had. EVER, people!)
After breaky, Tracy raided the spice rack for a expose on the real what's what and when to use it.
And what would a "conference" be without gift bags and a raffle? We wrapped up some goodies for our new friends so they could relive the best weekend ever once they got home. But the Real Housewives DVDs? Those were Joy's, sorry y'all.
Keep an eye out in early 2012 for Homefries U Spring Break! We're just getting started...

Homefries.com