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Posts Tagged ‘artsy’

Celebrate Spring: Chantarelle and Foraged Fiddlehead Pizza

Posted on: March 19th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

At this month’s party, foraged ingredients make an artistic statement on fiddlehead pizza. Take advantage of the season—and the subtle taste of fiddleheads (which are immature ferns) and have a light asparagus taste—and match them with bright orange chanterelle mushrooms.

For the base, some puff pastry and a combination of ricotta and scharfe maxx cheeses creates a luxe pairing, plus a creamy bed for these earthy ingredients. This pizza will surely make a statement at your gathering, and celebrate Spring’s wild bounty.

MAKES 12 MINI PIZZAS

MAKE THE BASE… THAW PASTRY 40 MIN

1/2 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (makes 3 long pieces)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Unfold thawed pastry and cut into thirds to achieve long sections. Bake for 15 min. While still hot, push gently down on the tops of the puff with a spatula to create the valleys for toppings.

PREPARE FIDDLEHEADS & CHANTERELLES

1/4 LB fiddleheads
1/4 LB chanterelles

3 TB EV olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Triple-wash fiddleheads thoroughly. Trim brown parts. Blanche for four min and move to an ice bath. Drain and set aside. Clean mushrooms with a soft brush to remove all dirt. Cut mushrooms decoratively, keeping in mind how you they will look on the pizza.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the fiddleheads and chantarelles, saute for 3 min.

PREPARE THE CHEESE

1/2 LB fresh ricotta cheese
s + p
1/4 LB scharfe maxx cheese

In a bowl, season ricotta with s + p to taste. Shred the scharfe maxx cheese and place in a separate bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 400º… CREATE THE FIDDLEHEAD PIZZAS

puff pastry
ricotta cheese
scharfe maxx cheese
ramps, cut in half vertically (optional)
dandelion leaves, cut into small bits, for garnish

When puff pastry has slightly cooled, add 3 dollops of the ricotta, spread evenly over the entire surface of each pastry, then sprinkle the scharfe maxx. If using, place 1-2 ramps lengthwise on the cheese, then spot the fiddleheads and chantarelles around the entire surface. Bake for 5 min on the oven’s top shelf. Remove from oven and toss on the dandelion leaves. Cut each long piece into 4 minis.

A Colorful and Festive Scallop Ceviche with Blood Orange Sauce

Posted on: February 12th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

A Valentine’s Day dish. Winter is the season for blood oranges, and the brightness of their juice makes for a festive scallop ceviche indeed. Add the sprinkling of jalapeño pepper bits and pomegranate for an extra happy touch.

I included this recipe in our Aphrodisiac party menu specifically to create a stir. The color red is purported to arouse passion. So I’ve included not only the blood orange juice, but a sprinkling of pomegranate arils—which also adds a nice crunch. Let’s get the night going! The goddess Aphrodite is credited with planting the first pomegranate tree which has since been associated with fertility.

If serving for a crowd, plate individually in clear plastic glasses, with diced ingredients as a topping.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4

PREPARE THE SCALLOPS

1/2 LB bay scallops
1/4 CUP lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
1/4 CUP pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (about 1/2 grapefruit)

Cut scallops horizontally into 3 pieces. Toss ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

HOBNOBMAG scallops CEVICHE marinade

MAKE THE BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

1/2 CUP blood orange juice (about 1-2 oranges)
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
squirt of sriracha
s +p

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl or pitcher. Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

1 pink grapefruit, cut into supremes
2 TB cucumber, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
garnish:
1 TB fresh mint, cut into thin strips
pomegranate arils
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (optional)

Remove scallops from refrigerator, drain excess liquid. Set up your plating dishes. Arrange scallops, alternating citrus in between. Spoon the blood orange sauce over a little at a time, do not drown. Sprinkle cucumber and jalapeño. Garnish with mint, pomegranate, and radish.

First Blush: Celebrating Rosé in a Summer Cocktail

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This summer cocktail features an unusual mix of sweet, bitter, and fruity flavors that play with bouncing blueberries. See the cocktail recipe and the exceptional ingredients used in the mix.

A light sipper accompanies red and white bites on the buffet. Garnish with blue or white straws if you have them.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Hangar One Handcrafted Vodka

Since launching in an airplane hangar in 2002, HANGAR ONE’s handcrafted vodkas have won fans around the world, so rest assured you will be tasting an exemplary spirit here. The creators were not happy with the “straight” vodkas that were in the market, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and create something new. Known for distilling brandies, Ansley Coale and Jorg Rupf started with wheat from the midwest, then combined that with a California Viognier grape eau de vie. The Viognier grapes are distilled using the whole fruit—including the stem, leaves, skin and blossoms, thus capturing its full flavor profile. Then, by distilling the same day it’s picked, flavor is captured at its peak. The vodka is known for its smoothness. Besides “straight” there are three infusions to choose from: Mandarin, Citron, and Kaffir Lime, all lovingly created. Available online at reservebar.com (check your state’s shipping details). About $35. hangarone.com

hobobmag summer cocktail

[2] Lillet’s Rosé Wine

Can you think of anything more suitable for a hot summer night than a nice glass of rosé? The debut of Lillet’s Rosé wine is the first time in over 50 years that the renowned French company has launched a new product, and it was well worth the wait. Consisting of a blend Grand Cru Bordeaux used in Lillet’s Rouge and Blanc, plus light aromas of berries, orange blossom and grapefruit, its flavor is a delight. Lillet Rosé is best served chilled. About $18. lillet.com

[3] Mathilde Framboise Liqueur

This formula comes from an old French family recipe. Only the best raspberries are hand picked from various parts of Scotland and the Hautes Côtes de Bourgogne, to give the liqueur it’s delicacy and sweetness. Just a spoonful is all you need. Berry nice. About $14. liqueurmathilde.com

[4] DRY Rhubarb Soda

Forget about traditional tonic, or generic soda—instead, add sophisticated flavor with this soda. The tartness of rhubarb in a refreshing bubbly drink, what’s not to love? And at only 60 calories, it is a perfectly guilt free option. Great to offer those not consuming alcohol as a elegant sip. Try all their amazing flavors like blood orange, vanilla bean, apple, cherry, lavender, juniper berry, wild lime, pear and cucumber. Available online at store.drysoda.com. $32 for a 24-pack of 12 oz bottles.

[5] Blueberries for garnish

Line the bar with blueberries in white bowls so guests can nibble and play with them in their cocktails.

Chicken Tacos with Green Harissa

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Go green! These chicken tacos are a welcome party mini-bite with personality. I developed this recipe to add to a buffet made up of the colors of the rainbow. Upon discovery of these adorable, green mini taco shells, I knew this had to be the dish that took the GREEN spot on the rainbow buffet. To add to the green effect, I mixed up a green harissa—parsley, cilantro, mint, and spices— to “dye” the shredded chicken. To complete the taco, I topped with slices of of avocado, sprigs of cilantro, and skinny jalapeño ribbons.

Shortcut: instead of cooking the chicken, purchase a rotisserie chicken from your local market and shred, then you just have to make the harissa.

Other green foods to consider: spinach wraps, pesto, avocado, pea and mint soup, green salad served in cups. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 28 TACOS

MAKE THE CHICKEN

1 1/4 LB chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 tsp pink peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, place chicken breasts and cover with water. Add herbs and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer 10 – 12 min. Remove breasts to a bowl. When cool, shred completely.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE GREEN HARISSA

1/2 CUP parsley
1/2 CUP cilantro (save some for garnish)
1/2 CUP mint
1/4 CUP lemon juice
3 jalapeños, seeded, sliced
1 TB ground cumin
1 TB ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1 clove garlic

Process all ingredients till fully combined, but with some texture, about 1 min. Combine the shredded chicken with the green harissa.

ASSEMBLE THE CHICKEN TACOS

spinach mini taco shells
chicken mixture
avocado, cut into thin slices
2 jalapeños, cut into thin ribbons
cilantro, for garnish

Fills shells about halfway with chicken. Top with avocado slice, then garnish with jalapeños strips and cilantro.

Food Science Cookbook: Revealing the Chemical Secrets Behind Perfect Food Pairings

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

This book ventures beyond convention. Instead of relying on already established complementary food pairs, this process uses the chemistry of shared molecular structures as its basis. That is, the aromatic fingerprints of each item are compared scientifically—and where they overlap, is where they complement each other. By proceeding with this method, unexpected and unusal results come to life.

The science behind food pairing started as an inspiration from James Briscioine, an instructor at ICE who interacted with Watson, IBM’s famous computer. Since then, food scientists have taught chefs that ingredients contain a complex network of chemical structures called volatile compounds. These compounds give each food its own unique flavor.

Starting with the six basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, and fat, we perceive each of these tastes via chemical reactions that take place on the tongue, mouth, and throat when we consume food. According to the book, these tastes comprise only 20 percent of what we perceive as flavor—the other 80 percent is experienced through the nose via aromatic compounds.

The book takes 58 basic foods and zeroes in on each one’s tasting profile. Each food then lists the best pairings, some surprise pairings, and how to substitute each food. A recipe most unusual demonstrates one of the pairing ideas to get you started. The book contains charts galore that beautifully spell out the options, and provide ideas for future experimentation.

HOBNOBMAG Food Science Cookbook

PEA: Sweet Pea, Pork, and Coconut Tacos recipe with accompanying pairing chart.

HOBNOBMAG Food Science Cookbook

VANILLA: The recipe for Vanilla Butter, shown on corn, with vanilla’s tasting profile.

HOBNOBMAG Food Science Cookbook

More unusual recipes: FISH: A Coffee-Cured Salmon sits on a bagel, left. GRAPE: Spice-Roasted Grapes turn something sweet into something more savory.

The book ends with more analysis of flavors, textures, tastes, and aromas that encompass the eating experience. I particularly liked the section on Aromas, which describe and list everything from Fruity to Maillard (found in baked bread, roasted meat, and chocolate).

Check out this recipe from the book for an attractive and unusual pairing of chocolate and beets. (photo at the top of this post.)

recipe

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CRISP BEET MERINGUE

This recipe delivers unexpected flavors atop a familiar foundation. There is nothing more comforting than a creamy bowl of chocolate mousse. Beets, camomile, and orange zest punch up the flavor of that classic dish, while the beet meringue adds crunch and makes for a dramatic presentation.

SERVES 6

BEET MERINGUE

3 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup roasted beet purée (or 1 cup peeled and chopped beets, boiled until very soft, peeled, and puréed in a food processor or blender until smooth)

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

3/4 cup heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dried camomile flowers (optional)
8 ounce semisweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
6 large egg whites
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Make the beet meringue: Preheat the oven to 150 to 200°F. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar (if using) with an electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form and the whites are smooth and glossy. Sift the powdered sugar over the meringue, then gently fold it in.

Place dollops of meringue all over the baking pan. Measure out 1/2 cup of the beet purée; set aside the remaining 1/4 cup for the mousse. Drop spoonfuls of the beet purée in between dollops of meringue, then gently swirl with a spatula and smooth into a thin layer. Bake for about 6 hours at 150°F or 3 hours at 200°F, until crisp but not browned. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Make the mousse: Combine the cream, orange zest, and camomile (if using) in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let steep for 10 minutes.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Strain the cream through a fine- mesh sieve into the chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the reserved beet purée.

Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture one- third at a time until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until well chilled.

When you’re ready to serve, divide the mousse among six bowls and top each with pieces of beet meringue.    

Excerpted from THE FLAVOR MATRIX © 2018 by James Briscione with Brooke Parkhurst. Photography © 2018 by Andrew Purcell. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Common Ingredients to Create Extraordinary Dishes by James Briscione

Vegetarian Tea Sandwich: Beets & Apple & Curry

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Sweet, crunchy golden delicious apples pair with creamy beets in this stunning vegetarian tea sandwich. The special ingredient that makes this sandwich sensational is the Good Spoon Vegan mayo, which works so well with all the components, and has that super bold color. In lieu of this mayo, I would suggest adding curry spice to mayo to get a similar effect. I love that these look like cake, due to the black pumpernickel bread from Northside Bakery in Brooklyn. I found it in my local health food store. 

The quickest way to get these sandwiches done is to purchase already cooked beets which seem to be available a better stores. If you can’t find them precooked, then boil in salted water till tender, about 35 min. 

MAKES 16 TRIANGLES

MAKE THE BEET/ CREAM CHEESE MIX

2 med beets, precooked, diced
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 TB poppy seeds
pinch salt
pinch white pepper

With a fork, mash together the beets and cream cheese, until beets really meld into the cream cheese, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

MAKE THE SANDWICHES

4 slices Northside Bakery Pumpernickel Pullman bread
beet/cream cheese mix
The Good Spoon Curry Vegan Mayo
3 golden delicous apples, cut in half, then sliced thinly

Place bread side by side. Spread cream cheese mix liberally on one slice. On the other slice, spread about a TB of the mayo. Layer rows of the apple slices on top of the mayo. Close sandwich, press to unite both halves, and trim the crusts off.

Cut on the diagonal into 2 triangles, then cut those in half so that you end of with 4 triangles. Cut those 4 triangles in half again, so that you end up with 8 total.

Chicken Salad Tea Sandwich with Sesame & Herb Crust

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Give your chicken salad tea sandwich an elevated twist.  The fresh lemon verbena has the most intoxicating scent, which will add to the eating experience immensely. I like the addition of thin strips of lemon verbena in many dishes—it adds a birghtness, and its lovely aroma to yogurt, salads, sandwiches, cocktails, and even ice cream. 

Traditional tea sandwiches call for white bread, but I recommend going for something along more healthier lines, like I did here. This white bread is made with better flours is from Berlin Natural Bakery. What really adds great flavor to the chicken salad here is the herbed vegan mayo, which is eggless and made with microalgae. I tasted the Good Spoon line recently at the Specialty Food show in NYC, and was thoroughly impressed. It makes preparing this dish that much speedier!

MAKES 12 TEA SANDWICHES

POACH THE CHICKEN

3/4 LB chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, place chicken breasts and cover with water. Add herbs and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer about 15 min. Remove breasts to a bowl. When cool, shred completely with 2 forks. You really want the meat to be separated so that there are no clumps.

MAKE THE CHICKEN SALAD

shredded chicken
3 TB onion, diced
4 TB celery, diced
3 white grapes, sliced in half then dices
1 TB sesame seeds
1/2 CUP The Good Spoon Garlic & Herbs Vegan Mayo

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

MAKE THE SANDWICHES

6 slices Berlin Natural Bakery Classic White Spelt Bread
chicken salad

The Good Spoon Garlic & Herbs Vegan Mayo
6 tsp lemon verbena, diced

Open 2 slices of bread, on one side pile about a half inch of the chicken salad. Close sandwich. Cut on the diagonal into 2 triangles, then cut those in half so that you end of with 4 triangles.

With a spoon, coat one side of the sandwich with a thin layer of mayo. In a shallow dish, put a thin layer of the lemon verbena and dip the coated side into it. Serve garnished with sprig of the lemon verbena.

BONUS

The Good Spoon mayo comes in four varieties: Classic, Smoky Spicy, Curry and and the Garlic & Herbs that I used in this recipe. If you love fresh food with a punch of color, try the Beet & Apple & Curry Tea Sandwich recipe I created at this link. Those who love a smoky batch, mix a TB or more of the Smoky Spicy in with a can of tuna, add diced onions and  black olives. Serve on tortilla chips or crackers.

hobnobmag tuna smoky spicy

Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs

Posted on: February 4th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Generally speaking, men love sports just as much as they love steak, which is why these sirloin steak toasts had to be incorporated into this party theme of recipes to watch the game with (see more recipes here). This recipe provides a simple way to get steak into your guest’s hands, sans utensils. Just broil or grill the steak, set out on sliced bread and sprinkle the lemon and parsley crumb mixture, which gives the dish a dotted effect and an extra zip of flavor. (See this recipe made with sardines, to offer along with the steak for fish lovers, A Canape with Pizazz.)

MAKES 14 TOASTS

MAKE THE ZESTY CRUMBS

zest and juice 1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 CUP breadcrumbs
3 TB olive oil

Mix together in a bowl. Crumbs should be kind of sticky.

SEAR THE STEAK

1 LB sirloin steak
s + p

Right before cooking, season steak with s + p. Grill the steak or broil in the oven. Let rest. Slice thinly.

MAKE THE SIRLOIN STEAK TOASTS

semolina bread, cut loaf into 1/2-inch rounds
olive oil
orange or cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly (horizontal slices)
seared steak
zesty crumbs
2 TB capers
1 small onion, cut into very thin rings

On each slice of bread, drizzle a little olive oil. Line with slices of tomato, top with steak. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the steak, add a couple of capers, and a ring or two of the onion.

Party Potatoes: Roasted with Carrots and Cumin Coconut Yogurt Dip

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

We love these party potatoes as much for their color, as for their cuteness and pop-ability. An all-natural treat, they are accompanied by a dip whose base is coconut yogurt, and is spiced up with cumin. Vegans and paleoists will salute your hosting finesse. This recipe is part of a paleo party planning theme.  Click on the link to see more recipes.

MAKES 60-70 BITES

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF…ROAST THE POTATOES AND CARROTS

1 LB mixed color baby potatoes, cut in half (keep small ones whole for variety)
5 large carrot bottoms, cut into 1-inch chunks (match potato size)
5 mini peppers (yellow, red, orange), cut and use bottoms
1 TB olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl, toss ingredients in oil to coat sprinkle with s + p. Move to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 30 min, till tender and browned.

HOBNOBMAG baby potatoes tricolor

MAKE THE CUMIN COCONUT YOGURT DIP

1/2 CUP coconut yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender, and emulsify.

TO SERVE

Put roasted mix in a nice bowl with a side of dip, add some toothpicks.

Duck Breast Hors d’oeuvre with Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce on Endive

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

I love a rich and savory duck breast, nothing compares to its luscious, game-y decadence. That’s why I wanted to include this duck breast hors d’oeuvre in a party menu. Set on endive and topped with a semi-sweet sauce, you have the makings of something special to offer at your next gathering.

This recipe was developed to work with our paleo party theme, which focuses on meats and vegetables. As for the paleo part, there’s a tiny bit of cheating here, in reference to the pomegranate molasses in the sauce, which does contain sugar, but oh-so-worth the combo with the duck. Substitute a high-end balsamic vinegar if you don’t want the sugar.

Let the duck breast sit out at room temp for 20 min to 1 hour before cooking. I was inspired by the recipe from Honest Food for cooking the duck breast, read up if this is your first time cooking it. It’s really quite simple.

MAKES 30 BITES

SEAR THE DUCK BREAST

1 1/2 TB almond oil
duck breast

To a cold skillet, add oil, then place duck breast fat side down, cook for 7 min. Flip over and cook another 4 min. Remove from pan and let sit for 5 min. Slice into thin strips, then cut those in thirds to fit on the endive.

MAKE THE CRANBERRY POMEGRANATE SAUCE

1/4 CUP pine nuts
1/4 CUP dried cranberries, soaked for 15 min to soften, then chopped
1/4 CUP pomegranate arils
1 TB red onion, finely chopped
2 TB mint, chopped
1 TB orange zest
1 1/2 TB pomegranate molasses
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl combine all ingredients.

 

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

2-3 heads endive
sliced duck
cranberry pomegranate sauce

garnish: mint, finely chopped

Cut the stem of the endive and pull off leaves in sections. Place one slice of duck on each leaf, top with sauce, then sprinkle chopped mint.

Taco Bar: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with Salsa and Pickled Jalapeño

Posted on: June 10th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

When you are cooking for a crowd, shortcuts are very welcome. That’s why we always have an eye peeled for helpers that are chemical-free, and are made with love. The magic behind the pork lies in the marinade. Hernán Mole Poblano paste comes in a concentrated form which can be used to create a rich, authentic mole sauce, or be used as a marinade. And if you’ve ever tried making mole, you know that it is a labor of love that takes several days to accomplish. So, having pre-made mole flavors is a fantastic time-saver. This jar can offer up those intense flavors because they put the time into it.

The joy of the make-your-own-taco buffet are the toppings. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and dijon mayo. Find more recipes for the Taco Bar here  that cover all culinary leanings: beef, fish, and vegetarian recipes included.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 8 TACOS

MARINATE THE PORK

4 TB Hernan Mole Poblano paste
2 LB pork loin, cut into 1-inch chops
1 tsp salt

Scoop paste and spread evenly over the pork with your hands, or a spoon. Marinate covered or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

GRILL THE PORK

On a heated bbq or grill pan, cook the pork about 5 min on each side.

You can cook this ahead of time and keep the chops intact. If you do, when you are ready to serve the tacos reheat the pork on the top shelf of your bbq or in a microwave. Cut into thin slices and place in a serving bowl on your taco buffet. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, dijon mayo, cilantro.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Taco Bar Grilled Pork

The Philter: A Tantalizing-Tricked Up-Tequila Love Potion

Posted on: February 2nd, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Your night is about to get interesting. The Philter (another word for love potion) brings together a trio of flavors: a tantalizing tequila, chai tea, and freshly-squeezed blood orange juice.

HOBNOB’s signature cocktail for the Aphrodisiac party plan begins with an exquisite tequila as its base, adding a delicacy of spiciness not found in other spirits, providing a nice tingling on the tongue. Add to that some chai tea, which is considered an aphrodisiac because it’s packed with antioxidants—which increase blood flow and sensitivity to sexual organs. A little dose of caffeine also does its part to add focus and energy. Lastly, the blood orange balances out the drink, adds some vitamin C, and lends its beautiful stimulating, red color.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Fortaleza Reposado Tequila Fortaleza Reposado has a very distinct character, and is made with 100% of the finest estate-grown Blue Agave Tequilana Weber, aged in oak barrels for 6 to 9 months. The full story: Picture a thick-walled brick oven which cooks the agaves for 36 hours. Afterwards, a horse-drawn stone mill crushes the agaves, which then get washed with pure mountain water that separate the pulp from the woody fibers, creating an agave juice called mosto. The agave mosto is then naturally fermented for five days in small wood vats, and then double distilled using small, labor-intensive copper pot stills. TASTING NOTES: Flavors include cooked agave, citrus, vanilla, apple, earth, and cinnamon. The finish is long and rich, delicately spicy, and it has an oily texture the make this a joy to drink. Tequila Fortaleza is the American label for Tequila Los Abuelos, due to a Rum with the name “Abuelos” already being distributed in the USA. About $65. tequilafortaleza.com

HOBNOBMAG love potion cocktail w tequila

[2] Dona Chai chai tea concentrate is a convenient pre-brewed chai, made in Brooklyn. The brewing process begins with cold-pressed fresh ginger and freshly-ground whole spices: cinnamon bark, cardamom, vanilla bean, cloves, black peppercorns. Organic, loose-leaf black tea is then slowly brewed in small batches to bring out a powerful balance of flavors. The caffeine and mix of herbals will enhance your energy levels. A little goes a long way, just one of these bottles will create many a cocktail. Available in Manhattan at Forager’s Grocery on 22nd/9th. donachai.com

[3] Blood Orange Juice Blood oranges are in season over the winter, and lend a special orange aroma and unique flavor. If you cannot find fresh blood oranges, or cannot be bothered to fresh squeeze, try a carton of Noble’s Blood Orange Juice instead. noblejuice.com

[4] Luxardo The Original Maraschino Cherries One taste of these cherries, offered to me by a die-hard fan, and I was sold, and thankfully only one block from where I could purchase a jar of my very own. They are perfectly textured, sour Marasca cherries in a sweet syrup. From the Veneto region of Italy, The Luxardo family has been cultivating cherry trees for this treat and its renowned Maraschino Liqueur. No preservatives or thickeners added. About $20. luxardo.it

Quick Dessert: 10-Minute Cherry Chocolate Mousse

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Sometimes you are just looking for a simple, quick dessert, that still wows in delivering a sweet jolt. This mousse can be served on its own, or as an accompaniment with cookies or fresh fruit, as we have done here. Cherries and currants top this 10 minute work of art.

We included this recipe as part of the menu of aphrodisiacs. Chocolate has THE reputation for promoting amorous feelings. Casanova is known to have indulged in cups of chocolate to help sustain his lustful wanderings. The passion-inducing results come from phenethylamine, a chemical released in the brain when people fall in love, and tryptophan which produces serotonin, leading to elevated moods and sexual arousal.

In searching for a sensational, and easy, mousse recipe I came across this recipe for Bill’s Food Processor Chocolate Mousse. It turned out to be a cinch to make. Below, you will see that I doctored his recipe with a spoon of Kirschwasser, a cherry liqueur, for extra lusciousness, and garnished with red berries: fresh currants, and sugar-coated cherries.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 6 (YOU WILL WANT EXTRA)

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR…

7 oz semisweet chocolate (62% cacao or less), broken into pieces

Process the chocolate until finely ground.

PROCESS THE CHOCOLATE…

ground chocolate

2 TB grape seed oil
1 TB Kirschwasser liqueur
1 TB pure vanilla extract

1/3 CUP milk
2 TB sugar

You will be adding these ingredients into the food processor to start the mousse. Combine oil, liqueur, and vanilla in a measuring cup. Separately, in a small saucepan, simmer milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Turn on the processor, and with it running, pour the warmed-up milk in, and process for 15 to 20 sec, until the chocolate is melted. Add the oil mixture and process additional 5 to 10 sec, till thoroughly blended. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, let cool in the fridge for 5 min (so chocolate is not warm for the next step).

WHILE CHOCOLATE COOLS PREPARE THE CREAM

1 CUP heavy cream
Pinch salt
cooled chocolate mix

GARNISH:
currants on the stem
fresh cherries, brushed with egg white and rolled in sugar, cooled in the fridge (optional)

With a hand mixer, beat the cream and salt until it holds a soft shape, but not stiff. Remove cooled chocolate from the fridge and fold 1/3 of the cream into it, then the rest. Stop folding the moment the cream is incorporated, and scoop into glasses. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving. Garnish with currants and sugared cherries.

Adorably Mini: Where to Find Micro Veggies, Chocolates, and Customizable Candy

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016 by Ellen Swandiak

Make party bites even more tempting with micro-minded ingredients: baby veggies, mini-printed bon-bons, and candy you can customize.

[1] Elevated Crudite Supermarket plastic trays of cut-up cauliflower, baby carrots, and celery sticks, anchored by a tub of ranch dressing, no more. Upgrade your tired crudité platters of yore with mini versions of your favorite spring veggies, small, tender, and crisp. These tiny varieties of produce, perfect for a healthy, raw party bite, can come either as “baby” vegetables picked before growing to their full-size or miniature varietals cultivated to petite proportions. Think mini heads of spiky bright green romesco cauliflower, micro cucumbers that look like tiny watermelons, and real baby carrots with their tops on, not the whiddled, dried out versions from a bag. Not only do they look very cute, these veggies tend to be milder and sweeter than their adult counterparts to boot. Dunk in your favorite hummus or whip up a quick Green Goddess-inspired dip by zapping Greek yogurt, your favorite fresh, leafy herbs, a bit of garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor.

[2] Mini Produce Sources Look for mini produce in local specialty food shops and farmers’ markets in spring and summer or special order through an online source. Marx Foods sells a “Tiny Crudite Mix” that includes a seasonal variety of veggies with their slender stalks still attached, making it the perfect cocktail food, no toothpicks necessary. Specialty Produce carries a huge variety of unique produce varietals, including mini sweet bell peppers and cucumbers with colorful yellow flowers attached. Go to The Chef’s Garden for their beautiful tender microgreens of all types and their sweet, crisp baby turnips, radishes, and carrots.

HOBNOBMAG micro veggies, chocolate, candy

[3] Tumbador Chocolate The mini patterns on these fine chocolates will get your gang cooing. Executive Pastry Chef Jean-François Bonnet (formerly of restaurant Daniel) works with only the finest ingredients in the world—exotic fruits, spices, fresh herbs and regional flavors. You can also order custom designed chocolates, attuned to your palate. tumbadorchocolate.com

[4] Papabubble New York Take a look at these tiny bits of fun. Papabubble is an artisan candy making academy, where aspiring candy artists get trained in the intricacies of working in the medium of molten sugar. Picture these cuties atop a cupcake, or set around the party in tiny dishes. The flavors are bright, fresh and fruity. Check the website for their other styles, like the #1 Dad mix, the Mazel Tov mix, the Thank You mix—or have a custom candy made just for you. papabubbleny.com

Rafael Reyes on How to Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

Posted on: December 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If anyone can show you how to serve cocktails at home like a mixologist, it’s this guy. I’ve never seen a more well-stocked bar, between tools, spirits,  fresh herbs and concocted syrups. Learn the tricks.

Mixologist Rafael Reyes and his wife love throwing parties in their lovely Brooklyn apartment. HOBNOB stopped in to investigate the scene and got some great tips on hosting guests and making creative cocktails.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

How did you get started in the spirit biz?

My journey started in the early days of the cocktailing about ten years ago, when I worked in Northern NJ with the former bar manager of Patria. It was the first time I saw someone create cocktails with fresh juices daily—pressing fresh cane and even coconuts. Soon after that experience, I ended up working at a cocktail lounge in Nolita. After my shift I would visit Remy and Tim Cooper at Gold Bar and was amazed at how great a team they were. There was something about the style of Gold Bar that I really identified with—it was fast paced, with great cocktails, badass bartenders and that rush of having massive amounts of people in front of you and wanting more. I was determined to get to this level.

I had the chance to work on the opening of Yerbabuena Perry and was able to push my craft further with the help of Cervantes (PDT, Little Branch, The Ship) and Artemio (Pegu Club), who had deep roots in the classics. After that I started venturing off by myself, doing brief stints with renowned chefs where I was exposed to a variety of culinary toys and ingredients. It made me realize that my cocktail style was definitely kitchen-inspired. With this focus, I continued to develop my style at 1534, ECC, and with Chefs Jesus Nuñez, Andres Grundy and Didie—and most recently at Betony, where the level of skill and discipline was mind blowing. I will forever be grateful to Chef Bryce Shuman and Eamon Rockey for welcoming me into in their  kitchen and allowing me to stage and put my free time to learn from their chefs.

What are your 5 statement bar essentials?

[1] Herbs I’m the biggest sucker for herbs—I cannot create a menu or live without them in my apartment. When delicate herbs like lemon verbena are in season, it makes me happy! Basil blossoms, lemon balm, flaming shiso, anise hysop, lemon thyme, coriander flowers… the list goes on and on.

I buy herbs from websites like Fresh Origins and the Chefs Garden. They are a bit pricey, but the key is to always have more than one use for them. To save money, my wife and I grow them at home and make sure to grow a diverse selection during the warm months, so we can use them for parties all year round.

[2] Spices I’m a big believer that you should always try to introduce people to new flavors, and the options with spices are unlimited, and the level of complexity that you can add to your drinks is amazing. As opposed to herbs, most spices are not too expensive and last for a long time.

My style has never been classic, the more obscure an ingredient, the more I want to use it. My rule of thumb: For every weird ingredient, balance it with a familiar one. Examples: cherry tomatoes and champagne, or Orujo liqueur & grapefruit with IPA. Some of my favorite spots for buying spices are Lhasa Karnak and Mountain Rose Herbs. If you prefer using extracts, Terra Spice has pretty good ones, just be careful with amounts, as they are not quite like bitters, and need to be used sparingly.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

[3] European Hawthorne Strainers & Multilevel Bell Jigger Some people dislike Hawthorne strainers, but I feel it’s the only one you need at your bar for making stirred, rolled and shaken drinks, plus, it allows you to drop pours really high, with a perfect flow. Multilevel bell jiggers are also my favorite. It takes practice getting the measurements correct, but once mastered, it becomes a pretty stylish and functional tool. I like how it allows for flair and stylish moves behind the bar.

[4] Sous vide & Dehydrator I love the Sous vide machine. If you love to create amazing syrups and infusions you should own one of these. Controlled temperatures can help you in so many ways. There is no evaporation, stronger flavors, better infusions. It is also pretty handy during cold months, for making hot drinks.

The dehydrator allows you to create edible garnishes and preserve delicate herbs, especially, when they are hard to find and you want to to keep them in your repertoire.

[5] Kitchen & Home Bar Throughout my career, every cocktail program I have created has had deep roots in the kitchen. I love to cook and I believe the more you do it, the more you develop your palate, thus giving you a point of reference for future creations. At home I have an open kitchen which allows me to view my all my spices and liquor bottles while I’m cooking, making for inspired choice in drinks, food or desserts.

My wife eats super healthy. She is Paleo and also owns a paleo, gluten-free dessert company. So there are always some healthy factors that play into the dishes that I cook for her (Yes, I do the cooking!). No flours, no sugars, no dairy, etc. always creates an exciting challenge. (Me on the other hand, I eat whatever I want to eat! haha.)

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

Give us some of your party throwing tips.

You might say my wife and I are party-friendly people. We love to fill the room with great friends, cocktails, charcuterie and cheese platters, and plenty of foodie-food for everyone. We even sneak in the healthy desserts.

Every Christmas, we throw a big party. Last year, there were about 20 of us up on the roof, where we sent paper lanterns into the sky and made wishes for the next year. It was a very unique moment with special people—what I think the holidays are all about.

In our kitchen, we have a self serve wine unit that is meant to store 3 bottles at selected temperatures that lets you press a button and fill your glass. We use it at parties for bottled Negronis, Rum Manhattans or any kind of a stirred drink, creating a kind of a self serve, easy access bar.

On the bar there are about 300 bottles to choose from—so anything’s possible. We also set up a cooler on the counter, full of sherry and other vino options. Usually, someone will start making drinks for everyone and when they start shaking, everyone starts cheering them on. There is no fakeness in the room. You get a sense of community and friendship, which reminds me a bit of the holidays back home in Colombia—lots of smiles and laughing. It is an affirmation of what I stand for. No matter what, its always, always, ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE.

HOBNOBMAG Serve Cocktails at Home Like a Mixologist

We love the new bottle for Santa Teresa Rum, the spirit featured in this issue’s bar—it’s so elegant. What other mixers do you recommend with this spirit?

The new bottle was designed to portray the rum’s premium level, while still showing that nothing inside has changed. Santa Teresa 1796 has always been perfect to drink on its own, like any good whiskey or cognac. It’s blended with spirits aged from 4 to 35 years, and has hints of dry fruits and American and French Oak. It finishes dry, which makes it perfect for cocktails like an Old Fashioned. It also tastes delicious in long time classics like a Right Hand or a Presidente. Perhaps you can make an amazing daiquiri or a tasty Hemingway. I personally invite you to get out of your comfort zone and let this rum express itself in a stirred drink, like a Manhattan or a Negroni. Keep it simple, though, in this case less is more!

Massimiliano Eandi of Mulino a Vino’s Pasta Stuffed Tomato

Posted on: November 29th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

A most unusual and special stuffed tomato recipe comes from a up-and-coming Italian chef. His choice of stuffing: spaghetti.

Chef Eandi brings his Michelin-trained talent to this sweet, cozy Italian hideaway near Meatpacking in NYC (SORRY, THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED, BUT YOU CAN ENJOY CHEF EANDI’S FANTASTIC RECIPE BELOW). The menu at this place is so wine-driven that guests are first asked to choose from the 100-bottle wine list before selecting their food, so that a perfect match can be made. For our holiday issue, Eandi shares a recipe for a traditional pasta served in an untraditional way. He confits a tomato, then stuffs it with spaghetti, and sets it atop a parmesan crisp. HOBNOB suggests this recipe would make a wonderful first course for a glamorous sit-down dinner. (see our plan for hosting weekend guests for the holidays here)

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

Chef Eandi’s enthusiasm for cooking pushed him to start his career early, at the age of 14, and by the age of 16 was already working at a Michelin-status kitchen in Combal.Zero, in Rivoli, Italy, under the tutelage of Davide Scabin. He then went on to London to work at ARBUTUS, before joining 3-Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsey. Just before his move to the New York, he returned to Combal.Zero as Chef de Partie when it was awarded 28th place out of the top 50 restaurants in the world. “…my mind was opened to new ways of seeing food through constant experimentation…and really grasped what rules needed to be respected and where freedom could come into play.”

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The wine list has been carefully curated by wine aficionado and owner Paolo Meregalli, who has assembled selections of both esoteric and more-known Italian wines. All wines are available by the glass, thanks to the Coravin system, and are poured at the table. Offerings range from $13 up to $500, for some very hard to come by vintages from their special collection. Meregalli has traveled extensively—London, Paris, Bejing, Geneva, Dubai, and chose NYC as the spot to open this intimate venue. “It was my move to the States that truly invigorated me… I found the energy, open-mindedness and diversity amongst the people living here inspiring.” Wines are categorized by their flavor profiles ‘Bright & Lively’ or ‘Clean & Earthy’ to help with the decision making, and dishes can be ordered in small, medium, and large portions to match appetites.

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The cozy space, is designed by SGS Architetti Associati, and lends an industrial feel with soft lighting throughout. There is a private dining room in the back which houses a wine cellar, plus an adjacent lounge outfitted with comfortable leather chairs, for those interested in having events. mulinoavino.com

recipe

PASTA+POMODORO 2

Here’s how you can make Mulino a Vino’s PASTA+POMODORO 2 at home.

hobnobmag pasta stuffed tomato

SERVES 4

FOR THE TOMATO CONFIT

4 nice heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 oz granulated salt
1 oz granulated sugar
1 sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic

Preheat oven to 280ºF. Cut off the top of the tomato, and scoop out the pulp with a spoon, taking care not to break the skin of tomato. Set the pulp aside for the sauce.

Season tomato shells and tops with oil, salt, and sugar. Break up the rosemary sprig and clove and sprinkle across a baking sheet. Place tomato shell and tops on the baking tray, leaving about 2-3 inches between each tomato. Place in the oven and bake for 20 min.

FOR THE SAUCE

pulp of 4 tomatoes (from above), blended
1 oz soy sauce
2 oz concentrated tomato paste
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 pinch sugar
20 basil leaves
4 oz tomato puree (canned or fresh)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, and then pour sauce into a big pot. Cook for 20 minutes on medium fire.

FOR THE PASTA

7 oz spaghetti
3 oz parmesan, grated
1 oz butter
salt, to preference

Bring an abundant amount of salt water to a boil. (I recommend about 2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water.) Cook spaghetti for 8-10 min until it is al dente. When the pasta is done, remove from water with tongs, put in the pot with tomato sauce and stir.

Continue to cook tomato sauce and pasta on medium heat for two min. After 2 min, add parmesan cheese and butter. Stir for 1 min. With tongs, place the pasta and sauce inside the confit tomato and close with the tomato top.

FOR THE PARMESAN CHIP

To make parmesan chips: grate parmesan cheese on a sheet of baking paper the size of plate. Microwave on high for about two min. Place tomato on top.

A Late Autumn Cocktail with Cider

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The assortment of sweet and spicy notes in these ingredients are perfect for the late fall season and the focus of this month’s Autumn cocktail with cider.

This cocktail takes advantage of the ciders appearing in your local liquor store and mixes beautifully with vodka, a sweet touch of cola, and salty grapefruit. The bitters pull it all together.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Signature Cocktail: East Cider Apple and fall flavors are emphasized in this slightly sweet and fizzy seasonal cocktail. Take advantage of the ciders now appearing in your local liquor stores. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Shacksbury Classic Craft Cider Some of the most gnarled trees in New England and old world orchards in England and Spain go into making this intense cider from Vermont. Cider is slowly fermented with cultured yeast in stainless steel, then aged for six months. The flavors really hold up in a cocktail. $9. shacksbury.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[3] Industry Standard Vodka Direct from Brooklyn, and distilled from sugar beets, Industry Standard boasts a fruity, complex flavor with hits of vanilla and spice. Vodka “made by nerds” utilizes yeast grown in an on-site lab, from a strain originating in beet fields of France, thus adding dimension to the vodka’s delicate flavor. Go and see how its made for yourself! A tasting room is open to the public, and offers tours, cocktails, plus views of New York Bay every Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10PM, no reservation required. $36. drinkicd.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[4] More Good Syrups Using locally sourced and organic ingredients, More Good has created a line of hand-crafted soda syrup concentrates. In this month’s cocktail we added a bit of the Cassia Kream Syrup whose recipe started out as a take on historical cola, but has added cinnamon and vanilla. With 50% less sugar than main stream sodas, this is the one to use with your Soda Stream. Their shop in Beacon, NY, also offers organic loose leaf tea, organic & fair trade herbs and spices, an extensive selection of over 50 flavors and varieties of cocktail bitters. Another reason to drink More Good: founder Jason Schuler, has partnered with Generosity.org in an effort to make clean water accessible to everyone on the planet, and the company has raised thousands of dollars for the cause. $13. drinkmoregood.com

[5] Bittermilk No. 5 Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt Bittermilk has created a line of cocktail mixers that each feature a bitter agent, a sweetener, and an acid—thus contributing to a well-balanced cocktail. The company is the brain child of husband and wife, Joe and MariElena Raya, of Charleston, South Carolina, a couple with deep roots in the restaurant/bar industry. In developing the No.5, lime and lemon juice were combined with cinchona bark, (the source of quinine for tonic). Fresh grapefruits are peeled and the skins are charred to help bring out bitter yet refreshing notes, then a touch of sea salt helps pull savory caramel notes and rounds out flavor. Works well with any light spirit. $15. shop.bittermilk.com

hobnobmag Autumn Cocktail with Cider

[6] Junior Merino Cachaca Lavender & Yuzu Bitters Junior Merino’s Intensives do the job of intensifying flavors in cocktails, and add complexity and elegance. Each is created with a different spirit base, which gets infused with botanicals. In this month’s cocktail we added a few drops of Cachaca Lavender and Yuzu. Also perfect for salad dressings, marinades, ceviche, soup, stew, desserts or seafood. $18.

Remee Klos of Holiday Cocktail Lounge Shares a Couple of Retro Cocktails

Posted on: October 17th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Retro cocktails from a landmark spot on St. Marks Place in the East Village, NYC. One comes complete with cocktail umbrella and plastic toy you can keep as souvenirs. It’s sophisticated kitsch.

It’s so commendable, and quite rare, to see a NYC neighborhood stand-by come back to life without losing its original charm and downtown spirit. For nearly 100 years, this St. Marks Place bar has attracted notables with personality (including Madonna, Sinatra, Keith Richards, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Allen Ginsburg, Leon Trotsky) that have infused their mark and energy into the space.

HOBNOBMAG Retro Cocktails from a NYC landmark

Holiday Cocktail Lounge, has received a loving, modern-with-kitsch makeover with the vision of Barbara Sibley, the East Village’s ‘resident anthropologist’. Under her guidance, extruded paneled walnut walls and a mint-green banquette give the space a vintage feel, transporting you right back to the ’50s. The renovation unearthed remnants of past incarnations, including a mural of a harem scene from the bar’s time as Ali Baba; a phone booth (one of only a handful left in NYC) with its original phone number; and, remarkably, a Prohibition-era tunnel that allows escape across St. Marks Place.

Her menu is hyper-local, featuring the best within a five-minute stroll from Holiday—including saffron, turmeric and shiso leaves to home-cured kielbasa and freshly baked challah. Sibley is chef and owner of neighboring restaurant, La Palapa, another staple of the neighborhood.

HOBNOBMAG Retro Cocktails from a NYC landmark

Cocktails are cultivated by brothers Michael and Danny Neff, so you know they are stellar. “We are committed to honoring its gritty, celebrity-studded past, while maintaining the creative ‘anything can happen’ ethos of the East Village. By marrying the bonhomie and warmth of a timeless neighborhood bar with a world-class drinks program, we’re planning to incubate some fantastic experiences,” says Michael Neff. ‘Nuff said.

On our visit, we got our cocktails from the funky and lovely Remee Klos, who gives us her terse report on working at Holiday.

HOBNOB: What’s the vibe like at Holiday?
RK: Fun. Always.

Do you get any visits from former luminaries?
What happens at Holiday, stays at Holiday.

What’s the best night to go?

That depends on how much tomfoolery you are in the mood for. You get more quality time with the fantastic bartenders Sundays and Mondays. But here, everyday is a Holiday.

Where have we seen you before Holiday?
The Library, Saxon & Parole, Hop Sing Laundromat.

Open every day from 3pm to 4am, as a landmark should be. holidaycocktaillounge.nyc

I included these two cocktails as part of a plan for hosting a Day of the Dead party because right next door at La Palapa, Barbara Sibley hosts a fabulous tribute to the holiday, with her authentic, traditional Mexican fare.

The Chocoholic Cocktail Featuring Exotic Dark Rum with Pineapple

Posted on: October 11th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The Day of the Dead party gets even more spooky with this shadowy concoction. In this chocoholic cocktail, I  created a deep, dark mix with a unique, antique rum and married it with tropical flavors. Chocolate and cherries also make an appearance.

This recipe goes with the party plan for hosting a Day of the Dead party or Halloween party, with all of the food is celebratory orange and black.

DETAILS ON THE COCKTAIL’S INGREDIENTS:

[1] Signature Cocktail: The Chocoholic Dark and stormy hues, and strong waves of fruit and chocolate make this the perfect autumn sipper. Brew the tea ahead of time and store in the fridge before your gathering. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Plantation “Stiggin’s Fancy” Pineapple Dark Rum Do not think of this as a flavored rum, a la Captain Morgan. Cocktail historian David Wondrich worked with the owner of Maison Ferrand to create this Caribbean wonder. In fact, recipes from the 1700s were referred to, and this experiment wowed bartenders from around the world at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans. To create this exquisite mix, pineapples are first soaked in the dark rum for 3 months, then the rind of the pineapple is macerated into the blend, thus extracting all its essential oils. It’s a truly sophisticated taste that can be sipped on its own, or mixed as it is here. $30.

hobnobmag chocoholic cocktail

[3] Republic of Tea Hibiscus Coconut Tea In keeping with a tropical palate, hibiscus flowers and coconut join the notes of pineapple in the rum in this cocktail. So refreshing, and positively good for you. Buying this tea allows you to Support Action Against Hunger, with $1 for each tin donated to create sustainable food and water solutions to communities faced with scarcity. Republic of Tea responsibly packages the goods in air-tight, light-resistant tins holding 36 unbleached tea bags, without unnecessary envelopes, strings, tags or staples. $10.25. republicoftea.com

[4] Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters A family business since 1864, these bitters add the chocolate-y touch, and take the cocktail over to the dark side. About $10. feebrothers.com

[5] Luxardo The Original Maraschino Cherries It is highly recommended to keep a jar of these in your fridge, for adding a punch of wow to cocktails, cheese boards, and sweets. These specimens are perfectly textured, sour Marasca cherries in a bright, sweet syrup. From the Veneto region of Italy, The Luxardo family has been cultivating cherry trees for this treat and its renowned Maraschino Liqueur. No preservatives or thickeners added. About $20. luxardo.it

Stuffed Apricots with Pistachios and Cream: A Slippery, Creamy Dessert

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When looking for a fruity dessert, that’s not too filling, apricots can fit the bill. To make these stuffed apricots with pistachios we started out with dried apricots, so this is something you can make even when apricots are not in season. Amazingly, they come back to life, and make the most amazing syrup. You can eat then with just the syrup, if you like, but adding the marscapone gives it a little richness, and the nuts add a little crunch and complement the fruit nicely.

This recipe creates an oozy, sweet light dessert, nice to include on your Halloween party menu featuring a graphic orange and black combination of things.

MAKES 20 BITES

SOAK THE APRICOTS

20 dried apricots
2 cups water

Soak the apricots in cold water overnight.

COOK THE APRICOTS… MAKE THE SYRUP

1/2 CUP turbinado sugar
squeeze of lemon juice

Remove apricots from liquid. Add the liquid to a pan with sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 min. Add apricots and simmer for 20 min till apricots are tender. Remove apricots, continue simmering liquid another 20 min till the liquid thickens to a syrup. Remove from heat, squeeze in lemon juice. Allow to cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.

MAKE THE CREAM FILLING

1/2 CUP mascarpone cheese
1/4 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped finely
1/2 TB lemon thyme, minced

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

CREATE THE BITES

cooked apricots
cream filling
1/8 CUP pistachio nuts, chopped
syrup
powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

Cut apricots in half leaving one side attached. Spoon in cream filling, and close. Roll edge in pistachios. Drizzle syrup on top. Spear with small fork. Dust with powdered sugar.