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Posts Tagged ‘fussy’

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 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

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.

Chicken Paillard Salad with Garlic-Parsley Mayo + Chorizo Butter

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Sometimes when eating out, you find a simple dish that just wows. How many times have you had a salad with grilled chicken? In this case, the chicken paillard salad prompted me to inquire about its secrets, which I will share with you here. All the elements play so wonderfully together, I can still taste it in my mind. Thank you, Chef Gordon Watton for coming to our table and sharing the secrets to this extraordinary dish.

This recipe is truly a labor of love, and has touches that only the most ambitious will create for themselves. But, perhaps, if you are entertaining guests, you might want to create all the elements. (for the lazy, in London, be sure to order this at Berners Tavern.)  Even if you do some of the components, you will have the makings of an absolutely superb salad.

MAKE THE CHICKEN PAILLARD

Pound chicken breasts thinly, and grill. (They use a Spanish Grill with charcoal.)

MAKE THE CHORIZO BUTTER

Dice chorizo and caramelize. Let cool. Incorporate into butter. Smother on top of chicken after grilling.

MAKE THE GARLIC PARSLEY MAYO

Chop garlic and parsley and combine with mayo. Dollop 3 spoons onto chicken.

MAKE THE SALAD

Combine arugula, roasted piquillo peppers, manchego shavings, and thinly sliced red onion rings.

ADD THE DRESSING

oil, mustard, lemon, lime, vinegar

THE GARNISH: CRISPY SHALLOTS

Fry thinly sliced shallots in cold pan of oil, cook slowly until golden brown, then dehydrate.

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

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!

Segedin Goulash Served Over Steamed Slovak Dumplings

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The first time I tasted Segedin Goulash I fell in love with its unusual flavors and rich, creamy sauce. If you like pork, think about it served in a spiced paprika pool, and finished in butter and sour cream. It’s a rich dish, that will be especially appreciated in cold weather to warm the soul. Traditionally, the goulash is served over dumplings, or if you are not so inclined, boil some basmati rice to use as a base.

We created this recipe as part of a menu for hosting guests over the weekend. The plan is full of ideas for filling up guests, but not spending too much time in the kitchen. So, if you are following our plan for Hosting Weekend Guests, you will be making extra so it can be transformed into Mini Pot Pies the following day for lunch. This dish will last, and only gets better with after a day or two.

SERVES 4 WITH EXTRA FOR MINI POT PIES

PREPARE THE GOULASH

2 medium onions, chopped
4 TB butter

3 LB pork shoulder, cut into cubes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds

2 LB sauerkraut
water

2 TB butter
5 TB flour
2 CUP sour cream

In a large, deep saucepan, saute onions in butter, until they are a nice brown, about 5 min. Add cubed pork, along with spices. Saute about 15 min till pork is cooked through. Add sauerkraut, plus enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hr till thick and reduced.

In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Add this mix into the stew to thicken it. Stir in sour cream, and let cook gently for 2 min.

TO SERVE SEGEDIN GOULASH

Steamed Dumplings, recipe follows, sliced (or rice)

Put 2 or 3 dumplings onto a plate and pour the goulash over it.

SUNDAY LUNCH: MINI POT PIES

leftover goulash
puff pastry, thawed at room temp for 40 min

heirloom tomatoes, sliced
EV olive oil
salt

Fill ramekins just shy of the top with goulash. Cut pastry sheets to size of the ramekins, and fit around the top using your fingers to seal. Bake in preheated 400ºF oven for 20-25 min till puff pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Serve with sliced heirlooms on the side, drizzled with olive oil and salt.

recipe

STEAMED DUMPLINGS

Slovak-style dumplings are not your usual noodle-type fare. They are huge, sponge-y bread-sized morsels that do their job of soaking up the sauces and juices of many dishes. These go hand in hand with the Segedin Goulash, and make it that much better. Make these ahead if you don’t want to spend the time while guests are in attendance, or alternatively, involve guests in the prep if they love to cook.

MAKES 22 SLICES

PREPARE THE YEAST

1 CUP milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
packet of yeast

Heat milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds so it’s lukewarm. Then put 3 TB of the milk into a small bowl. Vigorously whisk in sugar and yeast and let sit for about 10 min, to allow the yeast to rise.

MAKE THE DOUGH

2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt
yeast mixture
remaining milk

slice of stale bread (optional), cubed

In a large bowl, combine ingredients well. Then knead for about 10 min with a mixer. Dough should be smooth and unsticky, add flour if necessary.

LET THE DOUGH RISE

Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit 2 hrs.

Dust a wooden cutting board with flour and divide the mixture into 2 parts. Dumplings will increase in size when you steam them, so start with a size that will accommodate the pot you have. Cover these with a towel, and let sit another 20 min.

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set up a double boiler, and get water to boil. Place dough inside pot and cover. Steam for 20 min without opening the lid. Remove from pot, and poke the dumplings to let any steam out.

Allow to cool slightly. Slice into dumplings about a half-inch thick. Set 2 on a plate and cover with goulash to serve.

A Cognac Cocktail from Gregory Buda of The Dead Rabbit

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Enjoy this exquisite sipper from the bar voted “best in the world”. This cognac cocktail includes a touch of rye, madeira, and amaro, a trifecta of smooth, intense notes.

This party’s suggested  cocktail comes from the renowned bar located all the way downtown, NYC. The Dead Rabbit models itself on a traditional Irish bar from the 1800s, where a shop selling pantry favorites would be located on the ground floor. There are two more floors boasting truly excellent cocktails, some served in tea cups, and all in a boisterous atmosphere. The second floor is where you want to be for the full-service exoerience.

See more of my tips for hosting a five-star sports viewing in the UP YOUR GAME party plan. You’ll see recipes for upscale small bites, and more. Serve this potent cognac cocktail sipper to your fellow fans at the end of the game, to drown your sorrows, or celebrate!

Read our interview with Gregory Buda, and his take on working at this extremely popular establishment.

The Dead Rabbit was just awarded “World’s Best Bar” at Tales of the Cocktail. Has there been an increase in customers? Is the pressure on?
I would say that there has definitely been an increase in volume resulting from the press about our awards, which is great, especially in the summer. As for the pressure, it’s always on! Being the best means being dynamic, and we recognize that we can always do better and always improve. We have an awesome staff that constantly brings new ideas to the table on how we can up our game. We won that award not because our drinks are better than everyone else’s, but rather because we offer a really cool and unique experience when you come in.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

What is the most asked for spirit at the bar?

Dead Rabbit is known for having one of the most extensive Irish whiskey selections in the world, and a lot of people come in curious to try something new. It is also one of our goals to promote Irish whiskey as a category, which we do through cocktails, education, and tastings. However, in terms of other spirits, I have been thrilled that more and more guests come in asking about Japanese whisky, mezcal, and Armagnac, three categories that I am very excited about and that have been under people’s radar until recently.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

You are a photographer as well as mixologist. Are you influenced by how the drink looks as well as tastes?
Without question! Your experience of a drink has many facets to it. The obvious ones are aroma, taste, and texture, but presentation and glassware play a huge part as well. The visual appearance of a cocktail is the first part of your experience, so if I make sure it is spectacular, it sets your expectations appropriately for how the drink will taste. A normal comment that I get when I am behind the bar is “What is THAT drink over there?! I’ll have one of those.” And this is said without the guest having any idea what is in the cocktail or how it tastes. Personally, I prefer drinks to be presented in a classic but elegant way. Overly extravagant garnishes and glassware make me question whether the cocktail can speak for itself.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

How many cocktails at The Dead Rabbit can be credited to you? What’s your favorite ingredient that can improve almost any mix?
Currently, 12 of the cocktails in our third edition book menu are my creations, and I have come up with another seven or so for our seasonal menus. My secret ingredient is sherry, and I use different styles of sherry in almost all of the drinks I come up with, whether for menus, competitions, or articles. Before coming to Dead Rabbit, I worked at a beautiful sherry and cocktail bar called The Beagle (now closed) on the Lower East Side, and fell in love. As a bartender, it is a personal mission of mine to promote sherry as a category, and my favorite way to introduce people to its beauty is with a good sherry cocktail. I find that sherry really is a magical ingredient, and if I just can’t get a cocktail to taste the way that I want, adding a little sherry is usually the answer.

deadrabbit.com

Wellness Cocktail: Pam Wiznitzer’s Low-Alcohol Sipper

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Wellness cocktail, that may be an oxymoron, but there are certainly different degrees when it comes to imbibing. Pam Winitzer, of Seamstress, NYC, shares a recipe for her bright cocktail with low-alcohol, and her thoughts on mixology trends.

This month’s cocktail recipe, by the lovely Ms. Wiznitzer, is a lightly-sweet blend, with low-alcohol content, ideal for daytime parties.

You just attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and were busy giving seminars and classes. What are you focused on right now?
Right now my focus is on Seamstress and our team at the venue. We have a busy fall coming up and a killer team behind the bar and on the floor that keeps expanding and making every night really memorable for our guests. With menu changes on the horizon and some fun tricks up our sleeves, Seamstress keeps me pretty busy. Beyond the bar I have our amazing USBGNY chapter programming that keeps me attached to my emails and phone, some incredible projects with brands, travel and cocktails weeks, and just leading healthy lifestyle by keeping to a workout regiment and eating well.

Did you see any new trends that intrigued you?

The most outstanding trend that is sweeping our country right now is a focus on the health and wellness of bartenders. There is a stronger emphasis on not only eating well and working out, but also taking social responsibility by drinking less and keeping the “partying” to a more appropriate level. I felt that this year at Tales was and exemplary one with many bartenders and industry professionals really honing in on their behavior and enjoying the week without getting overly intoxicated. In fact, there are loads of people who are cutting out alcohol altogether!

For cocktails, there is a shift towards low proof/session drinks and also incorporating more unique spirits onto a cocktail menu. Vermouth and sherry were stars of the show and incorporated into many of the cocktails currently on menus across the country. As well, the appearance of spirits such as applejack, pisco, Raicilla, Sotol, Eau de Vie, Cognac and other more obscure liquors are finally getting their chance to shine at bars. It’s an exciting time for the smaller spirit producers from these categories because consumers and bartenders are both seeking our new flavors for their programs.

hobnobmag Wellness Cocktail

You’ve switched bars from way downtown (The Dead Rabbit) to the upper east side…how would you say the clientele compare?
New York clientele are the best! I love that the majority of guests who come to Seamstress are locals from the UES, as well as many doctors, nurses, teachers and some other business individuals who work uptown. A phenomenal part of our guests happen to be other industry personnel who work in restaurants and bars above 59th street and love to join us post shift for a great cocktail. As well, many of my guests from the Dead Rabbit (along with my old co-workers from the bar) have traveled uptown to visit, which means the world to me. I really love the people who come to eat and drink with us every night and love to see the returning faces week after week!

hobnobmag Wellness Cocktail

There’s a wee store in the entryway of Seamstress, with a great selection of handmade items, how do you choose who to include?
Steve Laycock and Josh Mazza help to curate the store. We focus on American goods that are of the highest quality and reflect the same ideals that we have at Seamstress (craftsmanship, attention to detail). We currently have syrups from Max Messier’s company Cocktail & Sons, Original drawings from artists Meredith Wing (@moomooi on instagram), Lotuff leather bags, Shinola watches from Detroit and Pendleton Blankets. You can check out our store online to see all of the updates:

seamstressny.com

Mini Portions of Dessert: Walnut-Pecan-Raisin & Cream Cigars

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Phyllo dough comes in handy for creating these mini portions of dessert. Some tips for working with phyllo: It’s very important to keep them under a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out while you are working with the sheets. Also, covering the finished rolls as you go will ensure a proper result. These can be made a day ahead, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to maximize numbers, cut each phyllo sheet into 9 rectangles instead of 6, and you will have 90 rolls.

I developed this recipe as part of a Greek food party menu. If you love Greek food, see more of the plan for hosting a Greek-themed party.

MAKES 60 CIGARS (6.5 INCHES)

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…TOAST THE NUTS

3/4 CUP walnuts
3/4 CUP pecans

Toast nuts in a heated skillet for about 2 min, set aside to cool. Roughly chop.

PREPARE THE FILLING…GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

6 TB brown sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch s + p

1 CUP golden raisins
toasted nuts
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature, cut into chunks

Pulse dry ingredients together. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Put into a piping bag and set aside.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Walnut Pecan Raisin Cream Cigars

MAKE THE CIGARS

20 sheets phyllo pastry
2 sticks salted butter, melted
brown sugar

Lay a sheet of phyllo out and brush lightly with butter. Dust with sugar. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter again. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 6 rectangles.

Pipe a line of filling near the bottom of each rectangle. Roll the pastry over the filling tightly, squeezing gently. Brush the seam with melted butter to seal, then all over. Place cigars on a baking sheet lined with parchment, seam side down, under a damp paper towel till ready to bake.

Bake the cigars on the oven’s middle shelf for 17 min, till they are flaky and a light golden brown. Serve stacked geometrically or vertically in a tall glass.

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Extra Pizazz: Greek to Me

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The staple accompaniment to Greek salads all over NYC: stuffed grape leaves. These stuffed grape leaves with extra pizazz take the flavorings up a few notches. To enhance the rice filling we added tangy feta, crunchy pine nuts, and a bunch of spices and let them work their magic. Before working with the grape leaves, make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove excess vinegar flavors. Leftovers are great in a Greek salad, of course.

See more Greek recipes in our party menu, for a full repertoire for entertaining.

MAKES 32 LEAVES

WASH GRAPE LEAVES

1 jar grape leaves (16 oz)

Gently remove the leaves from jar and thoroughly rinse each one. Let drain in a colander covered in a damp paper towel while you make the filling.

START THE FILLING

2 TB olive oil
1 med red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 CUP Amira Organic Basmati Rice, uncooked
2 CUPS water

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and, saute 5 min. Add garlic and saute for 1 min. Incorporate rice. Add water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 min. Turn off heat, let sit for additional 10 min. Move to a bowl. Allow to cool slightly.

ADD MORE FLAVOR

1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted, chopped
1/2 CUP feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TB thyme, chopped
1 TB mint, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Combine ingredients with rice. Allow mixture to cool before making the leaves.

MAKE THE GRAPE LEAVES

torn leaves
6 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch slices
rinsed leaves
filling

In a large Dutch oven, line bottom with torn leaves, then top with a row of lemon slices.

Start rolling: Lay one leaf flat with the veiny side face up. Remove stem. Place a tablespoon, or so, of the mixture (depending on leaf size) just above the cut stem. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf over the filling, then fold the sides in, and roll tightly.

Place in Dutch oven with seams down. Fit rolls in snugly around the circumference working your way in. Add a second level, if needed. Top with more torn leaves and lemon slices. Pour water until it reaches the middle of the top row. Place a heavy plate on top so rolls do not move around and come undone.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then simmer for 1 hour and 10 min. Remove from heat, and let rest undisturbed for 20 min more.

Arrange rolls in lines on a plate and garnish with lemon slices. If you like, cut them in half to maximize amounts and show off the rice filling.

Cucumber Cup with Healthy, Refreshing Raita

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nothing like a tasty raita in the summertime, which the chilled yogurt and fresh cucumbers offering a cool, refreshing bite. We’ve taken the traditional recipe and served it party-style: in a little cucumber cup you make by slicing up a cucumber and scooping out the middle. Also, would look cute as a side dish.

These cucumber cups make a nice statement plated in rows. See our other recipes for summer entertaining at this link.  We love the idea of plating in stripes, and using striped patterns on the table. So orderly.

MAKES ABOUT 20 MINI CUPS

MAKE THE RAITA

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeño, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 TB dill, chopped
1 CUP Greek yogurt

Toss grated cucumbers with rest of ingredients. To get rid of the excess liquid, push through a mesh strainer in batches.

 

MAKE THE CUPS

2 english cucumbers

Peel cucumbers and slice into 1-inch rounds. To create the hollows: insert a small knife at an angle into the top of the slice, and spin with the other hand. Discard the center.

TO SERVE

dill, for garnish

With a small spoon, fill each cavity of the cucumber cups first. Then add a small dollop on top of each, and garnish with a small sprig of dill.

Vegetable Ribbon Tart in Colorful Stripes

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Vegetables add to the design of this tart and to the taste. We mixed shaved strips of carrots, zucchini, and eggplant to create a beautiful pattern in this vegetable ribbon tart.

I tried this recipe two ways. First in a 9.5-inch square pan that was only 1-inch deep, and then in a scalloped 9-inch round pan, about 1.5 inches deep. They both came out well, so decide how you want to serve: in small elongated bites, or cut into triangles from the round.

If this recipe appeals to you, we’ve got even more recipes geared for summer in the Stripes party theme.

MAKES 18 SMALL SERVINGS (1 INCH X 4 INCH) OR 8-10 PIE WEDGES

THAW PUFF PASTRY

1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Remove one pasty from package. Securely wrap remaining pastry and return to freezer immediately. Let pastry thaw for 40 min.

MAKE THE CHEESE MIX

1 CUP ricotta
1 CUP mozzarella, shredded
1/2 CUP sour cream
1 egg
2 TB parsley, minced
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

PREPARE THE VEGGIES

2 large carrots, peeled
2 zucchini
1 eggplant

Using a peeler, shave strips of carrot lengthwise, holding the larger end. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, then cut into strips. With the eggplant, slice into it keeping in mind that you want to keep the skin for its color. The slices should be about the same height as the depth of the tart pan, so adjust accordingly.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF… ASSEMBLE THE TART

9.5-inch square ceramic dish, 1-inch deep
thawed pastry
cheese mix
veggie strips

Into a lightly greased pan, lay the puff pastry. Trim excess. Add the cheese mixture. Alternate the vegetable strips.

Bake 35 min on the lowest shelf in the oven, until the veggies have browned a little. Allow to cool a bit before cutting and serving. For the square, cut into 9 rows, then in half to get 18 petit servings. If you chose the round tart, then cut into 8 or 10 triangles.

Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

My Brazilian friend Shirlei is a fantastic cook, and has taught me a trick or two. When she lived in NYC we hosted many a gathering together. Whenever she made this potato salad I loved it so much, I prayed there would be leftovers—which I would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I could not get enough of Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad.

It might seem like an odd combination of things, but it totally works, and is almost a meal in itself. The parsley is essential for the proper flavor, as is regular mayonnaise. As for the things you boil, to simplify things when cooking, I saved the boiling water from the potatoes, then cooked the string beans in it, then cooked the carrots in it.

See more recipes that are great for summer entertaining in the Stripes party theme.

MAKES ONE VERY LARGE BOWL

START CHOPPING

5 large russet potatoes, peeled

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices, then cubes. Bring to a boil in covered pot. Boil 7 to 8 min. Monitor the pot, as the bits cook quickly and you do not want them to overcook. The texture should be firm, keeping its cubed shape. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon—save the water for boiling the veggies. Place potatoes in cool spot or refrigerator.

MORE CHOPPING

1/2 LB string beans, cut into 1/4-inch bits
5 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch bits (about 2 1/2 CUPS)

In the water used to boil potatoes, boil each for roughly 5 min, till they are soft but not mushy.

GET A REALLY BIG BOWL…CREATE THE POTATO SALAD

cooked potatoes, string beans, carrots
3/4 CUP golden raisins
20 green olives, cut into tiny bits
1 apple, diced
1 CUP mayonnaise
1 CUP parsley, minced
1-2 TB salt
freshly ground black pepper

potato sticks (optional)

Mix together all the ingredients, except the potato sticks. Refrigerate at least a few hours to allow flavors to meld. Cover the top with the potato sticks when ready to serve.

A Summer Cocktail for Amaro Lovers from Lana Gailani of Pouring Ribbons

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Pouring Ribbons, a place known for their serious dedication to creative cocktails and a great oral history, offers up a cocktail for amaro lovers, with hints of jasmine and peach, to celebrate summer.

Lana Gailani, a mixologist at Pouring Ribbons, is preparing the summer cocktail menu for summer. She says: get ready for lighter and brighter cocktail ingredients for summer—infused into in complex configurations . I interviewed her to see her philosophy behind the cocktail strategies. Amaro lovers, it’s your time!

This cocktail is part of the Pouring Ribbons new summer menu…what else can we expect to see, ingredient-wise?
We’ve gone for lighter, brighter cocktails with pretty classic summer ingredients—we have a tequila negroni with muddled strawberry, we have a vodka cocktail with watermelon juice and soda, and a take on a pina colada with peach instead of pineapple. These drinks all have a bit of a twist to them, though—the watermelon cocktail features cachaca and amaro, and the pina colada sneaks in a bit of scotch.

HOBNOB Cocktail for Amaro Lovers

You described this cocktail as a “beginners” introduction to Amaro…are you a fan? How do you like to use it?
I love amaros—they can add depth and complexity while using very small amounts due to their intensity. They can be spicy or herbaceous, sweet and/or bitter, sometimes quite earthy. On their own they make wonderful digestifs and I often have one as a nightcap. The amaro in Safe Word is Cardamaro, which is lighter in style, made with blessed thistle and cardoon, which is in the artichoke family. Its slight earthy tones match the malty qualities of the genever very well and help this cocktail come across almost more as a light whiskey drink than as one based on gin.

How did you get involved in mixing drinks?
I fell in love with mezcal. I’d worked in pastry before, and while waiting tables and working as a sommelier, I realized that I really missed *making* something every day. The craft. I had a job waiting tables at a restaurant with a very extensive agave collection (Empellon Cocina) and I realized that mezcal had a lot in common with wine, and if I managed to get behind a bar I could have everything I wanted. I could be a nerd and study spirits, make something with my hands every day, and meet new people all the time. So I started harassing them to let me behind the bar, and eventually they did.

HOBNOB Cocktail for Amaro Lovers

Name your favorite summer sip:
Rosé all day!

What are your plans for Pride weekend?
I’m working Friday and Saturday, but Sunday is still up in the air…

hobnobmag Cocktail for Amaro Lovers lana

Not-Too-Sweet Blue Cocktails & Grand Vintage Champagne

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Go natural. The color in this blue cocktail comes from iris flowers immersed into the artisanal gin. Make a pretty and unusual statement on your party bar.

In planning this month’s menu of rainbow colors, the most practical choice for representing the color BLUE turned out to be the cocktail. In order to keep things on an upscale note—and not offer a menu of sickeningly-sweet junk booze—we went on the hunt for more sophisticated and subtle flavors. Luckily, we encountered a light sparkling blueberry liqueur and floral gin deluxe, see the details below.

Offer both at your gathering to cover those who prefer light and fruity or demand a crisp martini.

And for those who prefer a little bubbly with their celebrating, offer a sip of a cellar master’s crowning achievement, see details on Moët’s 2006 vintage below.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[1] Touch of Cyan This month’s signature cocktail gets served up in a coupe glass, mixing slightly fruity flavors with lime. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Gin-Tastic The initial attraction of this gin was its show-stopping color. Upon tasting, we were pleasantly surprised to experience its soft, complex floral notes. Choose to serve either in a cocktail with lime accents or straight up for the martini-lovers in your crowd. Recipes appear with this post.

HOBNOBMAG Blue Cocktail for the Rainbow Party

[3] Blue Ice American Vodka
An honest pure vodka, made from russet potatoes, perfect for those avoiding gluten in your crowd. Mixed with water from deep within the Rocky Mountains, this vodka is distilled in five-stages and filtered through charcoal, garnet, and crystal. Blends perfectly in the cocktail. Nicely priced for parties. $20. blueicevodka.com

[4] LeSutra Sparkling Blueberry Liqueur This Blueberry liqueur announces itself in a pale turquoise tone with just a bit of sweetness and sparkle. Made in Michigan, the brand was inspired by hip hop artist Timbaland and is a blend of vodka, chardonnay, and fruit liqueurs. Sutra in Sanskrit means “a thread that is used to hold things together”. Perhaps this liqueur will stimulate conversation and relationships that will linger. About $30. NOTE: HAVING TROUBLE LOCATING THIS ITEM, PERHAPS HOBNOB HAS PURCHASED THE LAST BOTTLES OF THIS. drinklesutra.com

[5] Santa Cruz Organic Limeade
A go-to brand for building cocktails, Santa Cruz offers all types of all-juice blends ranging from apricot to white grape. They were the pioneers of organic practices in the early 70’s starting with founder John Battendieri’s efforts to revitalize orchards in the Santa Cruz mountains, an area known for its outstanding fruit. Lately, they have led in efforts to conserve water and pooled together organic growers to sustain the brand and the planet. About $4 for 32 oz. santacruzorganic.com

[6] Magellan Iris-Flavored Gin In the final part of the distilling process of this gin, iris flowers are immersed, thus lending a lovely blue tint. This also adds a distinctly floral taste, with beauty in its subtlety. Also in the mix: cloves, cinnamon, juniper berries, orange peel, cassia, coriander, licorice, grains of paradise, cardamom, and nutmeg. It works wonderfully in the cocktail or as a simple sip. About $30. magellangin.com

[7] Fee Brothers Blue Curacao Cordial Syrup A non-alcoholic version of a classic cordial, Blue Curacao is sweet with the flavor of orange. Add this to any clear cocktail to get a blue effect. For this party you might want to get the 32 oz bottle, about $15. feebrothers.com

HOBNOBMAG Blue Cocktail for the Rainbow Party

[8] Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006 Every so often, Moët allows the cellar master free-reign in developing a grand vintage with charisma, ending up with a champagne that is unique and original. The last time this happened was 2006, the house’s 40th vintage rosé, and is a blend of the season’s most interesting grapes. Its flavor is designed to be paired with food of any persuasion. We sampled it at a tasting with spicy Korean fried chicken. Drink through 2019. $69. us.moet.com

Learn How to Pioneer—In Style—with Georgia Pellegrini’ Modern Pioneering

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s always good to have skills and honor nature. Modern Pioneering takes you outside in the city and rural areas and shows you how to survive in style.

Whether you’re an urban city slicker or have the great outdoors at your fingertips, Georgia Pellegrini’s Modern Pioneering will show you how to live off the grid and get connected to nature in style. In this independent spirit, you’ll learn earth-to-table dining at its best: grow your own garden even if your patch of land is only your fire escape or a windowsill; create a modern-day larder and build a self-sufficient pantry with the tried and true techniques of pickling, smoking, curing, jamming, and fermenting; and learn to live off the land by foraging, camping, and other survival techniques for both rural and urban dwellers. With recipes, hand-drawn illustrations, and guides for adventurous tasks big and small, Modern Pioneering will empower you to get your hands dirty and embrace your strong, self-sufficient side.

Enjoy a recipe from the book for making dandelion wine. We chose this recipe to include in Hobnob’s party plan with a focus on wild things and foraged ingredients. See the entire plan at this link.

hobnobmag LEARN HOW TO PIONEER—IN STYLE—WITH GEORGIA PELLEGRINI MODERN PIONEERING

recipe

Dandelion Wine

Dandelions bloom for only a few weeks in early spring, with a few stragglers throughout the summer. They look like bright yellow suns and have a particularly good supply of vitamins A and C, calcium, and phosphorus, some of which will remain even when you dry the flowers. Pick them from an open field far from any insecticide spraying, and if you can, pick early in the season when the leaves of the plant are still tender. Newly bloomed flowers are ideal. Dandelion wine is traditionally sipped from very small glasses. I have also combined it with seltzer water for a spritzer, or you could do as my godfather does and pour it over a roasting chicken for a caramelized skin. Some people prefer to make dandelion wine with just the petals, but I use the whole flower bud. The reason is that fermentation can sometimes get stuck before it is complete. This can happen when there aren’t enough micronutrients for the yeast. You increase the chance of success by using whole buds because they contain more micronutrients, but you will have a slightly more bitter wine.

8 CUPS whole dandelion blossoms, washed well, stems removed
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
peel of 1 large orange, coarsely chopped
peel of 1 lemon, coarsely chopped
16 CUPS water

2 1/4 tsp brewer’s yeast
1/4 CUP warm water

6 cups sugar
8 whole cloves
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced

1. Wash the dandelion blossoms well in a colander. Place them in a large pot with the orange juice, lemon juice, the orange and lemon peels, and 16 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and allow to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Let it sit, covered, for 24 hours.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.

3. Add the sugar to the dandelion liquid and stir. Next, add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

4. Fit a large jug with a funnel and set a small fine mesh strainer in the funnel. Ladle in the liquid one spoonful at a time, pressing down onto the dandelions to ensure all of the liquid is extracted. Dump the dandelions and peels into an empty bowl to allow each new batch of liquid to strain easily.

5. Add the cloves and ginger to the jug.

6. Place an airlock on the jug, so that the CO2 can leave the jug but bad yeast doesn’t enter. This can be done with a deflated balloon—poke holes into the latex, then fasten the balloon around the neck of the jug. Alternatively, you could use plastic wrap. The airlock is used instead of the lid; if you screw the lid on tightly, you run the risk of having the bottle explode. Shake well and let it rest for 1 week in a cool, dark place as the fermentation begins.

7. Using a funnel and fine-mesh strainer, strain the liquid into bottles. Add an airlock over each of the bottles and allow the uncorked bottles to sit in a dark, cool place for 3 to 6 weeks. Then cork the bottles, or use bottles with screw-on tops, and store them in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months and up to a year. This kind of wine is best consumed while it is young, about 6 months after you cork it.

Reprinted with permission from Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

Franky Marshall Mixes Up a Winning Carrot Juice Cocktail

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This carrot juice cocktail is loaded with extra vitamins and takes on a super-hot color. Special thanks to mixologist Franky Marshall for sharing her winning recipe with adorable garnish.

World traveler, linguist, gourmande, and bon vivant, Franky Marshall has her finger on the cocktail pulse. If you follow this trendsetter, you will always be at the coolest spot in NYC. [Holiday Cocktail Lounge; The Dead Rabbit; Monkey Bar; Clover Club, to name a few!] I asked Franky to share a recipe for my party plan, whose theme is wild. When she suggested the carrot juice in the mix, I knew it was a winner, but little did I know…

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

I was lucky to catch Marshall before she took off to France, as the winner of the Grand Marnier cocktail contest—with this very recipe. I urge you to make the Garnier, or sample it from Marshall herself. It’s quite an original mix, just like her! You can accomplish this at Le Bar at Le District near the World Trade Center Memorial.

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

You can also catch her now at The Roof at Park South, where we did this photo shoot. This rooftop cocktail lounge boasts loads of comfortable seating areas situated around glass-front fireplaces and views. A 36-foot long bar sets the stage for bar director Ted Kilpatrick’s artisan cocktails. Delight in the ultra-thin vintage glassware selections that add to the cocktail experience, as seen in the photo.

Macadamia Crusted Halibut Fish Tacos with Sweet Sour Mayo

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I had this idea to do a party menu featuring wild ingredients of all sorts. So, in keeping with the Wild theme of this party menu, we are featuring wild-caught halibut in these tacos. But not just plain old fish!  The macadamia crusted halibut coats the fish with buttery macadamia nuts and panko breadcrumbs—which will impress your guests even further, and make the bites a bit more substantial and succulent. If you don’t want to put the fish into tacos, you can just serve the fish bites with the dipping sauce, they are sensational.

In this recipe we made our own mini taco shells from large wraps, using a glass to cut the circles. Adding the frisee not only presents a cool, citrus-y green color, but the bitterness cuts through the sweetness of the chutney in the sweet sour mayo. This is really an exceptional trio of tastes wrapped in a tortilla shell.

MAKES 32 MINI TACOS (YOU CAN STRETCH THIS OFFERING BY CUTTING THE BAKED FISH SLICES IN HALF)

PREHEAT OVEN 450º… MAKE THE FISH

1 1/4 LB halibut fillets, remove skin and cut into 1/2-inch slices (you should end up with 32)

Set up a breading station, 3 bowls:
1 cup spelt flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 CUPS macadamia nuts, finely chopped (process in food processor for the quickest results)
1 1/4 CUPS panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Dredge fish in flour, then eggs, then macadamia-breadcrumbs mixture. Place fish on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake about 15 min, flipping once mid-way through baking, till breading is golden.

HOBNOBMAG macadamia crusted halibut tacos

MAKE THE SWEET SOUR MAYO SAUCE

1/2 CUP Stonewall Kitchen Old Farmhouse Chutney
1/4 CUP mayonnaise
2 TB sriracha
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

HOBNOBMAG macadamia crusted halibut tacos

CREATE MINI TACO WRAPS

4 wraps (11-inch) Aladdin Gourmet Sandwich Wraps
6 wraps (9-inch) Toufayan Hearth Baked Wraps Whole Wheat

Create 3.25-inch taco shells from the large wraps. Take a sturdy glass (or cookie cutter), and starting at the very edge, press down and rotate glass to cut. Pull up the wrap while glass is on top to help separate. Work your way around the edge of the circle. You should get 9 taco shells from the 11-inch, and 5 perfect shells from the 9-inch (plus 2 with a little missing on the side). Keep these in a sealed container until ready to use so they don’t dry out.

ASSEMBLE THE TACOS

32 mini taco wraps
Sweet Sour Mayo sauce
frisee
cooked fish

Slather sauce generously onto the taco wrap, lay a bed of frisee lettuce over one side, and top with a slice of fish (you can cut the fish pieces in half to maximize your taco offering). Fold taco shells over and press to seal. Line the tacos in a row to help keep them closed.