Entertainment | Food & DrinkRead More
I can remember my last full pint of beer in 2014 - thank god it was a really good one. About a week later I found out I was pregnant, and it has been the summer of Mocktails for me since then.
One night I met up with a former handbag design colleague and I was actually craving a Shirley Temple - The Original Mocktail. In today's foodie obsessed culture, artisanal cocktails rule the scene. Thus, if you decide to go sans alcohol one night you don't have to settle for a plain soda, the bartender will happily concoct a Mocktail for you.
On this night, I just wanted and old classic (before it was called a mocktail).
Recipe: from CHOW
|[ Compliments of The Dressing Room in the Lower East Side - one of the coolest bars around ]|
ENTERTAINING | FOOD & DRINK
One of my favorite Jewish holiday Fêtes is Purim because I love cookies! The food du jour on this holiday is Hamentashen. Usually I give up cookies and baked treats during Lent, but since we have a multicultural household now, I let myself indulge on Purim.
This year Elyse, the other 2 Non Blonde, threw a Purim Luau Party. It was all about the tiki plates, the fab florals, the island jewelry, the pink ukulele and...
THE FOOD: Jewish Classics with an Hawaiian Twist.
1: Arugula Salad with Chickpeas and Hearts of Palm
2. Lox & Pineapple Kabobs
3. Plantain Chips with Hummus
4.Assorted Aloha Series Ales from Kona Brewing Company
5. Capri Sun Surfer Cooler (for the little party goers)
6. Whitefish Sliders on Hawaiian Rolls *recipe at end of post
7. Falafel & Mango salsa
8. Pineapple Lukshen Kugel *recipe at end of post
9. Coconut Cream Hamentaschen
6. Coconut Peanut Butter & Banana Mini Pita sandwiches
Of course, this post would not be complete with out a mention of...
THE FASHION: It was still chilly outside in late March but warm inside. Everyone was ready to break into their summer gear!
Floral dresses, shirts and hair accessories were most popular. Authentic Hawaiian necklaces were even spotted. I brought along my best Hawaiian accessory = A Pink Uke
THE PARTY: see what happens when you hand people a pineapple and a Uke
|THIS IS THE HOSTESS (on the left)|
|PARTY OVER::::::::::::::::: this PHOTO COURTESY OF ALYSE PARRIES|
Series | How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi
After my excursion to the Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting at the Waldorf a few weeks ago, I was influenced to seek out a bit more wine knowledge to share with fans of JSQ.
As part of the series on "How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi", knowing at least a little about wine is having "that certain something special".
Thankfully I have a good friend, John Slover, who is a wine expert, also known as a sommelier. We had a quick chat about what I thought were some wine etiquette essentials and he obliged me with a wine opening demonstration. It's a performance he has perfected after almost 20 years in the wine business working at places such as Blue Hill, Cru, Le Bernardin, and Daniel.
Luckily for us, this private wine consulter who manages some pretty impressive wine collections, shared his knowledge with JSQ pro bono.
See Interview below:
JSQ: If u are clueless about vineyards, grapes and regions, is it ok to buy a bottle based on the looks of the label?
JSQ: How reliable is the person working in the wine store ?
JSQ: How important is it to store my wine on its side at my home? It's not laying down at the store.
JSQ: Would u ever mix coca cola with red wine?
JSQ: Do u have a favorite brand of wine glasses to recomend? High end/ Low end
JSQ: Are there any tricks to not getting purple teeth?
JSQ: I find the world of wine and the world of fashion very similar in that a select group of people actually fully understand it -those that work in it or those that spend the time getting to know it. There are some steadfast rules in fashion to help the less daring always get it right. For instance a black cocktail dress is always chic. Pearls are always sophisticated and black pumps with a slender heel will always be stylish.
For normal people just trying to to by a decent bottle of wine or choose a glass with dinner. What are 3 tips to make this process more successful?
JSQ: Also like fashion, there are some ridiculous prices. Or are they ridiculous? In fashion some items are prices far beyond the value of the product. Much of the price inflation is about the status of the brand. Does wine pricing work in a similar way ?
JSQ: How about this wine you are using in the demonstration - It's huge! This is not a normal bottle of wine.
JS: Yes, it's large. It's called a Magnum which is = 1.5 liters. This wine is from Piedmont, Italy. Piedmont reds, particularly ones made from barbera are good pizza wines, and it turned out to be pretty good with chinese food too!!
JSQ: Thanks for entertaining my questions and adding to our "je ne sais quoi" Looking forward to licking more labels with you soon.
Wine Really is for Lovers
MIXERS | FOOD & DRINK
I typically do not cover wine on this blog but rather cocktails. Honestly I find cocktails less intimidating and what more can I share about wine than A) pour in glass and B) drink ?
Though, this week is an exception since on Monday I was invited by an old friend from France to experience an afternoon of the United States
Tasting Tour of Vintage 2011 Grands Crus de Bordeaux.
I brought along my friend, Ophelia, who is well versed in wine to help guide me. Her knowledge comes from 3 main sources: loving wine, drinking a lot of it and being European. We arrived at the Waldorf Astoria (what I like to call a vintage hotel) and made our way to the ballroom through the opulent lobby. As we got closer, the smell of wine scented the air. It was insane to me that there was enough wine in this room which could produce such an intense fragrance.
Ophelia made a list of her favorite vineyards. Now it was
time to discover, taste, and learn.
My Favorite Label at the Tour - I have an affinity for the decorative
A characteristic of young wine is dryness which feels uncomfortable. It sticks to the inside of the mouth and tongue making it feel dry and shriveled. The purple seems to attack the teeth quicker - not attractive! But eventually these tannins, which feel so dry now, should develop into what is understood as a fuller body (aka much more enjoyable).
As we tasted one of our first selections we spoke amongst ourselves wondering how does one determine if a wine will age well?
A wine collector standing near us overheard the question and was kind enough to impart his knowledge with us. He
getting to know a vintage of wine in the same way one gets to know a lover.
"After many years of drinking the same (year) one begins to know the wine in an intimate way much like one knows an old lover." He said I'm probably too young to understand this. I suppose the dim lighting and alcohol content were doing me a few favors ;) This comment leads me to believe there really is a connection between
wine and romance.
Château Bouscaut Vineyard
As we progressed through Ophelia's list it was a delightful surprise to find tastes which were not so dry and what we liked to mark as "drinkable now". For us this meant: it only gets better from here.
Finally we reached Château Bouscaut where I met the representative,
Marie Amélie Fourault-de Fontenay. As we approached I was hoping we would like it because it's the wine of my friend from France who invited me to the event. I would hate to report that it did not agree with my palette.
Luckily for my palette, my friendship and the reputation of the vineyard, it was one of the best wines I tried at the tasting. Also this statement is validated by the uber refined palette of Ophelia.
We tried both the White (a mixture of Semillon and Sauvignon) and Red (a mixture of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec).
Now on a fashion note:
Not only did we enjoy the Château Bouscaut, but I was thoroughly impressed with Marie-Amélie's choice of attire. It was a velvet "wine" colored suit. It was a fitting choice, if not a witty one too. Later it occurred to me that it could function to mask hazards of the job: wine stains!!!
So you've heard it here first: Château Bouscaut 2011 = Approved by Jenée Sais Quoi
Order this young wine with Confidence (because having that je ne sais quoi is all about confidence)
Also if you find yourself in the southwest region of France, consider visiting the Château where you can sleep over, take a cooking class and participate in wine & cheese tasting. More info
or Contact: Laure Laborde +33 (0)5 57 83 12 20 / firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE WINE EDUCATION THIS MONDAY ON "HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI" FROM GUEST SOMMELIERS
Brighten up your Vodka
Mixers | Food & Drink
As I planned to be home in Louisiana for Christmas I looked forward to all of my dad's citrus trees. I imagined picking satsumas and eating them instantly. I looked forward to picking and grapefruits from the trees in the morning and turning them into a glass of juice. What I don't love eating as much are the Kumquats. They are so cute but not so enjoyable after one or two. So I called my dad and said this year we would make Kumquat infused Vodka in an effort to make better use of these adorable mini oranges.
Hence, like the sage butter, this is another great winter preserve of nature's bounty.
INGREDIENTS AND RECIPE
What you need: Glass jars, Fresh Kumquats & Vodka
Pick ripe Kumquats
Tart and/or Sweet Kumquats. My dad grows both so we made separate jars of each. The tart ones are oblong like olives and the round ones are, just round.
Wash (in case there is bird poop on your kumquats)
Pick off any stems and cut in half
Vodka (any Vodka will do) Tho, I don't recommend a cheap, harsh one like Taaka. Even the best fruit cannot cover up the rubbing alcohol taste of that stuff.
Add Kumquats to jar and pour in vodka. Depending on strength of kumquat flavor will determine how many to add to jar. Since we had so many we just filled the jars to the top.
Let the Kumquats infuse the Vodka for 3-4 days. Shake one a day. Keep in a cool, dry place. Since it's winter, leaving the jars outside works well.
Family and Friends & glasses
Once you have determined it has infused long enough (determine by tasting), share with family and friends as an apéritif for Christmas!!!
Serve chilled and straight up.
Garnish with a vodka soaked kumquat wedge
A jar of your homemade Kumquat Vodka is also a great Christmas and New Year Present.
**Note - many recipes recommend removing the fruit if it will not be consumed within the first week. I imagine it may get bitter if left in for too long.
Though, what do do with all of these vodka soaked kumquats???
My idea is to freeze them and when you are ready to serve the vodka add them not only as garnish but as ice too.
Mixers | Food & Drink
At a recent holiday party, my friend from Germany told me an interesting story about drinking champagne with beer. With New Year's Eve around the corner, I thought this was a great time to share a bit of this champagne "cocktail" and it's historical roots.
Her husband, from East Germany, was on the forefront of Punk "culture" in the late 1980s and early 90s as they defied convention and the oppressive establishment.
In true punk fashion they diluted their champagne or sparkling wine (or in the case of my photo: cava): the drink of the privileged with beer: the drink of the blue collar worker.
This practice actually originated back in the 1950s in Communist East Germany. In order to reeducate workers and farmers and make them feel more like the new ruling class which they were supposed to be now. In some restaurants they had to buy a small bottle of sparkling wine with every beer they ordered. Workers and farmers did not want to drink sparkling wine - and poured it into their beer. The result was a surprisingly interesting and powerful drink, that went by the very old school name of Herrengedeck.
This practice was expressed as an act of rebellion at the height of punk culture in the late 80's. For instance at a very formal reception one would order beer from a waiter when everyone is drinking champagne and then ask for the "refil" to be poured on top of the beer.
Now that was a serious F...U... to the establishment. So punk.
Lastly it has some pretty practical purposes having nothing to do with politics and everything with just feeling good. After way too much Champagne with you friends, order one beer and pour a bit in every glass. It really soothes the stomach!
So this New Year's Eve remember this trick rather you need to make a political statement or just save yourself from a stomach ache.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014
Mixers | Food & Drink
... is a flame attached to your tasty cocktail.
This Thanksgiving holiday collides with the first day of Hanukkah and has enticed our appetites for a real mélange of flavors.
This Thanksgiving-ukkah I changed up my annual Pumpkin-tini to have a bit of Hanukkah flair.
I found a recipe here for this hot cocktail.
This drink is great all winter long, but I especially like it during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season because of the spices. Since it involves infusing, my recommendation is to make it right after Halloween so it is ready for Thanksgiving Aperitifs.Read More
Food & Drink | Mixers
As Rosh Hashanah approaches it's time to prepare for a New Year. One of the things I love about living in a multi cultural household is that we get more than one chance to start the year new and fresh. It's also nice to have a few extra holidays to make up fun cocktails like this one.
The Rosh Hashanah menu includes many sweet foods representing the wish for a sweet new year. The most symbolic foods are the apple dipped in honey, thus I made an apple based cocktail. To add sweetness to the apple I choose to mix it with rum which is made of sugar cane. Since the rum and ginger ale floater are from Jamaica, this cocktail has a hint of reggae vibe.
(Rum drinks are also favorites of sailors & pirates. So remember this cocktail the next time you are practicing your knots.)
So get your mixer ready for Wednesday night and Have a Sweet New Year!
INGREDIENTS AND RECIPE
Slice an apple to use for Garnish. Set aside
Pour 1 Part Apple Juice. I like Martinelli's because it comes in a great glass jar that I will later use as a vase.
Add 1 part Rum for a strong drink or add 1/2 part Rum for a mild drink.
Pour mixture into a shaker with ice. Shake 7 times.
Pour over ice. Leave a little room.
Float some ginger ale on top. Just a dash. I love this Jamaican brand because it's extra spicy.
Garnish with an apple ring. I cored mine into the shape of a Star of David
Now turn on some Matisyahu and get your New Year Party started.
In August peaches are in abundance. They are cheap. They are ripe and they are delicious. Why not blend them with a bit of gin and serve it to your girlfriends ?!
THYME FOR PEACHES : It's sweet, earthy and refreshing. With the overload of peaches at the end of summer, this is a great use of the season's bounty. Also see Kristine's peach grilling ideas.
While attending the first Ladies Who Scout meeting over the weekend, we sipped on Frozen Peach Cocktails prepared by Scout Wiley. It's an idyllic drink in the garden especially surrounded by girlfriends. The peaches are sweet, the thyme is earthy and the icy concoction will, well.... "help you hang on".
Hurry before all your peaches are over ripened!!!!!
Recipe Courtesy of McCormick
** I took the liberty of giving it a better name = "Thyme for Peaches"
1. For the Thyme Syrup, mix sugar and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add thyme. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve. Strain. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. .
2. For each cocktail shaker of Peach-Gin Cocktail, fill cocktail shaker half full with cracked ice. Add 1/2 c of the fruit, 1/4 c of the peach schnapps, 1 ounce (2 t) gin, liqueur and Thyme Syrup, and 2 t lime juice. Shake until mixed and chilled. Strain into cocktail glasses (Makes 2) Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 8 cocktails.
** For Scout Wiley's version - Blend the ice with the ingredients**
Garnished Glasses waiting for cocktails
August is for Adventure so today I share a cooking lesson I took while visiting Thailand this past winter. The beach is a great escape during warm August and an even better escape during a freezing cold North East Winter. One of the best parts of Thailand is Thai food and the tourist industry knows it. There is no shortage of Thai cooking classes, but I like to think I found one of the best at Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai.
The course starts with a trip to the outdoor market to get fresh pressed coconut milk and become familiarized with thai spices, rice and curries. After that we are driven to the organic farm where we pick the herbs we will need for our dishes and begin cooking in an open air kitchen. We eat what we cook and take home the rest. It's a great social and learning experience. If you plan on going to Thailand, it should be at the top of your must-do list.
|Freshly Made Curry: Green, Red & Yellow|
|Marinated Vegetables with plastic fan overhead to keep flies away|
|Fish Paste - Found in many Thai dishes|
|Rice is an essential part of the meal and there are many to choose from|
|Pink eggs - Recipe here. I gravitate to anything pink...|
|Thai dishes are often very spicy. Even if you think you like spicy, Thai food is a whole other Ball game. I learned in this class that I like "American Spicy", NOT Thai Spicy. So beware when ordering spicy food in Thailand.|
|Fresh Coconut ready to be pressed into Fresh Coconut Milk|
|They said the hat was for sun protection but I think it was just to keep us in our place ;)|
|Curry is made with a Mortar & Pestle - It is much more difficult than I ever imagined|
|First Course - Tom Yam Soup with Shrimp|
|Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School|
|Second Course - Yellow Curry Sauce with Chicken over Rice|
|Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School|
|Third Course - Pad Thai with Vegetables (this one I made To-Go)|
|Fast Food in Thailand means cooking it quickly in a Wok|
|Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School|
Yet a new drink was invented on the United Airline flight to Denver. The flight attendant obliged my special request for an Apple Juice with Seltzer Mixer. He thought it was a great combination , named it after me, and offered it by name to other passengers. Everyone on my row had one and thought it was delightful.
Try it on your next morning flight for something more exciting than than water an not as sugary as plain juice. Ask for "THE JENÉE"
Thanks United Airline flight attendants for being so fun.
Recently I had a blind date. Well I knew the person. but she kept the restaurant a well hidden secret. After a hike to Manhattan's west side, through a guest list check point, & a strange ride in an elevator, we arrived at one of New York's best kept rooftop restaurant secrets. Without going on about it or giving too much away - it's a magical place, sorta of fairy tale-ish.
The only part that was normal about this place was the now requisite fancy, mixologist cocktail list. Yet, this night, we opted for an old favorite - the Old Fashioned.
Perhaps being Southern makes it possible to drink Bourbon all year long (hot toddies in the winter and mint juleps in the summer). Long Live this Classic Cocktail. Try it this weekend, perhaps?
What you Need (per cocktail):
2 tsp Simple Syrup // 1 tsp Water // 2 dashes Angostura bitters // 1 large Ice cube or glass full // 1.5 oz Bourbon whiskey // 1 slice Orange // 1 Maraschino Cherry
How to Make it:
Place orange in class with Cherry // Give a little muddle // Add bitters // Add Ice // Pour in bourbon & simple Syrup // Add Water // Give a Stir // Sip & tell Stories