Food

IT'S A MATTER OF TASTE

NOAM'S FIRST MEAL | FOOD & DRINK

Babyspoon_elegant baby_ first meal_ babyfoodie

There is a lot to catch up on here at Jenée Sais Quoi as Baby Noam is already almost 6 months old ! 

This first post after maternity leave covers a big event: Noam's first solid food! 

Over the years I have enjoyed writing about seasonal and celebratory

cocktails

,

homegrown recipes

and entertaining with

Cajun food

in NYC. So of course, for me, Noam's first meal would be monumental. 

This project meant more than just cooking food for my son. It was about setting the tone for a lifetime of healthy and adventurous eating. I even called a friend in San Francisco,

Melanie

, a foodie and

Certified Holistic Nutritionist

, for her thoughts on this big event.

As I contemplated it, bought it, and prepared it, I thought about the bigger conversation going on concerning food in this country right now such as: 

- Having a conscious about from where our food comes

- The injustice of poor neighborhoods not having access to healthy, fresh foods 

- and

treating food as medicine. 

I wanted all of this to be considered and passed on through the food.

Our pediatrician recommended that we skip over the rice cereal and go straight to complex recipes. Whatever we eat, he can eat. This new way of feeding babies in America is thought to lessen food allergies and picky eaters- I'm a big fan of that. 

I started the meal at the

Prospect Park Farmers Market

. I decided whatever was organic, local and in season would be his first vegetable. There was a small stand with carefully placed bunches of veggies in wooden crates that looked inviting. Since I was not one of the early shoppers, the pickings were slim. Yet, this bunch of White Japanese Turnips looked like a beautiful first meal and Farmer Greg posed for a picture so that Noam can see who grew his first meal. 

japanese radish_ farmers market_ brooklyn_ babyfood

Willow Wisp Organic Farm Stand 

japanese radish_ farmers market_ brooklyn_ babyfood

I considered just boiling them because it was still unfathomable that a baby could handle more than one ingredient at a time. But I decided to go all out and make this recipe from

Epicurious

. Luckily I had all the ingredients laying around. With tons of love, I prepared

Miso Japanese Turnips

. I even served it in little tea cups I acquired during a trip to Japan many years ago. Then I unwrapped a special spoon sent to him by my friend Tiffany. We shared this food on a Sunday - Mom, Dad & Noam - a perfect day for our family's first meal together. 

japanese turnip_ babyfood_miso recipe

baby mush on bottom

As for Noam's opinion on his seasonal, local, organic, miso Japanese turnips- he could not get enough!!!! He was even licking his tray!!! 

Hopefully the thoughtful choice for my son is the beginning of a healthy relationship to food, to his body and the world around him. 

May he always enjoy breaking bread with family and friends as it's one of life's best pleasures. 

Baby Products that helped make this a success: 

(not an endorsement - just a tip to help other moms) 

Bumbo Seat & Tray

- Great for babies that are almost ready to sit, but def ready to eat. 

BabySpoon by

Elegant ba

by

- It's cute, easy grip, just the right size, and BPA free

HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR BASIL & OTHER HERBS

TEAS, PESTOS, INFUSIONS
ENTERTAINING | FOOD & DRINK
Worm in the Garden, Basil, Worm, Summer, Organic

Before we know it, Autumn will be here so a few things need to be added to your to do list: update your wardrobe with new fall staples before the best ones are sold out and pick your garden before the cold gets to your vegetables and herbs.  In my case I often have more herbs than I can use so I have to find ways to preserve them. When I do things like this, it makes me feel more connected to my great grandmothers I never got to know. My Cajun grandmother in Louisiana often tells me stories about her mom preserving all the foods they would grow on their farm.  She says they were poor, but they always ate really well!!! For a Cajun, good food is good livin'.

This summer my father went crazy growing herbs and vegetables. He has the most incredible luck with plants. He sent me bags and bags and bags of different basil varieties from his gardens. So I got to work figuring out what to do with all of these before they wilted.

Here are some standard preserving techniques:
- Drying
- Freezing
- Salting

These are more fun (which is of course what I did):
- Teas
- Pestos
- Infused Oils 
- Infused Alcohols
- Infused Butters

LEMON BALM = LEMON BALM TEA
Lemon Balm herb

Many people think of tea as only being made of tea leaves. Yet any herb can be made into tea by simply steeping it in hot water. THAT'S HERBAL TEA! Fresh mint is my favorite. Lemon Balm feels like you are drinking a spa (in a good way)

Below it is shown as hot tea and cold tea. 
For hot tea------
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C FRESH HERBS
4 C HOT WATER (just barely boiling)

STEPS:
Steep in hot water for about 10 minutes, strain and drink. 
HOT LEMON BALM TEA
HOT LEMON BALM TEA
For cold tea----
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C FRESH HERBS
4 C HOT WATER (just barely boiling)

STEPS:
Steep in hot water for about 10 minutes, strain into a glass jar, refrigerate and drink when cold.
COLD LEMON BALM TEA
COLD LEMON BALM TEA


THAI BASIL = THAI BASIL PESTO

Often I have made "regular" pesto, but figured the ingredients should change up a bit when using Thai Basil. A quick search online lead me to a few different sites with recipes. Using my own cooking and chemistry skills I put together this version:

INGREDIENTS: (yeilds 1/2c)

2 C THAI BASIL
1//2 C DRY ROASTED PEANUTS
2-4 CLOVES GARLIC (depends on your taste)
1 T FISH SAUCE
1 1/2 T DARK SESAME OIL
1 t CRUSHED RED PEPPER
1 t SUGAR
1 T RICE WINE VINEGAR

STEPS:
- Pick every stem off of basil and wash. This is labor intensive but worth it. 
- Combine all ingredients except for oil in food processor or blender. Blend until finely chopped.
- Keep blending and slowly add in oil until it becomes paste like. 
More oil can be added if necessary to get to this consistency.
- Store in a glass jar and refrigerate or eat immediately
Thai Basil Pesto ,Homemade, Artisinal, DIY, kitchen hacks

Thai Basil Pesto ,Homemade, Artisinal, DIY, kitchen hacks
AFRICAN BASIL = AFRICAN BASIL INFUSED OIL
This is the easiest of all. The only time consuming part is waiting for the oil to become infused. 
INGREDIENTS:
Herbs (Basil)
Olive Oil
Glass jar 
STEPS:
Wash and completely dry herbs
Place herbs in clean jar
Pour in olive oil and seal bottle.
Store in cool, dry place for 1 week
If using fresh herbs it is recommended to store in refrigerator and use within a week. Infused oils will last longer if herbs are dried.

The same steps can be used to infuse in alcohol such as Vodka or Gin. Though fresh herbs can last for much longer in alcohol. So consider making an infused herbal Vodka for the upcoming holidays!
Basil Infused Oil_Infusions_DIY_Kitchen Hacks_Brooklyn Artisinal

Basil Infused Oil_Infusions_DIY_Kitchen Hacks_Brooklyn Artisinal
This little guy made it all the way from Louisiana in the Basil. This is how you know my dad's garden is organic. This is also why you must thoroughly clean all of your basil before blending it into pesto!!!  Thank god my sister was here to help me deal. I might have screamed a little when I saw this. I guess I've been out of the country for too long and/ or my hormones are out of control

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY DAD FOR THE GREAT PRODUCE AND MY SISTER FOR THE HOURS SPENT PICKING EVERY STEM OFF. XOXO

THE ORIGINAL MOCKTAIL

MIXERS | FOOD & DRINK 
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

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/4 ounces grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • 2 maraschino cherries
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the grenadine, lemon juice, and lime juice in a tall glass and stir with a cocktail spoon or straw until combined.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and top with the club soda. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with the maraschino cherries and serve immediately.



[ Compliments of The Dressing Room in the Lower East Side - one of the coolest bars around ]

TIME FOR COCONUT HAMENTASHEN

It's Where Purim meets Luau
ENTERTAINING | FOOD & DRINK
Purim Luau, chai necklace, chai, hawaii, vintage shirt, men's fashion
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.

Starters:
1: Arugula Salad with Chickpeas and Hearts of Palm
Purim Luau, arugula salad

2. Lox & Pineapple Kabobs 
Purim Luau, lox and pineapple kabob

3. Plantain Chips with Hummus
Purim Luau, plantain chips, tiki




Cocktails:
4.Assorted Aloha Series Ales from Kona Brewing Company
Purim Luau, surfer, kona beer, hawaii beer

5. Capri Sun Surfer Cooler (for the little party goers)

Purim Luau, surfer, capri sun, party


The Mains
6. Whitefish Sliders on Hawaiian Rolls *recipe at end of post
Purim Luau, fish sliders

7. Falafel & Mango salsa

8. Pineapple Lukshen Kugel *recipe at end of post
Purim Luau, pineapple kugel, jewish food

Dessert
9. Coconut Cream Hamentaschen 
Purim Luau, coconut cream hamentashen, cookies, purim, hamentashen

6. Coconut Peanut Butter & Banana Mini Pita sandwiches





coconut & peanut spread, earth balance, peanut butter

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
Purim Luau, wood bead bracelets, pink ukelele, floral dress, party, luau

Purim Luau, hibiscus, tiki, lei, hawaii, hawaii fashion

Purim Luau, tiki, lei, hawaii, hawaii fashion

Purim Luau, tiki, lei, hawaii, hawaii fashion

Purim Luau, tiki, lei, hawaii, hawaii fashion

Purim Luau, tiki, lei, hawaii, hawaii fashion

THE PARTY: see what happens when you hand people a pineapple and a Uke

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink, selfie

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink
THIS IS THE HOSTESS (on the left)

Purim Luau, wood bead bracelets, pink ukelele, floral dress, party, luau, pineapple

Purim Luau, pineapple, ukelele, Party, pink

Purim Luau, pink ukelele, party, luau, beer, party over
PARTY OVER:::::::::::::::::  this PHOTO COURTESY OF ALYSE PARRIES








.....................................................
RECIPES from above photos - Donated by the Hostess


Pic #8:Pineapple Lukshen Kugel

- 1 pound medium wide egg noodles
- 1 pint sour cream
- 8 oz. Philadelphia bar cream cheese
- 1 pound small curd cottage cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla
- ½ tsp pure almond extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple.

Parboil noodles for 5 min.
Mix all other ingredients and then add noodles.
Bake in 9x13 pan at 350 for about 45 min.

----------------------------------------------------


Pic #6: Whitefish Burgers 
(makes 8 sliders) 

- 8 Mini Hawaiian Buns
- 1 lb Tilapia filets, steamed & cooked
- 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4.5 oz lemon juice
- 1.5 oz dry white wine
- 3 oz diced onion, sautéed & cooled
- 3 oz diced celery, sautéed & cooled
- 3 oz diced red bell pepper, sautéed & cooled
- 4.5 oz mayo
- 1.5 oz capers, rinsed
- ¾ tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1.5 tsp fresh dill weed
- 1.5 tsp parsley, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- Japanese panko as needed
- 1.5 slices provolone cheese, shredded
- Olive oil for cooking
- Aioli, lettuce, pickles & tomatoes to garnish

Mix all ingredients together & grill burgers

----------------------------------------------------


(Makes 60) 

Filling
- 8 T cornstarch
- 2 c sugar
- 2 c water
- 2 c coconut milk
- 4 eggs

combine cornstarch, sugar & water; boil & bring to medium low
stir until translucent & add coconut milk
beat eggs & add slowly
cook until thick
put in bowl, cover & chill overnight

Dough
- ¼ cup margarine, softened
- ¼ cup shortening, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 2.5 cups flour

Combine everything in order; wrap in plastic & refrigerate overnight

Cookies
- 1 egg
- 2 T water
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

preheat oven to 350 degrees
line baking sheet with parchment paper
let dough come to room temperature
roll dough to ¼ inch and cut circles, and lay onto baking sheet
combine egg & water and brush each circle with the egg wash
put ½ tsp of filling in each cookie and fold up corners
brush sides with egg wash and sprinkle with coconut
bake for 15 min


HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI - EPISODE 4

Wine Cliff Notes with Sommelier - John Slover
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:



INTERVIEW WITH WINE EXPERT, JOHN SLOVER

JSQ: If u are clueless about vineyards, grapes and regions, is it ok to buy a bottle based on the looks of the label?
JS: Well there are no rules, but how about maybe learn something and make an informed decision, or build a relationship with someone in a wine store and ask them for recommendations. You don't taste the label, although licking it to be sexy can be fun. 

JSQ: How reliable is the person working in the wine store ? 
JS: It depends on the store and the worker. I would suggest to anyone if they want to learn about wine (and you learn by drinking and tasting) to find a good wine store (Chambers street wines, Astor wines, Crush wines and spirits in manhattan, Heights chateau in brooklyn heights, and there are many more), find a worker, and tell them you want a case of wine split between white and red, name your price range, take the case home and drink it over the course of a few weeks. Take some notes as you taste and drink - you don't have to go crazy and write a novel, just what you like and don't like, and if you can articulate why you like or don't like, and when you're done with the case go back, find the same worker and share your notes and let them pick out another case, always naming your price range. After a round or 2 of this, you'll know whether the worker is a good person to have a wine relationship with.  

JSQ: How important is it to store my wine on its side at my home? It's not laying down at the store.
JS: very important!

JSQ: Would u ever mix coca cola with red wine?
JS: Next question. (he actually said something else)

JSQ: Which kind of red wine makes the best sangria?
JS: Something cheap and fruity, like $4 a bottle or less


JSQ: Do u have a favorite brand of wine glasses to recomend? High end/ Low end
JS: High end - Zalto. Low end - Cardinal arcoroc

JSQ: Are there any tricks to not getting purple teeth?
JS: Nope - stainability is genetic. Keep a tooth brush handy. Or drink white wine


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?
JS:
1 - try and get a simple understanding of what you like and don't like so you can give them simple information (full bodied or light bodied? fruity or not so fruity? etc)
2 - ask for help and trust your sommelier or bartender
3 - name your price range, and don't be ashamed if its low. Sommeliers out there would prefer direct communication about that

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 ?
JS:yes, status, brand, but also in wine rarity is a big factor that drives prices up. Maybe thats the same in fashion too.

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.

GRANDS CRUS de BORDEAUX at the WALDORF ASTORIA

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

compared

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

here.

  or Contact: Laure Laborde +33 (0)5 57 83 12 20 / com@chateau-bouscaut.com

MORE WINE EDUCATION THIS MONDAY ON "HOW TO HAVE THAT JENEE SAIS QUOI" FROM GUEST SOMMELIERS

PRESERVE THE KUMQUAT


Brighten up your Vodka
Mixers | Food & Drink
kumquat cocktail, kumquat vodka, cheers

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

Ingredient:
Kumquats

Step 1:
Pick ripe Kumquats
kumquat, plant, Citrus

Ingredients:
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. 

Step 2:
Wash (in case there is bird poop on your kumquats)
Pick off any stems and cut in half
depression glass, kumquats, bowl of citrus

cut kumquats

sliced kumquats

Ingredient:
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.

Step 3:
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. 
absolute vodka, citrus, louisiana

kumquat, vodka, christmas drink, cocktail

Ingredient: 
Time

Step 4:
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. 

Ingredient:
Family and Friends & glasses

Step 5:
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
kumquat cocktail,





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.


Enjoy

What do you do with all of your extra Kumquats??? Or do you actually eat them all???

BEER ROYAL

A Champagne Revolution
Mixers | Food & Drink
New years eve, fireworks, champagne poppers, confetti, Herrengedeck

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.
Freixenet Cava, champagne glasses, new years eve, champagne poppers, Herrengedeck

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
Beer, champagne, champagne glasses, champagen poppers
A modern variation would include real Champagne, preferably Moet&Chandon referring to a traditional Kir Royal - that one is now known as Beer Royal.

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. 
champagne glasses, champagne poppers
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014

THE BITTER TRUTH

An Elixir for Your Mind & Body
MIXERS | FOOD & DRINK
bitters, exiler, lemons
Note: Lemon and Pink Lemon props are grown in Louisiana by my Dad

Wondering if you should store your bitters on your bar cart or in your medicine cabinet? In this millennial  revival of old fashioned cocktails, of which many call for bitters, most only know of bitters as an ingredient to add to spirits. Yet since the Middle Ages bitters were created as an herbal medicine. 
bitters, liquor store
Bitters section at Keife & Co

As I try to keep the cocktails on the blog current to the season, I find it necessary to discuss bitters during the dark days of winter. Hearty whiskey drinks are warming during cold months. Since bitters pair so well with whiskey, now is the time to experiment with these elixirs. 

Also, in winter it is important to keep up ones immunity as colds and viruses are looking for their next victim. Bitters also serve as a digestive which is very important for a healthy immune system. These are served after meals neat or on the rocks. More info here

If you will be in New Orleans this winter, then you must try the Sazerac cocktail. It's a renowned aromatic bitters with 19th century roots is Peychaud's Bitters, which were originally developed by apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud in New Orleans, Louisiana.

and while you are there... Stop by Keife & Co on Howard Avenue to  pick up a set of Cocktail Bitters Traveler's Set. It's a great way to experiment with many flavors and they are small enough to get through airport security in your carry-on luggage.
bitters, cocktails, new orelans, knife & co

bitters, cocktails, new orelans, knife & co, liquor store

Keife & Co. 801 Howard Ave New Orleans, La


Here are some recipes from the Set:
celery bitters, cocktail recipe, bloody mary

jerry thomas bitters, cocktail recipe, old fashioned

old time aromatic bitters, cocktail recipe, Manhattan cocktail

orange bitters, cocktail recipe, dry martini cocktail

creole bitters, cocktail recipe, brandy cocktail

Stay Warm and Healthy.



HANUKAH MIRACLE

Even Better than a Candle in your Menorah...
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.



Ingredients:
2 oz. Purity Vodka1 oz. 
Fresh Lemon Juice1/2 oz. 
Simple SyrupOverproof Rum (i.e. 151)
3-4 Kumquats
Preparation: 
Muddle kumquats in lemon juice and simple syrup. Add Purity and ice, and
shake hard. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with a hollowed-out kumquat filled with overproof rum and ignite.
and L'Chaim !!!
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So for the other 7 nights of Hanukkah, serve the Hanukkah Miracle, but on a night like tonight which will not happen for another 70,000 years add the flaming kumquat to my classic Pumpkin-tini. Recipe here


Hanukkah Cocktail photo from The Plunge Project

HERBS FOR HIBERNATING

Preserving, Herbal Infusions & DIY Present
Food & Drink | Food

October is here so it's beyond time to get ready for fall and winter. My friends in Louisiana have a little more time on their hands, but here in New York, I have new rugs for the apartment, a new cashmere sweater and my eye on some new fall booties.  Then I did something very Martha Stewart the other night. I preserved the sage I grew this summer on my Brooklyn Stoop in butter!  Have you tried sage butter yet? It's the taste of Fall and a really easy way to make a simple dish seem more complex. I add it to butternut squash ravioli, plain pasta or roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless. 

This can be made on an as needed basis, but if you have an excess of herbs, it's a great way to preserve them. Also try thyme and rosemary or make your own herb mixture!

It was my idea but I followed the directions from the Joy of Cooking. They really do a great job of explaining the exact process since all sorts of funky things happen when browning butter. 

Consider making a few extra jars as presents too. 

INGREDIENTS AND RECIPE

Ingredient: 
1 lb of Butter

Step 1:
Add to a sauce pan

Ingredient: 
1/4 c of Sage

Step 2:
Measure sage to your preference



Step 3:
Melt and Brown butter


Step 4:
Add Sage to Butter and let set

Ingredient: 
Whisk or mixer

Step 5:
When the butter becomes partially solid, whip it!





Step 6:
Store butter in a jar in the fridge or freezer. (this is a really cute & thoughtful present) 


TIME TO MAKE THE CHALLAH

Make it Sweet for New Year
Food & Drink | Holiday Recipe

While observing Rosh Chodesh with a few ladies down in DUMBO, Esther taught us how to make Challah since Rosh Hashanah was approaching. My favorite part of making Challah is the final step before baking it, which is braiding it. My braid is a little funky but we all know I things slightly weird. 

As we walked out that night, we all had brown paper bags with warm bread. Usually we linger a little longer on our way to the subway, but this time we excitedly hurried home. It felt very domestic and 1950s to be so excited to get home to our husbands with our freshly baked bread. Now and then, it's fun to "role play". 

Following is a recipe for Challah. It's great all year long (well except during Passover) and you do not have to be Jewish to enjoy it (I'm not). 

Shanah Tovah

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons dry yeast 
2 1/4 cups (500 ml) lukewarm water 
1/2 cup (100g) sugar 
4 eggs, beaten, plus 2 yolks or 1 whole egg for glazing 
1 Tablespoon salt 
9 1/4 cups (1 1/3 kg) flour 
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional) 
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil 


Yields 4 Loaves



Directions:
Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat well and leave 10 minutes, until it froths.

In a very large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the salt, sugar, and oil and beat again. Add the frothy yeast mixture and beat well. Now add the flour gradually, and just enough to make a soft dough that holds together, mixing well, first with a large spoon, then working it in with your hands. Knead vigorously for about 15 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Pour a little oil in the bowl and turn the dough, so that it is greased all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 2‑3 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and knead again, then divide into four pieces to make 4 loaves.



To make braided challah with 3 strands: Divide 1 piece of the dough into 3. Roll each piece between your palms and pull into long thin ropes about 18 inches (46 cm) long and 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide. Pinch 1 end of all the strands together and plait them: bring the rope on the right over the middle one, then bring the one on the left over it and continue to the end. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf. You may find it, easier to begin plaiting in the middle of the 3 strands and plait towards the 2 ends. Continue with the remaining 3 pieces.

Place the 4 loaves on well‑oiled baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for them to expand, then leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Now brush gently with the beaten egg yolks or if you want to sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, brush first with the whole beaten egg (the seeds stick better if the white is there too). Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30‑40 minutes or until the loaves are beautifully golden-brown. They are done if they sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.
Variations for Sweet Challahs:

Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) honey to the beaten eggs.
Add 3/4 cup (100 g) raisins and knead them into the dough after it has risen and been punched down.


REGGAE ROSH COCKTAIL

A Sweet Cocktail for the New Year
Food & Drink | Mixers


Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum

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

Ingredient: 
Apple

Step 1: 
Slice an apple to use for Garnish. Set aside
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum




Ingredient: 
Apple Juice

Step 2: 
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. 
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum




Ingredient: 
Rum
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum

Step 3:
Add 1 part Rum for a strong drink or add 1/2 part Rum for a mild drink. 
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum, butt

Ingredient: 
Ice

Step 4:
Pour mixture into a shaker with ice. Shake 7 times. 
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum
Ingredient:
Cocktail Glass

Step 5:
Pour over ice. Leave a little room.
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum
Ingredient: 
Ginger Ale

Step 6:
Float some ginger ale on top. Just a dash. I love this Jamaican brand because it's extra spicy.
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum


Step 7:
Garnish with an apple ring. I cored mine into the shape of a  Star of David 
Cocktail, Rosh Hashanah, Apple & Rum


Now turn on some Matisyahu and get your New Year Party started. 

Mixer: Thyme for Peaches

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 ?!

Fresh Peaches

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!!!!!

Peach Cocktail

Recipe Courtesy of McCormick

 ** I took the liberty of giving it a better name = "Thyme for Peaches"

DIRECTIONS:

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**

Vintage Cocktail Glasses with Thyme garnish

Garnished Glasses waiting for cocktails

Peach Cocktail

How to Cook Thai Food


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.

FIRST: A TRIP TO THE MARKET
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

SECOND: PICK FRESH HERBS ON THE FARM
They said the hat was for sun protection but I think it was just to keep us in our place ;)

THIRD: MAKE THAI FOOD
The key to the taste of Thai is to incorporate all spectrums of taste: Sour, Sweet, Salty and Spicy
Curry is made with a Mortar & Pestle - It is much more difficult than I ever imagined 


First Course - Tom Yam Soup with Shrimp

The Ingredients
Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School

Second Course - Yellow Curry Sauce with Chicken  over Rice
The Ingredients
Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School

Third Course - Pad Thai with Vegetables (this one I made To-Go)
The Ingredients

Fast Food in Thailand means cooking it quickly in a Wok
Recipe from Thai Farm Cooking School

FOURTH: EAT WITH NEW FRIENDS

Mixer: Morning Airline Spritzer

Today's mixer is a bit different from the usual mixer. In fact there was going to be no mixer at all since we are traveling and there was no time to tempt my readers with a new beverage idea.

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.






Mixers: The Champagne of Beers

Beer is a great summer time beverage. It's light and refreshing and pairs well with BBQ and other tasty outdoor foods like boiled crabs and shrimp!

Though, some ladies have a hard time getting over the etiquette of drinking it from a bottle. How bout pouring it into a champagne glass?!  Champagne glasses are made to retain the bubbles so the beer will stay effervescent and look incredibly classy.

Champagne glasses
All etiquette aside, why not use your champagne glasses at your next day-party to serve beer just to mix things up a bit. It's how Jenée Sais Quoi does beer.

beer in champagne class with peanuts
beer in champagne glass with pecans
Serve with Dry Roasted Peanuts and Whole Pecans (because they are fun to crack)

Mixers: Independence Spirit

Spirits are High on Independence Day and so is the Alcohol content in this aperitif. For this All American holiday I got together with the fanciest hostess I know to see what she will be serving up for the 4th of July.
This cocktail, the Negroni, originated in Italy. It's bitter, sweet & strong. It's also refreshing and appropriately color themed for this summer time holiday. Note - this might just be the summer of Campari. 

Here is how to make Kristine's Negroni Mixer:

1. Fill Glasses with Ice and pour 2 parts Gin
2. Add 1 part Campari - Mixing this up in a Red & White Striped Frock might be essential

3. Top with Club Soda
4. Add a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice
5. Finish with a Lemon Wedge. Kristine prefers lemon as the sour cuts through the bitter

Cheers & Happy Birthday America
 Thanks for Sharing Kristine