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Archive for Beverages

Exotic and Spicy Ideas for a LAVISH Upscale Holiday Cocktail Party via [more.com]

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Sparkling cocktails, created by Kim Haasarud, Maria Hunt, and Gina Chersevani, and killer apps, created by Monica Bhide, make your holiday party elegant and effortlessly effervescent.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Petal Power: Hibiscus Royale

A single crimson blossom soaked in syrup gives this bubbly cocktail its drama queen status. The grace note: a lacing of elderflower liqueur.

Makes 1 drink

1 hibiscus flower in syrup (from an 8.8-ounce, 11-flower jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup)*

1 teaspoon hibiscus syrup

4 ounces sparkling rosé, chilled

1 tablespoon St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Place the hibiscus flower and syrup in a Champagne flute or tall white-wine glass. Slowly add the sparkling rosé, and top off with the elderflower liqueur.

This drink is from Kim Haasarud, author of 101 Champagne Cocktails.

*Available at wildhibiscus.com or gourmet grocery stores.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Spoon Fed: Mango Salsa with Calamari Rings

Asian soupspoons let your cocktail party repertoire venture beyond traditional finger foods. Here each spoon serves a mouthful of fruity salsa tweaked with jicama, cumin and cilantro and topped with sautéed calamari rings.

Makes 20 appetizers

Salsa

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small ripe mango, peeled and finely diced

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced

½ small jicama, peeled and finely diced

2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus extra for garnish

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt

Calamari

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound calamari rings, about ½ inch thick

Salt and pepper

20 Asian soupspoons

1. To make the salsa: Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin. Dry-roast for about 30 seconds, shaking spice frequently until fragrant. Remove from heat immediately. Grind in a spice grinder. Combine the cumin and remaining salsa ingredients, except salt, in a bowl. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Salsa can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance.

2. To make the calamari: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil. When it shimmers, add the calamari rings. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the calamari are just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the salsa evenly among the soup­spoons. Top each with calamari. Pour any juice over the rings. Garnish with minced cilantro.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Leaf Bed: Endive with Citrus Salad

Each sturdy, bite-size endive leaf holds a spoonful of sliced blood orange and sliced grapefruit. Red radishes deliver crunch and a peppery tang. The salad’s fresh, bright flavors come together in a lemony dressing spiced with jalapeño and mint.

Makes 24 appetizers

1 small grapefruit

1 small blood or navel orange

2 small red radishes, trimmed and diced

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon honey

24 large, sturdy endive leaves

1. Supreme the citrus: Remove the grapefruit and orange peels. With a small sharp paring knife, segment the fruit, leaving behind the inner membrane. Cut each segment into 6 pieces, and place in a bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the honey and endive. Mix well. Cover, and refrigerate for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Before serving, allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Drain off the juice. Warm the honey slightly (for a few seconds in the microwave) so that it’s runny, and stir it into the salad. Taste, and adjust the salt.

3. Arrange the endive leaves on a platter. Using a teaspoon, evenly divide the salad among the leaves. (Each leaf should get a generous teaspoonful.)

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Fire and Ice: Berry-Chile Fizz

Jalapeño pepper muddled with mint and sugar kicks up the heat in this spicy mojito. Stir in fresh lime juice, a (very) generous shot of rum, ice and club soda, and you won’t care whether it’s hot or cold outside.

Makes 1 drink

3 fresh mint sprigs

1 slice fresh jalapeño pepper

1½ tablespoons sugar

1 lime, halved

2 ounces light rum

Club soda, chilled

Cranberries for garnish

In a pint glass, muddle 2 of the mint sprigs, the jalapeño and sugar. Squeeze both halves of the lime into the glass, leaving a slice in the mixture. Add the rum, stir, and fill with ice. Top off with the club soda, and garnish with a mint sprig and a few whole cranberries.

This is from Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice.

101645506
Photo: Kenji Aoki

Peas O’Cake: Wonton Crunch

It doesn’t get much easier, or more delicious, than this: Mash peas with parsley, spices and ricotta, then fold into ready-made wonton wrappers. Bake. Devour.

Makes 24 appetizers

1 cup cooked peas

¼ cup ricotta cheese

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon chopped scallion

½ teaspoon minced ginger

Salt

24 wonton wrappers

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Lightly mash the peas. Add the ricotta, jalapeño, parsley, scallion and ginger, and mix well. Add salt to taste, about ¼ teaspoon.

3. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a work surface. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the pea filling in the center of each. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with egg white. Fold over to form a triangle (or if using round wrappers, a half-moon). Press the edges with the tines of a fork, gently, to secure the seam so the filling does not fall out. Place the wontons in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray them lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the wontons, and bake on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Pom de Nuit: Ginger Bubbly

The earthy rhizome inspires and transforms this festive potion. A splash of pomegranate juice supplies the blush. Make it with candied ginger and ginger liqueur and top with Champagne. Drink, drink and be merry.

Makes 1 drink

1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

Sugar for rimming, preferably sanding sugar*

1 slice candied ginger, for garnish

1 ounce pomegranate juice

4 ounces brut Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

Rim a Champagne flute by dipping the edge in the ginger liqueur and then in the sugar. Place a sliced coin of candied ginger at the bottom of the flute. Add the ginger liqueur and pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the prepared flute. Top off with the Champagne or sparkling wine.

*This large-grain sugar can be found at baking-supply stores.

This is from Maria Hunt, author of The Bubbly Bar.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Sea Treat: Ginger and Honey Shrimp

This grilled app is easy to make, but the flavors are complex, thanks to a rich marinade of fresh ginger, chile flakes, honey, garlic and lemon.

Makes about 24 appetizers

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes

½ tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, with tails on

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine the honey, ginger, chile flakes, lemon juice and garlic. Mix well. Add the shrimp; toss to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for an hour.

2. Set a grill pan over high heat. Add the oil and shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip over. It should take just another minute for the shrimp to turn pink and be fully cooked (but not overcooked). Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Pink Shot: Roasted-Beet Soup

The hit in this soup-served-in-a-shot-glass comes from the unexpected beet, coriander and coconut milk combo. You can prepare the mix ahead of time and garnish it at the last minute with chopped chives and toasted coconut flakes.

Makes 16 shot-glass appetizers

½ teaspoon white pepper, plus more for seasoning

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 medium red beets, trimmed, scrubbed, peeled and halved (about 1 pound)

1½ to 2 cups chicken broth

½ cup coconut milk

Finely chopped chives or toasted unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Combine ½ teaspoon white pepper, the oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the coriander in a large bowl. Add the beets, and mix well to coat. Place the beets and marinade on a large piece of aluminum foil. Wrap tightly to keep steam from escaping.

2. Place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 50 minutes or until the beets are soft and cooked through. Allow to cool to room temperature. Unwrap, and scrape the beets and marinade into a blender. Add the broth. Puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Soup can be made ahead up to this point and reheated.

3. Pour into 16 small heatproof glasses. Swirl ½ tablespoon of the coconut milk into each glass. Garnish with chives, coconut flakes or both.


Julie Powell Meets the Wine Divas via [oprah.com]

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By Julie Powell
O, The Oprah Magazine

What’s the best wine with hamburgers? With chocolate? And what does tannic mean, anyway? Julie Powell raises a glass to a vintage organization that celebrates wine, women, and friendship.

The Divas

Photo: Michael Edwards

They had hosted dinner for 150 people the evening before, then stayed up half the night making nametags and centerpieces for today’s luncheon, but the Divas Uncorked look amazingly serene as they greet their guests. Rosalind Johnson approaches me with a charming smile, a glass of Roselle Syrah Rosé, and a friendly exhortation: “Breathe!” she says. “You’re here now.” Though I’m frazzled from a long and noisy train ride to Boston, right away I begin to relax.

The event at which I have just arrived—a weekend conference featuring multiple-course meals with wine pairings, plus lectures, presentations, and a reception—is called “Wine, Women, and….” It is the highlight of the Divas’ year, and the culmination of nearly a decade of learning, planning, organizing, and sipping.

Divas Uncorked started in 1998 when a group of friends decided to learn more about what they were drinking. Now it’s a thriving business dedicated to educating consumers about wine, and educating winemakers about consumers—particularly women and African-Americans, who are often overlooked by the industry. To that end, the Divas organize frequent Divas Dine events in restaurants across the country, inviting the public to eat and drink while learning about wine. They act as marketing consultants to wineries and wine stores that become members of the Divas Uncorked Collaborative Consortium. They also manage a Web site, divasuncorked.com. They even have their own wine, Divas Uncorked Chardonnay, produced in partnership with the Mendocino Wine Company.

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All of this could be quite enough to occupy the friends, ten energetic women in their late 40s, 50s, and early 60s. But each of them also has a high-powered day job, ranging from executive consultant to educator. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started,” says Callie Crossley, a commentator with NPR and WGBH-TV, as she walks with me to our seats at the luncheon.

As we dig into our appetizers, the conversation in the room grows raucous. Although I don’t know any of the hundred women gathered here, I feel as at ease as if I were sitting around with friends at a girls-only cocktail hour. And I realize the Divas have succeeded in doing what many of us fantasize about: They’ve built a business out of their favorite pastime.

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Before they were Divas, the women were friends who met doing volunteer work with a nonprofit organization, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. They started going out together after meetings. “We were always eating and drinking,” says Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard, executive director of the Boston Lawyers Group and the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. “Frankly, we were spending a fair amount of money, and we decided we should know more about this wine thing.” They quickly got organized, as type A personalities will, and began hosting monthly wine-tasting get-togethers. At first they served cheese, crackers, fruit, and “little nibbles,” but before long they were planning elaborate, themed dinners.

“We were just having fun,” says Karen Holmes Ward, a producer at WCVB-TV. And learning a lot. Stephanie Browne, an information technology director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and president of the Divas, learned not to serve her reds too warm or her whites too cold, for example.

The friends have become educated in more arcane subjects as well, such as vintages and sugar-to-acid ratios. But “wine savvy not wine snobby” is their mantra, and the most important lesson they pass along to consumers is to trust themselves when it comes to taste. “Pick wines that please your palate,” says Ward.

As the conference winds down, I ask the Divas how they balance work and friendship. “The one thing we’re not going to lose is what brought us together,” insists Hebsgaard. So on top of all their other responsibilities, they still plan monthly wine-tasting dinners, just for themselves.

No wonder, then, that where others might describe a wine in terms of its nose or finish, Browne compares it to something closer to her heart. “My aha moment was when I realized how a balanced wine tastes,” she says. “The fruit and acid and alcohol are all in perfect harmony. It’s like having your favorite food next to your favorite person in your favorite place.” In other words, delicious.

Julie Powell is the author of Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (Back Bay Books).

The Wine Divas solve 7 great mysteries of the wine world!


7 Mysteries of the Wine World, Solved

By Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg
O, The Oprah Magazine

Grape connoisseurs, the wine Divas, educate us on wine bottling, serving, tasting and all around etiquette.

Wine tasters
Photo: Michael Edwards

O: How do you figure out what you like?

Divas: Taste as much as possible. Find a shop with helpful salespeople. Many stores are now organized by flavor instead of region or type of grape, making it easier to find winners based on your “flavor profile,” or the characteristics you enjoy. Another good way to start is to select a region—say, California or New Zealand—and then ask your salesperson to recommend five or six typical, affordable wines from there. As you try them at home, jot down notes about color, smell, and taste. There are no wrong answers: You’re learning what tastes good to you, not trying to impress others.

O: What’s the ideal serving temperature for wine?

Divas: The lighter the body and color of the wine, the cooler it should be. But avoid extremes: Excessive chilling can mask the flavor of a white; too much warmth heightens the alcohol fumes of a red. A rule of thumb is to take whites out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before drinking. Reds should go into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before opening.

O: Does the glass matter?

Divas: Look for one with a long stem so the warmth of your hand won’t heat the wine. The vessel should be clear and unfaceted so you can see the color and clarity of the liquid. Many experts insist on different glasses for reds and whites, but if you have a limited budget, make sure your glass has a bowl roomy enough to swirl the wine and release its aroma, and a rim that tilts inward so the aroma is channeled toward your nose. Ikea sells a great line of glasses that meet these requirements.

O: Are screw tops or wines-in-a-box any good?

Divas: Yes to both. Once associated with cheap vino, screw caps are becoming increasingly popular for wines of all prices. The tops are simple to open and close wherever you are—think picnics—and allow you to easily save an unfinished bottle. Boxed wines also once had a bad reputation, but today’s options are often good quality. Try Delicato’s Bota Box Merlot or Shiraz.

O: Does the vintage matter?

Divas: Not necessarily. The climates of wine-growing regions like California, South Africa, and Australia don’t fluctuate enough from year to year to matter. In Europe, where the climate does vary, the best vintages can be quite expensive; top bottles are collected by aficionados and aged for many years. Lesser vintages are often fine for immediate drinking, however.

O: How do you store wine at home?

Divas: Many fancy cabinetmakers feature built-in wine racks above the refrigerator, but these are pointless—rising heat can ruin the wine. If you can’t afford a cellar or wine refrigerator, find a cool, dark space with a consistent temperature. Try underneath basement stairs or on a closet floor. If you’re going to drink the wines fairly quickly, countertop racks are fine so long as they’re not in direct sunlight or near a heat source, like the oven.

O: How do you overcome being intimidated by restaurant wine lists?

Divas: Easy. Don’t read them. When a multipage wine list hits your table, ignore it. After you’ve decided what to eat, ask the waiter what goes well with your food. Either he’ll be able to make suggestions, or he’ll send over a sommelier to advise you. Eating at places that serve a good selection of wines by the glass will also allow you to experiment without investing in a full bottle.

For more information visit their website!




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Modern Coffee Table Ideas via [moderninteriordesigndecoration.blogspot]

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Coffee Tables

Modern Coffe Table Design
Modern
Coffee Table
Whether you are looking for a place to
rest your feet after a long workday or style of furniture to add some
sophistication and modern flair to your living room,
modern coffee
tables
can provide. Of wood with metal, glass, and
every shape and size you can imagine, is a modern coffee table that is right for your home.
Modern  Coffe Table Design
Modern
Glass Coffee Table
We all remember the clunky, large glass
coffee tables
that resided in our parent or breeding
homes.  In fact, the weight of these old coffe tables is
probably more like all the stuff were moved by your actual piece. Modern coffee tables can not be more different.
These new songs are light and airy, with open spaces and sleek coffee table design that
can sometimes pass for a work of art. Better find another place to
store your stuff.
Modern Coffe Table Design
Modern
Glass Coffee Table
The tree is still a key component in
many modern glass coffee
table
. It ages well and is easy to clean and
maintain. In finishes available today differ from those in the past,
however. Dark, rich espressos and clean, pale, natural finishes have
replaced the mahogany and cherry finishes for the most part.
Modern Coffe Table Design
Modern Glass
Coffee Table

Glass table tops became popular in
the 80’s and have remained in basic material for modern designers as well. Glass tops
allow the base will increase, and cases in May to become the center
of table.
As wood tables,
glass coffee
tables

can be found in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, they have
not yet invented a glass
that does not show dust and fingerprints, so that
these works of art should be cleaned every few days.

This Is The Most High Fashion Table Ever

By: Jennifer Wright via [thegloss]

It’s a stiletto table, see? See how it looks like a shoe? Like a stiletto? I am in no way joking when I talk about how much I like this table, but then, sometimes when I buy expensive shoes I leave them out on my coffee table for weeks so I can stare at them and murmur “Art. Art. Art.” And then I recite Stanley Tucci’s whole speech from The Devil Wears Prada. What I’m saying is, if I had this table, that would seem totally sane. – The Hairpin.


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Libation Coordination Operation via [Shoes and Booze]

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Tonight you’ll want a drink that has enough kick to make you kick it to the cutie over by the DJ booth. The Blackberry Collins is just for you. This drink combines DeKuyper Blackberry, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and soda water with Hendrick’s Gin (the subtle notes of cucumber, rose petal and other botanicals make it the perfect mate for berry-flavored mixers). Dark, strong and sweet… it’s the way to go for a late summer’s night drink… or date (smile).

Candy” pumps by Shoes for Lovely People

Whether you’re wearing these sandals to happy hour or the hottest nightspot, you have to order a drink with the “Midas touch”. Start with a shot of Goldschlager at your favorite dive bar (don’t want everyone to see you drink like a coed), if you dare. If you’ve never had it, it tastes like Red Hots on acid. Then, at the bar du jour, request a Goldfinger. A combination of Goldschlager, Grand Marnier and ginger ale, it’s a sweet, spicy way to kick your summer fun into high gear.

Sam Edelman’s “Nova”

Take the frilly femme fatale theme a step further tonight by ordering a “Hot Pink Handgun” (credit: esquire.com) when you go out for drinks. Have the bartender blend Seraphin Cognac, orgeat syrup and a little lemon juice with a few raspberries and a teaspoon of super fine sugar. The recipe also calls for an egg white, but you can try that at your own risk. Egg or not, this sweet drink will have you swooning, but remember cognac can leave you reeling if you overdo it.

Be & D’s Chaimberlain

Chances are there will be open bars at every event you attend, but who needs sponsored liquor when you have a killer expense account? Let the “little people” drink whatever’s on tap for the night, and order an “Indulgence.” (Make sure the bar back puts yours in a proper glass. Shots can be so un-chic). It’s sweet and thick, but it packs a kick. If your request brings a question mark to his or her face, instruct the wonderful individual to layer De Kuyper’s brown Creme de Cacao, Disaronno Amaretto and Amarula cream into a glass and into that exact order. If it’s done without blending the layers, leave a great tip.

STELLA McCARTNEY’s patent Platform Wedge

Whether you’re in the Big Apple or not, toast the occasion with a “Lady of the Evening” (image courtesy of Imperia). It’s served at the Bryant Park Hotel’s Cellar Bar for $25, but you may be able to score one at your area’s swankiest spot. Just let the bartender know it’s a standard martini made with Imperia Vodka and a cucumber and caviar float.

Patent Peep-Toed Studded Pumps by La Silla

Though these shoes are entirely intoxicating on their own, you H-A-V-E to take them out for a twirl and a drink. A mojito or mint julep will easily echo the charm of these heels, but aren’t you tired of those already? Try something new, and spring for a Mint Summer Nightini. This one came courtesy of the folks at CocktailTimes and blends (and I quote) Stoli Blackberri, cucumber juice, simple syrup and muddled mint leaves. It’s sweet, but crisp and is the ideal drink for an evening such as this.

“Fortuna” sandal by Georgina Goodman

It’s been said that a Bloody Mary is a pretty reliable hangover remedy, but that’s more a brunch drink than something you’d order at happy hour. Opt instead for a Tomato-Basiltini (image courtesy Intoxicated Zodiac). From the folks at Intoxicated Zodiac (check Scorpio), it says you’re the kind of gal who likes flavor but isn’t all about the sweet stuff. Have your bartender muddle tomato water, a little sea salt and 3 fresh basil leaves. Then add Prairie Vodka (or other organic vodka with rustic notes) and shake over ice. Tomato water is hard to come by, but be flexible and tip well if your bartender is able to figure something out.

Bruno Frisoni ankleboots

A pair of shoes such as these calls for a cocktail that’s just as rustically elegant and indulgent. Sashay into the most luxurious watering hole and see if the bartender can muster up a Truffle Margarita (Image courtesy of Ideas in Food). (He/she probably won’t know how, so get your pen and pad ready). From the minds of Ideas in Food’s Chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, it combines Corazon Blanco Tequila (or other top shelf substitution) with a splash of maple syrup and truffle oil and is garnished with truffle slices and a lime wedge. This isn’t a sweet drink, but simply having it in your hand means you’re an intelligent imbiber.


Emanuel Ungaro’s olive eelskin branch-heeled shoes


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