Tag Archives: entertaining

Million Dollar Cocktail

There’s lots to love about Rosé Cider.  Read about my favorites ciders with tasting notes in the Roanoker Magazine behind the page:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/the-romance-of-rose-cidre/

Million Dollar Cocktail

I love any recipe that is named “Million Dollar”. This Million Dollar Cocktail recipe is worth its weight in gold!  Absolutely divine!

Place Nick and Nora style cocktail glass in the freezer to chill while you prepare the cocktail.

For each cocktail:

2 fl ounces Gin (Sunset Hills Gin, made in Virginia, is my favorite gin of the moment.  Light and delightful, it does not have a strong juniper taste.)

1/2 fl ounce freshly pressed pineapple juice (I blended fresh pineapple in my blender to make “juice” which was more like a thin puree.)

1/4 fl ounce Grenadine syrup

1/2 fl ounce pasteurized egg whites (find these in the refrigerated egg section of the grocery store)

A few drops of Blood Orange Bitters

Pineapple chunk garnish

Shake the gin, pineapple juice, Grenadine syrup and egg whites with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Place a few drops of blood orange bitters on the top of the cocktail.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk.

bright bubble color flatlay

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

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Time To Tailgate With Bloody Marys ~ Yellow and Red!

It’s Time To Tailgate!

…and that means it’s time for Bloody Marys! 

River and Rail bloody mary

A Virginia Favorite! 

Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

$7.99 a bottle

For Real Bloody Mary Drinkers!

I love this Bloody Mary mix, tastes like a fresh tomato with just the right amount of spice.

https://www.texasbeachbloodymary.com/

Texas Bloody Mary Mix was created by three friends from Richmond, Virginia. While Working in the industry as bartenders, they realized there was an immediate need for a mix with all the good stuff already in the bottle. So we set out on the long journey to create the tasty, authentic and responsibly produced Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix.

The name Texas Beach comes from our favorite part of the James River located in lovely Richmond, Virginia at the end of Texas Avenue. Cheers!

bloody mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

I found this recipe for Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary in Bon Appétit Magazine. Fresh and delicious.  It’s always fun to garnish Bloody Mary cocktails ~ I chose celery stalks, golden cherry tomatoes, pimiento stuffed olives, crispy bacon and pickled green and purple beans.

Recipe from the August, 2018 issue of Bon Appétit. Recipe by Molly Baz.

Bruised tomatoes dripping with juice are tailor-made for a fresh Bloody Mary. They might not be on display at the farmers’ market—beauty queens, they’re not—but they’re often there if you ask.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. very ripe yellow tomatoes, cored, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped, plus celery heart stalks with leaves for serving
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Castelvetrano olive brine, plus olives for serving
  • ¼ cup finely grated peeled horseradish
  • 3 Tbsp. hot sauce (preferably Cholula)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 6 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. mild red pepper flakes
  • Sun Gold tomatoes (for serving)

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Blend yellow tomatoes and chopped celery in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a large pitcher, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Whisk in lemon juice, olive brine, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and 3 tsp. salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  • Combine black pepper, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.

  • To make each cocktail, rub the rim of a 12-oz. glass with a lemon wedge, then dip into spicy salt. Fill glass with ice and pour in 1½ oz. gin. Top with 5 oz. Bloody Mary mix; garnish with cherry tomatoes, celery heart stalks, and olives.

    If you are not a gin fan, try making this cocktail with Plymouth Gin. Plymouth does not have a strong juniper flavor. It is smooth with just the right amount of floral notes.

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Steger Creek Opens New Stores In Roanoke, Virginia

Steger Creek Opens New Stores!

Steger Creek Fine Gifts and Collectables always felt like home to me. For years I’ve gone to their Starkey Road location to buy the prettiest greeting cards, hostess gifts and home décor items. They recently opened two delightfully charming new locations (the Starkey location is now closed).  When I visited the new stores this week I found my favorite gifts and goodies as well as some new treats and got a little history lesson in the process.

A Norfolk Southern train was chugging along behind the store when I arrived at The Virginian Railway Station, 1402 Jefferson St. (intersection of Williamson Road and Jefferson Street). The Virginian Railway was a 440-mile line completed in 1909 to transport coal from West Virginia to Tidewater.  The Virginian Railway Depot was built that same year to serve Roanoke. Passenger service continued from this depot until 1956 when the Virginian merged with Norfolk and Western Railway.  The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Steger Creek opened the depot store in July and their hours are: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I’ve always wondered about the name, Steger Creek and just found out that it is derived from an actual creek running through Central Virginia where the owners, Michael and Alex Pace, own property.  As the creek flows, it feeds the Rivanna River, which ultimately flows into the James River.

Steger Creek always has fun snack ideas with recipe cards. I was tickled to find one of my favorites The Original Savory Party Cracker Seasoning. No bake! Easy To Make!  I used Keebler Mini Club Crackers to make my party crackers. I combined 1 2/3 cups of canola oil and 1 package of Savory Seasoning in a ZipTop Bag and mixed well.  I added 2 (11 ounce each) boxes of mini club crackers and sealed the bag.  Then I tumbled the bag every 5 minutes or so until all of the savory seasoning was adsorbed.  I let the crackers rest in the bag overnight then I put them in an air tight container and stored in the refrigerator. SO SNACKABLE!

Their second new location is at the Taubman Museum of Art.  Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. This quaint shop is full of treasures – jewelry, colorful scarves, hand-hammered metal giftware, local art, fanciful umbrellas and so much more. At the Taubman store I bought some of my favorite Rose & Ivy Pecan Pepper Glaze to make a delightful appetizer:

Rose & Ivy Pecan Cheese Bake

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

2 green onions, finely chopped

6 Ritz crackers, crushed

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ cup Rose & Ivy Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze

 

Combine mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.  Top with bacon, drizzle with Southern Pecan Pepper Glaze before serving. Serve on your favorite crackers. I like Carr’s Table water Crackers for this recipe.

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Put Sunshine In Your Champagne Flute This Weekend! Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

If you LOVE melon, you are going to LOVE this idea!

Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

The Wall Street Journal July 14/15, 2018 issue:

Drunk on Summer… recommends matching your favorite melon variety with a sympatico spirit.” The article, written by Aleksandra Crapanzano, makes these melon/spirit combinations:

Cantaloupe (Sugar Cube, Serenade Cavaillon or Savor melons may be substituted) with Ruby Port

Honeydew (Snow Leopard, Honey Whites, Diplomats or Honey Orange melons may be substituted with Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, White Rum or Gin

Seedless Baby Watermelon with Vodka, Sambuca, Cachaca or a mix of Silver Tequila and Cointreau

I cut my baby watermelon (Fresh Market) in half and made a little hollow in it. Then I poured champagne into the hollow and ground some pink peppercorns all over the watermelon flesh. You can use your favorite champagne, cava, prosecco or sparkling wine to make this melon.  We dug into it with a spoon and drank the liquid that was left in the hollow after we devoured the flesh. Super Tasty and Boosy!

 

It would be grand to walk outside to find an orange tree full of bright juicy oranges, but not all of us have that luxury. For the rest of us freshly squeezed orange juice is the next best thing to plucking oranges from a tree. I like to use my “Juiceman” juicer to squeeze my juice:  http://www.juiceman.com/

Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the champagne. The champagne definitely improves the orange.”

Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

This classic cocktail dates back to the early 1920’s when a drink called “Buck’s Fizz”  (two parts champagne to one part orange juice) was invented at the Buck’s Club in London.   Later in 1925, a bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris named Frank Meier invented the classic half champagne half orange juice Mimosa that we’ve grown to love.

Freixenet Brut Blanc de Blanc

This bubbly Cava is perfect in Mimosas.  Produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual summer sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A sparkling value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

Try Blood Orange juice in your Mimosa for a splash of color!

Codorniu Anna Brut Rosé Cava is another fun choice to make Mimosas.  Available at Earth Fare locally or on-line. 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. Lots of bubbly berry flavors ~ raspberry, strawberry and cherry. $15 – $20 range. 

Here’s a link to the most  DELISH Mimosa recipes:

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g2720/mimosa-recipes/

Here’s some more sunshine to put in your wine glass.  Blood Orange First Press. Fun French Rosé Wine with Orange & Other Natural Flavors. The orange flavors balance the sweetness of the wine.  So pretty in the glass.  Easy to sip in the sunshine.  I would call this a “girlie” wine since I would drink it with my girlfriends by the pool or on the patio.  Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line. $12 – $15 range. 

 http://mrbillswinecellar.com/

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Happy Orange Blossom Day!

“A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged’, said he, pushing the plate aside, ‘I am not accustomed to take my wine in pills.’ “

                                                                                                                                                                         ~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 is National Orange Blossom Day!

The orange blossom  is Florida’s state flower.  National Orange Blossom Day celebrates the flower which is used in culinary dishes, desserts, teas and honey worldwide.  They add a slight citrus flavor to any dish. This special day also celebrates the Orange Blossom Cocktail.

Here’s a fabulous Orange Blossom Cocktail recipe from Foodviva.com:

Makes one cocktail.

Ingredients:

1 ounce London Dry Gin (vodka is also delicious in this cocktail)

1/3 ounce Grand Marnier or Cointreau

1 ounce fresh orange juice (I used blood orange juice)

1/3 ounce fresh lime juice (optional)

1 dash grenadine syrup (optional)

orange wedge

crushed ice

Directions:

  1. Frost the glass rim and put it in freezer to chill.
  2. Fill cocktail shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Add first 5 ingredients to the shaker and shake well.
  3. Strain and pour chilled mixed drink into chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with orange wedge and serve

I’ve always loved the way shadows play with wine glasses on a table.

My bubbly friend Cindy and I recently enjoyed a special event at Rockfish Restaurant in the Grandin Village, Roanoke, Virginia.  Every third Thursday of the month they offer a flight of tapas paired with a wine flight. https://www.rockfishfood.com/

The first tapa we enjoyed was a goat cheese and cherry tart…puff pastry round topped with creamy mild goat cheese and fresh cherry compote.  We savored every morsel, absolutely delicious paired with Miquel Pons Cava Brut NV.

The second tapa of the evening was a scallop ceviche…refreshing and delicious! Paired with:

  

Viña Cartín Albariño Rías Baixas 2017.

One of my favorite Albariño wines is Lagar de Cervera. Please visit the Roanoker Magazine:  https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/what-to-sip-this-summer-spanish-wine/       to find tasting notes and other fun facts about Spanish wines to enjoy sipping this summer.

Cherry Glazed Pork Belly

paired with Genio Español Monastrell Rosado

and for dessert…

Dark Chocolate Creamux with Szechuan Peppercorn Streusel paired with La Greña Rioja

We finished the evening by sharing a couple of appetizers…my favorite…Fried Green Tomatoes wrapped in Pimento Grit Cake with Comeback Sauce and Spicy Greens. Comeback Sauce is a spicy remoulade sauce ~ a Southern favorite!

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Happy Orange Blossom Day!

Custom Designed Fraiser Table ~ Evan Berding Custom Furniture

When I was very small I loved to watch TV. I could see the actors on TV so I thought that they could see me too.  All Mom had to do was plunk me in front of the “I Love Lucy” show and I would be good as gold for the next thirty minutes.  I did not  want Lucy to think that I was misbehaving  during her show.

Through the years I continued to be enamored with sitcoms.  One of my all-time favorites is Frasier.  I love the Frasier set with the Steinway piano, Eames chair and the Coco Chanel couch.  My favorite piece on the set sat to the left of the fireplace ~ the three-tiered “twisted table” designed by  Larry Horowitz. I would love to know where the original table is today.  Since I can’t get my hands on the original  I am happy to say that as of this weekend I now have my very own Frasier twisted table!

 

Evan Berding designs and creates fine furniture.  Please visit his website to view examples of his extraordinary creations:

http://www.evanberding.com/furniture/

I commissioned my Frasier table from Evan Berding. The process was fascinating.  First I sent as many photos of the table that I could find to Evan as he did research on his end.  He explained that the original table looked like cherry and that cherry would compliment other pieces in my living room.  Cherry tends to get darker with age so my table will darken over time.

The next step was for me to determine the dimensions of the table. I trusted Evan’s judgement and he was very helpful in deciding exactly what size table would fit in my space.  The original table was a little taller than my table but Evan explained that the Frasier set was much bigger than my Colonial house living room.

The drawers are made of poplar.  You can see the level of fine detail that Evan puts into his work in the dovetailing on the drawers.

We wanted to make the delivery of the Frasier Table into a special celebration.  Evan and Meredith and some bubbly friends joined us for a Frasier themed dinner. Meredith is a high end custom furniture designer. Please visit her website to be wowed!

http://www.meredithhartfurniture.com/

Veuve Clicquot champagne was a favorite of Niles Crane on the show, so we began our evening with a toast which led to the unveiling of the Frasier Table. I was delighted by the finished product.

Our first course was a nod to Frasier and Niles sipping sherry. Sherry is a traditional ingredient in gazpacho and it was a warm summer evening so I made my favorite gazpacho served in chilled mason jars.

Just for fun I took a photo of the temperature in my car earlier that day…thank goodness for air conditioning!

Our second course was a nod to the Frasier theme song, sung by Kelsey Grammer, “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs”. I scrambled the eggs with portobello mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.  My bubbly friends Kate and Bert gave me Frasier coasters that I will keep in the drawer of my Fraiser Table. They are adorable!

Tossed Salad And Scrambled Eggs!

Our next course was a nod to Martin Crane, Frasier’s Dad on the show.  He loved to grill out on the patio of Frasier’s exclusive loft, much to Frasier’s chagrin. Martin’s love of grilling is included in my favorite episode of Frasier. This episode showcases Frasier and Niles’ long time competitiveness at a silent auction where the two spend eight thousand dollars for a lunch with three Nobel Laureates.  Season 6 episode 19.

Cherries Jubilee!

“The Innkeepers” episode when Faiser and Niles purchase an elegant old Seattle restaurant is another favorite. Season 2, episode 23  As the episode unfolds Fraiser, Niles and Daphne add just a little more Kirsch to the Cherries Jubilee. When they finally flambe the dessert at the end of the episode it explodes!  My bubbly friend Kate made the Cherries  Jubilee for us and she did a fine job of adding just the right amount of Kirsch, leaving our deck perfectly intact. The Cherries Jubilee served over vanilla ice cream was amazing!  The perfect ending to a grand celebration.

Here’s a link to an interesting article about the Frasier set: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2009/09/frasier-living-room.html

Maxine Andrews stayed hydrated during this fun celebration!

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Sparkling Strawberry Shrub Cocktail ~ Just In Time For The Weekend!

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

 A shrub is a vinegar-based syrup, referred to as “Drinking Vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is vinegar which is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.

I was so happy to find the recipe for Front Porch Chillin’” Sparkling Strawberry Shrub in the April/May 2018 issue of Chilled Magazine It is absolutely delicious and fruity. Do not let the idea of vinegar in a cocktail stop you from making this fabulous drink this weekend!

I was very happy to find the Cava that the magazine recommended for this cocktail in my local grocery store. You can always substitute your favorite rosé cava.

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

The wine tastes of sweet strawberry, cherry and citrus and has lots of fun bubbles. In the $15 range.

Situated on an estate that dates back to the 11th century, Segura Viudas draws on its rich Spanish heritage, blending its legacy with modern winemaking practices to create sophisticated yet approachable Cavas.  Its award winning Cava uses distinct méthode champenoise sparkling wine by the Ferrer family of Sant Sadurni d’Anola (near Barcelona). Segura Viudas is part of the Freixenet Group, a world leader in sparkling wine production. 

To make a very good sparkly shrub:

  • Invest in a muddler. You can find a muddler for around $5. It will help you muddle up the fresh fruit with sugar and vinegar to make the shrub.
  • Plant fresh mint in your garden to use for cocktail garnishes – I particularly enjoy pineapple mint and spearmint. Fresh rosemary sprigs also make a flavorful and aromatic garnish.

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

To make the shrub:

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar (I like to use extra fine sugar for this recipe because it dissolves very quickly, but granulated sugar works just fine too.)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Muddle the strawberries in a large mason jar. Add water and sugar and stir to combine. After the sugar has begun to dissolve,  add the rice wine vinegar and stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate. The shrub can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To make the Strawberry Shrub Cocktail:

Makes one cocktail:

1 ounce strawberry shrub

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

2 large ice cubes

Rosemary Sprig or Fresh Mint and Strawberry for garnish

Place all ingredients into a snifter and add ice cubes. Stir and top with Rosé Cava; give it another little stir,  garnish with rosemary sprig or mint and a strawberry.

Saludos!

 

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