Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter For Two


 

Baby and I had Easter to ourselves this year (except for a few calls to and from family). This did not, however, stop us from making a considerable amount of food. A lamb recipe courtesy of Eleven Madison Park inspired me to make a Greek Easter dinner, having made a Roman Easter holiday not too long ago via Saveur magazine. I thought to take another trip across the world! This was not exactly a sit-down: we lazed and grazed the entire afternoon, watching movies in between our preparations while maneuvering the dishwasher and putting out the next courses when we were hungry again. Our table was colorful; scribbled in pink and periwinkle blue with gold foil chocolate rabbits, brass candlesticks handed down to me from a relative and my Nana's beautifully etched Champagne glasses from the 1920's for a proper toast. So fun!  


Today's Menu
Avgolemeno Soup
Fettucine with Sauteed Artichokes
Roasted Rack of Lamb
Almond Fig Cake with Pistachio Gelato
Pommery Champagne
Ouzo

After having some jelly beans for breakfast, we launched into an easily made, classic velvety avgolemono soup with lemon and orzo (instead of suggested long grain white rice) shortly after noon. Also we cut corners by using purchased College Inn broth with roasted chicken thighs that we had on hand, instead of making our own arduous stock.


Our pasta course was served with fresh fettucine and canned artichokes--not the heart-breaking, endless peeling variety and only sauteed briefly, not roasted as the recipe suggests. We shared a split of starched and dry Pommery Champagne, Brut Classico with this dish.


Two frenched racks of lamb were the mains, seen here mainly unadorned, before we slathered tzatziki on it. I did not suffer over suspending and draining the cucumbers for 48 hours as the recipe suggests to make the cucumber yogurt; I merely ordered delicious prepared tzatziki from FreshDirect.com.


Almond fig cake with pistachio gelato was a fine dessert, with of course some chocolate eggs and more jelly beans that were scattered about. This was a great finish with some high-octane Ouzo!


Happy Easter!



Soundtrack: The Beach Music Sound; Patio Pool Party; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers; Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool; Miles Davis, Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet




Shouldn't You Just...?


 Revel in such a morning? What light upon us!

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new-millennium.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Pinkies Up! - Mas Margaritas!

It's hardly a secret that I enjoy a frosty margarita from time to time--click here to peer into a recent post about my penchant for the frosty favorite. As we eagerly move into summer and plan our getaways, consider visiting these hot spots in Puerto Rico and naturally take the time to take a tipple--margarita recipes provided below for your enjoyment just at home as well with a festive group of friends. Right on time for Cinco de Mayo! 

  







 
Margarita Premium
From Hotel El Convento
Have a Margarita Premium just the way you like it at the Patio del Nispero restaurant in the Hotel El Convento, the historic AAA Four-Diamond property located in the heart of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. ElConvento.com.
Ingredients:
2 oz Patron Silver
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz Grand Marnier
3 oz fresh lime juice
Simple syrup

Directions:
Mix everything together in a shaker with ice. Shake for two minutes and serve in a chilled margarita glass or on the rocks. For the frozen margarita, haul out the blender and set to work. Garnish with lemon or lime.

 









Sirenarita
From Isla Verde Resort
This family-friendly beachfront property in San Juan, Puerto Rico offers this tangily delicious treat. SJCourtyard.com.

Ingredients:
¾ oz cream of coconut
1 ¼ oz tequila
1 ¼  oz triple sec
2 oz sour mix

Directions:
Simply mix all ingredients in a shaker and then garnish with a slice of lime and orange!











Strawberry Mango Margarita
From Doubletree San Juan
Celebrate the summery season with a fruity adaptation with a Strawberry Mango Margarita available at the hotel’s CafĂ© Pierre. SanJuanDoubletree.com.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Tequila Cuervo Gold
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 oz strawberry mix
1 oz mango mix

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except the mango. Shake with ice or blend for a frozen margarita; serve first the mango for the color effect and follow the mixed ingredients in a cold margarita cup with brown sugar in the border. 

 







Coconut Margarita
From Copamarina Beach Resort
Go loco for coconuts at the Copamarina Beach Resort in Guanica, Puerto Rico and try their signature Coconut Margarita at the beach or poolside. CopaMarina.com.

Ingredients:
2 oz Patron Silver tequila
1 oz. Malibu coconut rum
1/2 oz St-Germaine
3 oz fresh coconut water
Drizzle of Coco Lopez
Fresh vanilla bean, scraped
1 fresh lime wedge, squeezed (to serve)
Preparation:
Mix Patron, Malibu, St. Germaine, coconut water and vanilla bean in a shaker. Pour into a glass rimmed with toasted coconut. Drizzle with Coco Lopez and squeeze in the lime wedge. Garnish with a lime peel.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And What of Olives?


Castelvetrano is a town in Sicily that I recently discovered has the most marvelous, sumptuous olives. I first learned of these beauties pressed to make the olive oil at Tavola and then went in for the olives themselves, so perfect for a relish tray as my parents do, accompanied by celery, carrots, a cheese of your choosing and perhaps some crackers around cocktail time. You may cook with the Castelvetrano olives as well of course perhaps for a Mediterranean dish of chicken with preserved lemons, but they are so vibrantly green, chewy and full of fruit flavor that I feel cooking them would dampen their flight. But do what you will; certainly use the olive oil for special occasions such as enlivening a salad dressing or outfitting a chilled salad itself with these plucked orbs. Mind the pits! Above all--do enjoy!

Thanks to Murray's Cheese for the photo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pinkies Up! - Let Us Begin With Gin!


Gin is in the air, er, rather spring is in the air! Bend an elbow, lift a glass or whatever you may. Above all, let's make a toast with these gin-fueled cocktails--and thanks to Martin Miller's gin for the memories!

Red Riding Hood
by Bar Director and Mixologist, Enzo Cangemi
Ovest, 513 W 27th St, New York, NY
Ingredients:
* 5-6 chunks red bell pepper
* 2 bar spoons ginger marmalade
* 1/2 ounce lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce Combier pomplemousse rose
* 2 ounces of Martin Miller's Gin

Directions:
Muddle the red bell pepper with the lemon juice and ginger marmalade; add the Martin Miller's Gin and pomplemousse rose and shake with ice; double strain into a coupe glass; cap it off with a sliver of red bell pepper and gird your loins.


Miller's Crossing
Hundred Acres, 38 Macdougal St, New York, NY

Ingredients: 
* 2 1/2 ounces Martin Miller's Gin
* 2 basil leaves
* 1 slice jalapeno
* 1 ounce simple syrup
* 1/4 ounce lime juice

Directions:
Lightly muddle the basil, jalapeno and simple syrup; add the gin and ice a stir thoroughly; strain and serve in a martini glass; garnish with a slice of jalapeno and casually traipse across.


Basil B. Bennett
by Mixologist Michael Manjon
Brannon's, 119 Essex St, New York, NY

Ingredients:
* 2 ounces Martin Miller's Gin
* 3/4 ounce Mike Manjon's basil syrup (recipe follows)
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3 dashes Bitterman's Celery Shrub Bitters

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain and serve up in a martini glass; garnish with micro-basil and enjoy the sentiment of spring.

Ingredients for Mike Manjon's basil syrup:
* 4 cups of basil
* 3 cups of water
* 2 cups of sugar

Directions for syrup prep:
Add the basil to the water and boil at medium heat until the liquid is reduced to two cups; strain out the leaves and mix the basil water with two cups of sugar; bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved; allow the mixture time to chill and store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pete's Dish - April 15


What's going on in and about town!

One of my favorite restaurants, Bea (formerly Le Madeleine), is now serving weekend brunch with a menu by Chef Anunya Clarke. Dine in the charming atrium or sidle up to a banquette in the restaurant proper. Among the other tempties, have your pick of pancakes with rosemary honey and berries or a smoked salmon sandwich with ricotta cheese, tomato, dill, and capers. Drinking at brunch is practically a necessity so knock back a bubbly Aide Memoir with prosecco, sweet vermouth, yellow chartreuse liqueur and orange bitters to further fulfill your fare. For a fuller picture, read my review of Bea here. Bea is located at 403 W 43rd St, New York, NY, 212-602-1910, BeaNYC.com.   

Why not head east (Manhattan's Upper East Side, that is) on the eve of Easter Sunday? Greek restaurant Nerai will be open from midnight to 2:30am with a menu of traditional Greek Easter dishes, as well as other dishes from their regular menu, served up by Executive Chef Chris Christou.  Read my review of Nerai here. Otherwise, get a taste of the eggs-ellent specials such as traditional
soups--Mageritsa soup made from lamb offal and classic lemony Avgolemono soup; traditional Dolmades, stuffed grape leaves; Roasted Lamb; and Pork Tenderloin with stewed gigantes beans and feta. Finish it off with Tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread. Nerai is located at 55 E 54th St, New York, NY, 212-759-5554, NeraiNYC.com.

 

Chef Milton Enriquez' spring menu at Crescent Grill in Long Island City is busting out all over with locally sourced ingredients from farms in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. English pea risotto rhapsodizes with duck confit and blue foot mushrooms; lobster is poached with butter; and wild striped bass is served with artichokes, olives, fingerling potatoes and hon-shimeji mushrooms. An Easter Day Prix-Fixe brunch menu is $35, available from 11am-4pm and includes a main course and savory and sweet selections for the table. Mushroom tartlets, hanger steaks and a green tea financier sound pretty good to me! Crescent Grill is located at 38-40 Crescent Street @ 39th Avenue, 718-729-4040, CrescentGrill.com



A Murdery Delicious Interview

My first podcast interview talking about my books the pale of memory and The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery! And my blog Evenings With Peter! Click here to lend an ear. Thanks to the folks at WritersBone.com! Also go to PeterHalseySherwood.net for more info.