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Andrew’s Famous Egg Nog

23 Dec

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While I was hoping to share Andrew’s most famous eggnog recipe with all of you – I must tell you that he is keeping it a secret! Some things are best kept a mum, I suppose.

The eggnog might have been the biggest hit of the party… And knocked many socks off. Hince, these funny photos!

 

Lemon Ginger Cocktails

30 Sep

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Where did my weekend go? It was packed with the opening of a new Pop Up Downtown Dog Park, wrapping up our voter registration concert on Thursday night and prepping for a night of mayhem at Elsewhere’s annual fundraising extravaganza! If you need a lesson or two about burning the candle at both ends – I charge an hourly rate for consultation.

I had some friends over on Saturday night (before and of course, after) the party at Elsewhere for cocktails and snacks. I kept it easy and made a ginger & lemon cocktail and a mixed mushroom and stinky cheese flatbread with truffle oil. It took almost no time to prepare – which left me time to nap and clean! This was a good investment because I was way to tired to clean on Sunday after our wild night out!

Crystalized ginger can be found at The Fresh Market and I advise you to stock up on fun liquors for creative beverages! Domaine de Canton is a great ginger liquor!

Enjoy at your next cocktail hour!

Lemon & Ginger Cocktail

  • 2 parts, vodka
  • 1 part, Domaine De Canton (ginger liquor)
  • 1 cubes, crystalized ginger
  • 1 part, lemon juice
  • 1, lemon wedge
  • 2 parts, club soda

 

Fill a glass with ice and top with vodka, ginger liquor, lemon juice, crystalized ginger, lemon slice. Stir. Top with club soda and stir once more!

 

Coffee Beans and Dreams

18 Sep

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Kyle Burge’s story is about coffee beans and dreams. On Black Friday 2011, at the age of 23, Burge opened Beans Boro Coffeehouse and Roastery at the corner of Horse Pen Creek and New Garden roads.

The shop had been a dream of his since age 16 when he first began drinking coffee and exploring the variety of its flavors. From the first sip, coffee became Burge’s hobby and passion.

After graduating from high school in Kernersville and completing a two-year stint at GTCC studying recording engineering, Burge began doing his homework to fulfill his dream of opening his own coffee shop and wholesale roasting operation. To make it happen, he saved money, created a business plan and became an expert in the coffee industry and trade.

At 21, Burge persuaded his coffee-loving parents to allow him to install a roaster capable of processing 2 pounds of coffee at a time in the basement of their home. This operation was no “set it and forget it” gadget. It involved connecting to the gas line and knocking a hole into the side of the house for ventilation — proof of commitment and family support.

Soon, he started selling beans wholesale to four clients. He started a small coffee shop in the front of a fitness center he was managing.

Along the way, he picked up a coffee vocabulary. Talking to Burge is like talking to a wine connoisseur. He describes coffee’s flavor notes with adjectives such as bold, fruity, acidic, light, heavy, fresh, earthy, mouthful, smoky and crisp. Yet, his youthfulness comes through in the descriptive “wickedly awesome.”

Beans Boro is becoming the type of establishment Burge dreamed of. The shop attracts a variety of coffee drinkers, including young professionals and retirees. Teens flock there after school for pastries and frappuccinos. Beans Boro hosts a variety of events, including comedy nights, chamber music on Friday evenings and live music most Saturdays.

His steady base of loyal customers has allowed him to increase his capacity and roast 10 pounds at a time. He brings in new beans from around the world to explore and share every six weeks. With the roasting operation in the back of the shop, Beans Boro has the freshest beans in the area. With a limited marketing budget, Burge’s biggest challenge is getting the word out about his roasting business. His current efforts are focused on growing his wholesale customer base.

His kindness doesn’t hurt either. When visiting Beans Boro, a customer noted on the way out, “He’s the nicest guy in the business.”

There are countless coffee shops in Greensboro to visit. As a coffee lover, I’ve been to most of them, and each has its own personality and flair. Many of the shops are like Beans Boro: conceptualizations of Greensboro’s young professional community fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams. I encourage you to check them all out and meet their staff.

Burge’s hard work and ingenuity come from a deep passion for the industry. Go meet Burge. He welcomes anyone to come by and learn about the roasting process.

And he can teach you just as much about dreams as he can beans.

 

Cucamelon Mojitos

28 Jul

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We have a new friend on Mendenhall Street and he happens to be a bunny in the backyard. It’s a miracle that he has yet to be discovered by Winston and remains in one piece – munching on our grass and being cute as he could be. That is how eventful my weekend was. I watched the bunny…

Meanwhile, I did my own munching. On mint! My neighbors have a variety of mints (chocolate, orange, etc) growing on their front hill and I clipped enough to make the most delicious mojitos with the addition of my homegrown CUCAMELONS!

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What the cucamleon?! Yes. The cucamelon (or melothria scabra) is a vine grown edible fruit that are the size of grapes and taste like cucumbers with a tinge of sourness. They are also commonly known as the “cutest fruit ever.” My mother insisted that I grow them this summer (so much that she started the plants from seed and delivered them from Florida). While they are incredibly cute and easy to grow – I really have no idea what to do with them. They are a little seedy and much better to just admire from a distance. So, I tossed them into the mojitos I made on Saturday night using some very special Diplomatico Rum. The mojitos were a big hit with friends on Saturday night with homemade Black Bean Bowls with Chicken and Apple Salsa (recipe coming soon) and Fresh Market guacamole and chips.

Mojitos are the perfect seasonal drink this time of year. Forage some mint and get muddling! Oh, and add the cucamelons if you have them.

Diplomático Cucamelon Mojito
  • ½ oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Superfine Sugar
  • A bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz. Diplomático Rum
  • Club Soda
  • 4 or 5 cucuamons, optional, duh
Place ice, rum, mint leaves, lime juice and sugar in glass and muddle. Top off each glass with splash of club soda. Garnish with lime wedge and mint leaves. Top with fresh cucamelons.

PS: Look how happy your friends are when you make them Cucamelon Mojitos!

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Ice Iced Coffee

24 Jul

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I’m doing my best to keep things simple this summer and iced coffee has become a serious staple in the process. Despite sitting on the edge of my chair with Royal Baby news – I’m mostly leaning back. Making iced coffee is super simple to make at home and it’s also best if done in advance. I’ve been making a fair amount of iced coffee and lattes at home using my Nespresso Pixie and buying a plenty at The Green Bean. Below are some options that will meet your kitchens, needs and capabilities. Let me know if you have your own tricks of the trade!

While my friend Jess told me that “the real winner this summer is the shaken iced peach green tea lemonade,” I say keep it simple and sip on iced coffee. Plug in your favorite folk music, put your feet up, bask in the sunshine and sip on a cold caffeinated pick-me-up.

Iced Coffee Options:

Donovan’s Ginger-Raspberry Margarita

5 May

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Last night I had a small gathering to celebrate the birthdays of two of my favorite people. To throw another holiday on top, I decided to make a fresh feast of Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo (or quatro in this case). I made a Mango, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos – with Turkey Bacon and Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole, Blue Corn Chips and my friend Donovan’s Ginger-Raspberry Margaritas. 

Donovan takes his tequila seriously – so I counted on him to suggest a margarita to fit the occasion. I love the combination of raspberry and ginger – both sweet and sour for a really smooth margarita. I used Piedra Azul Tequilla that is extremely smooth and made from 100% Blue Agave. Additionally, the tequila was recently awarded a Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition! Check it out. 

I’ll post the recipes from the celebration this week. In the meantime, shake yourself a Ginger-Raspberry Margarita while it’s still Cinco de Mayo! As Donovan says, “They are lip poppin good.”

Donovan’s Ginger-Raspberry Margarita 

  • 2 parts tequila (I used Piedra Azul Tequila) 
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lime (buy them from tiendas, so much cheaper)
  • 1/2 part Chambord raspberry liqueur 
  • 1/2 part Domain de Canton ginger liqueur

Shake and serve on ice with a lime wheel garnish.

The Perfect Pairing with Zeto Wine

17 Apr

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This past weekend I invited some girlfriends over for a glass of wine in the backyard. With the sun in our faces, I slipped them a glass of Westbend Viognier from the Yadkin Valley. They quickly complimented the wine and I replied “it’s a North Carolina wine recommended by Su and Penny at Zeto downtown.” They couldn’t believe it.

That’s the rap that Su Peterson and Penny Demetriades, owners of the local Zeto Wine, are trying to help change.

Su and Penny are downtown Greensboro’s go-to wine experts. With a combined experience of more than 30 years in the industry, they started Zeto Wine long before downtown had much of a rep either.

Their love of wine comes from a love of nature and humanity. They take the time to meet with each winemaker to experience their stories and taste. Over the years Su and Penny have gotten to know many North Carolina winemakers and have learned more about the industry than could ever fit in this column.

While they admit that NC wine has a bad reputation, they preach that we haven’t given it a chance. In the grand scheme of winemaking, NC winemaking is significantly young. Without generations of experience, North Carolina winemakers are still learning to understand how grapes grow in our climate and soil. Both the industry and vineyards are maturing. Su and Penny encourage the public to recognize that winemaking is farming and to have respect for anyone who is farming grapes for winemaking in North Carolina. While the terrain presents challenges, North Carolina wine is unique in its variation from the coast to mountains.

This Spring and Summer, make some time to tour North Carolina’s wine vineyards. They make a lovely day trip and give you a chance to learn more about our local wines. You just might be surprised! In the meantime, Su and Penny identified their 6 favorite North Carolina wines. They have about a dozen in stock at Zeto and continue to meet and taste more varieties.

Six North Carolina Wines Recommended by Su Peterson and Penny Demetriades

Shadow Springs Vineyard Seyval Blanc from Swan Creek Yadkin Valley 2010 ($15.99)

This hybrid blend is sweet but not syrupy. It is a great springtime starter and pairs well with cheeses, lighter fish, fruits and chutneys. It is crisp and clean and medium bodied with a hint of peach and mango.

Raffaldini Pinot Grigio 2010 from Swan Creek ($11.99)

This family owned winery specializes specifically in Italian wines. Their NC Pinot Grigio pairs well with nutty cheeses, caprese salads, North Carolina shrimp, flounder and snapper.

Westbend Viognier from the Yadkin Valley ($11.99)

This husband and wife winemaking team started their work in the 1970s.  They helped to pioneer the vinifera grape in North Carolina and discovered that the Viognier grape stood out in North Carolina as particularly noteworthy.  The Westbend Viognier pairs well with crab and Asian foods. It is also an easy transition from chardonnay with hints of honey suckle and apricot.

Shadow Springs 100% Merlot from Yadkin Valley (17.99)

Aged 18 months in oak barrels which has a significant influence how smooth the wine tastes. With a medium body, this 100% Merlot is perfect for summertime grilled read meats, burgers or pizza!

Raylen Cabernet Franc 2010 ($14.99)

The cabernet grape emerged early on in North Carolina. It is typically used as a blending grape although Raylen has successfully bottled the grape solo. It is lighter than a cabernet sauvignon with notes of blueberry.  Su and Penny recommends putting a hint of chill on the wine before serving in the summertime. Bring it to “cellar temperature by putting the bottle in the refrigerator about  20 minutes.

Stonefield Cellars Barrel X 2008 ($27.99)

The Stonefield Cellers have a unique background from their roots in California and technical skills in chemistry. This gives Stonefield Cellars a leg up on the industry. The Barrel X is a rich wine with an “old world style taste” that pairs extremely well with rustic dishes including beef, lamb and eggplant.

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Italian Sips and Snacks

19 Feb

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Saturday night, at the Off Mendenhall Greensboro Symphony Cooking Class, we needed plenty of Italian sips and starters to get us through all the cooking! We made a variety of recipes together – including some rouge men stealing the anchovies for a snack! All of these recipes are really simple but impressive for guests. They are go-to recipes for any time of the year and can be made with ingredients from the pantry and garden.

I’m not sure what recipe was the biggest hit but they were all raved about. I recommend putting this as stand-by appetizer and cocktails for your everyday entertaining!

Negroni

  • Ice
  • 1 1/3 ounces frozen gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2/3 ounce Campari
  • 1 orange wheel, for garnish

Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

For the Dough:

  • 1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 teaspoons salt

To Assemble

  • Really good extra virgin olive oil
  • Leaves of 2-4 branches fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt

For the dough, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a medium bowl. Stir in 1-1/4 cups water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Pulse the flour and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Add the yeast mixture and process until a rough ball of dough forms, 1 minute. Briefly knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Shape dough into a ball. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large bowl. Roll dough around in bowl until coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Pour a thin film of oil into each of four 8-inch round cake pans. Quarter the dough and put one piece into each pan. Using your fingertips, spread dough out in each pan. The dough is elastic and will resist stretching. Let it relax for 5 minutes or so after you’ve stretched it as far as it will go. Eventually, it will cooperate and fill the pan.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Cover the pans with damp dishcloths and let the dough rest until it has swollen in the pans a bit, 30-60 minutes.

Uncover the pans. Sprinkle the dough with the rosemary. Using your fingertips, poke dimples into the dough in each pan, then liberally drizzle with oil so it pools in the hollows. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake the focaccia until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Serve cut into wedges.

Crudites with Sundried Tomato and Olive Tapenade

  • 3 (8-ounce) cans of pitted black olives, drained
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon, Dijon
  • 4 Anchovies
  • 1 teaspoon, capers
  • pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Serve with bread, endive, fresh fennel, carrot and red peppers.

Melon and Prosciutto  – buy great melon and prosciutto – display on a beautiful platter! 

Parmesan Crisps

  • 1 pound asaigo cheese, shredded
  • sage, chopped
  • 1 cup pine nuts, chopped

Shred 1 pound cold asiago cheese. Place 6 tablespoon-size mounds of cheese about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet or silpad. Sprinkle each mound with 1/4 teaspoon each chopped pine nuts and sage. Bake at 425 degrees until the cheese is golden and the edges are slightly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.  Repeat to make about 24 crisps.

Let’s Juice It

18 Feb

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Let’s take a trip back to the color wheel. It’s really the hardest part about making fresh delicious juice beverages. There are few brown liquids that look appetizing. So, don’t mix things that are orange (like carrots) with green things (like kale). Or blueberries. I do want to make a purple drink though… beets and blueberries…let me report back on that one.

I have a T-Fal Juice Extractor ..and I’ve become a big fan the last couple of weeks. It’s a simple machine – but super powerful and easy to clean. And, it retails at less than $80 dollars.

Here are two of my favorite.  I recommend adding ginger to all drinks. It’s spicy and refreshing and makes you feel immediately healthy. I’m working on new juices – any suggestions?

  • Carrot, Granny Smith Apple and Ginger
  • Kale, Fuji and Granny Smith Apples, Ginger

It’s Friday; It’s Cocktail Time – The Pink Paloma

8 Feb

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It’s Friday! And, it happens to the my close childhood friend, Michael’s, 30th birthday! Michael and I have been great friends since we were eight years old on the Florida Aquatics Swim Team. We survived middle school together, graduated high school together, moved north to attend college in North Carolina close by and continue to take adventures in countless cities and wacky destinations. There are few people who I share so many wild memories with – dancing in London, Asian karaoke and Swedish street fairs in Chicago, jumping from San Fransisco to Napa and discovering ghost towns between Denver and Breckenridge. That doesn’t even begin to describe the decibel of laughter or mayhem.

It goes without saying, that I’m sad not to be in Lake Tahoe celebrating the big 3-0 with Michael but I’m sending a giant “Cheers!” from North Carolina to the slopes. But, if I were in Lake Tahoe celebrating with Michael, I’d make him a Pink Paloma with his favorite grapefruit juice (see photo above!) And, I’d play Paloma Faith’s ‘Stone Cold Sober’ as a warm-up to the festivities.

Happy Birthday Michael. Cheers – To making better mistakes in our 30s! Love you. 

30th Birthday Pink Paloma by Apartment Therapy The Kitchn 

  • 2 ounces of silver tequila
  • 1/3 cup pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (about half a 4- inch pink grapefruit)
  • Wedges of lime
  • 3 ounces pink grapefruit Perrier
  • Coarse salt, optional

Use one lime wedge to run around the edge of the glass. Dip into a shallow plate with salt if you want a salted rim. If not skip this step.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add the tequila and the pink grapefruit juice. Shake until chilled.

Strain into the salt rimmed glass. Squeeze the lime from a wedge into the drink and stir. Top with soda, and serve with an additional lime wedge for garnish.

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