Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 16, 2013 - Jennifer's Birthday 2.0

Good Morning, CS followers.  Yes, I'm a day late with this post, but then we did have a slight headache yesterday after a fantastic birthday celebration for Jennifer!  Let me lay it out for you... the ingredients she asked us to use included:  tobiko, trout, acai berry, brussels sprouts and marzipan.  What the heck can you make with that??  Sit back and enjoy!

Cocktail - Blueberry Acai Berry Mojito

Acai berry vodka, muddled frozen blueberries and mint, and blueberry Polar Seltzer.  Delicious, refreshing, and a great start to a fun evening!

Appetizer -  Ahi Tuna Parfait with Tobiko

Okay, a couple of changes.  First off, I could not find for the life of me multiple tobikos.  So we stuck with the one I could find and simply layered it with the tuna tartar.  Secondly, I couldn't grasp why you would add whipped cream at the end, so I skipped it.  Delicious!  Restaurant quality!

Appetizer Wine - Mura Mura Canyon Sake

This Mura Mura brand sake comes from a local wine store called "Total Wines."  It's awesome!  There are about 5 different varieties with different flavor combinations.  This "canyon" sake is a traditional dry sake with hints of crisp green apple and a nice medium body.

Entree - Rainbow Trout with Apple Pearls, Lemongrass Gremolata Crumbs and Riesling Butter Sauce

I know what you are thinking.  You are reading that recipe and going "what the heck?"  It was incredible!  Basically... it's a trout with a panko crust that is made of fresh herbs and lemongrass topped with a beurre blanc and scattered apple pieces.  We served it with a side of sauteed shaved brussels sprouts with a little garlic, shallot and balsamic.  Perfection!  Restaurant quality dish that you will never find in a restaurant!

Entree Wine - 2011 Domaine Saint-Martin Saint Veran

One of Jennifer's favorite wines is White Burgundies, so we absolutely did not want to disappoint her for her birthday dinner.  This crisp medium-bodied white had great aromas of pear and honeysuckle with bright citrus.  For an unoaked chardonnay it was not overly buttery but had great hints of mineral and granny smith apple.  Delicious!

Dessert - Almond Cupcakes with Blueberry Tequila Filling, Topped with Marzipan and Acai Berry Cream Frosting

So obviously my cupcake making skills leave a little something to be desired.  But the taste was there and that's what matters!  The tequila filling was divine and the frosting was so incredible.  Yes, it was a sweet cupcake, but isn't that what cupcakes are all about?

So overall, a lovely birthday meal that really hit it out of the park!  A total new twist on old flavors that surprised our birthday girl immensely!

Next Week - TBD

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 9, 2013 - Rotisserie

Good Morning, CS followers!  It's been a year, but we finally had an excuse to break out the rotisserie John got last year!  And with peaches starting to go on sale, we combined a classic rotisserie chicken with some peach-inspired dishes!  All I can say is - be ready to see a lot more rotisserie this summer!

Cocktail - White Peach Margarita

The peaches we got weren't completely ripe, so we juiced a bunch but then also used peach nectar to get the taste and consistency we wanted.  We did not blend with ice but put over rocks.  (Personal choice.)  Delicious summer drink!!!

Appetizer - Flaming Caprese Salad with Peaches, Mozzarella, and Bourbon

Yup.  Do you really even need to read a review to know that peaches, bourbon, cheese and fire is going to be a good combination?  Refreshing and light with a great twist!  Next time, cut the mozzarella into much finer pieces, because it doesn't exactly melt smoothly.  (Or use a different type of mozzarella.)

Entree - Rotisserie Chicken

Sooo delicious!  This spice rub was fantastic!  We put it on the rotisserie for about an hour and a half (20-30 min per pound) and it came out moist, juicy, and delicious!  Pair it with some simple sauteed green beans and mashed potatoes and you are in business!!!

Entree Wine - 2011 Sterling Pinot Noir

Nothing exceptionally fancy but just a nice light red to go with an easy dinner!

Dessert - Bourbon Peach Cobbler

Peach Mixture:
Cobbler Batter:

Delicious!  We used two different recipes for a couple reasons.  The Bourbon Peach Cobbler recipe required a cast iron skillet - which we don't have.  And the other Peach Cobbler recipe had so many rave reviews that we had to try it.  So we compromised and did bourbon peaches with the other cobbler batter.  Delicious!  Topped with some bourbon whipped cream and you are in business!!!

So overall a fantastic meal inspired by some old school cooking.  Who knew a rotisserie chicken would be so easy or delicious???

Next week is special!  It's that time of the year again!  Jennifer's Birthday!!!  So like last year, we ask for the birthday guest to pick their ingredients.  This time, I'll even let you know in advance what they are...  Trout, tobiko, fiddleheads, marzipan.  Yup.  What do you think we are going to be able to do with that???

Next Week - Jennifer's Birthday (Again)

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 2, 2013 - Pineapple & Pork

Good Morning, everyone!  I hope all of you had a lovely weekend, and if you live in the Northeast like we do - I hope you all survived this little heat wave.  It's the week after a holiday weekend, which means nothing is ever on sale that is "fantastic", so we opened the freezer, defrosted a pork tenderloin, and went to work on an easy, delicious menu that everyone will love!  (And we officially welcome our good friend, Bobby Flay, to summertime again!  We love cooking his recipes, so prepare to see a slew of them going forward!)

Cocktail - Pineapple Cocktail

Vodka, pineapple juice, cointreau, lime juice, splash of amaretto.  Delicious!  (If you use vanilla vodka, by the way, and a little heavier on the amaretto - you may a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini... just saying.)  And don't forget that sugared rim!!!

Appetizer - Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup

Make it in advance, let it sit in the fridge, and you are good to go!  Jennifer made this in the morning, and at first thought it was fantastic without the sour cream.  She went back and forth on whether adding it would ruin the flavor - so she compromised and added "light" sour cream, and only half of what was required.  It made a huge difference!  Rich, creamy, decadent!  A perfect cold soup for a hot day!

Appetizer Wine - 2012 Aime Roquesante Rose

This French rose is great for summer drinking!  It's a light salmon color, with a nose of grass and mineral.  On the tongue, it has savory and sweet fruit, but its full-bodied with a refreshing acidity.  Lovely drinking wine!

Entree - Grilled Chile-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Tamarind-Pineapple BBQ Sauce and Fried Onion Rings

I know what you're thinking.  Oh, geez... Bobby Flay recipe.  Break out the grocery list and stock up on the spices, this is going to be a long day of cooking.  NO!  This was disgustingly easy.  (And yes, we absolutely chose it because of the fried onions rings.)  Let's talk pork first.  Do nothing to it.  Let it hang out in the fridge, and then right before cooking, just rub a little ancho chile powder on it.  We chose to grill it, by the way, but that's personal preference.  The BBQ sauce - make it in advance.  I did all the parts and then brought it to John&Jenn's house, let it sit in a sauce pan and reduced it another half hour.  The reducing is necessary!  It needs to thicken and develop the flavor.  The onion rings - let them soak in the buttermilk for a few hours.  Then light dusting of flour and drop them in the deep fryer.  Perfection!  We did a simple salad on the side for color and palate cleansing with a little pineapple balsamic vinaigrette that Jenn whipped up using what was lying around.  Delicious, easy meal!

Entree Wine - 2011 Trumpeter Cabernet Sauvignon

This Argentinian red was a lovely wine!  It had aromas of juicy fruit and berries, and a hint of vanilla, oak, and cocoa on the finish.  It was well-structured with light tannins and a rich flavor.  Not a "heavy" cabernet like some, but a nice one meant for lighter food and outdoor dining!

Dessert - Mini Pineapple Cakes

Look how cute it is!!!  We added some coconut gelato (from last week) and it was perfection!  These little cakes were moist, full of flavor, and delicious!  Do keep in mind - this recipe does not call for enough of the pineapple.  As written, we only were able to make 4 "good" cakes with lots of pineapple as you see here.  So if you are making for a crowd, I suggest doubling up!

Aperitif - Pineapple Coconut Wine Smoothie

Our friend Glenn gave these to John and Jenn as a gift - so I can't tell you where to find them, but they are awesome.  It's a mixture of wine, cocoa, and natural flavors.  If you ever find these along your travels - grab!!

So overall, a satisfying meal that will please any palate!  We hope you enjoy and we are excited to kick off the summer with some fantastic food!  Next week is special!  My teller line is coming back for another CS dinner, and we are super excited!  We're doing build your own pizzas - tons of sauces, toppings, etc!

Next Week - Rotisserie