Monday, November 28, 2011

Bee's Kiss



Bee's Kiss

2  oz.  Aged Rum.
1½  oz.  Heavy Cream.
1  oz.  Honey Simple Syrup.
Cinnamon or Fresh Nutmeg.


Pour the rum, cream and honey into a cocktail shaker halfway filled with ice.  Shake until the mixture is well combined and a little frothy.  Double strain into a coupe and garnish with a little cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg.  Cheers!



Bee's Kiss.



Moscow Mule



Moscow Mule

2 oz. Vodka.
½   Lime
Ginger Beer (Fever Tree, if you can get it).

Fill a highball glass or copper mug with ice.  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the glass.  Pour the vodka over the ice and top with the ginger beer.  Easy as that.  Cheers!   




The only ingredients you need.



Moscow Mule.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving @ Terry's





The spectacular view from Terry's House.


Terry's 2nd annual Booze Turkey-Fest went down last weekend and it was time once more for friends to convene and give thanks for all the wonderful things bestowed upon us grub and inebriants we were about to throw down the hatch on this particular evening.   




My festive Donaji Punch - Vida Mezcal, Fresh Citrus Juices, Agave Nectar, Lime Wheels & Pomegranate Seeds.


To greet the incoming people with, I made a Mezcal punch.  In hindsight, I probably should have thought this one through a little better.  Being a predominately vodka-and-sake-drinking crowd, my smokey concoction didn't go over as well as I would have liked.  Along with another drink I made later that night, my drinks proved to be too stiff.  My misstep for sure.  I will redeem myself next year however and have people going back for seconds.  Mark my words!             
   


Bourbon Shots to kick things off.


To get the party started, Tomo and Judy brought a bottle of bourbon for all of us to shoot.  Bourbon = now you're talking my language.  Shooting = not so much (I'm more of a 'sip 'n enjoy' type).  But was I about to say no to bourbon?  Hell-to-the-no!  Besides, I hadn't taken shots in over 15 years.  I wanted to see how I would fare compared to yesteryear - when perhaps I would have felt a burn from the alcohol going down and then coughed like the novice that I was.  Well, I guess it's official now.  MY NAME IS MEMO AND I AM AN ALCOHOLIC.  I felt no burning sensation, my eyes didn't well up and I didn't feel the need to cough.  What does it all mean??  Is that a good thing or is it a bad thing?  Have I graduated or have I gone past the point of no return? 
                    



Judy handing over my hand roll consisting of Spam, Avocado... 


Okay, maybe we go off to too fast a start.  We dialed it back with Tomo & Judy's Temaki.  I wish I hadn't obliterated my taste buds with the hard alcohol because the assortment of seafood was super fresh and from what I could taste, it was fantastic.




...Squid, Salmon, Tuna & Yellowtail.


This was my first time trying a hand roll (shame on me) and since I'm so clumsy with chopsticks, I should probably stick to this form of sushi.  Thank you, Judy, for preparing my roll and in doing so, showing me how easily it is made.  I will attempt this feat (yes, for me it is a feat!) this coming year.  Consider it one of my New Year's resolutions!     




  Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Drizzled with Balsamic Honey Reduction.  Garnished with Fresh Raspberries.

 
Lilly was inspired to recreate a dish we both enjoyed about a month ago at Swill Automatic.  It's a simple tried and true culinary procedure.  Wrap or encase something in a porcine product and voilà, instant good eats!  This copycat reconstruction of the dish we had at Swill Automatic could have fooled me.  It tasted great and it was aesthetically festive - more on the Christmas side of things though, wouldn't you say?  Am I being prescient?  Well, they were that good, so we'll see.        




Parmesan Encrusted Artichoke Hearts with Olive Oil & Lemon.


Another simple yet tasty side dish Lilly prepared was a facsimile of Bacaro LA's Marinated Artichoke Hearts.  For added texture, she topped each heart with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Lilly's 2 side dishes were perfect examples of accomplishing more by doing less.  No fussy cookery here.  Just straight forward simple food preparation.           




Glazed Ham.


Lizzie took charge of the main Thanksgiving components.  She made Mashed Potatoes and a Ground Beef w/ Raisin Dressing.  Sorry, I failed to photograph them.  She also made TWO PROTEINS - one of which was ham.  Lizzie prepared a glaze that gave the ham a nice sheen but even better, it was probably the best flavored glaze on a ham that I have ever tasted.  




Roasted Turkey.


The pièce de résistance, the dish taking center stage - The Turkey.  Let's face it, there really aren't too many ways to roast a turkey and have it elicit "oooohs" and aahhhs."  The best you can really hope for, is a somewhat moist turkey and crispy skin.  Well, Liz achieved both in a dazzling amount of time (I'm still scratching my head over that one).  The meat was fork-tender and moist while  the skin of the bird was crispy and seasoned well with a semi-spicy rub.         




Garlic Knots & Brazil Bread.


I supplied the "rolls" to sop up all the juices and gravy (yet another thing I failed to photograph).  These are some of the apps we have available at work.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy the garlic knots so I was happy with that.  While the Brazil Bread was good, the knots stole the show.  On this day, I agree, the knots were better.      




Cranberry Sauce.


As much as you love Cranberries, Cape Cod/Cosmopolitan Girl, I expect more out of you next year.  Yes Liz, even if you have to add vodka!  You have elevated your game over the last few years, but this dish you have left "unlizziefied" for 2 consecutive years.  Let's see what you come up with for next year.  All that being said, it was still good.  You've come a long way since your canned cranberry gelatin!



 
Cran-Apple Pie.


This was favorite dessert.  Flaky crust...tart cranberries adding another dimension to the sweet apples...the apples were not mushy or undercooked - the perfect texture for the way I like my apple pie.  The only thing that could have put this pie over the top, was a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Otherwise, a perfect dessert in my book, Lizzie.




Pecan Pie.


Almost as good as the Cran-Apple Pie, was Lizzie's Pecan Pie with Brandied Whip Cream (not shown).  I made this pie 15 years ago and I hated the results.  The filling, once the pie had time to cool and seize, became too firm and difficult to chew.  This one was the antithesis of my futile attempt and an improvement on Lizzie's pecan pie from last year.  It went from being okay, to being very good.            



Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes.


John and Michelle provided some more sugary sweets from Torrance Bakery.  I only got to try one but it was good and plenty.  I hope you guys stick around for dinner next time.  Then again, we did say dinner would be served at 6....and we ate at 8?  Oops. 


 

The Sunset from the Patio of Terry's House.


Thanks to Lilly, Lizzie, Tomo, Judy, John & Michelle for making and/or providing food for the feast.  It was all worth the time and effort.   

Extra special thanks to Terry for hosting and inviting us into your beautiful new humble abode.  No longer is it just a house.  After warming it up with the aroma of freshly made grub and filling the air with the sounds of laughter from your closest and dearest friends, you truly have a house to call home now.  Let the memories begin.        



Monday, November 21, 2011

Homemade Coffee Liqueur + La Dominicana Cocktail





Ground Coffee Beans & Vodka are the Foundation for this Liqueur.  
 Special thanks to Alex, via Jesse for the Cafe Du Monde Coffee & Chicory. 



Playing back-up is the Vanilla Bean and Simple Syrup.



I added Ground Coffee Beans to Vodka and added...



...a scraped Vanilla Bean - Pod, Seeds and all.



I agitated the vessel containing the mixture.



I added Simple Syrup and agitated it again.  I stored it in the back of the fridge for 3-4 weeks and shook the container every 2-3 days.



Approximately 1 month later, I strained the mixture and discarded the solids.




I double strained the liquid using my french press to help eliminate 98% of the particulate matter that remained.  The rest of the fine particles I would strain out when it came time to building a cocktail.


 
The final product.  I stored it inside of an old vodka bottle - nothing "frosty" about this black ice!



My coffee elixir + this fine aged rum & heavy cream =



La Dominicana.




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Steingarten LA (Los Angeles - West LA)

StarStarStar½ 



Signage.



Cocktail Menu.



Right Thyme.



My Burger Creation - Ground Sirloin, Green Herbal Sauce, Smoked Mozzarella, Parmesan & Applewood Bacon.



What's on tap.



What I Got - Great Divide's Yetti Imperial Stout.



Chef's Choice - Ground Sirloin, Applewood Bacon, Smoked Mozzarella & Steingarten Mustard Sauce.  Served with Sweet Potato Fries, Curried Ketchup and Garlic Aioli.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cranberry & Vanilla Bean Sorbet



Cranberry & Vanilla Bean Sorbet

12 oz Fresh Cranberries.
1 Vanilla Bean.
2½ cups Water.
2 cups Sugar.
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice.



Cranberry & Vanilla Bean Sorbet.



 Fresh Cranberries, [scraped] Vanilla Beans/Pod & Simple Syrup.



Bring to a boil & reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes [or until the berries pop/soften].



Discard the Vanilla Pod and in batches, "pulse" the mixture in 1 second intervals [cautiously] or the pressure inside the blender will cause the mixture to redecorate your kitchen.  After a 5-8 pulses, blend slowing, gradually increasing the speed until the berry mixture is smooth.


  
Strain the mixture, catching the seeds and any possible pulpy bits.



Add 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice.  Once cooled, chill for 4 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator. 


 
Follow the instructions of your ice cream maker and give the cranberry vanilla bean a whirl for 30 minutes or so.


 
It's not gonna solidify fully but it will resemble soft ice cream.  Transfer the semi frozen sorbet into a container and freeze to the desired consistency.  


 
 The final product ready for consumption.



320 Main (Seal Beach)

StarStarStarStar½   



Signage.



 Imagine that!



 Classic Cocktails.



Classics Cont.


Signature Drinks.



Bleu Tenders - Chicken Tenders Smothered with Hot Sauce.  Topped with Crumbled Blue Cheese.



Duck Fries - French Fries, Julienned Duck & Caramelized Onions Served with Horseradish Aioli.


Anything?? Anything!



Black & Bleu Salad - Skirt Steak, Arugula, Roasted Pepper, Caramelized Onion & Asparagus Coins Tossed in Balsamic Vinaigrette. 



 Marinated Skirt Steak with Fries.



Hot Toddy - Laird's Applejack, Chai Tea Syrup, Lemon Twist & Cinnamon Stick. 



The check arrives inside of the upper half of a Boston Shaker.