Drinks

Sparkling Rosé Sangria – Happy National Rosé Day!

Sparkling Rosé Sangria

With all the craziness going on right now, aren’t you happy to know that at least we have random holidays we can celebrate and temporarily take our minds off of the insanity?

Brilliant holidays like the one today. And “what’s today” you may be asking?

Oh silly Friend….

It’s National Rosé Day—-as in, Rosé Wine!

And no, I didn’t make it up–though it does sound like something I would do.

Sparkling Rosé Sangria

To honor this illustrious day, I’d like to share with you my Sparkling Rosé Sangria. It’s filled with fresh fruit, rosé wine, cognac, orange liqueur and is topped off with chilled sparkling wine right before serving.

And my special addition? Fresh ginger root! The ginger is steeped in the sangria for a few hours which imparts a subtle but bright flavor. The whole combination is like drinking summer in a glass!

Totes Pretty in Pink

CHEERS Friends – and HAPPY NATIONAL ROSÉ DAY!

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Sparkling Rosé Sangria
Serves as many as you’re willing to share with

2 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled
12 cup simple syrup
14 cup fresh lime juice
13 cup cognac
13 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 cups sliced fresh peaches
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 sprigs fresh mint, more to garnish
2 750mL bottles rosé wine
ice
1 750mL bottle chilled sparkling wine

With the back of a large chef’s knife (or mallet), carefully bruise the ginger to help release some of its juices–but be sure not to break it into smaller pieces.

In a large pitcher, add the bruised ginger, simple syrup, lime juice, cognac, Cointreau, fruit and mint sprigs. Pour in the rosé wine and stir. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for 4-5 hours. Once chilled, remove and discard the ginger and wilted mint sprigs.

Fill glasses with ice and add the sangria. Pour 2-3 ounces of chilled sparkling wine in each glass and gently stir the contents. Garnish with additional mint leaves and serve.

CHEERS!

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Sunday Family Dinner

A Belated Sunday Family Dinner

Feb 2016 Fam Din
The other weekend we celebrated February in March.

Or more accurately, we had February’s Sunday Family Dinner in March. February was totally hectic with the Lunar New Year, the family being up in San Francisco for our cousin’s wedding and just a bunch of random events that caused the delay for dinner.

But the thing is, we couldn’t actually “skip” a month—because once you start doing that, those “monthly dinners” can continue to get pushed back and eventually become “every few months family dinners”.

And that’s No bueno.

Plus, February was Maya’s birthday and we couldn’t skimp out on birthday celebrations for this cutie! So per her request, we made a menu around some of the favorite things she loves — steak and cake!

A girl after my own heart….

Feb 2016 Fam Din

That day we decided to enact a new rule — unless you’re taking pictures of each other or food (which is more likely), everyone has to stay off their iPads and iPhones. Which, if you have teenagers and wee ones, can be torture!

But if the point of us having monthly family dinners was to spend quality time with each other, being glued to phones and tablets (darn you Snapchat and Minecraft!) kind of defeated the purpose. So I went around and collected all their devices and didn’t return them until dessert – which is pretty darn good if you know our munchkins!

Without his iPad, Lucas had to resort to one of his other favorite obsessions — Nerf guns. Here he is intensely loading up on ammo. Afterwards, he spent a good hour running around the house, hiding behind columns and banisters as he went on full assault mode with his uncle.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Those two have always been thick as thieves–ever since Lucas was a wee-bitty-baby. I used to think it was because he and my sister had two daughters and no sons—but I really think it’s because my brother-in-law definitely has a “kid at heart” gene.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

The girls decided to spend a considerable amount of time with Maya’s latest obsession – FIMO clay. The clay can be molded into whatever your imagination conjures up–then you bake it to harden your design.

She has a TON of them in all different colors filling tackle boxes, tupperwares, and wherever else she can store them.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
They’re quite talented with it too!

They made a golden snitch, macaron, marshmallow, a cat(?) and my favorite–a cast iron skillet with an egg and bacon!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Then it was cocktail time!

The adults sipped on Raspberry-Lemonade Sparklers….and by “sparklers”, I mean prosecco.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

We always need to nosh on a few things before dinner is served or else my “cute” family turn into a tribe of gremlins.

And that’s not a pretty sight.

Trust me….I’ve seen it.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Big seester made these adorable little Tartlets that were like mini-quiches filled with bacon, gruyere, and custard all in a savory crust.

Perfect bite sized snacks!

I had about 30 or so……

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Since birthday girl wanted steaks, she got STEAKS!

These were the beautiful boneless Ribeyes seestrah picked up. She simply seasoned them with lots of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. And oh that lovely marbling!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
They were then handed over to the boys to grill.

I must have a gajillion pics of R and C posing like this by the grill over past few years…. But hey–they like to grill so we put them to work!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Sizzle, sizzle!

And no, I didn’t mean The Sizzler.…..but oh that cheese bread!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
The grilled steaks were brushed with some herb butter while they rested which now gives me a great opportunity to talk about the sides!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Maya loves salad–usually odd for small kids but she does have a mature palate. We put together a tray of colorful Wedge Salads because nothing makes veggies more healthy than dousing it with a creamy dressing and tons of crispy bacon bits.

MMMMmmmm….bacon……

Feb 2016 Fam Din
And since Nina helped with making it, I made her pose with the tray.

Think the kids will be traumatized by all the pics I make them take holding food?

Nah…they make good profile pics, right?

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Next up, colorful Roasted Potatoes that were marinated in tons of garlic, rosemary, chili flakes and Dijon mustard before being blasted in a high heat oven.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
We also had a side of slowly Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms that were drizzled with truffle oil and fresh thyme.

Total mushroom goodness.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
There may have been a few bottles of vino too…..

And yes, that’s me in the bottle’s reflection…

Hiiiiii!!!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Beef-a-licious!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Here’s my plate with a little bit of everything…. OH! And I forgot about the Dirty Rice seester made as well! It’s cooked with onions, lots of butter, beef consomme, and a few other secret stuff.

What’s the secret?

No idea…I never pay attention when she makes it but I am more than pleased to shovel it down by the large spoonfuls.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

After dinner, we tend to try and clean up a bit before dessert.

And by “clean up”, I mean “take pictures”.

Fam Din
Cake time!

When I asked Maya what kind of cake she wanted, all she said was a chocolate and peanut butter combo.

Told you the girl had good taste!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
I started off with a wonderful chocolate cake by Brown Eyed Baker.

I have to tell y’all, that crumb was oh-so-lovely! Super dense, moist and oober chocolaty! And there were three layers of it! I also used her version of peanut butter buttercream that was so lip smacking good!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
But this was for Maya and things had to be OVER THE TOP! Although the chocolaty cake was frosted in the peanut butter buttercream, I added chopped mini-peanut butter cups in one layer and Girl Scouts Peanut Butter Patties in the next!

Now, I had intended to frost the entire cake with that luscious buttercream and then do a drippy, drizzle layer of chocolate ganache like Brown Eyed Baker did for her Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake.

But I totally biffed it by making the ganache too thick and instead of making that whimsical-purposely drippy look, it turned into a gloopy mess. AGH! So I took seester’s advice and decided to frost the ganache out into a thin layer—and I actually kind of loved the marbling effect it had.

PHEW!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
To top the cake I added more Peanut Butter Patties, mini-peanut butter cups, 3 different types of gold sprinkles and wait for it–freshly made Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macarons.

Wait–did I say I baked macarons just to top the cake? I SURE DID!!! Because Miss Maya LOVES macarons and I promised her an OVER THE TOP cake.

Here’s a quick peek inside of the cake…..and let me just tell you, a tall and icy glass of milk would go perfect with it!

Except I can’t drink milk…..TMI?

So I had it with red vino instead.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
All in all, I think birthday girl forgave us for having her dinner so late—though, she’s such a sweet tempered kid that I don’t think she really minded at all.

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MAYA LOVE! ❤

Feb 2016 Fam Din

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Raspberry-Lemonade Sparklers
Appetizers: Bacon Gruyere Tartlets
Entrees: Grilled Ribeye Steaks
Sides: Wedge Salads, Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms, Dirty Rice
Dessert: “Over the Top” Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

Drinks

Day 4 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Love Actually

Love Actually

I have two favorite Holiday movies that I start watching on repeat once Thanksgiving comes around. And no lie, these movies are on loop until well after the New Year.

The first is just a downright classic – White Christmas. I mean, how could you not LOVE it? Song, dance….totally old Hollywood. And of course I can recite the movie verbatim.

Love Actually

My second fav may seem a bit unexpected but I just adore it…yup, it’s Love Actually. I can’t even explain why I’m so obsessed with this movie but it’s just such a darn feel good. And seriously, it seems like everyone is in it!

Since I’m such a sap, it’s quite fitting that for my Week of Holiday Cocktails I create a little number called Love Actually. It’s made with all kinds of lovey goodness –champagne, chambord, raspberries and rose water. I mean if that doesn’t scream L-O-V-E, I don’t know what does.

Did I mention there’s bubbly in it?

My. Absolute. Fav.

Salut Friends!

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Love Actually
Serves 2

Ingredients:

granulated sugar
1 ounce chambord
2 drops rose water
chilled champagne or sparkling wine
fresh raspberries

Pour the sugar into a small plate. Wet the rim of two champagne flutes with water and roll the edges of each glass into the sugar. Set aside and let dry for 5 minutes.

Pour ½ of the chambord into the bottom of each flute and then add one drop of rose water into each glass. Fill the flutes with the champagne/sparkling wine and drop each glass with 2 raspberries.

Cheers!

Drinks

Day 2 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – The Pomegranate Lush

The Pomegranate Lush

My seester’s in-laws have an old tree that grows the sweetest pomegranates I’ve ever tasted. The seeds are sugary sweet with just a hint of tartness. And the color is an intense deep shade of burgundy. I love to throw these gems into salads, parfaits, desserts and most recently, to flavor vodka. Infused vodkas are super easy to make and add a great flavor and kick to cocktails.

To make pomegranate infused vodka, fill a mason jar (or other clean, resealable container) about 2/3 way up with pomegranate seeds. Top off the jar with vodka and use a wooden spoon to crush up the seeds a bit to help release some of the juices. Cap the jar and refrigerate for about 2 weeks, shaking the jar every few days.

Voila! Pomegranate infused vodka at your disposal.

The Pomegranate Lush

This boozy goodnes is perfect for holiday cocktails because of it’s gorgeous hue and it packs a devilish punch. The vodka goes down quite smooth since it’s so tasty which can be a dangerous combo.

For this little number I wanted to combine the flavored vodka with a little bubbly…it is the holidays after all. Which is why I’m calling this The Pomegranate Lush –booze on booze on booze 🙂

Cheers!

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The Pomegranate Lush
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1½ ounces pomegranate infused vodka
dash of simple syrup
juice from 1 lime wedge
chilled sparkling wine

Pour the vodka, simple syrup and lime juice into a glass or champagne flute. Slowly fill the glass with the sparkling wine and enjoy!

Drinks · Sunday Family Dinner

Summer Grilling Family Dinner + Fresh Peach Bellinis

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro Chile Butter

We’ve got a fair amount of July Babies in our family. Though, let’s be honest…with a family as large as ours, there are a lot of babies year round. Big Seester N, Big Seester P, brother-in-law, niece, several cousins, an auntie, an uncle….and that just includes the family in the states!

For July’s Sunday Family Dinner, we celebrated 2 of our July babies—Big Seester N and my brother-in-law R. As for theme? We kept the menu quite straight forward but pretty dang delicious.

Summer Grillin’

And of course, since we were celebrating, there had to be a bit of decadence. In the form of lobsters. Lots of lobsters.

N was totally freaking out Lucasaurus with them.

July 2013 Family Dinner

Seester T staffed the grill for a good portion of our meal which totally amused her hubs, the birthday boy.

July 2013 Family Dinner

Now what’s a Sunday Family Dinner without cocktails? Surely not one of ours!

This month we toasted with Fresh Peach Bellinis. Granted they weren’t grilled but they definitely were a nod to summer using wonderfully sweet, white peaches. After adding a few spoonfuls of fresh white peach puree and a squeeze of lime to champagne flutes, I topped off each glass with bubbly Prosecco.

Simply perfect.

Peach Bellinis

And of course, we had to take our mandatory-monthly Seesters pic while holding our cocktails.

Seesters

Our menu included:

Grilled Rosemary Flatbread.

Grilled Flat Bread

Grilled Pacific Oysters……..

Grilled Oysters

A few Grilled Ginormous Prawns…….

Grilled Prawns

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Rib Chops……….

Grilled Lamb Chops

and Grilled Lobsters with Cilantro-Chile Butter…….

Grilled Lobster with Cilantro Chile Butter

Did I mention that our kiddos have quite the refined palates?

And I think they’re uber adorable.

July 2013 Family Dinner

For dessert? Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée that my niece, Nina, made. Although technically not made on the grill, she did torch the tops to brûlée it.

Totally counts. 🙂

Creme Brulee

The kiddos also made this adorable sign for the birthday babies—I loved that they used their nicknames!

image_1

Not only was the dinner scrumptious but it was fairly low maintenance with at least 80% of the “cooking” done on the grill. The cherry on top? It made clean up a breeze!

Peach Bellinis

And for those who cannot travel to Venice to try the original Bellini at Harry’s Bar, give my version a spin. My Seester said it’s pretty darn close to the real thing 🙂

CHEERS to another memorable Sunday Family Dinner!

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Peach Bellini
Appetizers: Rosemary Grilled Flatbread, Grilled Oysters, Grilled Prawns
Entrees: Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Rib Chops, Grilled Lobsters with Cilantro-Chile Butter
Dessert: Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

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Fresh Peach Bellinis
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 ripe white peaches, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons sugar, optional
4 lime wedges
chilled Prosecco or other sparkling wine

Add the peaches and water into a blender. Depending on the sweetness of the peaches, add sugar as needed. Puree until smooth. Optional: Strain the peach puree through a fine-meshed strainer.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the peach puree into each glass. Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge into each glass and slowly top with the chilled Prosecco. Gently stir each glass before serving. Cheers!

Note: The Bellinis shown here are garnished with yellow peaches, however, the cocktails were made with the traditional white peach.

Drinks

Toasting the Oscars with a “Sparkling Tangerine Tiger”

Sparkling Tangerine Tiger

I adore Oscars Season. The movies, the glitz, the fashion, the glamor, the festivities….

And like the Superbowl, I usually do a spread of my picks for the awards.

Sparkling Tangerine Tiger

At this point, I’ve watched 7 out of the 9 nominees for Best Picture. Not too shabby right?

And since I’m having a little shindig at mi casa to watch the event, my pals and I attempted to create a menu as an homage to some of the films:

Sparkling Tangerine Tiger

To pair with our Oscars bites, I wanted to serve my guests with a cocktail…..or two, or three.

As my nod to Life of Pi, I’ll be shakin’ up a refreshing cocktail using Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh tangerines, limes, raw sugar, mint and a good dose of sparkling wine. Peppery, bright, refreshing, and just plain lovely. After much consultation from my cocktail lovin’ peeps, I’ve dubbed this concoction, the Sparkling Tangerine Tiger.

Rawwwrrr……

However you choose to cerebrate, hope y’all enjoy the Oscars tomorrow—I know we will!

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Sparkling Tangerine Tiger Cocktail
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 tangerine, cut into small wedges
1/2 lime, cut into small wedges
10 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon raw sugar
2 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire
ice
6 ounces sparkling wine
*garnish with additional mint leaves, lime wedges and tangerine wedges

In a shaker, muddle the tangerine, lime, mint and sugar. Add the gin and shake well.

Fill two glasses with ice. Strain and divide the liquids amongst the two glasses. Top each glass with 1/2 of the sparkling wine. Garnish with citrus wedges and mint leaves.

Drinks

Celebrating our “Birthday” with Lychee Bellinis

Lychee Bellinis

 

That’s right friends, it’s our anniversary today—or more accurately, our 1 Year Birthday 🙂

A year ago today, through the encouragement of friends and loved ones, I started The Culinary Chronicles to help document some of my Foodventures and to jot down some of my random musings. In truth, I wasn’t sure if I’d stick to it for long—admittedly, I kind of have a short attention span for things. 🙂 But here I am, one year later loving the creative outlet that this space has given me and thankful for all of my virtual foodie friends I’ve connected with.

So in honor of our “birthday” and my deepest appreciation to my loved ones and readers, this post is dedicated to you. A TOAST —for all of your support, comments, feedback, and inspiration.

May we continue to have endless Foodventures together.

Much alohas, “N”

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Lychee Bellinis
Serves: As many as you’re willing to share with 🙂

Ingredients:

1 Bottle Sparkling Wine
½ Cup Lychee Puree*
¼ Cup Lychee Syrup

Take the fruit from one 20 ounce can of lychee and puree it well. Strain the puree and discard the pulp.

In a flute, add 2 tablespoons of the strained lychee puree and 1 tablespoon of lychee syrup. Top off flute with chilled sparkling wine. Garnish each flute with one whole lychee.

Salut!