Monday, August 31, 2009

St Germain Liquor and Suzee's Summer Cocktail

After finding out more about the White Cosmopolitan at Daniel's, I did some web research on St. Germain Liquor (you know - I typed it in the google box, and read some of the links that came up on the first page). So, I found this is a new liquor made of the elder flowers found in France at the foothills of the Alps for 2 or 3 weeks out of the year. These flowers are like corn - the timer starts ticking when you pick it, so farmers work hard to get the flowers to the distillery ASAP. There are lots of recipes which use this new liquor which some feel is the "hot cocktail" for summer 2009. Good thing I found it before summer was over. You can read about the different cocktails, but here is the one I made tonight with inspiration from my research.

2 oz of Grey Goose
1 oz of St Germain
a squeeze of a quarter of a VJL (very juicy lime)
1/2 oz orange juice (what? It's all I had in the fridge!)
and shake with ice

Pour into a champagne flute with the ice, and top with sparkling water

Suzee's summer cocktail is quite an adventure I recommend!

Last Day of August

I can't believe August is already over. I stepped outside today to head to the Farmers Market in shorts and a sleeveless top, and I was pleasantly surprised by the cool breeze. It felt wonderful. While this has been a cool summer in retrospect, those hot and humid days could just remain a memory as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

White Cosmopolitan at Daniel's

I found recipes on the Daniel website, and was pleased to see that they published the White Cosmopolitan I had!

White Cosmopolitan, by Xavier Herit, Bar Manager
Makes 1 Cocktail
2 oz Absolut vodka
1 oz St Germain liquor
1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz white cranberry juice
Orchid eatable flowerShake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. As a garnish, use a orchid flower inside a ice ball.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Dinner at Daniel

Tonight we went to Daniel on 65th and Park - I made reservations about 2 weeks ago - I wanted to visit 11 Madison Park, but they were already booked. Daniel is in the same restaurant group as 11 Madison Park, and they had an opening at 5:45. Other options were also already booked so Daniel it was. It had good reviews on Open Table and other foodie websites, so I figured it was worth a try.
We took a cab and left the apartment around 5:15. We arrived at the restaurant early, and ordered a cocktail in the bar - I was interested in what special cocktails they offered, so the waitress brought us cocktail menus! I was going to order a watermelon martini, but at the last minute I realized it was made with gin (yuk!), so then I was deliberating between a Peach Verbena Martini and a White Cosmopolitan. When the waitress came I did the ennie mennie miny moe approach and ended up with the White Cosmo - and YAY! I won! It was gorgeous!

When we were seated in the dining room, it was served with a spherical ice cube with a pink orchid frozen inside - just beautiful!!
The Amuse Bouche was Japanese inspired - lots of flavors in three beautifully presented bites. One was particularly fishy so I suggested Rick avoid it, and he did. I didn't enjoy that last one either.
Rick ordered the Rabbit with chorizo for and appetizer, and I ordered the cheviche. His was a roulade of rabbit with a pate infused with the chorizo servered with nice baguette toasts. The ceviche was served with a cucumber puree. The fish was fresh, but not cooked in the citrus as expected for ceviche. I enjoyed bites of Rick's app since I don't really care for sashimi. The waitress offered another app to substitute, but I couldn't think of another app to ask for, so I just passed.
Rick's entree was a beef steak in combination with a beef short rib. He loved it and I enjoyed tastes too! There were a couple of home made tater tots with procuitto crisps on top - so delish!!
My entree was lamb - a chop with fresh pesto and a lamb loin with a cheese sauce - like a camembert. It was accompanied by thinly slice baby zucchini (vertiacally) and thickly sliced zucchini (horizontally)with more cheese sauce. A wonderful gravy was spooned over at our table.
I ordered a delish blueberry dessert - it was frozen with gorgeous blueberry sticks atop the creamy delight. Rick tasted it and liked it a lot!
Rick ordered a chocolate dessert with a coffee ice cream - it was like cappachino with lots of yummy cream.
Then, the waitress brought a beautiful peach verbena dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream - it was so delish! It even had "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the plate!
And when we were done with dessert, a plate of tiny tastes were brought - so gorgeous, so tasty!
Dinner was lovely - a wonderful birthday gift!

Suzee's Black Bean and Corn Salsa Fresca

So - the batch of Salsa Fresca I made was too much for 2 people - even 2 people having it for dinner :)
I took the remaining half it, and refrigerated it over night. The next day I added the following:

1 can of black beans, drained, rinsed and marinated in the juice of 1 lime, a tablespoon of chili powder and a tablespoon of cumin. Marinate for a couple of hours or just add all the ingredients as you make the salsa.

A cup of frozen sweet corn or the corn cut from 1 large cob

A heavy sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Toss it all together with love. Serve with the remaining tortilla chips :)

Suzee's Salsa Fresca

I've been craving mexican food lately - the spiciness of it with the last bits of the heat of summer. We can go out for Mexican, but this time of year the tomatoes are so fabulous that it's nice to make some salsa fresca. I don't like to make too much incase we don't eat it all - the fridge kills the tomato flavor. But, if I have the space and the equipment, this salsa can be canned beautifully and you have Suzee's Salsa Fresca even in January ;) Note if you do can the salsa, make it spicier than you would normally - something about the processing mellows out the heat.

Here is how I made it the other day:

1 lbs garden fresh tomatoes - a beefsteak variety, chopped small
2 nice fat jalapenos, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
juice of 2 fat juicy limes
1/2 t cumin
cayenne pepper to taste - start with a couple shakes and add from there

mix it all together with love, and serve with tortilla chips.

If I'd had more tomatoes, I would have added another 1/2 lb to the mix :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday - it was nice to get phone calls and emails from friends and family. I did a little pick up in the morning, and decided to head to the farmers market before my interview at noon. I picked up some tomatoes, corn, carrots, cilantro, some jingle bell peppers (colored small peppers) and a new mint plant. I decided to take the train back - it was hot and I figured what the heck.

After the interview (which went well!), I decided to go out for lunch. Rick was in the middle of something at work, so I went on my way. I stopped at City Crab. I'd been there before, but after waiting near the door for the matre'd for a while, I just left. This time I'd read on the internet it was pretty good, and there were other people there too, so I swung in. I had a Sam Summer on tap, and ordered steamers. They were fresh and fabulous, so I decided to get a lobster, too! What an awesome birthday lunch :) When I walked back into the building, Plinio, our doorman, met me with the mail and wished me a happy birthday - a very pleasant surprise. Turns out Rick mentioned it to him the prior day, and he remembered. Very sweet.

Rick came home with a birthday cake. We cut it first. The cake was from Zaro's in Grand Central, but it wasn't very good. Rick was disappointed. We didn't end up eating the cake, but it was good to blow out the candle. He had already put together the Wii so we could play together with out all the set up. I think he let me win in both bowling and golf :) We need to get another nunchuk (game controller) to play the other games - we'll pick that up sometime soon. I was going to make some mexican dips, but we decided to order pizza instead - the infamous Imperial Special :) The pizza was great!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Suzee's BBQ Pork Tenderloin - I cooked it!

Yes - after a day and a half of lolling in it's spices, I cooked the pork tenderloin. I seared the outside, and popped it into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. I boiled up this funky looking summer squash too. When I was last at the Union Sq farmers market, there were all kinds of interesting veggies. I would have tried them all, but they get heavy walking home from 14th street. This squash was interesting to look at, but I like zucchini better - it's sweeter and the skin is more tender.

As for the gorgeous pork tenderloin, I hadn't had a response this positive in a long time :) Rick loved it, and he's looking forward to doing it again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Suzee's Refreshing Melon Soup

Last night I was planning to make a roast pork tenderloin (see previous post), but when Rick came home, he revealed he was good with not cooking as he had a big burrito for lunch and it was after 2:00, so something light would be good.

I had planned to make this soup for dessert - so we had this along with some cheese and crackers for dinner. The soup was light, sweet, refreshing and filling. Leftovers this morning were delish, too :)

Here is how I made it:

Fill a blender with chunks of honeydew melon. Stuff a handful of mint leaves between the chunks. Juice a large juicy lime (or 2 small ones) in to the blender. Blend it all up together. Pour into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

Easy, light and yummy :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Suzee's BBQ Pork Tenderloin

While staying at Ann's for the Band Reunion (what a hoot btw!), she made her infamous bbq ribs - meaty babybacks that really are to die for. This was the first time I tasted them, and wow, I can see (and taste!) why she gets rave reviews! I asked her for the recipe of course, and she said it was on Epicurious. I watched while she made her spice rub at 1:00 AM after the reunion, the stop at the Old Home Weekend and crashing the class of 89 20th reunion (all were invited since our classes were so tiny). So, since we had a designated driver, I was in awe that she was actually doing this. She tossed some of this and that in the bowl - said she was "winging it" just to get it done. She had a pretty large number of spices, including some I don't have. Like majoram - what the heck do you do with that bottle except for make these ribs??

So today I have a pork tenderloin for dinner, and I figured, why not put a nice rub on it?? Yes, it's not as fatty, but it probably still would be pretty good :) I looked on Epicurious as directed and there are a bazillion rib recipes, so I picked one that kinda sorta looked like hers (but no majoram, and come to think of it, no cinnamon). I started assembling it, and realized I didn't have the celery salt or dry mustard either...hmm so this really is winging it. I added some of my own twist too. It's in the fridge now, lolling around in it's blanket of special spices.

Here is how I made it:
1.5 T brown sugar
.5T Sea Salt
.75 T fresh ground pepper
1 t red pepper flakes
.5 t cayenne pepper
1.5 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1 t cinnamon
2T paprika

Toss it all together, and break up any lumps of sugar.

I used about 2/3's of this mixture on my 1 lb tenderloin. I plan to roast it at 325 or so (don't want to burn that sugar :) I'll let you know how it goes :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Broadway in Bryant Park and Statue of Liberty

I woke Danielle up today after 11:30 - I wanted to go to Broadway in Bryant Park, and it started at 12:30. I figured I could pry her tweeney butt out of bed and into shorts by noon, and we could pick up lunch on the way. We got some Burger King, and found a table on the terrace. The show started with the Marvelous Wonderettes - the show we saw with Dave and Michele (Rick's parents), and they were fun :) We decided to move closer, and heard songs from the Lion King. Mostly the songs were too soft - the sound needed to be turned way up. We decided to move on to the Statue of Liberty.

We took the 4 train to Bowling Green and walked through Battery Park. It was pretty over cast, and actually just cool enough. Yesterday was *so hot* so today was a treat!

Yes - I practically had to bribe Danielle with ice cream to get this pciture (after I paid the dude the $5 fee). We got a couple shots - this was the most fun :)

We came back on the 5 train, and got off at Grand Central. Danielle agreed to more photos :)
We went home and watched most of The Tale of Despereaux. Danielle decided she was REALLY hungry so we went to Dukes for dinner and Rick met us there. She liked the root beer and piggly wigglys, and the burger after. I think she would agree to go there again sometime.
Danielle is ready for her trip home - we will be getting up at 5:30 am tomorrow to catch a bus to Boston. Grammy Michele and Grampy Dave are coming to pick her up and bring her home. I think she will miss us when she gets home :) Rick and I will miss her.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Danielle Is Tired

Danielle said last night that she would like to go to the Today Show and maybe get on TV. We went to bed around 10:30, and I gave her a shake around 6:15. She was a girl barely awake, but still dragged herself out of bed. She wanted to check this out. Unfortunately it was a busy news day, and only one segment showed the crowd. We missed out on our 15 minutes of fame :(

After we watched Mamma Mia on DVD, we went to lunch. Danielle was pretty tired, but pulled it together for the camera. Next we went to Nail City for a mani/pedi. Danielle was excited to get her toes and fingers painted - she picked navy blue for her toes, and a bright pink for her fingers. I had the bright pink for both.

After we relaxed a bit, we got ready for the show and dinner. We went to Ciro's Trattoria for dinner and met Rick there. I think it was Danielle's favorite so far - she had chicken parmesean and pasta, and a shirley temple :)

And after dinner we saw Shrek at the Broadway Theater. We had great seats - mid orchestra - very close to the stage :) There were a TON of kids at the show, but they were pretty well behaved. The Fiona character and the Donkey character were played by the understudies, but were still pretty good. The Shrek character and the Lord Farquar character were played by the casted actors, and they were really wonderful. It wasn't until the end that you could see that the actor playing Lord Farquar was actually taller than the actor who played Shrek :) It was a very well written show, and the sets were fantastic. I enjoyed it and I think Rick and Danielle did too!