Category Archives: Foodies

Please Pass the Sangria!

Is there anything quite as refreshing as a cool glass of Sangria on a hot summer evening? Try this white wine version I recently concocted for a studio party. It’s delicious!

Sangria is not an exact science. Try experimenting on your own with various fruits and sweeteners….the combinations are endless. And let us know if you come up with your own signature Sangria!

Sparkling White Sangria
Makes 8 servings

1 bottle white wine (such as Chardonnay, Reisling, or Chablis)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup orange brandy (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
2 plums, pitted and sliced
1 peach, pitted and sliced
1 mango, peeled and sliced
2 cans (12 ounces each) club soda or seltzer
fresh mint

• In large pitcher, stir together wine, sugar and brandy until sugar is dissolved. Add fruit. Cover and chill for at least an hour (the longer the better!)

• Just before serving, stir in club soda. Serve over ice with mint. Sip!

Cathy

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Filed under Drinks, Entertaining, Foodies, Fruit, Holidays, Vegetarian

Wait. What? Watermelon!

Take a close look at this picture. You’re right, that’s not chopped tomato; it’s fresh watermelon!

Last week Cathy was looking for a quick and easy summer appetizer that would take advantage of the season’s fresh produce. We think she scored a home run with this sweet ‘n tangy watermelon bruschetta. You’re gonna love it!

Watermelon Bruschetta

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 cups diced watermelon, drained on paper towel
1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 baguette, thinly sliced

• Combine all ingredients except for the bread.

• Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Serve with bread slices.

Tips

• Do not prepare more than an hour before serving or mixture will become too soft.

• Try the watermelon over grilled chicken or salmon. Yum!

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Filed under Appetizer, Breads, Cheese, Entertaining, Foodies, Fruit, Snacks, Vegetarian

Trick or Treat for Foodies!

“It’s like Trick or Treat!” exclaimed Karen as she placed a sample of artisanal chocolate into her bulging shopping bag. Karen is our graduate intern/social media consultant and she accompanied us to the Fancy Food Show last week. It was really fun to see the show through her very enthusiastic eyes, and we especially enjoyed watching her alarmed expression as she tasted a very strong espresso at the Italian Pavilion!

I agree with Karen’s Halloween analogy. I always feel like a kid  when I attend the show. Row after row of exhibitors showcasing the finest gourmet food products is a dream come true to a foodie. Olive oils, spices, salts, chocolates, coffees, teas, vinegars, chutneys, cheeses, wines, candies, the list goes on and on. As an attendee, the best strategy is to grab a shopping bag for samples and pace yourself. There is only so much tasting you can do in a day!

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to take in the sights and sounds of this show each year. The show, sponsored by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, is open to the trade only. It features more than 180,000 foods and beverages, has more than 2400 exhibitors from 77 countries, and about 24,000 attendees.

As you might imagine, it’s a bit overwhelming, but we do our best to cover as much ground as possible. We like to check out the new products and trends, and of course we pay close attention to the food photography. This year we noticed lots of flavored grilling sauces and spice blends, gluten-free foods, whole-grain crackers, and tea, tea, tea! Watch for upcoming posts on some of the more intriguing new products and recipes we discovered. We can’t wait to share them with you!

Here is a photo by our team alacartepartners that shows a sampling of what we found at the food show.

Heather

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Filed under Foodies

Best-dressed Chocolate Truffle Cake

To bake or not to bake? That is often the question in our hurried world. We all like to serve up something special, but we do not always have the luxury of time. My cousin ML, who lives in New York City, likes to say “If I can buy it within a six-block radius, I consider it homemade!” Luckily, as my cousin could attest,

there are an increasing number of top-quality desserts available in the freezer section of better grocery stores.

It’s easy to dress up a store-bought confection, especially if you start with a quality product. In this photo, one of my favorites from alacarte, our food stylist Cathy Paukner began with a boxed and frozen single-layer chocolate truffle cake. Using a fine mesh sieve, she dusted it lightly with unsweetened cocoa powder, and added a few luscious fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint. Presented on a pretty pink porcelain plate, the dessert looks as if you had spent hours in the kitchen baking and garnishing, when in fact, all you did was purchase and thaw. Wouldn’t “Purchase & Thaw” be a great name for a new food blog? Maybe my cousin could start it…

Heather

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Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Entertaining, Foodies

Brie ‘n Basil Bites

Next to my Famous Chicken Casserole that’s technically not even mine, this pretty little appetizer is my most requested recipe. Last week, my loyal & hardworking foodie friend Patti whipped up a double batch of these for me to take to a charity event for which I had volunteered to cook. (I have really nice friends.) The Brie ‘n Basil Bites were, as always, a big hit, and there were numerous requests for the recipe. Luckily, I had the foresight to ask Patti to save some of the cheese mixture so I could take it to the studio the next day and have Joe shoot the “bites.”  So here goes, an enticing photo from ALACARTE and the recipe!

Brie ‘n Basil Bites

Makes about 4 dozen

Adorable and totally delicious—as every good appetizer should be.

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
4 ounces  Brie or Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 4 pieces
3/4 ounce lean prosciutto, minced
about 4 dozen crisp crackers, such as Wheat Thins Big
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
about 4 dozen tiny basil (or parsley) leaves

– In food processor with motor running, add  basil and garlic through feed tube and process until minced.  Add Mascarpone and Brie cheeses; process until smooth.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add prosciutto.  Process just until combined. (At this point, you can cover and refrigerate mixture for 1 or 2 days.)

– Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe cheese mixture onto each cracker or  use a small spoon to dollop  cheese mixture onto crackers.

– Garnish with pine nuts and basil leaves.  Serve immediately.

Tips

– There is nothing as wonderfully creamy as Mascarpone, an Italian triple cream cheese. If you cannot find Mascarpone, mix together 4 ounces of best-quality cream cheese with 2 tablespoons heavy cream as a substitution.

– You can substitute ham for prosciutto.  A suggestion would be Black Forest ham, but any cooked ham would be fine.

– Taleggio is a pungent cow’s milk cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy. The cheese is cave aged and becomes quite tangy.  Taleggio is sometimes referred to as “Italy’s answer to Brie!”

Heather

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizer, Cheese, Entertaining, Foodies

Hello Foodies!

Welcome to our first official post! We’re just getting cookin’, and we’re figuring out how to navigate this site! On Wednesday, Cathy’s going to post her Mesculin Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette, even though she’s redoing her kitchen right now and doesn’t exactly have one to work in. It’s okay, she’s coming to my kitchen, and Joe and I will be the official tasters!

Heather

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Filed under Foodies