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12/27/07 Food News and Views – Celebration Parties

Food and Dining Radio Show – 12.27.07

New Year’s Celebrations with Diane Worthington – Seriously Simple Holidays

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Diane Worthington (DW)

LG: Do you love having friends over but don’t want to put in all the effort? Our topic today is easy New Year’s celebrations and our guest is Diane Worthington, the author of Seriously Simple Holidays. Diane, how can we make our parties live up to the big New Year’s Eve event?

DW: Think about what you want in advance. Make sure you have everything you need in advance, and make a list.

LG: What goes on the list?

DW: Everything you’ve decided in advance that you will need. If you’re doing a large party, think about the wines, beverages and other cocktails you want. Also the prepared foods. Since we have so many upscale take out places, don’t start from scratch.

LG: In your book you mention quality prepared foods. Tell us about those.

DW: For example, I have a brie recipe where you cut off the top rind and all you do is put cranberry chutney or pre-made sauce and toasted almonds on top, put the top rind back over that, and then cover it with more relish and almonds. It only needs to be in the oven for seven minutes at 325 degrees.

LG: That seems much easier than doing the brie dish with pastry.

DW: Yes, and they have 8 oz or 1 lb bries this year. You could use fig jam with apricots or almonds too. It’s very delicious and I can tell you that every time I serve it, it’s gone before I get to taste it.

LG: Appetizers are good for New Year’s Eve parties. It’s fun to graze. What are other ones?

DW: No time appetizers like candied pecans or almonds are fun. I love Spanish Marcona Almonds. They have a dimension of flavor you must check out. The flavor is very unusual. I know they have them at Whole Foods or other fine food markets. Also, there’s edamame that you can get in the shell. You only need to cook them for about 10 minutes and add some coarse salt at the end. That’s a great thing to have around.

FT: Do you eat the pod of the edamame?

DW: No.

LG: Or you can buy them without the pods.

DW: I also have slight assembly required recipes like antipasto platters from a deli. Try getting small boccaccini (tiny balls of mozzarella) and marinate them in a basic vinaigrette. Just put out a big platter with those, some salami and mortadella, and flat bread.

LG: That’s a substantial hors d’vour which is great.

DW: Another thing I love to do is use Belgium endive leaves as containers for things. It’s available everywhere and you can do great simple things with them like put smoked salmon and crème fraîche on top. Or put some bay shrimps and blue cheese on top.

LG: That’s a great little scoop you can pick up and go.

DW: Another thing I love are Fuyu persimmons. They are very delicious. I peel them and cut them in 2 inch slices and then wrap ham or prosciutto around them. Sprinkle them with reduced balsamic vinegar and it’s great.

LG: These are great tips. Of course in your book you have a whole dinner for New Year’s Eve. I liked the glazed ham suggestion. Tell us about it.

DW: It’s very simple. You take a spiral 8 lb cooked sliced ham. Then I do a very simple glaze of crushed pineapple, orange blossom honey, brown sugar, cloves and Dijon mustard. Then I use plastic gloved and smear it onto the ham. Use bamboo skewers to keep the ham in place.

JC: Can I get some of that on rye?

DW: Absolutely!

LG: Other ways you can use the ham are also in the book.

DW: Yes you can chop it up and throw it into chilled salads or make a ham and gruyere sandwich with honey mustard.

[break]

LG: We’re talking with Diane Worthington who is giving us tips on splendid simple New Year’s Eve celebrations. For another dinner, it’s dinner in minutes time. Today’s dinner is balsamic glazed steak with basil linguine. If you have a lot of people you can get a tenderloin and slice it into little steaks. Cook it two minutes on each side and then put onions in with balsamic vinegar. Just cook the vinegar down, put the sauce over the steak, and that’s it. For a side dish, buy fresh linguine, boil, drain and toss it with olive oil and fresh basil.

FT: I noticed that your book includes Peter Marks wine suggestions.

DW: Yes, he’s wonderful. He thoughtfully considered each dish and what he would suggest serving with them.

FT: I see him at COPIA.

DW: Yes, Coppia is the wine and food museum started in the town of Napa by Robert Mondavi and Julia Child. They have different exhibits – it’s a lot of fun.

FT: They have a lot of things on the history of food.

DW: And they have a great store. Of course it’s in the town of Napa, but there is a new market that opened nearby which is supposed to be phenomenal. You can see that too when you check out COPIA.

LG: Let’s talk about New Year’s Eve day. There’s lots of football. What can we serve?

DW: Consider the pineapple honey-glazed ham. That will make great sandwiches, and I serve it with the lime mint slaw. The slaw has a wonderful refreshing lime vinaigrette with chopped mint and dill. Then I decorate with pomegranate seeds.

LG: Let’s not forget the coffee toffee pie.

DW: Yes, it’s the easiest recipe and people love it because it has no pie crust. It’s like a brownie. It has semisweet chocolate and some bittersweet chocolate so it’s not too sweet. It’s very easy to prepare and you can make it in advance. You can even freeze it and then give it as a gift.

LG: The recipes for the ham, lime mint slaw, and pie are all on the website. Thank you to Diane Worthington for joining us. I’d like to wish all the listeners a happy, healthy and delicious new year!

 

Fred Tasker’s Drinks Suggestions

 

We have previously demonstrated here that the perfect way to toast the New Year is with champagne. The good stuff. No question. Still, we have to keep an open mind, so let’s explore some other nice ways to do it.

 What’s hot this year? The pomegranate. You’re not really with it unless you make all of your holiday drinks, and most of your menu items, with pomegranate. In fact, proponents say pomegranates are so chock with vitamins and antioxidants that they protect against weight gain, heart attacks, cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, prostate cencer, erectile dysfunction, even  the dreaded pelvic organ prolapse.

So here’s how we can use pomegranates in drinks.

First, simply take a glass of cheap bubbly and add a dollop of the pomegranate juice you can buy in the juice section of any supermarket. That creates a pomegranate kir royale. And it’s pretty good. Pomegranate juice has an intense, sweet-tart red berry flavor that goes very well with bubbly.

On the other hand, Oprah makes a pomegranate martini with vodka, Cointreau and pomegranate juice. Martha Stewart makes a non-alcoholic punch with pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar and mint. Personally, I’d add a hit of vodka – but that’s just me.

To make a Pom Sidecar, add cognac, Grand Marnier, sugar, lemon juice and bitters.

One last one: For a Pomegreenie you steep pomegranate green tea and add vodka. And by adding the antioxidants of green tea to those of the fabulous pomegranate, you’ll probably live forever.

And isn’t that a nice way to start the New Year?

 

Glazed Ham, Lime-Mint Slaw, Chocolate-Toffee Pie

  
Recipes from Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Worthington, Chronicle Books
As heard on Linda’s Food News and Views, WLRN NPR 

Pineapple-Honey Glazed Ham

I had never been a ham lover—until I made this delectable sweet-and-savory ham. If your family enjoys ham for Christmas dinner, they will certainly like this recipe and be thrilled to have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the holiday. I also like to serve this dish on New Year’s Day with assorted salads and condiments. Already cooked, spiral-sliced hams are now readily available at the supermarket. You’ll find this variety especially convenient since it does not require carving. Accompany with Yam and Winter Squash Purée

Serves 12 to 16

Recommended Wine: It’s easy to complement the spice and sweetness of this ham dish with an off-dry Gewürztraminer. If your fondness is for red, celebrate with a fresh Nouveau Beaujolais.

Glaze
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

One 8-pound cooked spiral-sliced ham

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. To make the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until well blended.

2. Place the ham flat side down in a shallow roasting pan. Using bamboo skewers, skewer the ham in 2 places to hold the slices firmly together.

3. Bake for 1 hour. Spread half of the glaze on the ham, using the back of a spoon to help it adhere to the ham. Bake for 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham reads 135°F.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 425°F. Apply the remaining glaze, pressing it into the ham with the back of the spoon. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the glaze is set and the internal temperature of the ham is 140°F. Place on a carving board or platter. Remove the skewers and serve.

Advance Preparation: Make up to 1 hour ahead and serve warm. The ham can also be made 2 days ahead, refrigerated, and served chilled.

The Clever Cook Could:

• Serve the ham chilled as a main-course luncheon along with chilled salads such as potato or pasta.
• Make grilled ham and Gruyère sandwiches with honey Dijon mustard.
• Add chopped ham to scrambled eggs or a frittata.
• Use ham slices as a base for poached eggs.
• Add chopped ham to your favorite macaroni and cheese.
 

Lime-Mint Slaw

This pretty version of coleslaw is perfect for the holidays. The light green cabbage contrasts with the orange carrots and the garnish of green herbs and bright red pomegranate seeds. Serve the slaw with Slow-Roasted Salmon with Miso Vinaigrette or on a buffet with other salads.

Serves 6

Dressing
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil

One 1-pound package shredded cabbage and carrot coleslaw (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for garnish
2 tablespoons currants for garnish

1. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, sugar, and lime juice. Slowly whisk in the oil until blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
2. Place the coleslaw in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the herbs.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and currants. Serve immediately.
Advance Preparation: Make up to 2 hours ahead through step 2. Cover and refrigerate the salad. Keep the dressing at room temperature.
The Clever Cook Could:
Serve the slaw as a bed for simple grilled fish or chicken breasts.
Add shredded cooked chicken or turkey and use as a main course salad or filling for pita bread or flour tortillas.
 

Chocolate-Toffee Pie

This old-fashioned brownie-style pie is a hit whenever I serve it. Adding bittersweet chocolate gives the pie an extra-deep chocolate dimension, and the toffee bits and pecans contribute welcome texture. You can bake the pie in an aluminum pie pan if you are transporting it to someone else’s home for a potluck or if giving it as a gift. I like to serve French vanilla ice cream on the side.

Serves 12

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
14 ounces semisweet chocolate (60 percent cacao)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 to 75 percent cacao)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Glaze
1 ounce semisweet chocolate (60 percent cacao) cut into pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan or plate. Combine the butter and chocolates in a large glass measuring cup and melt in the microwave, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Or melt in the top of a double boiler over medium heat until completely blended. Let cool for a few minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs for 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes, or until thick and a light lemon color. Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat until well blended.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt on a large sheet of waxed paper. Add to the chocolate mixture, beating on low speed. Add the toffee bits and pecans and beat on low speed until just blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the pie has risen and a skewer inserted into the center comes out slightly moist. Let cool to room temperature.

5.  To make the glaze, in a small glass bowl, combine the chocolate and cream. Melt in the microwave, about 1 1/2 minutes. Mix with a fork and then drizzle decoratively over the top of the pie. To serve, cut thin wedges and place on dessert plates.

Advance Preparation: Make 2 days ahead, cover, and keep at room temperature.

WLRN Linda’s Food News and Views – 12/20/07

Food and Dining Radio Show – 12.20.07

Guest Alexander Petrossian from Petrossian Caviar

 

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)

Joseph Cooper (JC)

Fred Tasker (FT)

Alexander Petrossian (AP)

 

LG:  When I think about special treats for the holidays I think of beef tenderloin and truffles. Another one of my favorites is caviar. There are a lot of different types of caviar for different budgets.  Our guest today is Alexander Petrossian, the third generation and grandson of the original owner of Petrossian Caviar. Welcome Alexander.

 

AP: Thank you for having me.

 

LG: Caviar conjures up opulence and luxury. How did these eggs become the queen of fine foods?

 

LG: We got these eggs from The Czar. When my grandfather came to France it wasn’t something people knew or liked. But they worked a lot and brought caviar to fancy and beautiful parties. Now if you want a beautiful party you must have caviar at the table.

 

FT: When the French first tasted it they didn’t like it?

 

AP: They hated it.

 

LG: They don’t hate it anymore! Beluga from the Caspian Sea is now endangered and prohibited in the US. Why do we see it in the stores?

 

AP: If it says Beluga it either means it’s Beluga from 2004 or 2005 and it was frozen or it’s not Beluga.

 

FT: Is it bad frozen?

 

AP: You are paying a lot for something that becomes like a soup. It’s not worth the expense.

 

FT: The real joy of caviar is feeling the eggs burst in your mouth.

 

AP: Exactly, and eggs that have been frozen won’t burst in your mouth.

 

Caller: I wanted to ask, for someone who has never tried caviar, what can I try that won’t be harsh and turn me off? Also, being the holiday season, is Joseph making gravy and if so what kind?

 

JC: Turkey deglazed with white wine.

 

LG: How fancy!

 

AP: There are a lot of different kinds of caviar for different palates. The best to start with is Transmontanus or Alverta President, which is California farmed. That is the name of the fish. Those are not too salty or strong. It’s something everyone can enjoy. You can buy it in our store at www.Petrossian.com, Whole Foods, Bloomingdales…many places.

 

LG: We’ve got some here. Alverta President is $200 for 1 ounce. It’s not cheap but it’s less than others! It’s almost sweet.

 

AP: Yes, it has a nutty almost sweet flavor.

 

LG: The Transmontanus is $120 for an ounce.

 

AP: We mature the caviar. It’s like wine. To have beautiful caviar you must mature it a little bit – like 6 to 8 months. This gives it a full body and taste. We also sell it a little bit younger. That’s the difference between the two.

 

JC: What keeps it from spoiling?

 

AP: That’s a secret, but it’s the temperature.

 

LG: The last one we tasted is the high priced stuff. It’s Iranian Persicus. It’s quite expensive but it’s the real thing.

 

AP: That’s a special reserve for $700 per ounce.

 

All: WOW!

 

LG: There are lots of kinds of fish eggs that are very good and festive, and are not expensive. Can you tell us about them?

 

AP: Trout and salmon roe provide beautiful presentation and taste. It’s very fancy and makes your table look nice.

 

LG: Is there a difference between Norwegian and Scottish smoked salmon?

 

AP: We don’t say where it’s from on our packages; we just buy it from where we can get the best.

 

LG: It’s not thinly sliced, it’s thickly sliced.

 

AP: It’s the belly of the fish called Czar-cut. It melts in your mouth and is really tender. We like thick pieces to enjoy this texture. There is one that’s called black sea spice. The recipe is a secret but it’s a lot of pepper and herbs.

 

JC: What kind of wood do you use?

 

AP: That’s also a secret! We mix different chips of wood to get this flavor.

 

[break]

 

LG: It’s time for dinner. Today’s dinner in minutes is Sirloin Steak in Cognac Sauce with Saffron and Pepper Orzo. This is an easy dinner that’s special enough for the holidays. First I sauté the steak in a skillet; next I add cognac and some chicken broth. After that’s reduced I add Dijon mustard and cream. Then we have orzo (rice shaped pasta) cooked with some saffron, and I’ve added red and green bell peppers for the holidays. If you’d like the recipe go to the website.

 

FT: Alexander, what would you drink with caviar?

 

AP: I prefer vodka with caviar because it’s a party drink and caviar is for parties. Champagne and sparking wine can be very good also. But vodka cleans your mouth after each bite you have. Put it in the freezer to get it really cold and thick.

 

LG: How else would you serve caviar?

 

AP: The best way is with a spoon. Don’t use silver because it makes a chemical reaction, but stainless steel, bone, or gold spoons are fine.

 

LG: But if you’re going to have the lesser priced caviar, how would you serve that?

 

AP: On toast with crème fraîche.

 

LG: You said earlier you don’t add salt? What does malossol and pasteurized mean?

 

AP: Malossol means less salty and pasteurized means the caviar has been cooked slightly to remove the chemicals or anything dangerous for your health. Before caviar was really salty, but when they took the salt out, they called it malossol.

 

LG: Where should you keep it?

 

AP: Store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator around 32-34 degrees.

 

LG: Where can we buy your caviar?

 

AP: Petrossian.com or Bloomingdales in Boca and Palm Beach Gardens. There are also several restaurants that serve our caviar like Prime 112 and Nemo.

 

LG: Thank you for joining us.

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 12.12.07

PETER LERPERGER RETURNS TO FRITZ & FRANZ

Fritz & Franz Bierhaus, 60 Merrick Way, (305) 774-1883, www.bierhaus.cc

Former Restaurant Manager Peter Lerperger of Salzburg, Austria, has rejoined the Fritz & Franz Bierhaus team as General Manager. Peter Lerperger, a graduate of the College for Tourism and Management, at Klessheim Palace in Salzburg, Austria, was Manager at Mozart Stube and at Fritz and Franz Bierhaus before joining Miami SkyLift.

HYATT RESORT & SPA FIRST “GREEN CERTIFIED” RESORT IN KEY WEST

Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa, (305) 809-1234 or visit www.keywest.hyatt.com

Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa has been officially designated first “Green Certified” resort complex on Key West by The Florida Green Lodging Program. Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa’s new design includes a refurbished pool area, new Blue Mojito Bar & Grill, re-conceived guestrooms and lobby, and the new Jala Spa.

CHEFS MOVE ON

Michael Jacobs is no longer executive chef at Grass and in Coral Gables

Guy Gateau is no longer Executive Chef at The Biltmore Hotel.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink To Ring In 2008

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, 130 N.E. 40th Street, (305) 573-5550,

New Year’s Eve 2008 at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink offers four options.

Option one has a 6pm seating with an a la carte menu, Option 2 offers a 9pm seating at $125 per person for a multicourse dinner and Mumm Cordon Rouge for each couple, and Options 3 and 4 are multicourse dinners and a party that goes until the early morning. For more information: www.michaelsgenuine.com

BEATRIZ BAJARES APPOINTED IDEAS RESTAURANT MANAGER

Ideas Restaurant, 2833 Bird Rd., Coconut Grove.(305) 567-9074.

Beatriz Bajares, who for the past ten years was manager at La Dorada in Coral Gables, is now restaurant Manager at Ideas Restaurant in Coconut Grove.

The a la carte menu has products specially brought in from Spain and seafood imported from the Mediterranean. The contemporary yet classic Spanish menu included a cream of lentils with foie gras and roasted quail.

 Wine Fridays and New Lunch Menu at Azul

Azul, 500 Brickell Key Drive, 305-913-8254

Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt is introducing Wine Fridays, a weekly wine bacchanalia, offered during lunch and featuring $20 per person bottomless pours of amazing wines.

“Azul’s Way” is also available, featuring a special three course tasting menu ofr $35 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

 Alta Cocina Opens in South Miami

Alta Cocina, 5837 Sunset Drive, altacocinarestaurant.com

Chef-spouses Juan Mario Maza and Vani Maharaj are serving up culinary flair in their new South Miami restaurant.  Together Maza and Maharaj have created a menu that blends their Caribbean and Latin American influences, producing dishes that add a fresh twist to salads, meats and seafood and are full of delights right from the beginning.

 

 

Zagat/Highlights from the 2008 Miami Restaurant Guide

Major Changes in Top Ratings for South Florida Restaurants:
New winners prevailed in each of the four areas covered by the guide this year!  For food, Michy’s rated 28 in Miami, overcoming Francesco’s. In Fort Lauderdale/Broward County, Café Maxx scored a 27 and replaced Sunfish Grill. Pisces in the Keys ousted Dining Room at Little Palm Resort with a 28 and 11 Maple Street rated top in Palm Beach with a 27.

New leaders prevailed in the Décor and Service categories as well.

Miami’s Karu & Y replaced Blue Door for décor, and Romeo’s Café was bested by Palme d’Or in service. Likewise in Broward County, Grille 66 overtook Satine for décor and Victoria Park was replaced by Eduardo de San Angel in service.

Cocktail Party Tidbits Thanks to the 2008 Zagat Guide:
South Florida is the country’s third most expensive venue for dining out!  Only New York and Long Island are pricier, with an average meal in the area costing $38.86. For inexpensive options Zagat recommends Dogma Grill in Miami, OneBurger in Fort Lauderdale and Pizza Rustica in Palm Beach.

45% of those surveyed said they dine out more than they did two years ago; only 12% said they dine out less often.

Several newly opened restaurants are owned by celebrities.

These include DeVito South Beach, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Table 8. But the legendary classic Joe’s Stone Crab kept the title of “Miami’s Most Popular Dining Destination.”

There is still much work to be done…
In this year’s South Florida Zagat Guide hospitality ranked an overall 12 and table availability a sad 15. In addition, Zagat reports that Floridians have not jumped onto the “green bandwagon” noting that 85% of surveyors did not deem locally grown or raised food to be important and 51% of respondents were not willing to pay more for organic food.

FIU Hospitality School in China helps with 2008 Olympics

Linda Gassenheimer’s Food News and Views

Guests Dean Joseph West and Chef Michael Moran from the Hospitality and Management School at Florida International University

Linda Gassenheimer (LG)
Joseph Cooper (JC)
Fred Tasker (FT)
Dean Joseph West (JW)
Chef Michael Moran (MM)

LG:  Florida International University [FIU] is on the hospitality global forefront with schools all over the world. We’re pleased to have Dean Joseph West and Chef Michael Moran from FIU as our guests today.

LG: Dean West, the FIU hospitality school is very international and expanding. Tell us about the school.

JW: The school has always been international; 35% of our enrollment is international. We have opened our campus in China and are about to graduate our first class there. We’ve had the school going in China since 2004.

LG: Does that mean you’re bringing American food to China?

JW: We are introducing western cooking techniques to the Chinese.

LG: Why do they need western cooking?

JW: There are a lot of western hotels and American chains opening in China. Our students walked into a western kitchen last August and by the first part of October we did a luncheon for top executives. We have 12 Miami students there studying with our Chinese students.

JC: In what language do you teach?

JW: Everything is in English. The Professors spent a year and a half in the US being trained.

LG: Are you the only foreign hospitality school there?

JW: Yes.

LG: That is quite amazing.

JW: Yes it is. This all started when we hired a Chinese professor in 2000. After we hired him he kept saying we needed to expand to China. I thought it was too far but he pushed me. We sponsored a seminar in Shanghai on Lodging for 3 days. Many General Managers of international hotels were there. When they decided they needed a western school they came to us and invited us there.

LG: What is your involvement with the Olympics?

JW: Our students are working at the Olympics. Our school of 1,000 will be in Beijing and elsewhere working various aspects of the Olympics. One faculty member is leaving in January to work with Aramark. We have both faculty and students involved.

LG: What is the food pavilion like?

JW: We have many different diets and requirements to tend to for the athletes. It’s very complicated.

LG: We’ve just had a caller who could not stay on the line, but she wanted to ask “why hotel and other hospitality jobs don’t pay well?”

MM: Starting out in the service industry, salaries are low. I tell students to work hard and then move up. If you find a place for yourself and work hard you can move up and make good money.

JW: We are an entrepreneurial industry. Many of our alumnae are doing very well. A typical general manager of a casual dining restaurant is 32 years old making $90,000 a year, plus bonus.

JC: What effect has TV and The Food Network had?

MM: It has created tremendous interest.

JC: How did you get your start?

JW: I got my start in a Chinese restaurant in Miami as a kitchen boy. I worked after school and peeled onions. My parents were in the business. I left the industry when I was 42.

LG: We receive a lot of comments about the poor quality of service in South Florida. What can we do about that and what’s being done about that already?

MM: Service is an art. It’s a very fragmented industry and the perception of what service is from the standpoint of the owner is different in different places. The bottom line is that it’s the manager’s job to create a culture to connect to the customer and meet their needs. Just be nice to the customer; sometimes we don’t see that.

JW: Look at the good service you do get in good hotels and fine restaurants. As you industrialize the service at places offering quick food loses the interpersonal touch. If you want to pay nothing for your food you can’t expect money to be there for service training.

MM: Yes, but it’s also corporate culture. Denny’s always has excellent service.

JW: Denny’s has that as its corporate culture. It starts with the manager.

MM: I tell my students 90% of the job is to spend a lot of time with staff practicing and rehearsing.

LG: With our transient culture you must be training staff all the time.

JW: Everyone in the restaurant business is going somewhere else. There’s never a situation where someone is going to stay put.

MM: In Europe salary and tipping is different. That makes it more of a legitimate profession and less transient.

LG: Chef, FIU is not just a cooking school. Tell us more about the other things you do.

MM: We are a management school. Culinary Arts focus on food and preparation. We’re focused more on management of service, ambience and how to turn a profit in a difficult field. Cooking is just one part of the equation. It’s a 4 year degree and students get either a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Hospitality.

LG: What are the ages of your students?

MM: Our students are from all different backgrounds. We have students in their 40s making career changes to people just out of high school.

Caller: My first question is, I understand in China that you’re teaching western cooking methods. That means the Chinese are picking up our unhealthy eating habits.  Is that really a good thing?

JW: I believe in free choice. If you want McDonalds, that is your choice. We train our students in correct preparation of food. Our 45 graduating students have already been hired by hotels in China. While I would agree that not all Western cuisine is healthy, not all Chinese cuisine is healthy either.

[break]

LG:  It’s “Dinner In Minutes” time. If you keep these basic ingredients on hand you can whip up this dinner without a trip to the supermarket.

JC: This is more spicy than usual.

LG: It has a nice kick. Almost all shrimp we buy here was or is frozen. So I just ask for the frozen shrimp to save money. First defrost it in a bowl of cold running water in the sink. Then cook the shrimp and salsa together and add pine nuts at the end. You can keep pine nuts in the freezer. Don’t overcook the shrimp because they keep cooking even after being taken off of the heat.  Next cook the brown rice, 1/2 cup for 2 people. Finally add frozen or fresh vegetables and you’re done. Click on the home page columns icon for a link to the recipe.

LG: Chef Moran you have a lunch room open to the public, correct?

MM: Every two weeks starting at the end of January we invite people to come in and our students are evaluated on how they do. It’s a nominal fee of $15 for lunch. 305-919-4500 or www.hospitality.fiu.edu

JW: Tickets for the South Beach Food and Wine Festival are still available. We’re building an exhibition kitchen with the money we make from the Festival.

LG: We’ve had an interesting and tasty week. Thanks for joining us.

Fred Tasker’s Wine suggestion:
If you’re lucky enough to attend next year’s Olympics in China, you might be surprised to learn that you’ll be able to belly up to the bar in some hotel there and order a glass of Chinese Champagne. If your dinner includes something like cashew chicken, you can have it with a Chinese Riesling. If you have Peking duck, you can drink a Chinese pinot noir.

Now that’s what I call a Great Leap Forward.

The average Chinese still drinks only about two glasses of wine a year. But they’ve started a wine industry, and it’s growing at 15 percent a year, and, the way the world works today, they will probably put California and France out of business within 10 or 15 years. Just like General Motors.

There was an article in The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, that quoted an old Chinese saying: “If there’s no alcohol, it can’t be called a banquet because alcohol makes for a cheerful atmosphere.”

I’ve tried some of these wines, and they’re pretty good considering how young the industry is. Nothing very complex, but OK.

It stands to reason the Chinese can make wine. Grapes grow at certain latitudes, and if you take a globe, put your finger on Bordeaux or Burgundy and spin the globe, you’ll go right through part of China. They just needed the money, equipment and expertise.

The wines I’ve tried are from a new winery called Dragon Seal, at the foot of the Great Wall, outside Beijing. French winemaker Jerome Sabate is using French vines, state-of-the-art equipment and French and American oak barrels.

They sell here for $11 a bottle. To find out where you can buy them, send an e-mail to Alan Kratish of Halby Marketing at grapewiz@aol.

Restaurant Happenings South Florida

RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS 12.12.07

 

CHEF MICHAEL BLUM REOPENS MICHAEL’ S KITCHEN IN SUNNY ISLES

Michael’s Kitchen at the Newport Beachside Resort, 16701 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach, (305) 749-2110. www.michaels-kitchen.com

 

Executive Chef and owner Michael Blum has closed Michael’s Kitchen in Hollywood where it’s been operating for three years and has reopened the new Michael’s Kitchen at the Newport Beachside Resort in Sunny Isles. The eclectic American bistro with a contemporary feel and a friendly atmosphere features dishes such as Movie Theatre Popcorn Rock Shrimp ($14), “Chimichurri” Skirt Steak ($24) wrapped around grilled corn on the cob and served with Yucca fries, and an Over-the-Top Baked Alaska.

 

 

THE TIDES HOTELS REOPENS AFTER TRANSFORMATION

The Tides, 1220 Ocean Drive, (866) 891-0950, www.tidessouthbeach.com

 

The Tides South Beach, an icon of Art Deco architecture of the 1930s, has just reopened under the ownership of Kor Hotel Group with Brad Korzen as CEO and founder. Executive Chef Pietro Rota has built his menu around seasonal ingredients and Italian-Mediterranean seafood, and the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner.  Interior designer Kelly Wearstler has redesigned the hotel’s 45 ocean-view guest suites, grand public spaces, Martini Bar, the lobby lounge area and the indoor/outdoor La Marea restaurant.

 

ACCLAIMED CHEF/RESTAURATEUR OPENS BOURBON STEAK AT FAIRMONT TURNBERRY ISLE RESORT & CLUB, DECEMBER 20

Bourbon Steak, A Michael Mina Restaurant at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, 19999 West Country Club Drive in Aventura, (786) 279-6600.

 

James Beard award-winning chef Michael Mina has appointed Andrew Rothschild as executive chef and John Riccardo as GM for the soon to open Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura. Mina treats diners to “Michael’s Classics” ($22-$46) — a selection of signature dishes including Maine lobster pot pie and whole-fried organic chicken accompanied by truffled mac & cheese.

 

DOGMA GRILL OPENING NEW NORTH MIAMI OUTPOST

Dogma Grill, 899 NE 125th Street, (305) 759-3433, www.dogmagrill.com

 

Owners of Dogma Grill, South Florida’s original hot dog hot spot, will open their eagerly anticipated new location in North Miami this December.  The newest Dogma Grill will serve up the same delicious all natural beef, vegetarian and turkey hot dogs, a variety of gourmet toppings, hand cut chips, fries, wraps, salads, and assorted noshes at the newest eatery.

 

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT CHRISTABELLE’S QUARTER

Christabelle’s Quarter, 3157 Commodore Plaza,(786)-517-5299, www.christabellesquarter.com

 

There’s something for everyone at Christabelle’s Quarter. Enjoy Live Jazz Sunday Brunches from 11:00am to 4:00pm, Happy Hour every Tuesday to Friday

from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and Wine Tastings with wine educator Barry Alberts Fridays from 7:00pm to 9:30pm.

 

PACIFEIC NORTHWEST vs. BURGUNDY WINE THEME DINNER DECEMBRE 19

Palme d’Or, The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave, 1-800-915-1926

 

Compare and contrast the styles of Pacific Northwest wines with French Burgundies while dining on dishes prepared by Chef Ruiz, with exceptional service overseen by Sommelier and Maître D’ Verrier.  Members $89, Non-members $109.

 

Regions of Spain Wine Tasting – Tuesday, January 15

The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave,  1-800-915-1926, 7pm – 8:30pm,

 

Enjoy a walkabout tour of Spain’s most acclaimed wine-producing regions, sampling a selection of white and red wines with tunes of DJ Pierre Zonzon.

 

SOUTH FLORIDA RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS

WINE FRIDAYS AND NEW LUNCH MENU AT AZUL
Azul, 500 Brickell Key Drive, (305) 913-8254
Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt is introducing Wine Fridays, a weekly wine bacchanalia, offered during lunch and featuring $20 per person bottomless pours of amazing wines. To complement Wine Fridays, try the new lunch menu that features yogurt marinated swordfish skewers and a grilled trout salad with wild mushrooms, truffle vinaigrette and fried egg.

“Azul’s Way” is also available, featuring a special three course tasting menu for $35 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Changing regularly, the menu features your choice from three appetizers, three entrees and a set dessert.

ANDÚ RESTAURANT & LOUNGE OPENS THIS WINTER
Andú, 141 SW 7th street, (786) 871-7005
Andú Restaurant & Lounge is opening late December at 141 SW 7th street. Owned by brothers Antonio and Juan Pablo Viejo, Andú will feature an eclectic menu of Mediterranean cuisine with international influences, created by consulting chef Jason McClain (formerly of 8½) and executed by executive chef Nate Martin. Designed by architect Tom Telesco of Miami-based Telesco Associates, the 4,600 square foot space will seat 150.

The Menu: Lighter fare offers choices such as interesting panini’s and sandwiches ($10.50-$14.50), including a spiced lamb gyro filled with grilled asparagus, feta and alfalfa sprouts. Main plates are Family Style ($24-$29) or Andú Signatures ($18-$27). Desserts ($6-$8) will include delicious offerings like Florida orange glazed doughnuts with white hot chocolate.

LEVEL 25: REDESIGNED RESTAURANT & LOUNGE LAUNCHES
Atrio at Level 25, 1395 Brickell Avenue, (305) 503-6529
Level 25 has re-opened at the Conrad Miami with new spaces and menu concepts. Executive chef Michael Gilligan oversees the menus for the signature restaurant, Atrio, as well as at The Bar at Level 25.

The Menu: The dinner menu offers a slate of enticing new dishes that blend the flavors of the East and West. Among the new entrees ($28-$42), Chef Gilligan presents succulent pan seared day boat sea scallops, with a sautéed morcilla slice, couscous tabouleh and a chili-garlic yuzu sauce. Atrio’s wine list has also undergone a renovation, featuring 40 wines by the glass.

GRASS RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE – UPDATED WINTER MENU
Grass Restaurant and Lounge, 28 NE 40th Street, (305) 573-3355
Check out the updated winter menu at Grass. Signature Cocktails are half off at happy hour every Wednesday thru Friday from 6-8pm.

WINE DOWN WEDNESDAYS AT CHEF ALLEN’S
CHEF ALLEN’S, Aventura, (305) 935-2900.
Wednesday, December 12, Wine Down Wednesdays at Chef Allen’s includes a multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Allen Susser. The dinner featuring Bracco Wines and is hosted by Special Guest Lorraine Bracco from “The Sopranos” series who is also the proprietor of Bracco Wines. $95 per person

ALTA COCINA OPENS IN SOUTH MIAMI
Alta Cocina, 5837 Sunset Drive, altacocinarestaurant.com

Chef-spouses Juan Mario Maza and Vani Maharaj are serving up culinary flair in their new South Miami restaurant. Together Maza and Maharaj have created a menu that blends their Caribbean and Latin American influences, producing dishes that add a fresh twist to salads, meats and seafood and are full of delights right from the beginning. For dinner, Alta Cocina offers something for everyone from chorizo-stuffed chicken over cream corned rice to the Filet Mignon served with wild mushroom cream sauce and house cut cube fries.

 

SOUTH FLORIDA RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS

SOUTH FLORIDA RESTAURANT HAPPENINGS

WINE FRIDAYS AND NEW LUNCH MENU AT AZUL
Azul, 500 Brickell Key Drive, (305) 913-8254
Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt is introducing Wine Fridays, a weekly wine bacchanalia, offered during lunch and featuring $20 per person bottomless pours of amazing wines. To complement Wine Fridays, try the new lunch menu that features yogurt marinated swordfish skewers and a grilled trout salad with wild mushrooms, truffle vinaigrette and fried egg.

“Azul’s Way” is also available, featuring a special three course tasting menu for $35 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Changing regularly, the menu features your choice from three appetizers, three entrees and a set dessert.

ANDÚ RESTAURANT & LOUNGE OPENS THIS WINTER
Andú, 141 SW 7th street, (786) 871-7005
Andú Restaurant & Lounge is opening late December at 141 SW 7th street. Owned by brothers Antonio and Juan Pablo Viejo, Andú will feature an eclectic menu of Mediterranean cuisine with international influences, created by consulting chef Jason McClain (formerly of 8½) and executed by executive chef Nate Martin. Designed by architect Tom Telesco of Miami-based Telesco Associates, the 4,600 square foot space will seat 150.

The Menu: Lighter fare offers choices such as interesting panini’s and sandwiches ($10.50-$14.50), including a spiced lamb gyro filled with grilled asparagus, feta and alfalfa sprouts. Main plates are Family Style ($24-$29) or Andú Signatures ($18-$27). Desserts ($6-$8) will include delicious offerings like Florida orange glazed doughnuts with white hot chocolate.

LEVEL 25: REDESIGNED RESTAURANT & LOUNGE LAUNCHES
Atrio at Level 25, 1395 Brickell Avenue, (305) 503-6529
Level 25 has re-opened at the Conrad Miami with new spaces and menu concepts. Executive chef Michael Gilligan oversees the menus for the signature restaurant, Atrio, as well as at The Bar at Level 25.

The Menu: The dinner menu offers a slate of enticing new dishes that blend the flavors of the East and West. Among the new entrees ($28-$42), Chef Gilligan presents succulent pan seared day boat sea scallops, with a sautéed morcilla slice, couscous tabouleh and a chili-garlic yuzu sauce. Atrio’s wine list has also undergone a renovation, featuring 40 wines by the glass.

GRASS RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE – UPDATED WINTER MENU
Grass Restaurant and Lounge, 28 NE 40th Street, (305) 573-3355
Check out the updated winter menu at Grass. Signature Cocktails are half off at happy hour every Wednesday thru Friday from 6-8pm.

WINE DOWN WEDNESDAYS AT CHEF ALLEN’S
CHEF ALLEN’S, Aventura, (305) 935-2900.
Wednesday, December 12, Wine Down Wednesdays at Chef Allen’s includes a multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Allen Susser. The dinner featuring Bracco Wines and is hosted by Special Guest Lorraine Bracco from “The Sopranos” series who is also the proprietor of Bracco Wines. $95 per person

WORTH TASTING ON WORTH AVENUE
Via Gucci, 256 Worth Avenue, Palm Beach, www.jlpb.org
Thursday, December 13, 6-8 p.m., Worth Tasting on Worth Avenue will be hosted by The Worth Avenue Association and the Junior League of the Palm Beaches to celebrate the launch of the Junior League’s latest culinary release, “Worth Tasting.” Proceeds benefit the JLPB projects. $50 in advance, $65 at the door, includes one cookbook per person, as well as food and wine.

ALTA COCINA OPENS IN SOUTH MIAMI
Alta Cocina, 5837 Sunset Drive, altacocinarestaurant.com

Chef-spouses Juan Mario Maza and Vani Maharaj are serving up culinary flair in their new South Miami restaurant. Together Maza and Maharaj have created a menu that blends their Caribbean and Latin American influences, producing dishes that add a fresh twist to salads, meats and seafood and are full of delights right from the beginning. For dinner, Alta Cocina offers something for everyone from chorizo-stuffed chicken over cream corned rice to the Filet Mignon served with wild mushroom cream sauce and house cut cube fries.

Tips for do-it-yourself catering and hiring professionals

Tips for do-it-yourself catering and hiring professionals as heard on Linda Gassenheimer’s WLRN NPR program.

Sometimes I wish I had my own personal caterer.  Today our expert will help us out.  She’ll give us tips on do-it-yourself catering –  and if you’re using an outside caterer for a home or office party, she’ll tell us how to approach a caterer and what to expect. She’s Joyce Weinberg.  She’s the author of The Everything Guide To Starting And Running A Catering Business.

LG:  Joyce, we’re entertaining people in our home. What do we do?

JW: Take a deep breath and don’t freak out. The first important thing is to relax.
Next important tip is to hire some help. Most people spend so much time and attention on food and miss the party. They don’t enjoy their own party because they’re too busy serving and cleaning up. So no matter who you are, look for someone who can help you within your budget. The other tip is to not worry about serving a complete meal with a hot entrée. Focus on serving cakes or tapas (small appetizers or hors d’oeuvres). Serve these items at room temperature or cold. Don’t worry about hot and exotic food. Just make things easier for yourself. Focus on a nice assortment of fresh food and some vegetables or fruit salad. Also, focus on pitchers of cocktails, using a virgin and a spiked variety.

LG:  You could buy tapas or mezze from the market also. And if you put them in different places people will move around throughout the home and mingle.

JW: Yes, and you have the right not to serve red wine and request people don’t wear high heels to protect your home. It’s up to you. But focus on creating a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

LG: What about platters from supermarkets or specialty stores? What is the correct amount to buy based on the size of your party?

JW: The stores will typically sell you too much food. You can buy things that you can have on hand in case you run out like spiced nuts. Those things can be opened in a pinch. Order things that can be spread out like precut items, and you can make as many portions out of them as you like.

LG: What are some of your troubleshooting tips for entertaining?

JW: Clean up one week before your party. Don’t wait until the last minute to clean up your home. Also, don’t forget paper guest towels in the restroom. Have enough toilet tissue. People forget about that. Also, have enough garbage bags and enough room for trash. Have enough soft drinks because you don’t want your guests to have to drink too much alcohol because there aren’t enough alternatives. Also, don’t forget about alternatives for people with food allergies or vegetarians.

LG: Cocktail hours these days are very long. Sometimes I’m ready to go home by the time they’re over! What should the timing be?

JW: A fun trend now is to have your entire party be a cocktail party.  The caterers continue to bring out different hors d’oeuvres and sometimes there are themes to the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. That makes the whole party relaxing and fun. If you do plan on having a dinner, always plan for people to be 30-45 minutes late. Cocktail hours should be no longer than 45 minutes. You don’t want to seat people at 9:30 for an entrée.

LG: That’s great advice. If you don’t have room for a sit-down dinner, cocktail parties end up being easiest and most comfortable and you don’t have to worry about having seating for each guest.

JW: Also formal dinner parties don’t allow as much social interaction. You’re stuck at your table. It’s most fun when people are relaxed and it’s not too dressy. People can just sit everyone and enjoy little bites of food while meeting more people.

LG: If I don’t have the time and I need a caterer, what should I do before calling the caterer?

JW: You need to know your budget. You have to pay for the food, help, beverages and maybe rentals like tables and chairs.

LG: That’s a great point. The drink bill can equal the food bill.

JW: Yes, and this can get very expensive. You should always talk to your caterer about this and the option of supplying the alcohol and drinks yourself. The ideal way is to find a caterer you’re comfortable with. Caterers have different price points and target clients. You need to look for the one that fits your needs.

LG: What do I need to do before the caterer comes?

JW: Clean up and make room for them. They need counter space and trash areas. They also need room for tables and space in your refrigerator.

LG: One time I arrived early and the caterer said to me, “have a drink and sit down.” That was the best caterer I ever had! Should you interview caterers?

JW: Yes, definitely; you should interview them just like you’d interview anyone else doing work for you. They should give you a proposal with just the menu and then tell you what their service fee is and other additional costs. Remember food may be half or less than your total bill.

LG: At the end of the party what should the gratuity be?

JW: Most of the time gratuity is already included at 15-20%. You need to ask the caterer before the party about gratuity. If they say you need to tip, then you need to have cash at hand. Take care of that ahead of time.

LG: How do you figure that out? Do you tip every person or the head person?

JW: Talk to the caterer. They should tell you. For instance one caterer I know takes care of his people and charges service already on his bill to make sure everyone is taken care of. If people do a great job there’s no harm in giving them an extra tip.

LG: How can we make our table look great without much effort?

JW: Glass jars with different color preserves are one easy way to add color to your table. Serve the preserves with nice baskets full of biscuits or breads.

LG: Joyce Weinberg also conducts food tours of Philadelphia and New York. Please see their website at www.cityfoodtours.com.

Fred Tasker’s party sangria suggestions and recipes

Fred Tasker, Miami Herald wine columnist gave these sangria party suggestions and recipes on Linda Gassenheimer’s WLRN NPR radio show, Food News and Views.

The perfect wine for a party featuring paella is good old Sangria. It’s really a wine punch. It’s casual and it’s fun and it’s cheap — so you can serve it when you have lots of guests.

Sangria was invented – although invented is probably too strong a word – in Valencia, the sunny Spanish province between Madrid and the Mediterranean. Valencia was also where paella was invented, and the two grew up together.

Sangria came to be because the wines of Valencia, mostly reds, in olden days were so powerful and tannic they were hard to drink by themselves. So you cut up a few famous Valencia oranges, maybe some lemons, toss in a little sugar and made it far more drinkable.

That’s basic Sangria. But even in Valencia, every family soon had its own recipe. And today millions of wine fans around the world have their own recipes.

Today a basic Sangria recipe might be a bottle of cheap red wine, a tablespoon of sugar, a shot glass of brandy, orange and lemon juice to taste and sliced oranges and lemons to boot. Let it sit in the fridge overnight to blend, then, if you like, add an eight-ounce bottle of seltzer or club soda.
Or you can use white wine, and call it Sangria Blanca.

But if you google sangria today you’ll see that other people add gin or vodka or triple sec, others add chunks of peaches, pears, apples, even strawberries and cooked-down cranberries. If you really want to be trendy, I suppose you could add pomegranate and call it an anti-oxidant health drink.

You want it spicy, you can add two red chiles – seeded and quartered. That’ll make you thirsty for more.

Maybe the best part is that you don’t need top-quality wine in this. All the other ingredients cover up its taste anyway. So a $5 bottle of any red or white wine will do fine.

Oh, and if I wanted to make a Catalonian Sangria for Linda’s Catalonian Paella, I’d make it with Cava, the sparkling white wine from that region. Then you have sparkling Sangria.

Basic Sangria

  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 2 ounces brandy (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 large orange, sliced thin crosswise
  • 1 large lemon, sliced thin crosswise
  • 1 cup club soda

Combine ingredients except for club soda in a large punch bowl or pitcher, mixing well. Refrigerate overnight. Add club soda just before serving. Serve chilled, over ice.

Serves 4.

White Sangria

  • Apple juice, for ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz) water
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 1/4 cups (26 fl. oz) dry white wine
  • 2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 2 small pears, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium oranges, sliced crosswise
  • 2 small lemons, sliced crosswise
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz) sparkling apple cider (for adults, you can substitute one bottle dry white wine)
  • Mint leaves, to garnish (optional)

To make the apple juice ice cubes, pour the apple juice into two ice trays and freeze until the sangría is ready to serve.

Combine the water, mint leaves, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the mint and cinnamon sticks.

Transfer the remaining mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the wine, peaches, pears, and the orange and lemon slices to the serving bowl. Mix well, and refrigerate overnight. Immediately before serving, mix in the sparkling apple cider and the apple juice ice cubes. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired.

From www.spain-recipes.com/white_sangria.html

Cranberry Orange Sangria

· 1 cup water

· 1/4 cup sugar

· 2 whole cloves

· 1 cinnamon stick

· juice of 3 lemons

· 2 lemons sliced thin

· juice of 3 oranges

· 2 oranges sliced thin

· 1 cup cranberries

· 1 bottle white wine

· 4 tablespoons brandy

· ½ pint strawberries, halved.

· 1 cup seltzer

Combine water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, lemon and orange juice and cranberries – reserving sliced fruit. Simmer over medium heat until all cranberries have burst. Remove pan from heat. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to remove solids. Put in large pitcher, add wine and brandy, strawberries and orange and lemon slices. Refrigerate overnight. Add seltzer just before serving. Serve over ice.

Crispy, crunchy potato latkes (potato pancakes)

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
From Quick and Kosher Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing
By Jamie Geller
Feldheim Publishers, $34.99

4 medium Idaho potatoes
6 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons matzoh meal
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Applesauce or sour cream (optional)

Prepare a large bowl filled with cold water.
Peel potatoes, and as you finish each, place in cold water to prevent browning.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cut potatoes lengthwise into halves or quarters so they fit into food processor feed tube. Process potatoes using the blade that creates thin, shoestring-like strips and transfer to a large bowl.
Add eggs, matzoh meal, salt and pepper and mix well.
Drop 6 to 8 spoonfuls of mixture into hot oil.  Using the back of a spoon, pat down each latke to flatten it. Put as many as you can in the skillet without crowding.  Putting them too close together will make them soggy.
Fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp around the edged; repeat procedure until finished with all the batter.
Blot excess oil with paper towels.
Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream, if desired.

Corn meal is a great substitute for matzoh meal and will also make your latkes nice and crispy.



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