Los Angeles may be sweltering in 90 degree weather right now but October signals the beginning of the holiday season– the season of entertaining! To me a cheese platter is essential to any dinner party– it is great help when you’re already busy cooking dinner. But, your cheese spread does not have to be boring and, in fact, can be a shining centerpiece of your party.
I styled a bit of a different look with this cheese platter by placing clusters of ingredients on the board. I love the messy and crowded look.
Man, I love apples. But my obsession with this pomaceous fruit cultivated only a few years ago, while I was living in New York City. I’ll never forget that crisp fall day when I stumbled across an overwhelming variety of apples from regional farms. They were ugly and I hardly recognized any – where were the Red Delicious or the Fuji apples I was so accustomed to? Oh, there was so much to learn. From tart Winesaps (my favorite) to sweet Ginger Golds to crunchy Staymans, apples were redefined and quickly became my new favorite fruit. This Belle de Boskoopapple and quince tart, by Bojon Gourmet, is the perfect example of why an apple isn’t just an apple . . .
By now you’re probably sick of hearing me boast about how magical shrubs are. I apologize, it’s just that when I start talking drinks I tend to go a bit overboard. Guilty as charged. While I won’t go into all the reasons why I’m in love with this beautiful elixir (we’d be here all day) I would like to highlight just one: cocktails. Shrubs are the perfect cocktail ingredient – sweet, tart, bold, delicate, complex, fruity . . . ok, ok, you get the idea. They’re just begging to be stirred and strained. Today I mixed you up something special to put that apple shrub to good use. The acid in the shrub plays nicely off the sweetest of the applejack and the nocino, not to mention keeps you coming back for more. And we both know there’s nothing wrong with that!
Autumn has arrived, and I couldn’t be more excited. Like many food and drink bloggers, my enthusiasm for the seasons often revolves around the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. In the case of fall it’s apples . . . always apples. Apple pie, apple slaw, apple cider, and of course this apple shrub!! This stuff is magical I tell you. I can’t wait to use it in a cocktail!!
You’re welcome to use your favorite type of apple for this recipe. Just keep in mind that the sweetness of apples can vary quite a bit. I chose fuji, as I feel they are fairly balanced between tart and sweet. The standard shrub ratio is equal parts fruit, sugar, and vinegar. However, if you happen to choose a sweet variety of apple, maybe try cutting back the sugar a bit. Likewise, if your apples are extra tart, try increasing the sugar. As I always say, feel free to adjust your to suit your taste.
To say that I’m jealous of Erica and Karen’s adventures in Spain would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well deserved trip, after months of studying for the Bar exam. And while I’ve never studied for the Bar, I’ve studied in several bars in my life. Just sayin’ . . . Anyway, I suppose if I’m not off with the ladies in Spain the least I can do is fake it, right? I present to you the kalimotxo, aka, red wine and coke. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you rock it! This curious combo is a Spanish staple, and frankly just what I look for in a drink: namely, simple and delicious. Plus, it’s got sort of a Dr. Pepper thing going on – nothing wrong with that. Give it a go, and tell me what you think!!
Add equal parts red wine and coke into a glass full of ice and serve. Don’t forget the tapas!
There are the kinds of places you travel to that turn out to be better than you could expect just from reading about the place. Seville is one of those cities for me. It’s everything people say it is: a charming city with narrow cobblestone streets and a unique mixture of medieval and Moorish architecture and an intense passion for Andalusian culture. But after spending a few days in Seville, I can see why people fall in love with this city and why you just have to experience it for yourself. Sure, I may have fallen for the sorta touristy horse-drawn carriages and the orange-tree shaded sidewalk cafes, but the fall was good. Seville charmed the pants off of me and fed me some of the best food I’ve had in Spain– a winning combination in my book.