The Oscars are here and I’ve been on a movie watching tear – cramming in as many nominated movies as I can before Sunday. I mean, can we talk about Matthew McConaughey performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club? Or Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine? Or Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave? I can go on and on. In lieu of a big Oscar viewing party this year, I’ve invited Karen and her boyfriend over for a more mellow affair. And in honor of my guest, I’m making homemade stovetop popcorn the Karen Chan way: buttered popcorn with movie theater candy mixed in. It’s the ultimate marriage of savory and sweet! Making popcorn over the stove is really easy, without the unwanted additives that microwavable popcorn has. I’ll be using ghee instead of peanut oil, which has an equally high smoke point and gives the popcorn a nice buttery taste without making it at all greasy. Add your favorite candy and bit of glimmering gold and you’ve got yourself an award winning snack.
I’m no man about town, but I do enjoy a good happy hour. Yet these last few weeks I’ve barely made it off the couch. I seem to have been in some sort of Winter Olympics trance. I blame the figure skating . . . or Bob Costas. Needless to say, the closing ceremony is complete and it’s officially time for a cocktail. One of my favorite local cocktail menus is that of Comal, here in Berkeley, CA. Designed by Scott Baird and Josh Harris, now of Trick Dog fame, Comal’s bar is overflowing with tequila and mezcal. The Palomaeque has been one of my favorites from the start. The smokiness of the mezcal plays beautifully with the delicate aromatics of the Cocchi Americano. Now, if this can’t cure my Olympics hangover, nothing will.
As you know, I’m a big fan of the classics, the Manhattan being no exception. It is without a doubt on my cocktail Mt. Rushmore (now there’s an idea for a post) both for its taste and its simplicity. Whiskey, vermouth, and bitters . . . what more do you need? These three ingredients are a mainstay on my home bar. I’m a rye guy, but if you prefer bourbon feel free to make the switch.
I’ve been eyeing baked ricotta dip recipes for a while now. They look so rich yet easy to make. But this version was made totally over-the-top-decadent with the addition of truffle honey. I bought a small jar out of curiosity and Instagrammed a photo, asking our followers how they would recommend using it. Thanks to all the suggestions I got, this amazing creation resulted! The entire thing is sweet, savory– a little salty, smooth, crunchy . . . and just amazing. I also suggest getting the freshest ricotta possible or make your own (which is very easy!).
I’ve been dreaming of owning and dressing up a bar cart for awhile now and just haven’t found the right one – either it was too pricey or the aesthetic just wasn’t right. Inspired by 18th century campaign chests, with their protective brass corners and charming drawer pulls, I decided to make my own bar tray. I’m pleased with the way it turned out and more importantly, I love that I can make my guests a cocktail right in my living room!