Month: August 2014
The whiskey sour is one of our favorite cocktails. Not too tart, not too sweet, and easy to make –
they’re perfect. Just three simple ingredients shaken and served over ice and you’ll be happy: whiskey (usually Bourbon), fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. Maraschino cherry or orange slice optional. Of course, such a classic cocktail lends itself beautifully to plenty of variations. Here are five of our favorites:
1. The Blushing Whiskey Sour – with the addition of fresh blackberries
2. The Black Jack Fig Whiskey Sour – fresh figs are plentiful right now, so take advantage!
3. The Burnt Whiskey Sour – simple caramel syrup adds new depth and
4. The Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sour – peak season for Meyer lemons begins in November, so keep this recipe in mind for Fall & Winter entertaining
5. The Summer Sage Whiskey Sour – with perfectly ripe red plums
Every single one of these would make an awesome signature drink for an event, especially a wedding. Having a signature drink is such a nice touch without really adding any further expense to your budget. Or you could take your love for whiskey one step further and make it the underlying theme of your next celebration. Serve some Bourbon pulled pork for a casual main course, and set up a decadent dessert table including cupcakes with whiskey buttercream, Krispy Kreme bread pudding with Bourbon sauce, and Bourbon & bacon brownies. No matter what your vision is, we can help you put together the perfect party that your guests will be talking about for months to come.
Today may be the first day of school, but here in South Florida it definitely seems like summer is still in full swing. We know a lot of people look at Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, but for us the hot summer weather continues long after that. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Labor Day, too, though! Labor Day is actually a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. A lot of us get to enjoy a long weekend, and this year it also marks the
start of college football season in Miami – with FIU playing their first game on Saturday and UM playing their first game on Labor Day Monday. As if we needed more reasons to spend the whole weekend relaxing and grilling! You’ve probably got your favorite recipes already (and you can always refer back to our grilling tips!), but have you given any thought to the décor for your Labor Day Weekend festivities? You don’t have to go wild – just keep things casual and fun with a dash of nautical or Americana style. Pint glasses make great vases for casual arrangements, and you can’t beat the ambience of string lights for parties that run into the night. Keep the grill hot and the drinks cold and everyone will have a great time.
Back to school! Most kids start school here one week from today, including university students. It’s a busy time for sure. We wanted to take this opportunity to talk about back to school as it relates to one of our favorite topics – food! Making sure that your kids have a healthy, balanced lunch is SO important*. It’s equally important if you’re a university student, or even just a working adult. We’ll keep it honest here – even we, trained chefs with daily access to a fully stocked commercial kitchen, are guilty of grabbing a granola bar and a bag of chips and calling it “lunch”. We won’t name names, but we’ve even seen some of our staff drive over to Wendy’s on more than one occasion. It’s understandable – sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking, or you’re so busy that you have to rush out of the house without a plan. Being prepared in advance is the key.
First – Pick the right lunchbox.
Every kid is different, but in general look for sturdy, durable, compartmentalized lunch boxes that are easy to clean. Factor in things like your child’s age and appetite. This site has a really great chart that compares some popular options (and tons of cute photos of them in action, like the one above). Older kids are going to be way less receptive to a lunchbox of any kind, but encourage them to find a system that works for them.
Then – Choose a good variety of foods.
Again, it’s going to depend on your kid, but one of the great things about the compartmentalized lunchboxes is the opportunity to send them off with variety. They may be more likely to try a few things, but in the event that there’s any 1 item they don’t care for, there are still several other options. Foods that can be eaten cold or at room temperature are best for younger kids. Don’t forget to pack an ice pack though to keep things within a safe temperature range! Pack as much “real” food as you can (and less highly-processed/junk food). A mix of protein, vegetables, and fruit is perfect. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Veggie skewers or crudité, carrots with hummus, plantain chips, almonds, cashews, fruit, beef jerky, meat & cheese roll ups, tortilla chips with guacamole, hard boiled eggs (peeled) or deviled eggs, leftover chicken, turkey, or ham, healthier muffins, celery with peanut butter (check with your school first about peanuts), yogurt with a side of seed & nut granola, and chicken salad. There should probably be a little chocolate in there too for good measure 🙂
As far as us older folks, we’ve usually got access to a work fridge and microwave, so packing a salad or the previous night’s leftovers is usually pretty easy. College kids can have it a little tougher than anyone, especially when they’re starving with only 15 minutes or so to run completely across campus before their next class starts. It’s smart to keep some whole fruit and nuts with you to hold you over and keep you from overindulging at the nearest fast food place the second class is over. The same
thing goes for high school students. If you can convince them, though, have them prepare and pack a full lunch as well, rather than just buying a
slice of pizza and a soda.
Finally – Put your kids to work!
Make them a part of the whole process. Ask them for their feedback. Let them help prepare their lunch box the night before. When kids are empowered in the kitchen they really do become more receptive to healthy choices and variety, plus it’s just a lot of fun.
*We understand that there are so many families and kids out there that just don’t have the same access to food that we’re so fortunate to have. Consider making an impact and committing to ending childhood hunger in America. There are a lot great organizations out there, but No Kid Hungry is a great place to start.
Did you know that August is National Peach Month? Peaches are so versatile. They’re perfect as is – sweet, ripe, and juicy, but they also work well in a range of recipes and even as décor! Here are some of our favorite ways to make the most of peach season:
1. Raspberry & Peach Sorbet A perfect end of summer treat
2. Raspberry Peach Lemonade The same great flavor combination in a refreshing lemonade – just waiting to be spiked
3. Peach & Elderflower Sangria If you’re ever looking for more cocktail recipes with St. Germain, this is
a great one
4. Grilled-Peach Pizzas with Prosciutto Peaches work so well in savory-sweet dishes, and everything’s better on a pizza!
5. Peach Streusel Muffins Most baked goods like these work equally well with frozen peaches
6. Freeze Your Own Peaches! It’s easy, we promise
7. Peaches also make gorgeous wedding décor. Unfortunately peach season and South Florida wedding season don’t really coincide, so peaches as place cards might not be the most practical idea, but a few peaches adorning a cake or displayed in jars can really make a lovely statement. Photo credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
What do you guys think? How will you be enjoying peaches this season?
Top photo credit: Feasting at Home