Monday, May 30, 2011

The Food Holidays of June

June in California is a great thing. By the time June has rolled around, the weather has really begun to heat up and amusement parks, beaches and backyard pools are being flocked too by people looking to escape the daily madness of work or school. The Sun and all of the wonders that grow underneath it are in full bloom come this time of year. Enjoy some of the cooler food holidays or should we say food holidays that will help cool you down.

June is National:
Candy Month
Dairy Month
Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month
Iced Tea Month
Papaya Month
Seafood Month
Turkey Lovers Month

The First Friday in June is: National Doughnut Day
The First Friday & Saturday in June are also: Doughnut Days at the Salvation Army

June 1   National Hazelnut Cake Day
June 2   National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day
June 3   National Egg Day
June 4   National Cheese Day
June 4   National Frozen Yogurt Day
June 4   National Cognac Day
June 5   National Gingerbread Day
June 6   National Applesauce Cake Day
June 7   National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
June 8   National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day
June 9   National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day
June 10 National Herbs & Spice Day
June 10 National Iced Tea Day
June 10 National Black Cow Day

June 11 National German Chocolate Cake Day
June 12 National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
June 13 Kitchen Klutzes of America Day
June 14 National Strawberry Shortcake Day
June 15 National Lobster Day
June 16 National Fudge Day
June 17 Eat All Your Veggies Day
June 17 National Apple Streudel Day
June 18 National Cherry Tart Day
June 18 International Picnic Day
June 19 National Dry Martini Day
June 20 National Vanilla Milkshake Day

June 21 National Peaches & Cream Day
June 22 National Chocolate Éclair Day
June 22 National Onion Rings Day
June 23 National Pecan Sandy Day
June 24 National Pralines Day
June 25 National Strawberry Parfait Day
June 25 National Catfish Day
June 26 National Chocolate Pudding Day
June 27 National Indian Pudding Day
June 27 National Orange Blossom Day
June 28 National Tapioca Day
June 29 National Almond Butter Crunch Day
June 30 National Ice Cream Soda Day

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rock The Bells 2011 Lineup Announced

Celebrate National Wine Day Accordingly

Perfect Puree Signature Bridal Cocktails

Signature Bridal Cocktails
Signature cocktails are a staple for today's weddings. The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley provides the perfect solution for creating memorable wedding cocktails with ease and flourish.
Our Beverage Artistry blends and Culinary Traditions purees and concentrates can be expertly used, even by a novice, to create amazing signature cocktails with a quick shake and a stir.  Whether toasting the happy couple, wishing them well for the future, or dedicating a drink to the blushing bride, our flavors will add festivity to the big day.
Manny Hinojosa/Bacardi
  • 2 oz. Martini & Rossi Rosato Vermouth
  • 2 oz. Perfect Purée Beverage Artistry Mojito, thawed
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • splash of club soda
  • fresh mint for garnish
  • lime twist for garnish
Add all ingredients (except soda) into a mixing glass. Add ice, shake and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Top with soda. Garnish with fresh mint and a lime twist. Serve.
Flavor Twist:
Add ½ oz. Perfect Purée Blood OrangeConcentrate to ingredients or ½ oz. Perfect Purée Red Raspberry puree to ingredients in mixing glass.
Honeymoon Sweet
Jen Akril/Rye, San Francisco
  • 2 oz. Charbay Tahitian Vanilla Rum
  • ½ oz. Licor 43
  • ½ oz. Perfect Purée Beverage Artistry Yuzu Luxe Sour,thawed
  • ½ oz. grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz. egg white
  • Chinese 5 spice for garnish
Combine all ingredients into a pint glass. Add ice and shake well with a Boston Shaker. Strain and pour into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with Chinese 5 spice. Serve.
Golden Glow
  • 2 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 4 oz. Perfect Purée Papayapuree, thawed
  • 1 oz. Perfect Purée Lycheepuree, thawed
  • ½ oz. Perfect Purée Passion Fruit Concentrate, thawed
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a glass with fresh ice. Serve.
Dana M. Bruner/The Perfect Purée
  • 1 oz. Hendrick's Gin
  • 1 ½ oz. Perfect PuréeCarmelized PineappleConcentrate, thawed
  • ½ English cucumber, cubed
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. club soda
Put Carmelized Pineapple, cucumber and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker glass and muddle. Add gin and ice and mix gently. Pour ingredients into an old fashioned glass, top with soda and garnish with a cucumber peel wrapped pineapple wedge. Serve.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Salad

We have been bumping into a lot of people who think they either don’t have the skills or the time it takes to cook some of the meals they see on the site and I try to tell them they couldn’t be further from the truth.

 Planning out a meal isn’t hard as long as you have all of ingredients measured out (mise en place) in front of you and your focus is on the task at hand. Often times people begin to cook a dish and either the phone rings or someone walks into the house and they take their focus off the food and what happens next, the roast burns, the chicken catches fire you name it, we have heard it.

Today your going to make a simple Creamy Chicken & Pasta Salad that will resemble something you paid too much for, at your favorite restaurant for your entire family and trust us when we say they will love it.
This recipe right here is very easy to pull off, because one of the most important ingredients can be purchased from any quality grocery store, already prepared. We are talking about a Rotisserie Chicken, roasted to perfection by your local Grocer.

Enjoy this recipe this evening or try to make it ahead and take it to work with you the next day (if you plan on doing that, do not put all of the chicken / pasta mixture over the salad greens as they will be come soggy overnight.)
This salad goes great with Stella Rose wine, Mint Juleps, Sangrias and of course a glass of sweet Moscato.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recipe Of The Day: Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Today being National Pick Strawberries Day we figured we would put up a classic recipe that gets lots of play come Summertime here in California. Today we are gonna put a little twist on Strawberry Shortcake, no not the little girl's cartoon character many of us grew up making fun of, but the sweet and sugary treat that is typically light, fluffy and filled with gooey strawberry goodness.

Today we are improvising so instead of serving this sinfully delightful dessert on its routine sponge cake base we are serving it up on a moist Dutch Cocoa infused cake round that just screams to be eaten.
Quick to make and delicious to eat, this treats base and fillings can be made a day ahead and reserved until ready to be used.

So don't scare yourself into thinking this is one of those kinds of treats that has to be made right before service.


Homemade Strawberry Margaritas

Just in time for the weekend, the weather is finally starting to warm up and  resemble what we call Summertime here in California. I am starting to think that like most people I know, the weather here has become bi-polar and will act however it feels at any given moment.

Today being May 20th means that it is National Pick Strawberries Day, so we figured we would hit you with a recipe we know will make any afternoon get together or weekend function come to life like a shot of adrenaline straight to the chest.

Margaritas at a house party these days are as common as finding someone passed out in a corner or someone spilling something on your carpet and hiding it from you, either way you view it, it simply means people were getting tore up and having a good time.

The 6 ingredients this recipe calls for are commonly found around the house, ok well at least at our house and unless you live in Utah can be found at any store at any given time of day.

Enjoy these drinks with some chicken fajitas and Spanish rice, that’s how it should be done.

2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup strawberry puree (frozen can or fresh strawberries, pureed)
1 cup tequila (Preferably Patron Silver)
2 limes, juiced
Splash Triple Sec
Splash simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves, then cooled)

Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry water, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup. 
Puree until smooth. 
Pour into rocks glasses and serve.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inland Empire Food Truck Fest

IE FOOD TRUCK FEST kicks off on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. Spotlighting the gourmet food truck movement that has exploded over this past year, the inaugural festival is celebrating this new style of street food to the untapped community of Inland Empire.
As you may or may not know, gourmet food trucks are prohibited to roam the streets in the Inland Empire area. In hopes of changing that, which might be sooner than we think, this festival is meant to showcase the delectable cuisine that is rolling out on our SoCal streets. Bring the entire family out or be greedy and roll solo, regardless of what you do check it out and support an event that could potentially bring millions of dollars to the IE (if this law is overturned in our counties we can show LA and OC what real food trucks can and will do)
On hand will be:
            50 Gourmet Food Trucks
            Community Groups
            Live Music
            Local Businesses
            Kid's Area
            Kid's Area
            Active Ride Shop Skate Demo

And much, much more. Get your tickets early online at : IE Food Truck Fest 2011

Kimchi Fried Rice

Everyone I know loves a good bowl of rice. Regardless of color, race religion and all that good stuff, everyone loves rice. The best thing about rice is that it really adds texture to already incredibly flavored dishes. Bored in the test kitchens last week, we decided to liven things up a bit by trying to add an outside influence to an already killer recipe and came up with, Kimchi Fried Rice.
Kimchi (which can be spelled many different ways) dates back over 3000 years, is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables and various seasonings. Thousands of recipes for Kimchi exist, typically they include Napa Cabbage, Radish, Green Onions or Cucumber.
This dish comes together quite easy because you are using prepared Kimchi, so you can purchase whatever kind you like or think you would like to try and add that you fried rice. For the ingredients that you have not seen or are unfamiliar with, check out the Asian Food section in your local grocery store, they should have everything you need to make this recipe.
(Click Read More 4 the Entire Recipe)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recipe Of The Day: Chicken & Shrimp Satay w/ Cayenne Coconut Peanut Sauce & Salad

Tomorrow being National Shrimp Day, we have to reach back into the stash and pull out a recipe that gets lots of play around the house, especially on those days when no one wants to eat anything to heavy or that takes all day to prepare.
This Chicken & Shrimp recipe is incredibly easy to make and probably healthier than anything you ate over the weekend. The spicy coconut peanut dipping sauce lends itself perfectly to both the shrimp and the chicken so don't worry about having to load your plate with multiple condiments to help add flavor to this already delicious dish.
The light an airy salad is good for all diets and wont overpower the flavors of the chicken and shrimp.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taco Tuesdays at Raya

Tacos are amazing, let that be heard loud and clear. With that being, said imagine eating Tacos that resemble fine pieces of art, loaded with exceptionally astounding ingredients that amaze and astound you with every bite. Flavors you wouldn’t commonly put together for whatever reason it may be (cause we can’t afford them on the daily or find them easily, being the first few that come to mind) are the stars of the show at Taco Tuesday w/ Chef Richard Sandoval, inside Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Recently hearing that the dynamic forces behind some of the best food in Southern California, had began to put their spin on the classic "Taco Tuesday, " we knew we were going to have to check this out and do it fast. If you have seen any of our previous reviews for Raya you already know that the scenery cannot be beat anywhere else on the coast. Great food, great views and an even greater staff pull together an ultra luxurious hotel that must you must visit in your lifetime.

One of the best things about the way this meal plays out is that you don’t have to attempt to select which Tacos you want to eat. The Prix Fixed menu ($65.00 per person and well worth every cent) means you will be treated to a wild ride through the minds of the amazing Chefs that oversee this remarkably forward thinking establishment.

The journey starts off with a “Botana” or appetizer course of Chips & Salsa, which couldn’t be further from your average bowl of corn chips and store bought salsa might I add. The incredibly fresh and vibrant bowl of Molcajete salsa that was served up surrounded by fresh-made Plantain, Yucca, Chicharrones & Boniato chips were hard to not devour as quick as they hit the table. If this was a hint of what was to come I knew I was in for something truly inspiring.

The first round of Tacos hit the table, labeled as “Tacos de Harina” for their flour shells and I couldn’t be more intrigued by how the thoughtful kitchen staff was keeping these delicately designed Canapès held together with mini clothes pins. 3 Tacos sitting side by side, each looking a tad bit more intricate than the next but yet all screaming eat me first were going to be my first victims of the night. 
The 1st being a Maine Lobster & Avocado Taco, 2nd a Korean Fried Chicken w/ a fresh Cucumber Kimchee Taco & 3rd a Pork Cheek w/ Chipotle Aioli & Pickled Onion Taco, were all consumed rather quickly, leaving all of the guests at our table amazed at how fresh and light each of them were. The way the multi cultural flavors played off each other, yet allowing each their own bit of shine on the plate was incredible.

Next up were the “Tacos de Maiz.” This time the trio consisted of a Pork Belly & Habanero Slaw Taco, a juicy Shortib, Adobo & Pickled Onion Taco and a “Lechon Style” Suckling Pig w/ Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa Taco. Talk about having déjà vu, these Tacos were eaten just as fast and enjoyed even more than their first round counterparts. Again, each tacos flavors are perfectly balanced so that the mouth is left with a taste that could destroy what was to be eaten next. That is a hard skill to acquire, because if you think about it, how many places can you go to and eat everything on the menu and not have them taste exactly the same after a few bites of each?
I have to say that with a nice libation and perfect timing on when you make your reservations (hopefully around sundown for the ultimate view) this could really become a spot that you wish to frequent more often to simply enjoy the fruits of your hard labor.

Rounding the corner was the next course of Tacos, labeled as “Otros Tacos” this is where the meal took a delightful turn towards the unexpected and truly set itself apart from anything else under the California Sun. 
This time we were given 5 Tacos, starting with a Potato w/ Tempura Fish, Preserved Lemon & Poblano Pepper Taco, a Boniato w/ Crisp Oyster, Caviar & Togarashi Taco (by far my favorite,) a Won Ton w/ Smoked swordfish & Mango Taco, a Sweet Potato w/ Foie Gras & Kumquat-Tequila Jam Taco and a Duck Carnitas w/ Daikon & Curry Apple Taco.
Words do these beautiful creations no justice. Just look at the photo and think about how bad you want to bite your screen and or cut out of work and head down the freeway for one of the best dinners you will ever have in your life.

If that wasn’t enough, the “Tacos de Postre” or Dessert Tacos course had hit the table and looked like something right out of Food Arts Magazine. Perfect plating, bright colors, soft Ice Cream, a delicate crunchy “Chocotaquito," caramelized pieces of fruit and Rum (one of our favorites) made it impossible to tell if the dessert course was served because they liked us or because they wanted to tease us, knowing this was the last course to be delivered after stuffing us like Thanksgiving Turkeys.

The final 3 "Tacos De Postre" being; A Banana Ice Cream “Chocotaquito”, A Pineapple- Coconut-Rum Taco and a Strawberry Blood Orange Cream Cheese Taco all of which deserved to be permanently placed on the menu (regardless of the season) finished off the evening exactly how it was expected to be handled, Sweetly.

Tuesday, a day that hardly gets any shine now can feel respected, loved and looked forward too, thanks to Chef’s Sandoval, Howe & Gerlach. A beautiful evening will be yours to behold if you allow them to take you on a tasteful journey around the world, all without leaving your seat.

For more info or reservations check out: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Online.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recipe Of The Day: Double Cheddar Hamburger w/ Grilled Onions

Nothing beats a hot hamburger loaded with flavor on a sunny day. Try this burger out at your next backyard BBQ and watch as the moistness from the meat and cheeses blends perfectly together, guaranteeing your guests will be asking for seconds.
The smokey flavor of the grilled onions is the perfect topper for this occasion and as such should be enjoyed with an ice cold beer such as a Frambois, Fat Tire or possibly a mint laced Mojito for those looking to lighten it up a bit.
And if that isn't enough to entice you to eat it, this recipe is an adaption to the very one used by Bobby Flay for his Hamburger throwdown, which he won.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The National Food Holidays of May

May is truly a great month is Southern California. The weather starts to really warm up, the clothes become brighter (and less abundant for your perverted little minds) and that means one great thing, life as we know it is about to go Poolside.

May is the National Month of:
National Asparagus Month
National Barbeque Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
National Egg Month
National Gazpacho Aficionado Month
National Hamburger Month
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Strawberry Month

The 1st week of May is, National Raisin Week
The 2nd week of May is, National Hamburger Week
The 3rd week of May is, International Pickles Week           
The 4th week of May is, National Frozen Yogurt Week
The 4th week of May is also, National American Beer Week

Memorial Day Monday is National Barbeque Day
Memorial Day Monday is also, National Hamburger & Cheeseburger Day

May 1             National Chocolate Parfait Day           
May 2             National Truffles Day
May 3             National Raspberry Tart Day
May 4             National Homebrew Day
May 4             National Orange Juice Day
May 4             National Candied Orange Peel Day
May 5             National Chocolate Custard Day
May 5             Cinco De Mayo Recipes Day
May 5             National Hoagie Day
May 5             Oyster Day
May 6             National Crepes Suzette Day
May 6             International No Diet Day
May 7             National Roast Leg of Lamb Day
May 8             National Empanada Day
May 9             National Butterscotch Brownie Day
May 10           National Shrimp Day

May 11            Eat What You Want Day
May 12            National Nutty Fudge Day
May 13            National Fruit Cocktail Day
May 14            National Buttermilk Biscuit Day
May 15            National Chocolate Chip Day
May 16            National Coquilles St. Jacques Day
May 17            National Cherry Cobbler Day
May 18            National Cheese Souffle Day
May 19            National Devil’s Food Cake Day
May 20            National Quiche Lorraine Day
May 20            Pick Strawberries Day

May 21            National Strawberries & Cream Day
May 22            National Vanilla Pudding Day           
May 23            National Taffy Day
May 24            National Escargot Day
May 25            National Wine Day
May 26            National Blueberry Cheesecake Day           
May 26            National Cherry Dessert Day
May 27            National Grape Popsicle Day
May 28            National Brisket Day
May 29            National Coq Au Vin Day
May 30            National Mint Julep Day
May 31            National Macaroon Day