Cookout Must-Have:: Lamb Burger

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I don’t know about you, but I love burgers and I love lamb, so it seemed natural to add a lamb burger to my cookbook,  Picture Perfect Parties. What makes this burger even more unique is that is has a delicious Greek twist.

I’m sure many of you are gearing up for cookouts this weekend and beyond. If you’re looking for a great recipe to include on your menu, look no further!

As an added stylist tip, I thought I’d share a little secret with you: I love serving burgers in a pita. It makes for a really pretty presentation and a clever twist to something that is perceived as a ho-hum burger. Plus, it contains all of the messy burger goodness to one neat little pocket. Genius!

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Photo from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

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Beer the Italian Way

Italian Cocktails and food

This cocktail is one of my favorites in Cocktail Italiano because beer is one of my beverages of choice! Are you surprised?! I love how it can be zippy and refreshing.

The beer americano has become very popular all along the Riviera. Instead of using soda or tonic, bartenders use beer to finish off this refreshing summer choice. I think you will love adding this to your summer cocktail arsenal, especially with long summer nights and fun summer holidays just around the corner.

Try it; you’ll like it! Look for this and other amazing summer cocktails in Cocktail Italiano!

Beer Americano
Serves 1

You will need:
– 1 ½ ounces Campari
– 1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth
– 3 ounces lager beer
– lemon zest, for garnish

To prepare:

Combine Campari, vermouth and ices cubes in a tall tumbler, stir to combine. Pour the beer into another glass, stir to create a stiff foam, reserve the foam with a spoon top the cocktail with the beer foam, about 3 ounces.

**Note: For a lighter Americano feel free to pour 2 ounces of the beer into the cocktail as well. However, this should be done before you top the cocktail with the foam.

xx Annette

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Dinner Idea:: Mussels in Wine

Easy yet elegant entertaining is something I like to think I specialize in. I love serving guests unexpected, unique meals that make them smile. One of my favorite ways to do just that is to serve mussels in wine.

Don’t be intimidated to cook mussels at home. It’s actually quite simple. Plus, you’ll inevitably wow your guests. They’ll be so impressed with your skills, and the presentation can be truly lovely. Just toss everything in a huge white bowl and serve the mussels family style.

This recipe is one of my favorites. Be sure to serve this dish alongside plenty of french bread for soaking up the goodness!

Mussels in Wine

You will need:
– 3 lbs mussels
– 1 small shallot diced
– 1 small clove of garlic minced
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 cups white wine*
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
– 1 cup marinara sauce (jarred sauce is fine, but here’s a pro-tip: leftover homemade sauce from the freezer is perfect for this recipe!)
– 1 cup chopped parsley

*Note: I always choose a cooking wine the same way I choose a drinking wine. If I wouldn’t drink it, I wouldn’t cook with it!

To prepare:
In a large stock pot, place shallots, garlic, oil and salt. Saute until the shallots are translucent. Add mussels, wine and butter. Cook until mussels open, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Add marinara, pepper flakes and parsley. Serve with crusty french bread.

 

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Blood Orange Margarita Recipe

Blood Orange Margaritas

It’s a rare occasion that two cocktail-worthy events happen back to back, but when it happens, it’s worth a celebration! This past weekend, we saw the Kentucky Derby AND Cinco de Mayo. While both have come and gone, there’s nothing wrong with extending the party into the week, right?!

This time of year, you can find blood oranges at many of the local markets and grocery stores. In fact,  I just saw loads of them at Trader Joe’s! I love blood oranges; I use them in just about all my cocktails this time of year, even a Negroni.

This blood orange margarita recipe, though, is perfect for a belated nod to Cinco de Mayo as well as your future Taco Tuesdays. After all, everyone loves a margarita, right? Grab some oranges and make it for your next spring gathering. The color alone will impress your friends and the taste? Well that’s a given.

Blood Orange Margarita
serves 4

You will need:

– 1 cup (8 oz.) freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 7-8 oranges)
– ½ cup (4 oz.) freshly squeezed lime juice
– ¾ cup (6 oz.) tequila
– ½ cup (4 oz.) orange liqueur
– ¼ cup (2 oz.) simple syrup
– Blood orange slices, for garnish

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well to combine.  Pour into chilled glasses over ice. Garnish with a slice of blood orange, if desired.  Serve.

Photo Credit:  Annie Eats

xx Annette

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Classic Mint Julep Recipe

Mint Julep Recipe

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this weekend. A quintessential Southern tradition and the unofficial start to summer, the derby has always been one of my favorite excuses to throw a party. After all, what’s not to love about getting gussied up, noshing on fun bites, and drinking classic cocktails?!

No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without a classic mint julep! A splash of simple syrup and a whole lot of Kentucky bourbon makes for one sinfully sweet sip. I first posted Becky Stayner’s recipe a few years ago, and I couldn’t resist posting it again as we gear up for this weekend’s run for the roses. Who is your money on?!

Classic Mint Julep by Becky Stayner
serves 1

You will need:
– Crushed ice
– 2 oz. good Bourbon
– 1 oz. simple syrup
– 6 leaves of fresh mint + fresh mint for garnish

To prepare:

Make the simple syrup by bringing one cup of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in one cup of sugar until it dissolves. Once it’s chilled, stir in mint leaves to steep overnight (a trick from Becky). Put crushed ice, bourbon, and mint leaf simple syrup in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Don’t crush the leaves! Be gentle…after all, this is a Southern drink.

xx Annette

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