Backyard Bramble Cocktail

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There are few things better than a simple summer cocktail, and that’s exactly what this Backyard Bramble is. By definition the word “bramble” means “a rough prickly shrub.” Specifically, a bramble often refers to a blackberry bush.

Blackberries are plentiful during the summer which is why this cocktail is perfect for warm summer days. It’s refreshing and delicious. I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

Feel free to try different fruit combinations for making this cocktail your own. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries would all be equally as yummy!

Backyard Bramble Cocktail

You will need:
– 6 oz Blackberries (or other fruit of choice)
– Large handful of mint leaves (approx. 12-16 leaves?)
– Juice of half a lemon
– 12 drops or so Meyer lemon bitters
– 4 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
– 12 oz Gin
– mineral water or club soda

To prepare: 
 
In a pitcher, muddle blackberries, mint, and lemon juice. Add bitters, St. Germain, and gin. Let sit in the fridge for an hour or so. Strain, and serve over ice topped with mineral water.
Serves 6-8 in small tea glasses.
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Tomato Week:: Two Bite Parmesan Crisps

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These lovely little two-bite parmesan crisps are savory and salty with a crunch—perfect to serve with a chilled citrus-y glass of Prosecco or Rose. It’s a quick appetizer that uses parmesan cheese with a combination of tomatoes – tomato jam to be exact.

The tomato jam here is the star of the show, but you’ll love the addition of mozzarella and basil too. These bites make a great addition to any menu for a summer soiree.

Two Bite Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 32

For the Tomato Jam:
You will need:
– 3  tablespoons olive oil
– 1 garlic clove, chopped
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 4 large heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:
Place ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat for 15 minutes, set aside to cool. This step may be done a couple days in advance, and placed in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

For the Parmesan Crisps:
You will need:
– 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
– Place 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat.
– Arrange the spoonfuls about 3 inches apart as they will spread to form round crisps.

To prepare:
Place in a 350 F degree oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before assembling the appetizer.

To assemble:
– 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Place a dollop of  jam on top of the crisp, and add cubes of mozzarella and garnish with a basil leaf.

From my book Picture Perfect Parties RIzzoli NY

 

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Tomato Week:: Tomato Tart

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This week, I’m covering one of my favorite summer ingredients: tomatoes. Tomato season is on the horizon and will be here before we know it. Since it’s almost here, I thought this week would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite tomato recipes.

Today it’s my recipe for my tomato tart. When shopping for tomatoes for this recipe, look for the heirloom variety. Truthfully, they’re probably best from your local farmer’s markets, but I’ve beautiful ones at specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods. Get a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes for the perfect tart. The uglier the better when it comes to heirlooms!

Tomato Tart
Serves 6-8

For the Crust:

You will need:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon salt
– 1/4 cups ice water

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Make crust in a food processor. Put flour in the bowl and add oil and salt. Pulse until pebble-sized crumbs appear, and as you pulse, add water through the chute until dough comes together.

Note: You may need to add a little more water to the dough – it should form a soft ball of dough. Set the dough aside and make the filling.

Note: This is a very fragile crust; handle it with care.

For the Filling:

You will need:
– 1 lb heirloom tomatoes (8 cups sliced)
– 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

To prepare:

Roll out the crust and place into a 9″ pie tin. Place the Parmesan on the bottom of the crust.

Toss the tomatoes with the shallots, basil, salt and olive oil and place into the pie crust.

Bake at 375F for 1 hour.

This tart can be served warm of at room temperature.

xx, Annette

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Cookout Cocktail:: Negroni Fizz

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Ciao from Italy! As you might already know, I arrived in Italy last week. Since then, I’ve been welcoming guests, preparing our commercial kitchen and guests quarters, and getting ready for a summer of workshops. Needless to say, it’s been a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend back in the states. Memorial Day weekend often marks the unofficial start to summer. I’m sure many of you will be spending the weekend enjoying cookouts with friends and family.

If you’re entertaining, I’ve got a wonderful festive summer cocktail for you: the Negroni Fizz. Not only is this drink a bold red (perfect for Memorial Day), but it’s a crowd pleaser too.

Mix-up a big batch without the rose and put it in a cute drink dispenser. Then, allow guests to fill their glasses at will. Leave ice buckets of rose nearby for attendees to top their drinks. This will keep the bubbles fresh and add a fun little DIY to the party.

To really make a statement, find some cute blue and white paper straws, too. Super festive and fun.

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Negroni Fizz
Serves 1

You will need:

– 1 ounce Gin
– 1 ounce Martini Sweet Vermouth
– 1 ounce Campari
– 1 1/2 slice of orange for garnish
– Ice cubes
– Martini Sparkling Rose

Instructions:

Combine Martini Rosso and Campari Gin in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into an ice filled tumbler 3/4 full and top off with the Martini Sparkling Rose. Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

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Photographs by Kathryn McCrary

This recipe first appeared on Camille Styles.

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Summer Recipe:: Fire and Ice S’mores

While summer doesn’t technically start for a few more weeks, I always think of Memorial Day as the unofficial launch of the summer season. Is there anything more quintessentially summer than s’mores? S’mores are one of those gooey foods that are as fun as they are messy. Seriously. Have you ever NOT had fun making s’mores? I didn’t think so.

These fire and ice s’mores are a twist on the traditional. I’m adding homemade vanilla ice cream to mix things up. Of course, you can stick with the original ingredients, or you can give this one a try. No matter what, make s’mores a part of your Memorial Day Weekend gatherings.

Fire and Ice S’mores

You will need:

– Marshmallows
– Quality chocolate (try dark chocolate for extra indulgence)
– Healthy graham crackers – available at specialty markets like Whole Foods
– Sea Salt
– Olive Oil
– Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe below!)

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
You will need:
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 cup whole milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 3 vanilla beans – split lengthwise
– 2 large eggs
To prepare ice cream:

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. With the tip of a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla beans into cream mixture, then drop in pods. Heat cream mixture just to a boil. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, while whisking. Pour mixture into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean metal bowl, then cool, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer.

To Prepare S’mores:

Have guests assemble their S’mores outside by the fire.

In the meantime prepare individual bowls or glasses with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a teaspoon on Olive Oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

Have guests grab a bowl and dip their s’more into the ice cream.

*Cooks’ notes: ·To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled. ·Custard can be chilled up to 24 hours.

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