roasted autumn salad

Roasted beet and butternut squash salad with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

Roasted beet and butternut squash salad with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

Need an idea for the holidays or a fall season dish? When I think of Autumn, like most people, I think of the changing colors of foliage. At the farmer’s market, I noticed an abundance of large squashes, root vegetables and gourds. Most of the these things seem to marry well too. Here’s a simple recipe for a Roasted Autumn Salad you can make ahead and serve at Thanksgiving or enjoy throughout the weeks to come.

Roasted Autumn Salad

Ingredients
2 medium beets
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 small pomegranate
1 small package of goat cheese
Fresh thyme
small package of baby kale or arugula
olive oil
pomegranate vinegar
salt
pepper

Roasting beets couldn't be more simple.

Roasting beets couldn’t be more simple.

Directions
While the oven is preheating to 400° remove the skin from the beets and butternut squash and cut into bite-size pieces. Place the beets in an ovenproof dish, toss with oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and few sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover with foil. Do the same with the squash, only, place them on a baking sheet and do not cover. Roast the beets for 45 minutes, remove and place in the fridge. Roast the squash for 30 minutes and toss occasionally until slightly golden and soft. Place in a container in the fridge. When your ready to serve, arrange all of the ingredients on salad plated except for the goat cheese, olive oil and vinegar. Finally, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with goat cheese. Enjoy!

 

bacardi legacy cocktail competition

Bacardi rum daiquiri.

Bacardi rum daiquiri. Photos by Wade Hammond and Deniz Durmus

I had a great time with my friend Deniz at Monday evening’s Los Angeles regional BACARDI Legacy Cocktail Competition held at No Vacancy in Hollywood. Such a cool event space with a fun secret entrance! There were a wide array of drinks presented such as Possets, punches and cocktails all made with Bacardi rum of course. Here are some highlights from the evening as well as some recipes to consider.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

San Francisco’s Andrew Meltzer, Jessica Sanders of Austin, TX, and Chicago based bartender, Kalani Ben were awarded a spot in the national finals. Sanders, Ben and Meltzer will join regional winners from the Portland Cocktail Week and in New York competitions at the U.S. finals in Miami, Florida, next February. They will compete for a chance to present their “legacy cocktail” at the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in Sydney, Australia, in May of 2015.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest. Premixed drinks can be a gooood thing…

Bacardi rum daisy.

Bacardi rum daisy.

"El Presidente" and "Gauyaba Arabica" with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

“El Presidente” and “Gauyaba Arabica” with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

Award Winning Cocktail Recipes:
Jessica Sander of Austin, TX –  LA GRANDIFLORA

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • ¾ part of Hibiscus Puree (Perfect Puree)
  • ½ part Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey) Syrup
  • ½ part Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth
  • ½ part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 drops of Almond Extract

Method:

  • Ingredients are combined in a cocktail tin with ice and shaken until chilled and properly diluted.
  • The cocktail is fine strained into chilled cocktail coupes and then garnished with a thin lime wheel that has been pierced with a dried hibiscus flower and a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Kalani Ben from Chicago, IL – FAMILY TIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • 1 part Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¾ part Clove Syrup
  • ½  part Luxardo Amaro Abano

Method:

  • Using a hand juicer/press, squeeze 1 part of lime juice and add it to your shaker along with one half of the already juiced lime shell.
  • Then add all other ingredients to your shaker.
  • Add ice, shake vigorously, and double strain into your coupe.

Andrew Meltzer of San Francisco, CA – CUBAN COBBLER

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts BACARDÍ Gold
  • ¾ part Palo Cortado Shery
  • ½ part Pear Williams Liqueur
  • ½ part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ part Honey Simple

Method:

  • In a mixing glass or tin, combine BACARDÍ Gold rum, sherry, pear liqueur, lemon juice and honey syrup.
  • Add ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass or large tumbler.
  • Insert a straw.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of pear on the inside of the glass and top with seasonal berries and mint sprigs.

cocktail water

cocktailwatersplashwmHaving fun photographing the process of making “cocktail water”. Cocktail water is simply sugar in cube form, 2 dashes of petite bitters and 1/4 pony (1/4 ounce) of water muddled together with the flat back end of a bar spoon. This is the basis for a great old-fashioned whiskey cocktail. This is how all old-fashioned cocktails were made at one time and they involved any spirit a patron would desire. It is not strictly a whiskey cocktail.

*Note – You don’t actually create aggressive splashes when combining these ingredients. I was simply trying to create some drama!

prickly pear punch

Prickly Pear Punch has a unique color and flavor.

Prickly Pear Punch has a unique color and flavor.

The other night at the bar, one of the cooks had brought an abundance of cactus pears and subsequently challenged me to make a drink out of them. I decided to approach this from the cactus angle and chose tequila as the base spirit. Basically, I made my own version of a prickly pear margarita which already exists. (And margaritas are actually punches) I used orange flavored brandy instead of curaçao liqueur or triple sec which gave the drink a bit more complexity. I think it was successful enough to publish here. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients
1.5 Ounces Tequila
.5 Ounce Orange Flavored Brandy
3/4 Ounce Fresh lime Juice
1 Bar Spoon Agave Nectar
1 Cactus Pear

Cut of the ends and make an incision down 1 side in order to remove the flesh of the cactus pear.

Cut of the ends and make an incision down 1 side in order to remove the flesh of the cactus pear.

Muddle the cactus pear in the bottom of your shaker or mixing tin. Add the remaining ingredients and stir the agave nectar into the mixture prior to adding ice. Add ice to the tin and shake vigorously. Strain through a mesh strainer (to avoid getting the hard seeds into the punch) into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and suck it up!

 

the strand house

First Course - Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

First Course – Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

I was fortunate to attend a 6 course dinner at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach The dinner creatively highlighted Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky’s inspiration from his stay in Norway. The event featured seafood flown in from Norway specifically for the event sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Often restaurants at beachfront locations don’t try very hard because they can rely on their gorgeous views to attract customers. I can’t express in words how surprised I was at the caliber of Hozinsky’s cuisine. Fortunately, I took pictures.

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Amuse-Bouche - Nordic black cod, celery sauce, white truffle

Amuse-Bouche – Nordic Black Cod, Celery Sauce, White Truffle

Second Course Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Second Course – Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Third Course Norwegian Halibut Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower,YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Third Course – Norwegian Halibut, Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower, YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Fourth Course Venison Strip Loin Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fourth Course – Venison Strip Loin, Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fifth Course Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Fifth Course – Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Sixth Course Warm Almond Apple Cake Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Sixth Course – Warm Almond Apple Cake, Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz