rosemary no. 3 – blood orange negroni

rosemary negroni cocktail
I traveled to Chicago late last fall with a few of my best-est girlfriends. It’s an annual trip, filled with drinks, shopping, drinks, eating and more shopping – fun, right?

This year, the most memorable dining and drinking experience for me (aside from a-mazing tacos and margeritas at Big Star) was at the restaurant Balena. The food is just the kind I’m always hungry for; simple, rustic Italian with a fresh, seasonal slant.

Seriously, everything on the menu is something you want to eat, which makes it hard to choose. I’m glad there were enough of us that we were able to order a table full of things to share. But let me back up a little.

rosemary blood orange negroni

Before we got down to enjoying delicious food, we had a short wait at the very crowded bar, where I had a drink I’ve been craving ever since. The entire cocktail selection has a flavor profile of Italian bitters; flavored with components like Campari and Amaro.

I ordered the Rosemary no.2 – Campari, Aperol, fresh sour mix, egg white and a flaming rosemary sprig for a garnish. It was a perfect combination of sweet-sour-bitter, and the lofty egg white foam on top was better than whipped cream.

I was in the mood to try to recreate the drink last weekend and did a little research. I found this video of Debbi Peek, the Mixologist who created the cocktail program at Balena, demoing the Rosemary no.2 along with a few other drinks, which gave me a good place to start. I got to work improvising, and came up with a pretty close approximation, which I thought appropriate to name the Rosemary no.3.

I made the drink a Negroni by adding some gin and vermouth, muddled the rosemary rather than set it on fire, and used fresh blood orange and lemon juice with some sugar to replace the fresh sour mix they use at the bar.

However, my egg white foam wasn’t nearly as impressive as the one topping my original drink; I think my mixologist muscles need a bit more work. I settled on whisking the egg white until thick and foamy before adding it to the shaker. I almost pulled out my cream whipper for the job, which would make more sense if I were making a batch of drinks for friends

rosemary blood orange negroni

For more on perfecting egg white cocktail foam, I liked this tutorial by Jamie Boudreau.

Also, Not Martha has a method to achieve a seriously beautiful egg white cocktail foam on a classic Ramos gin fizz..

rosemary no. 3 – blood orange negroni

Yield: one drink

Ingredients

  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 sprig rosemary, plus more for garnish
  3. 1 thin slice blood orange or juice orange
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. ½ teaspoon superfine sugar
  6. Juice of 1 blood orange or juice orange
  7. 2 ounces Aperol or Campari
  8. 2 ounces gin
  9. 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until very it turns very foamy and opaque.
  2. Muddle the rosemary, blood orange, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker to crush and release their fragrance.
  3. Add crushed ice to the shaker along with the egg white and the rest of the ingredients; cover and shake vigorously for up to 5 minutes – or as long as your arm can take.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a rosemary sprig.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/02/rosemary-no-3-blood-orange-negroni/

Sicilian-Spiced Roasted Cashews

I don’t know about you, but I’m about done with winter – for some reason this one seems endlessly gray, cold and dreary. But change is in sight, I think; this week I noticed that the days are a bit longer, with the daylight fading into darkness just a few minutes later than last week.

I found myself looking through my stack of cookbooks looking for some inspiration, and lingered over one with a beautiful image of a sun-soaked bowl of golden cherries on the cover: a collection of recipes from Gangivecchio, a restaurant in Sicily that dates back to Roman times. I’m not sure what the weather is like in Sicily at this time of year, but somehow I feel warm imagining myself walking around the winding streets of Palermo, shopping the outdoor markets.

Lidia Bastianach, the Italian chef and cooking teacher, describes in her book Lidia’s Italy how the North African summer sun gives food produced there here an intensity not found anywhere else in Italy

“…the tomatoes are sweeter, the oil is more deeply flavored, the fennel has more licorice, capers are nuttier, and the anchovies and sea urchins taste more of the sea”.

Sounds good to me. In the spirit of hot summers to come, I roasted a batch of cashews and seasoned them with some of the intense tastes of Sicily: fennel, cumin, anise, hot pepper and orange.


Sicilian-Spiced Roasted Cashews

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  3. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  5. Freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
  6. 1/4 teaspoon each: ground cumin, fennel, cayenne, paprika, anise seed
  7. 3 cups raw whole cashews
  8. Grated fresh orange or tangerine zest

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except the cashews and zest until combined. Toss in the cashews and stir them around until they're evenly coated.
  3. Spread the cashews on a baking sheet in one layer. Bake 20 -25 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Cool on a rack - they will crisp up after about 10 minutes. Grate orange zest over the cashews while still warm.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/02/sicilian-spiced-roasted-cashews/

Crunchy Shrimp with Ginger Orange Sauce

photo from myrecipes.com

I know, I have been MIA for a while.

Briefly, I give the following as explanation:

1. My camera got lost.
2. I’ve been up to my eyeballs with work stuff, everyday stuff, and other stuff. Sometimes I feel that being a “good” blogger can be soooo very challenging.
3. My camera got lost.
4. We’re piling everyone into the car for a road trip to Florida tomorrow.
5. Woo-hoo!

I know it’s lame, and I apologize, but without a juicy photo to share (have you seen my camera, by the way?) I’m posting one of my contest winners from a few years ago and borrowing a picture from myrecipes.com. I won the $10,000 grand prize in Cooking Light’s Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest for creating this recipe and it continues to be a favorite with friends and family.
Enjoy, and I’ll check in again soon.

Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous
and Ginger Orange Sauce

For Ginger Orange Sauce:
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
For Couscous:
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup sliced scallions
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
For Shrimp:
20 jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 – 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups trimmed watercress

1. To prepare sauce, place orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl to cool. Add remaining sauce ingredients to the cooled orange juice and whisk until smooth.

2. Place couscous in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring constantly. Add the broth, orange juice and salt to pan and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; fluff with a fork. Stir in butter, scallions and almonds. Cover to keep warm.

3. Place shrimp in a large bowl; add egg whites and toss to coat. Combine panko, ginger, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add shrimp; seal bag and shake to coat evenly with panko mixture. Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add coated shrimp in one layer. Cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes; turn shrimp and cook until second side is golden brown.

4. To serve, spoon couscous onto a large platter. Arrange watercress over and around couscous; top with shrimp. Drizzle sauce over shrimp.
Serves 4. (serving size: 1 cup couscous, 5 shrimp and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

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