italian lemon slush

italian lemon slush cocktail

I can’t imagine there’s anything I wouldn’t love about the city of Venice. Since I haven’t been there yet I remain a vicarious traveler; picturing a sepia-colored city like no other, floating over an ancient network of canals, all those mysterious alleyways winding through a landscape of crumbling palaces.

Twenty-seven summers ago my best friend took off in the direction of Europe, with no real itinerary or return date. I’d planned up until the last minute to go with her, saving all my waitressing cash in a box under my mattress, but drama overrode – it became suddenly necessary that I break up with my then-boyfriend and find a new apartment. How unromantic!

lemon peel syrup for italian slush

Everything worked out fine in the end, but missing that adventure was my regret. In the middle of her travels, my friend called me from Venice; she was running out of money but still hoping I’d change my mind and meet her there in Italy.

I felt a tiny bit jealous that she was in a place I’d only ever dreamed about seeing, until she described the harrowing time she was having there; getting off the train alone in the middle of the night, finding the Piazza San Marco teeming with rats and also a few human ones intent on stealing her backpack and who knows what else.

It can happen in any city anywhere, but somehow, knowing it was less than paradise at that moment in Venice made it a little easier to accept what I was missing.
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strawberry and prosecco rossini

strawberry and prosecco rossini cocktail

My favorite sentences start with three little words: Pop the Cork.

Along with the words, the actual sound of a cork emerging from a bottle with a pop, bang or that slow phssssstt indicating the energized presence of fizzy bubbles, has the power to lift my spirits in the blink of an eye. Like magic.

It’s one of the purest sounds of celebration that I know, and such a simple thing, really.

strawberries_rossini strawberries_rossini

This bubbly concoction is much like the strawberry version of a Bellini – a Rossini. Its pretty pink color and fresh strawberry essence make it seem like just the thing you’d want to drink for lunch, brunch or while watching the sun going down somewhere.

strawberry prosecco rossini cocktail

strawberry and prosecco rossini

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon strawberry flavored liqueur or vodka (optional)
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1 750-ml bottle Prosecco, chilled

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, liqueur and lemon juice in a blender until very smooth.
  2. Pour through a fine strainer set over a container with a pouring spout.
  3. Pour the puree into glass flutes to fill by 1/3 ; slowly pour Prosecco over the puree; stir gently.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/05/strawberry-and-prosecco-rossini/

Peaches Poached in Prosecco with Homemade Amaretti

Peaches Poached in Prosecco

I had an image of a classic, sparkling Bellini in my head while I was deciding what to do with some late summer fruit; and then I went from cocktail thoughts to the idea of sweet, chilled peaches in syrup, which made me want a crunchy little something to go with it, which led me to the oven to make some amaretti cookies. If you give a mouse a glass of Prosecco…

Poaching a peach softens its texture a bit, so it’s a good idea to use fruits that aren’t fully tree-ripened and ready to eat (if you’re lucky enough to get some of those), but not rock-hard, which is the way you’ll find most peaches when you bring them home from the cold-storage chill of the grocery store.  Getting the fruit a day in advance and leaving them out at room temperature overnight seems to do the trick.

These amaretti cookies are a lot like macaroons in texture – I prefer to very slightly underbake them to get a crunchy exterior and a chewy inside. The recipe makes more cookies than you’ll probably need for dipping into the peachy syrup, but they keep for weeks in an airtight container. They would be delicious crumbled over chocolate gelato or ice cream and a little whipped cream.

Homemade Amaretti Cookies

Peaches Poached in Prosecco with Homemade Amaretti

Serving Size: about 4 servings

Ingredients

  1. 4 peaches (freestone)
  2. 1 bottle Prosecco or dry sparkling wine
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoon peach flavored liqueur
  6. Pinch sea salt
  7. Lemon verbena leaves, optional
  8. For the amaretti cookies:
  9. 1 2/3 cups blanched slivered almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
  10. 2 cups powdered sugar
  11. 4 egg whites
  12. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  13. 1 teaspoon Amaretto (or add another teaspoon almond extract)
  14. 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Score an X on the bottom of each peach with a small sharp knife. Drop the peaches into a 3 -or 4 -quart saucepan of boiling water and simmer 5 minutes. Drain them and let cool for a few minutes before slipping off the skins. Slice the peaches into halves and remove the pits.
  2. Pour 3 cups Prosecco into the same saucepan. If the Prosecco is nice and cold, pour the remaining ½ cup into a glass and take a sip. If for some reason you’re not indulging in the bubbly, just pour the whole bottle into the pan (sadly).
  3. Stir the sugar, lemon juice, liqueur, salt and lemon verbena leaves if using into the Prosecco.
  4. Bring to a simmer and gently drop the peaches into the pan. Simmer the peaches until just tender when you poke them with a toothpick but not mushy, 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hours. Discard the lemon verbena leaves.
  5. To make the cookies: Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Grind the almonds with the powdered sugar in a food processor until finely ground, being careful not to grind too much or you’ll make almond paste.
  7. Whip the egg whites in a standing mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Add the extract and amaretto; with the mixer running gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until the egg whites are very stiff and fluffy.
  8. Pour the almond mixture over the egg whites and gently fold with a spatula until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Scoop the batter into tablespoon-sized mounds 1-inch apart on the baking sheets (I like to use this stainless steel cookie scoop).
  9. Bake 12 – 15 minutes for a lightly golden cookie with a soft and chewy interior. Rotate the pans from front to back  and top to bottom halfway through baking so they bake evenly. Cool the cookies completely.
  10. Serve the peaches in small bowls with the cookies along side or crumbled over.

Notes

Amaretti recipe adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich.

http://familystylefood.com/2012/09/peaches-poached-in-prosecco-with-homemade-amaretti/