Cook N Bake German Series: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake German Series Cream of Asparagus Soup

New week, new blog, new series. After indulging in the exotic, spicy Moroccan dishes we decided to go back to the inland, so this week we travel all the way back to center Europe. Ladies and Gentlemen, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren, may I introduce you to a brand new Cook N Bake German Series.

German cuisine is very well known because of its kartoffeln and würste, potatoes and sausage dishes, however these dishes vary from region to region, which is the reason why we can find about 1500 different varieties of sausages throughout the country! Meat is the most consumed food in Germany, especially pork, followed by beef and poultry. Fish is mainly trouts, pike and carp. Vegetables are also extremely popular in Germany, especially in stews. Among the desserts we find German doughnuts, krapfen, Black Forest cake, pretzels and different kind of pudding.

To start off, we selected a dish from the northern region of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): the Cream of Asparagus Soup. As simple as it sounds, this dish is indeed one of the most appreciated delicacies in Lower Saxony, where vegetables like potatoes, kale and spargel, asparagus, are extremely popular. From April through June asparagus is in season and some restaurants dedicate their whole menu to asparagus dishes.
This perennial plant was introduced in the 16th century and since then it spread throughout the country. Considered a luxury food in the 18th century, eventually it became one of the most popular vegetables that’s been inspiring chef’s creativity.

White asparagus is the one we are going to use for this week’s recipe. In its simplicity, Cream of Asparagus Soup is a very elegant dish if served in a small bowl or – why not – clear cup. Just remember to peel the white asparagus since they do have an outer layer that we do not want to include. Also, a couple of tips are: use just a minimal amount of water, and add a little sugar to reduce the bitterness of the asparagus.

Start your dinner with a classic German, low calorie dish!

Ingredients ( served 6):

1/2 c. chopped onion (1 small)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 -2 lb. white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved
6 c. broth, either chicken or vegetable
1/2 c. half and half cream
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dry white wine, to taste
Parsley for garnish

Make sure you peel white asparagus before you chop it into small pieces. Here is a method for prepping white asparagus.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft in the bottom of a 4 quart saucepan. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft.

Purée the soup in batches in the blender (place a towel over the lid and hold down the lid so the hot soup does not splatter) or with a hand blender and return to pan.

Bring to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads. Cook at least 5 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Turn down the heat and add the cream. Do not boil further.

Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. You may also want to add a few spoonfuls of white wine, if you think the soup needs acidity. Garnish with parsley.

~Enjoy!
Recipe from http://germanfood.abou.com
Image copyright of Caste, Alain

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Cook N Bake Moroccan Series: Almond Briouats

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Moroccan Series Almond Briouats

After four delicious yet filling Moroccan dishes, we hope that you still have a little bit of room for the last course of our Moroccan meal: Almond Briouats.
Moroccan cuisine presents a large variety of finger food, served as appetizers as well as entrees. Among the other dishes we find the extremely popular briouats, pastries made of the thin warga (a thin phyllo sheet, as seen in last week’s blog) filled with meat or fruit, folded in a triangular or cylindrical shape and then fried or baked. Powder sugar or spices are often sprinkled on top of them before serving.
Almond Briouats are one of the most popular versions, consumed both during special occasions and as an occasional snack with a cup of tea. This dish is simply addicting with its orange and cinnamon taste covered often with honey to increase the sweetness and savor.
If you don’t have warga we remind you that you can always use phillo dough, which you can cut in stripes and fold into triangles, or if you prefer you can roll up in cylinders (similar to spring rolls).

Make Almond Briouats for a house warming party, for your kids, as dessert after dinner, or simply as a snack that can always come handy during long work days. Wherever, whenever, it’s always time for a little Almond Briouat!
Ingredients:

For the Filling
1 kg (2 lb. 3 oz.) almonds
400 g (1 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon mastic or gum arabic powder
125 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
80 ml (1/3 cup) orange flower water

For Folding the Briouats
1 kg warqa
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 or 2 egg yolks

For Cooking the Briouats
vegetable oil, for frying
1.25 kg (45 oz.) honey
1 to 2 tablespoons orange flower water
Blanch and peel the almonds. Leave to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Fry half of the blanched almonds. (Leave the other 1/2 kg of almonds raw.) To fry the almonds, heat about 1/4″ of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the almonds in batches, stirring constantly, until light to medium golden brown. Each batch should take 5 minutes or longer, providing the oil isn’t too hot. Don’t allow the almonds to get any darker, as they’ll continue to color once removed from the oil. Transfer the almonds to a strainer or tray lined with paper towels and leave to cool.

Grind the almonds with the sugar. In a food processor, grind the fried almonds with about half of the sugar until they turn to paste. Turn out the almond paste into a bowl or onto a large tray, and repeat the grinding with the blanched almonds and remaining sugar.

Mix the almond paste filling. Combine the ground almonds and sugar with the cinnamon, salt, gum arabic powder, butter and orange flower water. Use your hands to mix and knead the paste thoroughly.

Shape the almond paste into balls. Roll all of the almond paste into equal-sized balls. For the small 5 cm briouats shown above, the balls were made cherry-sized. You can make them larger if you want a larger pastry.

Fold the briouats. Enclose each ball of almond paste in a strip of warqa dough. For cherry-sized balls, use approximately a 5 cm wide strip of dough.

Spread the center of the strip with a little melted butter and place the almond paste filling near the bottom. Wrap up the bottom of the dough to enclose the filling, and shape the triangle by folding the filling – up to the right and then left – until you reach the end of the dough. Each time you fold, you’ll be flipping the bottom corner of the triangle up to the opposite edge of the dough. Trim the excess dough to make a neat flap, dab a little egg yolk on the flap to help seal and tuck it into the fold.

Fry the briouats and soak them in honey. Heat 1/4″ to 1/2″ of oil in a deep frying pan. At the same time, heat 1 kg of honey mixed with 1 tablespoon of orange flower water in a second pot. Remove the honey from the heat when it is quite hot and becomes lightly foamy on top.

Fry the briouat in batches in the hot oil, stirring gently and turning over several times, until light golden brown. On average, this should take from 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fried pastries directly from the oil to the hot honey.

Soak the first batch of pastries in the hot honey while you fry the second batch of briouats. Occasionally submerge the briouats by pushing down on them gently. When the next batch of briouats is almost ready to be removed from the oil, transfer the ones which have been soaking in honey to a strainer.

As you work with the remaining batches of briouats the volume of honey will decrease as it’s absorbed by the pastries. You’ll find that instead of submerging the pastries, you’ll need to turn them over several times to ensure that they’re getting coated with honey. If the honey eventually seems to cool and thicken, heat it again to thin it. You can also add more honey to the pot if you find it easier to work that way.

Cool and store the briouats.

After the briouats have drained for a few minutes, transfer them to a platter or tray to finish cooling. Leave them for an hour or longer to cool thoroughly before storing.

The briouats can be kept in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for a month, or in the freezer for several months. If storing in the freezer, place a sheet of plastic wrap between layers to make it easy to remove only as many cookies as you need.

~Enjoy!

Recipe from http://moroccanfood.about.com
Image from http://friendseat.com

Top Five Things You Need to Know Before The Oscars

Rometti, Oscar_statue_Oscar_Winners

For those movie enthusiast that are looking to enjoy the Oscars this year, Rometti has a few tips for the ultimate Hollywood celebration.  Thus here are the top five things you need to know before the Oscars.

1. Make it a fun night and challenge your family and friends with your superior movie knowledge.  Print your Oscar Ballot, I’ve found a great one here: http://jessicajonesdesign.com/downloads/Oscar_Ballot_2013.pdf

2. Make sure your Rometti Limoncello is stocked and chilled to be enjoyed throughout the night to show your friends you are a true mixologist, and or to proudly sip and enjoy.  Click on our Happy Hour Tuesday category for some great cocktail ideas.

3.  Check out the list below (bottom) of Rometti’s Oscar picks in the key categories including, who will win, who could win, who should win, along with the list of all the nominees.

4. During some commerical breaks test out some of your friend’s and family’s knowlege with the following Oscar Trivia:

  • The Oscar statuette weighs 6 3/4 pounds, and stands 13 1/2 inches high.  It was named by Margaret Herrick, the Academy librarian, who remarked in 1931 (upon seeing the statuettes), “Why it looks like my Uncle Oscar!”
  • This year, Nine of the 20 acting nominees — Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz, Sally Field and Helen Hunt — are previous Oscar winners in the acting races.
  • John Williams has more nominations than any other living person, with 48. The only person with more is Walt Disney. He had 59. Woody Allen is the runner-up with 23.
  • This year, there are four first-time nominees in the lead acting categories: Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”),  Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) and Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).
  • The individual who was awarded the most total Oscars was none other then Walt Disney, who walked away with 26 Academy Awards over his lifetime. He had 64 total Oscar nominations.
  • The youngest person to ever receive an Oscar was 5-year-old Shirley Temple in 1934 – However Shirley’s Oscar was an honorary one.
  • The male actor with the most Oscar nominations is Jack Nicholson, who was nominated 12 times (winning three times: twice for Best Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor).

5. Snacks! The Super bowl is over so forget Pizza, wings and other calorie regrets and try something far more healthy and surprise your family, friends and guests. Here are a few ideas:

BEST PICTURE:

The nominees:

“Amour” Nominees to be determined
“Argo” Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
“Django Unchained” Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
“Les Misérables” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
“Life of Pi” Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
“Lincoln” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
“Silver Linings Playbook” Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Zero Dark Thirty” Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers

Will win: “Argo”
Could win: “Lincoln”
Should win: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees:
“Amour” Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” Ang Lee
“Lincoln” Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell

Will win: Steven Spielberg
Could win: Ang Lee
Should win: Michael Haneke

BEST ACTOR:

The nominees:
Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Could win: Bradley Cooper
Should win: Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix

BEST ACTRESS: 

The nominees:
Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”

Will win: Emmanuelle Riva
Could win: Jennifer Lawrence
Should win: Emmanuelle Riva

Happy Hour Tuesday: Enticing Azul Bebida

Rometti Limoncello Happy Hour Tuesday Enticing Azul Bebida

Happy Hour Tuesday!

We’re almost at the end of February, and it feels like it’s been way too long since last time we got the chance to go on a vacation. Turquoise water crashing on the golden sand are still a faded memory (well, unless you happen to live in Miami or in a tropical place where we sure hope we could come visit soon!). While waiting for the Spring to come and turn slowly but pleasantly into Summer we are left with the choice of either jump on the next flight to destination Paradise, or cheer up with a delicious drink that of that blue ocean we left behind has the color and freshness: Enticing Azul Bebida.
Enticing Azul Bebida mixes Rometti Limoncello with Blu Curacao, a liqueur made similarly to Limoncello with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit grown in Curacao, an island where Spanish transplanted the Valencia orange which later evolved into the laraha fruit. Regardless of the color, Curacao is very zesty yet bitter. Its blue tint is artificial, achieved by adding the E133 Brilliant Blue colorant in order to give the liqueur a tropical, dreamy appearance.
Enticing Azul Bebida is a very suitable drink for your first barbecues of the season. It will refresh last Summer’s memories and accompany throughout the Spring until it’s time to finally go on vacation again!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Rometti Limoncello
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 Lemon juice
Club soda
Lemon wedge, garnish

In large wine glass or cocktail glass pour Rometti Limoncello and curacao over ice.
Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into glass. Add club soda to fill to the top (approx 3 oz). Stir well. Garnish and enjoy! Pura Vida!

~ Enjoy!

Recipe and Image from wwww.food.com

Cook N Bake Moroccan Series: Chicken Bestila

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Moroccan Series Bestila

Like any other country Morocco also has its own special dish for special occasions, a culinary rich and elaborated delicacy prepared mainly for weddings and holidays, a traditional dish that looks like a dessert with the powder sugar sprinkled on top but does not taste sweet at all. Inside, in fact, you will find, wrapped in layers of warga (a Moroccan phyllo leaf), either pigeon or chicken.
Bestila, or bastila, is the Arabic word that comes from the Spanish pastilla after transforming the “p” into a “b”, and means indeed “bread”, “pastel”. Bestila seems to have something in common with the Mediterranean cuisine. As a matter of fact, although the name derives from Spanish language, there are traces of Bestila all over Europe. You can find a similar dish in the Andalusia region of Spain, but also in the Middle East were pastelis is a pie stuffed with beef, pine nuts and onions. French also has a similar dish in Corsica where bastella is a meat and vegetable pie.
Bestila is usually made with pigeons, however chicken has become more

common due to its easier availability. To make the filling, the meat is shredded and browned in oil. After removing the meat from the pan, onions, parsley, spices and water are added to the oil and cooked. The mixture is left to chill and beaten eggs added to make a sauce. Eventually the meat is added, including the skin, and left to chill for hours, usually overnight. It is only after this long process that you can start assembling the warga or phyllo dough brushed with butter, bake them and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.
If you love cooking and challenge yourself with such an elaborated and tremendously delicious dish, or if for various reasons your Valentine’s Day dinner shifted to the weekend giving you lots of time to plan your menu, then Besila is the dish that will test your skills and yet will leave your significant other longing for more!

Ingredients:

1 whole, large chicken, cut into pieces, skin and fat removed
2 very large sweet white onions, chopped medium
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 eggs, beaten

2 cups whole blanched almonds
vegetable oil, for frying the almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water
1 tablespoon butter, softened

1/2 kg (about 1 lb.) warqa or phyllo dough
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk, beaten

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons cinnamon
Preparation:

Cook the Chicken

Mix the chicken with onion, spices, butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. Cover, and cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, or until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bone. Do not add water, and be careful not to burn the chicken or the sauce as this will ruin the dish.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, and reduce the sauce in the pot until most of the liquids have evaporated and the onions form a mass in the oil. Stir occasionally, and adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

While the sauce is reducing and the chicken is still warm, pick the meat off the bones, breaking it into small 2″ pieces. Stir in several spoonfuls of the onion mixture, cover the meat, and set aside.

Cook the Egg Stuffing

Transfer the remaining reduced onions and oil to a large non-stick skillet. Add the cilantro, and simmer for a minute or two. Add the beaten eggs, and cook as you would an omelet or scrambled eggs. Be patient, as it will take up to ten minutes for the eggs to set. Some oil separating from the eggs is OK. Set the egg stuffing aside.

Make the Almond Topping

Heat 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the oil is hot. Test the oil by dropping in an almond. If tiny bubbles rapidly rise around the almond within a few seconds, the oil is ready. If the oil boils and splatters immediately, it’s too hot.

Fry the almonds in batches, stirring constantly, until golden brown. As soon as the almonds are richly colored, transfer them to a tray lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Fried almonds will continue to darken a bit after frying, so be careful not to burn them while they’re in the oil.

When the almonds have cooled completely, pulse them in a food processor until finely ground. Put them in a mixing bowl, and with your hands work in the powdered sugar, orange flower water, and tablespoon of butter. Set aside.

Assemble the Bastilla

Generously oil a 14″ or larger round pan. If you don’t have a round pan, work on an oiled flat baking sheet or large plate, and shape a circular pie as best you can.

Brush melted butter on each sheet of warqa or phyllo dough as you work. If using phyllo, take care to keep it covered with plastic as you work since it dries out very quickly.

Using your pan as a guide, overlap three or four single layers of warqa (shiny side down) – or double layers of phyllo dough – in a circular fashion, so that the inner halves of the pastry dough overlap in the center, and the excess dough drapes over the edges of the pan. (Remember to butter each layer of dough.)

Place one buttered 12″ circle of warqa, or two 12″ buttered circles of phyllo, in the center of the pan. This forms the bottom of the pie.

Cover the 12″ circle with the chicken filling, and distribute the egg stuffing over the chicken.

Top the egg stuffing with another buttered 12″ circle of warqa (shiny side up), or two 12″ buttered circles of phyllo. Spread the almond topping over this layer of dough.

Fold the excess dough up and over the almonds to enclose the pie. Flatten and smooth any bulky areas.

Brush butter on the folded edges of dough, and top with three more overlapping layers of warqa (shiny side up) or phyllo, brushing butter on each layer. Fold down the edges of dough and carefully tuck them underneath the pie, molding and shaping the bastilla as you go.

Use your hands to spread the egg yolk over the top and sides of the pie. Lightly oil the bastilla in the same manner.

The bastilla is now ready for baking. It can be covered in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to a day, or in the freezer for up to two months.
Bake the Bastilla

Preheat an oven to 350° F (180° C). Place the bastilla on an oiled flat baking sheet in the middle of the oven, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Note that a bastilla placed into the oven directly from the freezer will take up to an hour to bake.

Garnish and Serve

Generously coat the bastilla with sifted powdered sugar. Sift the cinnamon on top of the sugar, or use the cinnamon to decorate the top of the pie.

Serve immediately.
~Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of http://moroccanfood.com

Happy Hour Tuesday: Latin Lover

Rometti Limoncello Happy Hour Tuesday Latin Lover

Whether you are married, engaged, in a relationship, or even single, this week there is nothing you can do to avoid this crazy little thing called love! It’s Valentine’s day week people, and we at Rometti are ready to celebrate. If you’re already taken this week’s cocktail could be like a cherry on top, a sparkly detail pre-dinner to share with your significant other, and if you’re still looking for that one person that will awaken the butterfly in your stomach don’t miss on such a delicacy to the palate, just call up on your friends, take chances and cheer to life.

The drink we selected this week is called Latin Lover. The original recipe does not include limoncello, however we thought it would work extremely well with the lemon and pineapple juice, in a combination of sweetness and citrusy which balances the pungent, earthy agave aroma of good tequila. Another ingredient of this drink is Cachaca, a Brazilian liquor obtained from fermenting sugarcane juice. Cachaca contributes to the sweetness of the cocktail, with its rum-similar taste, yet when combined with limoncello it enhances the strong, warm, zesty flavor. Cacacha differs from rum though because it is not made from molasses but from distilled sugarcane, which is why back in the day it was considered the poor people’s rum.

Latin Lover is very simple to prepare, and if presented nicely, garnished with a cocktail cherry, will bring a smile on your lover’s face.

Ingredients:
3/4 oz Tequila
3/4 oz Cachaca
3/4 oz Rometti Limoncello
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Pineapple Juice

Fill half of a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Pour in tequila, cachaca, Rometti Limoncello, lemon juice, lime juice and pineapple juice. Shake vigorously. Serve into a highball glass or martini glass, and garnish with either a pineapple slice or a cocktail cherry.

~Enjoy!
Image from http://www.sheknows.com/

Limoncello Quest; Rometti Limoncello Review

Great review from a very prominent Limoncello website that reviews all the major commercial brands now including Rometti. Check out the article below or visit online here.Rometti, Limoncello Quest Title

Rometti, Limoncello Quest Review

Rometti, Limoncello Quest Commerical Tast Chart

Top 15 Bottles for the Ultimate Home Bar / Cocktail Party

Rometti, Home Bar

I recently held a large cocktail party with an open bar and was overwhelmed at the prospect of getting all the famed cocktails covered, and while I over spent in the process I now see sticking to the classic categories of alcohol can be truly versatile.  One disclaimer, I have some preferred brands based on my own experience, do what works for you, and your budget. If anything this could be a good guide to get you on your way.  Also build this up over time.  I once had a collection of 20+ vodkas i bought slowly over the course of a year, when a New Years Party was in the works I had quite the ultimate vodka tasting (not recommend by the way unless you have Excedrin on hand).  That said, have fun with it, try a few key cocktails at a time and build up your core ingredients and special recipes.  You can even work through our Happy Hour Tuesday  section of our blog to get some great cocktail ideas, most of which you can make using this list.

Once you make your grocery list, please share your best and or worst cocktail bar experience!

Here are the must haves / Top 15 Bottles for the Ultimate Home Bar or Cocktail Party:

  1. Ketel One (Vodka)  $24
  2. Highland Park 12 yr (Single Malt Scotch)  $45
  3. Macallan 12 yr. (Single Malt Scotch) $90
  4. Beefeater (Dry Gin) $16
  5. Bombay Sapphire (Gin) $30
  6. Wild Turkey (Bourbon) $18
  7. Cazadores Blanco (Tequila) $20
  8. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum (Dark Rum) $16
  9. Havana Club (Anejo Rum) $15
  10. Rometti Limoncello (Lemon Liqueur)  $24
  11. Cointreu (Orange Liqueur)  $35
  12. Grand Marnier (Orange Liqueur)  $34
  13. Compari (Red Bitters)  $24
  14. Angosture (Bitters) $10
  15. Martini (Dry Vermouth) $10

Mixers:

Rometti, Simple_Syrup

Soda, Sprite, Tonic, Cola, Orange –Cranberry- Tomato- Pineapple Juice, homemade simple syrup.

Garnishes:

Rometti, Lemons_Limes

Cocktail Olives, Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Other exotic fruits, Sugar, Salt, Pepper.

Rometti, Ketel_One_Vodka

Vodka: While true mixoglist will say vodka is an excuse to not be creative, I say if its good for Bond its good for me, thus I default to one of the better vodka’s out there Ketel One.

Rometti, Highland_Park_ScotchRometti, Macallan_12_ScotchScotch: This is the break the bank section of your bar set up however for any true enthusiast a nice singe malt is a must. I’ve included two in my top 15 selections for good reason. The Highland Park is a good value ($45 for a 12 yr) and it’s spice notes work well as part of creative cocktails such as a London Sour.  There are a lot of incredible scotches out there but you also need one neat, not to be messed with…Macallan is a very nice smooth all-around scotch.

Rometti, Bombay_Sapphire

Rometti Beefeater Bottle

Gin: I’ve also broken this up into two bottles as well, Beefeater is cheaper and works well in cocktails as it has a nice baseline in flavor without getting a lot of the floral notes. Bombay on the other hand is much more complex and is your default to a good classic gin martini.

Rometti, Wild Turkey Bourbon

Bourbon: Unless you’re set up in West Texas, Bourbon neat may not be your most popular request, however its imperative in many cocktails.  Wild Turkey is a great low cost option.

Rometti, Cazadores BlancoTequila:  There’s a lot of great sipper Tequila’s out there i.e 1942, however your average Margarita lover wont know the difference from Don John, to Don Julio.  I find that Cazadores is a great tasting tequila that can be used in many forms without Don Julio rolling in his grave.

Rometti, Sailor Jerry Spiced RumRum: is broken up into two bottles one a spiced rum, another Anejo or aged rum which carries a stronger flavor but generally smooth.  While I’ve added Havana Club to the list, for our US readers you wont find this on any shelves here, so Sailor Jerry’s is a great choice.

Rometti Limoncello Award winning Handmade Artisanal Limoncello 

Lemon Liqueur:  Rometti Limoncello lives two lives, one is a stand alone liqueur celebrated by great Italian heritage, the other one of the most versatile liqueurs for cocktails out there.  From adding a twist, or freshly squeezed lemons, or citrus.  Limoncello is the answer, and of course Rometti Limoncello is one of the best-handcrafted 100% natural limoncello’s you can find commercially in the US.

Rometti, Grand MarnierOrange Liqueur: Two of the best brands here are incredible compliments to cocktails, Cointreu and Grand Marnier.  Countreu is a great additive if you don’t want to over sweeten the cocktail while still giving it a nice citrus balance.  Grand Marnier on the other hand is about twice as sweet, so for the right combination this can smooth things out nicely.

Rometti, Angisture_Bitters

Rometti, Campari

Bitters: I think bitters are making a come back as the mixology trend is at its peak right now.  Compari is a red bitters one of the most traditionally used in Italy and is quite refreshing. Angosture is your true cocktail bitters and one of the best I’ve tried.

Rometti, Martini_Dry_Vermouth

Vermouth: While there are many choices here Martini is widely used, and is key for your Martini’s, Manhattans, Negroni among others.

Whats your best and or worst cocktail bar experience?

CHEERS!

Cook N Bake Moroccan Series: Tajine of Lamb with Olives and Argan Oil

Rometti Limoncello Cook N Bake Moroccan Series Tajine of Lamb with Olives and Argan Oil

If you have ever been in a true Moroccan restaurant you must have had noticed that lots of dishes are called tajine. This week, may I introduce you to a great, healthy and tasty dish called Tajine of Lamb and Olives with Argan oil.
Tajine (or tagine) is in fact one of the most popular -if not the most popular!- North African dish that takes its name from the earthenware, made of painted or glazed clay, pot used to cook it. This earthenware is made of a flat base and a cone-shaped top lid that stays on the base during the cooking process, to be removed only before serving.
When you make a tajine you have to braise, slow cook the food at low temperatures and for a few hours. Lamb and chicken are the most common ingredients found in tajine dishes, together with apples, apricots, raisins, olives, prunes, nuts and of course spices such as paprika, cumin, pepper, turmeric, saffron, etc.
Argan oil, which is the third main ingredient in our dish, is made from the kernels of the argan tree and is very popular in Moroccan cuisine because of its nutritive properties. It seems in fact that argan oil contributes to prevent cardiovascular diseases, obesity and some kinds of cancer. Moreover, studies show that cholesterol can be reduced with the intake of argan oil.
If you want to impress your friends with a simple, exotic, succulent dish, then tajine is the perfect choice for you!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. (about 1 kg) lamb, cut into 2″ to 3″ pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 tablespoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/3 cup argan oil
small hanful of cilantro sprigs, tied together
1/2 cup green olives with pits
1 cup water

Layer the sliced onions on the bottom of a tajine. In a bowl, mix the meat with the chopped onion and spices, and add the mixture to the tagine along with the water, argan oil and olives. Place the cilantro bouquet on top of the meat.

Cover the tajine, and place it on a diffuser over medium-low heat. It will take some time for the tajine to reach a simmer, but once it does, leave it undisturbed for about three hours, using the lowest heat necessary to maintain the simmer.

There’s no need to open the tajine unless you smell something burning. In that case, the heat was likely too high and a little water will need to be added to prevent scorching.

After the tajine has cooked for three hours, check on the meat. It should be very tender and easy to break apart with your fingers. If necessary, cook longer. When the meat is tender, reduce any excess liquid, and serve.

It’s Moroccan tradition to serve the dish directly from the tajine in which it was cooked. It’s best scooped up with crusty bread, with each person eating from his own side of the dish.

Recipe courtesy of http://moroccanfood.about.com