Indulge: July Summer Sips

Can you believe it’s already July? No matter where you are at, summer sun is shining and temperatures are going up! At CLD, we are cooling off with some of these awesome, refreshing drinks that feature in-season ingredients (with a non-alcoholic sipper for Christina, of course!).

Indulge and enjoy the heat!

Hamptonite

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Who doesn’t love fresh summer berries? And if you are going to drink wine in the heat, a great rose is the perfect pairing. After a few weeks in the Hamptons, these two ingredients came up all the time, so let’s marry the two! This drink was also inspired by the Mason Shaker’s “The Frenchie”

Ingredients;

– A handful of your favorite berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

– A wedge of lemon

– 5 mint leaves

– A glass (5 ounces) of light rose wine)

Toss all ingredients in a shaker and muddle well. Add ice, shake and strain into your favorite wine glass. Top with extra berries and mint leaves.

Fresh Strawberry Lemonade

9c3c977e5e586e8d3c6061c4147c87c4Make this by the pitcher!

– 1 cup fresh lemon juice

– One cup simple syrup (infuse with mint or vanilla bean for extra yumminess!)

– 2 cups water

– 2 cups sparkling water or soda

– One pint strawberries, sliced

Add lemon juice, simple syrup, water and half of the strawberries to a pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let strawberries infuse. When ready to serve, strain out the infused berries, add soda and fresh strawberry slices and serve.

Watermelon Cooler

839d788599cd8420ba2480dc4174546d– 1/2 cup watermelon juice

– 4 slices of cucumber

– 1/2 ounce lime juice

– A few mint leaves

– 2 ounces of vodka

– Sparkling water

Muddle cucumber, mint, lime juice and vodka in a shaker. Top with ice and watermelon juice and shake. Serve over ice and add sparkling water.

Enjoy those hot summer temps and these luscious drinks responsibly 🙂

 

Indulge: Red White and Blueberries!

Good morning US of A!  With Fourth of July just around the corner, we thought we’d do a little something refreshing since it’s been so hot throughout this gorgeous summer.  Now we love our fair share of hotdogs and hamburgers just like every other American, but sometimes you want something a little bit … lighter.  Call me crazy, but a bikini and burger aren’t always the best match *unless you’re on a Carl’s Jr. commercial*.

That is why this season, we’ve come up with a perfectly festive cocktail and a yogurt parfait in the glorious red, white and blue!
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Hard Lady Liberty Cocktail
1 part vodka
1 part pink lemonade
dash of sparkling water
top with blueberries

Bubbly Lady Liberty Cocktail
1 part sparkling wine
1 part pink lemonade
top with blueberries

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While we made a larger serving of the yogurt parfait, a great alternative is to buy a bunch of mini plastic shot glasses or cups and that way you can serve a lot of smaller portions to a larger group!  This is also the perfect snack for kids who are partaking in the festivities, so they get something healthy other than just chips and dogs.
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Red, White and Blueberry Parfait
vanilla greek yogurt (we went crazy and did vanilla, blueberry and raspberry for color!)
top with fresh or frozen berry mix to make it a chiller parfait!
add nilla wafers, granola, cereal or graham crackers for an extra crunch!

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Indulge: Summer is Coming…

While the “official” start of summer is still a month away, we all know that Memorial Day Weekend is where the summer parties get started! Temperatures are starting to climb all over the country, meaning this is the time to fire up the BBQ, fill that cooler with ice and goodies, and to start celebrating the summer season.

Today at CLD we are whipping up a tasty dessert that is a fantastic ending to any type of food fiesta. It features nectarines, although any stone-fruit will work! Stone fruits (plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, or any new hybrid of those), are starting to pop up at local farmers markets. They have a fairly limited season, so grab them up while you can! This dish is perfect for those that may be not 100% ripe yet, as they get to soak up some butter and sugar to soften up 🙂

Nectarine Up-Side-Down Cake

IMG_3478Adapted from recipe from damndelicious.net

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 nectarines, sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick wedges

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a bowl combine flour, sugar, soda, salt. Gently stir to combine.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, half of the melted butter, and eggs.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir with a rubber spatula. Don’t over mix, just stir until ingredients are just combined.
  • In either a cast-iron skillet or 9-inch cake pan, add the remaining melted butter to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Scatter the brown sugar over the pan, followed by the slices of nectarines–in an artful manner, of course!
  • Pour the cake mixture over the top of the nectarines and smooth the top.
  • Bake approximately 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cool for about 10-15 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan.
  • Place a plate/cutting board large enough to cover the pan on top of it, then flip the whole thing over, and remove the pan.  Viola!

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This recipe is also easy to divide in half for smaller parties. No matter where you are this weekend or what/if you are celebrating, please be safe and responsible! Hoping everyone has a fantastic long weekend!!

Indulge: Cinco Para Dos!

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner… on a Monday (sad face).

So why not get the party started a little early this weekend? We have a few recipes here that are just the right size for two so you can perfect them for the crowd you might have on Monday!

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Chunky Guacamole

Guac afficionados unite! Avocados have finally become readily available almost everywhere, so this tasty treat is easy to always have ready.

1 ripe avocado

1/4 cup diced white onion

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and Pepper

Your favorite hot sauce

Dice or cube the avocado (here’s a great tutorial) and put into a bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the avocado, then top with onion, cilantro, a good sprinkle of salt, 2 big grinds of pepper and as many dashes of hot sauces as your heart can handle!

Want your guac chunky? Run a small knife across the ingredients to slightly break up the avocado more, then stir ingredients together. Want it nice and smooth? Mash everything with the back of a spoon, a potato masher, or puree in a blender.

And another fun tip: if you don’t want to have that dreaded feeling of, “I went through the whole bag of chips again!” pick up a bag of baby bell peppers. Slice them in half and you have the perfect little dippers!

Guac

Citrus Margaritas for 2

I have this adorably small pitcher that holds just the right amount of liquid for about foursmall margaritas–once again perfect for 2!

Variety of citrus: lemon, orange,, grapefruit

6 ounces Tequila (a gold tequila works best for this, like a reposado or anejo)

2 ounces Triple Sec

2 ounces Agave Syrup

4 ounces fresh lime juice (about 4-6 limes)

Kosher salt

Slice up your citrus (about half of each type of fruit and put slices in a pitcher. Add all remaining liquid ingredients and gently stir with a spoon. You can slightly bruise or press into the citrus slices to release their flavor.  Fill the pitcher with ice and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, grab your favorite (small) glasses and run a slice of lime around the rim of the glass. Put the glass in a small layer of salt to coat and garnish your glass with a slice of citrus. Half pint mason jars work great for this!

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Enjoy everything responsibly and have a great Cinco de Mayo!!

 

 

Indulge: In a Happy, Healthy Easter weekend!

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We love Fridays, and this one is Good Friday, so all the more to celebrate!

While some of you may be fasting today and others not eating meat, we know there is a weekend of feasting ahead and uniting over the celebration of life! Cooking is always one of our favorite times to come together with friends and family, but with so much to do between dying eggs Easter egg hunts and possibly attending a church service, how much time do you really have to cook? Not to mention, the over-consumption of chocolate and jelly beans can be a little unforgiving, so add some delicious and savory options into the mix!

This is our quick and easy – and amazing tasting – salmon with veggies recipe for you to enjoy on this Good Friday or to serve to the masses on Sunday!
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White Wine Salmon

2 pieces salmon (or a large nice slab if there’s a group!)
White wine
lemon juice
soy sauce
garlic
sea salt
capers (optional)
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No need to do much measuring on this one, so just prep your fresh salmon in the pan pouring over a splash of wine, cover in lemon juice, add the soy, then garlic and salt.

Let marinate for no longer than 30 mins consistently re-pouring the marinade over the top of the fish.  Set the broiler on high (or enclose in aluminum wrap and throw on the grill) and cook for 10 minutes, checking every 2 mins thereafter.  Unless your fish is very thick or big, 10 mins should give you a perfect, medium cooked fish!

Brussel Sprouts

These easy peasy sprouts can cook at the same time! Start them first, then throw them in the oven when your fish starts marinating.
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1 bunch or bag brussel sprouts
olive oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cut off edges of sprouts, cut in half and peel off excess leaves that are bad. Then sprinkle with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Toss/roll around sprouts to be completely covered.  Put in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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And all you have to do is enjoy!  Feel free to add in your favorite carb side (we opted for simple cooked black beans to keep this meal lean) to round out the mix. Such little work, minimal ingredients, and nothing but smiling faces!  Happy Easter!

 

 

Indulge: A Classy St. Patty’s Day

Everyone likes to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a little differently (if they celebrate it at all!). We’ve seen all out revelry and bar-hopping, big Irish family potlucks, downing that glass of Guinness, or just simply adding that hint of green to an outfit to avoid getting pinched.

At CLD, we like to keep things on the classy side, so here are two fun St. Patrick’s inspired  indulgences to get the evening of the 17th started:

Britannia

So this is not 100% Irish, but it features and celebrates the best of everything: Whiskey from Ireland, Scotch from Scotland, and Pimm’s from England. Combined with some lime juice, agave and shaken vigorously, this cocktail is surprisingly smooth… but it could still easily leave you with the “Irish Flu” in the morning You have been warned!

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1.5 oz Irish Whiskey

0.5 oz Single Malt Scotch

0.5 oz Pimm’s Liqueur

0.75 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1 oz agave syrup

Orange peel for garnish

Chill a martini glass or coupe in the freezer. Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously, for at least 15 seconds. Pour into chilled glass and garnish with twisted orange peel.

Banana Kicker Milkshake

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Think milkshakes are just for kids? Of course not! Especially when whiskey is in the mix!

2.5 oz Irish Whiskey

1 oz milk

2 big scoops vanilla ice cream

1 banana (chopped and frozen if possible)

Green food coloring (totally optionally, but makes it festive!)

Add all liquid ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, but still thick. Enjoy!

We hope all of our readers have a fun (and safe!) St. Patrick’s Day wherever, and however, you like to celebrate!

Indulge: Chocolate covered romance

Arguably, one of them most sensual and delicious treats during the most romantic season of the year, are chocolate covered strawberries.  Chocolate covered anything, really. That, and champagne, and we are sold on this holiday!

Whether you are going out or staying home to cook for two, we love to add a little chocolate and bubbles into the mix.  The best part is that you can make them in advance so even if you go out, they are ready to be devoured when you come home.

Get 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate – morsels melt faster3 ounces white chocolate
1-2 baskets of strawberries
Bottle of Champagne!

Line a tray with parchment paper and clean strawberries for prep.  Put the chocolate in two separate bowls.  Heat in low increments of time, starting with 30 seconds, and stir with a spatula.  Dip some of the strawberries in the semi-sweet chocolate and some in white, then place on the parchment paper.  Take a fork or knive, dip it in the melted white chocolate and drizzle on top of the dark, and vice versa.  Wah-la!  Chill your champagne over night, and you have the perfect evening treat for you and your honey to enjoy!

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Indulge: Super Bowl Sunday!

Weddings may be CLD’s forte, but even we love to mix it up with other events. Case in point: Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and CLD is definitely celebrating!

Hopefully your invites have already been sent, but we have a few great ideas if you are in need of last-minute inspiration. Football parties are traditionally on the more casual side, but that doesn’t mean that the food cannot be delicious! One way to satisfy a wide variety of tastes (and food allergies or diet preferences)? A small buffet that allows your guests to customize their treats.

A taco bar is easy to assemble: have a few large bowls of sautéed veggies with spices and different meats, then put out the assorted condiments alongside. Be sure to have the basics, like sour cream, a few salsas, some chunky guacamole, lime wedges, cilantro and black beans. Have both corn and flour tortilla taco shells for everyone to enjoy.

Another cool option? Pizza bar. To save time, order in a few large plain pies and ask them to be cooked slightly underdone and pre-sliced. Have out small bowls of a wide variety of toppings. Feel free to go beyond basic pepperoni and veggies, and maybe try prosciutto, pear wedges, gorgonzola crumbles or sundried tomatoes. Guests can assemble their own slices and you can finish them off in your oven for about 2-4 minutes at 400 degrees.

Finally, no CLD event would be complete without some original cocktails! We do not have any team allegiances here (as the Titans nor the Eagles made it this year), so we’ve come up with tasty treats for both teams.

Bucking Bronco

1 oz Pendleton Whisky

1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

0.5 oz lemon juice

1 oz soda water

Garnish with  lemon wedges!

Seattle Not-So-Skinny Vanilla Latte

3 oz cold coffee

1 oz half and half

1.5 oz Kahula or coffee liqueur

0.5 oz Vanilla vodka

These can be assembled ahead of time in individual mason jars and stored in the fridge. When guests arrive, put the jars out in a basket next to an ice bucket. Everyone can throw a few ice cubes into their drink of choice, then shake away and enjoy!

Pre-measure ingredients into individual mason jars.

Pre-measure ingredients into individual mason jars.

Shake them up and enjoy!

Shake them up and enjoy!

No matter which team wins, CLD hopes all of our readers have a fabulous and safe Super Bowl Sunday!

Holiday Cheer… In a Glass!

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Holiday season is in full swing! Today we have 2 fantastic recipes to get you in the mood for the holidays and are perfect for your own parties as they are easy to make in bulk!

Christmas Sangria

image2 apples, diced
1 cup of fresh cranberries, slightly crushed
3 sprigs of rosemary
1 bottle Pinot Grigio
2 cups sparkling apple cider

Combine all ingredients into your favorite pitcher and chill for 1-2 hours. Serve in small glasses, garnished with a small sprig of rosemary.

Peppermint Pops
Makes 4, 1.5 ounce shooters

3 oz peppermint schnapps
3 oz Godiva white chocolate liqueur

Combine two liqueurs into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, then divide between 4 shot glasses. Garnish with peppermint sticks.

Enjoy these holiday treats at your next fiesta or fun dinner at home. Please enjoy responsibly and have fun at all of your holiday events!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting a feast in your own home or traveling out to family and friends, no Thanksgiving would be complete without some custom cocktails! How else would we survive this holiday??

DSC_0251 Partridge in a Pear Tree

This is one spicy and potent martini! The combination of spiced rum and cinnamon is sure to warm you right up.  Be sure to visit our Facebook page for instructions on making your own homemade pear vodka!

¾ oz pear vodka 

¾ oz spiced rum

¾ oz Amaretto (or other almond liqueur)

¾ oz vanilla vodka

1 oz pear nectar or juice**

pinch of ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients into an ice filled shaker and shake away. Pour into a chilled martini glass and enjoy.

*If you made home-made pear vodka, keep the pear you used for your infusion. Puree that pear and freeze it for a great substitution for pear nectar.

Autumn Apple

DSC_0221Recipe courtesy of Chef Paco Solano, Executive Chef & Owner of Solano’s Bistro in La Quinta, CA. Another libation with a cinnamon kick! This is Chef Solano’s take on an autumn mojito.

2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

3 tbs diced apple (any variety works or substitute with 1.5 oz of apple juice)

¾ oz lemon juice

¾ oz honey or simple syrup

5 mint leaves

Club soda

In a shaker, muddle the whiskey, apple, lemon, syrup and mint leaves. Fill shaker with ice and shake away. Pour contents into an ice filled Collins glass and top with soda. Garnish with apple slices and mint.

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without pumpkin pie! If you don’t have time to whip up a whole pie, these martinis can be made in a flash and are just as delicious.

1 tbs pumpkin puree

1 oz vanilla vodka

½ oz spiced rum

½ oz maple syrup

1 oz heavy cream

Pumpkin pie spice

Vanilla sugar or crushed graham crackers

Wet the edges of a martini glass and dip the rim in either vanilla sugar or crushed graham crackers. Put glass in freezer to chill while making martini.

Combine the puree, vodka, rum, syrup, heavy cream and a few sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice in a shaker with a few ice cubes. Really shake the contents with the ice to make the cream super frothy. Pour the mixture into the chilled martini glass. Put a final shake of pumpkin pie spice on the top of the martini.

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Please enjoy these cocktails responsibly (no matter what crazy relative you are seated next to!). From all of us at CLD, no matter where you are or whom you are celebrating with, we hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!