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!!

Inspire: Easter eggs CAN be cool…

You know that spring is here with the arrival of fresh blooms, pretty pastels… and Easter decorations and ideas blowing up the blogosphere and Pinterest boards! While back in the day the dyeing of Easter eggs seemed to only be a (messy) childhood activity, things are a bit different now. Egg dyeing and decorating has become quite the art form!

We here at CLD love our arts and crafts and with Easter only a week away, we might go a little crazy with a few of these amazing Easter egg ideas. Here are a few of our favorites:

Hold up. Here’s a quick reminder of how to prep your eggs for dyeing and decorating:

1) Put eggs in a sauce pan in one single layer.

2) Cover with cold water, covering eggs by at least 2 inches.

3) Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.

4) Once the water is boiling, take the pot off the stove, cover the pot and let it stand for about 12 minutes.

5) After time is up, put eggs in cold water to stop the cooking process.

6) Make sure eggs are completely cooled before using and clean the shells with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar.

Now, onto the cool stuff we are dye-ing to try!

Gold Leaf Eggs.

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Inspiring Messages. Easy, all you need is a happy thought and a sharpie!

 

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Ombrè Eggs. Still on trend!

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Awesome calligraphy, great way to practice!

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Stamped eggs.

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Silk-dyed eggs.

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Modern Eggs. Uses paper maiche eggs for less mess!

Modern-Easter-Eggs-via-designdininganddiapers.com_

We hope you have a great weekend of crafting!!

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!

 

Halloween treats are not just for kids…

Ok, I cannot tell a lie: I get a little bit jealous of kids when Halloween comes around. Yes, it is somewhat acceptable for adults to dress up for the holiday; however, gorging on copious amounts of candy is not. To address this problem, I set out to make one of my favorite treats (whoopie pies), but with a Halloween twist. Whoopie pies are fantastic because they combine the soft chewiness of a cookie with frosting all in a compact little treat that’s perfect for parties (or just for yourself!)

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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Makes about 18 cookies for 9 pies.

 1.5 cups all-purpose flour

0.5 teaspoon baking powder

0.5 teaspoon baking soda

0.5 teaspoon salt

0.5 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

0.5 tablespoon ground ginger

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted & cooled

1.5 cups pumpkin puree, chilled

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. Combine the first seven dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.In a separate bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add pumpkin puree and whisk again until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk again. Finally, slowly whisk in the flour mixture until well combined. Drop large tablespoons onto the baking sheet, keeping cookies about 1 inch apart. (A small ice cream scoop is a great tool for this step!). Smooth the tops of the cookies down with a finger. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops crack a bit. Transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool.

Filling options are endless! Cream cheese is a traditional favorite (Recipe), although chocolate is divine too (Recipe).

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

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Makes about 20 cookies for 10 pies.

 1.5 cups all purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocao powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup unsweetened applesauce (helps cut down on sugar!)

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, whisk together the first 5 dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat again until smooth. With the mixer going, alternate adding small amounts of the flour mixture and then adding the applesauce, ending with the flour mixture. Mix everything until smooth, but not overly mixed. Drop large tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet, keeping cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until tops begin to crack, about 12 minutes. Transfer immediate to a wire rack to cool.

These are great with cream cheese filling or vanilla filling (recipe). Add orange food coloring or orange sprinkles for that Halloween twist.

And stay tuned for next week’s blog for a few delicious Halloween cocktails to go with these scrumptious treats!

 

Wud up party people!

So I probably shouldn’t say “wud up” because I’m not sure I can pull it off.  But today’s blog is about supplying the party to the people: ie. the booze.  How much do you need, how do you calculate amounts etc. etc. etc..

We’re gonna give you a few little formulas here, and hopefully it will leave you with a little to spare, vs. not enough.  And in some crazy states they even allow you to return the alcohol if you don’t use it!
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For a five hour event, it is likely that your guests will have average at 1 drink per hour.  Keep in mind I say average, because your sorority sister Sadie will have a few more, but big aunt Agnes will have a few less.  And at 150 guests for 5 hours, that comes out to 750 drink servings. Remember, we are overestimating to play it safe.  (Keep in mind that below I’m being literal, but feel free to round up or down to what you feel is best).  You can also alter these if you feel it will be hot and you’ll want more white wine vs. cold, or if your guests are primarily beer drinkers, etc..

Now if you’re having just beer and wine, it’s a pretty easy formula.  About 3/4 will drink wine, so you want to split it accordingly.  Wine has 5 servings per bottle:
188 bottles of beer (1 keg = approx 330 bottles, so try a half keg)
282 servings red wine = 56 bottles
282 servings white wine = 56 bottles

If you are having sparkling wine and doing a toast, you can decrease a little from everywhere, or just add on 150 servings of champagne = 30 bottles.  You could also ask them to pour half glasses, and instead order 20 bottles of sparkly.

This is a great place to start.  Now let’s say you are having 2 specialty cocktails: a bride’s drink and a groom’s drink.  We go all the way back to the beginning where we have 750 drinks for the night.  Assess your group and determine if they are more hard alcohol drinkers, or wine or beer. A handle of alcohol (60oz) you have about 30-40 servings.
So I do 750 servings and take it down to a split of 4 different categories, 25% beer, 60% wine, 15% specialty cocktails:
188 bottles of beer
225 servings of red wine = 45 bottles
225 servings of white wine = 45 bottles
57 servings vodka = 2 handles vodka
57 servings gin = 2 handles gin
and for every handle of alcohol you need 2 times the mixer, so 4 coke and 4 cranberry.

Now for the full bar, the ratio changes again.  You’re looking at about 25% liquor, 15% beer and 60% wine.  Taking our magic number 750 servings, we get:
113 bottles of beer
225 servings red = 45 bottles
225 servings white = 45 bottles
187 servings liquor (6.25 handles of alcohol, buy your favorite varietals).

Hopefully this is helpful for you and I didn’t throw around too many numbers to catch you off guard.  It should be fairly simple if you know how to break down your percentages.  And if you’re still really lost, try this alcohol calculator.