Random Appetites: Vampire Punch… with Clots!

October 28, 2008

Ghoulishly delicious! At last year’s Pumpkin Party I went with a decidedly more spooky, classic Halloween theme that I usually opt for (the norm being general Fallishness). Along with some spookier food choices, I served this very yummy, if slightly gross, punch. It’s alcohol free, as well, so all y’all non-alky readers can enjoy without impediment: Vampire Punch with Floating Clots originally from Today’s Parent 1 Quart Red Grape Juice 2 Cups Orange Juice 2 Cups Pineapple Juice 1 Bottle Gingerale 1 Box frozen Strawberries, semi-defrosted Chill all ingredients ahead of time to prevent diluting the punch with melting ice later on. Mix together the fruit juices and then, just before serving, add in the Gingerale and the strawberries. This works best in a big punch bowl, of course, so that guests get the real impact of the floating strawberry “clots.” That’s the punch, nice and simple. But down here in the South we have this glorious tradition of party punches served up with sherbet in the center–not only does it help to keep the punch cold but it adds sweetness and creaminess. In fact, if you sub the red grape juice for white and ditch the OJ, you’ve got […]

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Random Appetites: Pittypat's Porch

October 21, 2008

So, last week I raved about Trader Vic’s and their famous Mai Tai cocktail. This is not that kind of post. PItty Pat’s Porch, in Atlanta, Georgia, is more gimmick than gourmet, and not necessarily in a good way. For those who don’t get the reference, Pittypat was the Aunt of Charles Hamilton, Scarlett’s first husband from “Gone With the Wind”, and in whose home she stayed during the War before running home to Tara as Atlanta burned. Anyway, the place is memorabilia central and I have to give them credit for the overwhelming theming: the tables are set with pewter goblets and chargers, the chairs have cane seats, there’s china everywhere and the menus are actually wooden-handled church fans. Not bad. Unfortunately, the food was mostly underwhelming. We started with drinks. I ordered Pittypat’s Pitch which was eh on taste and whose garnish was a sloppy orange slice and maraschino cherry, the pith of the former souring the drink a bit. Todd had Melanie’s Lemonade which was actually pretty good. The drinks are pricey but you get to take the glass home, so keep that in mind. The Pitch came in a small mason-jar with handle but the Julep […]

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Random Appetites: Trader Vic's Mai Tai

October 14, 2008

And back to the booze! Well, sort of… While at Dragon*Con 2008 Todd and I had dinner at Trader Vic’s. Let me tell you: it was phenomenal! What we had: Shared Appetizer: Cosmo Tidbits (BBQ Spareribs, Cha Sui pork, Crab rangoon and crispy prawns) Shared Starter: Bongo Bongo Soup Todd’s Entree: 20oz Ribeye Jenn’s Entree: Pancetta Scallop Skewers Todd’s Dessert: Banana Fritters Jenn’s Dessert: Trio of Creme Brulee (mai tai, coffee, and coconut) Holy Cats! but that was a good supper! There really wasn’t anything that we didn’t like and we both took some of our dinner back up to the room because it was just a lot of food. There was only one little thing that struck me as odd: The Cosmo Tidbits appetizer is meant for 2 and while it is 12 pieces, there’s 3 of each thing. Now, we’re really good at sharing, lol, but it seems like it would make a lot more sense (and this goes for a lot of shared dishes where there’s a definite quantity) to have even numbers of each item to make it that much simpler to split. But it’s a minor complaint and certainly didn’t impact the experience. And I […]

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Random Appetites: BYOP Basics

October 7, 2008

In September, 1999, I had just ended my brief career as a pastry chef to return to the more lucrative bookkeeping job I’d left and had recently been dumped by my boyfriend of more than a year. It was the first time in two years I found myself with loads of free time. Not only did I start watching a lot of television around this time, I also got back into crafting. And while flipping through “Crafts” magazine, full of all sorts of Halloween projects, I saw a small inset about throwing a BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) party. That Fall was my first of a string of very successful Pumpkin Parties whose invitations are, actually, quite coveted. This year is, unfortunately, a non-BYOP year for me as I have a couple of schedule conflicts but, hopefully, next year will see BYOP-6 (I mean, I already have a theme in mind!). But if you want to throw your own, here’s the basics: Have it up to a week before Halloween itself. This prevents schedule conflicts with the actual holiday and gives people more time to show off their creation. Depending on your October weather, a week may be pushing it. […]

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Random Appetites: Martini Mishaps

September 30, 2008
Random Appetites: Martini Mishaps

Welcome to cocktail hour, kiddies! First, a little background may be in order: The classic martini is made with gin and vermouth (2:1 ratio) and garnished with either cocktail olives or a twist of lemon. The vodkatini made popular by 007 himself has become accepted as a substitute and with it have come numerous flavor variations. The common element, though, is that there be either gin or vodka in the drink. I’m no purist, to be sure, as I find the straight martinis to be way too bracing for me. (This has a lot to do with my first encounter involving a dirty martini–one that’s had a splash of the olive juice added–that was way too strong for mixer-loving me.) Beginning in the Fall of 2005, however, I learned to love flavored martinis with a passion and spent over a year on a Mangotini kick like you wouldn’t believe. An unfortunate New Year’s Eve experience has since put me off the mango variety, mores the pity, but such is life. Being somewhat adventurous and quite enamoured with pomegranates of late, I ordered a Pomegranate Martini at a local chain eatery named for a knowledgeable fruit and a very possessive insect. […]

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Random Appetites: Party Food!

September 23, 2008

Nothing like being fashionably late, no? (actually, a day off is a bit more than that but I’ll hope you’ll forgive me, I come bearing treats! or, well, at least recipes for them!) The annual party season is soon to be upon us and the realization that I have not hosted a single, solitary party this year is rather sobering. Of course I plan to rectify the situation just as soon as feasible (looking like November at this point) but, in the mean time, I’ve been thinking about some of my party nibble stand-bys that have come to be known as the various sorts of “crack” served at my parties. I think I’d be lynched if I didn’t serve them! Bacon-Wrapped Artichoke Hearts (aka Bacon Crack) Quartered artichoke hearts Bacon Seriously, folks, this is as easy as it gets! Wrap each quartered artichoke heart with a half-slice of bacon and set it seam side-down on a baking sheet. I suggest one covered in foil for easy clean-up and definitely one with a lip to catch the bacon grease. You can also skewer the bundles on toothpicks or several on a kebab skewer (usually 5 or 6 will fit per skewer […]

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Random Appetites: Tuaca

September 16, 2008

Not only is it a fun word to say, it’s pretty tasty as well! (though the urge to go “tu-a-ca-ca-ca” a la Disturbed’s Down With the Sickness is nearly overwhelming) Now, even though I’m no longer IN the hospitality industry I still figure I’ve been around enough (and watch enough Food Network) to have at least heard most things on the market. Imagine my curiosity when, while perusing the dessert options the other night at The Melting Pot, Todd and I came upon this flavor option that we’d never heard of! Since it was listed along with liqueurs like Chambord and Grand Marnier (among others) we figured that it was another liqueur, we just couldn’t figure out what flavor. Internet to the rescue! Once home we did a little digging (very little, actually) and were able to find out exactly what Tuaca is (from their website): Tuaca: a premium Italian liqueur with a hint of citrus and vanilla. Later that weekend we were out shopping (well, I was shopping, Todd was being a very good sport and keeping me company for the most part–have I mentioned how good a sport he is about things like this?) and passed a liquor […]

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