Tuesday, March 16, 2010

spiced pear fizz & luck o' the Irish

Sunday...my new Saturday and favorite day of the week. Last Sunday was especially lovely-- the sun was shining and patrons everywhere seemed to be in a relaxed, cheery trance.

My solo lunch was spent sipping a smoothie from Central Market and flipping through the newest Fort Worth Foodie on the sun-drenched patio. I later amped my state of relaxation with a hot rock pedicure and late afternoon bar stools, cold beers and live music at the Love Shack So7.

After I worked a fine appetite up, my boyfriend and I meandered to Terra Mediterranean Grill to join a slew of chefs, bakers and foodie-makers for a mezze feast at its finest.

We noshed, shmeared, slurped and crunched a plethora of simple, Mediterranean plates:

earthy baba ghanoush
smooth hummus

spiced veggie moussaka
minted lebni yogurt
fried calamari with spicy tahini
warm pita
savory lamb moussaka
airy falafel
charred lamb and chicken kabobs with saffron rice
gyro with tzatziki

After I stuffed myself silly, our crew strolled across the street for some gelato and cool air. Once at
Paciugo gelato, I chose half hazelnut and half dark cherry swirl but pushed hazelnut aside for the tart, sweet cherries and vanilla. Sleep came quickly that evening with a full belly and my sweet tooth, content.

My weekly date night the following evening was spent at Ruffino's to ease my pasta cravings. The quiet restaurant was starkly cleaned with starched servers and an open window with a lovely, early evening draft pouring in. Our cordial server greeted us amicably and kept us content course after course (after course).

Our never-ending feast included:

wild mushroom crostini with apple and gorgonzola
my favorite. bitter, sweet, creamy and tangy all in one perfect bite.

free form potato gnocchi with tomato confit and peas
rich, yet airy. tomato confit intensified the dish.

morel tortelloni with braised lamb shank, feta and fried mint
a hearty dish boasting winter flavors with a minted promise of spring.

...for the sweet teeth...

crème brûlée
caramelized sugar cracked perfectly with my first bite.

pomegranate sorbet
tart, refreshing.

bruleed bananas with a lavender anglaise
this went straight to my lovebone.

I am so very excited to announce my first article from the Easy Entertaining section in Fort Worth Foodie Magazine!

For the newly-released Spring Issue, I crafted an article on simple syrups surrounding the basic ratio, uses, flavor combinations and a spiced libation from personal recipes:

Spiced Pear Fizz

Makes about four cocktails with champagne to spare.

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
Peel of 1 pear
1 peeled pear, quartered
1 star anise
4 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle of chilled, Brut champagne

Combine water, sugar, pear and spices. Simmer in a saucepan over medium heat approximately one hour until mixture is reduced by half. Set aside to cool and refrigerate overnight.

To assemble cocktail, add one part simple syrup to champagne flute and finish with two parts champagne. Garnish with a pear slice and assorted spices from syrup.

(cocktail photo courtesy of the lovely Josie Singleton)

Pick up the Spring Issue today to view my complete article and engulf yourself in reading about the melting pot that makes Fort Worth, Fort Worth! Visit Fort Worth Foodie on-line for circulation information.

Finally, St. Patrick himself would beam at these delicate, chewy cookies made especially in his honor on his namesake holiday this past week:

Irish Lace Cookies with a Fresh Nutmeg Glaze

I amped up this simple, lace cookie ratio with fresh spices, a light glaze and a hit of kosher salt for a depth of flavor.

Yields approximately 12 cookies.

3/4 c light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 T AP flour
2 T whole milk
1 t vanilla bean extract
1 and 1/4 c rolled oats
1 t salt
1 t fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer until creamy and fluffy.
Combine remaining ingredients. With a small ice cream scoop, scoop uniform cookies and arrange on parchment at least 3 inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are just set and edges are golden brown. Carefully transfer parchment with cookies to a cooling rack until cookies are completely cooled.

Finally, transfer these extremely delicate delicacies (I used a stainless fish spatula) to a serving platter to glaze.

Nutmeg glaze:

3/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c water
1 t fresh shaved nutmeg
1 t ground cinnamon
Combine ingredients. Add glaze to a squeeze bottle and apply in a criss cross pattern to cookies.


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