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Valentine’s Cocktails

February 14, 2011 - Written by Diana

Here are some cocktails to enjoy with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day.   :)

Sealed with A Kiss

Muddle strawberries with a dash of simple syrup. Add rest of ingredients and shake with cubed ice. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a strawberry slither and Shiso leaf. (more…)

Chocolate Mousse with Berries – Quick Valentine’s Dessert

February 14, 2011 - Written by Diana

Here’s a Chocolate Mousse recipe that’s so quick, easy, delicious and perfect for Valentine’s Day. For the Superbowl I made vegan cupcakes that were delish.  I thought the glaze tasted like pudding, but it was thick and sweet.  I took that recipe and changed it into a mousse.    This dessert is pretty fast and easy to make.

The microwave was used to melt the chocolate and goat cheese together before putting it into the magic bullet to combine it and add air (to moussify).  That’s really all it takes, pour the mousse  red raspberries and sliced strawberries in ramekins and then decoratively top with one of each and refrigerate.  This is a dessert you can make after work and cool while dinner is being devoured. I loved it and so did my husband.  One for us tonight, and another for tomorrow (no kids, oh well).

Ingredients:

Use a paper towel or cloth to drain and pat dry the tofu – blend it until smooth.  In a microwave, melt the semi-sweet chocolate for a minute, stir, place back in for another thirty seconds, stir.  Crumble in goat cheese, stir to make smooth, then place in microwave for another thirty seconds.

Pour chocolate mixture, in with the tofu, add the agave and vanilla and blend until smooth.  I used a magic bullet because it will do small amounts.  A blender would work, but may be too big for the job.

Place a couple of red raspberries on the bottom of 4 ramekins and slice one half of a strawberry for the bottom of the ramekin also.  Pour the mousse over top of the berries and place the second half  of the strawberry on top along with a red raspberry.  Cool in fridge.

Simple, Easy, Fast Delicious.

Valentines Day Cocktails featuring Yazi Ginger Vodka and Pama Pomegranate Liqueur

February 14, 2010 - Written by Diana

I’ve never tried Yazi Ginger Vodka, but it sounds really interesting.

Yazi contains four different species of ginger, an ancient aphrodisiac, along with lemon, orange, cayenne and red pepper, giving it a distinctive (and seductive) taste.

For Valentine’s inspired cocktails to complement Valentine’s Day chocolates, Hood River Distillers suggests the following:

Warm Embrace

1 part Yazi Ginger Vodka

½ part coffee liqueur

1 part half & half

Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice, serve on the rocks and garnish with a cherry.

Cupid’s Kiss

1 part Yazi Ginger Vodka

½ part pineapple juice

½ part cranberry juice

Splash sweet & sour

Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice, serve on the rocks with a lemon garnish.

Yazi Amore

2 parts Yazi Ginger Vodka

½ part Amaretto Liqueur

Splash club soda

Mix the Yazi and amaretto in a cocktail shaker, serve up, top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a cherry.

Yazi is produced by Hood River Distillers and sells for approximately $30. For more information on Yazi and additional cocktail recipes, visit http://www.drinkyazi.com.

 

Pama Pomegranate Liqueur sent us some fun Valentines Cocktail ideas to share.  I love Pama, it’s sweet and delicious.  My husband likes to cut the sweetness with a little vodka and ice to make a great movie sipper.  Pama has great ideas for your romantic evening in front of the tube also. I think the bottle just says Valentines Day.

image DARCY’S LAW 
1 oz       Burnett’s Sweet Tea Vodka 
½ oz      PAMA Liqueur 
1 oz       Fresh Lemon Juice 
¼ oz      Simple Syrup

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a 10oz Pilsner glass filled with crushed ice. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with 7 pomegranate seeds. 
Inspiration: Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice  
An unlikely pair from the start, Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story is one that ends happily ever after. Elizabeth, a headstrong young who is more interested in nature than in dating, continually ignores her mother’s pleas to get married – she was determined to marry for true love or else be a spinster. However, in a life bound by etiquette and frivolity, she meets the proud, taciturn, and very wealthy Darcy. The two seem to disagree on just about everything, but an unlikely love blooms from their antagonism. In the end, Elizabeth yields her admiration of rocks and mountains to delight in the natural charms of Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

image SECRET CHARM 
2
oz     Lunazul Reposado Tequila 
¾ oz    PAMA Liqueur 
1 oz     Chilled Hibiscus Tea 
½ oz    Fresh Lime Juice 
Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel studded with a pomegranate seed in the center. 
Inspiration: Noah and Allie from The Notebook 
Noah and Allie’s young love ill-fated from the very beginning.  Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun meet one evening at a carnival and instantly fell in love. However, despite their blossoming relationship, Allie’s parents disapproved of Noah’s un-wealthy family and moved Allie away. After waiting for Noah to write her for several years, Allie meets and gets engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon. Allie, then, with her love for Noah still alive, stops by Noah’s 200-year-old home that he restored for her, "to see if he’s okay". It is evident that they still have feelings for each other, and Allie has to choose between her fiancé and her first love.

 

image WITHOUT A BREAK 
½ oz              PAMA Liqueur 
½ oz              Yellow Chartreuse 
1 ½ oz           Burnett’s Gin 
¾ oz              Fresh Lime Juice 
1 barspoon     Simple Syrup

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with 7 pomegranate seeds. 
Inspiration: Ross and Rachel from Friends 
Ross and Rachel were the ultimate TV couple. Their never on-again off-again relationship, captured their hearts and minds of the nation for nearly 10 years. From the moment Ross laid eyes on Rachel in high school, he knew she was the one for him. After endless obstacles Ross and Rachel began dating, until the infamous night, they “they were on a break.”  However, Ross and Rachel’s relationship was far from over – Ross said Rachel’s name at the alter when he was about to marry another woman, they accidentally got married in Vegas (a marriage that Ross conveniently forgot to annul), and several seasons later, Ross and Rachel had a baby together, who was conceived during a one night stand

Fun Valentines Ideas!

February 13, 2010 - Written by Diana

I saw a commercial that showed a man in a grocery store picking out a Valentines card for his wife.  She passes by and asks what he’s doing, and he says – nothing.  Then they mention the store and say fast, cheap and easy.  Well, maybe fast, cheap and easy, but imaginative?  Thoughtful? Creative?  Depends on what you expect.  My husband does buy me flowers because I just love to see blooms on my kitchen table in the middle of winter.  I like to make my husband some Chocolate Covered Almonds.  They’re so delicious and he’s a lover of nuts, especially those. For my kids I make chocolate bars with fruit or nuts, or in fun shapes.  I have lots of ideas and most are quick and easy (though not as easy as running into the store to pick up a card) and they know that I do it because they’re worth the effort and that there’s love involved.

 

Host a Wine and Chocolate Tasting:

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You can tell by my posts that I am a wine lover.  I still don’t know a lot about wine, other than I like what I like because it tastes good.  At one of our wine tastings we were getting ready to taste raspberry wine when the server gave us some dark chocolate chips and told us to take a sip and then eat the chips.  The combination was fantastic.  I have an online friend, who regularly snacks on a few chocolate chips with her wine (Andrea, you need a search for your site). Turning Leaf sent us suggestions for pairing chocolate with wine for Valentines Day.

Dark Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

   o  The richest of all the reds, this wine boasts notes of vanilla and brown that perfectly complement the bitterness in darker chocolates.

Milk Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Merlot

    o  The fruitier character in this Merlot brings out the natural, bright flavors in classic milk chocolate.

White Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Chardonnay

    o  A twist on the common red wine & chocolate pairing, the acidity level in drier whites, such as Chardonnay, cuts through the sweetness of white chocolate making for a more balanced bite.

I’ve tried these pairings and they’re terrific.  Instead of chips, I like to do squares, arranged on a platter or a plate.  You could place a separate glass for each person by each wine.  Then fill small plates with Chocolate squares, some nuts, maybe some fruit and pour a little wine into the glasses for the tasting.  This is great for a gathering of friends.  I really liked Turning Leaf’s 2008 Chardonnay paired with some Hazelnut Milk Chocolates. That was my favorite pairing.

Fondue:

Pairing the wine with chocolate fondue is great too.  Fondue is basically heavy cream and chocolate melted over a sterno – or it can be an electric fondue.  Add a little liqueur for flavoring.  Then use strawberries, pineapple, pound cake, apple slices, pretzels, etc for dipping.  Reserve some cream to thin the fondue as it thickens. Great with wine or for your wine tasting instead of squares. 

 

Make your own hearts:

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I have Cookie cutters from Ann Clark.  They really are sturdy and sized nicely.  I’ve used my heart shaped cookie cutter to make iced birthday cookies for my mother in law, heart shaped pancakes for my daughter, and now heart shaped chocolates for my husband and son.  I melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour it into the heart mold on a flat pan . You can top with nuts, raisins, pieces of candy, then place it into the fridge to harden. It’s difficult to wait for it to be totally cool, but you have to do it.

 

Play a Game:

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The most appropriate adult game (kid friendly house, no nudity involved) for Valentines Day is Wine Wars. It’s a trivia game for wine experts and lovers of wine information, but if you’re new to the wine world, or not an expert, you can still attempt the questions.  You’ll definitely learn as you go.  The game gets better with glasses of wine though, so be ready to sniff, swirl and sip (no spitting- we’re not wasting any of the good stuff).

The game comes with trivia cards, small boards to place little colored wine bottles into as you get an answer correct, a colored die and a wine map, all packed in a small box.  This is a very packable game if you are going to a cabin for the weekend or to have fun with friends.

The categories are:

Vino to Vino – Growing grapes, making wine, and world production.

Grapeosphere – Grape varieties, their wines, and their geography.

Wine Cellar – Selecting, storing and tasting wine.

Cork Culture – Wine people, business, arts and sciences, and trivia. 

 

I’m still a learner, not a geek – this is a cool way for me to do it and I’m definitely one of those sip and learn types.  We had fun guessing at the answers, and sometimes we even got it right.

 

 

In the interest of full disclosure  – I was sent some of the items for review, ie.  Wine Wars, Turning Leaf 2008 Chardonnay and Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon, also the Ann Clark cookie cutters.  The chocolate, pancakes and cookie dough was all mine.  I was totally sober when writing this review  and the thoughts are all mine, though I did have to put down my wine glass in order to type with both hands.