{Cocktails} 4 summer spirits for the 4th of July

Shake things up this FOFourth with anything-but-ordinary summer spirits from FOF cocktail guru Cheryl Heisler. (Plus, have your own cocktail question for Cheryl? Ask it, here!)

What you’ll need:
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part Pinot Grigio
Splash of Campari
Wine glasses

Prepare a large white wine glass with ice. Fill 1/2 with grapefruit juice, 1/2 with Pinot Grigio. Add a splash of Campari. Mix gently and enjoy.


What you’ll need:
Seasoned pepper
Sea salt
1 part scotch whiskey (Try “Scottish Leader” or another “peaty” flavored brand)
2 part Bloody Mary mix (medium spicy)
Highball glasses
Corn on the cob (for garnish)

Prepare lowball glasses by wetting the rim in a little water and then twisting them on a small plate with a mixture of sea salt and seasoned pepper. Fill with ice. Pour 1 part scotch whiskey into the glasses and roughly 2 parts Bloody Mary mix. Stir.
To garnish, oil and season an ear of corn on the cob. Grill until grill marks show. Remove from fire and slice horizontally into one inch disks, cutting a small notch in each disk. Allow corn to cool to room temperature then garnish the lip of each glass with a corn disk. (Note: garnish should be made in advance to allow for cooling time.)


Note: If you make this as an individual drink, “1 part” should equal 1/4 oz.; keep the percentages the same and you can blend up a whole swarm at once!

What you’ll need:
1 part vodka
1 part gin
1 part light rum
1 part tequila
1 part triple sec
4 parts sweet and sour drink mix

Orange juice
Cherries (for garnish)
Pitcher or tall glass


In a shaker or blender, combine ice plus vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, and sweet and sour. Strain into a tall glass (or divide and strain mix equally into multiple glasses). Fill each glass to the top with orange juice. Garnish with a fresh stem-on cherry.


What you’ll need:
1 part Kahlua
1 part Bailey’s Irish Crème
1 part white crème de cacao (you can also use dark crème de cacao — the flavor will be the same, but the drink will retain more of a coffee color)
3 parts cream
Cocktail or martini glasses
Cinnamon sticks or whipped cream and shaved, dark chocolate (for garnish)

Pre-chill a stemmed cocktail or martini glass. In a shaker, combine Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Crème, crème de cacao and cream. Shake well. Strain into chilled glass. Garnish simply with a cinnamon stick, or, if you are feeling decadent, top with whipped cream and shaved, dark chocolate!

{Food} No-fail entertaining recipes and wine pairings, your guests will love!

We asked 3 of our FOF Food Gurus for their no-fuss, no-fail recipes for entertaining. They dazzled us with 3 mouthwatering dishes. Next, we turned to wine pairing guru FOF Jill Silverman Hough, author of the 100 Perfect Pairings cookbooks, for her wine picks for each dish.

The only thing you have to do now is set the table….


FOF Guru debg2 recommends:

Parmesan Chicken with Fresh Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002

“If I don’t know everyone well, I keep it simple with special details they’ll appreciate. Parmesan chicken topped with fresh greens and light lemon vinaigrette is impressive on the plate, mostly fail-proof and looks like a lot more work than it is.”

{Click here for the recipe!}

Parmesan Chicken with Fresh Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002
Serves 6.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – pounded down to about 1/4″ thick (rolling pin works)
1 cup flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1 T water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving on top
unsalted butter (at least 8 T)
olive oil
salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry (recommended: spring greens)

For the lemon vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper

Make the lemon vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with the tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2-3 chicken breasts on medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove to clean pan. Add more butter and oil and cook the remaining chicken breasts. Chicken can be prepared to this point then placed in oven preheated to 200 degrees to keep warm until ready to plate.

Assembling the dish:
Toss the salad greens very lightly with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Shave some parmesan with a potato peeler and place a few shavings ontop of the salad greens.

Jill’s perfect wine pairing: Pinot Grigio or a crisp Chardonnay. Try: Grgich 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay or Cupcake 2009 Pinot Grigio from Trentino, Italy.

“This dish has rich elements – the Parmesan coating, the skillet browning, and the meatiness of the chicken that are nicely complemented by a pile of brightly-dressed greens. A crisp Chardonnay will work with both. Pinot Grigio will be slightly lighter, but keep with the Italian feeling of the dish.”

FOF Guru gomargonm recommends:

Salmon en Papillote with Festive Molded Rice

“With this recipe, the prep work is done before the company comes. While everyone is enjoying drinks and appetizers, I pop it in the oven. I like to cut the packets open at the table. It makes for ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’!”

{Click here for the recipes!}

Salmon en Papillote
Serves 6

6 – 6oz pieces of salmon fillet
1 carrot, cut in fine julienne
12 large mushrooms, sliced
½ lb sugar snap peas, or snow peas
2 small yellow squash, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Parchment paper or heavy duty aluminum foil.

For the Teriyaki Sauce
1 T minced garlic
1 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup dry sherry
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup brown sugar

Make the Teriyaki sauce by blending together garlic, soy sauce, sherry, lemon juice and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by 1/3. (May be kept in refrigerator for up to one month. Stir well before using.)

Place all vegetables in a mixing bowl. Add just enough teriyaki sauce to coat. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place a portion of vegetables on bottom of each piece of parchment or foil. Arrange a salmon fillet on top of vegetables and spoon 1 T. teriyaki sauce over top.
Tightly seal the package and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Open packets carefully, as steam will escape.

Festive Molded Rice
Serves 6

1 ½ cups jasmine rice
3 cups water
1/3 cup chopped pistachios – reserve 3 T for garnish
1/3 cup chopped cilantro – reserve 2 T for garnish
Pinch of kosher or sea salt

Place all ingredients in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Spoon rice into a rice mold, small ramekin or clean tuna fish can. Unmold on dinner plate. Garnish with reserved pistachios and cilantro.

Jill’s perfect wine pairing:
An off-dry Riesling or an off-dry Gewürztraminer. Try: Chateau St. Michelle 2009 Eroica Riesling

“The teriyaki sauce is going to make this dish slightly sweet. An off-dry wine will have just enough sweetness to complement it. Riesling will be a little lighter than Gewurztraminer, cleansing your palate between bites. Both are classic pairings for Asian foods.”

FOF Guru Apple Pie recommends:

Individual Beef Wellingtons from Sandra Lee on ABC News

“An easy one when you have leftover beef or even lamb and just as festive as regular Beef Wellington. Or if you wish, use tender chunks of filet.

{Click here for the recipe!}

Individual Beef Wellingtons
Serves 4  multiply as needed )

2 T. butter
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen chopped onions
2 t. crushed garlic
1/2 t. salt
2 T cognac
1 sheet (from 17-ounce box) frozen puff pastry, thawed,
1 box (5.2-ounce) semisoft herbed cheese, softened, ex: Boursin
2 cups coarsely chopped leftover beef or lamb
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, and salt. Cook about 10 minutes or until juices released from mushrooms have evaporated. Add cognac; cook until cognac has evaporated.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12-inch square. Cut into four 6-inch squares. Divide cheese among puff pastry squares, placing cheese in center of each square. Top with leftover beef; top with mushroom mixture.
In a small clear bowl, lightly whisk together egg and the water. Brush the edges of the puff pastry squares with the egg mixture. Pull the corners of each pastry square to the center; pinch edges closed. Place, seam sides down, on a baking sheet. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove Wellingtons from refrigerator and brush tops of pastries with the remaining egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Jill’s perfect wine pairing:
Merlot. Try: Freemark Abbey 2007 Napa Valley Merlot

“Merlot will be big enough to stand up to the intensity of the beef and the rich puff pastry, but it also typically has some softness, which will nicely complement the semi-soft cheese.”

Images via Food Network, The Tea Chick, Forward and Williams Sonoma

{Giveaway} Win $250 of Party Goods from Windy City Novelties

60s party? Halloween party? Birthday party? Whatever your next event…it’s sure to be even more fab with a $250 gift certificate to brilliant FOF biz, Windy City Novelties.
FOF Robby Levy of Windy City Novelties, an event and party goods super-site with everything from custom invitations and personalized banners that you can create, preview and order on the spot to glow products galore.

“I’ve helped out with huge events like the Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl and New Years Eve at the Mirage in Vegas and Trump Casinos high roller parties,” says Robby. “I love our light-up barware and glow products for events like these. Guests’ faces light up when they see them.”

To enter, comment below and answer this one question: What do you think is the secret to a fun party?

Contest ends Thursday, September 23, 2010 at midnight E.S.T. View all the past FOF winners, here. Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

from →  ,

{Food} FOF Fall Dinner Party

Is it possible to create a dinner party menu that has the complex flavors of fall but is easy on the host? Three genius FOF caterers took on the challenge. Here, they share a make-ahead autumn feast guaranteed to leave your guests singing for seconds.

Honey-Pear Sparkler
FOF caterer Abigail Kirsch of Abigail Kirsch Catering

“The cocktail  is a great fall go-to – It showcases the best of the fall season, pear and honey with a touch of effervescence.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Sweet Potato and Green Apple Soup

FOF caterer Abigail Kirsch of Abigail Kirsch Catering

“The soup is made from familiar ingredients, but used in a unique way.  People like a new twist on a familiar flavor. It’s also vegetarian-friendly and has a lot of visual appeal with bright harvest colors.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Autumn Moroccan Chicken Beestaya
FOF caterer Alison Mesrop of Alison Mesrop Catering

“It’s a good party dish because you can make it entirely in advance and it can sit out for a long time on a buffet, it retains heat well. It makes for good conversation because people can’t quite pinpoint the flavors.  They are warm and interesting; a balance of sweet and savory and a tiny bit of heat that is universally appealing. It also makes wonderful centerpiece for a meal accessorized with couscous, roasted veggies or several fresh salads.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Pear Tarte Tartin
FOF caterer Susan Gage of Susan Gage Caterers
“It’s a great fall dessert. It’s seasonal, colorful and pears tend to be a little unappreciated. The cranberries are a wonderful tart contrast to the sweet pears.  We find that this dessert can add an elegant finish to any meal.”

{click here for the recipe!}