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FOOD FUN: Fish Bowl Or Shark Tank Punch

Fish Bowl Punch

Gummy Sharks

[1] Sip the punch, eat the fish (photo and recipe courtesy CocktailsDetails.com). [2] Prefer to swim with the sharks? Use shark gummies instead. Or make a statement by using four fish and one shark (photo courtesy Amazon.com).

 

Last summer we presented Pool Party Punch, a cocktail as blue as a swimming pool.

This year, it’s Fishbowl Punch from CocktailDetails.com, with our own variation, Shark Tank Punch.

You can also make a non-alcoholic punch (recipe below).
 
RECIPE: FISHBOWL PUNCH OR SHARK TANK PUNCH

Ingredients For 64 Ounces (1/2 Gallon*)

  • 5 ounces vodka
  • 5 ounces Malibu rum
  • 3 ounces blue Curaçao
  • 6 ounces sweet-and-sour mix (make your own)
  • 16 ounces pineapple juice
  • Half-gallon goldfish bowl
  • 1/2 cup Rainbow Nerds candy or other gravel-like candy
  • Optional: fish tank plant
  • Ice cubes†
  • 16 ounces Sprite
  • 4 Swedish Fish or Gummy Sharks
  • Garnish for the bowl: lime slices
  • Garnish for each glass: a fish or a shark
  •  
    __________________
    *1/2 gallon= 64 ounces = eight 8-ounce servings = ten 6-ounce servings = or sixteen 4-ounce servings. Serving size includes ice.

    †Use large ice cubes, if possible. The larger the ice, the slower it melts, the less dilution of the drink.

    Preparation

    1. COMINE the first five ingredients in a pitcher and stir to blend. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    2. SPRINKLE the Nerds on the bottom of the fish bowl to create “gravel,” and anchor the optional fish tank plant.

    3. ADD ice to the bowl; then add the the chilled punch and the candy fish/sharks. Top off with lime slices.

    4. LADLE the punch into glasses and garnish with a fish. Alternatively, you can provide the ladle and glasses for self-service.
     
    NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION

    Ingredients

  • 1 package Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 12 ounces bottled Piña Colada mix (no alcohol)
  • 1 two-liter bottle of Sprite or other lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Garnishes per above
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the Kool-Aid powder and sugar in a large pitcher. Add half the water and whisk thoroughly to dissolve, making sure that the powder and sugar dissolve.

    2. ADD the remaining water and the Piña Colada mix. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    3. CONTINUE with Step 2 in the alcoholic version.

    4. ADD Sprite to fill the pitcher, stir gently and serve.
     
    PLANNING A WEDDING OR OTHER SPECIAL EVENT?

    Take a look at CocktailsDetails.com.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gazpacho Shooters

    Gazpacho Shooters

    Gazpacho Shooters

    [1] A gazpacho shot at Fabrick | NYC. [2] A blender gazpacho from OuiChefNetwork.com. Here’s their recipe for their beautiful, orange-hued gazpacho.

     

    As the party is getting started, serve guests a gazpacho shot. Gazpacho, a chilled vegetable soup, is so refreshing on a warm day. Why National Gazpacho Day is December 6th, we have no idea.

    You can add a tablespoon of gin, tequila or vodka to each shot; or serve mocktails. A bonus: Even a small amount of gazpacho can add another portion of veggies to your daily intake.

    You can serve the shooter in a shot glass (you can buy decent ones in hard plastic) or four-ounce juice glasses. Or, ditch the concept of shooters and serve as a full-blown drink, in whatever type of glass you like.

    And, you can make them just for the family, with brunch or before dinner.

    Just make your favorite gazpacho recipe (we have some recipes below). You can simply toss the ingredients into a blender. If you don’t like to cook, your food market may sell gazpacho along with the other fresh soups.
    Or, you can make the Gazpachito recipe below, a cross between a Bloody Mary and a Tequila & Lime shot.
     
    RECIPE #1: BLENDER TOMATO GAZPACHO

    This is our lower calorie version, omitting the bread and the olive oil of a conventional recipe. It also works better for a cocktail.

    Simply layer the ingredients in a blender:. You can vary the vegetable proportions to bring out the flavors you like best.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1-2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 red onion or green onions (scallions) to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Choice of white spirit
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vegetables and seasonings in a blender and blend to your desired consistency.

    2. TASTE and adjust the proportions and seasoning to taste.

    3. PLACE the blender in the fridge to chill and allow the flavors to meld. Re-taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    4. SPLIT the batch. Add the alcohol to one portion, leaving a portion alcohol-free. If you know that all the guests will want alcohol, add spirit to the entire batch.

     

    RECIPE #2: GAZPACHITO SHOT

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce blanco (silver) tequila
  • 1-1/2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 ounce sherry
  • Garnish: 2 slices of green or red jalapeño
  • Garnish: cucumber spear for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE the ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled shot glass. Garnish with one or two cucumber spears.

    2. SLAM the shot and then eat the garnish.
     
    GARNISH OPTIONS

  • Avocado slice.
  • Baby beets or diced whole beets.
  • Celery or fennel stick of celery, broccoli or cauliflower floret.
  • Cheese cube.
  • Cucumber slice.
  • Cooked shrimp or a raw sea scallop, notched onto the rim of the glass.
  • Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely chopped fresh herbs); crème fraîche or sour cream.
  • Small boiled parsley potato.
  •  
    You can serve the shooters with a tray of crostini as crunchy counterpoint.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO OPTIONS

  • Don’t like tomatoes? Make gazpacho verde, green gazpacho. There’s also the history of gazpacho.
  • Don’t like tomatoes, onion and bell peppers? Make white gazpacho, which is the original gazpacho recipe. Tomatoes came later.
  • Something Snazzy: Try yellow gazpacho, made from yellow bell peppers.
  • Beer Gazpacho: This recipe, with added beer and salsa, is from Chef Rick Bayless.
  • BLT Gazpacho: Make this recipe, or simply add a slice of crisp bacon and some baby arugula to garnish your favorite tomato gazpacho recipe.
  • Fruit Gazpacho: Try Mango Gazpacho or Pineapple Gazpacho. Both are savory recipes with sweet fruit accents.
  • Chocolate Gazpacho: The recipe is also savory, like mole sauce.
  •  

    Gapachito Shot

    Classic Tomato Gazpacho

    [1] A Gazpachito (photo courtesy Skyy Spirits). [2] A bowl of tomato-based gazpacho (photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com).

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frozen Fruit “Ice Cubes”

    We love to flavor water with fresh fruit, and to add fruit to ice cubes.

    Here’s a twist on conventional ice cubes: Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

    We have long made “party ice cubes” with a strawberry or other fruit (plus herbs, or savory ice cubes like cherry tomatoes and basil) embedded in an ice cube, but with frozen fruit only, there’s no surrounding ice to dilute the drink.

    The only advisory:

  • Plain frozen fruit alone works better for drinks that are already chilled.
  • Fruits embedded in ice cubes will keep frozen longer, and are better for room temperature drinks.
  • However, watermelon, with its higher water content, can be cut into ice cube shape. The flavor doesn’t work with every beverage, but when it does, it’s terrific!
  •  
    THE “RECIPE”

  • Wash and pat dry fresh strawberries or other fruit. If the leaves on strawberries are perky-looking, you can leave them on.
  • Place the fruit in the freezer in a pan, spaced so they don’t freeze together. When the fruit is frozen, you can remove it to a storage bag.
  • The easy way: Purchase bags of frozen fruit and use two or more varieties in each glass—strawberries and sliced peaches, for example.
  • Match the fruits to the flavors and colors of the drinks: cherry ice cubes, citrus (we love blood orange or grapefruit), cucumbers, grapes (use mixed colors), melon (try melon balls), other berries and sliced stone fruits.
  • Don’t stockpile the frozen fruit or fruit ice cubes: Make only what you’ll use within a week.
  •  
    MORE ICE CUBE IDEAS

  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • July 4th Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry-Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Tea, Coffee Or Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  •  

    frozen-strawberry-calpizzakitchen-230sq

    Fruit Ice Cubes

    Top: Freeze fruit to substitute for ice cubes (photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen). Bottom: The more conventional way: Add fruit or herbs to the water before freezing the ice (photo courtesy Zespri| Facebook).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Bacon Clothesline

    The innovative chef David Burke has 11 restaurants, stretching from Manhattan to Aspen.

    His playful yet polished cuisine has long featured memorable dishes, from Angry Lobster to Chocolate Burke’In Bag (a molded chocolate bag filled with mousse) to our latest fancy, Bacon On A Clothesline.

    Unlike many of his dishes, you can make your own Bacon On A Clothesline. It was all the rage at one of our recent parties, hanging on a string stretched between poles next to the bar. Get your drink, unpin a crisp slice of bacon and enjoy!

    If you’re entertaining outside for Father’s Day, rig up your own bacon clothesline for memorable “bar food.”

    Bacon On A Clothesline was created for Chef Burke’s latest restaurant, Fabrick. The menu also features a revolving choice of dishes such as Octopus Tacos, Baked Pork Shoulder with “Angry” Garlic, Skate “Chop,” Avocado Panna Cotta, Chicken Mousse with Crisped Chicken Skin and “Sticks On A Salt Brick”—skewers of duck parts on a slab of pink Himalayan salt.

    David Burke Fabrick is on the ground floor of the newly renovated garment district hotel, the Archer Hotel, a boutique hotel that also houses a Burke Group rooftop lounge, Spyglass, with skyline views.

     

    Bacon On A Clothesline

    Bacon, three strips of candied bacon with clothespins to a wood framed “clothesline.”

     
    There’s also and a California-style aerie at the entrance to the hotel, where you can have a cocktail and people watch.

    Fabrick is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, at 47 West 38th Street, Manhattan; 212-302-3838. The website: DavidBurkeFabrick.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: DIY Bruschetta Bar

    Bruschetta

    Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

    DIY Bruschetta Bar

    Top: Grab a slice and pick your toppings. We love this selection from WhatsGabyCooking.com. Center: The classic bruschetta topping: tomatoes, olive oil and basil. The tomatoes can be halved cherry or grape tomatoes or diced beefsteak or roma tomatoes (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.com). Bottom: As a bonus for guests, grill the bread as you need it, so it will be warm. Photo courtesy Brit.co (see their other fun DIY bars).

     

    Oh, how we love bruschetta and crostini. Take slices of good crusty bread and grill (bruschetta) or toast (crostini—see the differences below) and add your favorite toppings. Crunchy and savory, it’s our idea of what to have with beer, wine or a Martini.

    It’s easy to toast bruschetta on the grill, and to take it one step further by setting up a DIY bruschetta bar for guests. If you’re grilling for Father’s Day, it’s a memorable way to start the event, with any beverage from iced tea and soft drinks to alcohol.

    By the way, that’s broo-SKETT-uh, not broo-SHETT-uh). The word is not only mispronounced in the U.S., but also misued. Bruschetta is the grilled bread, not the topping: bruscare means “to roast over coals.”

    We’ve seen jars of marinated tomatoes and basil sold as “bruschetta.” It should be labeled bruschetta topping.
     
    RECIPE: DIY BRUSCHETTA BAR

    All you need are bread, olive oil and toppings. For a DIY bar, offer at least three different toppings. Our favorites are below.
     
    Ingredients

  • Baguette loaves
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper and peeled, halved (horizontally) garlic cloves
  •  
    For The Toppings

  • Avocado, mashed and seasoned (garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc.)
  • Fresh basil, julienned/shredded
  • Greens: baby arugula or watercress
  • Marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • Mushrooms, marinated
  • Onions or green onions (scallions), chopped
  • Peppadews, sliced
  • Pimento, chopped or sliced
  • Tomatoes, diced and marinated in oil and vinegar
  •  
    More options: shredded mozzarella or other cheese (ricotta, spreadable goat cheese, thinly-sliced Brie), fish (we have a passion for anchovies and herring salad on bruschetta), other marinated vegetables, prosciutto or sliced salame with mustard or mostarda.
     
    Preparation

    1. SET out the toppings and teaspoons for serving. We use ramekins; you can use any bowls you have.

    2. SLICE the bread from 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Rub each side with cut garlic clove and brush each side with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill to your desired toastiness.

    3. PLACE the bread on a platter next to the toppings and watch people create their appetizers.
     
     
    BRUSCHETTA VS. CROSTINI: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    Bruschetta and crostini are popular hors d’oeuvres/snacks that are easy to make. They’re a perfect pairing to wine and beer, and also can be served as a first course or a light meal, with a salad and/or soup, or with cheese.

    The differences between the two are the size of the slice and the cooking technique.

  • Bruschetta are cut from baguette-style loaves that are three or four inches in diameter, then grilled and topped. Bruschetta originated in the Tuscany region of Italy, where they are commonly served as a snack or appetizer. Rubbed with a garlic clove and brushed with oil before grilling, they may have been the original garlic bread.
  • Crostini cruh-STEE-nee) are cut from a narrower loaf like a ficelle, about two inches in diameter, and toasted, then topped.
  • Crostini (are croutons: not in the American sense of small cubes tossed into soup or salad, but slices of toasted bread (it’s the same with French croutons). They are often topped with spreadable cheese or pâté. Plain crostini are served with soups and salads, like melba toast, or set out with cheese.
  • Both can be served plain as toast to accompany another food. But with toppings, they are transformed.
  • The toppings for both can be as simple as extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper or diced tomatoes and basil, to almost any spread, vegetable, cured meat or cheese—even fruit, such as sliced strawberries with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and tarragon or other sweet herb*.
  •  
    ____________
    *Sweet herbs include chamomile, lavender, lemon verbena licorice, mint, rose geranium and tarragon.

      

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