Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance

This month, we both have graduation events at our houses. Barb has a daughter leaving high school and headed to the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and Sharon has a daughter making the transition from middle school to high school. For each milestone event, we're hosting family gatherings that are before or after the ceremonies, so the meal needs to be easy and light, yet festive.

We had just started brainstorming ideas when the latest issue of Relish magazine came out. It was just the inspiration we needed to create a menu based on some of their ideas. 
Our graduates, Berkley and Madison, at The Magic House years ago.

Grad Party Menu
  • roast beef/provolone/creamy horseradish sliders with lettuce, tomato and pickled onion garnish
  • baby spinach/strawberry/goat cheese/candied pecan salad with champagne vinaigrette
  • Greek couscous salad (see Relish for recipe).  We're adding in feta cheese
  • fruit salad
  • strawberry lemonade cupcakes (from Barb's favorite local bakery, Mind Over Batter)
  • iced tea and lemonade

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: It's Getting Warm Out There!

Summertime is coming up on us faster than many of us want (spoken like a Phoenician prepping for five months of triple digits). We asked our buddy, Atlanta food PR maven Melissa Libby to have one of her restaurant clients provide us with a refreshing summer cocktail perfect for Memorial Day cookouts or just sitting by the pool.  Lara Creasy of JCT. Kitchen and Bar shared this fine tasting recipe. And one big bonus, it contains one of our faves -- Herbsaint. In keeping with JCT's farm-to-table mission, this summer-inspired twist on the Tom Collins also calls for Farmer's Organic Gin, in tribute to "our farmers."

Photo credit: McCall Webster/MLA
Farmer Tom's Collins
2 oz. Farmer's Organic Gin
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 bar spoon Herbsaint
Fresh herbs for muddling and garnish.
Soda water.

Tear fresh basil, thyme and dill or fennel fronds and muddle in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add Herbsaint, lemon, simple syrup and gin to glass. Add ice, cover with a shaker tin, and shake vigorously to combine. Fill a collins glass with fresh ice and strain cocktail into glass. (I like to allow bits of herb into the glass, so I don't double strain.) Top with soda water. Garnish with a piece or two of fresh herbs.

JCT. Kitchen & Bar is one of Atlanta’s best restaurants located in the charming Westside Urban Market at 1198 Howell Mill Road.  JCT. Kitchen & Bar serves “Southern Farmstead Cooking” daily for lunch and dinner.  Head upstairs to JCT. Bar, voted one of the “Best Bars in America” by Esquire magazine, to keep an eye on the railroad tracks and enjoy the skyline with a drink in hand – it’s the perfect spot to enjoy Chef Ford Fry’s small Southern plates menu along with live music. JCT. Kitchen & Bar has been seen in Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Elle Décor, Atlanta Magazine, PEACH, The Atlantan, Jezebel, Daily Candy, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, The Today and moreTo make a reservation, call JCT. Kitchen & Bar at 404-355-2252 or visit
Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: This Saturday -- Tequila or Bourbon? Both!

This Saturday, May 5, is both Cinco de Mayo AND the Kentucky Derby. Each one in and of itself is a drinker's dream, but what do you do if you want to celebrate both?  Well, pace yourself, and make a plan.  Here's ours:

Contrary to public belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16, but is the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla. These days, it is celebrated more in the US as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride than it is celebrated in Mexico.

We're going to start the day with some fabulous huevos rancheros, some Mexican pastries and this scrumptious sounding drink from Patron Tequila, the Bloody Mariachi. 

1 1/2 oz : Patrón Reposado
3 oz : sangrita (tomato juice, diced jalapeños, habanero hot sauce, fresh lime and orange juices)
agave syrup
lime or cherry tomato for garnish

Rim a highball glass with agave syrup and dip in sea salt. Pour Patrón Reposado and sangrita over ice into the highball glass, and stir.
Garnish with a lime or cherry tomato.

After breakfast, we'll drink a bunch of water and take a walk (or a nap) before the Run for the Roses.  We'll toss on our best hat, make our wagers for our favorite horses, enjoy some Southern fried chicken, some Derby pie, and of course, some Woodford Reserve mint juleps.

As always, drink responsibly and have a designated driver if you're not celebrating at home.