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Happy Summer!

Chelsea-5289 Not only is this Sunday Father's Day, it is also the first day of Summer! As you know, I am very passionate about cooking and entertaining seasonally, so I always get excited for the official start of the new season. From cocktails to dishes to wine (hello, Rosé season!), I am so ready for summer meals and parties! So this Sunday, as you cheers to your dad and all he's done for you, raise a glass to summer and all the fun that is to come in the next few months!

Stay tuned this summer for more events, recipes, and entertaining ideas to come!

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Bleu D'Auvergne

If you have been reading along for a while, you already know how much I love two things: simple, delicious appetizers, and cheese! For my fourth recipe from The Cheeses of Europe, I used Bleu D'Auvergne to create an easy, mouth-watering appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Dates. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.25.43 PMBleu D'Auvergne has a delicious flavor with undertones of wildflower, so it pairs amazingly with the sweet dates and salty bacon. The best part about this recipe is the ingredient list - you only need five simple, wonderful ingredients to throw this appetizer together! Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.27.57 PMA short shopping list and prep time makes this dish a great choice for entertaining guests - and who doesn't get excited when you walk in and smell bacon?

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.28.19 PMSee the full recipe below, or watch the video to see how I prepared this delectable dish!

Ingredients:

20 Medjool dates
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 ounces Bleu d’ Auvergne cheese, cut into chunks
Small handful pistachios, crushed
10 bacon slices cut in half lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut slits down one side of the dates just large enough to remove the pits—careful not to cut entirely in half.
  3. Fill each date with some chopped parsley, a chunk of Bleu d’Auvergne cheese, and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Lightly squeeze them shut.
  4. Wrap a strip of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Bake on a parchment covered baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes, until bacon is crispy.Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.29.13 PM

Summer Sizzle Table

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.46.36 AM The fun continues!

I have had so much fun in the whirlwind of the past few weeks, but when it comes down to it, my true passion will also be found in food. Being able to do what I am passionate about, and get to share it with people, is a dream come true! Which is why I am excited to share that I will be hosting a summer edition of Kristin's Table, my five-course food & wine tasting event, next week! Join me for "Summer Sizzle Table" at 7pm on June 9th at Bocca di Bacco Chelsea for a truly unforgettable evening of food, wine, and learning together. Reserve your seats today by emailing monica@kristinsollenne.com. See you there!

What A Week: Domestic Chíc

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.36.58 PMLast week I invited you to the pre-release party for my new book Domestic Chíc, and now I'm so excited to show you a few moments from this whirlwind week! From signing books at Book Expo America 2015 to debuting my Cellini aprons at Il Bastardo, this has been a week I'll never forget. I'm thrilled to get to share my tips for both cooking and entertaining with all of you in this book! 11372418_753530761419748_1639089740_n

(photo by @curvily)

This LBD apron is one of my favorites, and is perfect for those last-minute touches on dinner you finish as your guests arrive! Domestic Chíc at it's finest.

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Seeing my own book among so many other amazing publications at Book Expo America has truly been a dream come true!

CGIdNXrWkAANX_x(photo by @tvmarci)

The amount of supporters and friends old & new that came to celebrate with us at Il Bastardo was humbling and exciting. I'm so thankful for the amount of support and passion that surrounds me as I continue on these endeavors. Thank you for a great week - I can't wait to see what's next!

Stay tuned to purchase Domestic Chíc and Cellini aprons!

Save the Date: Domestic Chic!

11111225_967054546647174_7277961516077751020_nI I can't tell you how excited I am to be inviting you all to my Pre-Release Book Launch and Designer Apron Preview! Domestic Chic has been an amazing project to work on and a dream come true, and I am so thrilled to finally get to share it with all of you! Join me at Il Bastardo for complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres this week, May 28th, from 6-8pm. This event is free, but please email monica@kristinsollenne.com to reserve your spot. I can't wait to celebrate with you! What an exciting time!

Have a great long weekend and I will see you at Il Bastardo!

Flatbread with St. Nectaire and Raclette

I love making Flatbread. Not only is it delicious and simple, but you can change it up however you want depending on what you're craving that day, what the occasion is, or just what is in your refrigerator at the time! It makes for a great meal, or you can make a few varieties and cut into small pieces for appetizers at your next party. Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.36.57 PM

For this recipe with The Cheeses of Europe, I wanted to stay true to the magnifique flavors of the two cheeses, St. Nectaire and Raclette, so I kept the recipe very minimal and VERY delicious! With quality ingredients like olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and truffle oil, this Flatbread is both indulgent and simple - perfect for making the everyday amazing.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.36.34 PMYou can see the recipe below, or check out the video here!

Ingredients:

1 ball pizza dough
Flour for dusting
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced (chanterelle, porcini, oyster, shiitake)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
5 ounces Raclette cheese, grated
5 ounces of St. Nectaire cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons white truffle oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Spread dough to desired shape on lightly floured parchment paper. Dock by piercing with a fork, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until nearly done.
  3. While the flatbread is in the oven, heat olive oil in a sauté pan and cook garlic and shallots until translucent. Add mushrooms and stir until they wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley and remove from heat.
  4. Remove the flatbread from the oven, sprinkle the grated Raclette and crumbled St Nectaire over it, and place it back in the over for 3-4 minutes until the cheese melts.
  5. Drizzle with truffle oil, and use a slotted spoon to spread the mushroom and shallot mixture over the melted cheese

How to celebrate your mom every day

Happy Mother's Day weekend! This Sunday, we are all reminded of how much our mothers have done for us, and we get the chance to let her know how much she is appreciated. I love Mother's Day, but I started to think - why don't we let our moms know every day how much she means to us? It's something so simple, that goes such a long way. In honor of Mother's Day, here is a list of small ways to spend quality time together and let mom know how much you care! 1. Cook a meal together.

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You probably aren't surprised that this is top on my list, but cooking a meal together is a wonderful way to spend time together! Not only do you get quality time together, but you can learn from each other, laugh together, and reminisce - all while thanking her for all the meals she prepared for you as a child!

2. Bring her a special bottle of wine - and enjoy it together. 

Bocca Edit-2546Wine is a special, intimate thing to share, and sharing your favorite bottle with your mom, or introducing her to one she's never tried before, is an experience that will be enriching for both of you.

3. Learn something new together. 

You are never too old to learn something new! Find a subject you are both interested in, and sign up for a class or seminar together. From learning a new language to taking private pilot lessons, I guarantee you will make some amazing memories together!

4. Take her out for spontaneous happy hour. 

Bocca Edit-2963Take the evening off and call Mom and let her know you're on your way to pick her up. Let her know that she is much more important than work or being busy, and that you love spending time together!

5. Just tell her. 

If you don't live near your mother, or even if you do, it's that easy: tell her how much you appreciate her and are grateful for all she has done for you. Don't wait until Mother's Day - tell her every day!

Clean Eating for Spring: Kale Salad w. Brie & Grilled Chicken

kale 3 If you've been reading for a while, you know that I am passionate about creating recipes that are seasonal, delicious, and nutritious. As the warmer months approach, I know we all have clean eating on our minds, so I am excited to share a recipe today that uses fresh, healthy ingredients but still tastes indulgent and amazing! This salad would be perfect for a spring lunch with your friends, or as part of your weekly meal prep. Just don't forget the brie, the best part!

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To see the full video of how I prepared this spring dish, check out Cheese of Europe here! Bon appetit!

Ingredients:

(Dressing)
1/4 olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
(Salad)
1 bunch kale, sliced
8 ounces Brie, sliced
1 cup glazed pecans, chopped
1 green apple, cored, sliced into thin wedges
(Chicken)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Whisk the oil with the mustard and slowly add the vinegars. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Remove the stems from the kale and slice. Toss the kale with desired amount of dressing and set aside to marinate.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, kosher salt, lemon zest, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Oil the chicken and rub the seasoning onto each piece. Grill on medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes per side. Let rest 4-5 minutes and then slice.
  5. Mix pecans and apple slices to the marinated kale, then place the sliced chicken and Brie on top.

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Arancini Bocca di Bacco

arancini balls When the weather is gloomy, I always find cooking to be a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening. It's cozy, the house is warm and fragrant from the stove simmering away, and you can always open a bottle of your favorite wine to sip while you cook! And, when it's all done, you have a wonderful meal to enjoy together. It almost makes me thankful for the clouds!

One of my favorite classic Italian dishes to cook at home is Arancini, Italian-style saffron rice balls. With Earth Day this week, I was reminded of how important it is to reduce our waste in every capacity, and food is no exception! This is a perfect dish to prepare using leftover risotto from the previous days dinner. Never throw away ingredients that you can reinvent in a new, delicious dish!

You can choose to customize your Arancini based on your taste, or what you have on-hand, but the general way to make them uses risotto, mozzarella, egg,  and bread crumbs.  You'll mix the pre-made risotto, eggs, and bread crumbs together and form them into balls before adding your mozzarella into the center of each, rolling in additional bread crumbs and frying lightly in hot oil. At Bocca di Bacco we serve these delicious risotto balls with a delicious red sauce, which I highly recommend--and of course, every Italian dish is better paired with a glass of wine!

What's your favorite way to re-invent leftover ingredients? Share your tips in the comments!

Baked Spring Vegetable Omelette with Comte

5 My favorite part about spring, along with the sun finally warming New York, is the abundance of beautiful spring produce! I always cook with the seasons, so when given a chance to create a recipe with the sweet, nutty Comte cheese from France, I couldn't wait to create a dish that paired this delicious cheese with some fresh, seasonal produce.

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When creating this recipe with The Cheeses of Europe, I couldn't help but drift towards a dish that I could enjoy with friends and family at Sunday brunch. A baked omelette seemed the perfect choice! Cheesy, fluffy, and perfectly seasoned, I guarantee this will be a well-loved dish at your next hosted brunch. Watch the whole video here, or see my recipe below! Bon appetit!

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons shallots, sliced and quartered 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped 2 radishes, quartered 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces on diagonal 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 12 eggs 1/4 cup milk 3/4 and 1/4 cups Comté cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°.Toss the shallots, peppers, radishes, and asparagus in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on baking sheet and roast in oven for 25 minutes. Allow the vegetables to cool a bit, and then place them in an ovenproof nonstick sauté pan and pour the egg mixture over top. On a low flame, cook the eggs until they start to set, about 4-5 minutes. Then place the pan back in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until eggs are cooked through.Sprinkle the remaining Comté on top, and cut into wedges to serve.

'Tis the Season to spice up your Holiday Menus

Reserve your Place at the Table Today

Setting

This is my absolute favorite time of year - The weather is crisp and my favored fruits and vegetables like, butternut squash, pumpkin, artichoke and figs are in season! It's always around this time when I start planning my menus for the Holiday's. First up is Thanksgiving and this year I'm doing something completely different.

'Tis the season to indulge in specialty wines and one-of-a-kind menus. As Executive Chef and Culinary Director of BDB, I'm announcing a limited holiday edition of "Kristin's Table." Looking for exciting new dishes for your Thanksgiving Feast? Join me to learn new recipe's and flavors through a five course tasting menu with Italian wine pairings. You'll enjoy this intimate tasting in the private cellar room of Bocca Di Bacco Chelsea, 169 9th Ave Corner of 20th St.

Walk away with recipes, gift bags, memories and more!

Now taking reservations for Tuesday November 18th, 7:30pm.

Limited Seating Available. $115 per person

Reserve your seat today by emailing 

monica@kristinsollenne.com

*a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the H.O.P.E. Foundation

The H.O.P.E. Foundation

Logo_Hope There is no better feeling to experience than one the leaves an impact on someones life. This is what we have created with the H.O.P.E. Foundation, which is a 501c(3) non-profit that strives to “Help Others Pursue Education” in the culinary, visual and performing arts. Co-founded by Sweet Life Events President Monica Ulrich, and myself, where we strive to enhance the future of rising stars and young up-and-comers.

This is something I've been passionate about ever since I moved to the Big Apple six years ago! Check out my recent appearance on FOX Business – The Willis Report to learn more about the H.O.P.E. Foundation, and for some great recipes too! I have to say my re-imagined Gazpacho is a must to try! As we head into Fall, (which I'm absolutely loving!) check out my fall inspired recipes I featured on The Better Show. 

Save the Date: Wednesday October 29, 2014 for a Masquerade Black Tie Gala benefitting the H.O.P.E. Foundation. To learn more about H.O.P.E. and how you can get involved visit us at www.hopefoundationus.org

Summer in New York

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When it's summer time in New York, I try to find every excuse to be outside! Central Park and Bryant Park are both beautiful places to walk around and spend the day. I also love NYCRG's backyard garden at Arte Cafe - nothing beats a chilled glass of wine outside with fresh oysters surrounded by friends and family.
Here are a few ways to celebrate summer in New York City from Time Out New York!

Getting ICED on July 4th!

Image July 4th is almost here! If you happen to celebrate big with friends and family then this is a recipe that will rock their socks off. After a long day of grilling, there's nothing better than cooling off in the heat with a little Italian Granita. Think of it as shaved ice, but BETTER.

You can make granita so easily, without the need of ice cream machines. All you'll need is a freezer, a blender, fruit, sugar and water. Yes, just 3 ingredients! Flavors range from coffee to wine to fruit to herbs. Once you know the basic recipe, you can make pretty much any version of this Italian summer classic.

Personally, I love mixing all the seasonal fruit together to make one super flavorful and fruity granita. Specifically I like the blend of strawberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots or melons combined with the citrus zest of a lemon or orange. Fresh mint is a wonderful compliment as well, but feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking.

Here's what you will need:

1/4 cup Simple Syrup or Agave Syrup

1lb Fresh Fruit

1/4 cup water

Here's how you do it:

1. In a blender, place your fresh fruit of choice along with either a squeeze of citrus juice or a few splashes of water. Add your simple syrup or agave syrup. The liquid is what will help the fruits puree into a smooth consistency.

2. Once pureed, our into a cooled bowl for chilling. Here you can add your fresh herbs, zest, alcohol, vanilla extract or other added flavors.

3. Place in the freezer and scrape well with a fork every 3 to 4 hours until frozen and fluffy in consistency.

When it comes to a granita, it is really about tasting as you go and checking consistency. Don't be shy to add a bit more water if your puree is looking a bit thick, or lessening the simple syrup if the fruits are a little on the sweet side.

I hope you enjoy making some summer granitas!

-Chef K

 

Simple Syrup

mint-simple-syrup-646 Simple Syrup! Sounds simple enough right? Well don't worry, it really is. Simple Syrup can be used to sweeten a nice summer cocktail or to add to a granita recipe without having to worry about granules of sugar weighing down your recipes or not getting dissolved.

To start a simple syrup you'll need just two ingredients: water and sugar. Yup! That's it.

You'll want the ratio of sugar to water to be about 1:3. So on a smaller scale, place a cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat with about 1/3 cup of sugar. Just heat the liquid and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

If you'd like to flavor your simple syrup, you can add fresh mint leaves, lemon balm, or other herbs to infuse into the syrup as it's cooking on the stovetop.

Once the sugar is dissolved, let it cool before using.

For a cocktail, I'm thinking a minty simple syrup would be great in a Mojito or a Moscow Mule! A regular simple syrup would be great for iced teas! You can also use a citrusy simple syrup to dab on a pound cake for a little added moisture and sweetness. However you use simple syrup, just be sure to share ;)

-Chef K

 

Grilled Romaine with Caesar Dressing

Hey everyone! So along with my Grilled Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Grenadine Reduction and my Grilled Eggplant Caponata, another summertime favorite of mine is Grilled Romaine with my Dad's Caesar Dressing.

Lettuce-Romain

The grill marks on the romaine make it so flavorful and they look so beautiful served rustically on a plate like the one pictured above. Just wait until you see how easy this is!

Ingredients:

3 hearts of romaine

Dad’s Famous Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients: 1/3 cup oil (canola or olive oil) 2-3 garlic cloves 2 egg whites 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 1 Tablespoon Anchovies paste Dash of Worchester sauce 1tsp. Ground mustard 1 Fresh lemon squeezed

Directions:

Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise, then grill cut sides down, just until grill marks appear, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside and let sit. 

For the dressing, crush garlic in bowl (preferably an unfinished wooden bowl) with a garlic crusher. Then add a tiny bit of oil and Anchovy paste. With a mortar continue to rub together the garlic and Anchovy paste and then add 1/3 cup oil. Then add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, ground mustard, 1 lemon squeezed, dash of Worchester sauce. Add dash of garlic salt or sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix together with a whisk.

Place grilled romaine head with grill marks up on a plate. Drizzle dressing over the lettuce and add a pinch of Parmesan on top and anchovies (optional).

Serve and enjoy!

-Chef K

 

Grilling a Few Chops

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Hello guys!

From my last post I think you guys can see how much I'm into grilling this summer! When summer finally hits New York, there's no reason not to soak up every moment in the sun, so I like to create recipes that can capture summer ingredients and cooking outdoors.

Here's another great grilling recipe that I shared with Veria TV on "The Juice" just a few days ago that will impress your man, friends, family and even just for a solo indulgent meal: Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Grenadine Reduction. Also, don't worry if you grill indoors! This recipe is also great grilled on a cast iron stove-top grill or in your handy cast iron skillet.

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Ingredients:

8 lamb chops 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped Sea Salt Freshly Ground Pepper 2 ½ Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup balsamic vinegar ½ cup grenadine

Directions:

Season both sides of the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Combine garlic, rosemary and olive oil into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and let the lamb chops come to room temperature.

Heat the grill on high heat. Add the lamb chops and let sear for 2 minutes. Turn the chops over cook for another 3 ½ – 4 minutes.

On high heat over the stovetop reduce the balsamic and grenadine mixture for 8-10 minutes, until consistency thickens.

Once lamb is cooked, plate and drizzle with the balsamic reduction before serving.

Hope you enjoy this one and look out for my other Veria recipes!

-Chef K

Grill It Up!

The summer is for being outdoors! So what better way to make a meal than on your grill to change things up and enjoy the summer sun. I actually just filmed a segment for "The Juice" on the Veria TV Network about Italian Backyard Bites and thought I'd share my own favorite grilled recipe with you. Here I am below by the way! Was a lot of fun shooting with the team! Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.19.20 AM

I LOVE classic Caponata. The sweet and sour blend of this Italian classic is a killer appetizer, side dish or main entree. Everyone has their own spin on how to make a Caponata, but my biggest secret to a Caponata? Letting it sit overnight before serving! This allows all the flavors to meld together and intensify.

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Grab all your vegetables and throw them on a grill!  The primary base for Caponata recipes include eggplant, onions and tomato. For a Grilled version of this recipe, take the veggies, brush them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on the grill. It'll take the eggplant about 6 to 8 minutes per side. The onions will take about 4, and the tomatoes just a quick 2 or 3. You're going to get those gorgeous dark char marks and that nice grilled flavor.

Once done, take them off the grill and chop into half inch pieces. From here you can add your own spin to your caponata. But remember, sweet and salty! You can add olives, capers, raisins or currants and pine nuts for crunch. For the green finishing touch, basil, mint or parsley is always nice. A few shreds of ricotta salata or a slab of burrata on the side....I'm getting hungry!

For the dressing, use a base of vinegar and sugar to balance out the sweet and sour taste. A few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a teaspoon or so of honey, a pinch of red pepper flakes and then whisking it all up with extra virgin olive oil is always a good way to go. Toss it all together and let it sit and marry.

So simple, so tasty, so SUMMER! I hope you guys all try to make your own version of Caponata and be sure to comment if you have any questions!

-Chef K

 

Using Beets

Beets, beets, beets! They may be hearty and great in fall vegetable roasts, but nothing is more beautiful than the vibrant red and yellow colors from beets in spring and summer. So, I thought I'd share a few other ways you can use beets or their juices to jazz up your dishes. Firstly, the best part about beets is how easy it is to roast them whole. Rub them in a little olive oil, wrap them in foil and place them in a nice hot oven for about an hour. They'll get nice and soft and the skin will peel right off. Once quartered, they are a gorgeous deep red, soft and sweet. YUM.

 

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At Bocca Di Bacco, we slice these beauties and make a Beet and Goat Cheese salad. Place the rounds on the plate, top with sauteed green beens or greens of your choice. Place a nice round of herbed, creamy goat cheese and whisk up a simple sherry vinaigrette to give it that crisp finishing touch. SO good!

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Now, when it comes to the juices, don't toss it! If you are a fan of making homemade pasta dough, you can use the juice or a couple tablespoons of beet puree to add to the liquid in your recipe. This can turn ravioli into a beautiful magenta color and you can stuff it with a ricotta or goat cheese filling. It looks so impressive and really is easy to do. Options are endless in this department. You can make linguine, spaghetti etc.

If you don't make pasta dough, here's a great example of what a few dashes of that bright red juice will do! Just add this when tossing your al dente pasta and serve and there you go! Bright, vibrant, exciting pasta!

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I hope these Beet tips inspire you to play around with this ingredient. Nothing is more beautiful in summer time than a bright salad or dish to put pep in your step. Let me know what you think!

-Chef K

 

 

Sole Di Roma- A Summer Cocktail

While the city is heating up, what's a better time than now to start gearing up for summer cocktails! One of the house favorites is our Sole Di Roma. This bright orange beauty is a perfect party starter and easy to make with just a few main ingredients. The best part? It's light and refreshing, perfect for spring and summer. I happen to love this cocktail because it's perfect for brunch, lunch and cocktail parties. 

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Now, I won't be able to give out our exact recipe for the Sole Di Roma, but I can tell you what's in it! This is what you'll need:

  • Aperol- This is what gives it that gorgeous bright orange color. It's considered Italy's favorite aperitif.
  • Limoncello- Another favorite of Italy! Limoncello is slightly sweet and gives a nice rounded citrus flavor
  • Orange Juice- The juice serves as the body for the cocktail. I would suggest using freshly squeezed for the best results. 
  • Prosecco- What would a summer cocktail be without a little Italian Prosecco to top it off! Give it a little splash of bubbles to round it out and make it nice and crisp.

Aren't you craving a cocktail now? I AM! Try making our Sole Di Roma and be sure to share your pics and comments with me! Tag your creation with @BoccaDiBaccoNYC! Let's see those cocktails!

-Chef K