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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Since appearing on season 4 of Top Chef, life has been pretty hectic for Spike Mendelsohn. Besides opening an empire of restaurants in the Washington, DC area—including Good Stuff Eatery, We, the Pizza and new Capital Hill French bistro Bearnaise (slated to debut in late February)—the celebrity chef can be seen delivering funny one liners on Bravo’s Life After Top Chef and competing in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef.
As if his plate wasn’t already full, Spike has recently teamed up with Captain Morgan to create unique recipes featuring the spiced rum and their newest signature liquor, Black Spiced Rum—a bold flavored Caribbean rum blended with natural spices. So how’d this new partnership come about? “I’ve always been a fan of Captain Morgan, so for me it was an exciting opportunity to partner with them. As a chef, it was kind of an adventure to create these new food and cocktail recipes for the brand. It’s been really interesting and a very fun campaign.” Spike shared with me.
And how he got creatively inspired? “Literally, I pictured myself in a pirate’s outfit on a pirate ship, sailing around the Caribbean and being inspired to create some really delicious food and drinks that incorporate Captain Morgan.” he mentioned. Aye aye, Captain Spike.
Spike was kind enough to share a few of his exclusive recipes, which are sure to spice up all your holiday celebrations. Enjoy!
Captain Morgan Spiced Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole
Bake sweet potatoes on 375°F for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove pulp with a large spoon and place in a large bowl. Stir together the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg allspice orange juice and Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Salt and pepper to taste. Next, butter a casserole pan and layer sweet potato mixture then marshmallows. Do as many layers as you can, finishing off with the remaining marshmallows. Lastly, sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350°F for 20 – 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Black Apple Harvest
In a shaker, add ice and shake it like your momma taught you. Fill a rocks glass with ice, take a lemon rind and rim the glass. Next, take a thin slice of ginger and rim the glass and then put both garnishes in the glass. Pour cocktail through holes of the shaker. Cocktail should still have some apple sauce texture, but shouldn’t be thick. Lastly, drizzle with honey.
Note: If you don’t have apricot liquor on-hand or don’t want to make a run to the store, feel free to try without it.
Port Royal Punch (serves 25)
In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the above ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass – or glass of your choosing.
Additional recipes can be found on Captain Morgan’s Facebook page.
Images courtesy of Taylor Strategy and Kraut Rocks
Thursday night, the 5th annual New York City Wine and Food Festival kicked off with two of the weekend’s most anticipated events. And though I would’ve loved to witness food royalty roast Anthony Bourdain, the Italian in me couldn’t bear the thought of missing one of my favorites—Meatball Madness hosted by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis. “This is the best Meatball Madness ever,” Giada exclaimed about the ‘always sold out’ event, which is in its fourth consecutive year.
The large-scale tasting showcased dozens of the city’s best chefs, who rolled out their version of the perfect bite. Hundreds of meatball maniacs packed into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample 36 different types of saucy spheres—in styles ranging from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy to pretzel-stuffed Austrian balls and Spanish oxtail albondigas.
Judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Anne Burrell, along with Pat LaFrieda and Mark Pastore of sponsor La Frieda Meats, crowned Gabe Thompson of the soon-to-open L’Apicio the night’s big winner for his Amatriciana version. The carnivorous crowd also casted their votes and Donatella Arpaia snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for her mother’s classic recipe of melt-in-your-mouth tomato braised veal meatballs.
Aperol Spritz cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while a display of cake pops from pastry hotshot Johnny Iuzzini provided some sweet relief. Meatball Madness started off the NYCWFF in delicious fashion and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!
September is a time for new beginnings. And whether you’re going back to school or settling into a fall schedule, nothing helps you power through the day like a delicious, energy-packed lunch.
So what to make when you’re brown-bagging it? It’s easy to get stuck in the same boring weekday routine, but my friends at Food Network aim to change that. They’ve invited me to be part of today’s Communal Table lunch party, where members of the online food community share recipes for midday mealtime inspiration.
My lunch table contribution is a simple, satisfying sandwich recipe that tastes sophisticated, yet is easy to put together on busy mornings (or the night before). This chicken salad’s high protein content will help combat mid-afternoon slumps, while hearty cashews, curry powder and sweet-tart grapes deliver a dynamic flavor and texture punch.
Since this recipe was adapted from Cooking Light, it’s a wholesome option for school lunch boxes too! Kids are sure to love the combination of crunchy nuts and juicy grapes—plus, the curry is subtle enough that it won’t overwhelm picky little palates.
Dig into the recipe at the bottom of this post, and check out the below links for more fantastic lunch ideas from around the web. Want to join the party? Get in the conversation and share your favorite recipes on Twitter by using hashtag #pullupachair (@FoodNetwork @ThisGirlCanEat).
Tidy Mom: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter Cookies
Made by Michelle: Almond Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Chez Us: Healthy Tuna Salad
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox 2012: The Ultimate Collection
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Back to School Roasted Chicken Legs
Bacon and Souffle: Gruyere Grilled Cheese With Apple Salad
Zaika Zabardast: Fresh Corn Cakes With Black Bean Salad Tossed in Cumin Vinaigrette
This Girl Can Eat: Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Spicy-Korean “Ramen” Noodle Soup
Haute Apple Pie: Edamame Hummus
Feed Me Phoebe: Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Swiss Chard Turnovers With Parmesan and Pistachios
Cashew Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches (serves 2)
adapted from Cooking Light
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Add chicken, celery, cashews, and green onions; stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken salad on rolls and garnish with lettuce and tomato (optional).