Saturday, November 21, 2015

Perfect Party Recipes With Président Cheese


Last week I was invited to the Président Cheese pop-up store in New York City for a cooking class with the James Beard Award winning chef Gavin Kaysen to learn how to use Président Cheeses and Butter for holiday entertaining.  There was champagne, there was wine, and there was cheese. So basically, I was in heaven. 

For those of you who don't know, Chef Kaysen used to work under Daniel Boulud at Cafe Boulud, he was the head coach for Team USA in the Bocuse d'Or competition, and his new restaurant, Spoon and Stable was a semi-finalist for the Best New Restaurant award from the James Beard Awards.  Basically, he's a big deal

Chef Gavin Kaysen
Although Chef Kaysen knows how to create high concept fine dining, he also knows how and when to keep it simple - especially when it comes to cheese.  He curated a handful of simple and delicious recipes for us to prepare at the event, and I'm thrilled to share them with you today.  

The first recipe is Grilled Brie with Saba and Apples, a really simple and insanely delicious appetizer that takes about 10 minutes in the oven and comes out beautiful and gooey.  This is a perfect entertaining dish that is guaranteed to make all of your guests swoon with delight. 
Grilled Président Brie with Saba & Apples

8 oz Président Brie
4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
2 Shallots - chopped
1 Clove Garlic
1 Apple Sliced Thinly
Saba Vinaigrette
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
1 Fresh Baguette cut into 1/4 inch slices

Brie with Saba and Apples - Before the Oven
Place Brie in a small cast iron pan, add thyme, shallots, garlic, and sliced apple on top.  Drizzle with olive oil and Saba, add pepper and salt.  Bake at 450 F for 10-12 minutes.  Serve from the skillet with Fresh Bread.

Substitutions: Fresh pears or plums can also be used.  If you don't have Saba Vinaigrette, use Balsamic Vinaigrette.  

The finished product is mighty pretty.  Are you ready for it?  Behold:
Brie with Saba and Apples - After the Oven

The next dish was Président Garlic and Herb Rondelé with Honeycomb, Granola, Dried Apricots, and Arugula.  This is another simple dish that is great for entertaining because it is so easy and you can basically use anything you have in your cabinet.  The recipe depends on the complexity of the cheese itself, and uses something sweet, something crunchy, and fresh Arugula which is easy to find all year.  I loved the combination of the honeycomb and the dried fruits, but it's also great with fresh nectarines and toasted hazelnuts for the summertime. 

Basically, an Edible Pollock Painting

Président Garlic and Herb Rondelé with Honeycomb, Granola, Dried Apricots, and Arugula

1 Package of Président Rondelé Garlic & Herbs
Fresh Honeycomb
1/4 c Granola
1/4 c Dried Apricots
1 Tbs Arugula
Cracked Black pepper

Smear the Rondelé on a Slate Board, and scatter Granola, Arugula, Pieces of Honeycomb, and Dried Apricots on top.  Top with freshly cracked pepper.  Serve with fresh bread and let your guests dip!

Another easy and delicious recipe that Chef Kaysen shared with us pairs Président Brie with Figs, Pistachios, and Pumpernickel Bread, but he constructed the brie and the figs into a big cheese sandwich:

Cheese & Fig Sandwich

Again, super easy - you just take the wedge of brie, slice it in half, slather with fig jam, and then add layer of sliced fresh figs.  Put the top back on, slice into thin slices, and then serve on a slate board with pistachios and fresh bread.  And that's it.  And it's delicious. 

Finally, Chef Kaysen taught us how to make Crepes using Président butter, but let's be honest, we were drinking champagne and chatting at this point, so Gavin did most of the cooking...

Thanks Chef!

Fortunately for you, I have the recipe for those of you daring enough to try to make crepes at home.  I think I will stick to the cheese sandwich, thankyouverymuch.

Président Butter & Apple Cinnamon Crepes

3 oz Président Unsalted Butter
3 C. Milk
6 Eggs
1-1/2 C Flour
3.3 oz Sugar
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1 Jar Apple Filling
Mint to Garnish

Slightly Brown the butter in a pan.  Heat milk over medium heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  To create the batter: whisk eggs, flour, sugar, and salt in one bowl, and in another mix together all of your wet ingredients: the milk, the browned butter, and the extract.  Then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, whisking as you go. 

Put the pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan.  Add 3 Tablespoons of the batter to the pan, and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the bottom of the crepe is golden, about 1-2 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a spatula, Flip and cook for another minute.  Once golden place the crepe on a cutting board and add apple filling.  Fold in edges and top with fresh mint. 

Makes 15 crepes.

If making crepes is too much for you to undertake (they are for me), you can always stick to the basics of entertaining - the mighty Cheese Platter.  Pick a range of cheeses: Président Triple Créme, Société Roquefort, or Comté and serve on a platter with sliced bread, crackers, jam, fresh apples, and dried fruit.  You can't go wrong. 

Thank you to Président Cheese for a fantastic evening.  I hope all of you are as excited about these recipes and entertaining tricks as I am.  The holidays are right around the corner, and I cannot wait to share these recipes with my loved ones.  If you try them out, tag me on social media or leave comments below, I would love to see what you all come up with!  
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jägermeister & Rye - Together, Forever

I think all of us have some pretty funny memories about Jägermeister - usually in our younger days when we had the energy to stay out late and get up to no good.  Many moons ago I too had a "Summer of Jäger", and I'll just leave it there....

That said, Jägermeister is delicious.  And funnily enough, it's not at its best when served from a shot dispenser at 3 in the morning.  It's a sweet amaro that is excellent for sipping after dinner or served into simple cocktails.  The people over at Jäger are putting in a lot of effort to find bartenders to create buzz and new recipes.  I have been fortunate enough to taste some of these cocktails, and I have to admit, I always prefer the simple recipes. 

Why, you ask?  There are already 56 ingredients in Jäger, so it doesn't need a lot more.  Drinks more than about 2-3 additional ingredients start to muddle the flavors - too many notes, as they say. 

This cocktail came from this year's Tales of the Cocktail, and ever since the temperatures started dropping, I've been making it a lot at home.  This cocktail deserves to be a classic, and I hope you enjoy it!

The Calm Before
Created by Andy Seymour

1.5 oz Jägermeister
1.5 oz Rye Whiskey

Stir with ice and strain into a low-ball glass with a large ice cube.  Garnish with a lemon twist.  


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Corpse Reviver No. Black

Happy Halloween to all the boozy ghouls out there!

Here's an adaptation of the infamous Corpse Reviver No. 2 and Jacob Briars' Corpse Reviver No. Blue: Corpse Reviver No. Black

Corpse Reviver No. Black
Adapted by Gastronomista

3/4 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Lillet
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Absinthe
1/2 Capsule Activated Charcoal

Shake with ice and strain into an absinthe washed coupe.  Garnish with an orchid.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Glenfiddich 1978 on Robb Report & Photos!

In April of this year, I was invited to Dufftown, Scotland to be part of an exclusive selection committee to help select the Glenfiddich Rare Collection Cask of 1978 Single Malt whisky sold exclusively to the American Market.  It was an unbelievable trip filled with more delicious whiskeys than I could count, amazing food, great cheeses, epic landscapes, and of course, more whiskey.

Head over to Robb Report to read more about the selected cask, No. 28121, the experience of selecting the barrel, and my tasting notes!

Below are some of my favorite photos from the journey.  Enjoy!

Huntly Castle
Glenfiddich Distillery and Visitor Center

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Night Out with the Spring Street Social Society

A few weeks ago I was invited to join the Spring Street Social Society for one of their latest dinners in partnership with Stella Artois.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mother of Pearl + Zacapa Rum = Happiness

A few weeks back I spent a breezy Sunday afternoon at Mother of Pearl in the East Village enjoying amazing Zacapa cocktails and the company of friends.  The sun was coming through the curtains, the drinks were perfectly cold and tropical, and everything was just about as perfect as a New York afternoon could be. 

But, you see, this was a private party and to my dismay, these drinks are not available on the Mother of Pearl menu.  Which meant, I might never taste their sweet ambrosia ever again....

But then, the recipes arrived in my in-box!  Hallelujah! 

I'm not usually a one to do a recipe dump here at Gastronomista, but let's be honest, I'm doing this for my own selfish reasons (information hoarding).  And, I guess (eye roll) you, dear readers, should know make these cocktails at home so you can understand the full talents of Head Bartender Jane Danger

So here you have it, 3 Perfect Rummy Drinks from Mother of Pearl: 

Sugar Cane Honey Magik - Photo by Shannon Sturgis

Sugar Cane Honey Magik
Created by Jane Danger

1 3/4 ml Zacapa Rum 23 Bottle
2 1/2 ounces Toasted Coconut Almond Cream*
3/4 ounce Pineapple Juice
Almonds and Orchid for Garnish

Add Toasted Coconut Almond Cream and pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker. Whip until incorporated.  Pour into a large footed glass, and Top with crushed ice.  Pour 50 ml mini Zacapa Rum 23 bottle in, use as garnish.  Top with more crushed ice; add a colorful straw, orchid and 3 almonds to garnish.

Toasted Coconut Almond Cream

1 pound Almond Flakes
1 quart Water
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup Sugar
8 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk

Add all ingredients to a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer.  Take off heat, and Let rest 15 minutes.  Blend until smooth.

White Oak Sling - Photo by Shannon Sturgis

White Oak Sling
Created by Jane Danger

1 1/4 ounce Zacapa Rum 23
1/4 ounce Herbal Liqueur
1 1/4 ounce Cherry Cola Syrup
1/2 ounce Pineapple Juice
1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
Cherry Orange Flag and Cinnamon Stick for Garnish

Combine Zacapa 23, herbal liqueur, cherry cola syrup, pineapple and lemon juices into a cocktail shaker. Whip shake.  Strain contents into a Collins glass over crushed ice.  Garnish with cherry orange flag and a cinnamon stick.

Contessa Royal - Photo by Shannon Sturgis

Contessa Royal
Created by Jane Danger

1 1/2 ounce Zacapa Rum 23
1 ounce Cold Press Green Apple Juice
3/4 ounce Lime Juice
1/2 ounce Jalapeño Honey
2 dashes Rosemary Tincture
Sparking Wine for Top
Green Apple Slice and Rosemary Sprig for Garnish

Combine Zacapa Rum 23, cold press green apple juice, lime juice, jalapeño honey and rosemary tincture into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake well.  Strain into a double rocks glass over a large piece of ice.  Top with sparkling wine, and garnish with one green apple slice and rosemary sprig.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jameson Slushies!

Labor Day is coming, and you need this Jameson Slushie Recipe. 

For your survival.

Jameson Slushie
Recipe Courtesy of Pernod Ricard

2 QT Kelvin Slush Co. Slushy Mix (Spicy Ginger)
8 QT Water
1.5 L Jameson

Blend with ice, Garnish with a Fresh Mint Sprig. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Roasted Cherry Cocktails on!

I'm so excited to share the video I shot with where I share some of my favorite summery cocktails made with grilled cherries!  Head on over to Saveur for the full article!

Spoiler Alert: There's Fire!  And Rum!

Cherry Vodka Old Fashioned
Cherry Shandy
Coconut Cherry Colada

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thank You!

Huge thank yous are in order to for naming Gastronomista as one of the top 5 Drinking Blogs You Should Be Reading Right Now as the "Lifestyle Guru"!  AND a mention about our new Shop!

Please click through to see the full article, and all the other boozy blogs mentioned.  Many thanks to for this awesome honor!


Gastronomista: Top Drinking & Cocktail Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rummy Cherry Colada Popsicles

About a month ago I was asked by Metro International to create a recipe for a boozy popsicle, and I created a really delicious recipe using rum, coconut, and grilled cherries (a favorite combination of mine right now).  Metro International published said recipe and my photos without crediting the recipe nor the image to me, nor linking back to my website (grumble grumble grumble).  SO I am sharing it here with all of you, and publicly claiming ownership of my recipe.  I hope you enjoy it, especially as we head into the dog days of summer, when rum and fruit in frozen form is a necessity for survival.

Rummy Cherry Colada Popsicles
Created by Gastronomista

Layer 1:
1 oz White Rum such as Bacardi Superior
3 oz Coconut Milk
2 oz Coconut Water
2T Toasted Coconut Shavings

Shake in a Cocktail Tin, and Pour into Popsicle Molds and let freeze.

Layer 2:
1 Cup Baked Cherries*
2 oz Extra Dark Rum such as Bacardi Black
5 oz Coconut Milk
20 Dashes Barrel Aged Bitters

Blend in a blender on full speed, when all the fruit is chopped, pour into popsicle molds, add popsicle sticks, and freeze.


Baked Cherries

Cut cherries in half, and remove pits.  Place cherries on a baking tray with tin foil, and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool. 

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