Tag Archives: tomato cocktails

Super Bowl

Mr. and Ms. S&C hosted their seventh annual Super Bowl party over the weekend. I realize the Super Bowl has been covered ad nauseam, so there’s no need for a recap of the game, the commercials, or the Boss here. I will say Jennifer Hudson looked fabulous and I would kill for her outfit. Loved the jacket, the shoes and the jewelry.

Even Top Chef jumped on board for the media overload, so I may pass on the Top Chef recap/drink pairing from last week’s episode. Except to say, it was pretty cool that the Quickfire Challenge involved squares. I love playing football squares.

There were two items from our party I feel bound to share — bloody mary’s and the world’s best lasagna.

As of late, I’ve heard many cocktail enthusiasts who have been advocating a return to the original Bloody Mary. The original recipe, thought to have been created by either a bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City or one in Paris, started with equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Some mixologists highly recommend this simplified version, with maybe a dash or two of Worcestershire, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Ms. S&C personally loves the bold spiciness that can come with a Bloody Mary. Lots of horseradish, Tabasco, old bay, celery seed, citrus — you could call it “the works.” And, I love to experiment with garnishes — maybe a fresh jalapeno and a shrimp, maybe bacon? Celery is an old favorite, but cucumber is now my go-to garnish of choice.


Bloody mary bar at the Super Bowl party. Cool football shaped glasses
were a gift from an aunt.

Our Super Bowl parties have usually featured traditional fare such as chili and sandwiches and the like. This year, we served lasagna. And, I have to say, it was pretty incredible. So good, that I’m going off-topic. The first time I made this lasagna, it was right after our trip to the city of brotherly love when I used a lot of fresh ingredients from the Italian market. I recommend you splurge on some premium canned tomato products because the sauce is the best part.

World’s Best Lasagna
(adapted from the recipe on all recipes.com)

1 pound ground Italian sausage
¾ pound lean ground beef
1 cup minced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
½ cup dry red wine
3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lasagna noodles (it is okay to use the no-boil noodles)
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and red wine. Season with basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. (Note: the sauce can be made a day in advance.)

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1 ½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with noodles. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Top with sauce. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. To prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

posted by Ms. S&C

Sunday brunch

Life doesn’t get much better when you can sleep in on a Sunday, then rouse to join friends for a leisurely and delicious brunch.  But life does get better when you get to have said Sunday brunch on a gorgeous October day in New York City’s West Village.

I was this lucky duck this past Sunday.  Having spent Saturday night tasting cocktails in the city (more to come about those), I was thrilled to meet friends the next day at Dell’Anima, a fantastic Italian restaurant.  The name translates to “of the soul,” which is a perfect description for their hearty, elegant dishes.  Dell’Anima serves brunch family-style, and now I think there is no other way.  Together you can ooh and ahh over the Farro, retell funny stories from the night before while passing the French toast, and soak up the remaining precious moments of the weekend over that last cup of coffee.  Its bliss, I tell you.  Bliss.

Dell’Anima’s Sunday Brunch Menu:

Our Sunday Brunch Drinks:

  • Bellini (with blood oranges rather than peaches)
  • Bloody Mary (spicy and served with a pearl onion)

S&C test kitchen–bloody mary tomato mousse

This past weekend, friends LC and CA invited us over for a round of Texas hold ’em. Given they appreciate a good cocktail as much as we do, it was a perfect opportunity for me to test the Bloody Mary Tomato Mousse cocktail recently featured in “Summer in a cup.”

There are many things to like about this drink: the colors are impressive, its innovative, and I love the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. I thought the flavor of the multiple, ripe tomatoes would make my mouth explode, but that didn’t quite happen. While I would make this cocktail again, I would continue to experiment with the ingredients, the portions (notice how I had a lot more of the red mixture), and the layering technique (not quite as beautiful as the original picture).

The original recipe comes from Washington Post Food Section Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad. I didn’t alter the recipe much – I added fesh basil, more Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. I recommend when making, you taste each batch of puree and alter spices accordingly. The S&C modified recipe is the one below.


· 3 small yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
· Freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 5 medium red tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· Several dashes hot pepper sauce (to taste)
· 5 to 6 tablespoons vodka, plus more to taste (preferably from the freezer)
· 3 small green tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 2 ribs celery, washed, trimmed and cut into chunks
· Handful of fresh basil
· Celery salt (kosher salt mixed with celery seed)


I made the pureed tomato batches several hours before serving, so I stored each in separate plastic containers.

Original recipe calls for pureeing in a blender for 5 minutes. Fearing my blender couldn’t handle it, I opted for a food processor, and didn’t need the full 5 minutes. The tomatoes were ripe and juicy, so my tomato purees were very liquidy. I put the containers in the freezer, rather than the refrigerator, hoping to thicken the mixture.

1. Place the yellow tomato pieces in a food processor and puree for 3-5 minutes until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar as needed. Add lemon zest and lemon juice to taste. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken.

2. Rinse out the food processor and place the red tomato pieces inside; puree for 3-5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the jar as needed. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and vodka to taste; puree for a few seconds just to combine. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken.

3. Rinse out the food processor, then add the green tomato pieces, chunks of celery, and basil. Puree for 3-5 minutes, or until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the jar as needed. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken. (For next time: I will try adding a roasted poblano pepper to the green mixture.)

4. Remove puree mixtures about a half-hour before serving. The mixtures should not be frozen (only slightly crystalized along the edge of the containers). In the meantime, make the celery salt.

5. When ready to serve – I had a lot more of the red mixture, so I placed the red layer on the bottom of the glass. Then, carefully pour the yellow mixture on top (pouring it over the back of a spoon will cause less agitation). Add a splash of well-chilled vodka. Then, pour the green mixture on top of the yellow mixture. Sprinkle with celery salt.

Overall rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Summer in a cup

Stop what you are doing and immediately check out today’s Washington Post Food Section – the Tomato Issue. They have unveiled the winners of their annual Top Tomato Contest, and made my heart swoon. While the recipe for Bloody Mary Tomato Mousse! was not an entry in the contest (appears in The Gastronomer column), I just know it is a winner.

This beautiful layered concoction has made my heart skip a beat. I can’t think straight. I’m at a loss for words, and I have no idea what shoes I would wear with it.

Summary, recipe ingredients, and directions are here. Fresh ripe tomatoes, lemon, hot pepper sauce, vodka — all my faves. I may even add the basil oil that appears in a separate recipe. While it seems a little time intensive, I am certain it is worth it. I was going to make white wine sangria this weekend, but plans may have very well changed.