Our “Cocktails for the Four Seasons” authors on “San Diego Living”

Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher — the dynamic duo behind the award-winning food blog Spoon Fork Bacon — recently appeared on "San Diego Living" show to share some simple but elegant recipes for great party food. Check it out here

 

And now we're pleased to announce that Jenny and Teri Lyn have now brought their creative talent to the art of mixology!

Cocktails for the Four Seasons

Introducing Cocktails for the Four Seasons from Peter Pauper Press! This attractive book features more than 50 irresistible cocktails, arranged by season, that are as exciting as they are easy to make, from "Lavender Limoncello" to "Star Gimlet" to "Hop Skip and Go Naked!" Refresh your repertoire of drinks with intriguing ingredient swaps and add-ins, as well as unexpectedly delightful colors and garnishes! 

Inspired by each season but meant to be enjoyed all year round, Cocktails for the Four Seasons features a sophisticated cover design with gold foil treatment and gorgeous full-color photographs throughout. Who knew libations could be this much fun? Cheers!

Cocktails for the Four Seasons interior 1

 

Cocktails for the Four Seasons interior 2

Restaurgatory: Travel Tuesdays and the Infernal Menus

If you weren't aware, fair readers, Peter Pauper publishes a lovely suite of travel guides. Among other things, said guides provide many (many, many) quick glimpses of their respective subject destinations' gustatory highlights. They feature a potpourri of dining options, selected to the best of our ability for merit, price range diversity, uniqueness, convenience, and notable appeal. When we update a travel guide or expand its content for an app, the author and editors working on it verify that the restaurants (and other venues) listed are still open, that their contact information and operating hours haven't changed, and that our description of the establishment is still accurate.

The last, as you might imagine, occasionally involves looking at an online menu.

I don't know if you have ever, in the course of a day, looked at around twenty of a city's choicest restaurants' menus. I do not recommend doing so if the most appetizing thing immediately available to you is the scent of your mango-vanilla hand sanitizer. You're liable to sink into a fugue of sorts, morosely pondering the utter inaccessibility of dragonfruit gelato capped with cacao foam and apricot nectar faux-caviar, or burrata nestled in an artful huddle of braised figs, or really great Sabich from the sort of hole-in-the-wall falafel shop your neighborhood would have if it featured enough pedestrian traffic for a hole-in-the-wall falafel shop.

Menu-purgatory has its perks, though. I first learned of Boston's unparalleled Flour Bakery through an update to our Boston guide, and discovered New York's renowned City Winery—now one of my favorite music venues, as well as a fine place for a bite—while working on the New York app. Other places I haven't yet visited, but have added to my bucket list: It's a bit pricey, but I'd love to get a drink from Bemelmans Bar, in order to sit and take in the murals of Central Park painted by the illustrator of the Madeline books. If I ever make it to Chicago, I think I'd have to turn in my vegetarian card should I not make it to Green Zebra. (Vegetable-inclined kindred, check out their menu only if you wish to discover vertiginous heights of food-coveting.)

Has anyone reading visited a restaurant featured in one of our guides? If so, we'd love to hear about it!

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/mates

Retro Recipe Thursdays: Empanadas de Pollo

Greetings, retro chefs! This week's recipe is from our new ebook Simple Spanish Cookery, based on our vintage 1970s cookbook of the same name. Promotional Note: The ebook will be FREE to download from Amazon.com on Friday, Nov. 9th!

And now back to our recipe: Empanadas are common fare in most Latin American countries. They are little pastries which have any number of different sorts of fillings, and they are commonly served at parties, at picnics, as snacks or as hors d'oeuvres. Following is a sample recipe.

 

Empanadas de Pollo
(Chicken Turnovers — Mexico)
Makes 10 servings.

Components:
Empanadas de Pollo Filling
Basic Pastry

Empanadas de Pollo Filling
Ingredients:
1 cup chopped chicken, cooked
2 tsp. butter
1 can pimientos
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup chopped olives
1 chopped hard-boiled egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Soften the onion in the butter, add chicken and pimientos, then fry until lightly browned. Add the rest of the ingredients, heat well, then make empanadas with the basic pastry dough
.

Basic Pastry Recipe
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 egg
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup ice water

Directions:
Mix flour, egg, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then work in the butter. Add enough ice water to hold the pastry together. Roll out the dough on a floured board, and cut into round pieces about four inches in diameter. Put the filling on one half of the circle, wet the edge with water, and fold the other half over it, pinching the edges together. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes, unless otherwise directed.

Enjoy!

First Image © Analia Valeria Urani / Shutterstock.com

***

 

Travel Tuesdays and the Prance of the Behemoths

I can’t think of a comment that wouldn’t simply be gilding the unicorn cow, so I’ll let this speak for itself:

See the Unicorn Cow!

If you live in New England and have at least a passing interest in unicorn cows, adventurous deep-frying, squid-shaped hats, apples, and/or llamas, I recommend The Big E highly. It takes place in West Springfield, MA, and is the Northeast’s biggest multi-state fair, pulling crowds of over 150,000 on peak days. It does feel a little more commercialized than smaller fairs–one building is seemingly dedicated to as-seen-on-TV gadgets–but its size also lends it an ebullience that’s worth experiencing at least once. You’ll come away a little dazed, but happy and possibly brimming with llama-enthusiasm.

It encompasses a gallimaufry (sorry, I love that word and I never get to use it) of competitions, displays, acrobatic performances, old-style sideshows, maple cotton candy stands, crafts, circus ephemera, and the like. In short it is by turns weird, impressive, delicious, and adorable. My alma mater lies not half an hour away, but somehow I never attended in my time there or the years since. A local friend graciously offered to help remedy this.

We arrived via a flood of people that deposited us in the Labyrinth of Fried Food Adventure. (If the area had a name, that wasn’t it. But it ought to have been.) The creative souls vending there had fried everything it is possible to fry, and some things I would have thought impossible. How does one fry butter without creating a melted mess? I’m a vegetarian and a little leery of oil possibly also used to fry meat, so I didn’t try anything, but I’d love to hear a thoughtful evaluation of the fried Oreo’s merits.

 

We then spent a pleasant hour or so watching the Prance of the Behemoths. By which I mean the draft-horse-driving competition. Dear readers, draft horses are amazing. They are glossy, high-stepping leviathans that move with impossible grace. We watched them pull prettily-decorated buggies, lumbering in lovely synchrony around the show ring.

After a foray into the pavilions comprising the Avenue of the States (in which vendors from all six New England states sell thematically appropriate crafts and foodstuffs; interestingly, the inside of each state pavilion is considered part of that state, and sales tax adjusted accordingly), we headed to one of the petting zoos. Petting zoo verdict: sheep are jerks, alpacas are divas, goats are very cool people once you get past the whole horizontal pupil thing. They leaned against us happily when we scratched their ears.

Following an important pierogi stop, we continued to the best place on the fairground, if not in the whole of New England: The Land of the Llamas. Llamas everywhere, tufted ears flicking and shaggy fluff-pantaloons shaking gently as they walked. We made the llama rounds, then proceeded to the llama show ring, in which a novice-class llama obstacle course competition was underway. (We were unsure at first whether “novice” referred to the llamas or their handlers. After some discussion, we concluded that the llamas were probably the novices in question.) The llamas made by and large a pretty impressive showing. Even if they hadn’t, it’s tough to watch llamas and remain un-charmed.

(Okay, you caught me: I was trying to sneak the word ‘llama’ in as many times as possible. Wouldn’t you, given the chance?)

We wandered for a while after that, encountering an unexpected coup in the form of the unicorn cow enclosure. We wavered, but decided not to go inside, content with the glorious mental pictures we’d formed. Eventually exhaustion vanquished us, and home we went.

Sadly, the Big E is over for the year, its fairgrounds cleared of llamas and maple products. But I’ll be back when next September rolls around, and encourage you to check it out too!

 

I will conclude with this photograph of David Bowie in chicken form:

David Bowie's chicken doppelganger.