Recipes from the Cooking School

 

Taste of the Mountains Cooking School whips up creative and innovative recipes.  You can make them at home!



  • Salads
  • Soups & Starters
  • Entrees
  • Sides & Such
  • Desserts
  • Drinks & Cocktails

Salads

 

Summer Wheat Berry Salad

Chef Steffani Adaska

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 2 large, fresh tomatoes, cored, small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 English Cucumber, small dice
  • 3 stalks celery, small dice
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ Cup crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1/3 cup, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, stemmed, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup, mint leaves, rough chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Cook the wheat berries according to the directions on the package. Drain them in a colander and allow to cool just a bit.
  2. Mix together all of the chopped vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest and vinegar to make a dressing.
  4. Add the wheat berries to the vegetables, and stir in the dressing.
  5. Add Feta, parsley and mint. Season with salt & pepper.
  6. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
  7. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Wedge Salad

Classic Steakhouse Wedge Salad With
Steffani’s Best Gorgonzola & Bacon Dressing

Recipe Steffani Adaska, 2013

Dressing:
4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
6 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
1 large head of Iceberg lettuce, outer leaves removed and discarded.
2 plum tomatoes, cored, diced
½ small red onion, sliced thinly (optional)

Directions:
1. Cut head of lettuce in quarters. Place each quarter on chilled salad plates. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and sliced red onion.
2. Put the Gorgonzola in a small mixing bowl and mash it with a fork. Add bacon bits, sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire and pepper. Stir to combine. Store in a glass jar, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or serve immediately over salad wedge.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups dressing

Soups & Starters

 

Stefani's Hot Corn and Chorizo Dip

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups corn kernels (4 ears fresh white or yellow corn)
½ # chorizo chopped small
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 poblanos, roasted, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green & white parts)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3-5 drops of liquid smoke (if you have it)
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces monterey jack or cheddar, shredded
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Tortilla chips, for dipping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn, S&P. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kernels turn deep golden brown (about 5-7 mins). Transfer to a bowl.

Cook chorizo in same pan to cook through. Transfer to corn bowl.

Melt remaining butter in skillet. Add the onions, peppers and cook, stirring often, until onions are wilted, about 2 min. Add the green onions, jalapeno, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until vegetables are softened. Transfer to the bowl with the corn.

Add mayonnaise, 1/2 of the monterey jack and 1/2 of the cheddar, cilantro, poblanos and the cayenne and mix well. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

 

Sweet Pea Soup w/ Bacon Lardons and Crème Fraiche
By Chef Steffani Adaska, Director – Taste of Mountains Cooking School
Serves: 6
A heavenly chilled Spring Soup made with garden fresh sweet peas, leeks, bacon drippings, fresh rosemary, vegetable broth and a touch of cream, garnished with Bacon Lardons & Crème Fraiche.

6 slices of thick bacon, sliced into 1” lardons
2 medium leeks, white and tender green only, cleaned & thoroughly, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
2 pounds, fresh peas, shelled (or two 10-ounce boxes frozen baby peas)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 Cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, sliced thinly

1. In a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, render bacon until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
2. Pour off all but 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat. Reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Add the leeks, garlic and rosemary sprig over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (do not brown), about 6-7 minutes. Add vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes to marry flavors. Remove rosemary sprig.
4. Add the sugar snaps and the fresh (or frozen baby) peas, cook 3 minutes.
Remove to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain. Cool soup in a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water to cool. Add heavy cream.
1. Once soup is chilled, taste for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper if needed.
2. In a small bowl, mix crème fraiche with minced shallot. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Ladle chilled soup into chilled bowls. Add a dollup of crème fraiche mixture to soup. Garnish with parsley and reserved bacon lardons. Serve.

Chef’s Note: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

French Onion Soup


French Onion Soup
By Chef Steffani

3 Tbls. unsalted butter
7 large yellow onions halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4" thick
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 C water
1/2 C sherry (preferably dry)
5 C chicken broth (low-sodium/low -fat ideal)
1 1/2 C beef broth
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper
Bread slices and Gruyère (or swiss) for garnish

Directions

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-half of oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray heavy-bottomed 7-quart Dutch oven with nonstick spray. Add butter, onions and 1 tsp. salt. Cover Dutch over and cook 1 hour. Remove Dutch oven from oven and stir onions. Return to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are caramelized, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides once or twice during cooking. BE PATIENT. Caramelization takes time and cannot be rushed.

2. Remove Dutch oven and place on stove-top over medium heat. Cook onions until liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes, , stirring frequently. Continue stir until bottom of Dutch oven is coated with dark crust (6 to 8 minutes). This is called FOND. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process, adding 1/4 cup water, 2 to 3 more times, until onions are dark brown and water is gone. Deglaze with sherry, stirring until sherry is gone.

3. Add chicken and beef broth, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove herbs, then season with pepper, adding additional salt if needed.
To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes.

Main Courses

 Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington with Port Wine & Roasted Shallot Jam

 

Last Christmas holiday I spent in Mendham, NJ. That’s where I grew up. Along with a beautiful poached salmon, I made this Beef Wellington recipe for Christmas Dinner. OMG!!! Can I say A-M-A-Z-I-N-G? My family still talks about it! My nephew, Michael, insists this is the best thing he as ever eaten. EVER. Go Aunt Steffani!

I based this recipe on Gordon Ramsey’s Beef Wellington recipe, but tweaked it a bit to make it my own. I also created a delectable sauce that pairs very nicely with it. Plan ahead, as it takes some time to prepare. But it is SO WORTH IT! Pour yourself a glass of Malbec or Cabernet and enjoy this with your family.

Happy Holidays!!! Chef Steffani

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds wild mushrooms, roughly chopped

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Olive oil, for cooking

  • 2 2.5-3 pound pieces of prime beef fillet, trimmed

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon

  • 10-12 slices of Prosciutto di Parma

  • 1 package ready-made puff pastry

  • Flour , to dust

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

    1. Place mushrooms into a food processor with some S & P and pulse to a rough paste. Scrape the paste into a pan and cook over a high heat for about 10 mins, tossing frequently, to cook out the moisture from the mushrooms. Spread out on a plate to cool.

    2. Heat in a frying pan and add a little olive oil. Season beef with S & P and sear in the hot pan for 30-40 seconds on each side. (You don't want to cook it at this stage, just sear it all around.) Remove beef from pan and set aside to cool. Brush meat all over with Dijon. Sprinkle fresh tarragon evenly over the mustard.

    3. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface and arrange the Parma ham slices on it, in slightly overlapping rows. With a palette knife, spread the mushroom paste over the ham, then place the seared beef fillet in the middle. Keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the edge, neatly roll the Parma ham and mushrooms around the beef to form a tight barrel shape. Twit the ends of the cling film to secure. Chill for 15-20 mins to allow the beef to set and keep its shape.

      1. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to a large rectangle, the 1/8” thickness. Remove the plastic wrap from beef and lay in the center. Brush the surrounding pastry with egg yolk. Fold the ends over, the wrap the pastry around the beef, cutting off any excess. Turn over, so the seam is underneath, and place on a baking sheet. Brush over all the pastry with egg and chill for Chill for at least 30 mins to let the pastry rest.

      2. Heat the oven to 400oF.

      3. Lightly score the pastry at 1⁄2” intervals and glaze again with beaten egg

        yolk. Bake for 20 mins, then lower the oven setting to 350oFand cook for

        another 15 mins (for Medium Rare).

      4. VERY IMPORTANT STEP: Allow to rest for 10-15 mins before slicing.

        The beef should still be pink in the center when you serve it. Serve with Port Wine/Shallot Jam.

      Port Wine & Roasted Shallot Jam

      • 1 1/2 pounds large shallots (about 24), halved lengthwise, peeled

      • 3 tablespoons olive oil

      • 6 cups canned beef broth

      • 1 1/2 cups tawny Port

      • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

        1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. In 9-inch- diameter pie pan, toss shallots with oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until shallots are deep brown and very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

        2. Meanwhile, boil broth and Port in large saucepan until reduced to 3 3/4 cups, about 30 minutes. Whisk in tomato paste.


        CHEF’S NOTES: Wellington can be made, through step 4, one day ahead of time. This Port Wine & Roasted Shallot Jam goes well with roasted pork and game too. Jam can be made up to 3 days prior, just cool and store in an airtight container. Reheat before serving.

 

 

 

 

Mac & Cheese with Prosciutto and Chanterelles

by Chef Steffani Adaska

Warm, creamy, and soul-satisfying, macaroni and cheese may just be the ultimate comfort food for Autumn in New England. In my version, the delicate, nutty flavor of chanterelles adds an unexpected modern twist to this beloved tradition. Marscarpone cheese offers a touch of tartness and a creaminess like no other. Prosciutto ads just enough saltiness so I don’t add any extra to the recipe.

2 Tbsp butter
2 cups chanterelles mushrooms, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 quart whole milk, heated to simmering
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Gruyère
3 pounds elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
1/3 cup diced prosciutto
1 cup grated Gruyère
1 cup marscarpone cheese
1/3 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Gruyère
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups dried bread crumbs
½ cup heavy cream

· Preheat oven to 375 degrees

· In medium sauté pan melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium-high heat until it bubbles. Add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook 1 more minute. Set aside.

· In a large saucepan, make a roux by blending flour and butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes, then add spices to pan. Cook 1 more minute. Quickly whisk in the hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the 2 cups Gruyère and stir until melted. Remove sauce from heat.

· Mix the macaroni, reserved chanterelles, prosciutto, 1 cup Gruyère, marscarpone and parsley with the reserved sauce. Taste for seasoning, add salt if you think it needs it, but shouldn’t because the prosciutto adds a bit of saltiness. Pour into into baking dish.

· Sprinkle the ½ cup of cheese over the dish. Mix the butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Drizzle heavy cream over dish. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

 

Barbecue

Chipotle- Orange BBQ Rub
Chef Steffani Adaska
Yield: Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoons Kosher salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons Chipotle Chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup dried orange zest

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; use as a dry rub on beef, chicken, lamb or pork.

Store in airtight container in cool, dark pantry.

Sides & Such

 

Cipollate con Pancetta (Bacon-Wrapped Scallions)

recipe from Chef Steffani Adaska, Director of A Taste of the Mountains
Yields: 4 Servings

Who doesn't like bacon? Right? My kids and I can never get enough.
This tasty dish originates from Italy. In Italy, they make with pancetta, often called Italian bacon. That's a true enough description, but unlike American bacon, which is most often smoked, pancetta is unsmoked pork belly that is cured in salt and spices. It's then dried for a several months.

I serve this as an appetizer with a a horseradish cream drizzle, or as a side dish. It is so easy to prepare and always a crowd pleaser. I like with the pancetta or the traditional smokey bacon. Try it both ways. Choose your fave!!


24 large scallions, trimmed of roots and green tips

8 strips bacon (or pancetta)

Sea salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

Wrap 3 scallions together with 1 strip of bacon. Repeat with remaining scallions and bacon and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add bacon-wrapped scallion bunches, and cook, turning as needed, until browned and crisp on all sides, 6–8 minutes.
Alternatively, you can do this over the grill for added flavor. Either way they are delish. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Desserts

 

Easy Apple- Pecan -Toffee Crisp

Chef Steffani Adaska

I love the fall. I love the beautiful leaves, the smell of the air, and mostly – I LOVE APPLES!

Apples are great to eat right off the tree. As a kid growing up in New Jersey we would often have contests to see who could produce the shiniest apple skins on our street. Simple, I know. We would rub the skin on our shirtsleeves to make them shine like a bowling ball. This was a serious competition.

Today, I don’t use my shirt to clean my apples, but I do take my apple consumption seriously. I enjoy all types of apples offered here in New England and I never pass up the chance to cook with them. Below is a simple recipe using the Macoun Apple. A favorite of New York and New England, Macoun Apples are extra sweet, aromatic, and juicy and offer just a hint of crunch. They’re known as a perfect match for a little cheese and wine, are great for salads and make awesome applesauce. Macoun apples are recommended up till Christmas time.

I serve this warm with my favorite Vanilla Ice Cream or, better yet, with the amazing Salted Caramel Ice Cream available at Mckaellas Sweet Shop in North Conway.*

For Apple Filling:

5 pounds Macoun apples (or McIntosh), peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
Zest of 1 medium orange
Zest of zest of 1 medium lemon
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For Pecan - Toffee Crisp:

1 1/2 cups flour
½ cup shelled pecans, finely chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 - (8-oz. pkg.) Heath Toffee Bits
1 cup oatmeal
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Butter an 8 x 13 (or similar) ovenproof baking dish.
  • Combine apples with remaining filling ingredients. Pour into prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  • Make the topping: combine the flour, pecans, sugars, salt, oatmeal, toffee bits and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over apples.
  • Place baking dish on a sheet pan. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is brown and apples are bubbly.
  • Serve warm with Vanilla Ice Cream or 18 Degrees Celsius Salted Caramel Ice Cream*.

 

Gluten-Free Banana Cake

Ingredients1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of milk, room temperature
6 over ripe bananas (nastier the better), mashed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 9-inch tart pans by spraying with cooking oil. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk. Combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently combine. Add the banana. Stir well. Pour mixture into pans and bake for 30 minutes. Cake will brown slightly and rise in the middle. It should be firm to the touch. Let cool slightly and then remove the bottom of the tart pan from mold.

Frost with peanut butter cream cheese frosting

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 -5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature


Mix together cream cheese, peanut butter and butter with mixer until smooth.

Add vanilla and powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, along with the milk and beat until spreading consistency.

Spread on cooled cakes.

Spiced Up Molten Chocolate Cakes

Spiced Up Molten Chocolate Cakes
Serves 8

1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted margarine*

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

4 teaspoons flour (or matzo meal, ground in a blender to a fine powder)

8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)

Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in chili powder and flour or matzo meal until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)
  2. Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  3. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.
  4. Top each with a scoop of ice cream and serve immediately.


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Tart

This easy and tasty dessert is a huge hit for all ages. Serve for any occasion with a glass of cold milk.

Makes one 9 inch tart

FOR THE CRUST

  • Ten 4¾ x 2½" graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING

  • 3 ounces best-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Place graham crackers in food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs are formed. Add melted butter, pulse a few times to thoroughly combine. Place crumbs in tart pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs up the sides of the pan to form the edge of the tart and then evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place in the refrigerator while making the filling.
  2. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Place ½ cup cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Pour over chopped chocolate. See aside for 5 minutes then whisk to combine (this is your chocolate ganache). Set ganache in ice bath to cool, whisking constantly. Once ganache has cooled, remove from ice bath, and whisk until thick enough to hold its shape; do not overbeat. Spread in bottom of the prepared crust, and return to the refrigerator to set.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor; Combine peanut butter, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk - process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Whip ¾ cup heavy cream to soft peaks. Add whipped cream to peanut butter mixture; whisk to combine.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared crust.
  6. Prepare chocolate drizzle garnish. Place ½ oz of chocolate in a small Ziploc baggie. Microwave chocolate until melted, about 25-45 seconds, depending on your microwave. Cut a tiny hole in one of the corners of your baggie, drizzle in a large zig zag formation over your prepared pie. Return to the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Remove tart from refrigerator, and transfer to a serving platter 10 minutes before serving.

Whip remaining ½ cup cream. Top tart with dollops of whipped cream.

Drinks & Cocktails

 

Cool as a Cucumber - Summer Agua Fresca
by Chef Steffani Adaska
Serves 12

Got lots of cukes in your garden? Here’s a super-refreshing summer drink to make good on your garden's goodness.
Agua Fresca (Spanish for "fresh water") is a combo of fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water to make a light non-alcoholic beverage.
This recipe is refreshing, yet has a little zip from a hot pepper.
I added an alcoholic version too. See Chef's Note for that.
Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sugar
10 cups cold water
2.5 pounds cucumbers, peeled, coarsely chopped (more for garnish)
1 cup fresh lime juice plus
1 jalepeno pepper or serrano chile, seeded, minced (more for garnish)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Ice cubes
12 thin cucumber slices (for garnish)
12 fresh mint sprigs (for garnish)
12 lime slices (for garnish)
12 slices of jalepeno pepper or serrano chile (for garnish)


Make Simple Syrup: Stir sugar and 2 cups water in large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat Pour into bowl, bring to room temp, then chill. This can be up to 1 week ahead and kept in fridge.
In a blender, working in batches, puree cucumbers, lime juice, jalepeno or chile, salt, with 2 cups of your simple syrup until smooth. Strain puree into large pitcher or bowl. Mix in 8 cups cold water.*
Cover and chill 2+ hours or overnight.
Fill glasses with ice cubes. Add a cucumber slice, lime slice, mint sprig and jalepeno slice to the rim of each glass. Pour your chilled cucumber goodness into each glass and serve.



*Chef’s Note:
If you are daring and want to impress your friends with a fun summer drink, try an alcoholic version. Swap out 4 cups of the water and with 4 cups of vodka. (I love Tito’s Vodka with this drink.)

Yummy!!!! Be careful, they go down quickly.

Mexican Horchata
Recipe by Steffani Adaska


Horchata (or orxata) is the name of several kinds of traditional beverages, made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley, or tigernuts. Horchata varies in taste across Latin America. Although Horchata shares the same name, the flavor of each is very unique to its country of origin.

In Mexico and Guatemala, horchata is made of rice, sometimes with vanilla, but it always has cinnamon.

1 cup uncooked white long-grain rice
2 cinnamon sticks, (Mexican if you can get it), broken into pieces
7 cups water
1 cup milk (leche)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, (Mexican if you can get it), for garnish

Combine the rice and cinnamon pieces sticks with 4 cups water in a blender; pulse to coarsely grind. Transfer to a large bowl and add another 3 cups water; soak at room temperature for 3 – 4 hours.

Puree the rice mixture in a blender in batches until smooth. Strain through chinoix,or fine sieve, into your pitcher. Discard the rice. Mix in the milk, vanilla and sugar.

Chill and stir before serving over ice. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick (optional) and a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Tasty Sangria

Tasty Sangria for the Holidays
By Chef Steffani

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups carbonated water (optional)


Directions:
In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar.
Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture.
Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
For a fizzy sangria, add club soda just before serving.


Steffani’s Autumn Appletini with Caramel

3 parts Apple Pucker
1 part Butter Schnapps
.5 part Vanilla Vodka
thin slice of fresh apple, for garnish
caramel sauce, for garnish

Directions:
Chill your martini glass.
Fill shaker up to the top with ice
Shake Apple Pucker, Schnapps and Vodka vigorously at least 17 TIMES.
Garnish chilled glass with a drizzle of caramel then a thin Apple slice.
Strain contents of shaker into garnished glass.
Enjoy.