The Aged Pomegranate

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: From Amelia Rayno.

• 2 c. tequila

• 2 c. pomegranate juice

• 1 1/2 c. off-dry sherry, such as amontillado

• 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lime juice

• 1/4 c. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

• 10 dashes bitters

• Ice

• Fresh pomegranate chunks, for garnish, optional

• Fresh mint leaves, for garnish, optional


Combine the tequila, pomegranate juice, sherry, lime, Luxardo and bitters in a large pitcher or dispenser.

To serve: Shake each drink over ice, and strain, or add 3 to 4 cups ice to the pitcher or dispenser to properly dilute. Garnish with a pomegranate chunk on a skewer and the mint, if desired.

Nutrition information per each of 10 servings:

Calories 200 Fat 0 g Sodium 10 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 9 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g


Spiced Pear Collins

Serves 6 to 9.

Note: This recipe includes a couple of make-ahead steps. Pear nectar can be purchased in the juice section at most grocery stores. Adapted from Saveur magazine.

• 1 1/2 c. pear nectar

• 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

• 1 1/2 c. gin

• 3/4 c. Rosemary-Clove Simple Syrup (see recipe)

• 3/4 c. fresh lemon juice

• Fresh pear slices, for garnish, optional


Pour the pear nectar in a small pan and add the 3 sprigs of rosemary. Bring the nectar to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow nectar to cool completely.

When ready to compose the cocktail, combine the gin, nectar, simple syrup and lemon juice, and stir. Strain over crushed ice to serve, and top with the additional rosemary and pear slices, if desired.

Nutrition information per each of 9 servings:

Calories 160 Fat 0 g Sodium 3 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 18 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 12 g


Rosemary-Clove Simple Syrup

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Note: You will need  3/4 cup of this for the Pear Spiced Collins. From Saveur magazine.

• 1 c. sugar

• 1 c. water

• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

• 2 tbsp. whole cloves


Combine the sugar, water, rosemary and cloves in a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring well. Allow to cool completely, then strain.


Blini With Smoked Salmon

Makes 18 pancakes.

Note: In a pinch, use a pancake mix and follow the instructions on the box. To clarify butter: Melt unsalted butter over low heat while milk solids sink to the bottom. Strain through cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve. Discard the milk solids. From Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa.”

• 1/3 c. buckwheat flour

• 2/3 c. all-purpose flour

• 1/2 tsp. baking powder

• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

•3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. milk

• 1 extra large egg

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified, divided (see Note)

• 1/2 lb. smoked salmon

• 1/4 c. crème fraîche

• Sprigs of fresh dill, for garnish


Combine both flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and 1 tablespoon clarified butter. Then whisk mixture into the flour bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon clarified butter in a medium sauté pan and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Set aside.

To serve, top the blini with a piece of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprig of dill, and serve.

Nutrition information per each blini with salmon:

Calories 100 Fat 7 g Sodium 190 mg

Carbohydrates 6 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 0 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, ½ medium-fat protein, 1 fat.

Mini Avocado Toasts

Makes 12 to 24 mini toasts.

Note: Quail eggs can be found at some local co-ops and butcher shops; a slice of a small hard-cooked chicken egg can be substituted. From Amelia Rayno.

• 2 c. water, for boiling, plus 2 c. ice water for cooling

• 12 quail eggs, optional (see Note)

• 6 slices of any sandwich bread

• 2 to 3 avocados

• About 1 tbsp. salt

• About 1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper

• About 1 tbsp. red chile flakes

• About 2 tbsp. olive oil

• About 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• About 1/4 c. fresh parsley


Bring the water to a boil and add the quail eggs. After about 2 1/2 minutes, remove the eggs and dunk them in ice water for 2 minutes, then remove, carefully peel away the shells, and set aside.

Toast the bread and slice it either in half or in quarters, depending on the size. Top with slices of avocado, mashing gently with a fork, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and chile flakes, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

Slice each quail egg in half — taking care to not let the yolk spill too much — and place 1 or 2 halves on top of each mini toast. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per each of 24 (without egg):

Calories 50 Fat 3 g Sodium 330 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 1 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, ½ fat.

Devils on Horseback

Makes 24 appetizers.

Note: From “The Martha Stewart Show.”

• 24 large dates, pitted

• 1/3 c. Stilton cheese or other blue cheese

• 12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.

Halve dates lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick. Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Nutrition information per each serving:

Calories 45 Fat 2 g Sodium 90 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g Saturated fat 1 g Total sugars 5 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, ½ fat.