Traditional recipes

A Modern Caviar Cocktail Party

A Modern Caviar Cocktail Party

Caviar may seem like a luxury, out-of-reach item, and it usually is. But with Petrossian's Caviarcubes, it's available to a new generation of caviar connoisseurs. These tiny, compressed caviar squares are bursting with flavor — and they can be had for a 'caviar-reasonable' price. One jar costs $45 and contains about 12 to 16 cubes. They can easily be used in cocktails, shooters, and a variety of small plates — here is a menu plan for a fun cocktail party designed entirely around them.

Drinks

The Tsar

Caviar and cucumber are a natural pairing. Caviar, cucumber, and vodka — even better. This cocktail is elegant and fresh, and the pressed caviar adds a nice touch of salt and richness.

The Caviar2 [squared]

How do you improve upon a caviar garnish? You add more caviar! In addition to the cube, this cocktail also features a caviar-stuffed olive, as well as a pickled pearl onion. For those who like this sort of thing, it's all sour and salt and tang — a good match to a stron cocktail.

Martini

However you take your martini — dirty or dry, shaken or stirred, gin or vodka — adding a twist and Caviarcube makes it a fun new experience.

Vodka Shots

Here's one way to dress-up the everyday vodka shot. Splurge for some premium-quality vodka, and serve it in chilled shot glasses garnished with a Caviarcube and cucumber wedge. The salt from the cube makes a great, palate-cleansing chaser.

Sparkling Wine

Even though Champagne immediately comes to mind, it's not the only sparkling wine that works with caviar. Enjoy the cubes in between sips of more moderately priced varieties of bubbly like Prosecco or Cava.

Appetizers

Bite-sized delicacies that create a refreshing combination of cool cucumber and sea-salty caviar.

Caviar-Stuffed Olives

"Square peg, round hole" is how we like to describe this simple, skewered appetizer. Just place a caviar cube inside the unpitted olive (preferably green), then pierce with a toothpick and arrange on a platter.

Just replace the scoop of caviar in this stunning hors d'oeuvre recipe from Napa Valley's Étoile with a caviar cube.

A dish that looks more difficult to compose than it actually is becomes even more elegant with a caviar cube resting on top.


Caviar 101 (and simple caviar appetizers)

Caviar. The very word conjures up visions of elegant parties and luxury lifestyles. While that is certainly applicable, caviar is a delicious way to elevate your next party or get-together, and it is very easy to incorporate into your appetizer menu. With a season of holiday parties ahead of us, I thought I would round up some easy and delicious caviar appetizer recipes.

Just like the only real Champagne is from the Champagne wine region in France and everything else is a sparkling wine, true gourmet caviar comes from sturgeon only – primarily Beluga, Sterlet, Ossetra, and Sevruga sturgeons. Every species of sturgeon, however, is on the endangered species list, so there are other fish that produce caviar. Caviar from any other source than sturgeon must be designated by the fish it comes from, such as ‘salmon caviar’ or ‘paddlefish caviar.’ If it just says ‘caviar’ on the container, it’s from sturgeon. (Or it should be.) Here is a great article on the different types of caviar, and what to look for.

One of the most popular ways to serve caviar is with blini. Blini comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but is really a thin little pancake, or crepe. They are delicious and a great bite-sized starter to any party.

These caviar and smoked salmon canapés look impressive and taste even better if the salmon, caviar and crème fraiche are all very cold before adding them to the warm blinis. Get the full recipe from Amazing Appetizer Recipes.

This is a twist on a traditional blini, using potato. Topped with herbed sour cream and a dollop of caviar, it is simple and delicious. Get the recipe from Sandra Lee.

This particular caviar blini recipe is a favorite of Tory Burch. Chef Dana Manuta also uses potato in her blini recipe too.

If you are looking for a truly beautiful appetizer that tastes divine, this is it. Preparation is very simple, presentation is quite spectacular. Get the recipe from Party Tipz.

Deviled eggs are always a favorite and these caviar topped eggs are a wonderful way to serve caviar to people who have never tried it before. Get the recipe at What’s Cooking America.

These baked Parmesan crisps with creme fraiche and caviar by Jackie Alpers look scrumptious! The one-ingredient Parmesan crisps are a savory, no-carb alternative to blini. They are easy to make, to boot! Get the recipe at Jackie’s Happy Plate.

Want to go super simple? How about kettle cooked potato chips with a little creme fraiche or sour cream and a dollop of your favorite caviar? Irreverently delicious!


Champagne Cocktail Bar

Get the party started with some bubbly! A little history sesh on the classic champagne cocktail is that it’s one of the oldest cocktails in the books. Seriously… it was published in the world’s first cocktail book in 1862. Though it wasn’t invented in the 1920s, it was enjoyed copiously throughout the decade. Plus, nothing says 1920s opulence more than a coupe glass full of bubbly.

You can give this traditional recipe a twist by saturating a sugar cube with several dashes of angostura bitters before placing it in the bottom of a champagne glass. Then, top it with chilled champagne and garnish with a lemon twist before serving.

Fresh Tip: To get the most out of the twist, squeeze it over the glass, then rub it along the edge before dropping in.

To really pump up the party, you can buy an assortment of different bitters (the options are endless!) and prepare a variety of citrus twists, like grapefruit, lime, meyer lemon, blood orange, and tangerine. Not only does it look beautiful, but it also allows guests to custom build their own drinks!

Check out these fun flavor combinations for some inspiration:

  • Angostura bitters with a lemon twist (the classic!)
  • Cardamom bitters with an orange twist
  • Smoked chili bitters with a grapefruit twist
  • Hibiscus bitters with a lime twist
  • Lavender bitters with a meyer lemon twist


Our top 10 favorite Southern appetizers to serve at a party

Appetizers and small bites are also the perfect alternative to a big dinner. Tell your guests they're Southern small plates — they'll think you're fancy. To help you plan the menu, we’ve gathered our 10 absolute favorite apps that will totally steal the show.

Anne Byrn's Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are a no-brainer: cheap, easy to make, and fun to snack on. They may not be originally Southern, but since you’ll find them on the table at most Southern parties, we've adopted them as our own. To keep things simple, our recipe calls for little more than cheese, flour and butter — you've already got those in your pantry, right? We balance out the bite of extra-sharp cheddar with some plain 'ol sharp, and add a teensy shake of cayenne for just a touch of heat. (Feel free to leave it out if you'd rather your cheese straws stay pure.) Pro-tip: Don’t stress about making them perfectly misshapen cheese straws are still cheese straws, after all. Pair them with tomato soup for extra credit.
Get the recipe Cheesy Grit Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly
If you’ve got some leftover grits hanging around your kitchen, this is the perfect way to transform them into an appetizer. Make sure the grits are cooled down completely so that you can easily form the fritters and — most importantly — stuff them with cheese. These fritters can be served alone, but we recommend whipping up some hot pepper jelly to dip them in.
Get the recipe Coca-Cola Glazed Wings
Coca-Cola may sound like an unusual option to use as a glaze for chicken wings, but the sweetness of Coke paired with the heat of the peppers creates an incredible flavor profile. The glaze is simple: Brown sugar, lime juice, Coca-Cola and chopped jalapenos simmer together into a syrupy glaze. Once you've got that, all you need to do is grill, baby, grill.
Get the recipe Anne Byrn's Fried Green Tomatoes
It’s a plain and simple fact: Southerners love frying green tomatoes. Between the crisp and crunchy exterior and bright and juicy center, it's hard to find fault in this classic appetizer. Our best recipe comes, unsurprisingly, from Anne Byrn, who tested and tried many of the different ways to prep and fry the tomatoes in her Taste of a Place column. If you're as big of a fan of these goodies as we are, we suggest trying them all.
Get the recipe Crab Hushpuppies with Avocado Aioli
These fluffy, golden brown hushpuppies are great as both an appetizer and a side dish. Adding crab meat to a traditional hushpuppy dough gives our recipe complexity not normally found in the plain 'ol corn variety. To add even more excitement to the dish, we like to serve the hushpuppies with a light(-ish) and spicy(-ish) avocado aioli.
Get the recipe

Old-Fashioned Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese, also known as the “pate of the south,” has been a part of Southern cuisine since the 1920s. Many variations of pimento cheese have made an appearance on Southern tables, but our old-fashioned recipe focuses on the basic flavors this appetizer is known for: cheddar cheese, peppers, mayonnaise and cream cheese. We’ve included a dash of cayenne pepper and diced pickled jalapeño pepper to add a little heat to the dish, but you can leave them out if you're a purist.
Get the recipe Vidalia Onion Dip
Caramelized Vidalia onions, sour cream and spices blend together in this rich, totally Southern dip. And, good news for all you procrastinators, making onion dip from scratch is actually quite quick and easy. Do be sure to deeply caramelize the onions so that their complex sweetness will carry through the entire dish. We recommend serving the dip with plain potato chips to let the onions shine.
Get the recipe Baked Brie with Bacon and Apples
This sweet and savory appetizer is an upgrade to the classic baked brie spread you usually on an appetizer table. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love melty baked brie cheese, regardless of what you put on it, but when you top it with cinnamon, apples and bacon? Perfection. This dish can stand alone or as an addition to a cheese board. Just be careful — it will likely steal the show.
Get the recipe

Classic Deviled Eggs

You can’t go wrong with serving deviled eggs at a summer cookout, holiday gathering or cocktail party. Whether you stick with the classic recipe or spice up the flavor profile by adding yellow mustard, capers and pickle to the yolky filling, your guests will be excited to get their hands on them. Garnishes like bacon are unexpected additions that everyone will enjoy, but if you want to stick with tradition, this is the recipe to make.
Get the recipe Oysters with Muscadine Mignonette
We love serving oysters as an appetizer because they are already packaged up in the perfect serving vessel. To serve alongside, we’ve put our own Southern touch on a mignonette sauce by adding in muscadine grapes. The addition of the grapes to the vinegary mignonette gives them a pickled quality for a pop of flavor on top of the cold, briny oysters.
Get the recipe

Photos (grit fritters, onion dip, deviled eggs, oysters): Ramona King
Photo (fried green tomatoes): Danielle Atkins
Photo (hushpuppies): Maura Friedman

Photo (baked brie): Pam Brand

Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.


The Modern

What is modern? In 1979, when I graduated from high school, it was calculators and stereos that let you thread a stack of LPs onto a little thingamajig that held them precariously above the turntable, dropping them down to play one by one. The latest thing in cars was the Datsun 280Z, and to be truly styling when you drove, you needed to be wearing a burgundy turtleneck with a short gold zipper on the front. And it had to be open, to display the band of puka shells around your neck. In 1961, when I was born, cars still had fins, women wore pillbox hats and the Princess phone—the latest in home electronics—still had a dial.

Time has a way of mocking us all, of making our attempts at the new seem futile and, worse, silly. But there are always a few things that come across fresh and, yes, modern, no matter how old they are. Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, Bugs Bunny cartoons, the music of Charlie Parker—these know no age. The first Dry Martini might have been stirred up in the 1880s or early 1890s, but a sip of one conveys the shock of the new as well as anything in which Lady Gaga cocoons herself.

Of course, there are other drinks that have achieved escape velocity from the orbit of their times. Most of those are sleek, simple and unencumbered with the kind of eccentricity that anchors things to an era and place. The Modern Cocktail, however, is, despite its name, not one of them.

Invented in the first decade of the twentieth century by Charlie Mahoney, head bartender at New York’s famed Hoffman House hotel on Madison Square, the Modern combines the two trendiest ingredients of the period: Scotch whisky and sloe gin. You wouldn’t think the pairing would work, yet it does, in the same way that streetcars and heavy, silver-cased pocketwatches worked. Good enough for me.


Our top 10 favorite Southern appetizers to serve at a party

Appetizers and small bites are also the perfect alternative to a big dinner. Tell your guests they're Southern small plates — they'll think you're fancy. To help you plan the menu, we’ve gathered our 10 absolute favorite apps that will totally steal the show.

Anne Byrn's Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are a no-brainer: cheap, easy to make, and fun to snack on. They may not be originally Southern, but since you’ll find them on the table at most Southern parties, we've adopted them as our own. To keep things simple, our recipe calls for little more than cheese, flour and butter — you've already got those in your pantry, right? We balance out the bite of extra-sharp cheddar with some plain 'ol sharp, and add a teensy shake of cayenne for just a touch of heat. (Feel free to leave it out if you'd rather your cheese straws stay pure.) Pro-tip: Don’t stress about making them perfectly misshapen cheese straws are still cheese straws, after all. Pair them with tomato soup for extra credit.
Get the recipe Cheesy Grit Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly
If you’ve got some leftover grits hanging around your kitchen, this is the perfect way to transform them into an appetizer. Make sure the grits are cooled down completely so that you can easily form the fritters and — most importantly — stuff them with cheese. These fritters can be served alone, but we recommend whipping up some hot pepper jelly to dip them in.
Get the recipe Coca-Cola Glazed Wings
Coca-Cola may sound like an unusual option to use as a glaze for chicken wings, but the sweetness of Coke paired with the heat of the peppers creates an incredible flavor profile. The glaze is simple: Brown sugar, lime juice, Coca-Cola and chopped jalapenos simmer together into a syrupy glaze. Once you've got that, all you need to do is grill, baby, grill.
Get the recipe Anne Byrn's Fried Green Tomatoes
It’s a plain and simple fact: Southerners love frying green tomatoes. Between the crisp and crunchy exterior and bright and juicy center, it's hard to find fault in this classic appetizer. Our best recipe comes, unsurprisingly, from Anne Byrn, who tested and tried many of the different ways to prep and fry the tomatoes in her Taste of a Place column. If you're as big of a fan of these goodies as we are, we suggest trying them all.
Get the recipe Crab Hushpuppies with Avocado Aioli
These fluffy, golden brown hushpuppies are great as both an appetizer and a side dish. Adding crab meat to a traditional hushpuppy dough gives our recipe complexity not normally found in the plain 'ol corn variety. To add even more excitement to the dish, we like to serve the hushpuppies with a light(-ish) and spicy(-ish) avocado aioli.
Get the recipe

Old-Fashioned Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese, also known as the “pate of the south,” has been a part of Southern cuisine since the 1920s. Many variations of pimento cheese have made an appearance on Southern tables, but our old-fashioned recipe focuses on the basic flavors this appetizer is known for: cheddar cheese, peppers, mayonnaise and cream cheese. We’ve included a dash of cayenne pepper and diced pickled jalapeño pepper to add a little heat to the dish, but you can leave them out if you're a purist.
Get the recipe Vidalia Onion Dip
Caramelized Vidalia onions, sour cream and spices blend together in this rich, totally Southern dip. And, good news for all you procrastinators, making onion dip from scratch is actually quite quick and easy. Do be sure to deeply caramelize the onions so that their complex sweetness will carry through the entire dish. We recommend serving the dip with plain potato chips to let the onions shine.
Get the recipe Baked Brie with Bacon and Apples
This sweet and savory appetizer is an upgrade to the classic baked brie spread you usually on an appetizer table. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love melty baked brie cheese, regardless of what you put on it, but when you top it with cinnamon, apples and bacon? Perfection. This dish can stand alone or as an addition to a cheese board. Just be careful — it will likely steal the show.
Get the recipe

Classic Deviled Eggs

You can’t go wrong with serving deviled eggs at a summer cookout, holiday gathering or cocktail party. Whether you stick with the classic recipe or spice up the flavor profile by adding yellow mustard, capers and pickle to the yolky filling, your guests will be excited to get their hands on them. Garnishes like bacon are unexpected additions that everyone will enjoy, but if you want to stick with tradition, this is the recipe to make.
Get the recipe Oysters with Muscadine Mignonette
We love serving oysters as an appetizer because they are already packaged up in the perfect serving vessel. To serve alongside, we’ve put our own Southern touch on a mignonette sauce by adding in muscadine grapes. The addition of the grapes to the vinegary mignonette gives them a pickled quality for a pop of flavor on top of the cold, briny oysters.
Get the recipe

Photos (grit fritters, onion dip, deviled eggs, oysters): Ramona King
Photo (fried green tomatoes): Danielle Atkins
Photo (hushpuppies): Maura Friedman

Photo (baked brie): Pam Brand

Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.


The Easiest Cocktail Recipe for Elevating Your Holiday Party

‘Tis the season, after all. The season for sparkly parties with ritzy snacks like caviar and oysters. The season for dressing up and dancing under twinkly lights. Maybe you’re throwing such a party, and maybe you need to a cocktail recipe to match the mood.

You could just open a bottle of Champagne, or a bottle of the alternative sparkling wine of your choice (shout out to Cava). Champagne, with its dramatic popping and glittery bubbles, is absolutely appropriate for a holiday party. But if you want something just a touch more extra, something with a bit more shimmer, more oomph, may I recommend adding a splash of liqueur to your bubbles?

That’s it—that’s the whole cocktail recipe. Find a liqueur, pour a splash in the bottom of a Champagne flute, fill the rest of it with Champagne. The most common, most official version of this is the Kir Royale, which uses cassis (currant liqueur). Or you might've heard of the Death in the Afternoon, in which a bit more than a splash of absinthe is topped with Champagne.

But there is almost no end to the liqueurs you can combine with Champagne. Fruit liqueurs work best: Try Grand Marnier (with an orange twist!), Chambord (raspberry liqueur), Cherry Heering, or peach schnapps. Elderflower liqueur like St Germain will give you cocktail a floral touch, or Domaine de Canton for a ginger snap. The entire family of anise-flavored liqueurs play nicely with bubbles, including the aforementioned absinthe, but also pastis, anisette, and Herbsaint. Amari like Campari, Cynar, and Aperol are lovely with a dry Champagne for a more sophisticated twist.

What I’m saying is: This is a great opportunity to dig into the back of your liquor cabinet, find the bottle of liqueur that has moved with you to several apartments over the years yet remains two-thirds full, and get rid of it once and for all. You’ll impress your pals doing so, too.

Oh, and word to the wise: Cocktails of this nature go down way too easy and are loaded with sugar, so watch how many you knock back and stay hydrated. Save the Champagne hangover for New Year’s Day.


Summer cocktail recipes

Throw a cocktail party to celebrate summer. We've got lots of refreshing drinks mixes, from tequila sunrise and fruity punches to flavoured gins and spritzes.

Sea breeze

Blend vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice to make a classic sea breeze cocktail. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with lime for a taste of summer

Tequila sunrise

Master the art of a classic tequila sunrise, with grenadine, tequila, triple sec, orange juice – and of course a cocktail cherry and umbrella as garnish

Strawberry gin

Capture the true taste of summer with this berry-infused spirit that makes a stunning gin 'n' tonic or base for a fruity cocktail

Watermelon daiquiri

Looking for a refreshing summer cocktail to entertain friends? Try a watermelon daiquiri with white rum, lime juice and watermelon liqueur

Raspberry mojito

Blend fresh raspberries with lime, mint, sugar, white rum and sparkling water to make a punchy raspberry mojito that's perfect for summer parties

Mango & pineapple mojito

Give your favourite classic cocktail a tropical twist with our mango and pineapple mojito. This vibrant, fruity drink is perfect for summer party season

Passion fruit martini

This easy passion fruit cocktail is bursting with zingy flavours and is perfect for celebrating with friends. Top with prosecco for a special tipple

Coconut & pineapple cooler

Enjoy this crowd-pleasing tropical cocktail with coconut rum, gin and pineapple juice. It will sit happily in an ice bucket for several hours, ideal for summer barbecues


A Modern Caviar Cocktail Party - Recipes

On blini, on potato slices, on potato pancakes, in smoked salmon rolls. some purists eat it straight from the tin. Our favorite caviar of all time was a caviar surprise luncheon dish: two tablespoons of osetra hidden under a smooth-as-panna cotta cauliflower crème. A dish that was as magical as it sounds bizarre, it will be recalled until their dying days by all those who experienced it at Joel Robuchon&rsquos legendary restaurant Jamin in Paris, circa 1990.

We hope you&rsquoll send us your favorite caviar recipes. Ours include:

Appetizers

1. Golden Caviar Dip

Your friends may rave about your artichoke dip, your curried-yogurt dip, your poblano-cream cheese dip. Time to try out a new rave, with caviar. Recipe courtesy of Tsar Nicoulai. You can order their caviars directly and if you&rsquore in San Francisco, stop by their cafe in the Ferry Building to enjoy their caviar menu.

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, finely minced
  • 4 ounces Golden Whitefish Caviar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sieved
  • 1 tablespoon crushed green peppercorns
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well mixed. Refrigerate 2-3 hours, taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve with raw vegetables or unsalted chips.

Tsar Nicoulai American Golden Whitefish Caviar

2. Party Caviar Pie

Our first introduction to caviar was this hors d&rsquooeuvre created by our mother for every holiday and cocktail party from our early childhood on. Mom adapted it from the recipe printed on the outer carton of Romanoff lumpfish caviar.

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1-½ cups chopped Bermuda* or Vidalia onion
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 4.7 ounce jar each of black and red lumpfish caviar (Mom used the Romanoff brand specified in the original recipe, but given the many different roes available these days, you may wish to upgrade to paddlefish for black and salmon for red)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley or scallion tops for garnish
  • ½ cup capers
  • Pumpernickel party bread, toast points or blini

*If the Bermuda onion is strong, soak the minced onion in cold water for 15 minutes strain and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Grease an 8- or 9-inch spring-form pan.
  • Chop the hard boiled eggs. Combine with the mayonnaise and spread over the bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle the chopped onions uniformly to create a second layer.
  • Blend the softened cream cheese with the sour cream and spread over the onion layer. Cover and chill 3 hours or longer (can be made the day before and refrigerated at this point). Place the spring-form pan on a plate covered with a paper towel to catch any liquid drain-off.
  • Just before serving, carefully rinse the lumpfish caviars in separate bowls of water, strain, and drain on paper towels. Run a knife around the edge of the spring-form and remove the ring.
  • Spread the caviar and other garnishes into an aesthetic design. Use wax paper for masking and toothpicks to move the caviar. You&rsquoll have to plot your design scheme in advance. Mom, who had a meticulous and steady hand, did concentric circles of black caviar, red caviar and parsley to create, in effect, a caviar bull&rsquos eye. Those with lesser skill can try the asterisk approach, intersecting vertical lines across the pie. For the faint of hand, drizzling red caviar on one half and black on the other is both attractive and honorable. Plant a trail of capers across the median&mdashit doesn&rsquot have to be straight.
  • Place the &ldquopie&rdquo on a serving tray with spreaders and bread or blini. (Mom placed the pie atop a festive paper doily, available at stores with party supplies.)
  • Serve with chilled vodka and Champagne.

Don&rsquot be intimidated: the compass design above was created by a professional food stylist.

3. Layered Caviar Dip

This is a simpler variation of the Party Caviar Pie above.

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 cups chopped Bermuda (red) onion
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 8 ounces caviar any kind or color or 4 ounces each of two contrasting colors/flavors for a half-and-half top
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • Scallion, cherry or grape tomato to garnish (optional)
  • Pumpernickel party bread and/or toast points
  • In a 2-cup glass bowl, alternate layers of the chopped eggs, onion, and sour cream. The sour cream layers should be thick the egg and onion layers will be thin. The top layer should be sour cream.
  • Cover the top layer with caviar. If you are using garnishes, leave uncovered space at the rim.
  • Edge the rim with chopped parsley.
  • Create a scallion &ldquopalm tree&rdquo centerpiece for the bowl by shortening and feathering the tops or go simpler and center a yellow or red cherry or grape tomato.
  • Center the bowl on a large plate and surround with bread slices.

Hors D&rsquoOeuvres or Main Courses

4. Eggs In Their Nest

Serve as a first course at a festive lunch or dinner, as a substantial cocktail food or a special Easter treat. Courtesy of Tsar Nicoulai.

  • 1 dozen small chicken eggs
  • Tsar Nicoulai Naturally Flavored & Colored Whitefish Roes
  • Cellophane noodles
  • Hard boil the smallest eggs you can find. Shell, halve, remove the yolks and reserve them for another use.
  • Fill the hollows of the eggs with your choice of three different colored whitefish roes (we recommend Tsar Nicoulai&rsquos Beet Saffron, Ginger, and Wasabi-infused whitefish caviars for their diverse flavors and their red, orange, and green colors).
  • Cook and cool a package of Asian cellophane noodles and create a &ldquonest&rdquo on each luncheon-size plate. Artfully arrange three filled eggs in the nest and garnish the plate with chive fronds and crème fraîche.

Infused whitefish caviars: Beet Saffron, Ginger and Wasabi.

5. Nouvelle Deviled Eggs With Caviar Caps

For this we make our own deviled egg recipe but to save time we purchase the smoked fish salads from a local specialty food store or our favorite online sources. We serve the eggs as a first course at spring and summer lunches and dinners, and as munchies at cocktail parties and teas. The three different color fillings&mdashyellow, white, and pink&mdashare seasonally perky with or without their caviar hats and the rich green bed of spinach or chard is a handsome visual as well as tasty counterpoint.

Makes 8 first courses or 24 hors d&rsquooeuvres

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/3 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ pound lump crabmeat
  • 1 pound smoked sturgeon salad
  • 1 pound smoked salmon salad
  • ½ teaspoon fresh dill, snipped, and ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 ounces each of salmon caviar, golden whitefish caviar, and black paddlefish caviar
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach or chard
  • Fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • Butter, salt and pepper to taste
  • In a saucepan large enough to cover the eggs with cold water with one inch of clearance, bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the eggs for 10 minutes. Do not cook longer or a green ring will form around the yolk.
  • Remove from heat, drain, and run the eggs under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel them immediately.
  • Cut a thin amount off each end of the egg to create a flat surface then slice the eggs in half widthwise, not lengthwise so that each half will stand upright.
  • You will only be deviling 1/3 of the eggs 2/3 remainder will be stuffed with the fish salads. Thus you can choose to devil all of the yolks and enjoy the excess mixture on toast points the next day or reserve the extra yolks to crumble into spinach salad, garnish vegetables, etc. The ingredient amounts above are for preparing only 1/3 of the yolks, so adjust them accordingly.
  • Mash together the egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, and dill. Remove any shell or cartilage from the crabmeat and combine with the egg mixture. Put into a disposable pastry bag with a star tip and pipe into 1/3 of the egg whites.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of dill and ¼ teaspoon of grated lemon zest to the smoked salmon salad, if desired. Pipe the smoked salmon and smoked sturgeon salads into 1/3 each of the remaining egg whites.
  • Cover and chill until 15 minutes before serving. If preparing in advance, you may wish to place the eggs in a deep baking dish or spring form that you can seal with plastic wrap without disturbing the stuffed tops.
  • Wilt the spinach or chard until pliable drain and toss with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Freshly grated nutmeg is a wonderful accent to these vegetables.
  • Use small tongs to create a circular &ldquonest&rdquo of spinach or chard on each plate. The circle should be bare to the plate in the center so the eggs can stand upright. Put one color of each egg on the plate and garnish with a contrasting caviar &ldquocap&rdquo&mdasha few eggs&mdashon the top: black caviar on the yellow egg and crab mixture, red caviar on the white sturgeon, and golden caviar on the pink salmon.

First Courses or Main Courses

6. Seared Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Whitefish Caviar Vinaigrette

Wasabi-flavored caviar garnishes the seared tuna and flavors the vinaigrette. Yield: 2 servings. Courtesy of Tsar Nicoulai. Shown below along with wasabi mashed potatoes.

Ingredients for the Wasabi Whitefish Caviar Vinaigrette

  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Tsar Nicoulai Wasabi Whitefish Roe

Ingredients for the Tuna

  • 2 four ounce Ahi Tuna Filets
  • 4 tablespoons of black and white sesame seeds
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Tsar Nicoulai Naturally Colored and Flavored Whitefish Roe
  • Mix the sesame seeds with salt and black pepper. Coat the Tuna with the mixture.
  • Allow the pan to get hot at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and heat until right before smoking.
  • Sear the filets for 1 minute each side to whatever level doneness is preferred. Place the tuna on a plate and pour on the vinaigrette.
  • Garnish with additional Tsar Nicoulai Wasabi Whitefish Roe.

7. Scallop Skyscrapers

This is a festive and stunning &ldquoarchitectural&rdquo creation&mdashbut easy to make. Serve it as a first course or as a fish course in a more elaborate dinner. We adapted this one from a dish we enjoyed at Tru restaurant in Chicago several years ago. It&rsquos a showstopper, and it has become one of our own signature dishes.

Select infused whitefish caviars of different colors and flavors: ginger (yellow), wasabi (pale green), and beet (red) or regular whitefish caviar (yellow). Seek black paddlefish or bowfin caviars for the black layer. The large salmon eggs make the most impressive topper. If you can&rsquot find infused caviars locally (they are available from TsarNicoulai.com and CollinsCaviar.com), you should be able to find yellow whitefish, orange, red tobiko, and a black caviar.

  • 4 large sea scallops per person
  • 4 different colored and flavored caviars, 1 teaspoon of each per person
  • 1 bunch chives
  • Parmesan tuile, savory fan cracker, gourmet grissini (thin breadsticks), or other architectural elements to anchor behind the scallop skyscraper (1 per person, optional)
  • Small new potatoes, peeled and boiled, to hold the tuile or breadsticks (1 per person, optional)
  • Long toothpicks
  • Unsalted butter
  • Lightly pan sauté the scallops in butter for a minute or two on each side, depending on thickness. Scallops should be medium-rare, not overcooked.
  • Remove and assemble the scallops into four towers, using the first three caviars as &ldquomortar&rdquo between each layer. Do not add the top caviar layer until the end.
  • The scallops need not be of even size in fact, uneven sizes make a more interesting tower. The sizes should decrease as the tower builds up. Sort the cooked scallops by size and use the largest for the bottom layer. Place on a small, attractive plate. ( A glass, crystal, black or solid red plate is especially handsome for this dish but any solid color plate will work.)
  • You can use the caviar colors in any order, but assuming you will end up with orange salmon caviar on top, here is a suggestion: place a small spoonful of red or yellow caviar atop the first scallop and add the second. Use black caviar between the second and third, and green caviar between the third and fourth. It&rsquos O.K. if the caviar layers are uneven&mdashthe asymmetry is part of the beauty of the dish.
  • After you have added the fourth scallop, use a long toothpick to hold the scallops together.
  • Then top the fourth scallop with a generous mound of salmon caviar.
  • If you are using a Parmesan tuile or other cracker garnish (Chef Rick Tramonto of Tru created a large, sail-shaped cracker with crimped edges you may bake them or find interesting shapes in your specialty food store), level one end of the new potatoes so they will sit steadily on the plate. Use an ice pick, knife, or other implement to create an aperture to anchor the cracker. Set one cracker behind each of the scallop skyscrapers.
  • Scatter assorted caviar eggs over the plate, along with some tiny snipped chives. If you aren&rsquot using crackers, drape a couple of chives across the back plate in an X formation.

8. Scallops With Caviar and Asparagus

Caviar goes well with all fish and seafood. We love serving it with scallops not only because we like scallops, but because they&rsquore so quick and easy to cook. You can adapt this same concept to a lobster tail, shrimp, or any white-fleshed fish like swordfish, cod or halibut.

This is a dish where you can splurge on Caspian or American sturgeon caviar. Or, as with the preceding dish, you can serve a trio of scallops as a main course with a different caviar on each. We&rsquod recommend salmon, paddlefish, and whitefish.

  • 1 large scallop for a first course, 3 for a main course
  • 1 teaspoon caviar per scallop
  • 3-5 thin asparagus per plate
  • Unsalted butter
  • Dill to garnish
  • Lemon curls or spirals (optional)
  • Cook the asparagus and butter lightly if you wish.
  • Lightly pan sauté the scallops in butter for a minute or two on each side, depending on thickness. Scallops should be medium-rare, not overcooked.
  • Fan 3-5 asparagus on each plate. Place the scallop(s) on the asparagus and top with caviar.
  • Snip dill over the plate (or scatter small sprigs).
  • Garnish with a lemon spiral.

Note: You can plate the asparagus and garnishes ahead of time and get the hot scallops to the table faster.

9. Caviar & Angels

Caviar and pasta are two favorite foods that naturally go together. Just match fine shapes with minimal surface area that won&rsquot overwhelm the caviar pearls. Angel hair is a perfect match. You can use Caspian or American sturgeon caviar if you&rsquore feeling flush, but salmon caviar works just fine.

  • 1 package angel hair pasta
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounce container crème fraîche at room temperature
  • 1 small jar salmon caviar
  • 3 ounces poached fresh salmon or salmon kabobs, smoked salmon, or fresh oysters (optional)
  • Fresh grated lemon zest
  • Fresh dill
  • If including fresh salmon, prepare by poaching. (You can use leftover salmon, just warm it briefly before incorporating it into the dish.)
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and toss with butter. Apportion in tight mounds on individual plates.
  • Place several spoons of crème fraîche in the center of each mound and a heaping teaspoon of caviar in the center of the crème fraîche
  • If you are using seafood, cut and evenly space the pieces around the base of the plate (e.g., at compass points)
  • Don&rsquot use cheese with this pasta dish, but grate a bit of fresh lemon zest over the pasta and seafood.
  • Garnish with snipped dill.

Leftovers taste great cold!

Investigate The World Of Caviar

Caviar: A mapping of the delicacy past and uncertain future. Click here for more information or to purchase. The World of Caviar: An A to Z guide for all things caviar. Click here for more information or to purchase. The Taste of Dreams: Explore how Russian caviar became a sexy culinary staple. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Images and indicated recipes are the copyright of their individual owners.


The Tastiest Food to Serve at Your Kentucky Derby Party

From hot browns to bourbon balls, we know what your guests are hungry for.

You've got the cocktail menu set, your outfit's picked out, and of course, you've got your hat. You're almost ready for the most sensational Derby Day party around&mdashvirtual or otherwise. There's just one thing left to consider: what to serve. Not to worry, we've come up with a list of all the must-have Derby-inspired foods that your guests will be craving when it comes time for the Run for the Roses.

Bonus: if you want to make an officially Triple Crown-worthy spread, check out the free virtual cooking classes taught by Churchill Downs&rsquos Executive Chef, David Danielson, to create race day favorites straight from the Derby itself.

First created at Louisville's famed Brown Hotel in the 1920s (some say as a hangover cure) the Hot Brown is The iconic sandwich of Kentucky. The openface affair features sliced roasted turkey on thick toast, smothered in a rich cheesy Mornay sauce and baked until bubbling. And in case that wasn't enough, the whole thing gets topped off with bacon and a slice of tomato. Trust us, your guests won't be able to get enough.

The perfect thing to wash down your Derby day delicacies? The race's signature drink, the mint julep, of course! The classic cocktail is made simply of muddled mint, sugar, and bourbon with ample crushed ice and of course, a julep wouldn't be a julep if it wasn't served in a frosty metal cup.

There's a reason they call pimento cheese the caviar of the south&mdashno elegant, southern themed party would dare go without it. Recipes vary, and you can certainly add any upscale touches you'd care to (artisanal cheese, fire-roasted peppers, even actual caviar) but consider cheddar, pimentos, and mayonnaise non-negotiable.

SHOP NOW Blackberry Farm pimento cheese, $69 for four, goldbelly.com

No southern party would be complete without deviled eggs. Luckily, these hardboiled eggs with a melange of seasoned yolks are not only an easy, make-ahead appetizer, they're also an endlessly riff-able crowd pleaser.

SHOP NOW Deviled Egg Platter, $20.95, williams-sonoma.com

Think of this Kentucky staple as an American twist on tzatziki. Made with cream cheese, cucumbers, onion, and dill, this creamy concoction can be used for everything from spreading on sandwiches and crackers to a dip for crudite.

Biscuits are an ideal Derby party food, not only because they're quintessentially southern, but because they're incredibly versatile. Slather them with butter fresh from the oven (bonus points for gravy) or set out room temperature biscuits with jams, cold cuts, cheeses, and dips for a make-your-own biscuit bar.

SHOP NOW Loveless Cafe biscuits, $79 for thirty, goldbelly.com

Simple and delicious, bourbon balls are made from a mixture of ground cookies and nuts as well as (you guessed it) bourbon, all coated in cocoa or chocolate. Because Derby Day is nothing if not an excuse to work bourbon into your menu as often as possible.

SHOP NOW Woodford Reserve bourbon balls, $45 for sixteen, goldbelly.com

Give your cheese plate a Kentucky-style makeover. This hearty cheese spread is a state favorite made from cheddar, beer, garlic, and spices. The thick texture is perfect for slathering on crackers or pretzels. or just about anything else for that matter.

Thanks to a certain colonel, there are is perhaps no food as synonymous with Kentucky as fried chicken. Whether you're serving it fresh from the fryer or chilled, picnic-style, you'll want to have plenty of this finger-licking goodness on hand for the big day.

Southern food can get a little heavy, which is where this famous sweet-salty-acidic relish saves the day. Made from a mix of seasonal vegetables (green tomatoes are a common one) and soaked in a brine of vinegar, salt, and sugar, chow chow can give a lift to even the richest dishes.

The first version of this famous pie was made in the Melrose Inn of Prospect, Kentucky, just outside of Louisville. Though the original recipe is a closely guarded secret, you can buy the chocolate and walnut filled confections online from the family that invented them.


The Best Lei'd Plans

6/25/15 By Elyse Inamine

Daniel Anthony wakes up at 5 a.m., then trudges over to his kitchen in Kailua, a beachy neighborhood on Oahu beloved for its turquoise waters and soft white sand. For the next many hours, he boils, peels and pounds 150 pounds of taro on handmade stone and mango wood boards into pa'i'ai, fermented blocks of taro once the centerpiece of Hawaiian meals, or what Anthony hails as "the true essence of taro."

His particular recipe comes from sifting through the archives at the Bishop Museum and years perfecting his pounding technique: "I was just a naughty kid, so I was forced to do this with my dad growing up," he says.

And now Anthony's given new life to the ancient Hawaiian art and counts local Honolulu stars like Town's Ed Kenney and Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong among his clients. So when I recently called Anthony with a rush order for a meager five pounds of pa'i'ai, he normally would have responded with a firm no and jaunty mahalo.

"Only because it's Chris [Kajioka]," he told me. Two days later, five pounds of neatly packaged, lovingly labored-over pa'i'ai arrived, ready for Kajioka's modern-day luau menu (see the slideshow).

Kalua Pork Belly

Steamed Black Cod with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Shrimp

Red Snapper Poke

Luau Basil Cocktail

Pa'i'ai with Lychee, Ho'io and Dried Shrimp

That's how basically everyone in or from Hawaii feels about Kajioka, an Oahu-born Per Se vet and formerly the opening chef for Honolulu's critically acclaimed, tony blockbuster of a restaurant Vintage Cave.

"That guy is killing it," Sheldon Simeon of Migrant Maui gushes. "He's bringing some really precise cooking, using simple items and presenting it very high end."

"He's the guy who's going to make Michelin-star food in Hawaii," Jordan Keao, the chef of Hawaiian San Francisco pop-up, 'Aina, adds.

So it came as a huge shock to Honolulu when Kajioka left a seemingly ideal position at Vintage Cave a year ago. People asked why (a new son, a change of pace, he explained) and where he was going (staging at Rustic Canyon, later helping his friend Mourad Lahlou open Mourad in San Francisco). However, Kajioka always knew he would go back to the island.

"For such a long time, I wanted to be away," Kajioka tells me. "I really love Hawaii now, and I'm really proud to be from here."

Now the long-lost son of Honolulu is finally setting down roots in his hometown with Senia, which he hopes to open later this year. Kajioka is teaming up with his old Per Se chefs Anthony and Katherine Rush to simply make delicious local food—a far cry from Vintage Cave's 20-course menu filled with little luxuries like caviar macarons. But there will be a tasting menu offered at a small chef's counter, too. "It allows us to get out our artistic side," Kajioka laughs.

Every grand occasion in Hawaii calls for a luau—the homecoming of Honolulu's rising star, say, or a new canoe in years past. So when we tapped him for a menu, Kajioka dreamed up a sophisticated take on the traditional celebration, sans coconut bikinis, tiki torches and hokey spit-roasted animals—one that pays homage to local ingredients and cooking methods heralded by the ancient Hawaiians.

"I used to hate Hawaiian food when I was young," Kajioka says. "But now I believe that we must look back at the ancient methods of presentation, techniques and ingredients to push forward."

So he's frying up slices of Anthony's pa'i'ai and drizzling them with a funky, sweet fiddlehead fern and lychee salad (see the recipe). And he's twisting the components of storied laulau (see the recipe), usually pork wrapped in taro leaves and steamed for hours instead he's wrapping fatty cod, purple sweet potatoes and dried shrimp with kale to bring out the leaf's smokiness.

And as for the typical soy-and-tuna poke combo, Kajioka has other ideas.

"There's a million different poke recipes," he explains. "This one is basically kinilaw [a Filipino-style ceviche], which always has coconut and citrus."

Pa'i'ai with lychee, ho'io and dried shrimp | Red snapper poke

Kajioka tosses chunks of red snapper in coconut milk and lime juice, then sprinkles on cracked macadamia nuts and sweet pickled onions for a most luxurious poke (see the recipe). The honeydew-hued cocktail served with the meal comes from his pal, Kyle Reutner, behind Hawaii Bitters Company, and it's an elegant basil- and rum-laced drink inspired by the huge harvest of lychee on the island this year (see the recipe).

Kalua pork, normally whole pig or shoulder cooked in an underground oven known as an imu and then shredded, takes a Vietnamese turn with pork belly shellacked with London-based chef Anthony Rush's warmly spiced, soy-inflected glaze (see the recipe).

"I think he made it in New York. It's just delicious, and it speaks of Hawaii, with the star anise and fennel and sweet soy," Kajioka says.

Even in New York City, where he earned his chops, an 11-hour plane ride away from Honolulu, Kajioka searched for flavors of home.

"I think it's a lot of people's dream here to learn on the mainland, then come home and show everyone, 'Hey, this is what I learned.' I always wanted to come home but wasn't sure when," he says.

"But now I really believe this is a really great time to be a chef in Hawaii. The farmers and cooks are really proud to be here and push the cuisine forward," Kajioka continues. "To me, the quality of the resources allows the cuisine to be world class. Hawaii has that."


Watch the video: TEDxNJLibraries - Mark Pascal u0026 Francis Schott - Cocktails and Caviar (November 2021).

Mother of Pearl Caviar Knife Spreaders: Why stop with the spoons? Continue the luxe feel with these mother of pearl spreading knives. Click here for more information or to purchase.