Posts Tagged ‘Signature Drink’

LEH: Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules


All of us A & O Girls (did you know Sarah and I work with 3 other amazing chefs?) are OBSESSED with the new Bon Appetit magazine. Under Adam Rapoport’s direction the food magazine feels fresh, modern and super useful. I end up dog earring almost every page to save in my “idea” file and we try recipes from the mag all the time at work. Anywho I was inspired by a column in this month’s issue from The Foodist: Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules.

Champagne Glasses

His Are:

1. Always serve coconut cake and Papy Van Winkle Bourbon for dessert.

2. Recruit at least one friend to help with the dishes.

3. Invite a fun mix of interesting guests.

4. Tidy up your house but don’t go crazy cleaning it from top to bottom.

5. Serve dishes that accommodate your guests dietary restrictions and your own cooking prowess.


I really like this list but I’m lucky enough to have friends who always help with the dishes unasked (thank you TL/MS/KB/AJ/EO) and I never worry about my guests mingling well together as I only ever invite good pals. So my list is a little different.

cheese platter

Mine Are:

1. Serve at least one store bought course (dessert or appetizers usually).

2. Start the night with a signature drink, people hate making decisions/this makes you look fancy.

3. Always buy one more bottle of wine than you think you need (never fails to get opened).

4. Force guests to play Trivial Pursuit after dinner.

5. Use the dinner party as an excuse to get your husband to tidy up living room and clean the bathroom while you do the fun stuff like setting the table.


What are yours? Maybe the other A & O ladies will share theirs soon? Here is our real dinner party advice.


White Wine Sangria for a Crowd


Ever need to make a large batch of booze for big group and don’t want to spend $200 on fancy wine and fresh fruit? Today is your lucky day my friends.

White Wine Sangria

A bride-to-be friend asked us to provide a poolside drinks for 40 guests staying at the hotel where the wedding was taking place. We wanted an elegant drink that would please a crowd without being too pricey. We also wanted a lighter alcoholic drink so guests wouldn’t be too tired to attend the wedding later that afternoon.


White Wine Sangria with lemons and strawberries

Inspired by our more high-end Rose Wine Sangria, we created this simple version of White Wine Sangria with help from the freezer section of the grocery store. You can find delicious light and crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio for $3 a bottle which helps keep the cost down (Trader Joe’s is a great resource for inexpensive wine). This is also easy to assemble.  I cut the strawberries and lemons on a cutting board on the floor of my hotel room with a butter knife and had the whole drink dispenser ready to go in 10 minutes!


White Wine Sangrai + Ice Bucket


Lightly sweet, with a fruity citrus fizz, this cocktail was a huge hit with the wedding guests. Not one drop was left as the stunning bride walked down the aisle.

White Wine Sangriafor a crowd
(Serves 30-40)

6 bottles Sauvignon Blanc or other light and fruity white wine, chilled
2 12oz cans frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups Triple Sec or other orange flavored liquor
1 pint of strawberries, tops removed and sliced into rounds
1 cup fresh lemon juice
5 lemons, sliced into rounds
12 oz frozen raspberries
16 oz frozen peaches
1 or 2 liters sparkling water

About 2 hours before serving mix the wine, frozen lemonade, triple sec, lemon juice, lemon slices and strawberry slices in a large drink dispenser. Allow to sit in the fridge to let the flavors meld. Just before serving mix in 1 liter of sparkling water and check for taste, adding more sparkling water if needed and then add frozen raspberries and peaches, stir well. Serve alongside a bucket of ice.


PS- Thank you to the Florio family for the wonderful glass drink dispenser in these photos! xo, LEH

Chinese New Year Dinner Party


CNY table decor

Dearest Readers,

In celebration of our new service A & O Dinner Party Blueprints being featured on Daily Candy today we are sharing all the recipes from this beautiful dinner. Please try them, they are a true taste of entertaining the Apples & Onions way.



PS- Our friend Beth Liebetrau took ALL these beautiful pictures!

PPS- Thanks so much to the Daily Candy team for their support of A & O!

Dished served family style

Chinese New Year Dinner Party Menu

Mandarin Orange Fizz made with mandarin orange sorbet and prosseco and chilled TsingTao beers

Baked vegetable egg rolls with sweet soy dipping sauce and seasoned rice cracker mix

Whole leaf salad with radishes and sugar snap peas matchsticks with rice wine vinaigrette


Soy-ginger glazed short ribs with scallion crema, cilantro white rice and steamed baby bok choy

Szechuan Sundaes–good vanilla ice cream, orange-infused dark chocolate sauce and crushed szechuan pink peppercorns

Ice bucket of beers and prosecco

Mandarin Fizz
Makes 1 cocktail

One small scoop of Mandarin Orange Sorbet (or any citrus sorbet)
Chilled prosecco or champagne

Chill champagne flutes in freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Fill champagne flute ¾ of the way full of chilled prosecco. Add a tiny ice cream scoop or tablespoon full of sorbet to the glass. Enjoy immediately. The sorbet keeps your cocktail chilled as you drink it!

vegetable spring rolls

Dipping Sauce
For store-bought eggrolls or dumplings

½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.  Pour into decorative dipping bowl and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions.

Salad with snap peas and radishes

Whole leaf salad with radishes and sugar snap peas matchsticks with rice wine vinaigrette
Serves 6

rice wine vinaigrette
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon agave nectar or honey
scant ¼ cup grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
black pepper to taster

1 large head butter lettuce
1 cup snap peas thinly sliced on the bias
¾ cup red radishes thinly sliced on the bias

Make dressing: whisk together rice wine vinegar, salt and agave.  Still whisking, add oil in a slow continuous stream until dressing is emulsified.  Season to taste with pepper and more salt as needed.

Arrange lettuce in serving bowl and top with snap peas and radishes.  Add dressing to taste just before serving or serve dressing on the side in a pretty bowl with a spoon so guests can help themselves.

CNY dinner

Soy-Ginger Glazed Shortribs
Serves 6

6 beef short ribs or about 4lbs of short ribs
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1-½ inch knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup mirin
⅓ cup soy sauce (low- sodium)
¼ cup brown sugar
4 cups beef stock
pinch of red pepper flakes
6 springs fresh cilantro

Note: this recipe calls for cooking the ribs the day before your party.  To do in one day, cook your ribs in the morning so you have time to cool and strain the sauce before serving.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a deep,  heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch ovens work beautifully) over medium-high heat, sear the beef in batches until golden brown on all sides. Set browned ribs aside on a platter.

Add the vegetables (onion through garlic) to the pot with the heat on medium and saute until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the liquids and brown sugar (mirin through stock) to deglaze the pan and bring to a boil.  Add red pepper flakes and cilantro.

Add the beef back to the liquid and cover with a lid. Place in 325 degree oven for 2.5-3 hours.   Allow to cool completely and then store in fridge overnight.

Next day remove the ribs from the pan and strain the sauce through a fine sieve to catch any congealed fat.   Place the ribs and sauce back in the pot and boil on high, uncovered, until the ribs are warmed through and the sauce is reduced to a shiny glaze, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve over white rice tossed with chopped fresh cilantro and topped with cold scallion crema.

scallion crema

Scallion Crema
Serves 6

1-½ cups sour cream
6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
½ teaspoon of salt
black pepper to taste

Note: scallion crema is even better when made the day before

Mix sour cream and scallions.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until dinner.

cilantro rice

Steamed White Rice with Cilantro
Serves 6

2 cups dry jasmine rice
4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Wash rice in several changes of cold water in a bowl until water is clear, then drain in a sieve. Combine with water, olive oil and salt in a 1-1/2- to 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.  Stir in half the cilantro then spoon rice into serving dish and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Easy Braised Bok Choy
Serves 6

6-8 bulbs baby bok choy

Slice each bulb in half the long way.   Place greens on top of hot shortribs in pot just before serving.  Cover pot with lid and steam for 3-4 minutes.

Remove bok choy and serve immediately.

satsumas, candies annd flowers in tea tins

Chocolate Orange Sauce
serves 6
3/4 cups heavy cream
4 oz. good-quality semi sweet chocolate
4 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp fresh orange zest (zest of one small orange)
1-1/2 teaspoons warm water

In a small pot, warm the cream over medium-low heat.  Stir in the orange zest.  Break the chocolate into small pieces and add in all together,  stirring continuously into a smooth sauce.  Keep refrigerated and warm in pot over low heat just before serving.

szechuan sundae

Szechuan Sundaes
Serves 6

1 quart good vanilla ice cream
Chocolate Orange Sauce
Freshly ground or well crushed Szechuan Peppercorns and/or pink peppercorns

Scoop the ice cream into your favorite bowls.  Spoon warm orange chocolate sauce over ice cream and top with a sprinkle of crushed peppercorns.  Serve immediately.


For more information or to start planning your next fabulous Dinner Party, email us at!