Playing Chef & Mixologist

Last night I decided to hold an impromptu dinner party (also to help out some work colleagues) and was tasked with coming up with several recipes based on various flavor combinations including Fennel & Peri-Peri Sauce, Vermouth & Mustard Seed and Carmelized Honey & Adzuki Red Bean.  I was pretty amazed at what I was able to create on a whim and my friend who joined me for the dinner party said this is something I may want to consider doing more often. It was great feeling this inspired.  Cooking school in the future perhaps? 🙂

Below are the concotions I came up with for your viewing (and eating/drinking) pleasure. Enjoy!


This Black Bean and Couscous Salad is reminiscent of a Moroccan restaurant I ate at a couple years ago and is really easy to create.  It’s also healthy and filling and one of the most important things to me is feeling satisfied after a meal. It’s important to me to eat slowly to savor all the flavors and enjoy my company:

Black Bean and Couscous Salad with Fennel & Peri-Peri  (Serves 8)*


  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Dash of Fennel & Peri-Peri sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained


  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add the bell pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
  3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Add a dash of the Fennel & Peri-Peri Sauce to taste.  Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Some of this recipe content was taken from

Black Bean and Couscous Salad with Fennel & Peri-Peri

Vermouth Summer: 

I created this delightful summer cocktail with Vermouth & Mustard Seed. While most Vermouth drinks usually call for olives, I swapped this out with the ground mustard seed as it gives it a little lighter flavor while still giving it the salty taste usually indicative of the olive brine.  I topped off with Absolut Pears Vodka to make it a bit sweeter combination.  Enjoying drinks with friends is one of my favorite pastimes, and this cocktail reminds me of summer days sitting on a friend’s rooftop or laying back in a chair relaxing at the pool at my Hamptons summer share house:


  • 1 ½ oz Dry Totsi Vermouth
  • 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Ground Mustard
  • 1 ½ oz. Absolut Pears Vodka


  • Pour Vermouth into glass over ice, add a pinch ground mustard and stir.
  • Top glass with Absolut Pears Vodka and mix until light green.
  • Enjoy!

    Vermouth Summer

Henny Honey Remixed:

This cocktail is a bit more for the fall, but is really nice with the touch of basil – try it out for your next nightcap.

  • 1 ½ oz Hennessy Cognac
  • 1 ½ oz. Grapefruit Jiuice
  • ½ oz caramelized honey
  • Adzuki red bean paste
  • 6 basil leaves


  1. Bruise basil leaves in and shake.
  2. Add ice and pour cognac, grapefruit juice and ½ oz. of the caramelized honey. Shake vigorously.
  3. Garnish with Adzuki red bean paste on rim and a basil leaf for presentation.
  4. Enjoy!

    Henny Honey Remixed


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One Response to “Playing Chef & Mixologist”

  1. Jim Says:

    I would have really liked the Black Bean and Couscous Salad. Wish I was there!

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