During Macy’s Flower Show, Chef Cat Cora came to Chicago and demoed some of her delicious recipes and a cocktail.
Yields 4 drinks
A classic Kir Royal combines champagne and crème de cassis, but Cat uses pomegranate juice instead of cassis. POM juice isn’t as sweet, it’s fresher tasting, more lively and it gives the drink a gorgeous color. Make sure to serve in champagne flutes with a playful striped straw.
4 sugar cubes or 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
4-8 dashes Angostura bitters
20 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) sparkling cider
4 ounces (1/2 cup of pomegranate juice such as POM
4 lemon peel twists
Divide the sugar evenly among the four champagne flutes. Sprinkle 1 or 2 dashes of the biters on top of the sugar. Pour 5 ounces (about 2/3 cup) champagne into each flute. Gently pour 1 once (2 tablespoons) pomegranate juice into each flute. Drop a lemon peel and twit into each drink. Serve immediately.
Yields 24 2x2 inch cookies
1 cup granulated sugar (baker’s sugar), plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2 cups of unsalted butter
2 ½ tablespoons dried lavender flowers, plus ½ tablespoon for garnish
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white rice flour
½ tablespoon salt
parchment paper (optional)
In a stand mixer or with a hand held beater, cream sugar, butter, and lavender until light and fluffy. Add the flours and salt and combine until mixture just starts to come together.
(The dough should be crumbly but stuck together when squeezed.)
Line a 12x16 inch pan with parchment. Place dough into the pan and break up any large clumps, spreading evenly. Press dough down gently and sprinkle the remaining sugar and lavender flowers on top.
With a rolling pin or drinking glass, roll out the dowgh evenly. (Use a little additional sugar if the dough sticks to the rolling pin) With a meat tenderizer or fork, press indentations into the top of the shortbread. (This prevents the shortbread from rising unevenly)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until shortbread is golden brown
Cut into squares while still warm and remove cookies from pan when cool.
Yields 4-6 servings
2 pita rounds cut into 1 ½ inch squares
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus ¼ cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ cups cucumber, seeded, peeled, and diced (about 2 large cucumbers)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 scallions, chopped white and green sections
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 pepperoni, for ganrish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Arrange pita squares evenly on a baking sheet (don’t stress over arranging them) just get them on the pan in an even layer)
Bake for 5-8 minutes or until crisp. Take the pan out of the oven before the squares become too brown. Set the pita aside.
In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and heat for 1 minute. Take it off the heat before the garlic begins to brown and set the pan aside to cool.
In a serving bowl, toss the cucumber, tomatoes, scallion, mint, parsley, lemon juice, and cumin with the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic and the toasted pita squares, salt and pepper, and gently toss with your fingers until just mixed, Serve right away.
Cat’s note: You can stretch this salad to feed more people by adding a half a head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces. Use the tender inside leaves at the heart and be sure to dry the lettuce well with a clean towel and to add it at the last second so the pita doesn’t get soggy.
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