Every year around mid July, Kathy and I are in a flurry in what I consider ‘Conference tour 2010!’ It’s a whirlwind of activity during the hottest months of the year. While the rest of the world sits poolside sipping blended cocktails ( we probably helped develop), we are schlepping boxes from airport to airport hoping our luggage doesn’t get searched. (Often times, it’s a little difficult to explain the contents of our bags to the TSA official.) We spent the first part of the month hob nobbing in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail. With a slight pit stop in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of cancelled flight, Kathy and I made a night of it playing Zilch ( a great dice game we have both become addicted to), eating delivery pizza and sipping possibly turned wine. We were off again to California for the annual Flavor Confrence held in Newport Beach. While we never see much more than the inside of a kitchen and the back side of a banquet table, it’s a great event that brings together national account representatives from pretty much every chain, supplier and distributor in the industry. It’s three days of a eat-and-drink -a-thon showcasing popular food trends, flavors and new products.
We were representing our friends at Monin by shaking up some cocktails and appetizers we adapted from Kathy’s book Sips and Apps. At the welcome reception, Kathy signed copies of ‘Sips & Apps’ and I served up Blue Thai Mojitos, 1800 Poppy’s Margaritas with a Ginger Mango Grilled Shrimp garnish, and a delicious Clover Club with raspberry foam.
The second night of Flavor was the Chef’s showcase and we were on hand poolside to serve up some sweet and spicy ceviche to a crowd of hungry conference goers. This time we paired shrimp with pineapple and mango with a hint of chipotle, and a fresh halibut ceviches with hints of habanero lime and orange. We added a fun twist to the margarita by offering a trio of foams (strawberry, peach and mango) and a sprinkling of black lava salt. Along with a beautiful and delicious sangria, the Monin gang was quite a hit at the sunset pool party.
Now we’re home and the dust has settled; we can relax for a minute or two before the next big thing… Is it already Jam time?! ….but we’ve got it on our calendar and its 360 days and counting till ‘Conference Tour 2011’ gets us off and running again. - Cameo McRoberts, Executive Chef Kathy Casey Food Studios® – Liquid Kitchen™
Spicy cocktails are hot! The counterbalance of sweet, sour, spice, and salt achieves a mouthwatering result. Garnish with tropical Ginger Grilled Shrimp for a perfect Sips & Apps paring.
Makes 1 drink
Kosher salt for rimming glass
1 ½ - 2 ounces Gran Centenario Reposado Tequila
1 ½ ounces Spicy Lime Sour (recipe follows)
1/4 ounce triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
For garnishing: Lime wheel with a straw inserted through the middle
Tropical Ginger Grilled Shrimp on a pick (recipe follows)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the tequila, Spicy Lime Sour, and triple sec. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into glass. Insert straw into a lime wheel and place in drink. Garnish with a skewered Tropical Ginger Grilled Shrimp.
Spicy Lime Sour
½ cup Monin Chipotle Pineapple Syrup
1 cup simple syrup
1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
Combine the syrups and lime juice. Transfer to a pretty bottle. Chill before using. The sour will keep for up to 2 weeks, refrigerated. Adapted from a recipe from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books
Tropical Ginger Grilled Shrimp
Makes about 20- 25 pieces
1/2 cup Monin Mango Puree
2 Tbsp Monin Chipotle Pineapple Syrup
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp chili paste (Sambul Olek)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lb large shrimp , peeled and deveined
Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add shrimp and toss to coat well. Refrigerate marinated for 4 hours.
Preheat grill to med-high and grill shrimp on each side until scored and just cooked through – but not overcooked. Chill until ready for service.
Recipe © 2010 by Kathy Casey