Easy Holiday Entertaining with Sunkist

When the skies turn grey and the days are shorter, it’s easy to add a bit more sunshine to your winter with zesty Sunkist citrus. Tangy ruby grapefruits, zesty lemons, oranges from juicy navel and sweet cranberry-esque Cara Cara to deep pinkish-red Moro … these cheerful seasonal fruits add bright color and flavor to all things culinary, from batch-ahead cocktails to easy entertaining appetizers.

sunkist_logo_lrgTis the Season

My Tis the Season cocktail is perfect for those big holiday parties when you don’t want to be behind the bar the whole time. The pre-mix is a refreshing combo of fresh squeezed grapefruit and lemon juice, balanced with homemade simple syrup, white cranberry and vodka. Place it in a pretty bottle then just shake to order with a sprig of fresh rosemary and garnish with a beautiful cranberry for a seasonal sip that is sure to please.

For an easy and elegant entertaining appetizer try my Citrus Bruschetta with Goat Cheese. Traditional tomato and basil bruschetta topping gets zesty with the addition of tart-sweet Cara Cara oranges, brilliant green Castelvetrano olives, and tangy goat cheese on crunchy crostini – d’lish!

Looking for a savory nibble to pair with cocktails? Lemon Rosemary Pistachio Cocktail Cookies are the perfect size for teaming up with a holiday sip. Chock-full of lemon zest, fragrant rosemary, delicious feta cheese, and chopped pistachios, these bite-sized delights are finished with a light sprinkle of sea salt before they go in the oven. The dough can be made up to a week in advance and frozen until you’re ready to slice them up – perfect for unexpected visitors!

Round out your menu with a sweet ending; Lemon Poppy Seed Panna Cotta with Blood Oranges is a breeze to prepare ahead, leaving you more time to enjoy your guests’ company – it can be made up to 5 days in advance! This light custard stars finely chopped lemon zest and poppy seeds sprinkled throughout, and gets a beautiful garnish of segmented blood oranges. Serve them up in mini martini glasses for a fun little something sweet or mini “apps style” dessert.

So make your holiday season extra merry and bright with sunny winter citrus, and visit Sunkist.com for more fun citrus ideas. -Kathy

Tis the Season
Who wants to be tied to the bar during their party? Making a pre-mix for your signature holiday cocktail gives you more time to mingle with your guests and enjoy the festivities! Try shaking in fresh rosemary to add an herbal note.

Makes 1 drink

1/2 cup (4 ounces) Cocktail Pre-Mix (recipe follows)
Garnish: small sprig of rosemary and fresh or frozen cranberry

Measure the pre-mix into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a large martini glass. Garnish with rosemary and float cranberry in drink.

Cocktail Pre-Mix
Mixture can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept refrigerated.

Makes 4 cups – enough for about 8 drinks

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
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1 1/2 cups vodka
1 cup white cranberry juice
3/4 cup fresh squeezed Sunkist Grapefruit juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed Sunkist Lemon juice

Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a quick simmer and remove from heat. (Do not reduce.) Cool to room temperature.

Combine cooled sugar mixture and remaining ingredients in a pretty glass bottle. Refrigerate until ready to use.

*Non-Alcoholic Version: instead of the vodka increase the cranberry juice to 1 1/2 cups and the grapefruit juice to 1 3/4 cups.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen – www.liquidkitchen.com

Citrus Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
Switch up traditional tomato bruschetta with the addition of sunny citrus and brilliant Castelvetrano Olives . Sunkist Cara Cara Orange’s distinctive pinkish-red hue and sweet and tangy cranberry-like zing pair perfectly with the creamy goat cheese in this easy entertaining appetizer.

Makes 20 pieces

1 artisanal baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt, as needed
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2 Sunkist Cara Cara Oranges (or substitute Sunkist Navel Oranges)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped vine-ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped pitted Castelvetrano Olives* (or substitute calamata)
Pinch of red pepper flakes and sea salt
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4 oz chèvre-style fresh goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut baguette into 1/4-inch slices — you want about 20 nice-sized pieces. Lay out on a baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle bread with olive oil then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, or until toasty. Let crostini cool.

To make the Bruschetta mix: Cut the top and bottom off of the oranges then with a small paring knife cut the peel and white pith off of the sides of the oranges. Cut each orange in half lengthwise and then dice 1/4 to 1/3-inch. In a medium bowl, toss the diced orange, olive oil, tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, olives, and season with a pinch of pepper flakes and sea salt. Set aside.

To assemble the crostini: Smear each piece of crostini with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese. Place on a platter and immediately divide the orange mixture between the crostini (drain off any excess juice). Top crostini right before serving so they don’t get soft.

*Available at most grocer’s olive bars.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios – www.kathycasey.com

Lemon Rosemary Pistachio Cocktail Cookies
Studded with colorful pistachios and zesty lemon these savory bites are a great nibble with a cocktail. You can make the dough in advance and keep it in the freezer for impromptu guests.

Makes 24 to 30

1 cup (4 ounces) raw shelled pistachios (or purchase shelled, toasted and salted pistachios)
6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fine Sunkist Lemon zest*
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine corn meal
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Sunkist Lemon juice
Kosher or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F.

Spread the nuts (if not already toasted) on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cheese, sugar, lemon zest, rosemary and nuts with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and corn meal. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lemon juice and mix until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and shape into logs, 9 -10 inches long and 1- 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends, to help firm the dough. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or in the freezer for about 30 minutes to further firm the dough. (The dough can be kept frozen for up to 1 month; remove from the freezer to temper overnight in the refrigerator before slicing.)

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F at least 20 minutes before baking. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with cooking spray.

Cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden on the bottom and still pale on top. Let cool.

* To make lemon zest: Zest is the outer peel of the fruit with no white pith attached. You can make fine zest with a zesting tool, microplainer or fine grater.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios – www.kathycasey.com

Lemon Poppy Seed Panna Cotta with Blood Oranges
This lush custard can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Top with beautiful blood orange segments right before serving. For a fun mini dessert try serving in small martini glasses.

Makes 6 servings or 12 mini desserts

2 teaspoons gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Sunkist Lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fine Sunkist Lemon zest*
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
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2 blood oranges, segmented**

To make the custards: Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Soak until the gelatin is soft. Place bowl in microwave on high power for about 3 seconds, or until the gelatin is melted but not foaming up.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and warm. Add the liquefied gelatin, and whisk in to incorporate.

Divide the mixture evenly into 6 small, glass custard dishes, pretty glasses, or 12 small mini martini glasses. Place the custards on rimmed baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap. Be sure the wrap does not touch the tops of the custards. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 12 hours, before serving.

To serve: Top each custard right before serving with blood orange segments.

* To make lemon zest: Zest is the outer peel of the fruit with no white pith attached. You can make fine zest with a zesting tool, microplainer or fine grater.

** To segment oranges: Cut the peel and all the white pith from the oranges, exposing the flesh. With a small paring knife, cut out the orange segments over a bowl, saving any juice.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios – www.kathycasey.com

Posted by Kathy Casey on December 16th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, Lifestyle, Recipes, appetizers, dessert, sides

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