August Laura’s Amaretto Sour Recipe

Amaretto Sour, August Laura (Photo credit: Daniel Krieger for The New York Times)

The nostalgic Amaretto Sour at August Laura in Brooklyn, New York, is seriously addictive. Alyssa Sartor, co-owner, shares her recipe which uses egg white and flavorful Nicino walnut liqueur, which adds sophistication and a seductive, creamy element to each sip. Shaved nutmeg heightens the senses and is the perfect garnish for the luscious drink. Watch Alyssa create this delish drink.

– Courtesy of Alyssa Sartor, co-owner of August Laura


1 1/2 ounces amaretto

1/2 ounce Nocino walnut liqueur

1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

Egg white

Ground nutmeg, for garnish

Yield: 1 drink


Separate the egg white from the yolk and add the egg white to a shaker.

Add the amaretto, Nocino, lemon juice and simple syrup and shake well.

Now, add ice to the shaker and shake again.

Strain into large coupe glass.

Dust with nutmeg.

Velvety Pumpkin Bars

Yes, it’s officially fall. Not only has it been since September 22, but it’s obvious when the sandals, tanks and shorts take the back seat to boots, jackets and knit hats. And although it’s hard to say goodbye to seasonal summer fare, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the comforts of fall’s bounty and familiar tastes of sweet spices, gourds, and fruits.  To me, this season is all about delicious gourd-goodness like zucchini breads and pumpkin pies. I found an oldie but goodie Pumpkin Bar recipe by the Mother of Southern Cooking, Ms. Paula Dean, and had to share it with you!

*For those of you watching your figure, (me included), there are some healthy tips to cut calories but keep the taste! (At the bottom of recipe.)

 Pumpkin Bars (click for video)



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Helpful Healthy Hints:

Instead of veggie oil, use canola oil
Try low-fat cream cheese
Use a bigger pan – this yields more bars and calories are decreased per serving… share the love!

Baby Back Bliss…

“Don’t try to rush it. Barbecue takes time. Start the grill, then open a beer. When the beer is finished, the coals will be ready. Then let the ribs cook at a nice, low temperature until they are tender.”

…Wise words from up-and-coming Sous Chef Cedric Harden, of Urban Belly and Bellyshack, in Chicago. In honor of the summer season and its pleasures, how could I ignore the chance to share his finger lickin’, five napkin needin’, recipe for charcoal grilled baby back ribs. The magic’s in the dry rub’s aromatic ingredient like coriander and oregano, complimented by fresh lemongrass and dark brown sugar in the homemade sauce. Try your hand at this…

For the recipe and more about Sous Chef Haden, click the pic!

Compliments of Tasting Table

Luck O’ the Irish Recipies

In time for St. Patty’s Day, a warming and zesty Braised Chicken Sausage and Cabbage recipe. Watch the video:




And for dessert…

Irish Car Bomb Cake
Prep Time:
30 Min
Cook Time:
40 Min
Ready In:
2 Hrs 10 Min


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package French vanilla cake mix
  • 10 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup Irish whiskey, divided
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark Irish stout beer (such as Guinness®)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (such as Baileys®)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Place the cake mix into a large mixing bowl. Pour the water into a 2-cup measure, and add enough Irish whiskey to total 1 1/3 cup of liquid (about 10 1/2 tablespoons). Reserve remaining whiskey. Beat the whiskey and water mixture, vegetable oil, and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed just until cake mix is moistened; increase speed to medium, and beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. While the cake is baking, pour remaining Irish whiskey (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) into a saucepan, and stir in 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved; boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. When cakes are done baking but still hot, poke holes all over the cakes (the end of a chopstick works well for this) and drizzle the whiskey syrup into the holes. Return the cakes to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Remove cakes from oven, allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling on wire racks.
  7. To make caramel sauce, mix the Irish stout beer with 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer the mixture until thickened, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, and allow to cool.
  8. To make frosting, beat 1 cup of softened butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, then gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Beat in salt, then add the Irish cream liqueur, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  9. To assemble the cake, place a layer onto a cake serving dish; pour the Irish stout caramel over the first layer, allowing the caramel to drip down the sides of the layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top, and top with the buttercream, swirling the frosting into decorative waves. Do not frost sides of cake.


Open-Face Chicken Pita w/ Homemade Pesto Sauce & Mozzarella

Makes one serving


 – Mozzarella cheese
– Flatbread or pita bread for serving
– 2 cilantro leaves (garnish)

Chicken Mixture
– 1.5 pounds of boneless chicken breast
– 4 tablespoons of dry oregano
– Half a teaspoon of salt
–  Half a teaspoon of pepper
– 2 cloves of garlic (grounded)
– 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– Half cup of vinegar
Homemade Pesto
     – 5 sprigs of fresh basil
– 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 4 ounces of grated parmesan
– 2.5 ounces of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1.  In a large bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and vinegar.
  2.  Continue to toss until the chicken is well coated.
  3. Fully coat each chicken breast with dry oregano so that the dry rub does not loosen during frying.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan on medium high until it is warm enough to fry the chicken.
  5. When the pan is fully heated, add chicken breast.
  6. Fry the chicken, continually turning the breasts until each side is a golden brown.

Pesto Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, add the basil leaves, parsley, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.
  2.  Repeatedly pulse the food processor until the pesto is fully blended and is of a thickened sauce consistency. If a food processor is not available, finely chop and mix the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a small sauté pan with a non-stick spray to toast the pita.
  4.  Slice the chicken lengthwise in half-inch strips.
  5. Slice some mozzarella cheese, two slices per pita is sufficient.
  6. Place slices of mozzarella on the pita and dress with the homemade pesto sauce.
  7. Add chicken strips.
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro as desired.


Recipe provided by Brandon Marrero

Yesterday on TODAY

So, I was on the set of the TODAY Show yesterday to observe one of the cooking segments. Owner of SD26 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Marisa May, gave a great unconventional spin to Valentine’s Day. Her take: You don’t need a Valentine for the festive occasion. Throw a chic cocktail party for your best buds and serve these easy-to-prepare fares*:

  • Shrimp skewers with passion fruit
  • Tramezzini with mortadella and roasted peppers
  • Tramezzini with spinach and mozzarella
  • SD26 and Marisa May’s Torta di Ricotta and Nutella (a decadent chocolate cake with a Nutella icing)
  • MM’s Hibiskiss (a Pomegranate Juice based cocktail)

Check out these pictures and a link to the video.

Marisa May with hosts Tamron Hall and Al Roker
Marisa May, owner of SD26, in the Today Show kitchen

* All recipes are available on the TODAY Show link (below the video)

Want to visit SD 26? Go ahead! I would strongly urge you to partake in anything with white truffle (a rare French, delicate, white mushroom.) Just a note, SD 26 is definitely a “splurge surge” candidate as its worthy offerings exceed the Canny Candi repertoire. If you have had an excellent payday, it is imperative that you try:

  • Bufala mozzarella appetizer offered with golden beets, roasted red onion and arugula oil
  • Uovo – a soft egg yolk filled raviolo with truffled butter (a must for those who enjoy sunny side up eggs)

TODAY Show video:

Restaurant website:

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup

Is it difficult to eat vegetables? Here is a savory soup to help overcome those difficulties.


• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed

• 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head)

• 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided

• 2 cups water

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until very soft. Duration: About 5 minutes.
2. Add cauliflower, 2 cups milk, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, stirring often.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is soft. Duration: About 8 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl.
5. When the cauliflower is soft, remove the bay leaf and stir in the milk mixture.
6. Cook  over medium-high heat for 2 minutes more, stirring until the soup has thickened slightly.

7. Remove from the heat.
8. Stir in cheese and lemon juice.

Enjoy your soup 🙂

Compliments of Tina Ramaiya