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From Leaf to Table, A Pure Leaf Event proved a good meal involves good people, common interests, good food, and good ambiance.
As a limo sped me on to New York City, I remembered thinking how lucky I was to be one of the guests invited. Top Chef Gail Simmons, Entertaining Expert/Author Camille Styles, the New York Botanical Garden, WIN! Win! Win! They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place yet I dared hope my ticket would take the door prize.
I know that ambiance and presentation more than just gourmet food make a party or not. I know too that mine had become routine, cookie cutter, same old. It was time for me to take on new ideas.
The old farmhouse setting was abuzz with excitement. As I entered the room, I immediately noticed crates of garden vegetables against fall foliage. I soon came to realize they were an integral port of the decorations, the demonstrations, and, of course, the lunch itself.
Parched and dry, I looked at the menu as I accepted a non-alcoholic lemon-ginger tea pomegranate sparkler wondering how it would fair against a bottle of plain, simple Pure Leaf. I suppose my having five glasses of the brew in the core of the afternoon is the answer.
I picked a seat at one of the several crafting tables that had been set up, sat down, chatted with fellow bloggers. I found the fresh vegetable canapés being served differently delicious. Camille Styles’s inspirational presentation and tips were creatively eye-popping, simple and affordable. Orange garland, leaf name tags, assorted vegetable etible dining centerpieces show and tell. Hey! I learned to do them all.
Time for Gail Simmons. Partial already to her creative ice tea, I was eager for her how to. Watching her deseed pomegranate without any residual stain or mess, vital to her lemon-ginger tea pomegranate sparkler done to perfection. She followed with tea-pickled radishes for a shaved vegetable salad. (Both recipes below.)
LEMON-GINGER TEA POMEGRANATE SPARKLER
By Gail Simmons
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Pure Leaf Iced Tea with Lemon
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- Cold club soda
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- 2 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
In a saucepan, combine the ginger and Pure Leaf Iced Tea with Lemon and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to steep, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool in an airtight container in the fridge.
Fill two highball glasses with ice. Pour 1/2 cup ginger-infused tea, then 1/4 cup pomegranate juice into each glass. Top each with club soda, garnish with a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds and a cinnamon stick to stir.
For alcoholic version, add 2 ounces gin or bourbon before adding tea.
- 1 cup Pure Leaf Sweet Tea, warmed but not boiling
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 8 small radishes, thinly sliced or 4 large watermelon radishes
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
In a medium bowl, combine the tea with the salt; stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar along with the radishes, garlic and peppercorns. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. Drain the pickled radishes, reserving ¼ cup of pickling liquid for use in vinaigrette. Set aside.
Note: The drained radishes can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
FOR THE SHAVED VEGETABLE SALAD
- ¼ cup reserved picking liquid
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 sweet, crisp apples, such as Gala or Fuji, cored and thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 small heads radicchio, thinly sliced
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a bias, leaves reserved for garnish
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Tea-Pickled Radishes, see recipe above
Pour the reserved pickling liquid into a large bowl. Add the honey and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify. Add the fennel, apple, radicchio, celery, parsley and pickled radishes to the bowl and toss all ingredients together to coat. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and garnish with celery leaves before serving.
Time to sit down at the table, break bread, and give thanks.
Who today would think that fresh healthy foods could equal a feast? Me because I saw this one happen before my very own eyes. The grilled chicken breast with buttermilk mashed potatoes, sweet and sour cippolini onions, and butternut squash excelled. The apple tart tartan, well, describe it as a gift from the gods.
ONE winner will receive a basket filled with Pure Leaf product, Pure Leaf product vouchers and a few of Gail and Camille’s cooking and entertaining essentials!. The package would retail for around $50.
HOW TO ENTER.
Enter using the Giveaway Tools widget below. The winner will be selected by the Giveaway Tools widget. If you’ve entered any of my giveaways before then you know that you must complete the mandatory required entry, and that only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. No PO Boxes. Good luck to everyone!