Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pomegranate Martini...Avesta Style

Avesta's Pomegranate Martini

When I owned my restaurant Avesta Eclectic Cuisine we were known for our martini bar with about 40 different martinis on our list. We had a lot of fun coming up with our martini recipes and of course we had to have a signature martini so right away I knew it had to be the Pomegranate Martini. I had grown up eating pomegranates and drinking pomegranate juice so I thought it would be perfect to mix with vodka.

Back when we opened our restaurant pomegranates were yet to be as popular as they are today but once we came up with our recipe we knew we had come up with a winner. And boy were we bartenders couldn't keep up with the demand....we were premixing the pomegranate mix by the gallon. It's been two years since I closed my restaurant and I still get people emailing me about those martinis....and since POM Wonderful was so kind in sending me some's a version of my Pomegranate Martini....enjoy when of these after the kids have gone to bed and you're wanting to feel really good!

Pomegranate Martini...Avesta Style

Martini Shaker filled with ice

2 oz Premium Vodka (my favs are Absolut, Grey Goose or Belvedere)

1 oz Pomegranate Liquor or Triple Sec

2 oz POM Wonderful juice

1/2 cap full of Pomegranate concentrate (you can get this from Middle Eastern stores but if you can't find it just use 1 oz more of POM)

Champagne or Spumanti to top off the martini

Fresh lime wedges

Fill martini glass with ice and top with soda or tap water to chill the glass. Meanwhile pour all ingredients in the shaker and shake really well....pour out the ice and water out of the martini glass and then pour contents of shaker into the chilled glass. Top with champagne or spumanti, garnish with lime and sit back and enjoy!

One of my best friends Jeni got me this's one of my rules that everyone must own some pretty martini really does make the drink taste better! And I never have all matching glasses...that way your guests can pick what they like and then they'll know which glass is theirs all night.
Always have these ingredients on hand to be the best host...believe me your guests will be impressed with this martini!
The blood red color of the martini is so beautiful and if you don't like champagne or don't have any on hand you can serve it just like this or add a little 7 up or Sprite to the top for a little fizz.
But if you've never had a martini topped with champagne then you have not lived. And you don't have to buy expensive champagne to get the effect...even cheap sparkling wine or spumante will do the job. This just adds that extra special touch to make you feel like a queen....I am a champagne whore and could add it to any drink....try it and you will understand.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

POM Wonderful!

A few weeks ago I received an email from POM Wonderful asking if I'd like some samples of their pomegranate juice. I was so ecstatic as I'm already a huge fan of POM's pomegranate juice. If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I love anything with pomegranates not just because I love the taste but also because of the great health benefits. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants and have been known for their health benefits for centuries (especially in the Middle East). Growing up Kurdish...we ate pomegranates all the time (my friends would always ask what that weird fruit was that we were eating!) and I am so happy that they are now getting the recognition in the U.S. they deserve.

The great thing about POM's juice is that their juice is 100% authentic pomegranate's all natural and contains no added sugars, preservatives, colors or cheap filler juices....and their pomegranate orchards are in California so they are local....not imported from overseas.

Very excited to get this package....I will take any freebies I can as this blog does cost me money to make all the that doesn't mean I'll always do a good review on a product...I will not endorse or talk up a product just because it was given to me. I will test it in recipes and if it's something I feel is worthy of a post...then I'll write about it.
Loved the fact that they personalized the package and sent me a letter about their company and all the benefits of their product!
Aren't the bottles so pretty? I do love this pomegranate juice and have been using it for years. When I owned my restaurant we bought this by the case to use in our signature pomegranate martinis and our pomegranate vinaigrette. When we started making these two items it was about 6 years ago and before the pomegranate craze....our customers went crazy for both these items. So since POM Wonderful was so generous in giving me these samples....I will be posting a few recipes on here in the next couple days using their product.

For more information about POM Wonderful and the benefits of pomegranates....go to

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seafood Feast with Grilled Salmon

I love grilling everything and when it comes to salmon...I really don't think there's a better way to cook it than on the grill. I actually love grilling seafood in general not only because I love the taste but also because it allows you to have seafood at home without making your whole house smell like fish! So when I was in Phoenix visiting my sister and brother-in-law we decided to have a seafood feast one night and I grilled everything from salmon to shrimp and even crab legs. It was amazing! The salmon was the biggest hit but the crab legs were probably next in one there had eaten grilled crab legs before. The great thing about grilling the crab legs is that it crisps up the shells and not only does the grill give the crab meat that smokey makes it easier to break the next time you are in the mood for crab legs....try grilling them instead of steaming or broiling them....I just know you'll love them that way!

Grilled Salmon
Start your grill at least 10-15 minutes ahead of time so that it is hot!
One 3-4 lb Salmon Fillet (de-boned with or without skin)
(you can also use several smaller fillets if you can't find a large fillet)
2 lemons (1 sliced and the other halved)
2 tablespoons chopped dill
6 tablespoons butter
1 clove finely chopped garlic
salt & pepper to taste
aluminum foil
Make sure to pat dry the salmon and place on a long piece of foil (enough so that it can come up on the sides of the fish) that has been sprayed or drizzled with oil. I like to put the salmon on foil for this recipe because the butter and herbs kind of make a sauce and it helps keep the salmon really moist and it's easier to not have to worry about watching it and it's really easy clean up.
If there is skin on the salmon, put it skin side down. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and then the garlic and dill. Cut the butter into thin slices and spread over the fish. Squeeze lemon juice all over the salmon with the two lemon halves. Top the salmon with the slices of lemon and place the foil on the hot grill. Close the cover of the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. Salmon is ready when it is flaky, light pink and still moist and juicy inside.

I like using one large fillet because it looks so good when it's served...guests always ooohhh and aaawwww when they see this put on the table.
I love dill, butter and lemon on just seems to be a natural combo with this fish!
As the butter melts on the grill, the salmon soaks it all up and you end up with a very moist and juicy piece of fish!
Once my salmon is almost done...I take the lemon slices and put them directly on the grill for about 30 seconds to get them browned and a little smoky. I then place them back on the salmon.
We also had grilled shrimp and King Crab legs!
I marinated the shrimp with olive oil, garlic, paprika and chopped parsley.
The grill gave the crab legs that smoky flavor which made them so good!
Since we grilled outside we also ate outside...this helped again with keeping that seafood smell out of my sister's house.
My family dug in pretty quickly....of all the meals I made that week I think this was the biggest next time you grill out....don't just think hot dogs and hamburgers....think seafood on the grill...not only does it taste's so good for you!