With Simply Ming in Your Kitchen, 80 Recipes to Watch, Learn and Cook (Kyle Books, October 2012) Ming Tsai in collaboration with Arthur Boehm takes the interactive route. Each recipe includes access to an online video and free shopping list via a matching QR code.
A day after hurricane Sandy landed, sitting down with a fresh cocktail sounds like good stress therapy.
Pineapple–Thai Basil Champagne Cocktail
I can’t think of a better preface to a meal than a kir royale. So, being me, I wanted to create my own version. This is it – a wonderful combination of Champagne, pineapple and basil. Though Champagne is first choice, you can use a good bottle of any sparkling wine and you’ll still have a great drink.
Pineapple-Thai Basil Syrup
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
4 large Thai basil sprigs, plus 1 for garnish
For Each Drink
6 ounces chilled dry Champagne
1 tablespoon Pineapple-Thai Basil syrup
1 Overnight or up to 24 hours in advance, make the syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, pineapple and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the pineapple is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
2 Very gently crush the basil leaves, but not the stems, in your hands. Add to the syrup, remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Use the syrup immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
3 To make the cocktail, spoon 1 tablespoon of the syrup with a handful of pieces of pineapple into a Champagne flute. Slowly pour the Champagne into the flute, garnish with a fresh basil sprig and serve.
The syrup recipe yields about 3 cups, enough for 24 drinks. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The leftover syrup can be combined with sparkling water or club soda for a non-alcoholic drink, or use the syrup as a garnish for grilled chicken breasts with a squeeze of lime.
Feel free to use a less expensive sparkling wine in this recipe as well.
Watch the video to learn my simple technique for prepping pineapple.
(* Recipe from 'Simply Ming in Your Kitchen, 80 recipes to watch, learn, cook and enjoy' by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm - Kyle Books, October 2012- photography by Bill Bettencourt, reproduced with permission of the publisher)