Local Dish: An Edible Tribute to Hanukkah

As my grandmother used to say, the best way to come to Hanukkah feast is to come hungry! That advice definitely still holds for next week’s special event, 8 Nights {an Edible Tribute to Hanukkah}.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

This exclusive holiday food happening is hosted by Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef for K’Syrah Catering & Events (www.kscateringandevents.com). A contemporary culinary twist on traditional Jewish celebratory foods, the event takes place on Dec. 7 at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang) from 6:30-10 p.m. The ticketed evening includes six seated courses of Chef Brooke’s special Hanukkah menu, preceded by two passed appetizer courses.

“This holiday holds so many happy family memories for me, and most of those, food-related. These Hanukkah events give me a chance to honor those memories and traditions, and share them with the whole community—and visitors.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

I’m using local and seasonal ingredients that showcase this region, to craft a Hanukkah menu which would be fairly recognizable as such,” says Chef Brooke.

Raised in Lompoc, Chef Brooke’s culinary style has evolved over the past dozen years as she has plied her trade in Santa Barbara and Las Vegas, in Morro Bay, and now, back in the Santa Ynez Valley. Chef Brooke’s culinary career began as a private chef at age 19, while she was still in culinary school in Santa Barbara. After working for celebrity chef Rick Moonen in Las Vegas, Chef Brooke returned to the Central Coast where she happily fed locals and tourists alike, as the Executive Chef of the Inn at Morro Bay. Now, upon her return to the Santa Ynez Valley, Chef Brooke became the Executive Chef of K’Syrah Catering & Events, where she continues to share her passion for food and the stories that coincide with the ingredients she selects.

Participating Jewish Santa Barbara County winemakers who will be featured include Sandra Newman, Cebada Wine; Michael Roth, Lo-Fi Wines; and Larry Schaffer, tercero wines. In addition, a portion of the event’s proceeds will support the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

The “8 Nights” Menu for Friday, Dec. 7, with participating Jewish Winemakers, includes:

Tray Passed

1 — potato latke // house-cured salmon // black pepper crème fraîche // chives

2 — savory olive oil cake // cherry coulis // salted bay leaf Chantilly

Seated

3 — roasted beets // frisée // orange // honey vinaigrette // goat cheese crouton

4 — fritto misto // zucchini, winter squash, apple, fennel, lemon // sage brown butter // edible flowers

5 — savory kugel // kale, cipollini, broccolini, mushrooms // gruyere // challah bread crumbs // herbs

6 — grilled quail // parsnip latke // pomegranate // charoset

7 — smoked brisket // roasted apple sauce // grilled root vegetables // smoked Jerusalem artichoke cream // crispy taro root

8 — apple beignet // dulce de leche // sour cream ice milk // edible flowers

Tickets for the event are $85 per person, plus an onsite cash bar, and are available at 8-nights-edible-tribute-to-hanukkah.eventbrite.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 30, 2018.

Poetics of the Handmade Holiday Market

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Looking for a way to “buy local” and support artisans at the same time. Check out Poetics of the Handmade, the third annual local makers market where you can find unique gifts for the whole family.

The market takes place on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Lower Lodge, local artists’ Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden‘s cool 1920’s carriage house studio between the Mission and the Natural History Museum.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The theme for this year is “Plant, Animal, Mineral,” says Vainstein.  “Our makers include Jalama Dyes which makes naturally plant dyed clothes and bags, Poco Farms goatmilk soap, Shepherdess Hides, ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery, Jennifer Morris, Jos Ceramics and Churchill Ceramics. Lindsey Ross will be doing old fashioned tin type photography portraits, plus vintage clothes, handmade homewares and more. This years market will also include a children’s section will an singing circle, and crafts such as wreath making, ornament making and holiday card painting.”

Trust us, you’ll want to go check this one out.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge is located at 609 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information, visit www.thelowerlodge.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2018.

Paseo Nuevo Holiday Fun

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday season at Paseo Nuevo on Friday, November 23. Here’s the lineup of this season’s shopping, events and activities:

Black Friday  –The official start to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday on November 23 is getting an early start opening at 7 a.m., although some retailers will open even earlier.  For a full list of store hours, visit PaseoNuevoShopping.com.

On the retail front, new to Paseo Nuevo  this year is Mama Luma, a local children’s wear boutique specializing in beautiful dresses for little girls. Always a great place to purchase locally made gifts, the Yes Store is back again this year with their collection of artisanal items including wood pieces, pottery, jewelry and photographs. New to downtown is the Santa Barbara Night Market located in the former Macy’s department store.  Here you can experience a European-style night market complete with twinkle lights and holiday décor. Shop handcrafted items and holiday gifts or enjoy the food and beverage village. Open Thursday-Sunday from 4-10 p.m.  There’s also a Trinidad3 pop-up shop, in a one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer, outfitted with a denim bar featuring premium denim made in the USA. Trinidad3 is popping-up on Sundays in De La Guerra Place.

  

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Let It Snow – Check out Santa Barbara’s “best in snow” when nightly snowfall shows take place twice each evening in Center Court as a flurry of white snow falls down on the Christmas tree, singing carolers, and shoppers, a magical tradition enjoyed by the entire family. Snowfall shows will start promptly at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from Friday, November 23 to December 31 (no shows on Christmas Day).

Silent Night Silent Disco – On Thursday, November 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., join Paseo Nuevo for Silent Night, a silent disco holiday dance party for the entire family! Wear your ugliest sweater and be prepared to dance and sing-a-long to your favorite holiday tunes through headphones! Come early to get headsets for the entire family. Jam to your favorite songs and watch the snowfall at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the merriest night of the season—and it’s free!

Visit Santa – Santa takes up residence in his Santa Barbara home at Paseo Nuevo’s Center Court starting Friday, November 23. Children will be able to visit him daily through December 24. Santa will be open early on December 2 & 9 from 9-11 a.m. for children with special needs while Tuesday evenings will be open for pet photos where even the furriest family members can snap a photo with Santa. Every child will receive a free gift and Santa’s elves will be on hand to catch the precious moment in a photo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Breakfast With Santa – On December 1 and December 8, from 8-10 a.m., California Pizza Kitchen hosts a breakfast event featuring a special guest, Santa Claus! Breakfast includes a breakfast pizza, drink, and crafts for $10/child, $15/adult. Children under 3 eat for free. Call Evelyn at 805/962-4648 for reservations.

Live Entertainment – It wouldn’t be the holidays without costumed carolers, holiday horns, colossal choirs, and the occasional squeezebox roaming throughout the center filling the paseos with holiday cheer! A robust schedule of over 20 live entertainment ensembles will perform throughout the season daily. For the full schedule of performers, dates and times, visit https://paseonuevoshopping.com/events/holiday-music/


 
https://youtu.be/IzU8dyIpMfo

Win Prizes with #PaseoNuevoMagic –  For a chance to WIN weekly holiday themed contests, guests can snap, share and tag their holiday experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @ShopPaseoNuevo and hashtag #PaseoNuevoMagic. Winners will be chosen every week beginning November 23.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2018.

Downtown Santa Barbara Welcomes the Holiday Season

Small Business Saturday, Sampling State, Annual Holiday Parade and Tuba Christmas are among the many special events coming to SB!

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara (DSB) is raring and ready for Holiday shopping, Holiday dining, Holiday Happy Hour, Holiday parties, Holiday strolling, Holiday décor and lights viewing, and last but not least, Holiday events!

“This is our busiest and most anticipated time of year,” says Kate Schwab, DSB Marketing & Communications Director. “We’re looking forward to kids in costumes, music, celebrating our great small businesses and a Parade to remember.”

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

First up is Small Business Saturday Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, on Saturday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the SBS Welcome Center at Historic Storke Placita (700 State St.) to find Downtown SB booths with block by block information, try your hand at DSBingo, Downtown Trivia, Spin the Wheel to Win and the ever-popular Corn Hole, and enjoy the festive tunes of Holiday Horns.

At 11 a.m., Downtown restaurants will step outside to offer tastes of their fare for Sampling State. “Our goal with Sampling State is that restaurant doors will swing open at the same time, offering small bites from their great menus,” says DSB Business Manager, Erik Krueger.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Friday, December 7 is the Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Holiday Parade Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. Starting at 6:30 p.m., check out the big balloons, marching bands, and the Grand Marshal(s) sponsored by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply —four heroic K9 dog teams of Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue. The 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. starts at Sola St. and continues down State St. to Cota St.

Tuba Christmas comes downtown on Saturday, December 15 at noon. Get your oom-pah-pah on with this nearly 30-year-old brass tradition! Tap your toes to the beloved Christmas Brass/Trombone Christmas /TubaChristmas concert in Storke Placita.

“This holiday more than ever, we’re inviting Santa Barbara residents downtown to support all our great local businesses, win a prize or two, enjoy some music and some tastings,” says Schwab. “It’s a fabulous way to kick off the 2018 Holiday shopping season!”

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 19, 2018.

Happy Haunting in Downtown Santa Barbara

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

It’s a Happy Halloween season downtown this week!

The Halloween Window Décor Contest has Downtown Santa Barbara judges hitting the street to critique the spooky Halloween windows, and you can judge for yourself until October 31.

Be sure to keep an eye on Lovebird (535 State St.) – In celebration of Halloween they have replaced their mannequins with skeletons. Each day, they’ll dress the skeletons in new outfits and create a scene involving and promoting a local Downtown Santa Barbara business.

“This idea appealed to us because we want to support downtown and do what we can to help revitalize State Street while having a good time,” says owner Jennifer Scarbrough. “We’ll keep it up through November 3rd – Day of the Dead!” 

 Also in the mix is the annual Downtown Halloween Trick or Treat on Wednesday, October 31 from 3-6 p.m. for any and all kids in costumes. Bring your own treat bag and look for balloons and window signs for the Downtown businesses handing out treats.

For more information, follow @DowntownSantaBarbara on Instagram.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 27, 2018.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Dads are notoriously hard to buy presents for, so here are a few Father’s Day gift suggestions that are sure to make him smile.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude

Beloved Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune Columnist Chris Erskine‘s collection of essays about the joys and absurdities of modern fatherhood are sure to make any dad smile. As the promo says, “This handsome book is the perfect gift for the father who would have everything—if he hadn’t given it all to his kids.” Click here for more information.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap

An intoxicating way for dad to start his day, these Jackalope Beer Soap bars from Little Seed Farm are an all-natural way to give his morning shower a little extra kick! The Bourbon BarBearwalker Beer BarRompo Beer Bar and Thunder Ann Beer Bar are hand-crafted from fresh, raw goat’s milk produced on Little Seed Farm’s own dairy herd, in collaboration with a local distillery and brewery located in Nashville, Tennessee. Spent grains from the brewing process are added to each bar of soap, giving it a nice solid texture he’s sure to enjoy. www.littleseedfarm.com

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

BRÖÖ Craft Beer Shampoo

Continuing with the beer theme, BRÖÖ Craft Beer harnesses the power of all-malt, freshly-hopped craft beer in the form of a shampoo that dad is sure to enjoy. People have rinsed their hair with beer for ages, and this home-brewed remedy is brimming with B vitamins, proteins, and minerals to make his hair shiny, healthy and strong. broo.com

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZeroWater Filtration Pitcher

Perfect for the environmentally conscious and economically minded dad, eco-friendly ZeroWater filtration devices turn tap water into the equivalent of purified bottled water without the expense or waste of plastic bottles. Available in 8-cup, 10-cup and 20-cup dispensers. www.zerowater.com

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks

Colorful, fun socks are a great way for even the most conservative dad to jazz up his look—and his mood. Whether he’s relaxing on the weekend, going to work, or dressed up for a night out, help him put his best foot forward with DAZI’s fashionable and comfortable men’s socks. This line features unique designs that are fun, but not over-the-top, to wear with almost any look. www.daziusa.com

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle

A clever gift for the dad who likes to travel light. The Bindle Bottle holds 24 ounces of his favorite beverage—keeping drinks hot or cold for hours—along with small necessities such as chapstick, keys and headphones in the bottom stash area. Plus the name is cool: “Bindles” were once used by train hoppers to carry their essentials on their shoulders as they went off on their next adventure—your dad is sure to love this gift as he goes off on his. bindlebottle.com

Happy Father’s Day!

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 12, 2018.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Still struggling with what to buy your mom for Mother’s Day (or her birthday, or just to say “I love you” any time of the year, for that matter? Stress no more, here are a few things she’s sure to appreciate.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Put a new twist on her summer reading with a monthly subscription to Once Upon A Book Club! I loved this gift so much I bought it for both my mom and my mother-in-law (don’t tell …).  The way it works is you sign up for a monthly box to arrive at her front door.  You can do it once, or multiple times, it’s up to you.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

She’ll open the adorable book-shaped box and find the selected book, along with 3-5 perfectly wrapped gifts with page numbers.  They even have shredded book pages for stuffing. It’s so cute! Want to know what is in the gift? They are carefully curated to enhance the book.  For example, one of the characters in the story pulls out a magical stone from a leather bag at a heightened moment in the book. As mom reads this, she is signaled to open one of the gifts: a replica of the described stone (that’s actually a bar of soap) inside a useful/trendy leather purse!  You get the idea. It’s really fun!

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes are another favorite recent find. These are not your ordinary cupcakes (which she also probably loves), these are delicious gourmet cupcakes that come stacked four in a jar. The packaging is adorable (almost too pretty to eat), with flavors ranging from brown sugar cinnamon to French toast, nutty red velvet, Snickerdoodle and more. They even have a vegan version. I tried the Vegan Chocolate/Vanilla which was very tasty. And they deliver everywhere! 

 

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs is a beautiful way to give your loved one with a necklace that will remind her how you feel about her every time she puts it on. The company is faith-inspired jewelry brand whose feminine yet minimalist pieces have garnered the attention of celebrity designer Joanna Gaines, among others. The You’re a Gem necklace (pictured) is one of my favorites, and they also have customized versions with the names of your children inscribed, or special messages with scripture verses just for mom.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

For moms on the go, the PediPocket blanket is great for travel. These lightweight and easy to pack fleece blankets are nearly 6 feet long, so it covers her shoulders and her feet at the same time and a special 20” pocket keeps her feet extra warm and snuggly. With 10 different colors and patterns to choose from, these are actually great gifts for everyone in the family and are perfect for tailgate parties, beach barbecues, and outdoor concerts as well as on her next trip.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Originally published on May 11, 2018 in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Cocktail Corner: MOM-osas for Mother’s Day!

Photo vxla on Flickr: Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel, CC BY 2.0, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Photo vxla on Flickr: Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel, CC BY 2.0, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which is the perfect time to indulge in Mimosas. According to new research from Versus Reviews, Mimosas are actually the most popular cocktail in California, as well as in Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. It must be a coastal thing!

Traditional Mimosas are believed to have been invented at the Hotel Ritz Paris around 1925, and are probably named for their resemblance to the yellow flowers with the same name. They’re made with one part Champagne and one part orange juice and served in a Champagne flute, often at brunch.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

While traditional Mimosas are great, there are load of variations. Here are a few favorites, which we’ll call MOM-osas in honor of this weekend:

The Buck’s Fizz, which has twice as much Champagne as orange juice!  

Daphne Oz‘s “Perfect Momosa Recipe” from The Chew, which adds elderflower liquor to the mix and substitutes Prosecco or another sparkling wine for the Champagne.

The Poinsettia switches the orange juice for cranberry juice, mixed with Champagne.

DrinkoftheWeek.com’s tasty MOMosa variation skips the OJ and mixes Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur and passion fruit juice with Champagne.

The Megmosa is equal parts Champagne and grapefruit juice, while pineapple juice and Champagne is called a Soleil.

Summer Mimosa, likely a Soilel variation, photo by waros, pixabay.com.

Summer Mimosa, likely a Soilel variation, photo by waros, pixabay.com.

Our friends at Seagram’s Escapes also have a fun “Momosa” recipe, which uses sparkling wine and their Wild Berry flavored drink.

Whatever you toast your mom with this weekend, make it a good one! Cheers!  Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 11, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Adult Easter Fun With Seasonal Jello Shots

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

When it comes to Easter celebrations, why should the kids have all the fun? Our friends at Seagram’s Escapes have provided some alcohol-infused jello recipes that will sure to enliven the egg hunt on Sunday.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

 

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Shooters: Impress guests and make memories with these adorable and delicious adult treats that look just like fresh watermelon wedges! 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 6 hours chilling time

Makes: 40 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each)  Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

10  limes

2 pkg (3 oz each)  watermelon gelatin dessert crystals 

1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional) 

1. Scrub limes and cut in half crosswise. Use a paring knife to loosen flesh from skin. Scoop out flesh, scraping with a spoon to reveal clean white pith. Place each hollowed-out lime half in cup of a muffin tin.

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy. Divide mixture evenly among lime halves. Chill for 6 hours or until set.

3. Use a sharp knife to cut each lime in half. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if using. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

Tip: If you like, juice the halved limes before scraping out membranes. Use lime juice in meat marinades, salad dressings, lime curd or ice pops.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jelly Shooters: Be the life of the party and pass around these fun adult shooters served in hollowed-out fresh strawberries. 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes 

Total time: 25 minutes + 4 hours refrigeration

Makes: 50 pieces 

1 bottle (11.2 fl. oz.) Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri

50 large strawberries, hulled (about 3 lb)

1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry gelatin dessert crystals 

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 limes, thinly sliced

1. Cut small slice off the tip of each strawberry so it sits flat. Use melon baller to hollow out each strawberry from hull end. Set aside. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri and lime juice. Divide mixture evenly among strawberries. Chill for 4 hours or until set. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.) 

3. Just before serving, place sugar in small shallow dish. Roll the top of each strawberry in the sugar to resemble a rimmed glass. Cut lime slices into wedges. Garnish each strawberry with a lime wedge.

Tip: To fill hollowed-out strawberries without making a mess, transfer liquid strawberry mixture to a squeeze bottle or use a clean turkey baster.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram's.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram’s.

Layered Calypso Colada Cream Jelly Cubes: Feel like you’re in the islands anytime with these jelly shots made with a cool and creamy coconut base, topped with a clear blue layer of Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada, as breathtaking as the ocean. 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 10 hours chilling time

Makes: 24 squares 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada

2 tbsp sugar

1 envelope (7 g) unflavored gelatin

1 can (14 oz) coconut milk

3 pkg (3 oz each) berry blue gelatin dessert crystals 

2 tbsp coarse sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

24 fresh blackberries 

1. Combine sugar and gelatin in small heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over mixture; stir constantly until granules are completely dissolved. Stir in coconut milk until well combined. Pour into 8 inch square cake pan. Chill for 4 hours or until set. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Slowly pour blue mixture over set coconut mixture. Chill for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Run a thin knife around the inside of cake pan to separate jelly from sides. Carefully invert onto parchment paper; tap pan gently to release jelly. Use a large sharp knife to cut into 24 cubes. Invert cubes onto serving platter. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

4. Just before serving, stir together coarse sugar and coconut; sprinkle over cubes and top each with a blackberry.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram's.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram’s.

Strawberry Guava Jelly Shots: Add an element of class and sophistication with these decorative jellies that are bursting with vibrant tropical flavors, and look as beautiful as they are delicious. 

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes + 6 hours refrigeration

Makes: 18 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

3 envelopes (7 g each) unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup guava juice

12 strawberries 

1. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup boiling water; stir until dissolved. 

2. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy and guava juice. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Let stand for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to set.

3. Dice strawberries. Place in 18 decorative 1 oz molds. Divide jelly evenly among molds. Chill for at least 6 hours or until set. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance.)

4. Dip molds into warm water for 5 seconds. Invert jelly shots onto serving platter, gently shaking to release. 

Tips: Decorative molds can be purchased from specialty baking and cooking equipment shops and online retailers. Substitute Seagram’s Escapes Peach Fuzzy Navel for a delicious twist. 

Cheers to an enjoyable holiday! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com. 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 27, 2018.

Summer Solstice Poster & T-Shirt Contest

Heroes photo, courtesy Santa Barbara Summer Solstice.

Heroes photo, courtesy Santa Barbara Summer Solstice.

The 2018 Summer Solstice Parade & Festival theme is HEROES, which is certainly an apt choice for our community right now.

The organizers state, “we are so grateful and beyond moved by our local heroes and all of the beauty that has been shown by hundreds of emergency professionals and firefighters who have come to Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to fight the Thomas Fire that has wreaked havoc on our area. Now with the recent mudslides in Montecito we are again finding heroes everywhere: in our neighbors, our community businesses and growing within ourselves.”

The theme was selected from more than 100 suggestions.

Organizers are now accepting artwork submissions for the 2018 Poster & T-shirt Contest. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 15, at 5 p.m.

The artist selected will win a $500 prize.

Submit up to three images (jpeg format, 72 dpi) by email, with titles, to soladmin@solsticeparade.com.

Don’t forget to include your name, address and phone number, as well as the email headline “2018 Poster & T-shirt Contest.”

Works are encouraged to support the Solstice 2018 theme: “Heroes,” though all artwork submitted will be considered.

The Summer Solstice Festival is June 22-24 and the parade is June 23. For more information, visit solsticeparade.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 2, 2018.