T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Lemonade

As we near the end of August, we embrace the most classic of summer refreshers, fresh squeezed lemonade. Though it sounds so simple, very few take the time to make it the right way with the perfect proportions of lemon juice, cane sugar and spring water. To those celebrating the close of the summer, we will have fresh squeezed lemonade cocktails available all weekend long at Gigi Trattoria. You won’t believe how delicious they are! Here is one of the cocktails we are featuring, strawberry lemonade, though we’ve got a few other suggestions for you; fresh blueberry lemonade, pink lemonade, or the regular old fashioned kind. Be creative! ūüôā

Strawberry Lemonade

1 1/2 ounces House Infused Strawberry Vodka
1 Ounce Strawberry Puree
1 Ounce Lemon Juice 
1/2 Ounce Simple Syrup

Comine all ingredients in shaker and fill with ice. Shake very vigorously (you need some of that water from the ice to make the “lemonade” part!) Pour into a¬†sugar rimmed martini glass and enjoy. Delicious!

Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Berries

The Fourth of July is upon us. While we would all prefer it was on a Friday instead of a Wednesday, we will still enjoy the day and all it represents. We thought we would give you a beautiful dessert that incorporates delicious seasonal berries and of course, red, white, and blue! Enjoy!

Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Seasonal Berries

Makes 8 servings

Equipment ‚Äď 8 4-ounce disposable aluminum baking cups

3 tablespoons cold water
3 teaspoons gelatin powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Berries: In a small bowl combine all ingredients and set aside. The sugar will help extract the juice from the berries to create a nice sauce for your finished dish!

Panna Cotta: Line your disposable cups up on a small cookie tray and lightly spray each with non-stick pan spray

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, set aside.

Bring the heavy cream, sugar and lemon zest to simmer, then lower heat; do not boil. Add the bloomed gelatin and whisk to be sure the gelatin has melted. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. 

Ladle mixture into each cup.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 2 days in advance.

To remove panna cotta from cups, flip each cup upside down on serving plate. Poke the top of each cup with a small knife to release. You may have to shake it a little for it to come out. Spoon berries and their released liquid over the top of the panna cotta.


T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a¬†fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba‚Äôs oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
¬Ĺ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Berry Rosado

Ahhh,¬† the coming of the weekend! ¬†Two whole days away from the stress of flourescent lights,¬†cubicles, and deadlines.¬†This is certainly cause for the¬†celebratory Friday cocktail (or two.) We asked the head bartender at Gigi HV, Lisa Butenhoff, for¬†a festive and delicious drink we could make¬†using fresh strawberries¬†(that are so great right now), to help kick off the weekend. She suggested the Berry Rosado.¬† To say that people like this one is an understatement. When Gigi HV participated in the ‘Taste of Rhinebeck’, an annual fundraiser for Northern Dutchess Hospital,¬† she gave away about ten pitchers of this deliciousness. That’s a lot, when you consider each drink was only a few ounces! Luckily for you, you won’t be limited to just a few ounces, although some restraint will be in order!


   1 Serving  Berry Rosado

¬†¬† 1 ¬†1/2 oz Tito’s vodka
   1/2 oz  crisp, dry  rose wine
   Approx 3 to 5 strawberries (depending on size)
   1 tsp agave nectar (or refined sugar)
   Splash club soda
   1/2 oz lemon juice



 In  cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lemon juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full strawberry flavor. Add rose wine and vodka. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and top with club soda. 

You can intensify the strawberry flavor by infusing the vodka with strawberries (as we do at the Trattoria). Combine one liter of vodka with ¬Ĺ pint of hulled, halved strawberries. Cap and let stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Lisa‚Äôs ‚Äúvirgin‚ÄĚ version? Muddle the strawberries with a smidge of simple syrup or plain sugar and add to iced club soda or ginger ale.

BTW, if you’re too lazy or tired after your long week to ‘muddle’ through the recipe, you can always come in to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and we’ll do the work for you! Or, if you’re¬†in need of¬†the strawberries, you can always pick up a pint or two at Gigi Market ¬†in Red Hook. Happy Weekend!

Fresh Strawberries for the Grill

When you think of¬†summer weekends, you think of cool cocktails, hot BBQ off the grill, ¬†and entertaining. We at Gigi HV also like to incorporate what is fresh, at its peak, and can be had locally.¬† Right now strawberries are prime! You can even pick your own at Greig Farm in Red Hook. If picking isn’t your thing, come on into Gigi market and pick up a pint or two. We thought we would share a great recipe that incorporates the grill, the strawberries and a perfect meal for your¬†next get together. Enjoy! Let us know what you think.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry BBQ Sauce

We have adapted the classic pork and applesauce combination by pairing it with strawberries for this late spring BBQ version. This strawberry balsamic glaze is the perfect sweet and sour accompaniment to pork. In the summer,substitute peaches or fresh plums for the strawberries.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing the grill
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove,minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives,or a combination of tarragon and chives
2 pints strawberries,cleaned,hulled,and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
¬ľ cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two 10-ounce pork tenderloins

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium to large nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and chives and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the strawberries and sugar and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates to a few tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and simmer until thickened and syrupy, about 4 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Put half the BBQ sauce in a small bowl for brushing the pork and set aside to cool. Set the remaining sauce aside to serve with pork.

Preheat the grill to medium and brush racks lightly with oil. Rub pork tenderloins with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the pork,turning occasionally,until golden brown,about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and brush the pork with some of sauce,turning and brushing occasionally,until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of the pork registers 145¬įF,about 5 minutes longer (discard any remaining sauce for brushing). Transfer the pork to a platter,cover loosely with foil,and let rest 5 minutes.

Cut the pork diagonally into ¬ľ- inch-thick slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates and serve with the remaining reserved sauce.

Serving suggestion: The sweetness of the strawberry BBQ make this a perfect match for the slight bitterness of quickly sautéed spinach or Swiss chard. Arugula salad with some Parmesan shavings and lemony vinaigrette is a well-paired cold side.


Substitute grilled bone-in pork chops, chicken, and duck for the pork loin.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

Strawberries & Rhubarb, Oh My

We at Gigi HV believe strongly in using what is fresh and in season which at the moment includes strawberries. While our strawberry balsamic BBQ sauce may seemed unorthodox but delicious (stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!), using strawberries for dessert seems like a natural.

Also in season is fresh rhubarb which starts showing up in April and May at the Rhinebeck farmer’s market. It’s usually sold as a bunch weighing about two pounds, but I’ve seen it also sold loose, and you just pick out the freshest stalks.

Some people string rhubarb, running a knife the outside length of the stalk to remove the stringy fibers, which are similar to those found in celery. That might be a good idea with very mature stalks, but generally I don’t bother when using the young, slim, tender spring ones.

These two make a classic and elegant pairing with pound cake.

Pound Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote 

The term ‚Äúpound‚ÄĚ cake is derived from the fact that the traditional American version included one pound each of flour,eggs,butter,and sugar. While I wouldn‚Äôt call this recipe ‚Äúlight,‚ÄĚ it is enlightened. I love a simple cake with juicy sweet-tart compote. Of course, you could always use store-bought pound cake (but I think homeade always tasted better!) Gigi pastry chef¬†Louisa Demmitt always raids our retail cases at Gigi Market to prepare her rustic and sophisticated desserts.

Makes 12 servings

Pound cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter,softened
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 egg yolks plus3 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
1‚Öď cups cake flour,sifted

Strawberry rhubarb compote

3/4 cup sugar
‚Öď cup honey
¬ľ cup cornstarch
2 ¬Ĺ pounds rhubarb,washed,dried and cut into ¬Ĺ-inch pieces
1 cup quartered strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350ňöF. Butter and flour a standard-size loaf pan.

In a stand-alone mixer,cream together butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the eggs yolks and whole eggs,one at a time,scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla,salt,and 1 teaspoon water. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and fold in the cake flour gradually by hand,a third at a time,until it is incorporated. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes,until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Tip the cake out of the pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Place a medium metal bowl in the oven until hot. Carefully remove the bowl from oven and add the cornstarch,sugar,and honey. Mix together and add the rhubarb. Coat the rhubarb with the cornstarch/sugar mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The rhubarb will release its juices and the cornstarch will help thicken them prior to cooking.

Pour the rhubarb mixture into a saucepan with all the accumulated liquid. Cook over low heat,stirring constantly,until the rhubarb is fork tender but not overcooked,10 to 15 minutes. Pour the compote into a heat-proof bowl and set it aside to cool at room temperature. Stir in the strawberries now.

Serving suggestions: Slice the cake and top with the compote. A little whipped cream is also a nice addition. 


Use the compote as a pie or tart filling ‚Äď see Rustic Tart (page 000). Simply pour the compote into an unbaked pie crust and bake at 425ňöF for 30 minutes.

Enjoy the compote on its own with vanilla gelato or frozen yogurt.

Leftovers: In a cake container, the pound cake will hold for 2 days. Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote is good, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

Nutrition: Rhubarb is a great source of lutein, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants.

 Economy: $

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.