Food & Drink

Fresh Blueberry and Lavender Cocktail Recipe | What’s Cooking

Fresh blueberry martini cocktail recipe with lavender syrup from Nordstrom Bars. Photo by Jeff Powell.

What a perfect cocktail to celebrate the first official week of summer. Fresh blueberries get muddled to release their sweet juices–and a beautiful hue that helps color the cocktail–and lavender is simmered into a syrup that ends up slightly fragrant and contributes just the right touch of floral notes. I find lavender sometimes a bit overwhelming, but not here, when balanced by the refreshing tartness of lemon. Try this Blueberry and Lavender Martini in our Nordstrom bars, or read on to create this cocktail recipe for yourself and some very good friends this summer at home.


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Food & Drink

The Amelia: Blackberry, Vodka, St. Germain & Lemon Cocktail Recipe | What’s Cooking

The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

The Amelia cocktail served at our Nordstrom bars has a lot of great things going for it. It’s well balanced. It has handcrafted appeal and derives maximum flavor from just a small handful of ingredients. It’s also dangerously delicious and refined while being easy enough to prepare at home. This variation on the classic Aviation cocktail–said to be named after Amelia Earhart–is going to the top of my shortlist of adult beverages for entertaining (see our Smoke and Heat Cocktail recipe with Mezcal for another topping that list).

Ingredients: the Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

In the Amelia, ripe, muddled blackberries lend a seductive color and texture, while St. Germain elderflower liqueur heightens the flavors of summer. Freshly squeezed lemon juice cuts through any overt sweetness with just the right amount of tang. Served up, I chose the vintage look of a coupe cocktail glass, but–as presented at our bars–a classic martini glass equally shows off the beauty of this beverage. Pro tip: as called for in the recipe, try to use superfine (caster) sugar for the glass-rim garnish. Unlike more coarse, granulated sugar, the finely processed crystals feel velvety and melt instantly on contact with your lips.

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Food & Drink

What’s Cooking: Fresh Berry and Balsamic Fig Salad with Goat Cheese

For our second installment of What’s Cooking, Nordstrom Blog Editor Jeff makes a sweet and tangy salad with balsamic fig vinaigrette from the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook—also featured as a seasonal offering in selected Nordstrom restaurants.

With another simple-to-follow recipe developed by our corporate chef, Michael Northern, and his small army of chefs and contributors, Jeff proves (with his photographic evidence) that you don’t have to be a professional chef to transform beautiful ingredients into irresistible food that’s meant to be shared with family and friends.


After that decadent White Chocolate Mousse, I thought I’d lighten things up a bit with a fresh but complexly flavored salad. Ripe berries bring a juicy flair to this party, but there are three more things I also love about this salad:

1. The goat cheese: I’m a sucker for anything with chèvre (though I am an equal-opportunity fromage-ophile).

2. The spiced almonds (recipe below): sweet and spicy with a satisfying crunch, these not only add great texture to the salad but also make a seriously addictive snack for guests—or a late-night nosh.

3. The balsamic fig vinaigrette: I’ve probably made gallons of vinaigrette over the years, but the fig-and-balsamic reduction in this one—with savory roasted garlic and bright cherry preserves—transforms it into the most sumptuous, flavor-layered vinaigrette of them all (no joke). I’ll definitely be making it again for salads that I want dressed to impress.

Fresh Berry and Balsamic Fig Salad with Goat Cheese
From the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook
(makes six servings)

Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette:
½ cup (1½ ounces) coarsely chopped dried mission figs
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup cherry preserves
1½ teaspoons mashed Simple Roasted Garlic
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canola oil

Salad Fixings:
10 ounces mixed baby greens
6 ounces baby arugula
15 dried mission figs, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 cup Spiced Whole Almonds (recipe below)
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1½ cups fresh blueberries
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups (6 ounces) crumbled rindless goat cheese (chèvre)
1½ cups fresh raspberries
1½ cups fresh blackberries

1. To make the vinaigrette, bring the figs, balsamic vinegar, and sugar to a simmer in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the cherry preserves and roasted garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Let cool. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Process until the figs are finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion. One tablespoon at a time, add 3 tablespoons of water.

Spiced Whole Almonds:
(Makes about 2½ cups)
1 large egg white
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2½ cups (12 ounces) blanched whole almonds
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

A. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

B. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white, Tabasco, and salt until very foamy with no liquid. Add the almonds and brown sugar and fold gently with a rubber spatula to coat. Spread the almonds in a single layer, without touching each other, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the almonds are crisp and golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.

C. Mix the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a heatproof medium bowl. Scrape the hot almonds into the cinnamon mixture and toss to coat. Spread on a platter and let cool. (The almonds can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)


2. Combine the mixed greens and arugula in a large bowl. Add the figs and the almonds, drizzle with 1 cup of the vinaigrette and toss. Add the strawberries and blueberries and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the salad evenly among 6 chilled salad bowls. Scatter equal amounts of the goat cheese, raspberries, and blackberries evenly over the salads. Serve immediately.

Note: The recipe for Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette makes about 1½ cups, although only 1 cup is needed for this recipe. Place the extra vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to use on other salads. Shake well before using.

Download a PDF of this recipe to print, or find it in our Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook. Have a favorite recipe from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

[Photos by Jeff Powell]

Food & Drink

Food & Drink: White Chocolate & Raspberry Pancakes

So, you’ve found the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Now, make her day even more special: surprise mom with brunch and a stack of these indulgent white chocolate and raspberry pancakes—a recipe from our Nordstrom Flavors Cookbook (available upon request at Nordstrom Restaurant locations).

Photo by Noel Barnhurst

If you’ve ever had White Chocolate Bread Pudding, one of the most popular desserts at Nordstrom’s Cafe Bistro restaurants, you’ll be familiar with the flavor combination celebrated in these decadent pancakes. —Chef Michael Northern

White Chocolate & Raspberry Brunch Pancakes

Serves 4
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the griddle
1 pint raspberries
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate morsels
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel, and have a few more towels ready.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and butter, and pour the mixture into the well. Stir just until blended but still slightly lumpy. If the batter seems too thick, thin with a little water.

Heat a griddle or large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until very hot. A few drops of cold water splashed on the bottom should dance across the surface. Lightly grease the griddle with butter. Using 1 ⁄3 cup batter for each pancake, pour the batter onto the griddle, creating pancakes about 4 inches in diameter and being careful not to crowd the griddle. Cook until bubbles just begin to appear on the surface, about 11 ⁄2 minutes. Scatter about 4 raspberries and 7 white chocolate morsels over the top of each pancake. Cook until the pancakes are golden brown on the undersides, about 1 minute more. Turn the pancakes over and cook until the second sides are lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Transfer the pancakes to the baking sheet, cover with a towel, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, raspberries, and chocolate morsels, separating the layers of pancakes with the towels.

Arrange the pancakes on warmed plates, and scatter the remaining raspberries and chocolate morsels on top. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust with powdered sugar, and then serve immediately.

Chef’s Note: Pancakes are always best when served the moment they are out of the pan. If your gathering is small, you may be able to cook them to order.

Download a PDF of this recipe to print. And for more tempting recipes, shop our Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook.

Jeff Powell

Food & Drink

Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

This spring, it’s not just the clothes that are colorful; farmers’ markets are overflowing with gorgeous fruits and vegetables. And since May is National Strawberry Month, we’re sharing Chef Michael Northern’s signature shortcake recipe from our Nordstrom Flavors cookbook.

“Over the last few years, American cooks have discovered what Italians have known for years: balsamic vinegar goes great with strawberries. Here, old-fashion strawberry shortcake is given a dramatic twist with a sweet-tart glaze made with balsamic vinegar and sugar. The recipe also illustrates the umami talents of balsamic vinegar as a flavor enhancer.” —Chef Michael Northern

2/3 cup (1 1/4 sticks) ice cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for the pan
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream, plus more for brushing the shortcakes
1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

To make the Shortcakes, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Affix the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, beat until the mixture is crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The mixture will come together in a ball. In a small bowl mix together the cream and buttermilk. On low speed, gradually beat in the cream mixture until a stiff, moist dough forms.

Using 1/2 cup of the dough for each shortcake (a 4-ounce spring-action ice cream scoop works well, or use a dry measuring cup), portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the portions 1 inch apart, to make 8 shortcakes total. Brush the tops with cream, and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake the shortcakes are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire cake rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the shortcakes to the rack and let cool completely.

To make the Sweetened Whipped Cream, in a chilled large bowl, using the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, whip the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream holds firm peaks. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Strawberry Topping, in a bowl, combine the strawberries and granulated sugar and toss gently to coat evenly. Let stand until the berries release some juices, about 30 minutes.

To make the Balsamic Drizzle, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar and granulated sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture has reduced by nearly half and the glaze is syrupy, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. (If the glaze thickens too much dilute it with warm water until it is the consistency of chocolate syrup.)

For each serving, slice a shortcake in half horizontally and place the bottom, cut side up, on a dessert plate. Top with some strawberries and then with some whipped cream. Using a spoon, streak the berries and cream with a fine drizzle of the balsamic glaze. Cap with the top half of the shortcake. Using a fine mesh sieve, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Download a PDF of this recipe to print or save.

Jeff Powell