San Pellegrino Blood Orange Mojitos

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I am all too familiar with the words, “Vegas baby! Woo Hoo!” which, after a two-day alcohol bingefest, usually precedes the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. This time, it’s different. An elite group of culinary students would want nothing more than their skills to leave Vegas and move on to the final competition in Napa Valley. Can I come too?

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Plopped down in front of the computer before sunrise, I desperately scramble my brain for the perfect blog entry that will whisk me away from our tiny kitchen in the Big Apple to the breathtaking Napa Valley. And on the other side of the country, while most Vegas delinquents are tip-toeing down the hall of shame donning last night’s outfit, the top competitors are probably tossing and turning in their luxurious hotel room anticipating their big day.

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The 8th annual Almost Famous Chef” competition hosted by San Pellegrino celebrates the most talented culinary students as they slice, dice and saute their hopes into an apprenticeship with a nationally recognized chef. The finals will be held on March 7th with the beautiful backdrop of Napa Valley, California.

Foodbuzz has announced a competition of its own which awards two out of the thousands of featured publishers the honor of witnessing greatness in the making. One publisher has already been selected and whisked off to Sin City. Another one hangs in the balance. There’s only one golden ticket left and I hope I get it.
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So what reasons can I possibly conjure up that hasn’t already been served on a plate? I love food? Duh. I love cooking competitions? I want a break from this blizzard  and get my tan on? Double duh. I don’t even have a sob story where it’s so tragically deserving that you’d swear you could hear melancholy violins playing in the background.
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It’s obvious that I’m an aspiring food journalist/food photographer/food stylist/gourmet chef so there’s nothing I would enjoy more than this opportunity to witness and chronicle such a climactic event that encompasses my ambition.

Aside from the sheer awesomeness of food, the culinary scene today has been heavily propelled by media attention. Food has become desirable, sexier and glamorized more than ever before. If it weren’t for Food Network, how many of us would know about Morimoto or Bobby Flay? Would we have the motivation to recreate a recipe from a magazine if it weren’t for the titillating food porn?

All around the world, foodies have been coming out of the woodworks and starting their own blogs to publicly testify their kitchen adventures. This is the media that feeds our obsession and delivers the latest and greatest flavors right into our home. So won’t you let me share the San Pellegrino “Almost Famous Chef” experience with you?
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With a ratio of 1:3,207 chances of being chosen, I decided to create myself a win/win situation. If chosen to attend the final competition in Napa Valley, I win! If not, I’ll have this refreshing San Pellegrino Bloody Orange Mojito to drink myself to a drunken stupor to help me forget that I’m not rubbing elbows with top chefs and magazine food editors. See, win/win!

Cheers!
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Ingredients:

2 1/2 ounces light rum
4 ounces San Pellegrino Limonata
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
2 blood oranges, cut in wedges
a handful of mint leaves
sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine blood orange wedges, mint leaves and a light sprinkle of sugar. Muddle all the ingredients together until most of the juice is extracted and the mint leaves are bruised.
  2. Distribute muddled oranges and mint leaves between two glasses. Fill with ice. Add rum, simple syrup and San Pellegrino Limonata. Stir and serve immediately.

TIP:

For fancier ice cubes, freeze 1 part San Pellegrino Limonata and 1 part orange juice. Drop one segmented wedge of blood orange in each mold. Allow freezing time before serving your cocktails.

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