I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Drinks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drinks. Show all posts

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Cherry Treats

What a lovely summer it has been so far. The beer garden with new friends, Big Apple BBQ with old friends. Dinner with the husband on the rooftop at The Nomad. A truly inspiring dance performance from Cedar Lake Dance Company. And last week, my new baby nephew was born. I feel full of love and joy.

Plus, the greenmarkets have been full of delicious produce--with especially gorgeous cherries lately. I took home way too many (if there can be such a thing) and had to come up with a few ways to use them up before they went bad.

First up I made a mini cherry pie. I used my small cast iron pan instead of a pie pan, since Joe and I have a hard time eating a whole pie before it goes bad. This was a perfect little size. I halved the recipe from over at Smitten Kitchen and used half of the flaky butter crust recipe. I liked the idea of using a star cookie cutter to cut out shapes for the top instead of having to weave a lattice crust--easy and fast.

Next up, I used some more cherries to create a bourbon soaked batch to use for cocktails. This is the third year in a row I have been doing this and usually end up with just enough to make it through the year of manhattans and old fashioneds that we whip up. I like to throw in a bit of the spiced bourbon from the cherries into the cocktails before I shake them or drizzle it over of ice cream for a boozy dessert.

Bourbon Soaked Cocktail Cherries

1/4 c. turbinado sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 cinnamon stick
3/4 c. bourbon
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 c. pitted cherries
1 quart jar, sterilized

Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick into a small saucepan. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and then stir in the bourbon, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Place the cherries into the quart jar *. Remove the cinnamon stick from the bourbon mixture and pour into the quart jar over the cherries. Place the lid on the jar and place in the fridge. Allow to sit for at least two weeks before using.

*I have read on a few sites that leaving the cherry pits in adds depth of flavor to the cherries. I would rather have pitted cherries in my drinks, so I toss a few of the pits into the jar with the pitted cherries to add flavor without having to deal with the pits in my cocktail cherries later on.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The perfect way to start out your St. Patty's day festivities: with a "beer bloody mary". My favorite brunch cocktail, the michelada, over on Pine Tar Press.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Naan, Limoncello, and Oscar Goodies

February can be cruel to those who have made New Year's resolutions. After starting off strong in January, if you slack off at all on your goals February will make you pay for it by being a short month with fewer days to get in your efforts. This year I forced myself to stay focused to make sure I came out on top and didn't let this month win.

I actually got in two new things in the kitchen during February: homemade naan and homemade limoncello. Both are items that I have been telling myself I will make over and over again and never quite got around to them. Now that I have I'm not sure why I've put them off so long--they are both so simple and so delicious. The naan especially will wind up in my regular dinner rotation.

I used the recipe found over on Rasa Malaysia. The ingredients are simply mixed together, allowed to rest for a couple of hours, rolled out, and then cooked in a hot cast iron skillet. By covering the dough with a lid as soon as you place it in the pan you are rewarded with many airy bubbles on top, which you then toast quickly by flipping the pan over and holding it upside down over the flame on your gas stove top (the dough sticks to the cast iron with a quick brush of water before placing it there). Then you brush it with butter (I brushed mine with melted butter mixed with plenty of garlic) to finish and serve immediately. One of the easiest "breads" I've ever attempted. (and very tasty served alongside my curried chickpea salad)
Rolling out the dough
Covering the cast iron to help facilitate the air bubbles
Before the naan gets brushed with buttery goodness
As for the limoncello, the only problem with preparing it is having the patience to wait the couple of weeks before it is ready to go (and the patience needed while it is dripping slowly, so very slowly, through the filters to clarify it). I like the Serious Eats recipe for this refreshing Italian drink because I don't have a lemon peeler and it was so simple to just zest all of the lemons (the leftover lemon juice has been used in sauces, pastas, lemonade). This particular recipe is slightly too sweet for my tastes, but part of me believes this wouldn't be the case if I had actually been able to find Everclear instead of just using vodka (the extra sugar is probably a good balance for the high alcohol content/burn factor in the grain alcohol). I can't wait to try this recipe out with different varieties of citrus. And maybe gin instead of vodka?? (lim/gin-cello?? Sounds like a winner to me)

On a final note, I wanted to share the menu for my Oscar Party spread this year, as it turned out to be a hit (despite the party being a small one this time around):
Wild Mushroom Hummus
Baked Camembert (with Rosemary, Honey and Black Pepper)
Olive Sables
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
BBQ Popcorn

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lavender Champagne Cocktail

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday season! Unlike last year, this year I have been really feeling the holiday spirit, despite not going home for Christmas. We have been having dinners and drinks with friends, making candy, checking out the holiday decorations, and in general just taking advantage of the season. Especially by eating and drinking far too much.

Take for instance Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which Joe and I spent alone for the first time ever. Christmas Eve we had a mound of reserve prosciutto, a New Jersey English-style cheddar and a perfectly ripe and lovely epoisses from Bklyn Larder (where we happened to have lunch/do some last minute shopping with a certain brother/sister acting duo). Christmas day I pulled out the leftover cheese to eat along with roasted bone marrow while I cooked up a big, beautiful aged rib eye steak, fried potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Decadent.

Along with the bone marrow appetizer we also enjoyed champagne cocktails made with a lavender simple syrup I had made for Thanksgiving. It is a very simple cocktail and its floral flavor is a nice way to begin a meal. It would also make the perfect addition to your New Year's Eve party this year!

Lavender Simple Syrup
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. baking/tea lavender

In a small saucepan heat the water and sugar over high heat. Once it begins to boil stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender. Allow to sit for 15 minutes and then strain to remove the lavender. Store in the refrigerator.

Lavender Champagne Cocktail
lavender simple syrup
sparkling white wine
angostura bitters

Place 1 TB of lavender simple syrup into a champagne flute. Fill the glass with sparkling wine. Add 2-3 drops of bitters. Stir gently and serve.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fiery Hot Chocolate Mix

Code Blue! Code Blue! Someone bring the crash cart! I need some help resuscitating this blog--Good lord it's been a while since I've posted!

And I do realize that the season of giving has passed so those readers still around may not have need for hostess gifts or homemade treats anymore at this time of year, but it is still cold out there. A perfect reason to keep some darn fine hot chocolate mix around if there ever was one. I especially love this mix because it mixes in real (Valrhona) chocolate and has nice heat thanks to the cayenne, but if you don't like it hot, cut it out or cut it down. Then mix up a couple of mugs, hand one to your honey and curl up on the couch because winter shows no signs of letting up just yet. And it couldn't hurt to tip in a little peppermint schnapps to the mix--I'm generally anti-schnapps, but let go of my beliefs in the case of a minty-chocolatey winter drink.

Fiery Hot Chocolate

1 c. quality cocoa
1/2 lb 70% Valrhona Chocolate
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4-1/2 t. cayenne powder
1/2 t. salt

Chop the chocolate into chunks and then place in a food processor and pulse until it becomes small, chip size pieces. Mix together the chocolate chunks, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Store in an airtight container.

To serve: Bring 1 c. milk to a simmer. Mix in 1/4 c. mix and whisk until well comined and chocolate is melted. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Margarita Dip, BLT Roll-ups, Micheladas

Last week the Chiefs were playing the Jets. Which meant we could actually watch the game at home like the good ol' days. We invited over some friends and decided to make it an all day deal--we'd watch the game and have some snacks and then afterwards I would make dinner and we'd have a late celebration for my birthday. It was a small crowd but it was a really good time.

During the game we had a nacho cheese dip, Buffalo Chicken dip (yes, two different types of dip, but both were requested), Margarita Dip, BLT Roll-ups, beer and micheladas. Micheladas are like a beer bloody mary and in my opinion are one of the best "brunch-y" drinks ever.

Afterwards we had a vegetarian lasagna, gougeres, roasted squash and wine. Twelve hours after everyone arrived, after much food and great conversation, our guests finally headed home (with leftovers in their bags so Joe and I wouldn't have to eat them all!). The Chiefs may have lost their game, but all in all it was still a great day.

Margarita Dip
(from Better Homes and Gardens)
1/2 c. whipping cream
3 c. angel and/or pound cake cubes
3 c. assorted fresh fruit
1/2 c. sour cream
1 TB OJ concentrate (I actually used 1 TB pineapple preserves)
4 oz. cream cheese, cut up and softened
1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 TB tequila
1 TB lime juice

Mix sour cream, OJ concentrate, cream cheese, sugar, tequila, and lime juice until combined. Add whipping cream and blend until fluffy and mixture mounds. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Serve with cake and fruit.

BLT Roll-ups
3- 8" flour tortillas
4 oz. cream cheese
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
bacon ranch dressing

Divide the cream cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato into thirds. Spread 1/3 of the cream cheese onto each tortilla. Sprinkle 1/3 of bacon, lettuce, and tomato onto each tortilla. Roll each tortilla up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Once chilled, cut the roll-ups into slices about 3/4" wide. Serve with bacon ranch dressing.

for each Michelada:
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
couple drops of Tabasco sauce, to taste
3/4 c. tomato juice cocktail
1 Mexican beer

If desired, rim a pint glass with salt. Add ice to the glass, then add Worcestershire sauce, lime, salt, Tabasco and tomato juice. Top off the glass with beer. Serve the drink with the beer so you can continue to top off the glass as you drink it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Bon Appetit"

I was on my way to the green market and couldn't decide exactly what to have for dinner. Luckily I had brought along the current issue of Bon Appetit and was flipping through it on the subway. I have been craving the green tomatoes that are all around the markets, and this soup was calling my name. I also really wanted an excuse to use so many of the fresh herbs that are around, so I came up with this recipe for the pork tenderloin (that ended up being a little overwhelming--I'll make it again, but cut back on the sage!). And the Bon Appetit recipe for the sauteed veggies seemed simple and good--which it was. Finally, I have been craving this peach drink that a friend found in another magazine all summer because it is soooo refreshing and delicious--it's like taking a trip to 7-eleven for grown-ups.

Fried Green Tomato Soup with Croutons
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
2 large green tomatoes, coarsely chopped (3 cups)
3 cups water
1 t. salt
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. black pepper
1 cup croutons
Heat oil in 2 quart saucepan on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 10 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes; cook on medium-low heat 25 minutes or until tomatoes are softened, stirring occasionally (I actually cooked this hotter at medium-medium high heat and cut down on the cooking time a lot. I didn't realize I was supposed to cook it so long and didn't have the patience. It still tasted fine) . Add water (I only used 2 1/4 c.--3 seemed like it would dull the flavor too much), simmer 30 minutes or until tomatoes are tender (again, I didn't need to cook these as long).
Pour 1/2 of the tomato mixture into a blender, cover and blend until smooth. Strain (which I did not) and return soup to saucepan. Repeat with remaining tomato mixture. Add salt, thyme (I used fresh instead of dried) and pepper; simmer 20 minutes or until slightly thickened (I cooked about 5-10 minutes more). Serve soup topped with croutons (They suggest making cornbread croutons. Instead I cut day old french bread into pieces and tossed with a mixture of butter, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then cooked in a 450 degree oven. I turned them once and watched them closely to take them out when they are dried and crunchy).

Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (1.2 lbs)
1 stick butter
1 handful fresh sage, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme

Melt butter and mix together with all herbs. Rub herb mixture into pork tenderloin and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour. To cook, place uncovered in a baking dish and cook at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow pork to sit for 15 minutes before cutting. (This dish tasted good, but I think I went a little overboard on the sage--next time I will cut back some).

Sauteed Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 t. chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups small cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, garlic, and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and olives. Saute until tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Mix in basil and vinegar. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Peach Crush
2 cups diced peaches, fresh or frozen, plus additional slices for garnish
2 cups crushed ice
2-3 teaspoons sugar (depending on sweetness of peaches)
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, preferably opal basil, plus additional for garnish
1 bottle sparkling white wine
Place peaches, ice, sugar, and basil leaves in blender; puree until smooth. Pour pureed peaches into chilled glasses until half full. Add sparkling wine. Serve garnished with basil sprig and a slice of peach.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

In Honor of "Harry Potter"

When the 6th book in the Harry Potter series came out, Joe and I decided to throw a party celebrating our favorite wizard. This time around we didn't have the time to have people over, but I wanted to post some of the recipes we used last time in case anyone ever gets an urge to host their own Harry Potter Party. Some of these recipes came from Mugglenet, others from a different website (that I can't remember for the life of me), and a couple were created by others and just had a name-change to put them in the Harry Potter mood.

8 oz. root beer
1 shot of butterscotch schnapps
Mix together and serve chilled.

Parchment Scrolls
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 Tbs pesto
¾ c shredded cheddar cheese

Spread pesto evenly over pastry, then spread cheese on top. Roll ends in to each other (looks like a big scroll of parchment) and cut into 1 ½” pieces. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and cook at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Snape's Stuffed Toadstools
2 lb. Large Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic finely diced
1/4 cup butter
8 oz. bulk pork sausage
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Remove stems from mushrooms, reserve caps. Finely chop stems and saute' in butter with garlic until both are golden. Add sausage and saute' until brown. Stir in bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Stuff each cap with mixture. Place in broiling pan that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Broil 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are bubbly and brown.

Magic Wands
large pretzel rods
Just open the package, arrange in a glass or vase, and tell your guests to cast a couple spells before eating them!

Cauldron Cakes
Your favorite devils food cake recipe, made into cupcakes black string licorice
Bake your cupcakes according to the instructions, without using paper cup liners. Slice off the top of the crown of each cupcake so that when it is turned upside down, it sits flat. This gives you more of a cauldron shape than a cupcake shape. Cut the black string licorice into small pieces and poke them into the cupcakes as cauldron handles. (I like to put frosting on these so it looks like the potion bubbling out).

Ton Tongue Toffee
1 c. butter
1c. sugar
3 Tblsp. water
1 Tblsp. light colored corn syrup
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate pieces

Butter sides of a heavy 2 quart saucepan. In saucepan melt butter. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till thermometer registers 280, soft crack stage (about 15 minutes). Watch carefully to prevent scorching. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into a greased 13X9" pan.
Let candy stand about 5 minutes or till firm; sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Chill till firm. Break toffee into pieces and serve.

Dragonheart Dip
Use your favorite artichoke dip and serve with chips and "magic wands".

Thursday, June 14, 2007

WC Platinum Chef Challenge #1

I admit that because of my love of eating I am a member of multiple internet groups that are solely devoted to food. One of these is the "What's Cooking" (WC) board on the Nest. These lovely ladies have decided to put together a cooking challenge. Here are the rules (from Cara's Cravings, the first host):

*Current host will choose 5 ingredients for the challenge
*Participants must create a meal using those ingredients
*The meal can consist of 1 or 2 dishes - so you can use all the ingredients in one recipe, or make two. Ex. main dish + side, appetizer + main dish, main dish + dessert, etc. But, if more than one dish is created, each dish must use at least two of the ingredients (and, any ingredient may be repeated and used in both dishes if desired).
*You can add whatever other ingredients you like
*The event will run for two weeks at a time*When you've decided upon and prepared your dishes, please post pictures and recipes in your blog, link to this post, and send me an email at platinumchefchallenge@gmail.com. (if you don't have a blog, please send pictures and recipes anyway!)

The five ingredients for the first Challenge are: basil, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, and nuts.

I have to admit, I went a little overboard. I made the two recipes for the competition, but was so excited about the idea that I made two more recipes that fit in as well. I cook often, but most of the time I use recipes as a base for my cooking and either follow them tightly or loosely, depending on my mood. This was probably one of the first times that I completely created a menu without the help of any real recipes. Luckily, this meal was a complete success! I was very happy with the results. My first two recipes for the contest are Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken and Peach Basil Ice Cream with a Strawberry Vodka Sauce. The two "extra recipes" are: Salad with Basil-Sesame Dressing and Strawberry-Basil Cocktails.

Note: I was not very good at noting down exactly how much I was using of anything in any of these recipes--please adjust to taste/preference/quantity as needed!
Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
Handful of basil, chopped
1/3 cup olives (green), diced
2 Tbls. EVOO
1/2-3/4 C. Italian Dressing (I used Ken's Steakhouse Northern Italian)
Goat cheese to top
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss together tomatoes, zucchini, basil, olives, and olive oil in a small bowl.
Place the chicken breasts individually into a plastic bag/plastic wrap and use a rolling pin/heavy can/etc. to pound into 1/2 thick pieces. Remove from bag and fill one end of the chicken with 1/4 of the tomato mixture. Roll up and place into casserole dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining 3 chicken breasts. Then cover the chicken with the Italian dressing, and top each breast with goat cheese (I cut a medallion of cheese to top each one with, but next time I will just crumble the cheese over so I get a more even spread). Place in the oven, uncovered, and cook until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (about 30 minutes).

Peach-Basil Ice Cream with Strawberry Vodka Sauce
2 cups vanilla bean ice cream
1 ripe peach, finely chopped
Large handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
About 10 strawberries, coarsely chopped
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbls butter
1/3 cup vodka

For ice cream: Mix together ice cream, peaches, and basil and return to freezer until time to serve.

For sauce: Mix together strawberries and brown sugar and let sit for at least one hour to let juices form from the strawberries. When ready to prepare, heat butter in saucepan over medium-high heat and add walnuts. Once browned, add the strawberries and their juices and the vodka. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let cook until alcohol has been cooked out (about 4 minutes). Use sauce to top each ice cream serving.

Salad with Basil-Sesame Dressing

3 cups lettuce

1 small zucchini, cut into large pieces

1 tomato, chopped

Goat cheese crumbles

5 Tbls Olive Oil (not EV)

Large handful of Basil leaves, chopped

1/8 t. sesame oil

1/2 t. soy sauce

1/8 t. garlic powder

2 Tbls cider vinegar

Mix together basil and olive oil and let sit for at least an hour (to let the oil absorb some of the basil flavor). Then mix in sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder and cider vinegar.

Toss together lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and goat cheese. Add basil-sesame dressing right before serving.

Strawberry-Basil Cocktails

2 cups vodka

5-7 strawberries, quartered

large handful basil leaves


Mix together vodka and strawberries. Tear basil slightly with your hands and add to the vodka. Let sit for at least 2-3 hours.

To serve mix one shot with sprite in a glass with ice. Garnish with one of the strawberries.