Almond Joy Milkshakes

Almond Joy Milkshakes

It’s been really hot these past few days.

How hot you ask?

HELLA hot.

Darn too hot to cook or even warm up food. So instead, I opted to make milkshakes for dinner the other night.

Almond Joy Milkshakes

I rummaged through the freezer and found some chocolate and coconut ice creams which I threw in the blender with some other goodies. And some how, I inadvertently made the most delicious milkshake with the flavors of Almond Joy. ‘Cause….

Sometimes you feel like a nut…
Sometimes you don’t…..

It was decadently yummy and helped keep me cool during the .5 seconds it took me to inhale the whole thing.

I love it when I make delish things by accidents.

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Almond Joy Milkshakes
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 heaping scoop chocolate ice cream
1 heaping scoop coconut ice cream
½ cup almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
1 ounce creme de cacao (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
1 teaspoon toasted almond slices
1 teaspoon cacao nibs or chocolate chunks

In a blender, add both ice creams, almond milk, both extracts, creme de cacao (if using) and 1½ tablespoons coconut flakes. Blend until the shake is smooth and frothy. Pour the contents into a glass and sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut flakes, almond slices and cacao nibs (or chocolate).

Enjoy!

 

 

Blended Mango Margaritas

Blended Mango Margaritas

Let’s get one thing straight.

In my book, it’s not a Cinco de Mayo celebration if there aren’t margaritas on hand –whether there’s booze in them or not. A chilled beverage filled with tons of citrus that is the perfect sidekick to spicy salsas, tacos, ceviche, barbacoa….let’s face it–pretty much anything!

 

Blended Mango Margaritas

As we continue on with the Cinco de Mayo plans, it’s only fit to think about what type of margaritas to serve. I usually lean towards my standard classic margarita on the rocks with a heavy salt rim. But if you’re interested in something different, here are a few options:

 

Blood Orange Margaritas

Blood Orange Margaritas

Mint Margaritas

Mint Margaritas


Pomegranate Margaritas

Pomegranate Margaritas

 

Palomas
(not technically a margarita but a fantastic close cousin)

Palomas

 

I managed to get my hands on some deliciously sweet ataulfo mangoes and thought they would be fantastic in a blended margarita. I tossed them into the blender with some booze, fresh citrus, ice and voila— a fiesta in a glass!

Blended Mango Margaritas

If you don’t have fresh mangoes on hand, frozen mangoes could also be used. However, you may want to reduce the amount of ice and add a bit more simple syrup to taste. I also chose to rim the glass with sugar but if you happen to have some chili-lime salt (ie. Tajin) then that would be another fab flavor layer.

Salud!

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Blended Mango Margaritas
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 lime wedge
sugar
2½ cups ripe mangoes
4 ounces premium tequila
2 ounces Cointreau or triple sec
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce simple syrup (more if you prefer a sweeter cocktail)
1 cup crushed ice
limes slices to garnish

Use the lime wedge and rim the edge of two glasses. Dip/roll the rim into the sugar and coat the edge of each glass.

Place all the remaining items into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the contents into the rimmed glass and garnish with a lime slice. Cheers!

“One Night in Bangkok” – Thai themed Family Dinner

February 2014: Thai Fam Din

“One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy….”

Uh…not going to lie. That song rocks but I have no idea what any of the words are beside “one night in Bangkok“…But that didn’t stop my sibs and I from blaring that oldie but goodie when we had our last Sunday Family Dinner where we whipped up some of our favorite delish Thai inspired dishes…… it was the only right thing to do.

We started off with a few Thai Iced Teasthat the kiddos made using a quick recipe from White on Rice. This little number is full flavored—deep, deep black tea mixed up with a decadent douse of half and half. After a quick sip of this concoction I was convinced that there’s no need to order this out ever again. It’s so easy to make at home, plus, you can’t put a price tag on the entertainment you get when you pour the half and half into the tea to get a swirly -stormy mixture.

GORGEOUS!

Thai Iced Tea

And since the kiddos were set on their drinks, it was time for the 21+ to have a little drinky in our hands. I decided to mix up a little number that I appropriately called “One Night in Bangkok”.

Kaffir lime infused simple syrup, fresh lime juice, vodka, pineapple chunks, lime juice, mint and club soda.

Uh…YES, PLEASE!

One Night in Bangkok

We then moved on to some pre-dinner appetizers. Big seester made Thai Fish Cakes {Tod Mun Pla} with a Cucumber Salad that was my hands down, favorite dish of the night. They’re a common street food (LOVE street foods) in Thailand and she used the recipe found here.

Now, you may think fish cakes sound fairly mundane but do not underestimate these little buggers. They really knocked me off my feet by being incredibly moist and tender and were incredibly aromatic from the kaffir lime leaves. And you’ll never guess what’s in the fish paste……coconut milk!!!

I could’ve easily eaten a dozen of these fish cakes over rice and wish we would’ve doubled the batch! Oh wait– she did double the batch! :)

Thai Fish Cakes

Our second app for the night was my Pork Larb Gai Lettuce Wraps. It’s a dish that I make often but have tweaked several times over the years. Larb ( or laap, laab, etc.) can be made from a variety of proteins and is typically mixed with tons of fresh herbs, a fish sauce mixture, citrus, toasted ground rice, and depending on where in Thailand it’s made–pork/beef blood…..though I always it omit it.

Larb is DEE-LISH. If I was on a low carb diet, I’d eat it every day-all day. Since you can make it with anything, you can choose a really lean protein and the citrus & herbs makes it a very bright and satisfying dish.

Pork Larb

Big sis then made a Shrimp & Chicken Pad Thai using Alice’s recipe from Sweet Savory Life. It’s my go-to Pad Thai recipe whenever I want to make it at home and my overview of it can be found here.

Pad Thai

My other seester, T, made a big ol’ pot of Tom Yum Koong. Tons of seafood, aromatics and flavors that played with sour, sweet and a lots of spice!

Tom Yum Koong

She also made rich and hearty Beef Panang Curry.

Beef Penang Curry

And finally, dessert. As a nod to Thai flavors, I decided to pair one of my old recipes, Toasted Coconut Gelato with hot and crispy Fried Bananas. I mean, c’mon now. You CANNOT go  wrong with that!

IMG_63791

I’ve got to confess to y’all. Our Thai themed Sunday Family Dinner was awesome.

Sure, there were a lot of different dishes but they weren’t really heavy which allowed us to shovel it all in without feeling too bad. Definitely one of our more successful Family Dinners if I do say so myself. And since we started off with it, let me share with you how to make “One Night in Bangkok”.

One Night in Bangkok

ไชโย Folks and let’s see what next month has to offer!

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One Night in Bangkok
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
½ cup water
12-15 whole kaffir lime leaves, divided
¼ cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 lime wedges
3-4 mint leaves
2 ounces vodka
ice
3-4 ounces tonic water

Prepare the Kaffir Lime infused Simple Syrup. In a small pot, add the sugar, water and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the liquids to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the syrup on low for 5-10 minutes until it’s thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the Kaffir Lime infused Simple Syrup to a resealable jar or container. It may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pineapple chunks, lime wedges, mint leaves, 1 kaffir lime leaf and 1 tablespoon of Kaffir Lime infused Simple Syrup. Add the vodka and fill the shaker halfway with ice. Vigorously shake for 15-20 seconds and strain the liquids into a glass filled with ice. Top off the glass with the tonic water and garnish with additional pineapple spears, mint leaves and kaffir lime leaves.  Enjoy!

Toasting the 86th Oscars with an “Aye-Aye Captain”!

Aye-Aye Captain

Hollywood’s biggest night is nearly upon us with the Oscars just a few days away. And like every year, I cannot wait to see all the gorgeous gowns! The glitz the glam – I love it!

This year I’m keeping things pretty low key but it would not be an Oscars Night if I didn’t shake up a few special-themed craft cocktails. Last year in honor of Life of Pi, I made the Sparkling Tangerine Tiger that was bright and dangerously delicious. For this year’s 86th Academy Awards, my cocktail is created in honor of Captain Phillips and is called the Aye -Aye Captain!

DSC_Aye-Aye Captain

And let me tell ya…you’re going to love this one. Fresh oranges, limes, mint, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and ginger beer. The spiced rum and ginger beer offer a great bite while the fresh citrus rounds out this delightful cocktail. But be warned, these beauties go down incredibly smooth.

If you’re hosting a shindig for the event, finger foods and small bites are definitely the way to go. Below are a few suggestions that would definitely win the hearts & tummies of your guests:

Aye-Aye Captain

Enjoy the Oscars!

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Aye -Aye Captain
Serves 1

Ingredients:

½ small orange, cut into small wedges (I used Cara Caras that are incredibly sweet & juicy)
½ lime, cut into small wedges
5 fresh mint leaves (more to garnish)
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1½  ounces Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
ice
3-4 ounces ginger beer

In a shaker, muddle ¼ of the oranges, 2-3 lime wedges, mint and sugar. Add the rum and shake well.

Fill a tumbler with ice. Strain and pour the liquid from the shaker into the glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with citrus wedges and mint leaves. Cheers!

Ringing in 2014 with Moscow Mules

Moscow Mules

We’re having a New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party tonight and are spending the day on some last minute preparations. Instead of a fussy sit down menu, my sister opted for an hors d’oeuvres spread. Some of our small bites will include chimichurri steak crostinis, smoked salmon, kalua pig sliders, gougères, sugarcane shrimp and papas rellenas. Hopefully a little something for everyone to enjoy while we’re counting down to 2014.

Moscow Mules

There will be of course, cocktails…..lots and lots of cocktails. My Red Wine Sangria has been steeping for 2 days now and our brother said he’s been dreaming up some Champagne Cocktails that he’ll be whipping up tonight.

I will be serving up one of my favorite’s–Moscow Mules. Moscow Mules have been around since the late 1930’s – early 40’s but thanks to hipsters, there’s been quite the resurgence of them which I love…..the drink, not the hipsters :)

Mules are quite easy to whip up since they only have a few ingredients–vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and a few dashes of bitters. However, I highly suggest using ginger beer and not ginger ale as ginger beer often will have more “bite” to it and is less sweet.

Moscow Mules

And with that, dear Friends, I wish you all a very, VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with lots of good laughter, love, and Foodventures!

Cheers!

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Moscow Mules
Serves 1

Ingredients:

ice
2 ounces quality vodka
1/2 ounce lime juice
5 ounces ginger beer
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
mint sprigs and lime slices for garnish

Fill a Mule mug (or glass of your choice) with ice. Pour the vodka and lime juice over the ice. Slowly pour the ginger beer into the mug and stir with a straw. Add the dashes of Angostura Bitters to the top and garnish with lime slices and mint sprigs. Cheers!

Day 7 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – White Cranberry Sangria

White Cranberry Sangria

Well Folks, we made it. The last day of our Week of Holiday Cocktails.

Have y’all survived?

How’s the liver? :)

 

White Cranberry Sangria

The last installment for the week is our White Cranberry Sangria. Cranberries always remind me of the holidays so why not use white cranberry juice in sangria? It turned out to be a lovely little cocktail to sip on for a daytime celebration or a casual get together. Tart, light, and a little bubbly from the last minute addition of soda water.

I have to admit, I had a helluva time testing and shaking up these goodies and I hope that it’s given you some fun ideas for your winter festivities. Thanks for hanging out for our Week of Holiday Cocktails — wishing you and your loved ones an amazing Holiday season!

Salute – dear Friends!

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White Cranberry Sangria

Ingredients:

2 bottles white wine (such as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
16 ounces white cranberry juice
1/2 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup brandy
juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
fresh fruit (ie. grapes, berries, apple slices, etc.)
12 ounces soda water

Pour the wine into a large pitcher and add cranberry juice, Cointreau, brandy, and lemon juice. Stir well. Add in cinnamon sticks and fruit. Chill for a minimum of 2-3 hours. Before serving, stir in soda and pour into glasses that have been filled with ice. Enjoy!

(ps. My big seesters wanted me to remind everyone to drink responsibility :) )

Day 6 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan

Miranda, Samantha, Charlottle and Carrie knew what they were talking.

Now at first glance, you may be saying to yourself – A Cosmopolitan? Isn’t that so 10+ years ago? And quite honestly, you may be right but these little beauties are so delish that I don’t mind if I’m a bit outdated. Just call me retro.

The Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitans are a great cocktail for holiday entertaining. Not only are they tasty but they are one of those cocktails you can make in advance before your guests arrive. Once your guests are ready to have a drink, you can pour some of the pre-mixed Cosmos into a shaker filled with ice, shake for a bit and then strain into martini glasses. Or you can pre-portion them out into little glass bottles and then chill them in ice buckets. Your guests can then just grab their own little Cosmopolitan bottle and sip away. Definitely less fuss for you if you’re hosting.

The key to my version of the Cosmo is fresh grapefruit juice. It makes such a world of difference adding a slight bitter and floral edge to the drink—perfect to counterbalance the sweetness of the cranberry juice and Cointreau. Tart, slightly sweet and just such a pretty color.

Cheers!

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The Cosmopolitan
Serves 2

Ingredients:

ice
5 ounces premium vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
3 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
orange peels for garnish

Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and lime juice. Vigorously shake for 20 seconds and strain the cocktails between two martini glasses. Garnish with orange peels.

Day 5 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Hōkū

Hoku

It’s day 5 of our Week of Holiday Cocktails and I have to admit, out of all of the drinks, I couldn’t wait to share with you all this one…..the Hōkū

At it’s core, it embodies each level that I look for in the flavor profile of an ideal cocktail. It’s highly aromatic, packs a great level of citrus acidity and well—it’s quite strong. Furthermore, the Hōkū is a nod to South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Hoku

The Hōkū begins with a Kaffir Lime Infused Gin. Kaffir limes are prevalent in Southeast Asian cuisine and have not only a distinct flavor but appearance. On average they are the size of a small golf ball but have a bumpy exterior. They have a wonderful citrus tone that is reminiscent of lemongrass.

To make Kaffir Lime Infused Gin, place 15-20 kaffir lime leaves that have been slightly torn in a mason jar (or other resealable container). Add the zest of 1-2 kaffir limes and top off the jar with your choice of gin. Cap the jar and refrigerate for about 2-3 weeks, shaking the jar every few days. You’ll be surprised how well the kaffir limes pair with gin and it really adds such an unexpected kick.

Hoku

The other wonderful component to this drink is starfruit. Not only are they quite pretty but they’ve got a unique, subtle flavor. To me, starfruits taste a bit like a grapes with a hint of citrus. I muddle starfruit with the kaffir lime infused gin, kaffir limes and a bit of sugar. The juices are then topped off with tonic water. As for the name, Hōkū is the Hawaiian word for star.

The Hōkūs pictured here were quite near and dear to my heart as I was able to use the starfruit from our mom’s old tree that now resides at our aunties home. Our mom was so proud of this tree as the fruit it grew were small but had the perfect starfruit flavor. She would often make a homey Vietnamese soup with them – Canh Khế or a bright Vietnamese salad – Gỏi Khế. Somehow I don’t think Mom would have been surprised to find that I’ve used her starfruit in a cocktail :)

And with that friends – Ōkole maluna! (Bottoms up!)

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Hōkū
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup roughly chopped fresh starfruit
1 small kaffir lime, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon raw sugar
4 ounces kaffir lime infused gin*
ice
tonic water, about 6-8 ounces
2-3 dashes bitters
starfruit slices and kaffir lime leaves for garnish (optional)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the starfruit, lime, and raw sugar. Add the gin and fill the shaker halfway with ice. Vigorously shake for 15-20 seconds and strain the liquids between two glasses filled with ice. Top off each glass with the tonic water and add a dash of bitters to each. Garnish with starfruit slices and kaffir lime leaves.

Day 4 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Love Actually

Love Actually

I have two favorite Holiday movies that I start watching on repeat once Thanksgiving comes around. And no lie, these movies are on loop until well after the New Year.

The first is just a downright classic – White Christmas. I mean, how could you not LOVE it? Song, dance….totally old Hollywood. And of course I can recite the movie verbatim.

Love Actually

My second fav may seem a bit unexpected but I just adore it…yup, it’s Love Actually. I can’t even explain why I’m so obsessed with this movie but it’s just such a darn feel good. And seriously, it seems like everyone is in it!

Since I’m such a sap, it’s quite fitting that for my Week of Holiday Cocktails I create a little number called Love Actually. It’s made with all kinds of lovey goodness –champagne, chambord, raspberries and rose water. I mean if that doesn’t scream L-O-V-E, I don’t know what does.

Did I mention there’s bubbly in it?

My. Absolute. Fav.

Salut Friends!

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Love Actually
Serves 2

Ingredients:

granulated sugar
1 ounce chambord
2 drops rose water
chilled champagne or sparkling wine
fresh raspberries

Pour the sugar into a small plate. Wet the rim of two champagne flutes with water and roll the edges of each glass into the sugar. Set aside and let dry for 5 minutes.

Pour ½ of the chambord into the bottom of each flute and then add one drop of rose water into each glass. Fill the flutes with the champagne/sparkling wine and drop each glass with 2 raspberries.

Cheers!

Day 3 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Mint Chocolate Martinis

Mint Chocolate Martinis

Is it a dessert?

Is it a cocktail?

Who the heck cares because it’s ridiculously amazing!

Mint Chocolate Martinis

These decadent martinis are the TRUTH as they combine the rich flavors of chocolate and mint — one of my favorite flavor combos. And with 5 different spirits in it, you know the Holiday spirit will be flowing should you serve these at your upcoming festivities.

Since these martinis are on the sweeter side, you can also opt to serve them as a dessert to avoid any baking or fussy pastries–not a bad idea if you’re trying to avoid unnecessary stress during holiday entertaining.

Mint Chocolate Martinis

We’ve got a bunch of little munchkins in my family so I’m often mixing up cocktails for the adults and mocktails for the kiddos. To make a non-alcoholic spin on these Mint Chocolate Martinis, fill a shaker with chocolate syrup, milk, a splash of heavy cream, dash of vanilla extract and a drop of mint extract. Shake it all up and strain into glasses–but don’t forget the candy cane rims!

Cheers to all!

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Mint Chocolate Martinis

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 candy canes
ice
3 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces Bailey’s® Mint Chocolate Irish cream
2 ounces
Kahlúa
1 ounce creme de cacao
splash of peppermint schnapps
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

In a food processor, grind the candy canes until it becomes the texture of sand. Pour the candy on to a small plate. Wet the rim of each glass with water and roll the edge into the candy canes.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the vodka, Bailey’s®, Kahlúa, creme de cacao and peppermint schnapps. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Swirl the inside of 2 glasses with the chocolate syrup and strain the contents of the cocktail shaker between the two. Enjoy!