Hair of the Dog – Bloody Marys

Hair of the Dog - Bloody Mary

It’s no secret… my seester T and I are rather in L-O-V-E with a good Bloody Mary. They’re schpishy, zingy and man…do they have some serious rejuvenating powers. Hair of the dog all the way!

But there’s nothing worse than a watered down, flavorless Bloody. Vodka in an iced glass of tomato juice does not make a Bloody Mary. Hell – that’s just spiked tomato juice. Yuck! 

A well crafted Bloody should be as complex and multi-layered as a beautiful dish. Savory while bright, spiced and full of umami (ugh, did I really use that word?), while still packing a strong punch.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to using a premade Bloody mix because there are some darn good ones out there. But even when I do use a premixed base, I always tweak it. Usually to give more spice and depth of flavor.

Hair of the Dog - Bloody Mary

So when one of my favorite meals comes around (Sunday Brunch of course), I’m the first to offer up one of my Bloody Marys. Starting off with a good tomato juice, I add some of this and some of that until the concoction is just right. And then, the Bloody has got to chill in the fridge so that the flavors have a chance to marry.

That gives you the perfect amount of time to get the “toppings” together. And that’s where things get fun. Pickled or fresh veggies, pepperoni, crispy bacon, shrimp, cheeses, kettle chips–anything goes! And want a tip? If you’re wary about having to pick up all kinds of ingredients to garnish a cocktail–fret not! Just swing by the salad bar of your local grocery store and grab whatever tickles your fancy. I usually fill a little box with all the fixings to jazz up my cocktails for under $2-$3.

Looking for a Pan-Asian spin on the Bloody Mary? Use Sriracha instead of hot sauce….swap out Worcestershire sauce for Maggi Seasoning Sauce… crush in some hot Thai chiles….and finally, top it with a SPAM musubi. HELL YEAH!

I’ve included a guide below of how I start my Bloody Marys but like my other cocktail recipes on the site, the measurements are loose guidelines and should be adjusted to your liking.

With that Friends….TGIF! Happy Friday and have a brilliant weekend!

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Hair of the Dog – Bloody Marys
Serves 2 (very hefty servings)

Ingredients:

3 cups tomato juice
1 heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce of your choice)
2 tablespoons olive juice (brine)
juice of ½ small lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
zest of ½ lemon
several dashes Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon celery salt (more to rim the glasses)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt  (more to rim the glasses)
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4 ounces premium vodka

Extra goodness:
grilled prawns
thick pepperoni slices
peperoncinis
cucumber slices
pickled hot cherry peppers
lemon wedges
lime wedges
celery stalks

In a pitcher or very large cocktail shaker, combine the first 12 ingredients. Stir well and refrigerate for about an hour.

While the cocktail chills, take wooden skewers and slide the garnish onto them.

Mix together 1 part celery salt and 1 part kosher salt in a shallow plate. Wipe the rim of two glasses with a lemon wedge. Roll the edges of each glass into the salt mixture and set aside.

Once chilled, stir the Bloody Mary concoction well. Fill the glasses with ice and divide the chilled liquid amongst the two. Garnish each drink with the celery stalks and prepared skewers.

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 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 2 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – The Pomegranate Lush

The Pomegranate Lush

My seester’s in-laws have an old tree that grows the sweetest pomegranates I’ve ever tasted. The seeds are sugary sweet with just a hint of tartness. And the color is an intense deep shade of burgundy. I love to throw these gems into salads, parfaits, desserts and most recently, to flavor vodka. Infused vodkas are super easy to make and add a great flavor and kick to cocktails.

To make pomegranate infused vodka, fill a mason jar (or other clean, resealable container) about 2/3 way up with pomegranate seeds. Top off the jar with vodka and use a wooden spoon to crush up the seeds a bit to help release some of the juices. Cap the jar and refrigerate for about 2 weeks, shaking the jar every few days.

Voila! Pomegranate infused vodka at your disposal.

The Pomegranate Lush

This boozy goodnes is perfect for holiday cocktails because of it’s gorgeous hue and it packs a devilish punch. The vodka goes down quite smooth since it’s so tasty which can be a dangerous combo.

For this little number I wanted to combine the flavored vodka with a little bubbly…it is the holidays after all. Which is why I’m calling this The Pomegranate Lush –booze on booze on booze :)

Cheers!

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The Pomegranate Lush
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1½ ounces pomegranate infused vodka
dash of simple syrup
juice from 1 lime wedge
chilled sparkling wine

Pour the vodka, simple syrup and lime juice into a glass or champagne flute. Slowly fill the glass with the sparkling wine and enjoy!

Japanese themed Family Dinner and Lychee Saketinis! Kampai!

April 2013 Family Dinner

I know I should be more humble about this but we really knocked it out of the park for this month’s Family Dinner where we took a gastronomic trip to Japan.

Dinner  was at eldest seester’s house and we literally cooked and ate for 3+ hours straight! Right when we finished one dish, we would only take intermittent pauses to nosh while we worked on the next dish. Quite fun, actually!

My seester has been talking about a fishmonger near her house for ages but we’ve never had a chance to give it try. So with a Japanese themed menu, what better opportunity? We were able to snag a bunch of beautiful product from Dry Dock Fish Co. and lemme tell you—totally rad.

So instead of just describing our menu, how about I show you what we inhaled.

April 2013 Family Dinner

Using the oysters we got from Dry Dock Fish Co., I put together these indulgent beauties. I drizzled each oyster with an Asian inspired mignonette, topped some with uni and tobiko, and fresh chives.

Swoon…..

April 2013 Family Dinner

This gorgeous sashimi platter consists of salmon, hamachi, ahi and ahi poke. We picked up the ahi poke pre-made from Dry Dock Fish Co. but added additional scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil for a bit more depth. And of course, we had some beautiful spot prawns.

Drools….

April 2013 Family Dinner

The spot prawns were so incredibly fresh. How fresh? So fresh that they were still swimming when we brought them home. And for those a bit wary of eating prawns sashimi style–don’t be! These spot prawns were incredibly sweet and had a wonderful crunch to them.

Sorry, I just had to stop myself from licking the screen.

April 2013 Family Dinner

As for the heads—waste not, want not! My sis quickly flashed fried and then lightly salted them.

Crunchy and filled with unctuous goodness…….

April 2013 Family Dinner

There were also pork and shrimp filled gyozas (that I commissioned my niece, Nini to fold) and of course, some yummy maki rolls. The rolls above were my seester’s brainchild–filled with lump crab and avocado, then topped with seared steak, black sesame seeds, and chives (that she commissioned our niece, Nina to roll).

Yea, we put the kids to work that night….

April 2013 Family Dinner

And it would be hard for me to have a Japanese meal without some satisfying spicy tuna rolls.

Nina rolled these for me too :)

April 2013 Family Dinner

We also wolfed down these Honey Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps adapted from a recipe from the rad Nami of Just One Cookbook. Sis par cooked the pork on the stove and then finished them off in the oven which gave them a crunchy texture that was lip-smackingly awesome from the glaze.

April 2013 Family Dinner

And the salmon collar–which we nearly forgot about! Luckily Big Sis remembered them half way through dinner and crisped them under the broiler. Crispy goodness though it stayed quite moist. Not the greatest photo but it was darn oishii!

 

April 2013 Family Dinner

Finally, we finished the savory portion of our meal with my Uni Pasta —because apparently, we didn’t have enough to eat.

At this point, we were feeling a little guilty (okay, just a tad) and rallied for a walk before dessert. Well, the gals + Lucasaurus went for a walk while the big boys opted out—the guys had gone for a mountain bike ride pre-dinner so we gave them a pass.

April 2013 Family Dinner

Dessert was an Icebox Green Tea Cheesecake I made with a chocolate crust. Since it was considered a “no bake” cheesecake, it was actually quite light and fluffy and was the perfect dessert to end our meal. The matcha added a slight bitterness to the filling but not at all overpowering.

Divine!

Lychee Saketinis

Of course it wouldn’t be a Family Dinner if we didn’t mix up a few thirst quenching cocktails. To go with our theme, I shook up these delish Lychee Saketinis that were aromatic and floral. And although they went down smooth, don’t let these little buggahs fool ya. They pack a punch!

Lychee Saketinis

I’ll be sharing several of the recipes we enjoyed in the next few posts but for now, I’ll let you in on how to make these wonderful Lychee Saketinis.

Until next time, Friends – Kampai!

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Lychee Saketinis
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 20-ounce can of lychee (in light syrup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
ice
juice of ½ lime
1½ ounces vodka
5 ounces sake

Pour the can of lychee and its syrup into a blender. Add the ginger and puree until smooth. Strain the lychee puree through a fine sieve, using a rubber spatula to push down on the pulp to release the liquid. Discard the pulp and set the lychee liquid aside.

Fill a large shaker with ice. Add the lime juice, vodka, sake and 5 ounces of the lychee liquid. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds and strain the contents between 2 glasses. Garnish with additional lychees and lime wedges. Cheers!

DIY – Tahitian Vanilla Extract

DIY-Vanilla Extract

Last month I was bottling Vanilla Extract like a mad woman.

Why?

Because it’s RAD!

Not only are you able to control exactly what goes into your product but it’s simple and yields wonderful results. It’s quite cost effective, especially if you go through as much vanilla as I do. And these super cute bottles make great gifts, too!

I used Tahitian vanilla beans for my extracts but you can opt for pods from Madagascar or Mexico if you prefer. Buying them in bulk (I get mine online) will also get you the best bang for your buck.

After your extracts have been bottled, you’ll want to age them for a minimum of 2 months before use. And once your bottle runs low, just fill it up with more vodka to restart the process.

Happy DIY-ing!

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DIY Vanilla Extract
Makes (2) 4-Ounce Bottles

Ingredients:

2 4-ounce resealable bottles
4 Vanilla Bean Pods, split lengthwise
8 ounces Vodka

Wash and dry the bottles.

Place two of the split vanilla beans in each of the bottles. Fill each bottle with 4 ounces of vodka and seal tightly. Gently shake the bottles and store in a cool, dark location.

Shake the bottles every few days for 2 months. The vanilla extract is ready to use as early as 2 months, however 3+months is recommended.

Show Stoppin’ Jell-O Shooters

Jell-O Shooters

I love the month of May. Not just because it’s my birth month (hint: this gal loves chocolates, camera accessories, and flip flops….) but because it usually is the trigger for a flood of celebrations—birthdays, weddings, anniversaries….parties galore!

Jell-O Shooters

And if you’re anything like me, I cannot go to a party without bringing something—a bottle of wine, dessert, flowers, etc. But let me tell you, whenever I show up with these little goodies, they’re an instant HIT!

Jell-O Shooters

Just take citrus of your choice and slice it in half. With a sharp pairing knife, run it along the inside of the fruit but do not cut through all the way. Use your fingers to gingerly and slowly pull out all the segments so that all that remains is the rind of citrus. I will warn you that this does take some time. I also find that lemons or oranges are easier to do but limes add such a pretty color pop!

After you’ve cleaned them out, place the citrus “shells” in a baking dish so that they’re snug against each other. Follow the directions to prepare the gelatin of your choice and carefully pour it into the shells. If you’re looking to make your shooters for adults, replace 1/2 of the cold water with chilled vodka and a few tablespoons of cointreau.

Refrigerate the filled citrus shells overnight and then carefully slice into wedges with a sharp knife when you’re ready to serve.

Jell-O Shooters

Whether you’re bringing them to an event or serving them at your own party, guests will LOVE them! Fact :)

And with that friends, Happy May and have a fantastic weekend!