Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pink Porchcrawlers

Ohmy, these babies are easy to make!  The longest step is slicing the limes.  Seriously.  All you do is stir everything in a serving pitcher and pour over ice.  I'm assuming Pink Porchcrawlers got their name from the fact that the vodka is very well-hidden because you could increase the amount below and still be a-ok.  They're fun to make and fun to drink and perfect for a hot-weather get-together.


Pink Porchcrawlers
adapted from Southern Living

1/2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
2, 12 oz. bottles of beer, chilled
6 oz. frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate*
1/2 c. vodka
lemon and lime slices for garnish

Stir together the raspberries, beer, lemonade concentrate, and vodka.  Serve over ice and garnish with lemon and lime slices.  Makes 4 servings.

* Note: If you can't find raspberry lemonade concentrate, any flavor will do.  The most common form of this recipe used pink lemonade concentrate, but I opted for more raspberry flavor.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Watermelon Sangria

Is it still hot where you live?  All this back to school talk has me feeling as if Fall should be right around the corner, but the weather outside certainly isn't giving any hints of Fall just yet.  So, I decided to finally try out a couple of hot-weather party drink recipes, just in time for Labor Day weekend.

These Watermelon Sangrias are a fantastic way to use up that very ripe watermelon you've got sitting in your fridge.  Just blend it up, strain out the pulp, and stir in some booze.  It definitely tastes smoother and more watermelon-y if you let it sit in your fridge for a few hours (just like in traditional Sangria), so it give a little time to rest before serving.


Watermelon Sangria
adapted from Serious Eats

4 c. cubed ripe seedless watermelon
2 c. white wine
1 oz. light rum
2 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. simple syrup
3 limes
lime seltzer water, optional
optional garnish: additional watermelon and mint sprigs

In a blender, purée watermelon cubes. Strain into a large pitcher. Add wine, rum, Cointreau, and simple syrup and stir. Juice 2 limes and add juice to pitcher. Slice the other lime lengthwise and then slice into thin slices. Add lime slices to pitcher, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Pour into ice-filled serving glasses, garnish with additional watermelon and mint sprigs and top off with optional lime seltzer water.  Makes about 6 servings.

Ingredient Lineup:

Strain the pureed watermelon to remove excess pulp.


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fun: Asparagus Cake

Rosie of Sweetapolita made this Asparagus Cake. She used fondant to cover the cake and sculpt all the asparagus spears. What a great sweet treat for her sister-in-law Mary, after a long run of healthy eating for a body building competition.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Salmon Patties with Lemon Sauce

I used to eat a whole lot of salmon when I lived in Oregon and then in San Diego.  But now that we're in Atlanta, we rarely eat it.  Major sad face :(  Atlantic salmon just doesn't taste as good as that from the Pacific Ocean, and it's nearly always frozen by the time it hits our grocery stores.  So, when I bumped into this recipe - using canned salmon - my salmon cravings kicked back into high gear.

This combo of the salmon patties with a hollandaise-like lemon sauce is yum!  I'll admit that it's still not as amazingly delicious as a fresh salmon patty from a restaurant sitting right on the Pacific Ocean, but it will definitely tide me over until my next trip home to Oregon :)


Oregon Salmon Patties
adapted from Allrecipes
12 - 14 oz. canned salmon, boneless and skinless
1/2 c. cracker crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. celery salt

1 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Drain the salmon, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Flake the salmon in a large bowl and add the reserved salmon liquid, cracker crumbs, eggs, parsley, mustard, dill, and celery salt.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot, and cook until tender.  Pour the shallot and butter into the mixing bowl with the salmon and stir until combined.  Shape into six patties, using a 1/4 cup measure.  Placed on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.  Pan fry in a large skillet over medium heat, or bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 minutes each side.  Makes 6-8 patties.

Lemon Sauce
adapted Allrecipes
2 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. milk (I used almond milk)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. dried dill

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and dill.  Makes about 1 cup, enough for the salmon patties plus extra to top a veggie side.

Salmon Patties Ingredient Lineup:

Measure out by 1/4 cups and shape into patties and place on a greased baking sheet.

Lemon Sauce Ingredient Lineup:

I baked these in the oven (as opposed to pan frying) and they turned out perfectly golden!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Ricotta Toasts with Asparagus & Poached Eggs

Ricotta Toasts with Asparagus and Poach Eggs
Rachael Ray Magazine May 2011


1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
6 slices toasted thick-cut country bread
Salt and pepper
1 pound steamed asparagus
6 slices coked bacon, crumbled

Spread ricotta on toast, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer with asparagus; top with poached egg. Sprinkle with bacon, salt and pepper.

I am in love with a ton of reality food shows:

Master Chef
Iron Chef
Hell's Kitchen
Top Chef
America's Next Great Restaurant

I think I love these shows because they cook food that I don't. I always think, "I would love to try that. How fun would it be to judge these shows".

One of the easiest things that I have seen on these shows, but never tried myself was a poached egg. It certainly looked like it would taste good but it was something that just seemed like I wouldn't be able to do.

How I poached an egg:

Break an egg into small bowl. Heat water with a little bit of vinegar added to right before the boiling point. There should be lots of bubbles on the sides of the pan but none actually breaking away from the pan and bursting at the top of the water. Use a whisk to start a whirlpool. Gently pour egg into swirling water and allow to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Gently fish out the poached egg and enjoy.

I did break at least a half a dozen eggs before finally getting the hang of this technique. It seemed that the more that I handled the eggs the more they broke. If I just set a timer and left them alone, they swirled gently in the water and poached up beautifully. I did have a couple that stuck to the bottom of the pan, I took a spatula and gently loosened it.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strawberry Mojitos

We have a small patch of mint plants in our window planter box, and one blazing hot evening, Bo got tired of my whining and whipped up these drinks for me us.  I love mojitos, and it seems like I've had some pretty terrible ones at restaurants and bars.  How hard could it be?  Not very, when you have Bo making them for you :)

Strawberry Mojitos
adapted from A Cup of Mai

2 oz. simple syrup
3 fresh strawberries
5 mint leaves
1 lime
2 oz. light rum
soda water

In a chilled glass, muddle the simple syrup, strawberries, and mint leaves with the back of a spoon, crushing the strawberries and mint leaves well.

Squeeze the juice from the lime into the glass, add the rum, and stir well.  Fill glass with ice and top off with soda water.  Makes 1 drink.

Simple Syrup
adapted from Allrecipes

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water

Whisk together sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is clear, approximately 3 minutes.

Cool syrup to room temperature and store sealed in the refrigerator.   Makes 1 cup (8oz.).

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pesto Sauce

I don't have a lot to say about this recipe other than that it's embarrassingly easy and yummy!  We mixed it into pasta, but it'd be just as delicious over pan-seared chicken breasts or as a spread on a toasted sandwich.  Mmmmmmm.....

But, I do have one matter to discuss:  Nutritional Yeast. This is my first time seeing the stuff, let alone cooking with it.  I've seen it described as "magic hippie dust" on blogs, and now that I've cooked with it, I couldn't agree more - this stuff is magic!  Here's a full explanation of it, but basically, it's a nondairy/vegan/gluten free way to add the taste of parmesan cheese to dishes.  I never eat traditional pesto anymore because of the cheese (I really have to limit my dairy intake, so I usually save it for sweets).  But this pesto I made with nutritional yeast tastes just like the real stuff.  Seriously.  It doesn't taste like hippie anything, I promise you.  The recipe below can be made either full dairy or vegan.  But if you're anti-dairy for whatever reason, I urge you to give the crazy hippie dust a shot.


Pesto Sauce
adapted from Vegan Spoonful

1 large bunch of basil (about 3 c. loosely packed)
2-3 large cloves garlic
6 Tbsp. pine nuts or walnuts (or a combination of the two)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast *

Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt into a food processor. Process to a finely ground consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add olive oil and process again, until smooth and creamy.  Add parmesan or nutritional yeast and process again until creamy. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Makes about 1/2 cup.

* If you're making this recipe nondairy/vegan:  Nutritional yeast is a delicious addition to this classic pesto and will give it a kind of “cheesy” flavor and a more rich and creamy consistency.

True Story:  I've killed 6 separate basil plants.  We go buy a scraggly one from Lowe's
and after a month of Bo's care, the thing is nearly 2 feet tall.  Go figure.

 Ingredient Lineup:
Traditional recipe:                                               Vegan recipe:

Toss the basil, pine nuts, and salt into a food processor.

Process to a fine consistency, scrape down the bowl, and add in cheese (or nutritional yeast). 

Behold:  Nutritional Yeast.
It sounds wackier than it actually is.  And it makes things taste parmesan-y, yummmmm!!

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