Root Canal

It’s easy to fall in love with new flavors when you’re on vacation.  Then you go home and dream of those flavors and try to recreate them.  We love when we can bring those flavors home with us.  It turns every day life into another day on holiday when those flavors light up memories of those happy days.

And, as lovely as this root beer ale is all on its very own… we have other plans for this one.

Why are we drinking in the middle of the week?

No, someone did NOT have a root canal.  But, someone did go to the dentist.

I love my dentist… in a very Penny (from Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) way.  Have you seen that movie?  There’s this scene where they reminisce about things they aren’t going to miss.  Dodge says, “…going to the dentist”.  And, the dreamy, head in the clouds Penny says, “aww, Dr. Hoberman….” in a way that says she’ll miss him.  I completely get that.

I first had a root canal here.  And, this homemade version has a wicked kick.  One of these will end any productivity you hoped to achieve in your day.  So, it’s best to save this for an after dinner treat.  Subbing in a root beer ale for the soda takes it to the next level of never never land.  Next time, we might go back to the original version with an IBC root beer.  The sweetness of the root beer soda balances out the powerful kick of the absinthe.  We loved that.

But, then again, with every sip, our homemade version grew on us…

…a little bit more and more with each loopy sip.

Root Canal
makes 2

1 – 12 ounce bottle Not Your Father’s Root Beer Ale
2 ounces absinthe
crushed ice, to fill

Pour one ounce of absinthe into two chilled rocks glasses.  Divide root beer between the two glasses.  Fill with crushed ice.

Cheers!

Morehead City, NC

New tastes that you find on your travels are a great way to bring the vacation home with you.  One taste brings happy memories rushing back into our minds.

Banana French Toast Omlette

I love eggs.

Both as an ingredient and as a focal point.  Eggs are incredibly versatile.  Cooked each and every way, I love them.   Though, I am partial to a beautifully sunny side up egg.  Sometimes, you want to mix things up a bit.  Variety is the spice of life and all that.

Fluff up and whip the eggs until frothy.  That’s a great way to make scrambled eggs, too.  The resulting texture is light, fluffy, and tender.

Banana French Toast Omelette
makes 1

3 eggs
1 banana, ripe, mashed
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1 Tablespoon sugar
pinch cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter

Place butter in frying pan and place over low heat.  While butter melts, whip all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl until very light and fluffy.  Swirl butter around the pan.  Then add egg mixture.  Swirl the pan.  Let egg mixture firm up briefly before pressing cooked mixture inward with a spatula.  Swirl pan and displace egg mixture until it’s cooked about 80%. Then, roll into an omelette shape and let sit over low heat for a few seconds.  Then, plate.  Drizzle very lightly with additional maple syrup, if you so desire.

The first time I tried this, I made more of a scramble.  Not my prettiest plate of eggs by far, but, they were very tasty.  Also, as you can see, there was a bit of a maple syrup overload.

Then, I thought I might tidy up that hot mess a bit.  The second time, it’s still closer to a scramble than an omelette.  Even a touch overcooked, this plate of eggs were soft, tender, and tasty.  But, next time, I’ll tidy up that hot mess even more.

The experiments are still good eating.

New England Style Oyster Stew

Favorite soup… ever.

Period.

End of story.

Just one taste, it will be your favorite, too.

New England Style Oyster Stew
serves 4-6 generously

4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic
1 large stalk celery, finely minced
2 carrots, finely minced
1 large ripe tomato
2 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 potato, finely chopped
2 cups milk
1 cup fish stock
1 lb oysters (or more)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

Saute onion in butter. Add garlic, celery, and carrots. Saute briefly.

Puree tomato. Add to dutch oven. Stir to combine. Add flour and 1 cup fish stock. (If you’d like a thinner broth, add fish stock until you reach the thickness you desire.)  Stir and simmer gently until it thickens. Then, add milk, oysters and spices. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with oyster crackers.  Or, in a pinch Ritz crackers will do.

This would be delicious with a freshly baked biscuit, too.

Dark & Stormy With Spiced Rum

Make any day a holiday with one killer cocktail to share.

We’re always sharing our drinks.  Because, just like food, drinks always seem to taste better when someone else makes it.  Sometimes, one of us will steal an extra sip or two here or there.  But, it’s always fun to share a drink.  This way if we decide to go back for a second drink.  There’s no guilt.  We’re just sharing a drink.

…even if it is a cocktail built for two.

Dark & Stormy

One Drink To Share

3 ounces Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
3 ounces  Fresh Ginger Beer
juice of half a lime
lime wheel

In a tall glass filled with ice (approximately 40% full), combine all ingredients.  Stir very gently.  Garnish with lime wheel.

Cheers!

Hand Cut Noodles In Spicy Sauce

Five minutes here, a few minutes there…

It’s surprisingly easy to make your own noodles.  Less than 5 minutes to knead the dough, a brief rest, then cut your dough into strips or shape the dough into the noodle of your choice.  No effort is required to let them dry out for a bit.  The most time consuming task might just be bringing the water to a boil.  Next time, I’ll try boiling them in the broth.  Shredded vegetables make the sauce cook up in no time at all.

Less than an hour for a completely home cooked meal?  That’s a easy win.

Hand Cut Noodles In Spicy Sauce
makes 1 big bowl
(plenty for two to share)

1 cup AP flour
1 egg
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
splash of water, if needed

Knead dough.  Let rest.  Roll into thin sheets.  Slice into 1/4 inch thick noodles.  Let dry for several hours.  Then, boil in water briefly to cook.  Toss in toasted sesame oil.

Spicy Sauce

3 cups rich chicken stock
bok choy or Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrot, shredded
1 onion, cut into thin slices
2 stalk celery, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
3 Tablespoons soy
roasted or poached chicken, cut into pieces

Bring stock to a boil.  Add vegetables and pepper flakes.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  Add soy, to taste.  Add chicken.  Stir briefly.  Pour over noodles.  Drizzle with hot sesame oil or chili oil, if you like.

Devour immediately.

A Honey Bee & Bee’s Knees

It’s hot.

No, really, it’s HOT!  So, it’s time for my summer go-to drink.  What do you want in a summer cocktail?  I want ice and lots of it.  Also, it must be fresh, tart, barely sweet, and filled to the brim with a shocking amount of gin.  That a must-have to seal the deal.

It’s the bee’s knees.

Bee’s Knees
makes 2

4 ounces your favorite floral gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce honey syrup
2 lemon twists

In a mixing glass, combine gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup.  Add ice.  Stir to combine.  Divide between two chilled coupe glasses.  Add one lemon twist to each glass.

Cheers!

or

Equally refreshing and delicious… It’s the Honey Bee.

Honey Bee
makes 2

4 ounces rum
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce honey syrup
2 lemon curls
2 blueberries, freshly frozen

In a mixing glass, combine rum, lemon juice and honey syrup.  Add ice.  Stir to combine.  Divide between two chilled martini glasses.  Garnish each glass with one skewered blueberry.  Then, slide on the lemon curl.

Cheers!

Savory Strawberry Salad

When cleaning strawberries, it’s the perfect time to divide them.  Place the tart berries that are just barely ripe in one bowl.  These are perfect for a savory strawberry walnut (or pecan, or almond) salad.  The sweet, ripe berries are better for desserts.  Or, top your breakfast yogurt with a handful of berries.  Or, top your muesli with a handful of berries.

That is, if there are any berries left after nibbling at the sweetest of the bunch.

Strawberry Salad
makes 1 bowl

1 cup barely ripe strawberries, cleaned
1 bag of baby greens, cleaned
bleu cheese crumbs
roasted walnuts (or pecans, or almonds)
mint, to garnish

Place cleaned greens in a large bowl.  Top with berries, cheese crumbs, roasted nuts and fresh mint leaves (to your taste).

Red  Wine Vinaigrette
makes 1 cup

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
fine sea salt, to taste

Combine all in a small pitcher.  Drizzle very lightly over salad.

Devour immediately.

Honey Banana Bread

This honeyed banana bread is something special.

The scent of this banana bread filling the house as it bakes is irresistible.  Cinnamon and honey mellows the powerful kick in the face that bananas usually deliver.  The rich complexity of flavor that honey adds makes this much more interesting than your every day banana breads.  Texture wise, it’s a winner, too.  It’s the right balance of fluffy and dense.  There’s a goldilocks perfection to the fluffy, silky smooth, tender-moist density.  Stellar shelf-life, too.  The honey keeps this sweet bread moist for days.  But, don’t worry.  This bread will be devoured right down to the very last crumb in no time at all.

Next time, this lovely quick bread demands a good sized dose of walnuts.

Honey Banana Bread
makes 1 – 8×8 inch baking dish

2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 bananas, large, ripe
1/3 cup veg oil
1 egg
1 cup honey syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Cream bananas, vegetable oil and egg.  Then, add honey and vanilla.  Whip briefly.  Add dry ingredients to the bowl and beat to combine.  Pour into well-buttered 8×8 inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 70 minutes.

Honey Syrup
makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup honey
1/2 cup filtered water, boiled and cooled

Stir until combined. Refrigerate.

Honey Syrup

Honey syrup…

It’s not just for cocktails.  You could use this to sweeten tea.  Drizzle it over a buttered biscuit or bowl of oatmeal.  I like it over a small bowl of yogurt topped with granola clusters and nuts.  And, I’ll be testing it out in several recipes to see how translates as a honey replacement.

You could easily make this with a 50:50 mix.  But, this works for me.  For my needs, a honey syrup needs to be pour-able and syrup-y thick… not watery.

Honey Syrup
makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup filtered water, boiled and cooled
1 cup of honey

Use in cocktails, tea, or any place that you’d like to use a pourable honey.  Keep the remainder of your honey syrup chilling in the fridge.

All of my pourable bottles are currently occupied.  Luckily, I have plenty of measuring cups.

Monkey Butter

This was love at first taste.  To be brief, this is tropical jam perfection.  I love coconut.  So, I’ve added a lot of shredded coconut to my jam.  But, feel free to add coconut to your own taste.

Make this NOW!  You won’t be sorry.

Psst… this a great way to make use of all those bananas that have passed their prime, too.

Monkey Butter
makes over 4 cups

2 cups over-ripe bananas, peeled
2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons vinegar (rice wine or apple cider)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup shredded coconut, or to taste, at the end

Combine bananas, sugar and vinegar in a large saucepan.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the bananas have a pureed consistency.  Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 cup coconut.  The mixture will get quite runny.  Stir constantly and continue to boil gently.  The mixture will thicken.  Watch this mixture carefully at all times.  It may splatter molten hot sugar syrup.  Carefully watch and stir, lowering the heat as needed to prevent splatters.  After about 10 minutes or so, it should be the proper consistency.  Add remaining coconut and let simmer an additional few minutes.  It will continue to thicken into a beautiful jam in just a few minutes.

Serve on biscuits, bagels, or toast.  Or, make peanut butter sandwiches.

Still warm from the pot, it was delicious on toast.