Inspired by a cocktail at STG Trattoria, we threw this together with one orange, one bottle of chinotto, and two ounces of Cynar. Super easy, super craveable. If you’re looking for something a little less bitter, substitute the Pellegrino (mildly) bitter orange soda for the chinotto.
This makes a refreshing after-dinner cocktail.
Orange Cynar Soda
1 bottle S.Pellegrino Chinotto
juice of 1/2 an orange
2 ounces Cynar
2-4 orange wedges
Divide orange juice and Cynar between two glasses filled with crushed ice. Stir gently. Top each glass with half of the chinotto. Garnish each glass with one or two orange wedges.
Lazzaroni Amaretto is made by infusing the liqueur with Amaretti Di Saronna cookies. If you haven’t tried these, they’re lovely and almondy… and SWEET! They’re like little almond sugar bombs. The flavor is divine. But, after one or two you feel a bit like a kindergartner after a sugar binge. The same applies after a sip or two of the Lazzaroni Amaretto. It’s lovely, but sweet. This cocktail offers a way to enjoy the flavor and mellow the sweetness at the same time.
With over 2 ounces of liquor, it offers quite a kick. So, take care and be aware.
3 oz Lazzaroni Amaretto
2 ounces of your favorite bourbon
2 ounces lemon juice
2 tsp – 2 TBSP sugar syrup, to taste
2 lemon twists
2 Maraschino cherries
Combine amaretto, bourbon, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Stir vigorously. Divide between two rocks glasses. Garnish each glass with a lemon twist and cherry.
…Psst! Here’s another idea.
You could just drizzle a little of the amaretto over your favorite black cherry ice cream. We’ve done that a time or two. It’s always a favorite weekend treat in our house. For adults only, of course!
This gorgeous bible of Latin American food was a gift to myself this Christmas. And, as a Florida baby, I’m so very happy to see this book receive all of the attention and accolades that it deserves. Calling this a bible of Latin American food is an understatement. It would be closer to the truth to call this book a love letter to food lovers. It’s a love letter filled with over 500 recipes. Now, that’s one long letter I’d be more than happy to receive.
As one of many lovers of food from around the world, I’d like to say a great big “Thank You!” to Maricel Presilla. I will treasure this book… for all time.
For a savory food weekend brunch, you might want a small pitcher of home-made Bloody Mary Mix to keep your party going. Adding a couple shots of vodka to the bloody mary mix brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes within minutes. This is lovely as it is. Just add a celery and carrot stick to garnish your glass. Or, if you’re lingering around the house for the day, you might want to add another shot or two of vodka to your glass.
Bloody Mary Mix
makes 1 small pitcher
(4-6 tall glasses)
1 – 28 oz can tomatoes, ( I love Sclafani, or use the best you can find )
1 cucumber, seeded
juice of one lemon
juice of one lime
2 ounces vodka, your favorite
1 ounce Worcestershire sauce
1/2 – 1 ounce hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Liquify in all in a powerful blender. Pour into serving pitcher and chill for at least 2 hours.
Pour 1-2 ounces of vodka into a tall glass. Fill with Bloody Mary Mix. Garnish with carrot sticks, celery sticks and/or cucumber sticks.
Golden Sweet Pear
The Tomato Bed
Two weekends ago, we added our first batch of tomato plants:
3 Sweet Golden Pears
2 Tami G
2 Super Sweet 100s
Elsewhere on the deck, we planted one cinnamon basil, one sweet basil, one rosemary and one chocolate mint. Then, this last weekend we finished up the tomato bed with another set of plants:
2 Black Krim
2 Purple Cherokee
2 Black Cherry Tomatoes
2 Sun Gold
The extra tomato plants went into the second bed. They joined an additional 2 basil plants, a mesclun salad seed mix, red habanero seeds, and coriander/cilantro seeds. And, we added curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley to the deck.
Black Mission Fig Baby Tree With Herbs
The existing thyme, marjoram and Greek oregano bed is doing quite well. My two rosemary bushes are doing beautifully. But, the two raspberry sprouts and two seedless blackberries are struggling to survive. The vine sprouts are each less then 12 inches tall at this point.
Both peach trees are doing well. The dwarf is growing slowly (but, very shapely) while the white princess has already grown about an additional 1/4 of it’s pre-winter size. The White Princess is a bit gangly and uneven. But, it appears to be very healthy.
The apricot is bud-less and struggling to survive. The flaming peach is about the same size as last year. It’s barely grown at all in 2 years. Each branch has gained less than 5 inches in those two years. But, it was briefly covered in pretty little pink buds this year.
Sure, you can make a pot of coffee. I love a good cup. But, there are so many other choices. Most of them start with a shot or two of espresso.
Hot water forced under pressure through finely ground coffee
Equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and frothy milk foam
Café Con Leche (Café au Lait)
Equal parts of espresso and hot whole milk
2 Parts espresso to 1 part hot milk or cream
1 Part espresso, 2 part hot milk with chocolate syrup and a dusting of cocoa
(It may be topped with whipped cream. Or, add milk foam to make a Mocha Latte.)
1 cup of coffee with an added shot of espresso
2 Shots of espresso with hot water added to taste
Varying quantities of espresso and steamed milk topped with a thick layer of milk foam
(Usually unreliable, I avoid it. It’s always our last choice.)
What am I forgetting?
Step one: Crack claws.
Step 2: Add condiment and spices. Toss gently to combine.
Step 3: Place lobster mixture into a topslit bun that’s been toasted and buttered. (Or, serve over a salad of baby greens for a healthier meal.)
makes 4 lobster rolls
8 Lobster claws
(1 lobster per sandwich OR 2 claws from a large lobster)
1 heaping Tablespoon mayonaise
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1-2 tender center stalk of celery with greens, finely minced
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped
fine sea salt, to taste
Gently toss ingredients with lobster claws. Spoon into toasted buns.
In another attempt to keep it interesting for the left-over hater in my house, this soup is closer to a veggie chicken soup on the first day. Then, it turns into a richer, creamy split pea soup on the second. Cooking the split green peas for an hour or so at hearty simmer will make the peas tender without falling apart. That allows this soup to look more like a soup of vegetables in broth. I’ll try to remember to add a picture of the creamy split-pea version later.
Green Pea Soup
makes 1 big dutch oven
1 large onion, diced
5 carrots, cut into rounds
5 stalks celery with tops, washed and diced
8 cups chicken stock
1 lb dried split green peas
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 fresh bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 cup leftover rice
1 cup smoked ham, diced
In a dutch oven, sauté the onion in olive oil until barely golden at the edges. Add carrots and celery. Stir and cook for an additional minute or two. Then, add chicken stock, chicken stock, split peas, basil, bay leaf, dill, black pepper, salt, and oregano. Stirring frequently, simmer for 50 minutes to one hour or until the peas are barely tender. Add rice and smoked ham. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve topped with fresh dill or chives.
(If you’re going puree the soup on the second day, divide it in half and add ham and rice to one portion and save the remaining portion for the second day. Each pot will easily feed 4 or more depending on the serving size.)
There are good things and bad things about these brownies. Let’s start with the good. As far as brownies go, they have a good dose of fiber. They’re very filling. And, they taste “fine”. But… And, this is a big but. Even with a hefty dose of cocoa, there is an undeniable taste of bean. And, the fudgy look to that they seem to have? Well, that’s a beanie, paste-y texture. My honey didn’t enjoy the texture at all. I believe his exact words were, “If you want a brownie, make a brownie. Don’t make chocolate flavored hummus bars.” Ouch! He’s a meanie.
If you can get past the texture, you might like these.
Black Bean Brownies
makes 9×13 inch baking dish
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
2 cups black beans, cooked and well-drained
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, pulse beans and eggs. Add butter, cocoa, vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and sugar.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir vigorously. Then, add to food processor. Sprinkle over top. Pulse until well-blended. Pour into buttered 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 min. The brownie will pull away from the sides and top should look dry and cake like.
Still very slightly moist in the middle, but, it’s done. The moister they are, the less brownie-like (and more paste-y) they are.
One big square is hearty enough to be a meal.
Red cabbage is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. On more than one occasion, I’ve made a meal of them. An extra generous mound of crumbled goat cheese on top easily makes this dish a meal. Or, you could add a grilled chicken breast or a portion of broiled salmon for added protein.
Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese
makes 1 huge pot
1 head cabbage, roughly chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups fresh cranberries, or frozen
1 large apple, or 2 small ones
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground basil
2 cups chicken stock, or water
goat cheese, crumbled to sprinkle on top, if desired
In a large dutch oven, melt butter over moderate heat. Add onions and sauté until light golden at the edges. Add cranberries, apple, sugar, salt, pepper and dried basil. Stir for an additional minute or two. Add chicken stock or water. Stir to combine. Then, add cabbage and simmer gently for approximately 15 minutes. Cabbage should be tender. If needed, add additional salt to taste.
To serve: Spoon cabbage into a bowl and crumble goat cheese on top.
(Or, simmer gently until the cabbage is wilted. Pour into 9×13 inch baking dish and place in a hot oven and roast until tender. This should take about.20-25 minutes.)