Christmas Carol Punch

Christmas Carol Punch with cranberry

This Christmas Carol Punch started a couple of years ago when a friend gifted me a bottle of Sorel. Sorel is one of those made-in-Brooklyn hipster sort of products that is based on old traditional Caribbean recipes. It’s a liquer that’s made with Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg, Moroccan hibiscus, pure cane sugar, and grain alcohol. It took me awhile to figure out how best to work with it. Because of the clove, I’m really only open to it during the winter, but others may not have such a strong seasonal association and find it enjoyable all year. The clove, ginger and nutmeg make the drink just a hint spicy and the hibiscus gives it a lovely red color that enhances the cranberry juice. The Christmas Carol Punch is strong but balanced. It’s got lots of tart, plenty of spice, and just enough sweet to make this go down just a little too easy. Another fun part about this Christmas Carol Punch is that because the cranberry juice, the rum, and even the tequila can really change how the final product tastes, you can experiment until you make the perfect one for your own taste. In fact, … Continue reading

Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

This Grapefruit Gin and Tonic is less of a recipe and more of a public service announcement an unpaid product push. First of all, Happy Friday! As someone who loves Gin and Tonics and LOVES elderflower, I’m a little surprised it took me as long to discover the Fevertree Elderflower Tonic water as it did. But, find it I did, and now my mission is to share it with you. Gin is definitely the liquor that I tend to stock the most different brands because they’re all so different. Some are spicy. Some are floral. Probably only because it was the first G&T I ever had, I think of Tanqueray as the ultimate Gin and Tonic Gin. And apparently Gin and Tonics are so perfect just the way they are to me, it hasn’t really occurred to me to improvise. Until a couple of weeks ago. I was at Whole Foods shopping for my Juniper Brined Turkey Roast and Gravy, so juniper and elderflower were already on my brain and what did I happen upon, but elderflower tonic water. Obviously it went straight into the grocery cart. I couldn’t wait to get it home and test it out. Even while … Continue reading

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks baked

What’s a girl to do when it gets to be grilling season but she’s got no grill? Make Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks of course! This chicken recipe is really simple to make and delicious all year long, but the best news is, it’s just as easy for a city mouse as it is for a country mouse. And even if the chicken will never have those beautiful char marks, it’s flavorful marinade and golden brown crispy skin make my Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks the perfect accompaniment for hot weather food. It’s perfect with corn on the cob and summer salads of all sorts. The well-balanced marinade pairs well with Asian and Mexican salads for sure because I’ve been doing lots of improvising, but I’m sure you’ll find this sweet, spicy, rich chicken will pair with just about anything. And don’t let the scale of the recipe hold you back ;the leftovers are awesome, hot or cold. Of course, leftovers require that you and your guests haven’t already polished off every last piece of Sweet Chili Lime Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks. … Continue reading

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish

Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving

One item that I absolutely cannot have Thanksgiving without is a version of my Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish. If you check out a couple of my menus you’ll see that I make Cranberry Relish a little differently every year, based on the direction I’m taking the menu. For the Mexican Thanksgiving, I added a little tequila. For Caribbean Thanksgiving, I added lime and dark rum. This year, for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, I’ve added elderflower and lingonberries. So why is Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish so critical to Thanksgiving? Well, the tart flavor cuts through all the salt and fat to balance each dish and is an essential part of a perfect bite for me. I also love it for leftovers. It’s a great condiment on a turkey sandwich and with the Juniper Brined Turkey I made for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu those sandwiches are more tender and flavorful than ever. If you’d rather go with the classic relish, just skip the elderflower and lingonberry preserves, but I must say this Lingonberry Elderflower Cranberry Relish brings a little something extra to the Holiday table this year that I think you and your guests will notice and enjoy. … Continue reading

Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt

Carrot Wheat berry Salad with Yogurt

This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt is a perfect fall salad that works well as a meal or as a first course if you like. It’s also a fun one to prepare for guests, because it’s just a little unusual. This Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt makes a great meal because it’s chock full of good things and is served on filling wheat berries. I served it in small portions for my Scandinavian Thanksgiving Menu, but we were really glad there were leftovers so we could eat it for dinner for the next few days. And I continued to make it all winter long since it feels fresh and light while still being easy to make in the winter. And it’s fun to swap out the root vegetables or mix them up. It’s great with parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, etc. But don’t take my word for it, try out this Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Lemon Caraway Yogurt and make it to your exact preference. Full disclosure, this recipe is based closely on a food and wine recipe. I made it because of its Scandinavian pallet and I was thrilled that it went so well … Continue reading

Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds

Carrot Wheat berry Salad with Yogurt lemon zest caraway seeds

Believe it or not, these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds are a simple and delicious snack that makes them worth keeping around just for the sake of delicious and healthy snacks. I make them ½ to 1 cup at a time, and munch on them when I want something satisfying but healthy. Seeds are typically lower in calories and fat than nuts, but they pack the same crunch. The other reason I make these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds? I routinely use them to brighten up a boring salad- or even really exciting ones like my Kale Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and my Carrot Wheat Berry Salad with Yogurt. Even if you’re not feeling them as a snack, you’re going to want to make them for salads, and you certainly don’t have to make them in bulk; they’re still easy to make and totally worth it even if you’re just working on a couple of tablespoons. The oil and zest don’t need to be exact, so just cut it down to your liking. But once you make these Lemon Toasted Caraway Seeds once, you’ll probably want to keep them around. The fragrant lemon, the hint of oil that brings out the caraway, and … Continue reading

Baltimore Orange Crush

Baltimore Orange Crush at the Os game

This weekend I’m headed to Baltimore for an Oriole’s game and I’m quite sure I’ll have a Baltimore Orange Crush or two. My dear friend Kate lives in Baltimore, so I get down there time to time to enjoy the city and visit her. Last summer, she introduced me to the delicious Baltimore Orange Crush (or grapefruit crush if you like) and I’m headed back for more. The Baltimore Orange Crush is straightforward, easy to make, delicious and so refreshing on a hot summer night. Of course, because the concept is so simple, there are lots of variations on the Baltimore Orange Crush. It’s no secret that different bars make it different ways, but here’s a great place to start, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun and a famous Baltimore bar. But you should feel free to change it up and make it just how you like it. Sub regular vodka for the orange, use sprite and no triple sec, use triple sec and no sprite. Just don’t forget the fresh squeezed OJ and you’ll make the Baltimore Orange Crush your own. … Continue reading

Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme New Fashioned

Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme New Fashioned on ice

I love Ranier cherries but I’ve had to wait a long “thyme” to finally enjoy this Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” cocktail. The idea for my Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” came to me sometime last fall. Oh the torture of having to wait for Rainier cherry season to get to finally make one. I have to say, this Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” was absolutely worth the wait. Considering it’s made with Scotch, it’s still a very light and refreshing cocktail. It’s woodsy and herbaceous without being overwhelming. It’s quite perfect for the early summer late spring season during which it’s easiest to find Rainier cherries. Hint, this is no coincidence. The scotch you select will have a big impact on the flavor of the drink. I recommend that first and foremost, pick one you like. It seems obvious, but sometimes when reading a recipe it’s easy to forget the most important part of cooking and eating: your taste buds rule! I chose a medium/light peatiness so as not to overwhelm the cherries. Thyme is strong though, and it holds its own with the peat in my Rainier Cherry Scotch Thyme “New Fashioned” cocktail. … Continue reading

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea with lemons

  My friend Luke makes this really delicious Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea that I have been meaning to share with you for some time. My English Polo Picnic Menu finally seemed like just the occasion for the Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea since it goes perfectly with the rest of the menu. The lemongrass and ginger make for a spicy, citrus-y edge to an iced tea that ends up very refreshing and full of flavor. While any black tea will work, I selected Lady Grey, which has a subtle citrus note to it, which I thought enhanced the lemongrass flavors perfectly. This Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea is so special, that it’s worthy of pulling out the sterling silver iced tea spoons and setting a fancy tea tray. But it tastes just as delicious straight out of a mason jar that you can pack up and take with you on picnics and down the shore all Summer long. I love special recipes from friends and family, because at least for me, they trigger all the lovely memories of great meals and good times whenever you create them. I think of Luke and our many fun cooking projects every time I make this … Continue reading

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca with mint leaves

We’ve got leaves, we’ve got flowers, we’ve even got some legitimately hot days head our way and since it seems I’m determined to skip right into Summer this year, we’ve got refreshing Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca just in time for Cinco de Mayo. In Spanish, “agua fresca” means cool waters, and I first really learned about the wonder that is agua fresca living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where every good burrito stand has some form of house agua fresca that they serve to counter the heat of the hot weather and the spicy food. I’ve had a lot of different flavors over the years, but recently a friend of mine made a Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca (like this one) that she had at the restaurant Lemonade in L.A. While I don’t promise that this is their exact recipe, I can promise that I like it a lot, it is delicious and refreshing, and it’s easy to make. And once you make it the first time, you’ll be persuaded to make it often. It’s a great beverage to keep on hand for guests who aren’t imbibing, too. Just serve it in a big pitcher with lots of … Continue reading

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad

This Olive Honeydew Winter Summer Salad is one of those amazing recipes that is fitting in both of the odd extremes of winter and summer. While a summer melon makes it burst with the gorgeous flavor only possible in summer fruit, the fennel, olives, and orange which are all readily available winter ingredients make this a salad I still think to prepare deep in the Winter. And as it finally warms up around here enough to make me more than dream of crisp mineral-y white wine and balmy summer night air heavy with the smell of barbeque and citronella (doesn’t that sounds wonderful as you sweep off your patios and plant your annuals?) I find myself making this salad early this year. After all, it truly was a long winter and I’m ready even if the weather isn’t quite. So, I will have to eat it inside with a glass of pinot instead… what a tragedy. The salt and sweet and bitter flavors are so perfectly balanced in the way of many Mediterranean dishes. Prosciutto Melone comes to mind. And even the Caprese. There’s something about simple but complex salads that Mediterraneans just “get” better than anyone else and this … Continue reading

White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail

White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail with lime

It’s five o’clock somewhere, and it’s almost five o’clock here, so it’s time to get ready for the weekend with this White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail. Sprinter, that’s spring, plus winter, see what I did there? Corny, I know. But here in Philly, it’s definitely Sprinter. Yesterday it was 70. Today it’s 40. What gives? And what’s a party thrower to do? Hot Chocolate or Piña Coladas? Don’t worry, of course I have the drink for you. I highly recommend mixing up a batch of this delicious White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail which perfectly navigates the challenges of the in between season with its light nod to winter in the form of cranberry and rosemary, and its playful spring inclinations with a little spicy ginger and Caribbean inspired rum. If you’ve been persuaded by me in the past to keep some herbal simple syrup on hand, all you need to do is add a couple of tablespoons of rough chopped ginger into some rosemary simple syrup and rewarm it. It will infuse while it cools leaving you with a woodsy, spicy syrup that goes great with the tartness of the lime and cranberry. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a cup of … Continue reading