Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Melon Daquiri

I'm over at From Scratch Club today talking about the Melon Daquiri (bonus - DIY melon rind drinking cups!!). Check it out if you have a chance, and be sure to check out From Scratch Club over the next two weeks for drink inspiration.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jalapeno Simple Syrup Margarita

Just like with Rosemary Simple Syrup, Jalapeno Simple Syrup can be used in so many ways. My favorite, though, is in a margarita. It's just so, so, so, so... good. I mean, really good. I just love the way the sweet and spicy qualities of the syrup blend with the citrus in the margarita. Kind of like eating an orange and sucking on a Red Hot at the same time (ooh, wait, maybe that doesn't sound so good).

Get out the castanets, baby, it's about to get ca-razy.

Jalapeno Simple Syrup
Makes One Cup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thin

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until all sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer to three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. The syrup will be slightly greenish-blue. Strain out the pepper slices and store in an airtight container. Jalapeno simple syrup will last in the refrigerator for up to three months (if you add a splash of vodka, it will last upwards of six months).


Spicy Margaritas
Makes One Cocktail

Kosher salt or white sugar
Lime zest
Ice cubes
2 ounces blanco tequila*
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
1/2 ounce jalapeno simple syrup

1. On a small plate, combine a pinch of lime zest with either the sugar or salt (or both - your preference). Rub a wedge of lime around the rim of an old-fashioned glass, then dip the rim of the glass at a 45-degree angle into the sugar/salt/lime zest mixture (for and extra spicy kick, you could also rub a little jalapeno pepper on the rim of the glass... if you're one of those people who like the hurts so good kind of pain)

2. Fill a Boston shaker with ice, then add the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and jalapeno simple syrup. Shake until the shaker is frosty on the outside (about 30 seconds)

3. Place three ice cubes in the old-fashioned glass, then strain the margarita into the glass. Garnish with a lime sprig. Enjoy!!

* A good margarita is all in the details. Go for a quality 100% pure blue agave blanco or silver tequila. Patron Silver is good on the higher-end of price. 1800 brand tequila is also a winner at a lower price point.

**To make a pitcher of cocktails, increase the ingredients to 2 cups of tequila, 1 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup of orange liqueur, and 1/2 cup of jalapeno simple syrup. Stir together with ice in a large pitcher and pour into 8 glasses. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rosemary Simple Syrup

I love to cook and bake, but sometimes my favorite things to make are really simple and easy. Things like compound butters and simple syrups. I love that a few really great, delicious ingredients can come together to create a new ingredient that can be used in so many ways. Most people think simple syrups are good only for cocktails, but I like to use them with club soda, or in dressings, frostings/icings, sauces, and other dips. I always have some in the fridge to perk up my cooking endeavors (I've been enjoying a lemon-coriander simple syrup from Braden lately... it's delicious with Bourbon).

I recently made Rosemary Simple Syrup and Jalapeno Simple Syrup for a From Scratch Club food swap. The rosemary variety is the not-so-secret ingredient to one of my favorite cocktails (see below). Get creative with this syrup recipe or use it as a starting point to create your own.

Rosemary Simple Syrup
Makes 1.5 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until all sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer to three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. The syrup will be slightly green. Strain out rosemary and store in an airtight container. Rosemary simple syrup will last in the refrigerator for up to three months (if you add a splash of vodka, it will last upwards of six months).


Rosie Collins
Makes one cocktail
Originally posted October 13, 2011 on From Scratch Club

2 ounces dry Gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce rosemary simple syrup
Club soda
Spring of rosemary (for garnish)

Fill a Collins glass three-quarters of the way full with quality ice. Add gin (I am partial to Brokers, though you could try a local option, too), lemon, and simple syrup. Stir to combine. Top with club soda and garnish with a spring of rosemary. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce

Did you go make those brownies I told you about? Good... now go make this delicious hot fudge, grab some ice cream (and a spoon!) and make yourself a Sundae. It's hot outside and you deserve it.

Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes About 2 1/2 Cups

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup*
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream, butter, corn syrup and sugar over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and cook until the butter melts and sugar dissolves (about three minutes).

2. Add the chocolate and sire until melted and smooth (about two minutes).

3. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool slightly before using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To re-heat, spoon the desired amount into a microwave-safe container and microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. If needed, continue to re-heat in 20-second 10-second intervals.

*Replace corn syrup with brown rice syrup if desired. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Watermelon Julep

I just contributed a new cocktail recipe for From Scratch Club, if you'd like to check it out. It's called a Watermelon Julep, and it's exactly as it sounds and more delicious than imagined! I hope you'll check it out and make one soon.

You can read my other From Scratch Club posts here, or follow my From The Blogs Pinterest board to stay abreast of the latest posts!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Classic Brownies

You know why brownies are the perfect dessert? Because you can eat them with anything, at any time. Cabernet Sauvignon and brownies (as a night cap)? Check! Brownies and icy cold milk (for breakfast)? Check! A brownie as the base for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of hot fudge, and a dollop of whipped cream (for dinner - duh)? Done, done and done (as my pal Melissa would say).

For a long time (and I hate to admit this) I thought no brownies could ever taste better than those that come from a boxed mix. At least, none that I made tasted that good. But then I found the below recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home cookbook, and my mind was changed. These are, hands down, the absolute best classic brownie I have ever tasted -- from a box or from scratch or otherwise. The top is perfectly crunchy, while the center is ever-so-slightly gooey and moist. The key, I think, lies in melting the chocolate first and the quantity of eggs (whereas other recipes I've tried call for fewer eggs and cocoa powder). Whip up your own batch pronto!


Classic Brownies
Makes 16 Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit. Line a 8-inch square pan with foil, allowing the foil to overhand the sides slightly.

2. In a double-boiler, combine the chocolate and butter and allow to melt completely over medium-high heat.  Allow to cool slightly.

3. Whisk the sugar, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate mixture. Slowly add in eggs, mixing well after each addition. Continue to whisk until the mixture is very smooth (about two minutes). Add the flour and whisk until just incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (scrape the bowl down!) and smooth the top of the brownie mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top it set and a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out slightly moist and crumby. Let cool in the pan on a rack.

5. Pull the brownies out of the pan using the foil overhang. Cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days (or freeze for up to three months). Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July everyone! For those of you not in the US, I hope you have a lovely day just the same. For my fellow patriots, here's a few little reminders of what today is all about (you know, besides all the bbq and fireworks and whatnot - although all important parts of the American historic and cultural landscape!). My plans today include sharing some good times with dear friends and convincing Edith that it's America's birthday, not her birthday :).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Upcoming Events

Just a little note to let you know to check out the new Events page here on the blog. I've got some fun classes coming up for local residents - I hope you'll all check them out (PS - You can always find more events just by clicking the tab in the menu bar up top)!