August 29th, 2014
It all started with a negroni*, that sweet and bitter dance of a cocktail that will leave your tastebuds wondering what just happened. A combination of Campari, Gin, and vermouth, the first time I had one, I couldn’t drink it all—it was just too bitter—but something about it made me order it again. And slowly, like beer and coffee, I gained a taste for that signature bitter flavor known as Campari.
Since then, I’ve been trying new bitters when we’re out, and adding to my home collection whenever I get the chance. Last weekend I finally picked up a bottle of Aperol, made by the same company as Campari. It’s like Campari light if you ask me—still bitter but with a sweet side that shines bright. Of course I started dreaming up combinations right away… I came up with this little number, the Bitter Sipper.
It’s a pretty simple cocktail: a splash of Aperol, a splash of grapefruit juice (because I crave the bitter!), topped off with spicy ginger ale. It’s bitter, it’s bright, it ends with a little spice—it’ll keep you coming back for more. Man I love it. I hope you do to. Cheers!
*How do I not have a negroni on this site? I’m going to remedy that stat!
makes one cocktail
|1 1/2 ounce Aperol
1 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
ginger beer, preferably something spicy like Bruce Cost or Cock n’ Bull
|1. In a tall collins-style glass filled with ice, add your aperol, then grapefruit juice, and top off with the ginger beer. Add a slice of grapefruit to the rim of the glass, along with a straw, and start sipping. Cheers!
August 27th, 2014
Well hello there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s hard to put into words why I haven’t been here. Part of me wants to say that it’s because life is so busy—and it is, as anyone with a toddler can tell you—or that I haven’t been cooking—but I have been, in fact more than I have in years—but for some reason, this space just seemed too far away, too much work when all I need is a little “me time”. To be honest, I’ve been trying to sort out what the heck I want to do with my “me time” along with the other 10 hours a week I’ve finally been able to set aside for my projects.
Life has finally begun to feel normal again, like I can start to think about bigger picture things. After we got home from Claire’s hospital stay, my life revolved around her and the thought of cooking (and photographing and writing) was low on my list of things to do. I kept waiting, I kept thinking about my blog, my magazine, my work, but it just felt so distant and unimportant when compared to caring for Claire and watching her grow and learn (being a parent is really one of the most amazing things ever). Gradually, things have normalized—Claire’s doctors have all said that she’s right where she should be physically and developmentally (she really is an amazing little lady), I’ve managed to publish a few issues of Remedy Quarterly that I’m really proud of, and I’m getting used to life on the West Coast. Looking back, so much of the first year and a half that we’ve lived here has been all about living in the moment, about making sure that everyone/everything is ok, and I simply couldn’t handle thinking about where I might want to go, what I might want to do.
If it sounds like life has been bleak, it hasn’t, I promise. I’ve been so full of joy and love and laughter taking care of my daughter—words will never adequately be able to express the awesomeness that she brings to my life. There have been so many times while I’ve been cooking lately that I’ve thought, “Oooooh, this would be good for the blog” or in the case of this recipe, which I’ve made approximately a gazillion times, “Why haven’t I put this recipe on the blog?!”. So the last time I made these pancakes, I left the excuses and worries behind and just had fun. I made pancakes for my family, including cute mini-pancakes for Claire, and took photographs along the way. It didn’t seem like work at all. And oh me, oh my, friends, these pancakes are just perfect. So let’s talk about them a little bit.
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March 26th, 2014
Last week I went to my local farmers market and as I was browsing the various tents I spotted these purple asparagus. They were beautiful—a deep, eggplant-esque purple with hints of green peeking through. I asked the vendor what the deal was—do they taste any different? He looked at me, smiled, and said “Once you try these purple asparagus, you’ll never go back. They’re sweeter than the green and just delicious.” Well, sold.
I think the best thing to do with a new vegetable is to cook it simply so you can understand the flavor. I also think that getting vegetables a little caramelized around the edges is always a good idea. So I went about this simple skillet sauté using a little olive oil and butter (I like Jenny Rosentrach’s thought on that subject “You cannot go wrong when you start and finish with butter. And also, butter is much less likely to burn if you heat it in a pan with olive oil.”), those beautiful stalks of royal-looking asparagus, some green garlic, and just as it was done cooking, a splash of lemon and a dusting of parmesan. It. Was. Amazing. Both Aaron and were mad at me for not making more. The asparagus was sweet—not sugary sweet, just a lovely underlying yum, yum sweet—while still maintaining the rich, earthy flavor you’d expect from asparagus.
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March 11th, 2014
While it may not look like I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, I kind of have. Between recipe testing for Remedy Quarterly (which is currently at the printer!!), introducing Claire to solids (FYI, baby-led weaning has been amazing for us), and making sure Aaron and I eat dinner together, my kitchen looks like a tornado came through on a daily basis. After many months without the urge to cook, it feels good. I’ve been enjoying making those messes and it’s hard to explain the awesomeness that is watching Claire learn to enjoy food.
With recipe testing behind me, and an unexplainable surge of energy, I decided mama needed a treat for herself. After seeing a photo of this sweet potato pound cake in my Instragram feed, I knew exactly what that treat would be. Right then and there, I put on a little cooking show for Claire—complete with lovely background music composed of Claire clanging her toy against her tray and a few gah blah blahs just to mix it up a bit. It was pure entertainment as you can imagine. But since we were the only two to experience that magic, it’s only fair that I share the results of my baking with you, because it was SO GOOD.
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January 23rd, 2014
This is one of those cocktails that I’m totally bummed I didn’t try earlier. It’s so simple—grapefruit juice, gin, and salt for the rim—and so totally delicious!
I’d never been a huge grapefruit fan, my memories of it being simply bitter and sour, but lately that’s changed. Now I enjoy the way that bitter flavor perks up my tastebuds. A friend mentioned this drink a while ago and as soon as I began craving grapefruit, I figured it was high time to give it a try. I mean, I’m a sucker for a salted rim (hello margaritas!), so that didn’t hurt my interest in whipping one up. It was love at first sip—juicy, refreshing, and totally delightful. It’s the perfect drink to mix things up at brunch or simply as a evening drink. Go ahead and give it a chance, I think you’re going to love it as much as I do.
makes 1 cocktail
|4 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (almost 2 grapefruits)
2 ounces gin1 Tbsp salt, for the rim
|1. Place the salt on a rimmed plate. Gently rub the rim of a collins glass on the grapefruit (it can already be squeezed, you’re just looking for a little liquid to help the salt stick), then dip the rim in the salt. Set glass aside.2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the grapefruit juice and gin. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
3. Fill your salt-rimmed glass with ice, then strain the cocktail into the glass. Enjoy!
December 23rd, 2013
It’s funny being in a place where, in December you can walk outside in a sweater—dare I say even a t-shirt. No chance of snow, no wintry mix, mostly just sunshine. Being from Michigan, then Brooklyn, San Francisco is quite a change weather-wise and to be honest, I’m not missing the weather like I thought I might. We did have a bit of a cold streak the past few weeks and it was enough to get me thinking about cold-weather cocktails.
After years of hearing about it, I finally picked up a bottle St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram last week. Maybe it was me subliminally missing that cold weather, because one whiff of this liqueur and you’re instantly transported to wintertime and warm spices. I’ve been adding it to cider cocktails and it works great in them, but as I was making a Manhattan the other night, I thought, hmmm, that could be delicious. And it was—SO delicious—especially with a little freshly grated nutmeg over top. I’m happy to skip the bitter cold and just warm up instead with this deliciously serious cocktail.
Cheers! To getting festive, staying warm, and enjoying a good drink!
makes 1 cocktail
|1 1/2 ounces whiskey1/2 ounce Italian vermouth
1/2 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 brandied cherry
dash of orange bitters
freshly grated nutmeg
|1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the whiskey, vermouth, and dram. Stir for 15 seconds.2. Strain the cocktail into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry and freshly grated nutmeg.
December 19th, 2013
Etsy asked me to contribute a favorite holiday cocktail for their blog and you guys—this drink is so good. I may have had to “test” it every day last weekend. But really, I did try it several ways (with/without half and half, with cinnamon, etc) and am so jazzed to share this awesomely delicious, perfect holiday drink that I know you’re going to fall in love with. Head on over to Etsy and get your ingredients ready—you’re guests are gonna love you for it.
December 18th, 2013
In the past few years I’ve really slowed down my holiday baking—life is just so busy this time of year, it’s easy to let it go. But this year I was determined to make something—anything. I saw a picture of these chocolate cookies sprinkled with mint m&m’s on my Pinterest page and I got weak in the knees. I am a sucker for mint m&m’s. Why are they so delicious and why do they call my name every time I walk by a bowl of them?! Damn you mint m&m’s! So yeah, that photo was just what I needed to get myself together and back in the holiday baking spirit.
I have to say, it felt so good to be back in the kitchen baking. I’ve done a fair amount of cooking in my kitchen, but believe it or not, this was the first time I’ve made cookies in this kitchen since moving in nearly a year ago. That is just embarrassing—and after making a batch—it’s a real shame too because it’s a great kitchen to bake in. I guess that just means there will be more cookies in my future, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. But back to those mouthwatering mint m&m cookies. They have a chocolate base, enhanced with a little instant espresso powder which makes them nice and rich, and perfectly moist. And in case the m&m’s weren’t enough, they’re also dotted with chocolate chips—they’re almost too good.
So in case you need a little inspiration like I did, I hope this helps. What are you baking this year?
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