skillet sautéed purple asparagus

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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Sweet potato & orange pound cake

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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salty dog

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.

Salty Dog

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!

wintry manhattan

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!

Wintry Manhattan

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.

Milk Punch

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.

Chocolate + Mint M&M cookies

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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spiced sparkling cider

December 6th, 2013

I’ve been easing my way back into life with cocktails and it’s kind of totally awesome. So when we were invited to Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, I was tasked with cocktail duty. At first I felt a little stage fright—it was basically my first foray back into mixing and it was for a group of people, not just Aaron and I. But then I got excited and the ideas started flowing.

The holidays just beg for spices and I love to use them, especially in my drinks. I’ve done a bunch of cider recipes in the past, but somehow I’ve never used sparkling cider—how is that possible?! I guess it takes stepping away for a while to see the totally obvious. So you’re kind of seeing where I’m going with this, I’m sure. I whipped up a batch of spiced simple syrup—just things I had in my spice drawer (these are flexible, use what you have on hand) like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom. Your house will begin to smell awesome and you may or may not find yourself dancing to holiday music. Then I busted out the bourbon, a little lemon juice and of course the sparking cider. I did a little test run for a few friends to make sure it’s up to par and the consensus was a solid 6 thumbs up. Whew!

Not only is this drink tasty, but it’s flexible too, which is key for gatherings. If you’re just having a few people over, I’d recommend making the drinks individually—you’ll get better proportions of ice to booze. If you’re having a big ol’ shebang or looking to bring a nice host/hostess gift, mix everything together except the cider for a super easy, unique cocktail for a crowd. Lastly, I think it’s always important, whether large or small gatherings, to have something non-boozy but still special. No one wants to feel left out or have the same old ginger ale again, simply leave out the bourbon and this still makes a delicious drink. Whichever version you make, I guarantee you’ll have happy drinkers.

So cheers! Enjoy all the go-go-going—there’s time to relax next month, right?!

Spiced and sparkling cider, 3 ways

single cocktail

serves one
1/2 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
dash of bitters
1 1/2 ounce bourbon
3 ounces sparkling cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, bitters, and bourbon. Shake for about 10 seconds.2. Strain into a glass, top with sparkling cider, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

  a

multi-serve cocktail

serves 16
1 cup spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1 cup lemon juice
25 dashes bitters
3 cups bourbon
2 bottles sparkling cider (there will be some left over)
cinnamon stick, for garnish, optional
plus a large glass bottle 
1. Use a funnel to pour the simple syrup, lemon juice, bitters, and bourbon into a large glass bottle. Close the top and give it a good shake.2. When ready to serve, add a few cubes of ice to a glass, then pour equal amount of the bourbon mixture and cider into the glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick if using and enjoy.

 a

non-boozy cocktail

serves one
1/2 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
dash of bitters
3 ounces sparkling cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake for about 10 seconds.2. Strain into a glass, top with sparkling cider, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

 a

spiced simple syrup

makes about 1 cup

Use whatever spices you have on hand—although I do recommend at least doing the cinnamon stick.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger 

1. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.2. Add the spices—I use a tea infuser to keep them all together—and simmer for 10-25 minutes. The syrup should slightly thicken.3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Once the mixture has cooled, remove the spices and either use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

ginger + apple cider cocktail

November 1st, 2013

Hellloooo happy hour! Oh how I have missed you! This week has been such a lovely week—I happily sent off Issue 13 of Remedy Quarterly to editing (what a relief!), took Claire and Maude out for their first Halloween stroll, and made this delicious cocktail! It’s perfect for fall and easily made into a non-boozy cocktail, which, when I was pregnant, I swore to myself I would be more mindful of (there are not enough delicious, non-boozy concoctions out there! Or, at least people who know how to make them).

Before I scoot away to get my day going, I wanted to say thank you. This year has taught me so much, I think the biggest lesson of all is to be thankful and mindful of small things. I’m so appreciative to have a place to share my ideas and people who actually look at them. You guys are the best!

Cheers! To big and small accomplishments, delicious drinks, and the weekend!

ginger + apple cider cocktail

makes 1 drink
1/2 oz ginger syrup (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz apple cider
dash of bitters
1 1/2 oz bourbon, optional2 pieces candied ginger, for garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all the ingredients. Shake for 10 seconds.2. Strain into a glass and garnish with a few pieces of candied ginger. Enjoy!