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!

butternut squash ravioli with brown butter, corn + sage

October 4th, 2013

Do you ever you have those moments when you frantically whip up dinner from scraps in you fridge? That’s how this little number came about… After scrapping plans for a dinner out, I scrambled to find something to make, I quickly remembered that I’d just picked up some butternut squash ravioli at the farmers market. With something like butternut squash ravioli, you can’t just toss some sauce on it and call it dinner. Luckily a peek in my crisper revealed two ears of corn and some sage-hallelujah! I got to work whipping up the toppings, the whole time keeping my fingers crossed that it would be as good I imagined it would be.

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white pizza with arugula, parmesan, lemon, & ricotta

September 18th, 2013

Say hello to my new favorite pizza. I’m going to admit something to you—when it comes to dinnertime, I’ve got about 3 things I make every week and mix them up just enough to not go crazy. We’ve got tacos, pasta of some sort, and pizza. I know what you’re thinking, she so healthy! Jokes aside, I’ve been feeling uninspired in the kitchen. And then I did something crazy—I looked at my vast assortment of cookbooks (honestly, there is no reason I should ever make the same thing twice with all these recipes at hand, but alas, I do). I remembered one that I picked up shortly after I found out I was pregnant, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. It’s all about making delicious meals for your family to share but also ones that don’t take so much time to make that you actually miss out on the family time. Since rediscovering it on my shelf this past weekend, I’ve made two recipes, both of which have been delicious, but this one—white pizza with arugula, Parmesan, lemon, and ricotta is downright magical. The antithesis of boring, this pizza is full of flavor and anything but ordinary.

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inspiration

August 28th, 2013

vintage cookbook via leif shop

Along with getting back to making things in my kitchen, I’ve also been trying to ramp up my work on Remedy Quarterly. Before Claire was born, I’d planned to take a few months off and still get Issue 13 out early this summer—I collected the content ahead of time and was just about begin laying things out when, well, you know what happened next.

I finally feel like I’m able to spare some time to work on the magazine and you guys, it’s super exciting! I’m squeezing in an hour here and there while Claire snoozes, but it feels really good. I’ve got a growing graphic inspiration page over on Pinterest where I collect things that I find inspiring—typography, color, form, you name it. I’ve also been taking a lot of walks, admiring the crazy botanicals, colorful houses, and hand-painted signs here in San Francisco. I can’t wait to see how this issue unfolds.

How do you get inspired? I’d love to hear!

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