Cheers!

summer smashWell, happy Friday, friends!  After this crazy weather, it has turned out to be a lovely afternoon and it just so happens to be National Bourbon Day!  How fitting for a Friday!  So I wanted to leave you with a tasty summer drink to please your palate this weekend!  You can even serve one up to Dad on Sunday, as I’m sure he will enjoy as well!

This recipe is courtesy of my crafty sister…. can’t take the credit for the recipe, but I do take credit for consuming a few!  😉

summer smash in the making

cheers

Summer Smash

Makes 2.

In a cocktail shaker (oh how I love my mason shaker from West Elm), muddle 1/2 a peach with 6 basil leaves and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Add a few dashes of rhubarb bitters and then a 1/2 cup of rye whiskey.  Serve over ice and splash with club soda.  Garnish with peach slices and basil.

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In the Kitchen with Kerri: A Garden Lunch

We’re Southern girls and although we may not sound like it anymore after living in Pennsylvania for…well, let’s not date ourselves… we still hold a special place in our heart for Southern food.  And it shows in our gardens.

This lunch came to fruition after harvesting my garden crop yesterday of summer squash, early brown crowder peas, and okra.  Kerri texted shortly after and asked if I could do lunch today, and voila, our lunch was born!

On the Menu:

Pea & Ricotta Crostini (peas from my garden, purple basil from Kerri’s – recipe by me below)

Summer Squash Souffle (inspired by The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, squash from my garden)

Fried Okra  (inspired by Screen Doors and Sweet Tea but we added a little cayenne pepper, okra from my garden)

Blackberry Mint Julep (mint from Kerri’s garden – recipe by Kerri below)

Pea & Ricotta Crostini

1 cup of fresh peas (shelled from 10 pods) *Note:  We used young brown crowder peas, which are similar to a black-eyed pea, but any fresh peas should do!

1 small baguette

Olive oil

1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

Basil, for garnish (We used a micro purple basil from Kerri’s garden)

Preheat the broiler.  Blanch peas in boiling, salted water for one minute.  Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch rounds.  Brush each round with olive oil and toast under broiler.  Set aside to cool.  In a food processor, blend together peas, ricotta, lemon juice and salt & pepper.  Spread the baguette slices with the ricotta/pea mixture.  Garnish with fresh basil and cracked pepper.

Blackberry Mint Julep

Makes 2 Double-Old Fashioneds

8 Blackberries

16 Mint Leaves

1 teaspoon Sugar

3-4 ounces of Bourbon  (We used Angel’s Envy Kentucky Bourbon)

Sparkling Water

In a double-old fashioned glass, muddle together 8 mint leaves, 4 blackberries, and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar.  Fill glass with ice.  Add 1-2 ounces of bourbon and top with sparkling water.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

I must say Kerri and I were quite happy with the results.  We enjoyed our nice lunch on this gorgeous day on the screened-in porch with John Prine serenading us and sounds of the fountain trickling in the background.  And now that the work is all done, I think we’ll have another Blackberry Mint Julep!  Cheers!

In the Kitchen with Kerri: Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Sip ‘n Snack

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo festivities this weekend, Kerri and I had a hankering for sangrita.  What is sangrita, you ask?!?  Well, it is a tasty little number, one that you definitely want to try.  It is a traditional Mexican non-alcoholic aperitif, a combination of  juices and spices, and used alternately to sip in conjunction with high-end tequila.  Now I am a tequila lover and believe me when I say, it makes the Patron taste even tastier!  It is the perfect partner to tequila, cleansing and brightening, as you sip along.  The origin of sangrita is often debated, but Kerri and I are glad we tasted the goodness on our lips one festive night in NYC.  So here is our version we concocted to our liking and to be perfectly married to our Patron this weekend.  Salud!

Sangrita

1 cup organic strained tomatoes (We used Bionaturae)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons spicy pickle juice (We used the juice from McClure’s spicy spears)

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

3 pinches of chili salt, plus extra for garnish  (We used the chili margarita salt from Williams Sonoma)

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/8 cup water

Throw all ingredients in your Vitamix and blend away.  Makes 2 cups.  Serve the sangrita chilled (but the tequila should always be room temperature!)

And for our little sangrita fiesta, we of course had to have something to nibble!  We whipped up some guacamole as well.

Guacamole

2 avocados

1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon tequila (yep, that’s right, tequila)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

dashes of hot sauce, optional (We dashed in smoked chipotle hot sauce, yum!)

Place all ingredients in a bowl or molcajete and mix together.  (Neither Kerri nor I had a molcajete, so a good tip for mixing the guac all together is a pastry blender… works fabulously!)

Serve the guacamole with tortilla chips, tequila shots, and sangrita.  Oh. my. goodness.  The festive tastiness that you are about to partake in!  🙂  Again, salud!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Salud!  Patadas de talon (heel kicks!)  🙂

A new series: In the Kitchen with Kerri

If you know me, you know my sister, Kerri, and I hang out a lot.  Like a lot.  We often get together to cook and have a special lunch, talk recipes (or gossip), and drink wine.  (Yep, we drink wine at lunch! *gasp*)  🙂

So we thought, why not share with you our tasty recipes, wine, and goodies we come across?!?  We enjoy them, so we hope you will too!

While dying Easter eggs the other day, Kerri asked me if I had seen the recipe for asparagus soup in the new Williams Sonoma catalog.  Well of course I had and ironically enough, I had brought home that recipe card from work just the other night!  So how fitting this is our first post.  And what a perfect day for a spring soup!  With a bit of chill still in the air, this was the perfect recipe to warm us up a bit.

Asparagus Soup with Poached Eggs (via Williams Sonoma)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large leek, white & green portions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chicken stock concentrate

3 cups water

1 cup baby spinach leaves

fresh garden herbs for garnish (we used flat-leaf parsley, scallions, and microgreens)

1 poached egg per serving

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add the leek, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and the paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the asparagus, stock concentrate and water, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the asparagus is tender, 6-8 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.

Transfer the soup to a blender or Vitamix.  Using a towel, hold the lid down and puree until the soup is smooth.

Season the poached eggs with salt and pepper.  Pour the soup into individual bowls and top each with 1 poached egg.  Garnish with fresh garden herbs and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

I know you are wondering what wine we paired with this tasty spring soup!  We chose a light Sauvignon Blanc from one of my favorite wineries in the Sonoma Valley, Deerfield.

The results from our afternoon in the kitchen together were great!  We had fun, the recipe was easy and delish, and we cheers’d to the  intent of doing this more often!  Stay tuned for posts to come!  Cheers!

References (not mentioned above):

wine glasses:  Kate Spade

flatware:  vintage

bowls:  Williams Sonoma

placemats:  Chilewich