Roasting vegetables is a go-to winter move in our house. Adding a splash of beer never hurts, either. And by splash, I mean a bottle or two. That’s why we’ve taken to a one-pot vegetable dish that lets us combine our love of vegetables, beer, LeCreuset and fancy things that did not require as much effort as they would appear.
I like breaking out the ice cream maker to make boozy sorbet for parties.* New Year’s had me thinking about this Pink Grapefruit Champagne Sorbet.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can also make a granita by throwing the same ingredients into a baking dish, then freezing it and scraping it down with a fork every 30 minutes.
If you don’t have the time to make a granita, there’s still good news: You can just throw the bottle of champagne into the ice cream maker about 25 minute before midnight and you’ll have a champagne slushy to serve.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker or the time to make a granita, just be honest with yourself and drink the bottle of champagne alone.
Remember: Anyone can drink a bottle of champagne. Let’s eat one.
When our friend Tonya came to visit for the weekend, we wanted to make some really special dishes using one of her favorite ingredients, leading us to cilantro hummus and cilantro chutney. Tonya is one of our dearest friends and, as such, these visits often lead to a dramatic reading from “I Could Pee On This” while wearing a mixing bowl as a hat in the bathtub and kicking us in the shins if she doesn’t like the meal we’ve prepared. So we also wanted to make sure we had a fancy cocktail to distract her in case she didn’t like the dishes.
Good news: She likes all three takes on cilantro, and we hope you do, too.
That business about her kicking us in the shins is not true. She would never do such a thing. She kicks us in the face.
What to Have
fresh cilantro (one bunch), hard stems removed
1 cans chickpeas
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
What to Do Combine half the cilantro and all other ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more cilantro to taste.
What to Have
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 serrano pepper, some seeds removed
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
What to Do Pulse all ingredients in blender. Leave some coarseness.
Absolut Cilantro Martini
What to Have
What to Do Combine two parts Absolute Cilantro, one part coconut water, one part mango nectar and a squeeze of lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour into glass and serve with a cilantro sprig.
Behold: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad. So good that you ignore the fact that "brussels sprout" is a weird thing to say. They should have called it "Baby Cabbage on a Stick." Imagine the state fair tie-ins and trickery. Damn, sometimes I wonder why no one checks with me on these things.
We’re kicking off the Thanksgiving Side-Dish Face-Off today, as I am the type of person* who documents hosting his first Thanksgiving and then creates a fake movie trailer about it. First up, Salad No. 1: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad. Next, Salad No. 2: Shaved Root Vegetable Salad.
If you hated brussels sprouts as a kid, I hope you’ve apologized to your parents for being wrong. Because you were wrong. They are delicious. They are what would happen if cabbage were miniature and grew on stalks. You cannot deny that that is nature at its finest. Think of something you like, and then imagine it miniature and on a stalk. Better, right? Yeah. Better. Continue reading →
If you have jalapeños, tequila and 15 minutes, I can make you happy.
It’s happening. Summer is leaving us. Show it who’s boss by creating your own kind of heat. In a jar. With peppers. We’re talking about spice here, not capturing actual sunshine in a jar. If I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t tell anyone else how. Except you. And we would make millions selling it in, I don’t know, let’s say … Canada. And we’d make all sorts of “You can put this where the sun don’t shine” merchandise.
We made Strawberry Basil Martinis with Square One Basil Organic Vodka. Yes, our martini shaker is taller than the bottle. No, that is not because the bottle is short.
I grabbed a bottle of Square One Organic Basil Vodka earlier this week. In return, it grabbed me in that special place that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, which, if I understand anatomy correctly, is your liver.
I am a fan of drinking basil vodka, and usually infuse it myself or muddle it with strawberries. Square One has graciously agreed to save me lots of time infusing basil vodka by making it for me. I’ve decided to use a portion of that extra time spreading the word about basil vodka, and the remainder shall be spent discussing the British television program “Misfits” with the zero others I know who also watch it.
Texas Caviar: When you make something this healthy, it's best to balance it out by eating it with chips.
During our Tastes Like Freedom party, we grilled pizzas, potato and paneer skewers and eggplant for baba ganoush. But I knew I’d need a few things I could whip together beforehand and toss on the table. I remembered I hadn’t made one of my favorite dishes this summer — Texas Caviar. I realize this reveals just how pretentious I can get, but I tried several times to think of a better name for the dish. I settled on Salsa Fresca for the menu for the party … but at least one friend was horrified, thinking I’d taken the Tequila Fresca idea a bit too far and turned it into food. Hadn’t thought of that.
The appeal of the dish is that it’s so easy. You open cans. You put the contents together. You pour on some dressing. You chill it. You immediately remove it from the fridge and eat an inappropriate amount to make sure the flavors are right. You chill it again. You serve it. You continue to eat an inappropriate amount, this time in front of your guests.
I’ve tried to fancy up the flavors quite a bit … and am convinced that the real secret is Seven Seas Italian dressing. Fancy yours up as you like, but the dressing will do the trick. Continue reading →
Blackberry Mint Soda, Strawberry, Basil and Lemon Soda and Spicy Ginger Soda
I read about the trend of restaurants making their own sodas in the latest bon appetit and was intrigued. I decided I’d give it a shot soon. Moments after that, I thought, “Oh boy — I can add lots of vodka when I make mine!” Moments after that, I was at the grocery store. Moments after that, I was making this video for you so you can make your own, too. All told, these were some pretty productive moments.
I decided to try bon appetit’s Strawberry, Lemon and Basil Soda and Spicy Ginger Soda recipes. Then I created my own — a Blackberry Mint Soda. The idea here is simple enough: take fresh fruits, herbs and spices and bring soda water to life with their flavors. I used a different technique for each — muddling the ingredients, making a puree and making a simple syrup. This is easy stuff, and definitely worth doing. Mashing strawberries and basil in a glass with some lemon juice, sugar and salt takes but a few moments.
There’s nothing special about the soda water here, either. It may be called seltzer water or sparkling water. Club soda works, too, if you can’t find those, but it may have a slight flavoring to it, whereas soda water is just carbonated water.
I shot a taste test with a very special guest for these three sodas; I’ll have that video ready for you soon. But suffice to say, my Blackberry Mint Soda was an experiment and an attempt to compare the muddling method with the pureeing method. Truth be told, next time around, I’m just going to muddle everything in the glass or make a simple syrup. The puree took a few extra steps that didn’t add much to the flavor or texture.
Blackberry Mint Soda (in the video)
Puree 2 pints of fresh blackberries. Pour two tablespoons of the puree into a glass, rip up six mint leaves, fill the glass with ice, fill with soda water and top with a shot of vodka.
Blackberry Mint Soda (just do it this way)
Muddle eight blackberries, a tablespoon of sugar and six mint leaves in a glass. Fill the glass with ice, fill with soda water and stir to chill. Strain into another glass filled with ice (unless you’re fine with a chunky soda … . (I am.)). Top with a shot of vodka.
Before shooting this video, I asked on Facebook and Twitter what flavors I should make. Two flavors that piqued my interest: pear cardamom and lavender lemonade. What flavors of soda would you make?
Ful Madames, an Egyptian dish starring fava beans.
Nothing solves a rut in the kitchen like bringing a new ingredient into the mix. The end of a long and terrible winter finally yielding to sunshine and the ability to leave the house without wishing death upon yourself also helps. When I find myself repeating tried-and-true dishes instead of taking on something new, I like to buy something I don’t know much about and run with it.
That’s how I became reacquainted with fava beans. I’ve used fava beans before, but they’ve been MIA from the grocery store for quite a while. So I was pleased to find some at a local market recently. Shortly after I just happened to read about an Egyptian dish called ful madames served at Safari Restaurant and Banquet Center in Minneapolis and I decided to give it a go myself.
I’ve found several recipes, spellings and some controversy over the history of the dish. But it’s easy to make and delicious. What more can there be to know?
You're in My Vacation Home Kitchen. Yeah, I'm wearing a driver's cap with Mickey Mouse ears. Jealous?
As if fate needed to remind me that there is balance in life, I was lucky enough to spend a week in sunny Florida … followed by a week with a cold once I was back home. This added up to two weeks without much time in the kitchen.
While in Florida, we rented a vacation home, complete with a hot tub, pool, and, of course, a large kitchen. Funny how your favorite room in the house is no longer where you want to spend your time once you can see a hot tub out the window, though. So we instead relied on easy meals and my favorite pizza place in Orlando, Giordano’s, for Chicago-style stuffed pizzas with spinach, broccoli, garlic and olives. Yum. Let’s go back right now.
The week following paradise was spent in the middle of a snowstorm back in Minneapolis, fighting off colds. When I’m ill, I immediately want lots of fresh fruit. And I drink an unreasonable amount of mint tea. After that, though, all signs of my normal eating habits are dead to me, as I can barely muster the energy to make it to the grocery store, much less cook. Continue reading →