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Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

3-Ingredient Happy Hour: The Blackberry Lavender Fizz via Lifehacker

April 26th, 2017 Comments off
It’s time for Summer cocktails and this combination of blackberry, lavender and gin could be your porch sipper of the season. While I wouldn’t normally drink lavender soda by itself, I can see how it brings a unique note to the cocktail. Here in Los Angeles we can easily find Dry Lavender Soda at a nearby BevMo or other liquor stores. Yet another cocktail to try out. I think I have a list here somewhere. (LAUGH) — Douglas
Basically, I wanted something that was a little fruity, a little floral, and as pretty as an Easter egg. Though it initially seemed slightly ambitious, I was able to craft such a beverage using just three, flavorful ingredients, and the result was quite the porch-pounder. Bonus: This beverage can be built right in the glass, saving you time and dishes.

An interesting link found among my daily reading

Trader Joe’s Coffeecello, reviewed via Baking Bites

April 25th, 2017 Comments off
I love making liqueurs as much as I like drinking them, so when this appeared in my feed I instantly added it to my To Buy list. I love coffee, too, so it sort of makes this one a no-brainer. — Douglas
Read Trader Joe’s Coffeecello, reviewed via Baking Bites

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

An interesting link found among my daily reading

23 Classic Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make via Bon Appetit

April 21st, 2017 Comments off

I’m on medication which is severely harshing my cocktail vibe at the moment, but I’ll keep this post around for the future when I can work my way through most of all of them. (SMILE) Everyone should taste the classics at some point so you know how crazy some of our newer cocktails are. — Douglas

Knowing how to make classic cocktails is important. There’s only one problem: There are a lot of them. Unless you’re a bartender, there’s no way you’ll remember what goes into a Sazerac or the proportions of a Moscow Mule. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the 23 most important stalwart drinks to know how to make, from a Manhattan to a Daiquiri to a simple whiskey on the rocks. Check them out in the slideshow and get shaking (and stirring).

Read 23 Classic Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make via Bon Appetit

An interesting link found among my daily reading

On YouTube: Airmail | Rum & Champagne Cocktail | Barney Toy

March 23rd, 2017 Comments off
Categories: Drinks, Food, Recipe, Video Tags: , , , , ,

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs by Julia Turshen [Book]

March 13th, 2017 Comments off

Small Victories
Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs
Julia Turshen

When reading a cookbook I don’t tend to make grand proclamations that this book is good and that book is bad. Cookbooks are all about what you take away from the book and one person’s favorite is another’s failure. For me, my like or dislike of a cookbook directly relates to how well it works for me. Does its message resonate? Are the recipes actually something I would consider making? Can I put my new found knowledge to immediate use? With those criteria in mind, Small Victories certainly worked for me on a variety of levels.

First, even though I am a bit of a fussy eater, I found many recipes I want to try out as soon as possible. Each recipe is well described and also includes several variations you might want to try. Turshen includes old standards like her take on biscuits (Everything Biscuits), roast chicken (Roast Chicken with Fennel, Rosemary + Lemon) and desserts (Berry + Buttermilk Cobbler) while also exploring further afield with Roasted Salmon with Maple + Soy, Jennie’s Chicken Pelau, and Crisply Hominy + Cheddar Fritters.

In Small Victories, you’ll find sections dedicated to Breakfast, Soups + Salads, Vegetables, (maybe even a few that I would eat) (LAUGH), Grains, Beans + Pasta, Meat + Poultry, Shellfish + Fish, Desserts, A Few Drinks + Some Things To Keep On Hand and Seven Lists — which gives some great ideas on small bites to serve with drinks, 7 Things To Do With Pizza Dough, Leftover Roast Chicken and more.

Another reason I found Small Victories so enjoyable are the excellent stories attached to each recipe. Even when I wasn’t particularly interested in a recipe, I still made a point of reading each of these descriptions almost like I would read a regular book. These descriptions also contain the “Small Victories” which are the namesake of the book. These are small tips and hints are a great addition to the cookbook and provide yet another level of value.

As Turshen writes, “Think of small victories as the corners of the puzzle, the pieces that help us become inspired, relax cooks who know how to fill in the rest.

I found my copy of Small Victories at my local library and you might find it there, too. It’s always a great place to start when looking for new books in your life. However you get your hands on Small Victories, I highly recommend you do. I think you’ll find some interesting recipes, tips and maybe even the next step in your cooking adventures.

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 

On YouTube: Gold Fashioned Whisky Cocktail | Shev

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off

I love a good Old Fashioned. I saw another recent recipe that used maple syrup as the sweetener, so I think I need to try this one out, too! As she mentions in the video, I’m not sure of using a single malt whiskey in the drink. I usually reserve that for straight sipping — Douglas

On YouTube: Gold Fashioned Whisky Cocktail | Shev

Watch YouTube: Gold Fashioned Whisky Cocktail | Shev

I liked this video and think you might find it interesting, too!

Birthday Wine Tasting at Nabu

February 20th, 2017 Comments off

New Cookbook: The Short Stack Cookbook

February 14th, 2017 Comments off

The Short Stack Cookbook: Ingredients That Speak Volumes

Another new cookbook I came across in my reading. I was able to quickly and easy download the cookbook as an ebook from my local library — and perhaps you can, too. Don’t forget this excellent source for new books of all sorts.

The Short Stack Cookbook is an interesting complication — selecting 18 “essential ingredients” and then finding some of the best food writers available today to select their best and favorite recipes for that ingredient.

I found a few recipes to check out here in my own kitchen and most of the ingredients were something that I would normally cook and eat — being a bit fussy about my food choices. Brussel sprouts and squash aren’t going to show up on my table unless I am making them for family or guests, but there are plenty of other ingredients to choose from including lemon, apples, cheddar, honey, rice, tomatoes and more.

A few of the recipes I found interesting include:

  • Cheddar Obatzda (Beer Cheese)
  • Cheddar-Walnut Shortbread
  • Lemon-Cornmeal Poundcake
  • Lemony Ricotta Pancakes
  • Smoked Mozzarella & Sage in Sourdough Carrozza
  • Pappardelle wth Bacon & Root Vegetable Ragu
  • and many more!


The first cookbook from Short Stack Editions, an artful collection of 150 new and original recipes organized by ingredient from IACP and James Beard Award–winning cookbook authors, chefs, food writers, recipe testers, and editors.

The ethos behind Short Stack Editions is simple: Pair honest, common ingredients with trusted voices in the culinary world for inspired recipes home cooks can actually use. And for their first cookbook, Short Stack founders Nick Fauchald and Kaitlyn Goalen call upon their acclaimed contributors to extend their love letters to favorite ingredients. Exclusively created for this cookbook, these recipes–from all-star chefs, food writers, editors, and stylists–are destined to become favorites.

Categories: Baking, Books, Bread, Cooking, Drinks, Food, Recipe Tags:

New Cookbook: Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA by Mario Batali

February 9th, 2017 Comments off

I came across mention of this new cookbook in a magazine recently and quickly requested it from my local library as an ebook. I am still working my way through it, but wanted to offer my initial response so that you could make a point to check it out as well.

Mario Batali–Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA

I have been a follower of Mario Batali for years since I religiously watched Molto Mario years ago on Food Network. I have several of his recipes in my kitchen “rotation” including a gnocchi and sauce recipe we typically serve to new guests to the house. Having cooked his recipes and then visited our Sicilian relatives several times, I can attest that his recipes are quite respectful of their Italian heritage if changed a bit by their immigration to America.

Unfortunately, over the years — and one would expect, due to his increased development of high-end restaurants — Batali’s recipes and taste had left me behind. I am a rather fussy eater and while I appreciate good food, his use of odd or high-end ingredients in his recipes left my own food sensibilities behind.

That is why it is so refreshing to find this new cookbook, Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA,  which focuses in some of the most traditional and historical foods from throughout the US. Sure, most of these recipes are familiar to us in name, if not taste, but having a definitive collection of them can lead me down some interesting food avenues.

As usual, all the recipes are well written and the layout of the book is excellent. My favorite parts, though, are the short historical notes on where and how the food originated and the short endnotes where Batali offers up ways in which he might add or change the recipe to suit a particular occasion or simply to dress it up a bit.

On first reading, I quickly flipped through the book and found myself bookmarking many recipes along the way. In some cases, these recipes were a reintroduction to old favorites, an introduction to midwestern classics I had missed during my childhood and college years or classic regional foods I knew by name only, but now sound intriguing enough to try here in my own kitchen.

I’ll be working my way through several of these recipes in the next few week and hope to find several that I can add to my family “Recipes in Rotation.” I think you’ll find something to love here, too.

Some of my favorites included:

  • Corn Muffins from the American Northeast
  • Tourtiere from French Canada and imported into the Northeast and Midwest
  • Black and White Cookies from New York City
  • Winchester Beer Cheese from Kentucky
  • Biegnets from New Orleans
  • Swedish Pancakes
  • and much more!

* A portion of each sale from directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 

“A Cup of Tea” iPhone Cases, Wallets and Much More!

January 11th, 2017 Comments off