Happy Thanksgiving

Thinking of you, as I get ready for Thanksgiving …

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One of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving: Orange Carrot Soup.

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… and another Bordeaux Cranberry Compote.

 

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Don’t forget festive libations, including for designated drivers. This is my Black Tea Sangria, served over ice, with apple slices, mandarin orange slices, and frozen raspberries, then topped off with tonic water. I’m still looking for a good name for this mocktail. Have any suggestions?

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Don’t forget to spend a little time in nature to get away from the hustle and bustle for preparing for the holdiays…

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May everyone travel safely…

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Warmest wishes to you for a most lovely holiday season!

Kumquat Gin & Tonic/Kumquat Tonic

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Something I enjoy is creating cocktails and recently I made what I thought was a perfect Gin & Tonic … with kumquats! I won’t say that it is “the” perfect Gin & Tonic, because that all depends on what one is in the mood for and on one’s personal taste. (I, also happen to be a fan of Day Lily Gin Tonics for after working in the garden on a sticky hot early summer afternoon.)

Kumquats are very tart, as are limes, so they are a substitute for a squeeze of lime. But they are also sweet enough to eat, so one can consume them after finishing the drink.

Anyhow, here is what you need:

  • a good gin, one that you really like – I used Caorunn
  • chilled tonic water, one that actually has both fizz and flavor, e.g. Canada Dry in small glass bottles (a tart “soda”, e.g. San Pellegrino Limonata, can be substituted for those who like a slightly stronger sweet-tart cocktail)
  • several kumquats, sliced not too thin and not too thick
  • ice

Place the ice and the kumquat slice in a glass. Stir. Pour in gin to your desired strength (approximately a 1:3 gin to tonic ratio is my preference). Top with tonic. Enjoy! Share with friends over the upcoming holiday weekend! Cheers!

A quick note on tonics: if your tonic is flat or flavorless, it will ruin the drink, as will it if your tonic isn’t chilled because the ice cubes will melt too quickly.

When entertaining and serving cocktails, it is important to have fun alcohol-free beverages as well. For a pleasant mocktail, let’s call it a Kumquat Tonic, skip the gin, use the San Pellegrino Limonata (or something similar); don’t skimp on the kumquats … and use a lime slice for garnish. Very colorful and pleasant for hot weather! Again, cheers!

Either way … a delightful way to kick off summer! Best to you …

 

Bananaberry Smoothie

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Bananaberry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1/3 c. light coconut milk

2 T. fresh orange juice

1 medium size frozen banana, peeled and cut into slices (about 3/4 c.)

1 c. mixed fresh berries (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries)

fruit for garnish

Place coconut  milk, orange juice, banana and berries in blender and process until smooth. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with fruit. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

• A mix of red berries and dark berries produces the best color.

• This recipe makes a smoothie that is thin enough to drink. For a thicker smoothie, use frozen berries.

Old Fashioned Christmas (Cocktail)

Inspired by classic bourbon cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, this cocktail has been spruced up for Christmas but still retains a pleasing balance between bitter, sweet, fruity and bourbon flavors. Cheers!

Old Fashioned Christmas

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Ingredients

2 oz. Woodford Reserve or other good bourbon whiskey

1 oz. Pallini Raspicello Liqueur

1 oz. Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

ice, for shaking

lemon peel, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, liqueurs and bitters. Cover and shake well –  to mix ingredients, to chill the drink and to allow a little of the ice to melt. Strain into a decorative martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel and serve.

Happy Holidays!

Blueberry Mint Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea Month … perfect timing for warm weather refreshment! Flavored iced teas are easy to make and a are a great way to add personal flair to this summertime beverage for entertaining.

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Blueberry Mint Iced Tea

8 c. cold water

6 bags of good black tea (decaf. ok)

3/4 c. loosely packed fresh mint leaves, washed

3/4 c. raw sugar

7 cups ice cubes

3 c. fresh blueberries (or mixture of blueberries and blackberries), washed and stemmed

Frozen blueberries and ice cubes for serving

Lemon slices for serving

Fresh mint for garnish

 

Directions

1. Bring water to boil in a 4-quart pot. Add tea bags, mint leaves and sugar. Cover pot and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Stir to make sure that sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Place 7 c. ice cubes into a 1-gallon pitcher. Strain tea into pitcher.

3. Place berries in a food processor and pulse until puréed. Press puree through sieve into tea. Stir until ice is completely dissolved and  purée is incorporated into the tea.

4. To serve, fill glasses with ice cubes, frozen blueberries and lemon slices. Pour tea over ice. Garnish with mint.

Enjoy!

More iced tea recipes …

Black Tea “Sangria recipe.

Iced Minted Orange Juice recipe.

Mint Simple Syrup recipe for adding to iced tea.

Beautiful Blood Orange Margarita

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Happy National Margarita Day (February 22nd)! To commemorate the occasion, here is the recipe for a beautiful and delicious Blood Orange Margarita.  Salud!

Blood Orange Margarita

2 oz. anejo tequila

1 oz. orange liqueur

juice from 1 blood orange

juice from 1 lime

lime slice for garnish

edible flower for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, orange liqueur, blood orange juice and lime juice. Shake well to chill and to mix ingredients.

2. Strain into a margarita glass. Garnish with lime and flower.

Enjoy, but please don’t drink and drive!

The Four-Citrus Limoncello Experiment, Part II

A few days ago, I posted Part I of the Four-Citrus Limoncello Experiment. As I had hoped, the method that I used – using both finely zested peels and fresh squeezed juices – allowed me create a delicious liqueur in less time than the traditional method of making Limoncello. The addition of other flavors other than lemon – grapefruit, orange, and lime – was just for fun. The recipe, posted at the bottom, makes a liqueur which is both sweet and tart, like a traditional Limoncello; and like a traditional Limoncello is slightly viscous. The flavor, however, is a bit mellower, making it very easy to sip. I was in a hurry to produce this batch because I want to use it to make a Limoncello Sorbet to serve between courses at Christmas dinner. Oh, yum, I can hardly wait!

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Since I used finely grated zests, rather than large pieces of peels, and also included juices from the citrus fruits, I wasn’t sure for how long I was going to have to let the liqueur infuse. When I tasted it this morning, which was 3.5 days after starting the batch, I was very happy with the results. I tried to strain it through a coffee filter, but was barely able to get enough liqueur to fill the glass that I wanted to use for photos; so I resorted to straining it several times through a very fine mesh strainer which seemed to work well.

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Four-Citrus Limoncello

(Makes about 1.75 quarts)

(1) Wash and dry: 

• 6 lg. lemons,

• 2 lg. oranges,

• 2 lg. limes, and

• 1/2 lg. grapefruit.

(2) Zest the fruits, removing just the colored portion of the skin, leaving the white pith behind. (Use a microplane grater to zest lemons, oranges and limes. Use a sharp paring knife to cut the zest from the grapefruit, then chop the grapefruit zest.) Combine and measure the zest from the fruits. You should have about 3/4 c. of zest, packed down.

(3) Juice the fruits and strain out the pulp out before measuring. You should have about 2 1/2 c. of juice remaining.

(4) Combine the zest and juice with:

• 2 c. granulated white sugar.

(5) Divide juice mixture evenly between two 1-quart mason jars. Top off jars with:

• 3 3/4 c. 80-proof vodka ( 1 3/4 c. + 2 T. per jar).

(6) Shake well. Place jars in a freezer. Shake jars every day and taste a spoonful of the liqueur to determine when you have achieved the desired flavor. This should be about 3 – 4 days. Strain Limoncello through a very fine strainer into clean glass container(s). Store in the freezer until serving. Salute!

Several people  kindly sent Limoncello links to me after the first post.

Giadia di Laurentiis’ recipe, which also requires just a few days.

Nostrana’s recipe, which involves suspending whole lemons above the alcohol to be infused.

Happy Holidays!

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