Red for the holidays!
There’s nothing better than being with family and friends over the holidays. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.
I love experimenting with cocktails and for a recent Christmas dinner party I made these Poinsettia Cocktails. Unsweetened cranberry juice was used and orange liqueur which you can go easy on if you don’t want it quite so sweet.
Recently I told a friend that I would rather cook than eat and that’s true. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have friends/family to cook for. Sometimes alll those recipes I experiment with sometimes don’t get tried before I serve to others, but the majority of the time the turn out wonderful.
What would afternoon tea be without a cocktail.
Our afternoon tea a couple week ago started with this blackberry thyme champagne cocktail and of course our committee had to sample it before the tea to make sure it was just right. Some of the ladies helping decided they liked it a little sweeter so we added more than the one teaspoon of blackberry syrup the recipe. One teaspoon of the syrup will give you a nice glass of pinkish champagne or prosecco.
Don’t you just love the bubbles of champagne and when you add this blackberry syrup to the glass it makes for a perfect cocktail and the sprig of fresh thyme and a blackberry for garnish.
At the tea we served this cocktail with some blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped with prosciutto before the ladies sat down to an afternoon of tea with sandwiches, sweets and scones.
Love coffee? You’ll love this shake.
Did you love shakes as a kid? Do you still love shakes? Then how about an adult coffee shake with a little Kahula topped with some whipped cream and sprinkles of spice. (Last of my holiday shake recipes I made over Christmas.)
As a kid I remember my grandfather loving chocolate malts. My grandmother would drive over to local ice cream shop and buy quite a few for 25 cents each and take them home to put in the freezer. When he was ready for a chocolate malt treat, which was almost nightly, he would take out a frozen shake, chop out the center and add a little milk and continue chopping on it until it has thawed enough he could eat it. I still remember the taste of those malts and that has been at least 60 years ago.
Shake it up for Christmas with this date shake.
When we were in Israel it took me a while to realize that the row after row, field after field of palm trees were date palms and produced the Medjool date.
I never realized there was more than one kind of date on the market; some others are Barhi, Deglet Noor, Halawy, Khdraw, Medjool, Thoory and Zahidi. In fact there are over 1,500 varieties of dates grown in the world. The Medjool date is know as the Cadillac of dates and originated in Morocco and I love the size of these dates, just big enough for two good bites.
Did you know that dates are a fresh fruit not a dried fruit? I didn’t. The white stuff you sometimes see on the outside of a date is the natural sugar crystallizing and perfectly fine to eat, so don’t throw away your dates if they are white.
Another cocktail for you to try.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Peggy was over for dinner and we (she) decided to experiment with a cocktail. A little gin and a little peach and we (she) ( I just provided some gin and other essential ingredients) came up with another nice cocktail, Peaches and Herb (herb some from the gin of course).
I can remember my very first martini and it was not a pleasant memory. My husband went to Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, Missouri. He was a Sig Ep and I went up for every party weekend. At the time there were NO girls in school so all the girls were imported in for parties. Over the years of partying in a really cool old Ozzie and Harriet type fraternity house, it was torn down and they built a tall multi story brick building. No more bar in the basement that looked like a cave.
We were married his last year and half of college and lived next door in a house the fraternity owned that was called The Cat Lady’s house (whole other story). There was a grand opening for the new frat house and cocktails were served. Since I have never been a beer drinker I decided I would try a martini. It sounded like such a sophisticated cocktail. But I though it was the nastiest thing I’d ever drank; since at the time my drink of choice was a Singapore Sling.
What a way to start off an afternoon!
We aren’t saying goodbye to summer yet here in Texas and a cocktail made with fresh blueberries is the perfect end to a hot day.
A lot of you may be into Fall already. If so, I envy you. We don’t really have Fall or Spring here in our part of Texas. We have hot and cool sometimes a little cold but never those Fall days when you can see and feel the leaves falling around you or the welcomed Spring days that you smell fresh cut grass, smell after a rain shower and flowers popping up all over the place. What we do have is 12 months out of the year that my husband can play golf, can work outside and we enjoy our outdoor kitchen more from September through June before it does get a little too hot to even want to be outside.
Blueberry Mojito to go with my Blueberry Ice Cream.
So I had these blueberries left over from making my Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream and what’s a person to do with them other than eat them by the handful — make a Mojito of course.
Nothing taste better on sweltering hot days here in Texas than to have a cocktail in your hand, floating in the pool watching the clouds float by. My husband has even made a little boat to hold his drinks but I don’t really trust my drink in his vessel.
I’ve only posted two other drinks on this blog, one Aviation Cocktail (my favorite) and my daughter-in-law, Brooke, posted a Kentucky Derby Cocktail when son Paul did a post on “Born in Kentucky” back in 2009 so I thought it was time for another one.
Who didn’t grow up loving Jello and Jello Knox Blox?
Remember the song from the Jello commercial —
♫ Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle. Cool and smoothy, Jello brand gelatin. Of all desserts you’ll love the one that tastes so light and makes such fun. Make Jello gelatin and make some fun. J-e-l-l-o!♫
It’s hard to imagine a life without Jello as a kid. My favorite was strawberry with bananas. My grandmother had a particular refrigerator tray that was a light blue aluminum pan, and that was what she made her strawberry jello in and then she added bananas to the chilling mixture. We couldn’t wait for it to set up so we could dig in. My mother came up with all kinds of desserts using Jello over the years; but it seems like you just don’t see it used in recipes as often now. I don’t even make the Jello salads anymore like I did back in the 70’s and 80’s. No one in my family ever ate them but me. I have an appetizer that has been a catering favorite for years — Garden Vegetable Terrine that has Lemon Jello in it and it’s delicious — kind of sweet, kind of hot and spicy recipe.
These days it seems like if we eat Jello we are sick or getting ready for some kind of medical test.
Well this particular gelatin recipe is made with Knox gelatin. End results I guess would be like Jello Knox Blox that we use to make for our kids. They really loved being able to pick up Jello and eat it with their hands; but these Jello Blox are for adults only. My sister tore this recipe from one of her magazine and put it in “to make” notebook so I copied it while visiting and thought why not try them out for my bunco group at my house last week. I’m sure this recipe was a Knox advertisement because it specified Knox unflavored gelatin.
♫”It wiggles, it jiggles, it’s fun for everyone”.♫
Two dishes from the newlyweds! (from Alexis)
While in Kauai we first discovered poke (pronounced “po-keh”) at the Hanalei Dolphin restaurant in Hanalei Bay. Poke means to “to slice or cut” and is a popular appetizer or snack throughout the islands. I renamed the dish “deconstructed sushi” as it is essentially all of the familiar sushi ingredients: raw, fresh fish (usually tuna or whatever fresh fish is available) and sticky rice and sometimes avocado, Maui onions, seaweed and nut relish, seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce. After I had my first first taste, I think I ordered this dish every time I saw it on a menu.
One of my favorite places to have poke was at the local Kilauea Fish Market in Kilauea, Kauai. We popped in here to grab some poke and macaroni salad to bring on the road. The fish market was barely large enough for a few people to stand in line inside and there were a few scattered picnic tables outside for people to hang out. It was BYOB too, which helps makes eating out in Kauai much more affordable! I’d have to say my least favorite place for poke was poolside at the Westin in Maui. A few hours later I had a pretty bad stomach ache and I figured I should probably have been a bit more discriminating in my restaurant choices..