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.
A toast to everyone for 2019!
This is my first toast to the new year — “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet!” (Unknown author)
I’ve tried more new cocktail recipes in the last couple of months than my 9 years of doing this blog.
I happened to be one of those “cheap dates”, “lightweight”, “two pot streamers” (Australian saying) drinkers. And, after one drink, I’d say I’m a little tipsy, my eyes start blurring a little, lips get a little numb. Then if I happen to have a second drink then maybe I start getting in the category of groggy (never giddy), maybe a little pie-eyed. But after two drinks, I usually stop before I get three sheets to the wind and her never close to being hammered. That says a lot about how much I drink.
The idea of a little cocktail before dinner (or after) is more appealing to me than a glass of wine. I’ve been know to take my own set ups with me if I want something special. Not many bars have Creme de Mure or Creme de Violet. Once I asked for a Blackberry Bramble at one of our favorite local restaurants and after telling the bartender what was in it, he went to the kitchen and fished out some blackberries that were marinating for their blackberry cobbler and made me the drink. Now I call that service. (Thanks John)
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.
Sunday night supper and a cocktail.
There are two couples we usually go out with on Friday nights and on occasion we do dinner together on Sunday night. This has come to be called “Sunday Night Supper” and we all love to be invited to Sunday Night Supper because that means another night we do not have to cook. It’s fun to go to each other’s houses and see what’s cooking and how the table is going to be decorated.
I usually have confidence in what I’m cooking but never been that great at setting a great looking table. This past Sunday night we hosted SNS and even though there was just a little chill in the air and not a cold wintery night I decided to do a chowder for the main course.
Our evening started with cocktails out on the deck. I had spread one of my French square table toppers (that I had picked up in France) out on my teak table. Cocktail of the night was a once obscure drink, Aviation cocktail, made with Bombay gin, marachino cherry liquier (clear) and creme de violet (purple) and lemon juice and that was shook into a fantastic before dinner cocktail to go with the Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta and my White Bean Hummus. For my salad dressing I used Ina Garten’s Champagne Vinaigrette and the salad consisted of baby arugula, baby spinach, some mixed greens and a whole carton of pea shoots. I also added avocado, some toasted walnuts and some paper thin julienned slices of jicama. I was able to buy all the greens in bulk so I could get a handful of this and that.
Few people were as lucky as my brother, sister and me. We grew up with a Mom who cooked and cooked well. My name is Paul, son of Sherry, and I was born in Kentucky. People always ask me where I’m from and that is always a difficult question. I only really lived in KY for 3 months or so but when the time is right I like to claim it as my hometown. As I have grown older now and spent most of my years in Texas I guess I kind of have become a Texan, when convenient of course.
My mom was always the best cook and made us dinner almost every night growing up. While my other friends were eating fish sticks from Long John Silvers I was probably eating fresh caught crappie with homemade hushpuppies. When you are a kid you don’t realize how fortunate you are to be eating “real” food every night. Now that I have become older I have realized these things and want to practice the same lifestyle. My wife Brooke and I just had a child 6 months ago and we have been exposing him to as much food and preparation as possible. I don’t think he’ll be frying corndogs with me anytime soon but I do think it is important to get kids involved early on.
This brings me to my first post. In honor of the Kentucky Derby I wanted to cook something theme oriented as I sometimes do. One item came to mind. The Kentucky Hot Brown. Its origin is, I believe, from the Brown Hotel in Kentucky that wanted to serve something on race day. Being from Kentucky and having a mom who worked for the KFC headquarters, I thought I would make the dish, but with a couple of changes. I would take a Texas staple—chicken fried steak—and make it with turkey Kentucky style . This is where the idea came to bread and deep fry the turkey breast. In my opinion, once you deep fry something it becomes twice as nice. Below is the recipe and please feel free to be creative, as I was with the original recipe.
For those who would like to pair this with an adult beverage, my name is Brooke, Paul’s wife, and I made a spin on a classic cocktail. I must admit, I did not grow up in a family like Paul’s. My family certainly appreciated great food, we just never cooked or could really afford to eat out at nice places very often. I became very familiar with Campbell’s Soups. My parents were overeducated and underemployed bohemians who knew more about wine and spirits than almost anyone else.
Before I was born, my father worked as a wine buyer for a major Dallas chain and (for goodness only knows why) left after being asked to broker for winemakers in France. When I was a little girl, he again worked for Sidney Siegel. I was the lucky gal who got giant six-foot tall stuffed pink bunnies with Kahlua overalls for Easter instead of a little basket with waxy chocolates. Years later, he owned his own liquor store in an inherited building on Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas (yes, he kept a gun behind the counter). So, you see, I have experience growing up in spirited ways. We hope you enjoy the meal and the simple cocktail, just take a moment to rest after such an occassion!
Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches
Ingredients for Sauce:
- 4 T butter
- 6-8 T white Flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 T lemon juice
- 8 oz grated white cheddar
- 1-2 oz grated parmesan
- dash cayenne
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 T Tony Chachere’s
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large turkey breast fat and skin removed
- 6 slices bacon cooked until brown
- chives as needed minced
- sliced shallots 1/8″
- tomatoes cubed
- canola oil for frying
- hearty fresh made white bread from bakery- toasted until brown
- 1.5 oz. of your favorite bourbon we used Bulleit—met latest generation at this year’s Derby party in Austin
- 1.5 oz. ginger beer we like one by Maine Root with real ginger and not much else—a nice bite to it, organic and sustainable
- squeeze of lime
Sauce: Melt butter in small sauce pan and add flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir until paste forms.
Add milk and stir until smooth. As the sauce heats it will thicken. Keep some milk on hand to thin as necessary.
Add cheese, salt, and spices stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Other: Remove turkey breast from package and place between two layers of plastic wrap. Using meat mallet beat until 1/4 inch thin.
Cut turkey into three equal pieces.
Place turkey in bowl with buttermilk.
Mix breading ingredients in bowl and set aside.
Remove turkey from milk and add to breading bowl. Coat entire breast.
Place in deep fryer and fry at 350 degrees for approximately 3-5 minutes.
Remove from fryer and drain grease.
Add small amount of buttermilk to sliced shallots then drain.
Toss in flour mixture and deep fry until golden brown. Set aside.
Assembling Hot Brown: Turn on oven broiler.
Place toasted bread in oven safe dish.
Top with fried turkey breast.
Ladle on 4-6 oz of cheese sauce until bread and turkey is covered.
Broil until bubbly and golden, then remove from oven.
Garnish with tomatoes, chives, fried shallots, and bacon.
Enjoy with a cold Bourbon cocktail (See recipe below)
In a small glass with crushed ice, combine the cocktail ingredients and stir gently. Garnish with a sliver of lime on the rim: