Powered by Blogger.

Featured Slider

Cranberry Orange Ginger Fizz

When I decided I wanted to come up with a fun drink to ring in the new year with, I didn't have too many boxes to check. I wanted it to feel seasonal, and have bubbles.

Earlier this month a box of B Square Vodka arrived for me to try out. The companies' logic is simple, by putting their spirits in a portable, non breakable vessel, it becomes ideal for the outdoors. Camping, boating, lounging by the pool, picnics on the beach, anywhere a drink would be fun and broken glass would not.

Considering it's December, and it's quite cold, most of those outdoor activities simply no longer fit as something I would rationally do. So I came up with the idea for a bonfire. Naturally there was the problem of needing a place to have the bonfire and needing at least one other person to be in the photos with me (because who has a bonfire alone?). Fortuitously, my friend Meg volunteered herself, her husband, and her fire pit. There was one evening in December we could make it work, so I got the fire wood, the plastic cups, the simple cranberry mixer and headed over.

The sun was getting low, Meg's husband worked on building up the fire, and then, we couldn't get it started. After an hour of standing out the cold fussing over twigs that just wouldn't catch, we decided the recent rain must have gotten everything too wet and ran out of ideas on how to get it to start.

With the kibosh on the bonfire I decided I'd have to move to plan b, a fun mixed drink, because regardless of the box, vodka is vodka and it might as well be enjoyed.

I really like making simple syrups, as the name implies they are easy, and a great way to impart a lot of flavor without too much fuss. I also was going for a coral color, as that was announced as the Pantone color of the year. I even found a rosé California champagne to further intensify the shade.

Finally, I dug up my grandmothers crystal champagne glasses to serve it in. A far cry from the plastic I'd initially purchased,  but certainly more fitting for this drink.



 b square vodka on the bar-2.jpg drink in hand-1.jpg b square vodka on the bar-1-2.jpg

Cranberry Orange Ginger Fizz

Cranberry Orange Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
rind of one orange
handful of cranberries
one inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
For the drink
two ounces of vodka
two ounces of cranberry orange ginger simple syrup
eight ounces of champagne or sparkling wine
2 pieces of orange rind

Simple Syrup Instructions:
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind from the orange, avoiding as much of the pith as possible. Remove the skin from the ginger and slice.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine all the ingredients for the simple syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the syrup using a fine mesh strainer and let cool.
Drink Instructions:
  1. Combine the vodka, simple syrup, and ice in a cocktail shaker, mix and pour into glasses.
  2. Top with the champagne.
  3. Peel two more pieces of orange rind, twist over each glass and drop in.

Thanks to B Square Vodka for providing me with their product to try. As always my views and opinions are my own.

Apricot Squares

I love holiday baking. I love the tradition, making the same cookies each year. Sure, I'll try a few which are new or different, but there is something about sorting through the handwritten recipes, yellowed with age and spotted with the remnants of spills and other mishaps which occurred over the years that feels special.

I wasn't looking for this apricot square recipe, it was only per chance that I decided to unfold the paper and see what was there. It was dated 11.21.01, and I could just picture myself sitting at the kitchen table in my best friend's house writing it out. This is her mom's recipe, and I loved them so much I asked her for it.

Even though I hadn't made them in years, the moment I saw it, I immediately wanted to make them, and they did not disappoint. Recipes like this one are the reason I wanted to create this blog.


 Apricot Squares Recipe-5.jpg Apricot Squares Recipe-3.jpg Apricot Squares Recipe-1.jpg Apricot Squares Recipe-7.jpg

Apricot Squares

Shortbread Layer
½ cup of butter, softened
1 cup flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
Apricot Layer
¾ cup dried apricots
½ cup of chopped walnuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper - alternatively, grease the pan with butter.
  2. Combine all shortbread ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until crumbly, then press into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
  3. While shortbread is baking, place apricots in a pan with just enough water to cover, bring to a boil and then reduce, let simmer until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain, then chop.
  4. Combine all ingredients for the apricot layer, beat until just combined.
  5. Top the shortbread with the apricot mixture and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. When cooled, top with powdered sugar if desired.

Summer Vegetable Pasta

Last week I visited Mike's Organic Delivery in Stamford, CT, a service that provides local, organic, and sustainable food, along with the ease of delivery (for anyone in a 20 mile radius of their Stamford location). I had to make the trek to pick up my bounty in person, but that afforded me the ability to shop as I normally would, impulsively.

I knew I wanted to get things to put together a meal, and naturally pasta is my go-to. There were only gluten free pasta options, but I was steered in the direction of the Edison quinoa and rice spaghetti. I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations, and did taste like the gluten filled pasta I love.

Next I found myself gravitating to the gorgeous little Italian Eggplants with the most beautiful coloring. On a bit of a purple kick, I got purple bell peppers, and purple onions. There were no purple cherry tomatoes, so I grabbed the yellow. I didn't want to risk getting a meat as I knew I had a long drive in traffic ahead of me, so I chose a bree-like cheese, Camembert. I also got little carrots, even though I wasn't sure how they would factor into a pasta dish (they didn't) but they were cute and went into a salad instead.

As for the actual prep of the meal, my initial thought was to simply roast the veggies. Simple, one pan lined with parchment for easy clean up. However it was 95° with 95% humidity, so that idea got nixed. Next I thought I'd put everything on the grill, with the tomatoes in a nice little foil packet. But it started to downpour as soon as I turned on the grill, and I was soaked through and through by the time the eggplants and peppers were done, so the rest was done in a saute pan. Everything worked out and the dish was delicious, even if the production was a bit disjointed! 

Thanks to Mike's Organic Delivery for providing the food for this recipe! I was given this opportunity through SiggPay, my views and opinions are my own.

 cooking with mikes organic food delivery-4.jpg cooking with mikes organic food delivery-10.jpg cooking with mikes organic food delivery-9.jpg cooking with mikes organic food delivery-1.jpg cooking with mikes organic food delivery-11.jpg cooking with mikes organic food delivery-6.jpg

Summer Vegetable Pasta

1 Pint of Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes
2 Red Tropea Onions
2 Purple Bell Peppers
4 Italian Eggplants
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
3oz Camembert
1/4 cup of reserved pasta water
1/2 pound of pasta of your choice

  1. Prepare water for the pasta. Pre-heat the grill.
  2. Prepare the vegetables; chop the onions, mince the garlic. Slice the eggplants and peppers into long strips.
  3. Coat the eggplants and peppers in a tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a large saute pan, heat the remaining oil and add the onions and garlic, cook until onions are tender.
  5. Add the tomatoes, cook until they have burst.
  6. Grill the peppers and eggplants, about two minutes on each side.
  7. Remove the rind from the Camembert and add to the saute pan. Leave the heat on low until it's melted.
  8. Add the pasta to the saute pan followed by the grilled veggies and toss until combined. Add the reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.