I’m still recovering from one of the worst weeks ever (last week). I took the weekend to recover and spent it by drinking copious amounts of sparkling rose, having Chinese food with friends, getting my hair blow dried, watching The World Cup and seeing Boyhood (a must-see!). I feel a million times better. Alcohol and good food has a way to ease my pains.
I’m back in the kitchen this week to share some new stuff and even hopefully finally prepare for Ice Cream Week (ahh!). I’m starting with this recipe I made for PBS Food, Grilled Pineapple Margaritas. I’m not sure if there’s anything better than the flavor combination of smokey and sweet—it’s all up in this drink! Someone suggested that this could be made with rum instead of tequila and I say go for it. I have terrible/fun college memories with tequila so I’m not married to the idea of it being made with juuust this spirit. I say go rum!
Coincidentally I have another pineapple recipe that I’m making today and it involves the entire pineapple. The whole dang thing and I’m super excited.
The name of this cocktail is just an indicator that there are times in the kitchen when I don’t know what I exactly want and am usually like, why can’t I add mint to this. I’d only make sense! This is a hodgepodge of two kinds of cocktails: a mojito and a caipirinha. So…that makes it a caipirijito. If I’ve confused you, please ignore me and make this cocktail with rum and you can call it a rhubarb mojito.
Sometimes I overly complicate things and annoy myself.
What is the difference between cachaca and rum anyway? There is a difference, even though it might not seem that way at first glance.
Rum is made using processed cane; hence the reason why rum usually has notes of molasses.
Cacacha is much cleaner in flavor because it’s made with unprocessed cane juice. So, I think when you’re pairing it with something like, say, rhubarb, the cleaner flavor is the way to go.
There are a ton of cacachas out there you can use; I picked a super standard one called Pitu. It’s great for mixing cocktails a.k.a. caipirhinias. Is it fancy? No, it won’t impress anyone and it’s definitely not made to sip, but it’ll do the trick when making mixed drinks. And it’s not expensive at all.
Phew. This week handed it to me. Between fighting a case of strep throat to a week of a hundred degree weather to dealing with lots of family issues, this week has been on the rougher side of rough. Let’s just say it was pumice-like. Rouuuugh. The other night as I was wallowing in my misery, being the Negative Nancy I’m usually not, I decided to stop it already. I made the decision to be happy. It’s a hard thing to do when so many of the big things are wrong, off, out of place, but I needed to just enjoy the next hour of my life. I know that sounds silly but I did. So, I made myself a delightful Grapefruit Shandy…mostly out of necessity.
I first had a shandy when I had just moved to LA and went to the opening night of this beer bar called El Prado. They were serving shandies and I had, like, five. Definitely too many, but I absolutely looooved them. Flash to years later, I went to my favorite beer store and found this Stiegel Grapefruit Shandy (they did all the work for you!) and thought it was the most delicious thing in the entire world.
Anyway, the other night when I was super bummed out I went to the beer store to buy a bottle for myself and they were all sold out. Womp, womp. It had never dawned on me to just make one. So here you go! The short story of a grapefruit shandy.
It’s the simplest most delicious thing ever. They’re kinda similar to the dude-ly mimosas I like to make: beer and orange juice vs. champagne. Champagne has always been a bit too girly for me. It all tastes the same and it tends to make my nose itch.
A Los Angeles dream is sitting on a curb, eating three tacos on a paper plate with a big styrofoam cup full of sweet horchata. If you move here, it’s something you have to do. Call it an initiation or whatever. I drank horchata for a few years before I even thought to make it myself. I don’t make it often but when I do, it’s worth the wait. For the full recipe and more photos, hope on over to PBS Food.
This may look like a your prototypical mint julep but IT’S NOT! It’s not at all.
The best mint julep I’ve ever had was at this fancy restaurant in Savannah, Georgia (I forget the name, I’m sorry). They steeped the bourbon with mint for three days. It was a whole thing. And of course, as there should be, it was served with crushed ice…but unexpectedly not a ton of it and it wasn’t served in a julep cup; instead it was poured into a snifter glass. It was different and special and super fancy.
There isn’t anything fancy about this right here, but it was my goal to make an interesting take on mint julep but still keep it a classic-esque mint julep. My goal was to have the mint and sweetness in the ice. That was it. And it worked because that goal is the easiest thing in the world to achieve.
It’s like if a snow cone, granita and mint julep had a beautiful boozy child.
Sometimes (since I’m a nosey person), I wonder what people’s blogging situation looks like. Like, where are they when they’re writing, what are they wearing (not like that, you sicko!), what are they drinking…you know, all that kind of stuff.
So, here’s a very non-glamorous picture of where I write the majority of my blog posts: in bed, wearing sweats and a t-shirt with anti-wrinkling serum all over my face. I usually edit and write the recipe right after I make and shoot the dish, but the blog post is always written right before I press publish or set it on a timer. For me, the idea of writing blog posts weeks ahead of when they’re published feels weird and disconnected. I like it to be almost in real time. I dunno—there’s no right or wrong way, that’s just how I prefer it.
I’m so dang excited about these Italian sodas. They’re maybe the prettiest thing I’ve made in quite some time, and my favorite part about this recipe is that it’s an idea-based recipe. You can apply the ratios below to any fruit and be met with delicious results. And seriously how gorgeous are the colors? I LOVE THEM!
If you’ve never had an Italian soda, they’re so rich and refreshing all at the same time. I decided on three flavors: rhubarb, blackberry and strawberry, but feel free to use up any fruit that cooks down well. Other fruit ideas are pineapple, blueberries, mulberries (they just came in season!) and even mangos.
I was going start this paragraph by saying, “Cocktail season is here!” But then I stopped myself because we all know that it’s always cocktail season on this blog. Duh. This cocktail in particular is seasonal, I suppose, though I see nothing wrong with using frozen strawberries, making this drank doable year-round.
Sure this looks like a pretty simple strawberry basil situation mixed with some gin, but I can assure you it’s a bit more special. I can’t get near strawberries without thinking of adding a dash of black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s just too easy! So this cocktail has a bit of weird stuff added to it, but do you expect any less from me? No, you don’t.
In other news, thanks for all your concern with Amelia. I’m happy to report that she’s back to barking a lot, stealing shoes, drinking my afternoon tea when I’m not looking and so on. So she’s better.
While I can totally do without Valentine’s day, I absolutely LOVE St. Patrick’s Day. I love Irish food and adore the color green, though just like Valentine’s Day, I don’t think food should be turned green against its will. Can we just let food live? Another reason I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s Day, in college when I worked at a brewery, it was always my highest grossing day of the year. People love an excuse to drink. Me included.
If I’m being honest, I don’t always go for cream or milk mixed with my alcohol. I think it goes back to the days when I used to have to bus glassware that had the remnants of stout mixed with irish cream and whiskey. It was curdle-central all up in there and it was not cute, my friends.
Having said all that, I’ve had dreams of making Homemade Irish Cream without a curdle in sight.
I’m listening to Aaliyah, planning something fun for Joshua for Valentine’s Day. Doughnuts are involved. I’m excited. If all turns out well I might remake it and share it next week.
Now, this cocktail. I was gonna call this a Tangelo French 75 because an old school French 75 was the inspiration but it wouldn’t be completely accurate. French 75s have champagne and since I’m not a big champagne-drinker, I swapped in a rosé and added a splash of sparkling water for a little fizz.
Ok, so let me preface this post by saying that this isn’t a recipe. This isn’t a recipe for filtered water because that would be RIDICULOUS. And it’d be much like Paula Deen’s recipe for English peas. Remember this? It was amazing. No salt, no pepper, no nothing. Just lots of butter and peas. Very Paula-style!
A few months ago Rikumo offerred to send me a few pieces of Binchotan charcoal. I was super intrigued after reading about its purifying capabilities so I said yes, and a few days later it arrived wrapped in a piece of brown paper. As I did some research I found some interesting things. For starters, Binchotan charcoal is made in the Kishu region of Japan and is activated through extremely high burning temperatures, along with a rapid cooling process.
After this process, these charcoals are extremely porous and end up having a variety of uses; mainly ones that call for absorbing impurities. They’re specifically known for enhancing blood circulation when placed in hot baths, absorbing odors when placed in closets, smelly fridges or shoes, stimulating soil in your garden and lastly, purifying drinking water.
Purifying drinking water with these Binchotan charcoals is a bit of a process (albeit a very short and easy one), so I figured I’d show you, in case this is very new-to-you (it was to me too, like, two days ago).
If you’ve ever seen the film Chinatown, you know that water is a big deal in Los Angeles. There is heavy debate as to whether Los Angeles has super healthy water or water that follows outdated regulations. Because I can’t do a full-on investigation myself, I always filter my water or use bottled (though I try and stay away from the bottled stuff whenever possible). And honestly, I don’t love the way Los Angeles water tastes. When I lived in North Carolina, I thought the water was delicious! It tasted like it was straight from a spring. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I could taste the difference from these charcoals.
Step 1: When you receive the charcoals, they’ll be dusty. This isn’t a big deal if you’re putting them in a bath or placing them in your fridge, but since we’re purifying water with them, we’re going to start by rinsing and brushing off the excess ash.
Step 2: Transfer the charcoals to a pot of water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water and allow the charcoals to cool completely.
Step 3: Fill your container with water and place the cooled charcoal inside. Allow the two to sit for several hours; about 2-3 hours. During this time the charcoal will absorb the impurities in the water.
Step 4: Feel free to leave the charcoal in the container and refill it when you’re low on water. The charcoal will work for 2 to 3 weeks until it needs to be refreshed.
Step 5: Refreshing the charcoal is super easy. Simply boil it for 10 minutes and it’s good to go. The company that makes this charcoal recommends replacing it all together every 3 months or so.
This cool-looking Chikuno Cube has replaced the box of baking soda that used to be in my fridge—it’s very effective! I also have my eye on this charcoal toothbrush. I think they’re pretty cool.
*This is not a sponsored post. I just think it’s a super cool product and wanted to share.