Blackberry and bourbon lemonade

Welcome to week 6 of our summer cocktail series.  To see what we’ve been drinking so far this summer, click on the Cocktails category.

I know, I know.  I was supposed to post a couple photos from our hiking/camping trip.  But, I didn’t.  I’ve done nothing this week except fret about school and eat 70 pizzas.  I’m starting to wonder about the weight limitations on my desk chair.  Thankfully, I’m about to wrap up a big project and the very second I do — no matter the time of day! — I’ll be making myself a big pitcher of this amazing lemonade.  I CAN’T WAIT.

Assuming you’re not desperately finishing up a project and then celebrating with bourbon (irrespective of the time of day), I’m thinking this drink would be perfect for a sunny late afternoon in the backyard, or maybe around a fire pit at night.  It would also be an awesome accompaniment to some BBQ (and now I’m thinking about BBQ tempeh burgers again…oh, and did you see  Alex’s faux pulled pork sliders in GOOD magazine?  I love his use of grated tofu — I would have never thought of that!).  Whatever your weekend plans are, though, be sure to work this drink into them.   Blackberries, bourbon and lemonade are guaranteed to make your weekend that much better — especially when combined!

Before we go, here’s a really close-up shot of a blackberry.  I washed them afterward.  Really well.

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Boozy cucumber-ginger-lime slushies

We’re on to week 5 of our summer cocktail series (how is summer moving so quickly?!).  To catch up on past recipes, click on the Cocktails category.  For new recipes, swing by on Fridays.

I had two different recipes (I mean, food recipes) that I wanted to share with you this week.  But, somehow the week slipped through my fingers.  I didn’t do much cooking, mostly because Alex and I went on a little hiking/camping trip and because, on our return, I felt so guilty about abandoning work that I didn’t leave my computer for 3 days.  I’ll tell you more about the hiking/camping in our next post.  In this post, I want to send sympathy waves out to the people who are melting on the East coast in 100+ degree temps.  Today’s frozen cocktail is dedicated to you.

There are a couple ways you can make this slushy and I opted for the fastest way, since I thought everyone would just want to have an icy, cold drink in hand as soon as possible.  We’ll make the drink in a blender.  An alternative is to add a cup of water into the mix and then freeze it in a bowl in your freezer (similarly to how the sorbet is frozen in this post) or in your ice cream maker.  If you don’t have a blender or you want a little more intensely flavored drink, you can go that route. Continue reading

A modern Tom Collins

Welcome to week 4 of our summer cocktail series. To see past recipes, click on the Cocktails category.

Most discussions of the Tom Collins start off with a description of the drink’s history.  It’s been around since the 1870s and is often confused with a similar drink called the Gin Fizz, so the back story is interesting.  But, I’m not going to talk about that (read this if you’re interested).  Instead, I’m going to tell you that, over a summer when I was about 16, I learned that I liked a Tom Collins.

At the time, I thought that a pre-made bottle of Collins mix was necessary to make the drink.  The mix was crazy sweet and chemically, but I was 16 and had dubious taste.  It was the mid-nineties and overly sweet cocktails (__-tinis, as most of them were called) were all the rage.  Thankfully, that sort of thing has mostly fallen out of vogue (that horrid Collins mix might have had a role in ending the trend).  Since that fateful summer, I have never again personally witnessed anyone order or drink a Tom Collins.

Fast forward to my 30s.  I was sipping on a gin and fizzy lemonade and started reminiscing about my summer of Tom Collinses (can they be pluralized?).  I had no idea what was in one.  So, I looked it up.  I was stunned to find I was pretty much drinking one at that very moment.  The only thing I was missing was the characteristic garnish of a maraschino cherry and an orange slice. Continue reading

Apricot cobbler (for breakfast!)

OK, fine, you can eat this cobbler for dessert (and you’ll love it), but breakfast cobbler!  It’s easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time, has lots of fresh fruit, little sugar, whole grains, almonds and yogurt.  And let’s not forget that it tastes awesome.

I threw together this not-so-sweet cobbler after reading Good to the Grain, one of my new cookbooks.  The author, Kim Boyce, talks about using whole grain flours in baking not explicitly for health reasons (though, they do provide more nutrients, protein and fiber), but because of the complex and wonderful flavors they often impart.  I was sufficiently inspired that, as I thought about how I wanted a nutty topping for my cobbler, I added in some whole wheat flour.  I don’t usually use whole wheat flours in desserts, but I wasn’t trying to be virtuous.  I just wanted its nutty flavor.

Then, as I rifled down some cobbler for breakfast the next morning (tell me I’m not alone in eating leftover dessert for breakfast), I realized that my breakfast was actually pretty healthy.  In fact, it had less sugar and bad fats than most pancake and muffin recipes, let alone those devilish things at the bakery down the street.  It also had good stuff like fruit, whole grains, almonds and yogurt.

Thus was the dawn of Breakfast Cobbler.  Possibly the greatest I-feel-like-I’m-being-bad-but-I’m-not breakfast ever.  So, really!  Bake this cobbler.  In the morning, put a big spoonful in a bowl, heat it up, top it with a dollop of yogurt and feel almost as virtuous as you would if you were eating a bowl of oatmeal and fruit.  Or maybe eat it directly from the pan with a fork (who would ever do a thing like that…?). Continue reading

Rosé sangria with peaches and cucumber

This is week 3 of our summer cocktail series.  Check in every Friday for a fresh, light and easy summer drink.  To see our past recipes, check out the Cocktails category.

I think sangria might be one of my favorite drinks ever.  Still, I don’t make it at home nearly enough and I rarely order it when I’m out (because it always seems overly expensive).  Finally, today, after going to a restaurant last night that was serving sangria for $9 a glass, I decided to make a whole, gorgeous pitcher for a grand total of $12.  (Note: this was not good for my productivity for the day.)

This sangria is a nice and light summer version.  Rosé keeps the fruit bright and has a much softer flavor, which lets milder fruits shine through.  I used a more minerally French rose because I thought it would match nicely with the cumber.  If you use a Spanish or California rosé, the sangria will likely have have a slightly sweeter, fruity flavor (which is yummy, too!  but I like a crisp rose with the cucumber).

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Summer split pea soup with yogurt and dill

I usually think of split pea soup as a winter thing, but last week I gave a summer version a shot and I was really happy with the result.  Alex and I ate it outside for an early dinner with a couple glasses of savignon blanc.  I also think this soup would be nice served up in little shot-sized glasses or porcelain spoons for an hors d’oeuvre or an amuse bouch (they did something similar with a spring pea soup while we were at Blackberry Farm and everyone was raving about it).  But, beyond tasting wonderful, this recipe is secretly really healthy — packed with protein and low in fat and calories (perfect for post-July 4 BBQ benders!).

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Vodka-infused watermelon agua fresca + Watermelon-jalapeno margaritas

We’re on to week 2 of our summer cocktail series.  Check in every Friday for light and easy summer drinks.  If you want to see our past recipes, browse through the Cocktails category.

So, now you have a big vat of watermelon agua fresca (or you will soon enough).  It’s wonderful, light and refreshing as is.  But, it’s party time!  And you deserve a drink.  Here’s two recipes (bonus!), depending on your mood: an easy drinking vodka number and a lets-tip-our-hats-to-Mexico with a spicy tequila one (I’m super into this one).  Let’s start with the vodka and work our way up.  But first, here’s a reminder of how yummy that agua fresca looks in case you’re on the fence about making it (it’s easy!).

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