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Posts from the ‘Drinks’ Category

A Gift, A Giving Community, Announcing A Holiday Giveaway And A Hot Cup Of Chai

From Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

From Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

I follow many blogs, I love them all and try my best to read and comment or at least like every one or as close as I can get to acknowledging them. One blog I love and follow is Sonal’s beautiful Simply Vegetarian777, chock full of delicious recipes and gorgeous photography it is one of those blogs that takes your breath away. Sonal also happens to be one of the sweetest and kindest individuals you will ever know and although we have never met in person I feel like we are close friends albeit virtual, she has touched my life and my kitchen with her generosity. This is the second batch of spices she has sent me, thank you my friend. I saw this recipe on her site a few weeks back and immediately commented how I had to make it it just sounds incredible. It’s an Indian breakfast dish called Bread Poha. Now I am challenged in the spicing department, I notoriously underspice and have become befuddled when faced with a recipe that uses many different spices in one dish. Sonal knowing me and seeing my plight sent me pre measured spice packets, everything the spicing challenged will need to put together a scrumptious meal and I must add that she included detailed instructions. Sonal, market these please I will be your first customer.

I was the lucky recipient previously of some of her genius spice blends and made this Kofta Korma which literally knocked my socks off, I followed her basic recipe for Korma adapting it to use meat.

How wonderful is our community of bloggers, most of us have never met each other, we visit and comment on each others blogs and become online friends and if we are lucky we get to meet each other. We lift each other up and encourage and in the case of dear Sonal, without asking or expecting anything she sends me the spice packets, but not just spices everything I need for pilaf incuding the rice and dal with the spices. I will be making dishes from each item she sent me and posting it here. The first will be the bread poho, it uses day (s) old bread which I don’t have so I am letting a baguette sit for a few days.

In the spirit of giving I wanted to announce that the last week of November there will be a giveaway which I am very excited about. It’s wonderful I won’t say what it is (surprises are fun) but I am sure you will all love it and it will be my gift to you, or at least one (or two) of you.


Chai Tea

Sonal-Simply Vegetarian 777

1 cup water

3 tbs milk (I used half and half)

a good pinch of Sonal’s Chai Spice (it was about 1/2 tsp)

Black tea (either tea bag or loose tea

Sweetener of your choice

Bring the water, milk and spice to a rolling boil, add the tea and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain into a cup and enjoy!! Sweeten if you like. I added a spoonful of honey to mine.

As I type this I am enjoying a hot cup of chai and it’s absolutely delicious, the spices are perfection.  I usually use a prepared chai tea but have to say making it this way with the spice mix produces a superior cup of chai. There is nothing like a hot cup of Chai to warm you on a cold day.  Thank you Sonal!!

Classic Nicoise-An American/French Pairing For #Wine PW


We are in the throes of summer and July is the month that at least for me is the quintessential summer month, it’s also the month that America celebrates it’s Independance on July 4th and the French celebrate Bastille day on July 14th. What better way to mark both holidays than with an American/ French food and wine pairing.  Michelle@Rockin Red Blog invited me to participate,  I was thrilled but a little scared, I’ve done plenty of posts utilizing the expertise of the wine experts but have never actually done this myself. There can be any number of combinations, American food French wine, American food and wine etc…..  I chose a classic French dish that is light and IMHO perfect summer fare, Salade Nicoise, and I thought it would be fun to pair with both an American and French wine.


Salade Nicoise is a delicious combination of assorted vegetables, olives,  hard boiled eggs and tuna or anchovies, the salad is dressed with a vinaigrette and I will serve with a fresh baguette and wine of course.  Really no recipe is needed but I will give you the breakdown of what my salad consists of:
Salad Nicoise

3 thick tuna steaks

1/2 lb haricot vert with only the stem end removed

4 hard boiled eggs

2 beets roasted

1/2 lb small new potatoes cleaned and roasted

cherry tomatoes

olives- nicoise olives preferably or kalamaata works also

young french radishes


Coat the potatoes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. At the same time roast the beets, clean well, drizzle with olive oil add a sprig of thyme and wrap in foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Clean and trim the haricot vert, place a saucepan filled with water on high heat to boil, add a tbs of salt to the water. When it comes to a rolling boil add the green beans and boil for 8 minutes. Immediately drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and the beans will retain their lovely green color. Make the hard boiled eggs. Clean the radishes and tomatoes. Prepare the tuna last, mind you all of this can be done ahead of time and assembled the day you are going to serve the salad.


1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dijon mustard

scant tsp of honey

Place everything in a lidded jar and shake to combine.


Heat fry pan with a little olive oil on Medium high heat (make sure it’s sizzling hot). Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper (be generous with the pepper) Sear the tuna 3-4 minutes on each side (depending on thickness mine were about 1 1/2 inches thick) and immediately remove from the fry pan. Let sit 10 minutes and slice.

Arrange the vegetables and egg artistially on a platter, add the tuna slices and serve the vinaigrette on the side.

The wine:



American Wine- Finger Lakes region of New York State

Dr Konstantin Frank – 2013 Dry Reisling,

Rose champagne

Rose champagne

French Wine- NV Montaudon Grande Rosé Champagne – Reims, France

50% Chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, 15% pinot noir (red)


Why I chose these wines:

I love wine and enjoy with my food but I am not a professional at wine pairings. I thought about what I was serving and what I would like to have with it, both the dry Reisling and Rosé Champagne came to mind. I did a little research and found that my instincts were pretty good. I thought the Reisling, especially this particular one from upstate New York is clean, crisp, and it would be a great match with the tuna.

When considering the Rosé Champagne one usually thinks in terms of desserts or something sweet but Rosé and specifically Rosé Champagne is excellent with many and varied savory dishes from  grilled meats to a Nicoise Salade. The Champagne also has a lively acidity and I felt that would be important when considering what to pair with this dish.


The Pairing

Both wines were amazing and they were the perfect compliment to the salad. I first tasted the Reisling which is nicely dry, just the slightest hint of sweetness almost undetectable. It is a very distinct wine that was delicious with the meal. It’s very well balanced in both acidity and mineral content.

The Rosé Champagne is I think one of the best I have had. It’s a delicate champagne, a gorgeous deep pink, effervescant, crisp, fruity, slightly sweet and beautifully balanced. It went so well with the salad. I served ice cold.  This Champagne would be fantastic with anything including dessert.

If I had to pick one that was my favorite (and thats a tough one) I would have to say the Rosé Champagne wins my vote. I already ordered 2 more bottles.

It was an honor to be invited to participate in this with so many great bloggers most of whom are experts and really know their stuff when it comes to the intricacies of wine. Please check out their posts by clicking on the links below:

A Day in the Life on the Farm: “An American Feast for #WinePW”
Confessions of a Culinary Diva: “Provence Style Pan Roasted Chicken with Rose”
Cooking Chat: “Gruyere Cheeseburgers with a Bordeaux”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Tapenade-Topped Sablefish + Cave de Saint-Roch-les-Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé”
Curious Cuisiniere: “Cherry Clafoutis paired with a Cremant Rosé”
Dracaena Wines: “Discovering the Truth About Bastille Day with #WinePW”
ENOFYLZ Wine Blog: “Independence Day at Ridge Vineyards Zins and Blends #winePW”
Food Wine Click: “All American Menu: Farmer & Winery Friends”
Grape Experiences: “Wine and Dine: Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc Cotes du Roussillon and Salade Niçoise”
Pull That Cork: “Domaine de Bila-Haut and Cobb Salad for #winePW”
Rockin Red Blog: “Celebrating America & France with July #WinePW”
Tasting Pour: “Steak with Mushroom Cognac Sauce, Patriotic Potatoes, and Bell Wine Cellars Cab Sauv #winepw”
Vino Travels: The Alchemy of Hunt Country Vineyards Paired with Braised Beef Short Ribs
Please join us this morning at 10 am CST on Twitter for a fun and lively discussion on our American and French food and wine pairings at #WinePW. Also, join us Saturday, August 15 as we explore Portugal, a land of delicious food and outstanding wines!

Peach,Raspberry Rose’ Sorbet For Fiesta Friday #71



It has been a while since I have participated in Fiesta Friday, It’s about time I join the party again. Angie has been great, checking in on me and I so appreciate it. We are but a few short weeks away from the start of Summer and I thought I would bring a cooling, refreshing sorbet to the party. Now this is sorbet with a kick, it’s made with Rose’ and some fruit. It’s great on it’s own or made into an ice cold spritzer with some sparkling water or even add a scoop to some prosecco!! This week’s party is hosted by sweet Angie@The Novice Gardener and the lovely co hosts are Laurie @ ten.times.tea and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. Welcome Laurie, this is her first time hosting!!!

About a week ago Aleksandra a regular on Food52, a friend and author of the gorgeous (James Beard nominated) blog Three Little Halves posted a question on the Hotline asking for ideas on what to do with a bottle of Rose’ wine that she was not in love with to drink but wanted to use so as not to waste. We went back and forth she eventually decided on a jelly, I had suggested a sorbet. Inspired by our conversation I decided to make sorbet out of rose’. I used the great recipe by David Lebovitz for Rasberry Rose sorbet and changed it a bit using juicy ripe peaches along with the raspberry and a hint of orange (2 small pieces of tangerine skin).

Blended, strained and ready to chill

Blended, strained and ready to chill

Peach,Raspberry Rose’ Sorbet

Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz

Serves 6-8 depending on serving size

2 cups rose’

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups raspberries and peaches

small piece of orange or tangerine peel

Pour the rose’ and sugar in a non reactive saucepan, bring to a boil and immediately removed from the heat. Add the raspberries, peaches and orange peel. Let sit until it reaches room temperature then blend until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a bowl or container and refrigerate until very cold.

Process using manufacturers directions in your ice cream maker.

Serve on it’s own as a palette cleansing sorbet or add a couple of scoops to sparkling water for a delicious and refreshing drink.

A great way to enjoy wine!!

A great way to enjoy wine!!



Hot Buttered Spiced Hard Cider

hot buttered spiced hard cider

hot buttered spiced hard cider

This is a twist on my own recipe for Brown Butter Spiced Ale. The challenge is to create a winter or cold weather cocktail by the totally lovely or should I say loverly website, I am not getting married but browsing through their site made me wish I were, the photo’s, the advice, planning,  literally everything you need to know or need to do to put together a wonderful and seamless wedding.  I was asked if I would submit a recipe for a cold weather cocktail suitable for a wedding or a soiree. Every Friday they share a drink and I am hoping they like my submission.

About 2 years ago I created this drink for a recipe challenge on Food52. I wanted to create another drink along the same lines that reflects Fall and Winter, and what reflects fall and winter better than apples, the drink is warming and would be suitable for a special occasion. I used Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Apple/Ginger instead of the Ale. This drink is rich and sweet, buttery and spicy, has a kick from the ginger in the cider and the cognac and is so warming. Note: If you don’t have or like Cognac you can substitute brandy, bourbon or whiskey.

First apples of the season

First apples of the season


Hot Buttered Spiced Hard Cider

Serves 2

12 ounces hard cider ( I used Angry Orchard Apple/Ginger)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ginger (fresh or powdered either is fine)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tbs cognac per glass (2 tbs cognac)
1 Cinnamon stick and slice of apple to garnish

Add butter to small saucepan and melt on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add brown sugar and spices,  cook until brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is paste-like. Scrape into small bowl or ramekin and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the cider to the same saucepan and heat on medium until hot (don’t bring to a boil). Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the spiced butter mixture in serving glass, pour hot cider into glass add the cognac and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick and apple.


Coco Lime Slushy – I’m A Whole Foods Finalist!!



Sorry I am doing this twice, wordpress totally messed up this post back dating it and when I tried to correct it, I kept getting error  messages so I am doing it again, sorry for the redundancy!!

This is one of my favorite summer drinks, I posted it a few years ago and it’s such a great drink I decided to resurrect it.  It’s cold and refreshing, creamy and delicious. I make it with more lime than pineapple and use unsweetened coconut milk and lime simple syrup so that I can control the sweetness. I also do not use crushed ice I find it waters it down so instead I freeze the coconut lime mixture in an ice cube tray. The cubes are solid but easy to break up in the blender.  You can add as much rum as you like or make it virgin, it’s equally as delicious. One other cool thing about this drink is that because the drink base is frozen in ice cube trays you can make 1 or more and leave the rest in the freezer for use later on. Remove the cubes place in freezer bag and store in the freezer. I love making multiple batches so I always have some of the cubes on hand.

I entered this recipe in a whole foods contest for Best Drink for a Crowd and I was lucky enough to be picked as a finalist. If you don’t mind voting for my recipe I would be very grateful!! Thank you everyone.

Lime Simple Syrup:

1 Lime peel removed (Use the peeled lime for the drink base)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water
In saucepan add sugar and water, bring to a boil let boil for approximately 2 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved take off heat, add lime peel. Cover and let sit until cool. Remove the lime peel. Store in jar in refrigerator. You can easily double this to make more simple syrup.

Remove all the pith

Remove all the pith

Pour into ice cube tray, makes exactly 16 cubes

Pour into ice cube tray, makes exactly 16 cubes

The Drink Base:

1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk

1 Lime peeled and all of the pith removed and quartered (Use the lime you used for the simple syrup)

4-6 tablespoons lime simple syrup (Make it as sweet as you like)

2 -3 ounces Pineapple juice (unsweetened) Start with two and if you need a little more liquid to break up cubes in blender add another ounce.

1 ounce Rum (Add more if you like it stronger)

To your food processor add the quartered lime and coconut milk. Process until lime is pulverized. Strain into measuring cup. Add 4-6 tbs of the lime simple syrup. (Adjust the sweetness to suite your taste. Pour into ice cube tray and freeze.
When coconut lime is frozen remove from ice cube tray, place in blender (depending on the proficiency of your blender you may want to break up the cubes) add pineapple juice and rum and blend until the cubes are broken up and it’s a slushy consistency. Pour and serve. Garnish with lime and pineapple.

Coco-Lime Slushy

Coco-Lime Slushy


Campari,Lemon,Lime Sorbet

Lemon Lime Campari sorbet

Lemon Lime Campari sorbet

It’s hot in NYC, and I felt compelled to offer another frozen confection for an adult audience. Campari and soda with lime is one of my favorite drinks, I like it ice cold. The campari is a little bitter with herbal undertones and when mixed with sparkling water and lime it’s such a refreshing and delicious drink. While enjoying one I thought that it would make a fantastic sorbet and the sorbet would make a great drink, a very adult float. I posted this recipe about 2 years ago, it’s wonderful and perfect for hot summer weather so I thought I would share it with you again.

You can make it however you like it, all limes, all lemons, mix them, sweeten to your taste. There is no real recipe here but the one thing you have to be careful of is how much Campari you add, because it’s alcohol it doesn’t freeze hard, I found that 1/2 cup will freeze but it takes longer than regular ice cream or sorbet, so be patient. Make sure you get the base really cold. I put it in the freezer about an hour before I am going to put in the ice cream maker. Hey, if you don’t have an ice cream maker make it into a granita. Anyway you have it, it’s delicious!! Unless you don’t like Campari of course.

The Base

Serves 6 or more depending on serving size

1 1/4 cup Juice from freshly sqeezed lemons and limes you can decide the ratio as long as it equals 1 1/4 cups I used 4 limes 3 lemons

1 cup water

1 1/2 cup super fine sugar

1/2 cup Campari
Combine the juice of the lemons and limes, super fine sugar, water and campari mix until the sugar is disolved. Place in the refrigerator to chill, should be very cold. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn away.When the sorbet is thick and the consitency of a slurpee pour into a freezer container. Its best to freeze over night or until it is scoopable. Note: You can also use simple syrup, for this batch I used lime simple syrup adding a little super fine sugar to taste.

If you want to make a float simply add two or three scoops to icy cold sparkling water. Refreshing!!

Campari sorbet and soda

Campari sorbet and soda

Eggnog- The Quintessential Holiday Beverage



Creamy, sweet, delicious eggnog, I love it and it’s been a part of my holiday repertoire for as long as I can remember. I make it with and without alcohol. I also use a cooked custard because there are children drinking this and don’t want to take any chances with raw egg. The recipe I started out with is Martha Stewarts from quite a few years ago. She did not cook the eggs. The recipe calls for separating the yolks from the whites, using the yolks in the base and whipping the egg whites with some sugar and folding it into the base. It’s frothy and creamy and sweet and really delicious. I have changed it over the years and no longer fold egg whites into my custard, I’ll save those for something else like angel food cake. After cooling the custard before serving I add a pint of vanilla ice cream or Haagen Daz makes an egg nog ice cream which is delicious. This is not a diet drink and it’s loaded with cream and sugar and is very rich. The final presentation is with lightly sweetened whipped cream on  top and a generous grating of nutmeg. I usually make a very large batch using a dozen eggs, divide and add the alcohol to half and leave the other virgin. I like to use rum and cognac or brandy and in the non alcoholic version I add pure rum flavoring which I make myself by simply boiling some rum for 15 minutes to remove almost all of the alcohol. The recipe below makes a quart of egg nog base, add or deduct you really don’t need a recipe.

Makes 1 quart eggnog base

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

6-8 egg yolks (I use 8)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Place egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl and either whisk or use electric mixer to combine the yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Place milk and cream on stove and heat until scalding (not boiling) add half the hot milk/cream to egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour back into pan with the remaining milk, cook on medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You are making a custard, check frequently when the custard starts to thicken by dipping the spoon in the custard, swipe a line on the back of the spoon and if it stays intact the custard is done. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and transfer to a heat proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, it should sit directly on the custard and refrigerate at least 4 hours preferably overnight.

custard is done

custard is done

Making the eggnog

1 quart egg nog base

1 pint vanilla or eggnog ice cream (optional)

1 cup heavy cream whipped

fresh nutmeg grated

rum extract to taste

To make boozy egg nog omit rum extract and add rum or I like to add rum and cognac or brandy. You decide how much,  I like to add 1/4 cup rum and 1/4 cup brandy.

Pour the eggnog base into serving container, whip the cream adding just a little sugar. Soften your ice cream and add in scoops to the eggnog, let it melt, it’s ok. Top with whipped cream and generous grating of nutmeg. If you don’t use ice cream divide the whipped cream and fold half into the eggnog base and top with the other half.

Christmas in a bottle

Christmas in a bottle

Decorating For The Holidays And Some Brown Butter Spiced Ale

Decorated Fireplace Mantle

Decorated Fireplace Mantle

I am running behind this year, too much happening on many fronts but I decided I better start decorating. I keep it pretty simple, easily put up and taken down. Icicle lights in the windows with antique beaded wreaths, greenery and some lights and decorations on my mantles. No tree, too much for one person to deal with, putting up and taking down, needles everywhere it’s not for me. There is nothing like sitting in your home, admiring the beautiful lights and having a hot holiday beverage preferably with some alcohol to soothe the frayed nerves.

I plan on featuring some drinks both alcoholic and not that can be enjoyed during this festive time of year. I love opening a bottle of wine or champagne but sometimes you want something a bit different. I love hot toddy’s and hot buttered rum. This drink is my take on a hot buttered rum using ale, I entered this drink in a food 52 contest a while back and it was picked as a CP (community pick) It’s a bit sweet, a bit bitter (from the ale) and spicy and buttery, really different and delicious.

My next post will be eggnog, my absolute favorite holiday drink!!

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

Brown Butter Spiced Ale

Serves 2

  • 12 ounces ale of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • splashes brandy (about 1 tablespoon) per glass
  • 1 Cinnamon stick for garnish
  1. Add butter to small saucepan and melt on medium heat. Cook until butter becomes a light brown and has a slightly nutty smell (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce heat to low and add brown sugar and spices — cook until brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is paste-like. Scrape into small bowl or ramekin and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. Add the ale to the same saucepan and heat on medium until hot. Spoon two tablespoonds of the spiced butter mixture in serving glass, pour hot ale into glass and add a splash of brandy (about 1 or 2 tablespoons) and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

This is almost too simple to post but I just had to, it’s so good. I know there are a million recipes out there for flavored syrups but I wanted to share this. I love making syrups, all different flavors I use them all summer for drinks, sorbet, ice creams and in desserts. Have I mentioned how much I love making syrups. I have the blood orange syrup, now rhubarb and I think I will make grapefruit. They are so simple to make, last forever refrigerated and have so many uses. The color is gorgeous too! How about a snow cone on a hot summers day, shaved ice and fruit syrup, Delicious!!! Note: For more intense rhubarb flavor increase rhubarb to 2 stalks, increase sugar to 1 1/2 cups and water to 1 1/2 cups.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Makes 12 oz

1 large stalks rhubarb

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

juice of half a lemon (approximately 2 tbs)

Add everything to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat to med/high and cook at a low boil for 5-7 minutes or until rhubarb is very soft. Turn off heat and let sit in the pot for 10 minutes. Strain into sterilized jar pressing on the rhubarb to get every bit of juice. Cover and refrigerate.

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

When I was at the store buying fruit and vegetables I saw some beautiful blood oranges, I love them, juiced, in baked goods or straight up. After using all but 2 I wondered what I could do with the last of my oranges. Simple syrup is something I always keep in the refrigerator, I use it for baking, drinks or spoon on fruit salad. It’s a staple item for me. The blood oranges made a beautiful and delicious syrup, a gorgeous color, and that unmistakable blood orange flavor. It’s so simple to make, taking only a few minutes. I’m saving some of it for the Semolina Olive Oil Cake, I think it would make a delicious soaking syrup. Mix it in sparkling water to make soda, you control the sweetness, it’s great in mixed drinks, Sangria, there are so many possibilities.

2 blood oranges juiced it yielded  a little over 1/3 cup

zest of both oranges

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

2 tbs honey

Place everything in a medium size saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat, when there is a rolling boil, reduce to medium/high and cook on a low boil uncovered for 10-15 minutes. The syrup will reduce a little, for a thicker syrup you would have to boil longer, 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour into a lidded jar. Refrigerate.