Cocktail of the Week: Nectarine Whiskey Smash

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So, I came across a couple of overripe nectarines in the fridge a couple days ago. They smelled wonderful, but I admit, I’m very picky about the texture of my fruit, and I knew I didn’t want to eat them out of hand. What to do, what to do? Make a cocktail of course! I had just picked some of my sadly neglected, but thriving mint, which I threw into the mix, and as it was a cool night, out came the rye. Three rocks glasses, two thirds of a nectarine in each with 10 or so leaves of mint, a squeeze of lemon all smooshed together and covered with rye and ice. Yum, yum.

Recipe.

When Autumn Comes: Grape Focaccia

Make sourdough grape focaccia!

Nothing says Autumn like fresh grapes. I’m not talking about those aroma-less, seedless excuses for grapes you can buy in the grocery store all year long. I’m talking about big, plump, seedy, perfumed grapes. Concord grapes, for example. Freshly picked. There’s a fruit you can smell from a mile away. Plop those on top of focaccia with rosemary and anise seeds and bake it in the oven; suddenly your whole house will smell absolutely amazing. Breath it in; that’s the smell of harvest time.

See recipe…

A Portrait: H2O

Surface tension is crazy. Did you ever do that experiment in elementary school where you filled a glass with water and then started dropping more water on top, bit by bit, with an eyedropper? You watched in amazement as the water, rather than pouring over like you expected, built into a kind of bubble above the cup. But touch that dome – break the surface tension – and over it flowed. How cool is that? Well, I think it’s pretty cool.

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Cocktail of the Week: A Silver Meyer

Last week when I went to fetch limes from the produce section at the grocery store, I was distracted by a basket full of deep sunset yellow fruit. Meyer Lemons! I was buying citrus for cocktails, so of course I had cocktails on my mind, and I had to try a couple. After all, I’ve never seen meyer lemons looking so ripe. I grabbed a couple, and here’s the drink I came up with. An interesting thing I noticed was that the shaved zest on top gave off a distinctive vanilla like aroma – very different from a conventional lemon. The juice itself smelled of oranges and tasted of lemons (though less tart). A very interesting fruit and I hope I find some again to try out more experiments!

Recipe…

Experiment: Nectarine-Lavender Muffins with Coconut Flour

So, I saw this pin on Pinterest (yes, I spend too much time on that site. But, all the cool ideas I find there!). Anyway, someone pinned Lavender Nectarine Muffins. Sounds damn good, I thought. So (after repinning, of course) I clicked for the recipe. Despair! It was in German! What now? I don’t speak German! Ahhh, but the internet can do anything – right? Hasty Google search. Some copy and pasting. Soon I have a VERY rough translation. Well, I’m creative. I can make this work; I WANT ME SOME MUFFINS.

Of course, being the impatient person I am, I decided to experiment on my first go. I wanted to use less flour by substituting coconut flour. This is not quite as straightforward as I thought it would be since you have to add equal parts extra liquid to coconut flour and sometimes you even need more egg for loft. Add to this that I was working with oz (weight) instead of cups (thanks European measurements). Anyway, for a bit, it was very confusing. However, in the end I actually came out with a batch of tasty muffins. Turns out the combination of nectarine, lavender and coconut flour results in a something that tastes a little like a corn muffin. Who knew? I think I may want to try making the straight flour version just for the sake of comparison. We’ll see…

See recipe.

Portrait of a Day on Lake Champlain

Cocktail of the Week: Alpine Fizz

The weather has finally turned here in NJ, and we have been enjoying some Vermont style summer days. To celebrate the beautiful weather, after church this Sunday, we strolled around town for a bit. We thought about finding a restaurant with outdoor seating, but decided that our own porch and a bottle of bubbly with bakery treats would be just as pleasant and less expensive. So home we came bearing our precious bag of assorted croissants, and down I went to the fetch a bottle of sparkly. Then I thought, since we’re celebrating, why not French 75’s instead of plain sparkling wine? Turned out we were all thinking along the same lines. Great minds, right? But, to our dismay, we were practically out of lemons! <gasp>. We were, however, swimming in limes. Gin goes with limes, I thought. Champagne goes with limes. Gin goes with Champagne. St. Germain goes with all three. And thus, the Alpine Fizz was born. Alpine, because St. Germain is made with Alpine flowers. Fizz because sparkling wine is fizzy!

See recipe…

Cocktail of the Week: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries

We recently finished a jar of Luxardo Maraschino Cherries. For those of you who have not experienced these little treasures, these are the real thing. None of this brightly died, corn-syrup soaked nonsense. These are incredibly delicious. Having one at the bottom of your drink makes you want another drink just so you can eat the cherry – and for the record, I don’t even really like cherries. Anyway, we finished the cherries in the jar, but there was still all sorts of delicious syrup left, and rather than let it go to waste, I thought I would do a little experimentation. The results were pretty tasty I thought.

Recipes…