” Pink Grapefruit Juice & Coconut Water Cocktail, or Mocktail?”

2015

Here is a somewhat healthy drink to end this year, or to start your 2015 off deliciously.

A mixture of fresh pink grapefruit juice, coconut water, vanilla beans, a honey or agave nectar based simple syrup, seltzer water and a bit of fresh fruit for a garnish with or without a splash of Vodka is pretty healthy…..no?

Totally and absolutely inspired by Donna Hay Magazine  Dec/Jan 2015 Issue.  Pages of beautiful cocktail ideas for the Holiday season..lovely photographs..an intriguing mix of ingredients.

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A Mocktail…no Vodka, a Cocktail with a generous splash!

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I stumbled upon some fresh red cherries in the supermarket. In December? These along with some of my candied Buddha Hand citrus pieces..perfect garnish.

Big chunks of candied citrus. Citrus & honey simple syrup. (Go here for how to make candied citrus and a simple syrup. Any citrus works the same. If you want use either honey or agave nectar.)

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Serve over ice…sip..relax. Here’s a toast to a Happy and Interesting New Year Y’all.

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Pink Grapefruit Juice & Coconut Water Cocktail/Mocktail

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pink grapefruit juice (fresh)
  • 4 cups coconut water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split to allow seeds to come out
  • 1/2 to 1 cup citrus/agave simple syrup (to taste)
  • 2 bottles of seltzer water
  • Good Vodka for Cocktail, or not for a Mocktail
  • candied citrus peel or candied ginger for garnish
  • fresh fruit – cherries, mango or pineapple chunks for garnish

Directions:

  1. A few hours before serving mix together the grapefruit juice, coconut water, split vanilla bean & simple syrup in a large container. Stir well. For this you can use a punch bowl or glass jar dispenser as I did. Cover and chill.
  2. Meanwhile make garnishes by spearing fresh fruit & candied citrus peel or ginger on a short skewer. Cover & chill.
  3. When ready to serve add seltzer water to the drink container & the Vodka to taste. If you prefer to have “kid or non-alcohol drinker friendly” mocktails add Vodka to individual drinks as desired.

Note: This drink mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week…if it lasts that long! Cut recipe in half for a smaller crowd.

Based on “Fomo” a cocktail recipe in the Dec/Jan 2015 Issue of Donna Hay Magazine. I felt the original version was just too tart for my palate, so I added the simple syrup which gave this drink a more rounded flavor, which brought out the essences of the vanilla & coconut water.

Teresa Blackburn       teresablackburnfoodstyling.com          foodonfifth.com

“Easy-to-Make Simple Syrups” Holiday Gifts, E.A.T. #15

cocktails with simple syrups

Time fleets….gift-giving season is here…just a perusal of Etsy or Scoutmob makes it very clear that home-made, hand-made and diy gifts are the “thing”. With that in mind here is a final, very easy-as-this gift idea for all your food friends. Make one or make them all, it only takes an afternoon in your kitchen, and it really will put you in a holiday mood. I promise!

“Beet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup” chilled with a splash of white rum or drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a sugar cookie? “Cranberry & Orange” with white wine anyone? “Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” added to a cup of relaxing hot tea with a slice of lime? Or maybe an “Apple, Habanero & Mint” with Seltzer & fruit ice cubes for a non-alcoholic pick-me-up?

Simple syrups

From Top Left clockwise: “Fresh Beet & Ginger”, “Gala Apple, Habanero & Mint”, “Cranberry Orange” and “Very Lemon Thyme” simple syrups.

The process of each syrup is the same. It is as “easy-as-this”.

Basic Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup water (liquid) + 1 cup sugar, a 1-1 ratio

“Cranberry & Orange Simple Syrup” – 1 lb fresh cranberries, the peel & juice from one orange, 2 cups water + 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer, stirring often until mixture thickens & sugar has melted. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

Cranberry Orange Simple SyrupCranberry & Orange Simple Syrup

“Apple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup” – Using same process as above just add 2 chopped apples,  1/2 tsp. finely chopped Habanero pepper (wear gloves!) & 1/2 cup mint leaves to pan.

Apple, Habanero & mint simple syrupApple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup

“Fresh Beet Juice & Ginger Root Simple Syrup” – (I had cooked some fresh beets in water for another recipe..the color was just fantastic, I tasted it and it was really sweet and delicious…a simple syrup came of this happy accident.)  2 cups fresh beet juice + 1/4 cup peeled & sliced fresh ginger + 1 tbsp lemon peel simmered with 2 cups sugar made one really great syrup!

Beet Juice & Ginger Simple SyrupBeet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup

“Very Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” – the peel of 2 lemons, 1 tsp lemon extract or syrup + a handful of fresh thyme. Same process, subtle flavors.

Lemon & Thyme Simple SyrupLemon Thyme Simple Syrup

How to Bottle or Jar:

After syrups have cooled completely strain each through a fine sieve. Wash & dry bottles or jars with lids.

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strained simple syrup

Pour strained liquids into prepared bottles or jars. I, once again, got out my stash of bottles, caps & bottle capper (all from All Seasons here in Nashville) to decant my simple syrups into.

bottles of simple syrups

The apple has a hint of pink, the beet a deep red-burgundy, the lemon light & yellow, and the cranberry a clear red.

It is as “easy-as-that”.

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have fun! life is not perfect.

“Pear Infused Vodka” Holiday Gift Idea / E.A.T. #11

Homemade Pear Infused Vodka

I don’t want to bring this up while you are out shopping for Trick or Treat candy,  but I feel I must. It is getting close to the Holidays…Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa….all those gift-giving celebrations. This week is Halloween, one month from now is Thanksgiving and in two months it will be Christmas. Dios Mios!

For my November & December blog posts I am going to share some of my ideas for making gifts for friends & family who really love all things homemade…comestibles, libations & gifts with a personal touch that are easily made with just a bit of kitchen & crafting know-how. This “Pear Infused Vodka” is an easy one for friends who like to show off their bar tending skills.

If you get started this week you can have bottles capped, labeled & beribboned for gift-giving within 1 month. Subtle hint of pears for martinis, cocktails or over ice…Holiday perfect!

Pear Cocktail Recipe

Pear Infused Vodka over ice

Let’s get busy, it’s as Easy As This……

A large bottle of your favorite Vodka…is this case it matters!

A 1/2 gallon jar with a tight-fitting lid & just enough smallish pears to fill jar. The markets are full of pears right now. (These were the last pears from my backyard tree in August.)

fresh pearsPears & Vodka

Fill jar with rinsed & patted dry pears. Add vodka to cover pears.

Pears in glass jarPears & vodka

Place the lid on the jar, store in a cool place such as closet floor,  and wait…..2 weeks to 1 month will be fine. Label jar with the date you start just to easily keep up with it. Every now and them turn the jar upside down a few times. You will notice the vodka will start to turn a very delicate pale pink color. There may be a bit of sediment in the jar. That is okay as you will strain the vodka right before bottling. This is what it looks like after a month.

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While the vodka is melding with the pears, hunt & gather your bottling needs. You will need small glass bottles which can be ones you have recycled, or you can order from the internet, purchase at craft supply stores, or if you live in Nashville from All Season’s Gardening & Brewing Supply Company. I have talked about their store in other posts where I have shown how to make & bottle Limoncello or Orangecello, which by the way would make fantastic gifts. They are a great source for bottles, caps, inexpensive cappers, corks,  and all things gardening & brewing. My bright red bottle capper is one of my favorite tools for making and storing homemade liqueurs or flavored liquors.

Pear Vodka Bottling

Strain Vodka through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Toss out pears & sediment. Use a funnel to fill bottles. Cork or cap to seal.

Simple Bottle CapperCapping bottles

You will also want tags/labels, ribbon or twine, decorative stamps or pens for embellishments. Use what you have or make what you need!

Tags, stamps & ink

Keep your Holidays as “Easy As This”.

“Blackberry-Mango Spring Libations”


It’s a Soup! No, No….wait…..

It’s a Cocktail!

It is not often that I concoct a recipe that is a “soup” for one event and a “cocktail” for another. In fact this is the first time ever and  I must confess it gave me a little culinary thrill. It was a coup without intention..a “culinary coup” if you will.

We received an invitation to a neighborhood “Soup Supper” party a few weeks ago. It is usually cold or cool when this yearly event happens. Not this year. The day of the supper party (a pot luck soup supper) it was around 80 degrees here in Nashville. Not exactly hot soup weather. I was hot, I was thirsty, perhaps I would make a cold, thick,  drinkable soup with a splash of rum…I rummaged around in the freezer and found a lovely packet of frozen blackberries from last summer that I had put away and some frozen mango chunks from a few weeks ago. A good base for a cold soup.

Ingredients needed for 2 quarts of  Blackberry-Mango Soup & Cocktail Base:

1 quart of whole frozen Blackberries

1 pint of fresh or frozen Mango chunks

2 cups of Corsair Spiced Rum, Nashville, TN  (or any good Spiced Rum)

2 cups Hibiscus-Orange Flower Ginger Syrup from “The Bang Candy Company”, Nashville, TN (or any other dark fruity syrup)

1 cup simple syrup – homemade or bottled (found at most liquor stores)

Juice of one whole lime & one whole orange

To  Make the Base:

1. Process Blackberries in a food processor until pureed. Strain out seeds over a large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press and separate pulp from seeds. Discard seeds.

2. Puree Mango chunks until smooth. Do not strain & add to  blackberries in bowl. Stir together until well mixed.

3. To the bowl of Blackberry-Mango puree, add Corsair Spiced Rum, Fruity Syrup, Simple Syrup, lime & orange juices. Mix together. Taste & adjust if necessary.

4. Pour half of the mixture into a glass quart jar, leaving a bit of headroom and freeze until ready to use.

5. Decant the other half into a bottle. This half will be thick but drinkable…a perfect appetizer soup on a hot day.  Serve cold soup with small glasses and berries to garnish.

“Historic Germantown Soup Supper”

As you who follow my blog probably have already figured out, every 3rd Thursday of each month for the past 3 years two friends of mine have hosted “Third Thursday Pot Luck” dinner parties here in Nashville. Nancy Vienneau & Gigi Gaskins have generously opened their homes for this gathering of friends to share & enjoy good food, conversation, drink and lots of laughs. The food is alway plentiful, beautiful, seasonal so I usually make a cocktail for before dinner…time to put the frozen quart of Blackberry-Mango Soup to work!

To create a cocktail from one quart of thawed blackberry-mango mixture:

1. To thawed puree add 1 additional cup of Corsair Spiced Rum & 1/2 cup simple syrup. Stir to combine. Taste & adjust flavors to suit…more rum, more syrups, more lime juice? Decant into a decorative bottle or pitcher. Chill until ready to serve.

To Serve:

1. Serve poured over ice filling glass half full. Top with Ginger Ale and a freshly squeezed orange or mandarin slice.

“April 2012 Third Thursday”

Lil and with my 1st born, Whitney
Sweet Catherine & Wouter
Leah, Wouter & lots of other guests enjoying the beautiful evening.
Blackberry-Mango Cocktail seems to be a hit!
Bill always makes the ladies laugh!
Nancy busily makes sure there is room for every dish.
There are always fresh flowers.
Dusk arrives as we gather around to fill our plates.

It was a “soup”, it was a “cocktail”…..both lovely libations for whatever ails you!

A Toast to the Holidays / “Poire et Jacques, Y’all”

” Poire et Jacques, Y’all”

Thanksgiving really began at our house one week before November 24th. Thursday, November 18th to be exact.

The Third Thursday Potluck was that evening &  called for something special to take along as it was the last Third Thursday Potluck of 2011. A special cocktail/tonic has become my regular potluck dish. I have made many cocktails to take to this wonderful monthly dinner hosted by my friend and fellow blogger Nancy Vienneau (www.goodfoodmatters.com) and my friend, Gigi Gaskins owner and fabulous hat maker at “HatWRKS” (check it out on Facebook).

I wanted this holiday cocktail to contain ingredients that represent my geographical place as well as a Southern based liquor & be wintry. This recipe, which is a Toast to the Holidays and an Ode to Winter, is one I hope you will  try. On warmer fall days like we have been having here in Nashville it was perfect over ice, but as the days become chillier it is very cozy served hot and I am sure it has medicinal properties that will ward off colds & flu during the holidays. I could not think of a name for my concoction….Wouter came up with the perfect name don’t you think?

Ingredients: (for about 2 quarts for a party)

6 cups Pear Cider

2 cups Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey

1 cup Pear Liqueur

2 TBSP Ginger Jam or Preserves

Mix all ingredients together in a large container.

Add one or two whole peeled winter pears to a pitcher. Pour cocktail mixture over pears and chill until ready to serve. (Later these pears will make a very nice dessert)

You can make this cocktail ahead of time and keep refrigerated over the holidays to have on hand ready to serve when the moment calls for a relaxing drink with friends. Add a few crispy pear slices and a small teaspoon of ginger jam to each glass whether serving cold or hot.

The remainder of my week between the Third Thursday &  the Fourth Thursday of November was a bit of a blur. This was not due to imbibing to much Poire Jacques by the way!

There were calls to work out-of-town, calls to work in town, shoots booked, cancelled and rebooked, recipe development & testing to be done, a food video shoot in my  kitchen on Wednesday so by Thanksgiving day I had already cooked & styled 2 pork loins with fruit stuffing, baked  some yummy chocolate cookies, Wisconsin cherry scones & cupcakes with a buttercream frosting, pie crusts, pies, roasted red bell peppers and a garden greens saute, and that is just part of the list. We had bid happy holidays to our grown children going to Wisconsin & Knoxville to visit relatives and taken in our grandson’s Jack Russell, Bill to spend a few days with our dog Ella.

Our Thanksgiving was a day of walking dogs in crunchy, colorful fall leaves, watching four “Boardwalk Empire’s” back-to-back, going to see “Descendents” at the movies, stopping by to see the progress on an inn our friends John and Liz are getting ready to open here in Nashville, eating big bowls of Perciatelli with MeatBalls & Red Sauce along with some red wine and being thankful for all of this and more.

“A Quick Sweet/Savory Breakfast Frittata with Pears & Blackberries” (for the folks working on the video at my house to enjoy)

Ingredients:

One sheet of puff pastry slightly thawed

4 slices of good sharp white cheddar

2 cups thinly sliced hard pears

1 cup fresh blackberries

4 eggs whisked with 1/2 cup cream, 4 ounces softened cream cheese & 1 tbsp raw or brown sugar

Extra raw sugar for  sprinkling on top

Maple syrup for drizzling on top of servings

Directions:

Turn oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Line skillet with sheet of puff pastry.

Arrange cheddar slices over bottom of pastry & top with pear slices. Pour egg-cream mixture over pear slices and sprinkle with blackberries & raw sugar.

Bake until puffy & golden brown and until eggs are set in the middle. Remove from oven & let sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup.

The crispy-flakiness of the puff pastry along with the naturally sweetness of the fruit, the savory egg & cheddar cheese topped with a bit of sweet maple syrup & the crunch of raw sugar makes for the perfect quick breakfast that is not cloying sweet nor too savory.

“A Little Seasonal Gallery of Fun”

Francis Ann enjoys a Poire Jacques.
Tammy & George’s Kitchen Clock
Melted Cheese-us on Burger
Not sure of the connection?
Table Talk Pie Pan
Bill
Early morning kitchen board.
Ella
…..or Else!

“Honeycomb Cocktail for Fall Musings” or To Recipe or Not to Recipe….

Do food blogs have to be recipe driven? While sipping my “Honeycomb Cocktail” my mind was wandering…..that is what a Honeycomb Cocktail will do to you….

It does seem that a good, simple recipe can wow the most jaded of audiences. A beautiful photo of that recipe certainly gilds the lily. But there are many times, when the recipes I am cooking & the cocktails I am conjuring up belong to someone else  & what I am cooking is not for me, but for a cookbook, a restaurant menu, a magazine article or ad.  While I do love my work it definitely slows down my home kitchen output. But while I am on a shoot I always keep my camera handy. Wonderful imagery abounds in ways obvious or obscure having to do with food. These images often are what inspire me to cook up a new recipe, look at an old recipe differently, see food more scientifically and humorously. Here are some recent encounters of the food kind, not so recipe driven.

P.S. Don’t miss the recipe after the photos  that got this idea percolating...”Honeycomb Cocktail for Fall Musings”

Pie on paper
Ten til Five.....beautiful stainless steel everywhere
Not to be confused with any other breader.
Chicago, on a shoot, view out my hotel window.
An image styled.....
....part of same image "un-styled".
Dried up pears from a tree in my neighborhood...on ground since last fall.
Bread Box with inspirational sayings on restaurant table.
Lots of Big Spoons.
Lots of Big Ladles.
Fresh green peas ready to be shot.
Red Stripes.
Chef's coats
"fun" written in chocolate syrup
Some folks still make real flour sacks
Kitchen in an abandoned house
Chayote was the subject
Old recipe box for home economic students
Egg & Whisk

A simple recipe for my “Honeycomb Cocktail for Fall Musings”

Ingredients: Chilled White Rum, Chilled Limoncello, Honey with honey comb

Honeycomb

Directions:

Mix together 1 ounce chilled White Rum, 1 ounce chilled Limoncello liqueur, a tsp good local Honey. Pour into a glass. Garnish with a wedge of Honey Comb. Sip and let your mind wander.

Questions?

How often do you really follow a recipe?

Do you listen to music when you cook? What kind?

Do you encounter images daily that create food & recipe ideas in your head?

The more you know about food…do you find yourself eating less? or more?

Do you think you eat more than your fair share of the earth’s bounty?

Is it more important to blog often with less content or blog less often with more content.

How many times have you actually tried the recipes you encounter on food blogs?

What would you blog about it you had nothing to eat for a few days?

I ask myself these and more…

…..food for thought…

salut!

“Cicada Colada Cooler”

In my life I have eaten some pretty crazy things. I have eaten lobster roe  freshly caught in the Caribbean. I have chomped on chicken feet in Kuala Lampur. I have eaten fried grasshoppers in Oxaca, eel in Amsterdam, calf’s brains with eggs in West Tennessee, and I could go on and on. But one thing I am not planning on eating this Spring is one of the ever-present Cicadas who dive-bomb us here in Middle Tennessee from dawn til dusk. I was pondering this as I was walking today. I am sure they, like many bugs, or should I say insects, are full of protein, they would be crunchy and if I had to guess they probably taste a bit like “spicy crunchy dirt”. This, alas, is something I will never know.

On a hot day with Cicadas in our hair, crunching underfoot, posing as brooches or tie-pins on our clothes, there is really only one escape. Run inside, get out the blender & whip up a cold colada cocktail with a brittle cicada-like garnish. It will soothe your nerves as you sip and crunch! Sweet Revenge.

“Cicada Colada Cooler”

The “Cicada” Brittle for Garnish part:

Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup, 1/2 cup each pepitas & roughly chopped pecans, 1/4 cup roughly ground coffee beans, 1 tbsp large grain sea salt & 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Measure out all ingredients. Line a 15 x 12 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. It is important to use a sea salt with really big flakes so they will not melt into your brittle mixture.

2. In a heavy saucepan bring the sugar & corn syrup to a boil. Use a pastry brush dipped in warm water to brush sides of pan down where sugar crystals form.


3. Cook until sugar melts, swirling the saucepan until the syrup mixture starts to turn light golden brown. Quickly stir in the nuts, coffee beans, sea salt & red pepper flakes. The mixture might get a bit clumpy when you first add ingredients but it will smooth out  as it comes to a boil again. Swirl skillet & cook until the syrup part becomes a medium caramel. (Doesn’t this mixture look just like a bunch of cicadas in a pan?)

4. Quickly pour hot brittle mixture onto parchment lined pan. Tilt pan to spread thinly. Let cool completely. If in a hurry then pop the pan into the refrigerator.

5. When your Cicada Brittle is cool break up into smaller garnish size pieces & set aside.

The Colada Cooler Cocktail part:

Ingredients for 2-4 cocktails depending on the size glass you choose: 1/4 cup dark rum, 1/2 cup coffee liqueur, 1/2 cup cold fresh-brewed coffee, 2 tbsp milk or cream, 2 tbsp raw sugar & ice cubes

Directions:

1.Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until the mixture becomes very thick. Adjust taste to your liking. Add more ice if necessary to make a frozen drink.

2. Pour frozen Colada mixture into a glass, garnish with a piece of Cicada Brittle, add a straw and sit back to listen to the “Cicada Soundtrack” outside your window.

Note: This could be turned into a “kid friendly” cooler by using chocolate milk & chocolate syrup.

“The 13 Year Cicada” other wise known as “The Great Southern Brood”

Brood XIX (also known as Brood 19 and The Great Southern Brood) is one of 15 separate broods of periodical cicadas that appear regularly throughout the southeastern United States. Every 13 years, Brood XIX tunnels en masse to the surface of the ground, lays eggs, and then dies off in several weeks.

As of May 2011,[1] cicadas are now emerging throughout an area roughly enclosed by GeorgiaTexasNorth CarolinaMissouriTennessee and Maryland. The next three appearances will be in 2024, 2037 and 2050.

“When life gives you cicadas, make coladas.”