Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gluten-Free Week: An Interview with Chef Olivia Dupin

One of my favorite parts of blogging is getting the opportunity to interview chefs and cookbook authors. Recently I got the opportunity to chat with gluten-free chef Olivia Dupin. Olivia has had an amazing career cooking for celebrities and authoring two cookbooks. Here's what she had to say about going gluten-free, creating unique recipes, and life as a chef.

The lovely Olivia Dupin

How did you first become an author?

I was very lucky to have my wonderful literary agent reach out to me based on a referral from a colleague. She was absolutely fantastic, and helpful in every way, she walked me through the entire proposal process, and within 3 months I had a book deal with Fair Winds for my first book, The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods.

What was the Seinfeld family’s favorite meal? How about Mark Teixiera?

I always respect my client's privacy, I never dish and tell! But you'd be surprised to learn that what clients most often request and enjoy is casual comfort foods, and homestyle meals done healthier, fresher. It's the kind of food they would prepare for their families themselves, if they had the time. Then when they entertained, I'd pull out all the stops... and the heavy cream! That's how I cook at home, too.

How do you come up with your recipes? What’s your process?

Well, I'm always thinking about food, so I have this running list of recipes I want to create in my head at all times. I could write 100 more cookbooks with that list!

The process of actually developing recipes is a little different for cooking vs. baking:

Baking is most often trial and error...and error...and error. It's tough to get g-free baked goods just right, especially when you won't settle for anything less than amazing. I still remember what gluten containing baked goods taste like, and I don't stop until my recipes taste so good that there's no deciphering them from "regular" baked goods. Some of the recipes in my books were tested 3 and 4 dozen times before I got them perfect.

Cooking savory dishes is more intuitive and natural for me. It's a matter of cooking by feeling, then translating that to a more precise formata recipe that can be duplicated easily by a home cook.

What is your favorite thing to cook/bake?

I'm hardly ever making the same thing twice! But I'm obsessed with the Easy Vanilla Cupcakes from my newest book, Gluten-Free Entertaining. They mix up in one bowl, and they're the best vanilla cupcakes I've ever hadgluten-free or not. I'm ashamed to admit how many batches I've made at home "just because". I can't wait to share them!



What tips/tricks can you offer someone making the change to gluten-free?

The most practical and healthy way to eat gluten-free is focus on minimally processed, naturally gluten-free foods that you're already familiar with. If you base your diet on processed, packaged foods, you're doing a disservice to your taste buds and your overall health. Packaged g-free foods like bread, crackers, and cookies, are often super caloric and highly refined, with additives for taste and texture, and loaded with preservatives. The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods walks you through how to eat gluten-free and never have to hunt for expensive gluten-free substitutes, instead focusing on whole foods and ingredients you can find in any grocery store.

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Olivia Dupin is a private chef, recipe developer, and consultant and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) in 2009, she has been committed to creating simple, delicious gluten-free recipes so that those with restrictions can still enjoy the foods they love.

Olivia has worked as a private chef to clients such as professional baseball player Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and comedian and television star Jerry Seinfeld. She is also a consultant, recipe developer, and food stylist for Energy Kitchen Restaurants, a healthy restaurant franchise.

Olivia maintains a recipe blog for Energy Kitchens (www.energykitchen.com/live-healthy), which features healthy recipes under 500 calories, as well as her own blog dedicated to simple, home-style, gluten-free recipes at www.livglutenfree.com. She resides in Jersey City, NJ.

Pick up your copy of The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods today! Gluten-Free Entertaining is available in October 2013. You can preorder a copy now.

Gluten-Free Week: Cinnamon Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Olivia Dupin's new book Gluten-Free Entertaining (publishing October 2013) proves that you can throw amazing parties with the best food out there and still be entirely gluten-free. So don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

And here is her churros recipe because... well, look at them. There's no way you don't want to make these.

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Cinnamon Churros with Chocolate Sauce
Excerpted from Gluten-Free Entertaining by Olivia Dupin


Churros are chewy, fried donut sticks rolled in cinnamon sugar. Want to send your guests home in a state of bliss? Just add chocolate sauce.

FOR COATING:
⅓ cup (67 g) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

FOR CHURROS:
¾ cup (180 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil, plus more for frying
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar
1 cup (120 g) Liv’s Flour Blend (recipe follows) or ½ cup (60 g) cornstarch plus ¼ cup (30 g) almond flour plus ¼ cup (30 g) oat flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract 

FOR CHOCOLATE SAUCE:
¼ cup (60 ml) milk
1 teaspoon butter
½ cup (88 g) dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the coating: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and set aside. 

To make the churros: Bring the water and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil to a boil. 

In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, and flour blend. Pour the mixture into the boiling water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for about 1 minute, until the mixture forms a thick ball of dough.

Place the dough in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute to cool the mixture slightly. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. The dough should be stiff. Place the dough in a sturdy pastry bag fitted with a #4 star tip.

Place about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of canola oil in a small saucepan or frying pan. Heat the oil to 350˚F (180˚C) on a deep-fry thermometer. Pipe 5-inch (12.5 cm) lengths of dough directly into the hot oil, using clean scissors to cut the dough, releasing it into the oil. Working quickly, repeat until you have 4 or 5 churros piped into the oil. Cook the churros, flipping once, until they are golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the churros on paper towels, then roll them in the prepared cinnamon-sugar coating.

Repeat until you’ve used all the dough, being careful to keep the oil at 350˚F (180˚C) and adding more oil to your pan if needed.

To make the chocolate sauce: Bring the milk and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the dark chocolate and vanilla and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Serve the churros with the chocolate sauce on the side for dipping.

Yield: 6 servings

Chef’s Tip 
These are best served warm right after you’ve prepared them. The churros tend to get soggy if prepped too far in advance.



Liv’s Flour Blend 
Excerpted from Gluten-Free Entertaining and The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods by Olivia Dupin

This naturally gluten-free all-purpose blend is simply 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part almond flour and 1 part oat flour. If you’d rather not make a large batch, no worries—each recipe outlines the exact amounts of each ingredient. 

4 cups (480 g) non-GMO cornstarch (organic if possible)
2 cups (240 g) almond flour (natural almond flour or blanched almond flour both work)
2 cups (240 g) oat flour (be sure to use gluten-free oats/oat flour) 

Combine all the ingredients and store in the freezer to keep fresh. Because they don’t contain any stabilizers, the flours may separate and settle as they sit. Give this a stir each time you pull it out to use.

Yield: 8 cups (960 g)

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If you’re gluten-free, you know that parties and other gatherings can be a food conundrum. What can you prepare for your guests that everyone can enjoy, gluten-free or not? And what can you bring to parties that will please a crowd, and bring praise instead of pause?

Take the fear away and fill your plate with sensational (and safe!) eats with Gluten-Free Entertaining. Author Olivia Dupin will teach you how to entertain with ease, whether you're hosting a brunch, going to a holiday bash, or just having a casual couple's dinner at home. And with fourteen separate menus and more than 100 party-pleasing dishes, you'll find something for every taste and occasion.

From Deep-Dish Ham, Artichoke and Brie Quiche to Sesame Chicken Bites and Chocolate Chip Almond Torte, all of these recipes are delicious, first and foremost, and coincidentally gluten-free, so you can make them for your own get-together, or bring them along to any gathering.

Entertain with ease with Gluten-Free Entertaining!

These books are available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Week: Pizza Margherita

Many people often think that if they follow a gluten-free diet they'll have to sacrifice their favorite foods, especially pizza. This recipe for Pizza Margherita from Gretchen Brown proves that you can have your pizza and eat it too!




gluten-free pizza
Go ahead, have a bite!

It wouldn't be Gluten-Free Week without an outstanding pizza recipe. Enjoy!

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Pizza Margherita
Excerpted from Fast & Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen F. Brown

Sometimes you just crave a classic. This simple, traditional pizza combines some of Italy’s best flavors. No wonder it’s been famous for more than 100 years.

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 pint (551 ml) grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 recipe Kumquat’s Pizza Dough (recipe follows) or prepared gluten-free pizza dough, rolled out and unbaked
Olive oil for brushing
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces (227 g) mozzarella cheese balls (ciliegine)
1/2 cup (10 g) basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450° (230°C, or gas mark 8). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic; cook until tomatoes burst and release juices. Stir in the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Place the pizza dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Brush evenly with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the garlic powder. Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the rolled-out pizza crust. Top evenly with the mozzarella cheese balls. Bake for 16 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with the basil leaves. Cut into slices.


Kumquat’s Pizza Dough
Excerpted from Fast & Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen F. Brown

I don’t know about you, but I got tired of hard, flat, crunchy gluten-free pizza dough really fast. I’m happy to say, “Welcome back, delicious pizza dough!” This recipe makes a thick and chewy and soft, yeast-flavored dough that bakes into a gorgeous 16-inch (40 cm) pizza. Reclaim your pizza!

1 1/2 tablespoons (10.5 g) golden flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons (45 ml) very hot water
3 cups (420 grams) gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
5 teaspoons (20 g) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (75 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (13 g) sugar
1 cup (235 ml) warm water (110°F, or 43°C), divided
Olive oil for brushing
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine the flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) very hot water in a small bowl until a slurry is formed; set aside.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the yeast, olive oil, sugar, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Allow to rest for 3 minutes for yeast to activate.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix for 1 minute.

Add the flax slurry to the dough and mix until the dough comes together in a ball, about 5 to 7 minutes. (If dough is too dry, add warm water a teaspoon at a time to form a tender, pliable dough.) Set the dough aside, cover, and allow to rest for 1 hour.

To prebake the crust, preheat oven to 450°F (230°C, or gas mark 8).

Roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness. Transfer the dough to a pizza stone or baking sheet. Brush the entire dough with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the garlic powder. Top with favorite, fresh ingredients and bake 16 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked.

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Comforting Meals Everyone Will Love—Made in No Time!

Getting a hot, delicious, gluten-free meal to the table every night can seem like a challenge when time and growling stomachs are demanding food now! But you can turn the tables from stressed to dressed in no time with Fast and Simple Gluten-Free, your one-stop solution to creating fast, family-friendly meals in a half hour or less.

Inside, you’ll find more than 100 truly inspiring recipes for everything from Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting to Green Chicken Enchiladas and Quinoa Tabbouleh, with many recipes requiring just 20 minutes or less from start to fork.

Author, mom, and g-free blogger Gretchen Brown shows you just how easy it is to create wholesome, wheat-free meals that you can feel good about—and that your family will love. Through streamlined ingredient lists and simple yet effective cooking techniques, you’ll learn how to pull together delicious dishes that taste as if you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen, even though you haven’t! From classic dishes like burgers, pizzas, and pot pies to fresh and exciting new takes, you’ll find recipes that will make everyone happy, including:

Tarragon-Lemon Chicken Salad
Chocolate Chili
Mozzarella Pizza with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Arugula
Pork Tacos with Avocado and Tomato Salsa
Cumin-Turkey Burgers
Mocha Chocolate Fudge Cakes
Lemon-Lime Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Nourish yourself and your family the stress-free way with Fast and Simple Gluten-Free. Great meals are just minutes away!

This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gluten-Free Week: Apricot Risotto

Welcome to Gluten-Free Week at SPOON! We are so excited to be sharing delicious and easy gluten-free recipes all week long, along with some great interviews with g-free authors and even a giveaway! Be sure to check in each day this week to see what's new. And if you are gluten-free or trying to find out more about it, please feel free to send in any questions or recipes for us to share with our g-free authors. You know I always love hearing from you guys!

I'm a bit of a risotto addict, so this first recipe from Allyson Kramer is high on my list of yummy recipes I need to tell the world about. I never would have thought of pairing apricot with risotto. Now I can't think of anything else.

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Apricot Risotto
Excerpted from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer

Apricot Risotto from Allyson Kramer

If you’re intimidated about the process of making risotto, don’t be. It’s really a cinch once you get the gist of it, and by the time all the additions have been made, you are left with deliciously tender and flavor-infused rice that is well worth the effort.

1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup (65 g) chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
Dash of black pepper
1 cup (190 g) Arborio rice
1/ 3 cup (80 ml) Chardonnay, warmed slightly above room temperature
3 to 4 cups (705 to 940 ml) vegetable broth, warmed
1/3 cup (80 ml) nondairy milk, warmed
1 tablespoon (14 g) nondairy margarine
Salt to taste

In a large saucepan, sauté onion and apricots in the olive oil over medium heat, just until the onions turn translucent. Add a dash of black pepper. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a separate plate, leaving the oil in the pan.

Keeping the temperature at around medium heat, add the rice to the pan and cook for about 7 minutes or until the rice is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and stir.

Reduce the heat slightly and let cook until all the wine has evaporated or been absorbed. Add the onions and apricots back into the pan and add a little vegetable broth. You just need enough to cover the rice, about 1/2 cup (120 ml) to start with.

Let the rice simmer in the broth over medium heat until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Add more broth and cook until there is just a little liquid left to be absorbed. Keep repeating this process. It should take about 25 minutes of adding liquid in increments and stirring until the rice is softened up. If you find that you are running out of liquid too fast, reduce the heat and add less liquid at each interval.

Add more broth and keep cooking if the rice is still too firm after 3 cups (705 ml) of broth have been added.

Once the rice is suitably cooked, stir in the nondairy milk and continue cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed. It should look very creamy and the rice should be tender. Stir in the margarine.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn off the heat, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.


Recipe Note

For dishes like this, I enjoy cooking with almond milk because it adds a very subtle flavor and does not curdle like soymilk tends to do.

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Following a plant-based, gluten-free diet is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices around, yet it can be a challenge to create meals that not only match your needs, but taste delicious too. But not any longer! Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats shows you exactly how to create compassionate and wheat-free recipes that are impressive enough for even the most seasoned foodie. Full of fresh and all-natural ingredients, the 101 fully-photographed, scrumptious recipes you’ll find inside prove that eating vegan and gluten-free doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but a delight!

From tempting appetizers, to hearty mains, to luscious desserts, you’ll find dishes to suit your every need and craving, including:

-Cherry Vanilla Bean Pancakes
-Mediterranean Croquettes
-Coconut Asparagus Soup
-Roasted Red Pepper & Fava Salad
-Walnut Ravioli with Vodka Sauce
-Rosemary, Leek & Potato Pie
-Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Cheesecake
-Banana Berry Cobbler

Live a healthy and sustainable life, while still enjoying the foods you love, with Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats!

Both of Allyson's books, Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats! and Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World are available where books and ebooks are sold.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Cocktail Sunday: True Blood S6E06 - A politician, a human, and a fairy walk into a bar and order a Vampire.

Let's get something "hetero-straight." This show can rip your heart out. It can make you laugh. It can make you scoff. It can make you scream. And it can certainly make you cry little baby-tears. I just wanted for us to all be on the same page.

Spoilers Ahead:

Fairy light is so handy! Apparently you can use it to exorcise ghosts. Someone needs to let the creepy lady from Poltergeist know. Then apparently, Sookie can just go to the fairy dimension at her leisure. When did that happen? There, Warlow explains that his vampire side becomes more fierce at night and asks her to tie him up. I guess fairy light is like super glue too. Sookie and Warlow have a nice little chat about life, contracts, ownership, and whatnot. He also says something interesting about the guilt he feels, "If you agree to be mine, it will be over." They "would only need one another's blood to survive." Sookie cuts to the quick, and figures to do this, she would have to be a vampire.

How excited am I that Bill still cares enough about Sookie to let Warlow out to save her?! (Squeee!) The downside is that Warlow gets to spend time with Sookie and she doesn't really know that Bill told him to save her. Sigh. Meanwhile, Bill realizes that Jessica is gone and he needs answers, but now he has no Warlow. He decides to have a little coma-chat with Lillith to get some answers. This vamp-god is NOT happy with Bill, but Bill isn't going to roll over and take it. When he wakes up, drinks Warlow's blood, and heads out to get his friends and family back! 
Pam VS Eric. Pam can fly? When did this happen? Well it doesn't matter, because what they did to the guards was FANTASTIC. Face-to-face with Burrell, Eric is caged and forced to watch Nora be injected with Hep-V. Who remembers what Hep-D does to vamps? 
Whatever it is, it ain't pretty. In solitary, Willa asks her father what he is doing, "Are you playing God, now?" She requests that she be released from solitary and put in with the other vamps.

The LAVTF recruits Jason, who portrays a very (VERY) convincing racist, anti-vampire cop. This episode shows us a clear snapshot of how far Jason has come in six seasons.  
He seems to be enjoying playing his part and when Sarah Newlin comes in, we think it's game over for Jason, but Jason was totally prepared! Well done, sir! Until Sarah regroups and shows him just how for she will go to torture Jess. Unfortunately for Sarah, Jess and James don't copulate. James is tortured, burned, shot and then they part ways, reputations unsullied. But who is the real monster here? Hint. While Jess questions her virtue, Sarah is convinced of her righteousness.

In the hotel, Nicole tries to talk some sense into Sam, and convinces him to return Emma to Martha. Alcide arrives at the hotel where Jackson reveals that Sam was there. Anyone else think that Jackson smelling the bed was a little ewwy? 
As adorable as Emma is, I'm pretty glad that we are getting rid of her. Alcide catches up with Sam and Nicole. Trying to talk some sense into Alcide, Sam holds his ground and Alcide backs down, but not before telling Sam to leave town and never come back to Shreveport or Bon Temp. WTF Alcide? Dude has a business to run! Rude. Well, at least Sam wasn't killed and Alcide didn't do anything stupid.

In Holly's house, Number 3 wakes up and Andy gives her a real name. Adeline-Bralin-Charlaine (hehe)-Danika is the longest name ever.

Who calls upon Lafayette as he is bedazzling, but Terry, who offers him the key to his safety deposit box. Oh hookah, don't go trying to pull one over on LaLa. He auto-dials Arlene, who decides that Terry is thinking of committing suicide. It's a good theory. She and Holly decide to get a vampire to glamour the bad right out of his head. Six seasons and no one has thought of this solution for the poor guy with PTSD? Quick and painless, the vampire takes away Terry's guilt and regrets. Just like that, Terry is the perfect man.

The ending of this episode is insanity. We feel this coming a million miles away. Never has Terry been so happy. Never has he been so unaware. Never so marked for death. To her credit, Arlene is immensely calm as she holds Terry as he dies. I cried. I'm not too tough to admit it. RIP Terry Bellefleur. I will miss your kind heart. 
Bill walks right up into Burrell's yard and just tears his freakin' head off, figuratively and literally. RIP Truman Burrell. I will miss your cartoon-like qualities. 
Eric summons Willa. She gives them a hand (not her own) and helps carry Nora out. Eric stumbles upon the TruBlood bottling facility where Hep-V is being added to every bottle. Ho-Lee Eff. You have to give it to Burrell. This scheme was brilliant, too bad he won't see when it comes to a "head" #sorrynotsorry. 
Sookie decides that she might actually be a "danger whore" and decides to go with it. She hops on the fairy-go-round and they drink each other's blood and have "blindingly" good sex. Girl, Sookie, really? What are you doing, girl? What would Gran say, girl? You are a hot mess, girl! Hope that light also acts as a prophylactic, girl, cause you can't always simply try before you buy.

You can open your eyes now.


I wanted to give my aquavit another week, so I am putting off the Bloody Viking until next weekend, but here is how my flavored vodka is progressing.


Um, guys. There's a drink called a Vampire. It's delicious. But you knew that.

Excerpted from The Daily Cocktail by Dalyn A. Miller and Larry Donovan.
It was on this day in 1887 that Boris Karloff was born. Although he was a very distinguished actor, it is for his roles in the horror genre that we know him best, most specifically for his roles in Frankenstein and The Mummy. He also narrated the famous made- for-television animated feature How the Grinch Stole Christmas— a piece of television trivia that many people don’t know. In honor of the scariest actor ever born, shake up a Vampire and pray that the sun doesn’t go down.

VAMPIRE
1 oz raspberry liqueur
1 oz vodka
1 oz cranberry juice

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.
Serve as shots in an old-fashioned glass.

See y'all next week when Katie and I head to Boston Comic Con, hopefully get to meet True Blood's Kristen Bauer Van Straten (double squee!), and make the Bloody Viking that you have all been waiting for!





Have your own happy hour every day of the year with this delightful cocktail cookbook. From martinis, shots, and margaritas to classics like Manhattans, Alexanders, juleps, fizzes, old-fashioneds, and rickeys, you'll find intoxicating delights for every season. When it's too hot to take your drink outdoors, hole up in air-conditioned comfort and dream of your next cruise or seaside vacation with a Sex on the Beach, Bahama Mama, or Grand Hawaiian Screw. When the snow is flying, warm up by the fire with a Flaming Dr. Pepper, Hot Toddy, or Alabama Slammer. Each day has its own page, with detailed directions, variations on the cocktail du jour, suggestions for snacks to serve with it, colorful quotes about drinks and drinking, and more.



Get this book or ebook at fine retailers everywhere!

True Blood is property of HBO.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Farm Share Friday: The Illusive and Somewhat Terrifying Kohlrabi

I'll be the first to admit that when I peered into my farm share crate and saw kohlrabi I was slightly disheartened. I've tried a few recipes over the years to turn this strange and alien-like vegetable into something delicious, but have failed miserably.

Seriously? How creepy looking is this veggie?
And yet, I never back down from a challenge. So instead of tossing the kohlrabi onto the share table, I brought this bad boy home and began thinking. What could I try this time?

There are loads of great articles and recipes about kohlrabi, but I wanted to do something unique and special. Enter Becky and a great idea. Why not try frying it "fried green tomatoes" style?


So that's just what I did. Here's the recipe I roughly followed. I pulled it from the amazing recipe-sharing website Simply Recipes.
Fried Green Kohlrabi

INGREDIENTS
1 kohlrabi, cut into rounds
Salt
1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (7.5 g) Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 egg
1/3 cup (50 g) cornmeal
1/2 cup (75 g) fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup (60 ml) peanut oil or other vegetable oil (I used safflower because I'm obsessed with it)


METHOD
Cut the kohlrabi into 1/2 inch (13 mm) slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let the slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning, milk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.





Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and the milk together. Dip kohlrabi slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then milk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated kohlrabi slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked kohlrabi on paper towels to drain. These are fantastic with a little homemade hot sauce or ranch dressing.

Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish.

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Want to know how to make your own ranch dressing? Pick up a copy of The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook today!

Tastier, Healthier, Homemade

You work hard to make dinner—choosing the best food, mastering preparation techniques, and picking the perfect recipes. But what about the unsung staples, the ingredients and condiments that build and accompany your meal? Too often, the store-bought versions are loaded with extra salt, sugar, allergens, and preservatives, and they end up bland and uninspiring. But you don’t have to limit yourself to the same tastes and the same plastic bottles. With Kitchen Pantry Cookbook you can create your own staples—fresh, delicious, and just the way you like them. Chef Erin Coopey shows you 90+ recipes and variations to personalize your pantry. You’ll never go back to the bottles.

Stock your kitchen pantry with:
· Condiments: Everything you need—Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Ketchup, Steak Sauce, and more
· Nut butters and spreads: The classics and the creative—Homemade Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Vanilla Chai Pear Butter, and more
· Salad dressings: All your favorites, from Balsamic Vinaigrette to Honey Mustard to Sesame Tahini
· Stocks: The basics to have on hand, including Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, and Court Bouillon
· Relishes and refrigerator pickles: Delicious and easy—Bread and Butter Pickles, Pickled Peppers, Sauerkraut, and more
· Chips, dips, and dunks: Snacks that hit the spot, from Homemade Potato Chips with French Onion Dip to Tortilla Chips with Tomatillo Salsa

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chilled Melon, Yogurt, and Ginger Soup

I've recently become completely obsessed with the art of making soups. And by obsessed, I mean I now make a giant pot of soup just about every weekend.  Growing up, soup was never something my mother made. I mean, sure, we had Campbell's Tomato from time to time (usually alongside a delicious grilled cheese), but it wasn't really the same as a beautifully constructed pot of soup. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is always making soup. As a result, I've become a soup-addict.

Aliza Green's newest book, The Soupmaker's Kitchen, is a must have for three simple reasons:
1. It's gorgeous. Basically food porn. 
2. The recipes are super detailed and easy to follow.
3. It has the perfect combination of unusual, international soups and timeless favorites. 

And without further ado, here is my new favorite summer soup.

Chilled Melon, Yogurt, and Ginger Soup
Excerpted from The Soupmaker's Kitchen by Aliza Green


Here is an easy way to make refreshing, tangy chilled soup for a hot summer’s day, though you will need a blender, a food processor, or even a vegetable juicer such as an Acme or Champion. Plan on making the soup when local juicy, sweet cantaloupes or other orange-fleshed melons, such as Tuscan, or orange-fleshed honeydew or muskmelons, are in season. Thick Greek yogurt, which is drained of its excess whey, adds a concentrated flavor.

You may substitute plain yogurt for a slightly thinner soup. Cooling mint makes the soup even more refreshing.

Makes about 1 gallon (4 L), 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients


• 3 to 4 ripe cantaloupes, about 6 pounds (2.7 kg)
• 2 cups (475 ml) orange juice
• 1 cup (230 g) Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons (16 g) grated ginger
• ½ cup (170 g) honey
• ¼ cup (23 g) mint leaves, preferably spearmint
• ½ cup (120 ml) lime juice
• 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt
• Grated zest of 1 lime
• 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
• 2 to 3 kiwi, cut into small cubes, for garnish
• Small wedge watermelon, red and/or yellow, cut into small cubes, for garnish
• Mint sprigs, for garnish










1. Prepare the melon by laying it on its side and cutting off a slice from the top and bottom ends. This creates a stable flat surface for further cutting.

2. Preferably using a flexible-bladed knife (here a boning knife), cut away the outer skin and greenish layer just below the surface in strips about 1 1/2 inches (3.5 cm) wide.

3. Curve the knife to follow the shape of the melon. Trim away any remaining bits of green or skin.

4. Place the peeled melon with its flat side down on the work surface and then cut in half “through the poles.”

5. Open up the melon.

6. Use a large soup spoon to scrape out the inner seed portion. If desired, to extract as much juice as possible, transfer the seed portion to a sieve placed over a bowl and press to release any juices. Discard the remainder. Cut the melon into rough cubes before proceeding with the recipe.

7. Combine the melon, orange juice, yogurt, ginger, honey, mint, lime juice, and salt in a blender jar.

8. Blend the soup ingredients until smooth. Or, place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process—noting that a blender will yield the smoothest soup.

9. Work in two or three batches if necessary.

10. If doing so, combine all batches in a large bowl and whisk to mix evenly.

11. Transfer the liquid to a large bowl and whisk in the lime zest and jalapeno. Chill the soup at least 1 hour before serving.

12. Pour into serving bowls, chilled if you prefer the soup extra cold and garnish with diced kiwi and watermelon and/or a sprig of mint.

Ingredients for melon soup. Cantaloupe is best because of its appealing orange color, but other juicy yellow or orange melons, such as Canary or Crenshaw, will also work. A yellow watermelon would make a lovely soup, but because it is so sweet, eliminate most of all the honey.


Soupmaker’s Tips

Serve this chilled soup in small glass or ceramic shooter glasses for a light and elegant make-ahead starter. This soup does not freeze well. Cantaloupes and Salmonella: Cantaloupe melons have been linked to at least two salmonella outbreaks. To prevent any possible contamination, use a produce scrub brush, (a brush with deep bristles), to scrub the outside of the cantaloupes thoroughly before cutting them open. Afterward, wash your hands, countertops, and any kitchen tools.

--


Soup, beautiful soup—the most basic of cooked foods, the universal cure-all, a nourishing way to use small amounts of food or leftovers, a dish that can always be stretched to feed more …

Once again award-winning chef Aliza Green invites you into her kitchen to share her time-tested techniques for making dozens of soups, bisques, chowders, and purées. From the basic foundation of stocks to the older, European-inspired concoctions, such as Zuppa Pavese and French Onion Soup, Aliza outlines the origins, ingredients, and steps necessary to create a warm and satisfying culinary experience every time. Explore more than 100 soup recipes, plus variations on each one, from all over the world, and in every style of soup you might want to eat. Recipes include:

—Hungarian Woodlands Mushroom Soup with Sour Cream and Paprika

—Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro

—Senegalese Peanut and Yam Puree with Ginger

—Provencal Soupe au Pistou with Savoy Cabbage, White Beans, and Leeks

—Wild Salmon Chowder with Sweet Corn & Gold Potatoes

—Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

—Cream of Cauliflower with Nutmeg and Chives

—Kerala Red Lentil Soup (vegan)

—Vietnamese Pho Soup with Beef Brisket

—Caribbean Callalou Soup with Crabmeat and Coconut

Accompanied by Steve Legato’s clearly detailed, full-color photography, your soup making success will be effortless. Inside you’ll find a wide-ranging collection of recipes to suit every palate including seafood, poultry, pork, beef, vegan and vegetarian formulas, and a wealth of information you will use over and over again in your culinary endeavors.

Basic Stocks: The importance of using your vegetable water, roasting juices, trimmings, seasonings, and the right vegetables to get optimum flavor from your stock

Soupmaker’s Tips: Ingredients prep—how to correctly wash, slice, and dice ? When fresh versus frozen is important ? Using flavor enhancers such as fresh herbs and appropriate spices ? How to get the best results from the proper utensils ? Invaluable time savers ? Creative serving suggestions

Basic Techniques: How to properly chill soup, the process of cooking dried beans, the correct shredding method for cabbage, the art of cutting leaves into chiffonade, and many more

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Harvard Cooler Cocktail

I've been obsessively thinking about fall lately. This could be due to the fact that it's been about 100 degrees here for the past couple of weeks. It could also be due to the fact that I love the fall, especially apple picking. Our local farm has hayrides and hot apple cider and all sorts of great things. It just makes the entire experience so downright amazing.

So I picked up my copy of An Apple a Day and started flipping through it. I stopped immediately when I saw the image for the Harvard Cooler. How amazing is this? Something apple-y that I can cool off with! Perfect.

Harvard Cooler
Excerpted from An Apple a Day by Melissa Petitto and Karen Berman



The perfect celebratory drink when you return to campus for a big game. But don’t worry if you can’t squeeze in a road trip. It’s good when you watch the game on TV, too.

Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients
4 ounces (120 ml) apple-flavored schnapps
2 ounces (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 cups (300 g) ice cubes
Sparkling apple cider, very cold, for topping

Directions

Combine the schnapps and lemon juice in a shaker with 1 cup (150 g) ice. Shake well and strain into 2 tall glasses, each filled with ½ cup (75 g) ice. Top each with sparkling cider.

--


Taking something classic and giving it a new twist, An Apple a Day is a fresh, daily cookbook, filled to the brim with 365 apple recipes carefully selected to reflect the holidays, seasons, and months of the year (Pumpkin-Apple Soup in October; Grilled Turkey Burger with Apple-Chipotle Sauce in July), as well as current culinary trends and decorating projects.


Different from other apple cookbooks on the market, this extensive collection of recipes goes far beyond the tried and true apple dishes, to include novel recipes for savory meals such as Risotto with Apples and Crêpes, salads such as Thai-Style Pork Belly with Apples; cocktails such as Frozen Apple Daiquiri—and so much more. Nor are traditional favorites neglected; the book will offer multiple ways to make applesauce, baked apples, pies, tarts, muffins, crisps, pastries and cookies. The recipes in the book will be accompanied by crafty room decor and ambiance-enhancing projects such as seasonal centerpieces and apple-scented candles, designed for a delightful, multi-sensory apple experience.



Notes on apple varieties instruct on picking the perfect apple for any occasion and sidebars are used to reflect interesting apple stats, tales from literature and folklore, pairing tips, and surprising apple fun facts. Also sprinkled throughout are quotations and favorite apple recipes shared by some of today’s popular celebrity chefs, reflecting a variety of different cultures and styles of cuisine, such as Michael Gilligan and Ian Kittichai.



See, smell, and best of all taste for yourself, hundreds of ways to enjoy one of the world’s most versatile fruits of all time.



This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Plum Face Mask from The Home Apothecary

I have a plum tree in my backyard that we planted a couple of years ago. It actually puts out quite a few plums each year, which is always super exciting for us. Now, I've made some delicious honeyed cardamom-plum jelly, but I thought I'd go a different route this time around and try this plum face mask recipe from The Home Apothecary. After all, great ingredients don't always have to turn into delicious meals. Sometimes they make some other amazing stuff too. This recipe is easy to make and is a wonderful way to use up your plums.

Plum Face Mask
Excerpted from The Home Apothecary by Stacey Dugliss-Wesselman of Cold Spring Apothecary

Delicious, sweet plums

Rich in antioxidants, this mask works to protect the skin from damaging UV rays and hydrates while also absorbing oils.

Ingredients:
6 plums
1 tablespoon (15 ml) jojoba oil


Directions:
Add the plums to a pan of water, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until soft. Strain the plums from the water, transfer to a bowl, and let cool. Once cool, remove the skins and pits and place the flesh into a blender. Add the jojoba oil and puree well.

To use, apply the mask with your fingertips in a gentle circular motion; leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse and pat dry. Follow with a toner and moisturizer.

Yield: 1 mask.

--


With the resurgence of small-batch, locally crafted boutiques and brands that mimic heritage brand ideals, today’s consumers are looking for a product with an emphasis on locally sourced production and ingredients. They are already stocking their pantries and fridges with natural, whole foods and relying on real ingredients for better health. The Home Apothecary offers fresh ideas for caring for the body on the outside, too. It features a bounty of recipes: more than 75 original, natural, and absolutely chemical-free body care products from face masks to bug repellent to soothing lotions. Cold Spring Apothecary’s nationally recognized green-luxury beauty and home goods formulas are taught in such a way that readers will soon be experimenting on their own.

Available where great books and ebooks are sold.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Muffuletta recipe and a vegan's memories of New Orleans

Hi Spooners, Becky, here! I recently passed off a book to my sister April because I love her cooking and she said that she was looking for a new great book to check out. She is vegan and quite honestly has made some of the best meals that I have ever had in my life. That statement includes this sandwich. Also, between this and photos from Tales of the Cocktail, I wantno NEEDto go to New Orleans.



Okay, let’s put together two things I love, New Orleans and sandwiches. I have many fond memories of “The Big Easy” having visited over eight times (I’ve lost count). I never go during Mardi Gras. Crowds, lines, too many sloppy people, no thanks. I like to have full access to the city. 

Pic from FoodChannel.com

I like to start the day earlynot too earlyand grab some chicory coffee and meander through the French Market looking for all kinds of goodies. Next off, to find a cocktail, maybe Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, where you can barely see your hand in front of your face. Good place if you've over-indulged the night before since it’s lit only by only candlelight. From Lafitte’s, I like to stroll Bourbon Street and tuck down St. Peter Street to Ali Baba’s and pick up a deliciously messy falafel. 



I check out Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo (please Don’t Touch The Altar out of respect). Next, I might hit Desire Oyster Bar, not for the seafood (I’m vegan) but for the Mint Julep. Be careful with this bourbon and mint concoction. After one, I don’t think your feet actually hit the ground! 




Then I end the day popping in an out of all the dive bars because the music coming out just pulls you in. I’ve heard some of the most talented musicians in the nastiest of places, where you order a beer and they bring you three and you're lucky if the restroom has a door (true story).

Now, back to the real reason I’m actually writing this post. My favorite thing to do in New Orleans is to stop in the Central Grocery for a tub of the famous olive salad and round loaf of Italian bread and
head back to my room. I grab a cocktail, make a mock Muffuletta, sit on the balcony and watch the unique and wonderful people of the city go by. So when I came across this book, Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen, and there was a vegan Muffuletta I had to try it.


Muffuletta
Plenty to share!


For fast and fresh Giardiniera:
1⁄2 cup (50 g) diced cauliflower
1⁄4 cup (35 g) diced zucchini
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (12 g) diced carrots
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (11 g) diced celery
1 hot pepper, minced
3 banana pepper rings, minced
1⁄4 cup (25 g) minced black olives
1⁄4 cup (25 g) minced pimento-stuffed green olives Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of black pepper
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon agave nectar (optional)


For sandwiches:
I've always had trouble with seitan/vital wheat gluten recipes, until now! These were delicious vegan deli slices that I would definitely make again.

1 cup (20 g) baby arugula
1 ten inch round loaf, cut in half laterally, some of the inside removed to hold the filling (*see note) 
4 ounces (113 g) Mushroom Tomato Slices (page 183)
4 ounces (113 g) Gobbler Slices (page 182)
1 roasted red bell pepper, cored and cut into strips
1 large tomato, sliced




To make the Giardiniera:


They say you should double this, and you should (sooo goooood).

Combine all the vegetables in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, vinegars, oil, and agave. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
 

To assemble the sandwiches:


Layer the arugula on the bottom of the bread. Layer the Mushroom Tomato Slices and Gobbler Slices evenly over the arugula and top with the pepper strip and tomato slices. Carefully top with giardiniera. 




Spoon the dressing from the giardiniera on top to taste. 



Press the top of the loaf on and cut into 4 to 6 wedges for serving.




*Note: I used the recipe for Whole Grain Burger Buns (page 92) in Whole Grain Vegan Baking, also by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen, but I made two flat round loafs to simulate the original muffuletta bread (YUM). 



 About the book:


101 Colorful Sandwiches Your Brown Bag Never Saw Coming

What’s the best thing since sliced bread? The sandwich of course! Layered with flavor, simple and portable, and full of endless variety, sandwiches have been stealing the show for as long as they’ve existed.

But it’s time for the traditional, calorie-laden, meat-centric sandwich to move over, because there’s a new sheriff in town—the vegan sandwich! Filled with healthy, natural, plant-based ingredients, vegan sandwiches are your one-stop shop to total breakfast, lunch, or dinner satisfaction.

Inside Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day!, you’ll find 101 amazing combinations to suit any time, any craving, and any occasion, including:

—Berry-Stuffed French Toast Pockets
—Apricot Breakfast Panini
—Puff Pastry Pot Pie Sandwiches
—Mango Basil Wraps
—Portobello Po' Boys
—Mediterranean Tempeh Sandwiches
—Mango Butter and Ginger Whoopie Pies

Whether you're vegan or just looking to incorporate more meatless meals into your diet without spending hours in the kitchen, you'll find the tasty solution you're looking for—no fork required!

Buy it wherever books and ebooks are sold!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Cocktail Sunday: This one time, at Vamp Camp.... recap of S6E05 and two classic cocktails face off!



Tonight, True Blood pleads with us to #SavetheVamps, and in honor of the fight between Pam and Eric, I am going to make two classic cocktails face off. Let's recap last week first though, shall we?

Pop goes the spoilers:

This episode takes us inside The InitiativeI mean Vamp Camp. But first…
Benlow (I guess I can just call him Warlow now) is trying to convince Sookie that he loves her. Apparently, he only killed Sookie's parents because they were trying to kill her. Okay, wait, stop. As an audience member, I respectfully request that you give us a more convincing reason why Warlow <3's Sookie than the fact that she is royal, because right now, I don't see that as a huge motivation for Warlow to go to such crazy lengths for Sookie. Maybe if Warlow marries Sookie, his curse will be broken or something? I don't know. Regardless, Sookie's insecurities about her parent's love lead her to tentatively believe Warlow when he tells her that her parents were trying to kill her. Well, here is what we have so far:

Warlow is fairy turned vampire by Lillith. He slaughters his village (but feels really bad about it) and then spares a little fairy boy named Niall. Warlow burns Lillith while she sleeps. Niall goes on to have halfling babies with someone in the Stackhouse ancestry. The resulting son, John Stackhouse, Sookie's great-great-great-something, signs Sookie away to Warlow. Warlow catches up with Sookie and wants to take her from her parents. Corbett and Michelle are totally fine with her being betrothed to a fairy, until they find out that he is also a vampire, and that he also wants to turn her into a vampire. "Oh hells no! Eff that, let's just kill her," is basically their answer. Warlow can't let that happen, so he stops them. (Wait wasn't Sookie at Gran's house with Jason when their parent's died?)

Best line of the episode: "Oh, hey there, sugar booboo! Now what is you doin' here at yo place of work cuz I know it ain't work." Sookie goes to Lafayette to find out if Warlow was lying or not. Do we not remember the last time Lafayette was channeling spirits and tried to kill Sookie? Let's not do this anymore, k?

Billith can feel Warlow's pain. He goes to find him and SURPRISE: As your maker, I command you, Warlow. Oh snap, crackle, vamp.
Well, at least now Bill has the fairy blood that he needs to create the synthesized blood for vamps. Bonus. What I find interesting about Bill taking on the role of Lillith while talking to Warlow, is that he sounds an awful lot like Lorena. "I told you, you could never go back. What were they to you anyway? You don't need them, you had me!" This is a very cool dynamic because Warlow is sounding a lot like the old Bill that we all know and love.

I just feel so sad for Andy. He finds his daughters dead in Bill's house. Granted, he has only known them for like 2 days, but he has watched them grow and taken care of them. One of the girls is still alive, however, and he is able to save her by giving her vampire blood (though this should not make her a vampire.) He finds out that Jessica murdered them and he tells Holly, who is able to talk him out of retribution.

Tara informs Eric that the LAVTF has taken Pam, so they volunteer to be taken to Vamp Camp.

Meanwhile, Pam is escorted through the halls where we see strange experiments being conducted. Eric is placed in a room with bouncy balls. In a Hunger Games-like test: Eric-1, other vamps-0. Hilariously, at lunchtime, Eric is viewed as a bully and doesn't get to sit at the cool kids table. In another room, Pam is made to talk about her feelings, something that detests her immensely. If Pam answers truthfully, she is allowed to feed from a donor. But this therapist gets down to the marrow of the matter and digs for information on Eric. Pam puts up a good front, discusses how pain is a worthless emotion, and explains how she is over being released from Eric. The therapist doesn't believe her and I don't think we do either.

Sarah Newlin is all kindsa crazy. She proposes to Burrell and is rejected(understandably- timing sweetheart, timing). She goes straight to Jason for a little loving. Jason, oh darling, Jason. You never disappoint. Jess is ODing on fairy blood. It's a little funny, until she kisses Bill, and that's just wrong. She goes to Jason for some help, but Sarah Newlin calls the LATVF and Jess is brought to Vamp Camp where she reunites with Tara.

The Wolves are still after Sam. At a bar called The Unfriendly Possum (hehe I love it), Alcide and Jackson are trying to get info. Jackson tries to talk some sense into Alcide about Rikki, and Alcide doesn't take that too well. There is something so very degrading about one man throwing money at another like that.

Nicole and Sam have an awkward morning after. It's at this point that I would like to make a prediction about Nicole. That girl got bit by a werewolf. I bet she'll be part of the Shreveport back come next full moon and she'll know all about how it feels to have to keep a secret.

Terry calls up a buddy from the Corps, and asks him to kill him. This shady dude accepts after he finds out that Terry murdered Patrick. This storyline is. Messed. Up.

This season's theme has never been more "a-parent" as the dynamics between parent and child, maker and progeny, come to a head at the end of this episode. Eric is about to be forced to fight with Pam, Alicide denounces his father, Warlow and Billith discuss their relationship and Sookie's ghost-dad tries to drown her.

Here endeth the spoilers.

Out of respect for the classics, I have decided to pit two well know cocktails together for a face off! They both also have really great fight names. I got both recipes from World's Best Cocktails by Tom Sandham. (The book is pretty awesome and totally a staple for any in home bar.)

In this corner:

The Alabama Slammer

1 oz sloe gin
1 oz Southern Comfort
1 oz amaretto
3 1/2 oz orange juice
ice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange zest strip and maraschino cherry on a toothpick.


And in this corner:

Gin Basil Smash

Bunch fresh sweet basil
1 3/4 oz gin
4 tsp lemon juice
4tsp sugar syrup
ice cubes

Muddle the basil in a shaker. add the remaining ingredients, shake with ice, and fine strain into a glass with fresh ice. garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of fresh basil.

These drinks both get points for ease of preparation.


Also points to both for presentation.


The Alabama Slammer made a smidge more drink than the Gin Basil Smash.

The winner is: Gin Basil Smash!



Though I love rich sweet flavors, the lightness of the Gin Basil Smash makes this drink the perfect refreshment for summer! Plus, Gin Basil Smash sounds an awful lot like something the Hulk would say, and I just wish that I could be at San Diego Comic Con this week.

I will end this post with an update to my Aquavit experiment. This is what mine looks like after a week.



I may need to taste it next week and see if it is ready. We may have to delay another week, but believe me, it will be worth it.

About the book:


World's Best Cocktails is an exciting global journey, providing the secrets to successful cocktail making, their history and provenance, and where to seek out the world’s best bars and bartenders, from London to Long Island and beyond. Cocktail and liquor connoisseur Tom Sandham provides a comprehensive appraisal of global cocktail culture, highlighting the trends and techniques that make the finest drinks popular in their native climes and across the world. Cocktail lovers will appreciate personal tips from key bartenders such as Jim Meehan and Dale de Groff in New York and Tony Conigliaro and Salvatore Calabrese in London, while cutting-edge recent award winners point to the future with their new daring flavor combinations. At last, discerning drinkers can learn more about what to drink and where, then bring back their coolest cocktail experiences to enjoy at home.

Available where all books and ebooks are sold.