Monthly Archives: January 2010


>I like to play mixologist at home. It’s fun and you get away with making up silly names.

Some of course come out better than others, but here are a few of my favorite inventions for this year.

Shaker, martini glasses
– 1 part vodka
– 1 part chocolate liquor
– 1 part milk
– 1 tbsp ovaltine for every drink you make
…Rim martini glasses with chocolate liquor and ovaltine. Shake ingredients with ice, strain into glasses.

I love Ovaltine with burning passion. This is good for dessert.

Stiff Lemon Tea:
Freezable pan, blender, juice glasses
– 2 parts lemonade
– 1 part sweet tea vodka
…. Freeze lemonade overnight in shallow pan (I use a pie pan). Allow to thaw enough to loosen from the bottom (sometimes I set it on a lowheat burner for a minute). Chunk up the disk and throw in the blender. Add tea vodka. Blend till slushy but not melted.

As a huge fan of slushy drink textures this concoction hit all my love buttons. It’s not particularly innovative and it’s caffeinated so I could only drink it around noon on a weekend. But still. Mine usually came out to two servings so I’d freeze the second part in a plastic cup. That totally dry frozen texture made me even happier than the original slushy.

Da’ Bomb
Lowball glass, spoon
-1 part homemade unsweetened sours*
-1 part Mezcal
– 1Tbsp agave nectar per person
– pinch of course salt
– pinch of habanero powder
…. Put juice and agave nectar in each glass and stir well to fully combine. Add Mezcal, salt, habanero powder. Stir. Fill glass with ice.

So this is a take on a margarita though I usually make them very small.
-Mezcal is similar to tequila but made with a different agave cactus species and is cooked over coals (rather than boiled). The result: Mezcal has a unique smoky flavor and a smoky nose.
– Agave nectar is a low-glycemic index sweetner made out of….. the agave cactus. Same that tequila is made out of. So it’s healthier than sugar syrup and has great flavor.
– Do not touch any part of your body if you actually touch the habanero powder. You will be in much pain.

The way the citrus juice, smoky Mezcal, habanero powder, and salt combine in this drink is pretty amazing. It’s got huge agressive flavor and nose and it’s spicy! It hits you hard. Yum.

This drink is the best one from this year.

Home-made Sours Mix
-8 lemons
– 1 orange

Juice all the fruit and store in a bottle (keeps several weeks).
*note* Most sours mix has sweetner already mixed in. Since I like to use agave nectar I mix the sweetner into each drink seperately.

And finally I’d like to give a shoutout to one of my other favorite liquors: Black Seal Rum.
Black Seal is dark rum that’s aged in a charred oak barrel cask, just like bourbon. This stuff is AMAZING. Don’t get the 150 proof stuff, bad things happen when you drink that; people self-combust, straight guys make out, Liz and Nat and I start to scheme. Just stay away.

>Eat, Drink, and Make a Marinade

>Oh man, I kill myself sometimes. Ha!

This is a recipe I came up with this summer but didn’t post because I took really terrible photos of it. At that time I made it once on my recently deceased Foreman Grill and once on a hibachi grill at a friend’s house. P. and I made it again this weekend on a regular skillet and it was SO good that I’m posting the recipe AND a horrible photo. Suck it!

Also, sliders are all the rage, right? Why shouldn’t veggies get in on that action?

Chipotle Marinaded Portabello Sliders w/ Fajita-Style Sweet Peppers

Chipotle Marinated Portabellos
– 6 medium sized portabello caps, cleaned with stems removed, keep the gills intact
– 1/4C chipotle puree (see Notes)
– 1/3C soy sauce
– 2Tbps olive oil
– 3Tbps blackstrap molasses (or brown sugar, or maple syrup, or whatever you’ve got)
– 3Tbsp bottled BBQ sauce (or hoisin, or whatever you’ve got)

1) Mix all ingredients to taste
2) Place mushrooms upside down in a casserole dish
3) Pour marinade over the mushrooms and in the bottom of the dish.
4) Let sit for 20min, flip mushrooms, let sit another 10min.
5) Remove from liquid, cook until dark brown and caramelized on a Foreman grill, outdoor grill, or skillet.
6) Serve on english muffins toasted w/ cheese (recommend cheddar, colby, or jack). Add sweet peppers (see recipe below) and spicy chipotle mayo (see recipe below).
7) Reduce the leftover marinade in a saucepan to make a glaze and save for later use.

Fajita-Style Sweet Peppers
-2 bell peppers, your choice of colors, cut into strips
-1/2 onion cut into strips
– 1 clove garlic minced
– 1 Tbsp sugar- recommend a dark sugar. I used succanat. Regular brown would also work well, or turbinado.
– 1 Tbsp minced cilantro
– olive oil for stir-frying
– black pepper to taste
– salt to taste
– Adobo powder if you’ve got it

1) Get a skillet really stinking hot. REALLY hot. Cause we’re imitating fajitas.
2) Add olive oil, peppers, onion, salt. Stir often enough to prevent nasty burning.
3) Add sugar, garlic, pepper.
4) Continue to cook until peppers are soft, sweet, and slightly blackened- we do want them to be somewhat charred but not completely turned to carbon.
5) Add cilantro.

Spicy Chipotle Mayo
– 1/8 cup mayo (I get reduced fat, you do whatever you want)
– 1 Tbsp chipotle puree (see Notes)
– 1 Tbsp course ground mustard

1) MIX.

Notes on the recipes:
– Chipotle puree is delicious and incredibly easy. Get one of these cans of Chipotles in Adobo (I see them in the international aisle in the supermarket and at ethnic markets). I think some brands are better than others, so try different kinds when you find them.

Then puree the entire contents of the can. I use my mini food processor.

That’s it.

It keeps forever. I have no idea why, but it does.
It is really freaking good on grilled pineapple.

Subbing (or removing) the cheese and the mayo will obviously make this vegan. No dairy in the main components.

>Still Life in Miniature

>I’ve recently become obsessed with making miniature food. It’s not particularly practical and potentially involves the purchase of an entire new set of tiny cookware and dishes. I think it all started when I began to live by myself and was cooking for only me, mainly in the toaster oven. First I was given a tiny pizza stone and a tiny Silpat as a gift. Then I purchased casserole, loaf, and pie pans that would fit in the toaster oven. Now for the holidays I have been given a set of miniature cast iron pans and a mini cast iron casserole.

You can cook one egg in a tiny cast iron pan. Or a single pineapple ring upsidedown cake. 1 silver dollar pancake.

The next plan is to purchase some quail eggs and cook them in the tiny cast iron pans and photograph them next to a quarter.

But this weekend I just used them to make drop biscuits. W/ scallions and cheddar cheese.

Trying hard not to fall into dollhouse territory here. Trying….

What a fun gift!