Beverages – Mixed Greens Blog http://mixedgreensblog.com Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Feast Mode: Come Join Our Thanksgiving Table http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/11/16/seasons-eatings/join-our-thanksgiving-table/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/11/16/seasons-eatings/join-our-thanksgiving-table/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 13:38:04 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=17277 Theoretically speaking, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Brussel’s sprouts, Waldorf salad, biscuits, butter, whipped cream . . . all that, plus. Theoretically. A few years ago I saw a country vegetable garden with this sign outside the gate: Dear Deer, It’s almost Thanksgiving and it doesn’t have to be Turkey this year. Keep Out!


Over the years Poppy and I have cooked all kinds of Thanksgiving foods and posted many of them on Mixed Greens. We invite you to our table. Peruse the menu of possibilities and choose anything you’d like to try, or to make again because it was so good the last time. Choose two or three if you want. It goes without saying that there’s a nap on the menu too.

Recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner

         

Roasted Cranberry Sauce        Sweet Potato Biscuits         Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

Celery Root Puree      crispy shallots     caramelized shallots

Celery Root Puree                      Crispy Shallots                   Caramelized Shallots

          
Roasted Sweet Potatoes             Turkey Gravy                    Cranberry Gin & Tonic

           

Brussell’s Sprouts               Cranberry Upsidedown Cake         PNW Waldorf Salad

           

Turkey Soup Anytime       Something Green On the Side          Moroccan Turkey

Alton Brown is emphatic about how to roast a turkey: Brine your turkey – he does it in a large cooler along with some ice. Don’t stuff it! No need to baste. Keep the oven door closed as much as possible. If you’d like to be bossed around a little more about Alton’s way to roast a turkey, check out his recipe. I heard him carry forth on NPR the other night and it was impressive. He was decisive, which is a lot more than I can say for myself when it comes to how to best roast a turkey.

We’re grateful for you all dear readers. May your meal be as local as possible and delicious, your table lively and loving.

Water flows over these hands. May we use them skillfully to preserve our precious planet.

                              Earth Prayers From Around the World, Thich Nhat Hanh

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Apple Cider Rules http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/11/02/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/apple-cider-rules/ Mon, 03 Nov 2014 01:00:49 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=17239

Ever wonder how apple cider is made?  If you have plenty of apples and access to a cider press, you can make your own. One box of apples will make about 2 -3  gallons of cider. Renting a press is an option or you can offer an extra set of hands if you know someone with a press. I’m lucky enough to have a brother with a press and luckier still that by the time I arrived, most of the heavy work was done.

When I say heavy work, I mean picking and thoroughly washing all the apples. It’s the prep that always takes time, the rest is fun. Seeds and stems will pass through the grinder without changing the flavor so there’s no pre-cutting necessary. A mixture of varieties is fine and even desirable.

  

This is how the press works. Toss the clean, whole apples into the grinder. The fruit will be ground into pulp that drops into a pressing bag inside of a banded pressing tub.

  

When the bag is full of pulp, you slide the tub forward and place a wooden pressing plate over the top. Then the screw is tightened down to release all the delicious juice into a bowl.

  

The juice is then poured through some kind of filter to remove any chunks of fruit or skin — cheesecloth works but a grease spatter screen works even better. It can then be poured into containers.  Fresh apple cider will naturally ferment fairly quickly so it’s a good idea to freeze all but what you’ll be drinking in the next week. Remember to leave space at the top because the juice will expand when it freezes.

  

The bottled cider goes to friends and family or down to the freezer in the barn and the pulp goes outside the garden fence for the deer to have a feast of their own.

Fresh cider is incredible, cold or hot but also happens to make an excellent fall cocktail.

Apple Cider Cocktail aka The Wild Turkey (for 2)

Ingredients: 4 oz  fresh apple cider/ 4 oz bourbon, my preference is  Wild Turkey/ Juice of 1/2 lemon/ Dash of angostura bitters/Maraschino cherry for garnish

Directions: Pour cider, bourbon, lemon juice and bitters into a shaker with plenty of ice/ Shake and strain/ Serve straight up or over ice/ Garnish with a maraschino cherry (homemade or Luxardo are the best).

Drink up and do your turkey dance, sound effects are welcome.

I think our wild turkey would agree this is the perfect Thanksgiving Day cocktail, with or without the booze.

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A Party: An Enchanted Summer Evening Supper http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/08/18/seasons-eatings/protein/one-enchanted-summer-evening-supper/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/08/18/seasons-eatings/protein/one-enchanted-summer-evening-supper/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:04:51 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20920 Thirteen friends, the December dinner group, met for supper mid-August. We had a blast wearing flip flops and shorts instead of boots and sweaters. We gathered in the backyard, used many of our own vegetables and herbs, and enjoyed food mostly made ahead.

charcoaltomatoes

The Menu: Roasted summer vegetables with goat cheese ricotta on crostinis, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe and Charlie’s Jungle Bird cocktails; followed by lemon-dill shell pasta salad with grilled prawns and a platter of salad; Pam and Pamm brought dessert and I’m sorry, no picture of their fabulous ice cream sandwich cookies – it was dark by then. So much fun and the perfect delicious finale.

Summer Evening Supper

   Jungle Bird  Summer party 3  charcoal Grilled Prawns

tomatoes  summer salad  Pineapple mocktail  Foraged bouquet

summer roasted veg 2  summer roasted veg 1  Summer tapenade  Summer party (1) 2

Salad dressings, roasted vegetables and goat cheese ricotta made a day ahead took about an hour. Day of, finished everything else in a couple of hours. Pretty easy considering it was a meal for more than a dozen. Easy enough for hosts to then kick back and enjoy the delicious evening.

Lemon-Dill Pasta & Prawns Salad Recipe

 Pasta Salad with Prawns

Serves 12, or more.

Ingredients & Directions: 24 oz (2 pkgs) large shell pasta/ Generously salt plenty of water and cook pasta until al dente/ Strain, place in a large bowl, let cool briefly and then toss with all of the lemon dressing.

Lemon Vinaigrette: Make dressing a day ahead or while pasta is cooking: 1/3 – 1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¼ C finely minced red onion or shallot, 2/3 C olive oil, 1 T mustard, 3 T mayonnaise optional, 1 t salt and pepper to taste/ Whisk or shake vigorously, pour over warm pasta/ Make more if needed – the pasta needs plenty of dressing/ When pasta is completely cool stir in 1/2 C finely chopped fresh dill and chives (or more), 1 C chopped parsley, salt & pepper to taste/ Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Prawns Recipe

Grilled Prawns

Ingredients & Directions: 2 ½ # gulf prawns (shells removed before cooking or not, your call), about 5 per person – keep refrigerated/ If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 2 hours before grilling/ For the brief marinade: 2 T shallot or garlic, finely minced/ 1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 T olive oil/ salt & pepper/ Make the marinade, pour over prawns and toss gently; let sit for one half hour before cooking/ Arrange 6 prawns on each skewer/ Cook directly on a hot grill for 2 minutes on each side/ When cool, remove from skewers and place on top of prepared pasta salad/ Sprinkle with a little extra pasta salad dressing, lemon and parsley/ Refrigerate covered for a few hours or serve immediately.

Summer Salad Platter

summer salad

Line a platter with lettuce leaves and then arrange favorite summer vegetables on top – for example, avocado, fresh corn, sliced peppers, scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel. Edible flower blossoms. Salt & pepper to taste. Dress with Balsamic vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette) and sprinkle generously with chopped basil or any fresh herb combination.

Balsamic Vinaigrette: Pour generously over salad just before serving. In a pint-sized container, combine ½ C Balsamic vinegar, 2/3 C olive oil, 2 smashed cloves garlic, 2 t mustard/ Shake or whisk vigorously, taste and adjust as needed/ Mix ahead and set aside until time to serve the salad.

Roasted Summer Vegetables Recipe

Follow link to previous post and recipe.

summer roasted veg 2

Proscuitto Wrapped Cantaloupe

Ingredients & Directions: Cut 1 cantaloupe into bite-sized pieces, wrap each one with a small piece of prosciutto/ 12 oz of prosciutto was about the right amount/ Arrange on a plate with toothpicks and refrigerate until time to serve.

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Frosty Summertime Sippin’ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/07/06/seasons-eatings/our-first-mixed-greens-seasonal-cookbook/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/07/06/seasons-eatings/our-first-mixed-greens-seasonal-cookbook/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=19109 Browse through favorite seasonal beverages in our Mixed Greens’ digital cookbook: Rosemary Lemonade, simply herbs and water, Mojito Iced Tea, Bloody Mary Granita . . .  pull up a chair, kick back, sip.

 Mateus

      

 

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Some Like it Cold: Coffee & Tea http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/06/29/seasons-eatings/beverages/some-like-it-cold-coffee-tea/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/06/29/seasons-eatings/beverages/some-like-it-cold-coffee-tea/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:00:07 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=14079

Hot, humid weather and iced tea go hand-in-hand in the South where I grew up. No matter what the occasion, glass after glass of sweet tea was the signature drink of my childhood for everyone — from the kids on up to grandparents. So much so that whenever we have family visiting from North Carolina, one of the first things I do is make a pitcher of tea to serve on ice. I’m partial to mellow Oolong or green tea, especially roasted varieties which make a wonderfully refreshing drink without any added sweetness needed. Black tea with plenty of sugar is traditional.

You may not need a recipe for iced tea especially if you’re in the habit of making tea by the pot. Just in case, here’s the way I make it.

Iced Tea (for 6)

Use 5 teaspoons of loose tea or 4 – 6 teabags of any type of tea. (I used loose Oolong tea)

Pour about 6 cups hot water over tea, give or take.

Let it steep for about 4 to 5 minutes.

Set strainer over pitcher and strain.

Let cool, then refrigerate until serving over plenty of ice.

If you want to make sweet tea, stir sugar into the hot water first to dissolve, then pour over tea.

 

Growing up, it wasn’t unusual to see a big jar of Sun Tea brewing for the day’s consumption. I was shocked to find people are now being warned against using solar power to brew tea because of possible bacteria lurking in the tea. Even the CDC is in on this hogwash. I say, yeah maybe, but many people have been making sun tea for years with no ill effects. If you’re concerned about it, you can steep the tea without the sun, even in the fridge — just give it more time.

To make Sun Tea just follow the proportions in the iced tea recipe above but instead of using hot water, use cold. Put loose tea or tea bags in a jar with cold water, cover and place in a nice sunny spot for 3 to 5 hours. Strain the tea out and serve over ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made it through college fueled on iced coffee, the perfect blend of caffeine and ice. Back in the old days, when I ordered iced coffee, I’d get a blank stare then a mug of hot coffee and a big cup of ice. In other words, it wasn’t on the menu. I’m sure now that Starbucks is on every corner, even in the South, those days are over.

You can make a coffee concentrate without ever turning the stove on. Using cold water, you end up with coffee with less acidity and caffeine than the hot brewed type and the flavor is still full-bodied and only slightly milder. To serve, just fill a glass with ice, pour in the concentrate to your desired strength. I used 1/2 coffee concentrate and 1/2 cold milk. If you don’t use milk, use cold water to dilute, the melting ice also helps. I like a little demerara sugar to sweeten the deal.

Iced Coffee Concentrate

Ingredients: 1 quart cold water/ 1/4 lb. coarse ground coffee

Directions: Pour water into large bowl or pitcher. Add coffee and stir to saturate. Leave for 12 hours or overnight. Using coffee filter or cheesecloth, strain concentrate into jar. Store in fridge for up to a month.

Proportions and length of cold-brewing time can be fine-tuned to your own taste. If you want to make more concentrate, use a lb of coffee to a gallon water.

Take a jar of concentrate on your next camping trip. It’s much easier than bringing along all the paraphernalia and can be used with hot water too. It’s also excellent used in cooking. This article from the NY Times has some very interesting iced coffee recipes.

 

 

 

In an  article in the NY times , Harold McGee goes into great detail about the virtues of cold-brewing tea and coffee. He also included this recipe for Mojito Iced Tea. Peaches are finally in season so I had to give it a try.

Mojito Iced Tea

Ingredients: 5 sprigs fresh mint, lightly crushed/ 1 sliced lime/ 2 T loose-leaf Oolong tea/ 1 sprig fresh lemon balm (optional)/ 1 small peach, sliced, with pit/ sugar to taste

Directions: Place all ingredients in large bowl or pitcher with 4 cups cold water. Let rest at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Strain into clean pitcher and sweeten with sugar to taste. Pour into ice-fulled glasses and garnish with extra mint and lime slices.

Mojito Iced Tea makes an excellent mocktail. I can almost taste the rum…

 

 

 

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Savoring Summer Smoothies http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/05/25/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/savoring-summer-smoothies/ Mon, 26 May 2014 00:00:34 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20663 Rhubarb smoothie

While we’re all anxiously waiting for berry season to begin at the farmers market, I thought I’d slip in a couple of savory smoothie ideas to hold you over. It’s hard not to get obsessed with the exquisite berries available to us in the Northwest but in the meantime, rhubarb and mint are in season now and these recipes are definitely worth trying. Personally, I prefer savory to sweet any day, but that’s just me. These are both thirst-quenching and refreshing — perfect adult summer drinks.  I found these recipes in Melissa Clark’s column in the NY Times Summer Drinks section this week. Thanks, Melissa!

Rhubarb compote

The rhubarb smoothie starts with a simple rhubarb honey compote. I made mine considerably less sweet than Melissa’s and left out the rosewater. Here’s my loose interpretation of her Rhubarb Shake.

Rhubarb Smoothie (1)

Ingredients: About 2 cups of sliced rhubarb, approx. 3 stalks/ 2 T honey/ 2 T water/ 1 cup Greek or any whole fat yogurt/ 2 cups ice cubes/ Chopped pistachios for garnish.

Directions: Place sliced rhubarb, honey and water in a small saucepan/ Bring to a simmer and cook until rhubarb has “melted” about 6-8 minutes/ Let it cool in the fridge/ Place about 1 cup rhubarb compote (you’ll have extra left for other uses), yogurt, and ice cubes in blender/ Blend until smooth, adding a tablespoon or so of water if it’s too thick/ Garnish with chopped pistachios.

Rhubarb Smoothie

So pretty and pink, could even be a lovely light dessert.

Lime Mint Lassi

Now I can’t wait to tell you about my favorite of the two, even more on the savory side, Mint & Lime Zest Lassi. Melissa Clark calls this a Salt and Pepper Lassi with Mint and while it does have salt & pepper (and a pinch of sugar too), the flavors of the mint and lime zest make it unique and sounds a bit more appealing. It’s just the right balance of ingredients that make this a delicious not-too-sweet summer mocktail.

Lime zest

Mint & Lime Zest Lassi (1)

Ingredients: 1 cup Greek or any whole milk yogurt/ 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint, stems removed, leaves chopped/ Zest of one small lime/ Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste/ Pinch of demerara or brown sugar (optional).

Salt & Pepper Lassi

Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth/ Add several tablespoons water until you have the right consistency — about 2 – 4T, blend again/ Serve over ice.

Lime Mint Lassi

And then there’s my old favorite kale smoothie. This one is made with a banana and all sorts of fresh greens and herbs but next time I think I’ll try yogurt instead.

Kale Smoothie

If you haven’t already — drag out your lawn chair, hose it off, find a good summer book, a sunny spot and make a fresh smoothie. Heaven guaranteed.

 

 

 

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And the Winner is… Celery? http://mixedgreensblog.com/2014/03/02/seasons-eatings/basic-recipes-on-the-local-table/and-the-winner-is-celery/ Mon, 03 Mar 2014 01:00:20 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=20090 Celery Hearts

This is a joke, right? Celery, possibly the most under-appreciated vegetable, deserves some recognition. So much so that it’s the subject of a hilarious skit, The Celery Incident in the new season of Portlandia (fans, set up your DVR because it started this week). Celery has gotten more acclaim as a color than a vegetable. Even the ugly duckling, celeriac, has become the foodie’s darling with practically the same flavor and minus the crunch. I’ll always root for the underdog, so I decided to explore celery and try some recipes that give it a starring role.

Ever use celery leaves? Up until now, I mainly used them to flavor homemade broth, other than that, they often sadly ended up in the compost. Never again. Homemade celery salt is so simple to make and is an excellent use of the entire plant. Now I find myself peering inside the stalks at the grocery store to make sure I’ve got plenty of leaves. This recipe, from 101 Cookbooks, opened my mind to all kinds of herb salt.

Homemade Celery Salt

Homemade Celery Salt

Ingredients: Leaves from one bunch of celery/ Sea salt, I used Maldon.

Directions: Pull all the celery leaves (green and yellow) from the stalks, wash and dry/ Place on baking sheet and bake in 350 oven for 5-7 minutes/ Let leaves dry on pan, then crumble into small pieces, discarding any that aren’t completely dry/ Mix with an equal amount of sea salt — mine was about 2 teaspoons of each, leaves and salt.

Sprinkle on baked potatoes, any egg dish, corn on the cob, in a Bloody Mary, you name it.

Dried Celery Leaves

I’m always on the look out for unusual fixings for mocktails and saw this recipe from Food52 for a savory celery simple syrup. Mixed with lemon juice and sparkling water, it makes a lovely refreshing drink. Substitute the sparkling water with tonic, add a dash of bitters and you won’t even miss the booze. It’s subtle complexity is a thing of beauty, just as it is.

Homemade Celery Soda

Homemade Celery Soda

Ingredients: 7-8 stalks celery, washed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)/ 1 T black peppercorns, lightly crushed/ 8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed/ 3/4 cup superfine sugar/ 1 1/4 cup water/ 1 large lemon, zest in strips, then juiced/ seltzer water/ Inner celery leaves and stalks for garnish.

Celery Simple Syrup

Directions: Bring water and sugar to a boil in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar/ Add sliced celery and return to boil for a minute or two/ Remove from heat and add lemon zest, peppercorns and cardamon to the celery mixture/ Stir to combine, cover pan and let it cool to room temperature/ Strain celery simple syrup through fine mesh strainer into a jar/ Add juice of lemon to the syrup, stir to combine/ Pour 2-4 ounces simple syrup over ice in glass/ Top off with sparkling water and garnish with celery stalk.

Homemade Celery Soda

So here’s to celery!!  It may not be the most popular or even the prettiest vegetable, but it certainly deserves a lifetime achievement award. It’s always been there on every plate of raw vegetables with dip, in every batch of homemade broth and stock, sauteed with onions and carrots as the basis for sauces and soups the world over. Since it’s available in practically every grocery store throughout the US, it’s easy to find but also easy to overlook. Just give it a chance to shine.

 

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Summer’s Savory Granitas http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/07/28/seasons-eatings/beverages/summers-savory-granitas/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/07/28/seasons-eatings/beverages/summers-savory-granitas/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 01:12:58 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=19057 horseradish granita

Happy Hour heaven. The raw oysters at Tilikum Place Cafe  last week, served with horseradish granita, were an exquisite treat. Done deal, I thought. I’ll make some and regale my raw oyster-loving husband with a smashing shellfish meal. Score some points. Maybe not as good as Tilikum Place Cafe’s, but good enough. Gathered around a table with four women friends, we ordered to share and the oysters came first. The tangy horseradish granita embellished perfectly tender, succulent oysters. Consuming raw oysters is always an event, but these were exceptional, and their horseradish granita the ideal summertime accompaniment.

Those spectacular oysters were from Taylor Shellfish Farms,  available at Melrose Market in Seattle and at Tilikum Place Cafe. Other places too. Check out their website.

After seeing this post, my mixologist friend Charlie sent a link to Saveur magazine’s website where granitas were featured in the July issue. More great granita ideas.

bloody mary granita

Horseradish Granita would be good in other ways too. In a bloody Mary, with BC spot prawns, a dollop in a bowl of cool borscht or gazpacho.

And there’s Bloody Mary Granita. Summertime adult-cocktail snow cones. Hello! Put some in a glass and eat it with a spoon, or add a tablespoon to a traditional Bloody Mary and knock it out of the bloody ballpark!

Granita will keep for a few days in the freezer, and is characterized by its coarsely-grained crushed ice. Put it into containers, cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Horseradish Granita Recipe

horseradish granita & oyster

Makes about 4 cups.

Ingredients: 1 cup coarsely grated or chopped fresh horseradish/7 T flavored rice vinegar/ 3 1/2 C water/ 1 T sugar/ pinch of salt. Cut this recipe in half, of course, if 4 cups is too much.

Directions: Place horseradish, 1 C water and vinegar in a blender/ Blender until horseradish is processed and fairly fine/ Add remaining 2 1/2 C water and pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium-sized bowl/ Stir in sugar and salt.

Pour contents into a 8 x 12″, or similarly sized, pan/ Carefully place in a secure, level spot in the freezer/ Freeze for 1 – 2 hours/ Remove from freezer and scrape, smash and stir mixture with a fork, breaking into small icey bits/ Return to the freezer and repeat this process three more times, every 30 minutes/ Granita should be done at this point, coarse bits of ice, about like a snow cone/ Place granita in container, cover and freeze until ready to use.

If you are using already processed horseradish, from a jar: Stir 1/2 C into 1 C water and 2 T flavored rice vinegar/ Blend/ Add 1 1/2 C water, 2 t sugar/ Mix together and freeze according to recipe. This makes less, 2 cups, but plenty for an oyster feast and/or as the base for Bloody Mary granitas.

Serve horseradish granita in a bowl or in small individual bowls. Place a spoonful on a tender oyster, raw or lightly grilled. Heavenly.

The basic recipe makes about 4 cups of granita, 2 cups for serving with oysters or any shellfish, and 2 cups as a base for Bloody Mary granita (recipe below).

 Bloody Mary Granita Recipe

bloody mary granita

Although I didn’t exactly follow their recipe, thank you to FoodRepublic.com for inspiration.

Make this with or without alcohol. This recipe makes four or five snow cone-like appetizers, more if used by the spoonful in traditional Bloody Mary cocktails.

Ingredients: 2 cups of the horseradish granita mixture (recipe above)/ 1 1/2 C tomato juice/ 1/2 C water/ Juice of 2 limes/ Dash of Worcestershire sauce/ 1/2 – 1 t Sriracha hot sauce/ 1/2 t garlic powder/ 2 T finely chopped chives or parsely/ Pinch salt/ 1/4 – 1/3  C vodka, more if you like. Or skip the vodka.

Directions: Follow directions above for freezing, scraping and storing granita.

Sally and Poppy are ‘gone fishin’ for the next month, summer vacation. We’ll repost some of our best summer stuff from the archives, and return in September refreshed. Happy summer dear readers.

 

 

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All-in-One Dessert & Cocktail: Granita http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/05/26/seasons-eatings/desserts/all-in-one-dessert-cocktail-granita/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/05/26/seasons-eatings/desserts/all-in-one-dessert-cocktail-granita/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 00:00:56 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=18652 Rhubarb Granita

Desserts are clearly not my specialty since I have one cookie recipe and one cake recipe that I make over and over again. Usually if someone else offers to make dessert, I don’t hesitate to agree. Last week while making a birthday dinner for a friend that shares my love of light, fresh, seasonal desserts, I branched out and tried a rhubarb granita. It was a big enough hit that it’ll easily make my dessert list. And the summer cocktails you can make — don’t worry, I’ll get to that.

 Rhubarb & Strawberries

My only regret is that I let myself get suckered into buying some organic strawberries from California, out-of-season for us here in the Northwest. There seems to be a myth about rhubarb — some say without strawberries, it’s just not sweet enough. I know better but you know how it is when you trust a recipe more than your instincts. Strawberries will be in season here very soon so if you choose to use them, please wait (local strawberry update — first of the season available at University District Farmers Market on Saturday). If you’re like me and love rhubarb for what it is (and have an over-abundance in the garden), just use that.

Rhubarb Granita Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar/ 6 – 8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1″ pieces (use 10-12 if you omit the strawberries)/ 1 cup sliced strawberries/ Juice of one lemon/ Several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

Directions: Bring sugar and 1 cup water over high heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar/ Reduce heat to medium-high and add rhubarb/ Cook until tender, about 5 minutes/ Add strawberries, lemon juice and thyme and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Rhubarb & Strawberries

Remove from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes/ Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 9 x 13 baking dish, lightly pressing the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to release all the liquid/ Discard the solids, let the liquids cool down then cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Rhubarb Granita

Using a fork, stir the mixture every 30 minutes, scraping the edges and breaking up any ice that forms as the mixture freezes/ When the mixture is slushy and frozen, about 2-3 hours later, it’s ready to serve/ To serve later, scoop into a container with a lid and place back in the freezer.

Rhubarb Granita

I love whipped cream so this is how I served it, along with a couple of strawberries on top. Thanks to Saveur for the inspiration for this recipe.

Now, about those cocktails. The following evening my master mixologist husband was shaking up a couple of quick G & T’s and decided to add some granita to the mix. Great move, Charlie. For those of you who’ve never tasted a Charlie Cocktail, they’re always delicious but this opens a whole new world of summer cocktails. As we sipped, we couldn’t help but think up all sorts of seasonal combinations for our next batch of granita.

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonic

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonics (for 2)

Ingredients: 2 T rhubarb granita (and 2 more for garnish)/ 4 oz gin/ Juice of one lime (or lemon or a mixture of both)/ Tonic.

Directions: Place gin, lime juice and granita in a shaker filled with ice/ Shake and strain into 2 ice-filled glasses/ Top off with tonic/ Add another spoonful of granita as a garnish (we didn’t think of it but a sprig of fresh thyme would be lovely too).

Rhubarb Granita Gin & Tonic

For the true all-in-one experience, you can just put the granita in a glass, pour some booze over the top and call it good. Let the summer cocktail season begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When in Rum http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/04/22/seasons-eatings/beverages/when-in-rum/ http://mixedgreensblog.com/2013/04/22/seasons-eatings/beverages/when-in-rum/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 11:58:41 +0000 http://mixedgreensblog.com/?p=18437 OK, when in Puerto Rico. Wherever you are on the planet, isn’t it just courteous to politely partake in the local culture? The fresh papaya, avocado, mango, Mahi Mahi, coconut, lime, cashew fruit (who knew?), plantains, tamarind, hot and hot hot sauce. . . and so on. Just living local.

Rum on ice

There’s also rum. Not exactly a cocktail maven am I, but decided to make several classics while here and asked my husband, brother and sister-in-law (who live here now and with whom we’re having a wonderful, long family visit) to suffer through taste tests along with me. They agreed, and not that reluctantly.

rum tonic at sunset  rum  Fresh coconut   image

Puerto Rican sunset  Bouganvilla  image  image

So here’s what we tried, based on some internet research, a couple of local bartenders, Charlie’s influence (lots of fresh squeezed lime!), whatever fruit we had, and our own tastes and intuition: a classic Daiquiri, Rum tonic, Mojitos and Pina Colada. Thanks to Pirulo for his fresh basil and mint.

We four gathered beachside in comfy chairs and tasted. And tasted, and tasted. Four different cocktails exchanged, sipped and then curtain calls for a couple of them. Pina Colada’s are delicious and rich like a desert. We could have sipped them all night long, but refrained. Less is more wins again: the Daiquiri and Rum Tonic, in their utter simplicity, allowed the good rum to shine through and are a cinch to make. We tried Mojitos with mint and with basil, both were delicious. Actually, we couldn’t sway Jeana from the Mojitos.

One caveat. Cocktail recipes tend to be explicit on paper, but I’m pretty sure in real life there’s plenty of winging it going on. I’ll give an exact recipe here, but please, make it your own. Sweeter, sourer, juicier, rummier. However.

First of all, if you have a good rum, and you’ll probably know it if you do, just sip it plain or over ice. After that, fruit is its classic companion. One story is that European sailors in Caribbean port ran out of whiskey and gin and decided to try the local liquor, which was rum – made from sugarcane. Fruit was abundant and the marriage was made and has lasted. Our good fortune.

FYI, for conversion: 6 t = 1 oz., 3 t = 1/2 oz. 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon.

Daiquiri Recipe

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Ingredients for one cocktail: 1 1/2 oz light rum/ 3/4 oz lime juice/ 1/4 oz sugar syrup

Preparation: Pour the light rum, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes/ Shake well/ Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Rum Tonic Recipe

Rum tonic

Thanks to Charlie and Poppy who introduced me to this cocktail – no one makes it better.

Ingredients for one cocktail: 1 – 2 oz. dark rum/ 3/4 oz lime juice or more/ Tonic to taste

Preparation: Fill glass with ice, add rum and lime/ Add tonic to taste/ Garnish with thin slice of lime.

Mojito Recipe

Mojito

Ingredients for one cocktail:  6-8 mint leaves/ Club soda/ 1 lime, halved/ 2 oz light rum/ Mint sprig for garnish

Preparation: Place the sugar, the mint leaves, and a little club soda into a glass/ Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the mint flavor/ Squeeze the juice from both halves of the lime into the glass/ Drop one half of the lime into the glass/ Add the rum/ Stir well/ Fill the glass with ice cubes/ Add the rest of the club soda/ Garnish with the mint sprig.

Basil Mojito, use basil instead of mint. basil mojito

 Pina Colada Recipe

Pina Colada

Ingredients for one cocktail: 2 oz white rum/ 6 oz pineapple juice/1 1/2 oz Coconut Cream/ 1 oz heavy cream/ Pineapple wedge for garnish.

Preparation: Blend all ingredients with approximately 2 cups of ice until nice and smooth/ Pour into a chilled hurricane glass/ Garnish with the pineapple wedge.

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