Alright, here is the first of the recipes and of course I start with booze! This recipe I found on Saveur’s website. I thought it sounded amazing and it was! How can you go wrong with bourbon and cider? I make a similar version that involves bourbon, cider, and sparkling wine — very festive. Anyhoo, here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. cider syrup
- strip of lemon zest
Combine bourbon and cider syrup over ice and stir. Twist the lemon zest to release the lemon oil and drop into the drink. Stir again and serve!
Notes — Cider syrup is essentially some cider that has been really boiled down. I started out with about 6 – 7 cups of cider and boiled it down to about a cup or a cup and a half. It maybe filled the syrup dispenser shown in the pics to about 80%. According to the recipe, you’ll need to boil it down gently for about 2 hours; mine took about 3. . . The bourbon that I used is from the Grand Traverse Distillery in Traverse City. I had gone up there for a vacation just before the summer tourist season started. I was absolutely floored by it! This was one of the places that I had definitely wanted to visit while up north and I was not disappointed. They only make some small batches and they only had a few bottles left when I was there. Luckily I had picked up a bottle for me and one as a gift. What’s nice is that they do their very best to use locally produced grains to make their spirits. I believe that everything is Michigan made, except for the bourbon — I think they need to get the barley from out-of-state. If I remember correctly, it is 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% barley. I was familiar with their high quality vodkas and now they are working on making a gin and rum as well. I can’t wait to go back and see what else they’ve got and luckily they are building a tasting room in Novi, MI so I won’t have to drive up to Traverse City to get myself a taste!. . .
It’s Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday. Fun fun fun fun fun fun. Alright, enough of that horrible song. It’s lucky number 7 for this episode! And since this is the last Friday before Halloween, I thought this would be a fun one to post.
Be safe everybody when you carve up your pumpkins!
Bonus post! Aren’t you excited? And you thought Friday the 13th is bad luck! Just saw this yesterday on the blog by Amy Blandes and just had to share. This is my favorite time of year. Check out this post from a couple of weeks ago which helps explain why. It just makes me think of cozying up with friends and family with a lot of food and booze. And it’s good to celebrate with your peeps!
But it’s not just the time for pumpkin this and pumpkin that. There’s pumpkin-pie-spice-flavored everything, too. Like those M&Ms that I’ve never seen before. Oh well, Happy Friday!
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it — the smells, the cooler days, the crisper nights, the colors, the pies, Halloween, Thanksgiving, volleyball and football start up again — what’s not to love? Alright, I admit there is one thing I don’t like — cleaning up all those damn leaves on my property. I own about an acre of land with maybe 20 giant oak trees. So the leaves can pile up and pile up quickly. And unlike in some neighboring cities, I can’t just push my leaves into the road, so I either have to do it myself or hire someone else to do it. But that’s a whole other issue. . .
Anyhoo, I saw this the other day on Facebook and wanted to share. This appeared on my feed from the magazine Midwest Living. This sums up everything that is awesome about Fall and I wanted to share it with y’all. What do y’all like about Autumn? Just let me know — either here or on Facebook! I gots a recipe for some Gluten-Free Rocky Road Brownies coming up later this week, and hopefully some other fun stuff.
It’s August and Summer is in full swing here in Michigan. Actually, with the weather we’ve been having here the past few weeks, it feels like Fall. Not that I mind the cooler temperatures; I’m just hope the mild summer is not going to translate into a brutal winter. But enough about that — nothing says summer quite like a nice boozy watermelon punch.
I did just have my summer shindig recently and made this again. I usually have 4 big get-togethers each year when I invite my close friends (actually I consider these guys to be family) and treat them to some free food and booze. Sure this explanation is a little simplistic, but y’all don’t need to get into my big bag of crazy when it comes to planning and prep. I actually don’t remember what else I made, other than stuff on the grill. But I did remember this! Making this concoction this time seemed a lot easier, but last time I was face down in my backyard all afternoon so who knows what my recollection can actually count for. And, of course, I could not find my old recipe no matter how much I looked around for it. So this is a whole new deal.
Now I really like this recipe. I didn’t think it was overly sweet and you could still pick up on all the ingredients. And if you are like me, you may just have a couple of portions of mint syrup just hanging out in the freezer for emergencies.
I did hollow out the watermelon and use it as a serving utensil, which is completely optional. I like the presentation. If you were interested in serving it this way but don’t know where to get a spigot like this, you could check out your local brewer’s supply shop. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 watermelon (medium-sized, I guess. Use the pictures as a reference)
- 1/2 – 1 c. vodka
- 1 c. cachaça
- 1 1/2 c. rum (I used a dark 8-year-old rum)
- 4 oz. Midori
- 6 limes, juiced
- 2 c. mint syrup
1. Take your watermelon and see if it’s able to stand on its end. If not, just cut off a small slice to level it off, making sure not to expose any of the inner flesh.
2. Cut off the top couple of inches of the watermelon to expose some of the red flesh inside (wow that sounds a little macabre). Using an ice cream scoop, start scooping out the fruit (berry?) and place it in a food processor. Pulse it in batches until smooth and run the purée through a fine sieve set over a large bowl.
3. In a large pitcher or jug, combine the vodka, cachaça, rum, Midori, lime juice, and mint syrup. Stir to blend.
4. Add the strained watermelon juice and stir to combine. You can refrigerate this overnight, just be sure to mix it before hand.
5. Pour yourself a little happy. Add some ice if you like!
Notes — you may want to run the watermelon through a very fine sieve. you could just line a sieve with some paper towel, but that sounds like a long process. . . if you cut off too much on the bottom to level the watermelon, it’s not the end of the world. just be sure not to hollow out the watermelon too much or you will have a boozy, leaky mess on your hands. . . also, be careful not to take out too much of the pulp (is that the right term?). if you are overzealous with your scraping, the hollowed out shell might crack and there’s another boozy, leaky mess. . .
We just had our first official day of summer and it was ridiculously hot here in Michigan — 97 degrees F around these parts. Now I’m not 100% sure if figs are a summer fruit, but rhubarb and raspberries always make me think of the season. And when it’s summer, you don’t want to be in a hot kitchen all day, so this is ideal! What’s special about this recipe are the dried figs. They can help absorb some of the liquid that is released by the rhubarb and they add some sweetness, texture, and color. Sure, I was just trying to clean out my pantry but this combination really goes well together.
Just throw all the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix it up, and get another bowl to toss the filling with some sugar and flour and you are all set. You can even make the topping the night before and put it in the fridge for when you’re ready! Easy-peasy! Here’s what you need:
For the topping:
- 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/2 c. rolled oats
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the topping resembles loose crumbs.
2. Stir in the oats and pecans. Set aside.
For the filling:
- 1/2 c. vanilla sugar
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1 lb. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-in pieces
- 12 – 15 dried figs, cut into quarters
- 8 oz. raspberries
- juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Place the lemon juice, rhubarb, figs, and raspberries in your baking dish. Gently toss. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top and let sit for about 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the topping over the top of the fruit in an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the topping is golden. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving so the filling can set up just a tiny bit.
Notes — My pecans got a little bit toasty, but tasted fine. If burning them is a concern, you could add the pecans to the filling instead of in the topping. . . Store this in the refrigerator. . . You can reheat this in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 – 20 minutes.