Monday, July 30, 2012

A Honey Of A Drink

This post was originally featured on the Drinking Made Easy site here.

One of the perks of living in Florida is having farmers markets all year round. The prices are so much better than the grocery stores and of course, everything is fresher.  Another perk I discovered was cheap honey.  A local apiary has a booth at the farmers market we go to and the prices are just great.  I can get an almost 3 pound jar of local, raw honey for $11.  Heck, those little bear squeeze bottles cost around $5 at the grocery store and it’s not even local honey.

I use the honey in my tea and in Greek yogurt, mostly.  But recently I was looking at my big jar and I wondered what kind of drinks I could make using it.  So, off I went to search out some new drinks using the awesome local honey.

I am a big fan of Absolut pears.  I think it makes a GREAT Cosmopolitan so naturally, this drink caught my eye immediately.  It doesn’t hurt that it has plums in it either.  They’re one of my favorite fruits.

Absolut Smitten Pears

2 1/2 part(s) Absolut Pears Vodka
1/2 part(s) Plum Diced
3/4 part(s) Honey
1/2 part(s) Lemon Juice
3 slice(s) Ginger

Muddle the plum and ginger together. Add Absolut Pears, honey, a squeeze of lemon and ice.  Shake and strain into martini glass.

Ballylickey Bait

2 oz. Irish Whiskey
Sparkling Water (Cold)

In an old-fashioned glass, muddle the honey and a little water until it dissolves. Add ice cubes and whiskey and fill with sparkling water. Stir gently and garnish with a lemon peel.

And this last recipe is very refreshing on a warm, summer night.  To me, rum goes hand in hand with summer.

Bee's Knees Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. White Rum
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Honey

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

So, if you can find local, raw honey I recommend getting some.  Not only is it said to be good for helping allergies, it makes one heck of a drink too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Turkey Caprese Sliders

I got this idea from watching "Giada At Home."  Giada made regular sized burgers using beef but as soon as I saw the show, I thought it would be a great idea to make them with turkey and turn them into sliders.  And great they were!


20 oz. package of ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1/2 cup of pesto (I used store bought but you can make your own)
2 tbs. grated Parmesan
1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella (about 8 oz.) cut into 1/4 inch slices then cut in half (you need 12 small slices) and patted dry
Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto Mayonnaise:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. pesto
12 slider rolls (I actually used dinner rolls)
2 or 3 Roma tomatoes (depending on size) sliced into 12 slices

Note:  Giada recommends freezing the cheese for a bit to make it easier to slice.  I have found a serrated knife cuts it just fine right out of the fridge.

Combine the turkey, pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Form the mixture into balls slightly larger than a gold ball and press into patties.  With your thumb, make a small indentation in the middle of the patties.  This will keep them from puffing up in the middle.  here are several ways you could cook these.  You could cook the burgers on a grill, over medium high heat,  in a pan or, like I did, on an electric griddle (a la Alton was raining).  I had the heat at about 350.

Cook the burgers approximately 4 minutes in the first side.  Then, flip them over and top with the halved slices of mozzarella and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove the burgers from the heat and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.

While the burgers are resting, mix the mayo and pesto in a small bowl until smooth.

Now, if you want, you can grill or toast the buns (I didn't).  Spread the pesto mayo on one half of the roll. Add the burger and a tomato slice.  Add the top half of the roll and serve.

These were a hit with my kids.  Hubby said they were a bit bland but I disagree.  With football season approaching, I think I'l be making these again soon.

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spicy Shrimp and Grits

I have always loved Southern food and since moving to Florida, I have been surrounded by it.  Yes, I know a majority of it is awful for you so I stay away from most of it.  But my family is a HUGE fan of grits and a dish I had been dying to try was shrimp and grits.  So, I went on a search for recipes.  It took a while but I did find one that wasn't too bland or complicated.  You know, me I didn't follow the recipe exactly but I did stick pretty close.  This recipe fed my family of four perfectly but the amounts could easily be adjusted up or down.

For the grits:

1 1/2 cups quick cooking grits (Yes, I know Alton Brown would have my head but it's what I had on hand.)
4 1/2 cups of chicken stock (I use low fat/low sodium.  I'm sure you could also use water)
1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I used low fat Mexican but you could use whatever you like)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp:

1 lb. shrimp (I used 31/40's)
3 carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a small sweet onion
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 cup white wine (I used chardonnay.  Beer or stock would work too)
Olive oil
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Spice mix:

1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (You can adjust this to taste)
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (This can also be adjusted to taste)
1 tsp. salt.

In a medium sized saute pan, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  Heat the oil over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery, onion and jalapeno.  Season with salt and pepper.

After about 3 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes more.

 Add the spice mix.

Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to toast the spices being careful not to let them burn. The onion should be translucent and the other veggies should be soft.

While the veggies are cooking, you can start the grits by heating the stock in a saucepan over high heat.

As the stock heats up, add the wine to the softened veggies and bring to a boil.

Once the wine comes to a boil, add the shrimp, lime juice and parsley.  Stir until the shrimp and incorporated.

Lower the heat to medium low and cover.  While the shrimp cook, slowly whisk the grits into the stock.  Lower the heat to medium low and cook the grits for 5 minutes.  Add the grated cheese at the end of the cooking time and stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the grits into a bowl and serve the shrimp and sauce over the top.

I was surprised at how easy and good this recipe was.  It was a hit with the entire family and it will definitely go into the meal rotation.

Adapted from My Husband Cooks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Put The Lime In The….

The original version of this post was published on the Drinking Made Easy site here.

A couple years ago, my husband and I bought a lime tree.  Last spring, it bloomed fairly heavily but given my luck with my Meyer lemon tree, I didn’t get too excited.  I figured maybe we would have a handful of limes and we’d have better luck the next year when it was more established.  Well, I was wrong.  We ended up with more limes than we knew what to do with and I was getting pretty sick of mojitos, daiquiris and fresh made margaritas.  So I hit Google to find other libations that used fresh lime juice.  This year, we have even MORE so there may be a part 2 of this post in the future!

One of the first drinks to pop up brought me back to being under 21 and drinking in a club that wasn’t so great about checking ID’s.  Our drink of choice was the kamikaze shot although I am pretty sure back then I had no idea what was even in them.  I made a mental mote to make a couple rounds the next weekend.  Well, wouldn’t you know, that very weekend I attended a party where the host was a former bartender.  Without me even saying anything, he busted out the shaker and made a couple rounds of kamikaze shots.  Ahhh, I was back to my youth.

Kamikaze Shots

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Triple sec
1 oz Lime juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes, and serve.

If you’re so inclined you can look for the recipe to make this into an actual drink rather than a shot.  Those are just as good.

This second recipe caught my eye because of the South Beach reference.  At the time, we were thinking of South Beach as a destination for our anniversary.  Even though the trip didn’t pan out, the drink recipe stuck.

South Beach Martini

2 oz Orange vodka
2 oz Absolut Citron
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lime juice
Twist of Orange peel

Shake well with ice. Strain into large martini glass. Garnish with twist of orange peel.

Now this last drink sounds, well, odd but at the same time, refreshing.  I would LOVE to have an avocado tree but we don’t really have room for one.  I like to think this drink borders on healthy…it gives a dose of vitamin C as well as a dose of good fats!

Avocado Daiquiri

1/4 medium Avocado
3/4 oz fresh Lime juice
1 cup crushed Ice
1 1/2 oz Light rum
1 wedge Lime

Crush ice in blender. Add rum, lime juice, and 1/4 medium avocado in blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pour into glass and garnish with lime wedge.

Like I said above, the tree has even MORE limes this year so stayed tuned for more lime recipes both drinking related and not!