Tag Archives: Liquer

Happy Belated Memorial Day!!!


So the week is almost done and for the first time, I feel like this week has gone by as fast as the weekend.  I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t been able to get anything else done, namely prepare for the summer.  I forgot/was too tired/it was too cold to go outside to cover up my grill this past winter, so now its just an ashen, spiderweb filled shell of what it used to be.  I’m going to try to tackle resurrecting summer’s best friend some time this weekend so I can try out all of my favorite staple and new recipes.  Somewhere on our site is a picture of some grilled fruit…it’s probably Lindsey’s but I think there’s a picture of mine too.  Anyway, one of my all time favorite and super quick and easy grill recipes is grilled peaches.  I found the recipe online a few years ago and as with everything, I tweak it to my liking, though I can hardly even write down a recipe…and my liking almost always includes adding alcohol.

  • Get as many peaches as you like (half them and DON’T remove the skin)
  • Enough liquor to cover the bottom of a pan (Bourbon or Whiskey works best, but you can take this out if you have kids…or not)
  • Brown sugar to mix in with the alcohol (You can skip this if you’re not making them for dessert or keep it in if you’re leaving the liquor out)
  • Butter or your choice of non-stick assistance (To prevent sticking)

 

  • Mix the liquor and brown sugar together if you choose to use it and let the peach halves soak for at least 4 hours and no longer than 24hrs.
  • Oil the grill grates well (If you don’t, most of the peach will stay on the grill!)
  • Cook the peaches over a medium-high fire until grill marks show and the peaches are tender but still firm when you press them.

But onto the reason I actually wrote this post…I need to clean my grill!  Outside of buying a new one, I’ve been researching ways to bring mine back to life.  I found a decent article on The Kitchn for a quick grill refresh.  Guess I’ll start with throwing all of my stuff in the dishwasher!  Do you have any tips?

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Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Red Velvet Cupcakes Oh My!


If you live on the East Coast, you’re probably wondering what in the hell we did this week to piss Mother Earth off. I’m not too moved by so-called natural disasters because the only thing I can do is prepare. I can’t do anything about them otherwise. I’m more concerned about getting stuck in the house without food, wine and toilet paper. So once the aftershocks wore off, I found myself celebrating Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival with my co-workers over a few rounds of drinks.

Count 'Em...Irish Car Bombs

I really had no need to worry, after all, it was my plan to be held up at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, NJ making a living on the blackjack table. In comes the dream stompers (Harrah’s)… Friday afternoon just as I’m getting excited about leaving town for a few days, the hotel calls and cancels the reservation unless we can get there before 4pm. What the what!?!? Now I have to come up with a gameplan to hunker down and wait out this storm at my house…without the comforts of room service.

NYC, Irene's on her way!

On my lunch break, I headed over to the local Target (typically a lunchtime hangout spot of mine) just to get a few things for the weekend. My fridge was empty because I had just come back from Miami and hadnt had a chance to go to the grocer. I lie to myself, saying I’m just gonna get some water, a few non-perishables and cleaning products. Yeah…no such luck. I go straight for the water aisle because I know people are buying it up like crazy to find that all of the “cheap” water is gone and two women are literally fighting over the last two one-gallon jugs of Target brand water.

Fiji to refresh my palette and Evian to bathe in...Ahh, the finer things in life.

Let’s just say that Target was having a sale on food…I think they were just trying to get it out of there in the event they lost power. I ended up getting my high-end water and everything else from raspberries (which I’ll be using to make my Berry Cherry Brie tomorrow) to Totino’s Pizza Rolls (they were $.68 a box!!!) and topped it off with ingredients to make red velvet cupcakes from scratch. Who knew Target sold cake flour??? I figured, if I was gonna be shut in for the weekend, why not cook for 20. So Friday night, I start working on the cupcakes. I’ll spare you the details of the recipe and just list the one that I use. I love Ina Garten…all of her recipes are just so rich. It’s like when you’re making something that needs that extra umph, Ina has a recipe for it. Check out her lobster rolls. That’s one of my faves. Anyhow, I used this recipe and frosting (insert link), with a few KC style tweaks and came out with the most amazing product. I’ve eaten a half-dozen already.

The Hurricane has since arrived and is baring down on Baltimore with all that she has. The wind is shaking my house and the rain is battering the windows, but as long as the electricity stays on, I’m good. Since I had my decadent dessert waiting, I figured it was ok to whip up some store bought tortellini and Prego. That meal was just the fix I needed before I dove in. But I couldn’t dive in just yet. My little hurricane companion Gypsy was clocking my every move just knowing that I was going to give her a cupcake too. WRONG! I don’t share my food with the help. But what I did do, because sometimes she’s a pretty spectacular dog, was stop at Dogma and buy her a cupcake of her own so we could have our at the same time.

One for puppy and one for mommy

Success! I could eat my cupcakes in peace and she would be happy.

An occupied puppy equals a happy mommy

After that, I’ve put myself on a cupcake limit and we’re weathering out the storm.  Let’s hope that everything and everyone stays safe. Stay tuned for my brie post.

Now that she's eaten, apparently this hurricane isn't THAT serious...

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Because I’m craving another vacation…


…I decided to finally start/complete my post(s) about Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Day #1:

It is apparent that if my head wasn’t already attached to my body, I leave the damn thing behind. To be so intelligent, I’m pretty dag on loopy. I normally take several trips abroad every year, but somewhere between my move LAST YEAR, I managed to misplace my passport and just haven’t had the time to go sit in the DC office to renew it. Problem: I was craving some island weather…something different and Miami just wasn’t going to cut it this time around. Solution: *spins the globe a la Coming to America and lands on “Queens!”…no, Puerto Rico*

Previously on “Just call me Sangria San Juan”…

Casey and Amanda (she’s not a blogger, but she’s my best friend, so get used to reading/seeing her name) not only were getting drench during what appeared to be Waterpalooza 2011, they manage to drown their kidneys in Chambordy sangria goodness. For the stateside recipe, click here.

While swimming in pitchers of Chambord Sangrias, my bff and I decided to sample a few items off of the menu at the suggestion of Dah-veed (David).

Took a high dive into that pitcher!

Well as I was typing this, I got so excited to show you guys the Latin Sliders, but realized that I ate them too fast to catch them on camera. *sad face* They were three little burgers with a perfect mix of angus beef and longaniza sausage, caramelized onions, a slice of pepperjack cheese and a smidgen of roasted garlic aioli. HEAVEN!!! Now I could go on and on about the wonderfulness of longaniza and how that changes with the region, but I won’t. I encourage you to just try it sometime…anywhere where there’s Latin or Spanish influence, you’ll find looooooongaaaaniiiiiiiiizaaaaaaa. So now you can understand why there is no picture…

In the meantime while I was waiting for the sliders to come out, Amanda and I ordered shrimp cocktail. The shrimp were probably about the same as any that I had had before, but these were laid over a nice helping of pineapple salsa with a side of spicy pineapple cocktail sauce. Both were made from local pineapples harvested from Hacienda Don Juan in Lajas. And maybe I was so impressed with the pineapple sides because I’m a fan of locally harvested foods, but I swear it was the sweetest, juiciest damn pineapple I’ve ever had. I think I finished the salsa before I did the shrimp!

Juicy pineappley shrimp

Once the monsoon let up just enough for us to get back into the hotel without being washed away, we retired to the room to catch one of those good, after meal, during the rain, mid-afternoon naps. Fast forward a few hours to darkness, of course I was starving and ready to get out to do some damage. I was thinking about mojitos and coconut flan, something a little less touristy, but somewhere where the servers could understand and the menus were written in English.

Creamy, dreamy coco flan

Exactly what I asked for...

Now I’m craptastic for not remembering the name of this restaurant, but it started off my obsession with camarones al ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce). I was looking for napkins and anything else that wasn’t nailed down to sop up the rest of the sauce!

Starting to see a trend here...

I no longer wanted to try anything else on the menus when we went out…I wanted camarones everywhere we went. The same thing went for drinks…Chambord was callin’ my name! And it was always worth it! At the end of Day 1 and a long full belly walk later, I was wishing I had a doggie bag…

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Just call me Sangria San Juan


That kinda sounds like a strippers name, and although it was hot and muggy enough to make you want to strip when we arrived in Puerto Rico, I can assure you that I had on more clothes than Rihanna wore in her last three concerts combined.  The past few weeks leading up to the trip, I did nothing but research restaurants and dream up fictious Puerto Rican food concoctions.  While I had things that I definitely wanted to try, I came across several things that I hadn’t even thought about…hadn’t even imagined.  I figured this post would be a good follow up to Lindsey’s “Thirsty Thursdays”.  We’ll call this Sweet Sippin’ Saturdays!

Upon arriving at La Concha and looking around a bit, we were eager to get out and do some sightseeing.  Unfortunately, we weren’t visiting during the dry season and were caught in the middle of a 45 minute torrential downpour.  So we decided to eat at one of the restaurants at the hotel…this was our “go to” for the remainder of the trip.  We were greeted by a very attentive and gracious staff and they were willing to suggest or caution against certain items on the menu.  …Too bad Amanda kept getting that tough a** chicken sandwich!

Anyhow, our waiter David (pronounced Dah-veed) was enthusiastic in his recommendation the Chambord Sangria.  And while I’m no red wine connoisseur, I said what the hell and went for it…went for it so much that I ended up spending $60 on a pitcher.  La Chambord SangriaThis was a novel idea!  Why had I not heard of this in the US before???  It only makes sense to add a fruit based liqueur to a fruit based drink.  Pineapple was not only used as a garnish but it was soaked with Chambord, which made for a delish snack while drinking.  The raspberry sweetness added to the somewhat muted flavor of the wine.  You got all of the Chambord, but on the back end, you could taste the wine and the fruit.  IM HOOKED!  This became our staple drink for the duration of the trip…for meals…poolside…and in place of water when we needed hydration.

I then proceeded to dive into several pitchers in hopes to figure out the ratio of ingredients.  I think I may have it, but I’m gonna throw a curveball by using white wine as a base instead.  After driving around Baltimore for forever and realizing no one sells a normal sized bottle of Chambord, I was ready to get this sangria crackin’!  The mini bottle actually worked perfect for this.  Find the recipe below…it makes one pitcher (but keep in mind to make this at least one, but no more than 5 days in advance if you’re adding fruit):The ingredients

ͽ  2 bottles of Spanish white wine (it can be inexpensive, you’ll be sweetening this later)

ͽ  1/5 of a fifth of Brandy

ͽ  ½ cup of orange liqueur (I like to use a Spanish one, Torres, but Grand Marnier works just fine)

ͽ  375ml Chambord

ͽ  1 c of orange juice, sans pulp!

ͽ  1 apple sliced very thin (you can add or substitute any light fruit…peaches, white grapes and pineapple work well)

ͽ  simple syrup, to taste (to make, boil equal parts sugar and water and let cool first)

Let it marinate!

Mix well and let sit overnight, at least.

PS:  Also, this recipe does produce a slightly strong (not a watered down restaurant) version, so all ingredients can be adjusted to suite your personal taste.  Gypsy says, bottoms up!

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