Archive for September, 2009



  Disputedly, the invention of lemon flavored vodka was responsible for the creation of the cosmopolitan sometime in the 70’s.  Who created the actual drink is an even more hotly debated topic.  The story of its origin can be traced to no less than 5 independent sources.  However, due to pop culture and its unmistakable pink color, this cocktail is more prominent than ever.

The cosmopolitan is not a martini, but actually considered a cooler.

The cosmopolitan is not a martini, but actually considered a cooler.

1½ oz. lemon vodka (Absolut® Citron)
½ oz. Cointreau or triple sec
½ oz. cranberry juice
½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice or Rose’s® lime juice
1 lemon twist

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime juice.  Shake well.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with the lemon twist.



  This is what I always do with stale bread or heels.  Homemade croutons are cheap, easy to make and incredibly delicious.  They even make an excellent snack on their own.  Once you have the method down, the flavors and spices can be adjusted to your liking.  Put these in a salad and it will be lifted to a whole new level.

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

• 1 loaf worth of stale bread or heels

• 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

• 4 tbsp. olive oil

• Salt, to taste


Cut the bread into ¾” pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. 

Bake in a 175° oven until dry and as crisp as you prefer, but not browned.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic cloves.

After the garlic is fragrant and browned, remove it from the pan and add the bread.

Toss the croutons in the oil until golden brown, remove from heat and season liberally with salt.



  An authentic margarita is a far cry from the sweet slushies that most are familiar with today.  It is fresh, vibrant and impossible to match with a bottled mix.  In Mexico, margaritas are usually made with key limes which give the drink a yellow color instead of the neon-green that people have grown accustomed to.

Quite possibly the ultimate summer cocktail.

Quite possibly the ultimate summer cocktail.

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 lime wedge

2 ounces tequila

½ ounce Cointreau or triple sec

1½ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (preferably key limes)

Place the salt in a saucer.  Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt to coat the rim thoroughly; reserve the lime wedge.  In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice.  Shake well.  Strain into the cocktail glass.  Garnish with the reserved lime wedge.


Thai Chicken with Basil

  The five fundamental tastes of Thai cuisine are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot.  All of these flavors can be present in a single dish or spread out in several dishes over the course of a meal.  This recipe is a “soup-style” dish but the chicken can be served on a bed of rice instead.

Thai cuisine has four distinct regional styles.

Thai cuisine has four distinct regional styles.

For the chicken:

4 chicken thighs

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Juice of ½ lime

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup basil chiffonade


•  In a pot with a tight fitting lid, heat oil to high.

•  Drop in thighs, meat side down.  Lid and cook 3 minutes.

•  Flip chicken and cook 3 minutes more.

•  Transfer chicken to a plate and reduce heat to medium.

•  Add shallots, garlic and jalapeño.  Cook for 2 minutes.

•  Stir in broth, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar.

•  Return chicken to pot and simmer 10 minutes.

•  Flip chicken and simmer 10 minutes more.


For the noodles:

1 package of rice or ramen noodles

2 cups water or chicken broth

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. english mustard

1 tbsp. soy sauce

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. cream sherry


•  Stir all spices and mustard into the water or broth.

•  Remove chicken from pot and stir in broth mixture.  Bring to a boil.

•  Drop in noodles and cook until soft.

•  Ladle noodles into a bowl and serve with chicken on top.  Garnish with the basil.



(Pronounced shif-uh-NAHD)  This is a cutting technique that is useful for dealing with basil, spinach, sage or any other relatively flat, leafy green.  “Chiffonade” comes from the French word for “rag” because the end result resembles thin strips of cloth.

Making a basil chiffonade.

Making a basil chiffonade.

1.  Stack the leaves in descending order with the smallest leaf on top.

2.  Roll the leaves as tightly as you can into a tube.

3.  Slice across the tube, cutting it into small disks.  Make sure to use a smooth, gliding motion and that the knife never leaves the cutting surface.

4.  Separate the cut leaves with your fingers.


Dirty Pickle (A.K.A Pickletini)

  Another variation of a dirty vodka martini, the dirty pickle was most likely invented by someone that didn’t like olives.  The choice of pickle is entirely up to the drinker.  Hot, sweet, dill or spicy… the variations are practically endless.

Garnished with a mini gherkin.

Garnished with a mini gherkin.

2½ ounces vodka

1½ teaspoons dry vermouth

1 splash of pickle juice

1 dill spear or mini gherkin

In a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, vermouth and pickle juice.  Stir well.  Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with the dill spear or mini gherkin.



  For those of you that have never had homemade sauerkraut you are really missing out on a German delicacy.  Luckily, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest foods to make, not to mention it keeps for a long time.  Homemade kraut also has a crunchiness and tang that you don’t get from the cooked cabbages available at the mega-mart.  The sourness here comes from the natural fermenting process as opposed to vinegar.

  The oven-roasted french fries recipe is available here.

Bratwurst & Sauerkraut

Bratwurst & Sauerkraut

•  2 large heads of cabbage, shredded

•  3 tbsp. pickling salt

•  1 tbsp. juniper berries

•  2 tsp. caraway seeds

I like to ferment my kraut in a large pitcher with an apple juice bottle full of water on top.

I like to ferment my kraut in a large pitcher with an apple juice bottle full of water on top.

Mix the cabbage, salt, berries and seeds together in a large bowl.

Pack the cabbage into a large container as tightly as possible.

Top with a smaller bottle full of water or a smaller plate weighted with a jar full of water.

Cover with a pillowcase or something similar and store in a relatively cool and dark place.

If the cabbage is not completely submerged by the next day, (I’ve never had this problem,) add 1 cup of water mixed with 1 tsp. of pickling salt.  IMPORTANT: Use bottled spring water because chlorine will alter the taste and kill the bacteria that causes fermentation.

Check cabbage every 2 or 3 days and skim the surface if necessary.

Let ferment for 3-4 weeks

Transfer sauerkraut to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


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