Roses and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand and I think the only thing sweeter than the smell of a dozen beautiful blooms is a glass full of them! Rose may not be a familiar flavor to some but why not be a little adventurous this Valentine’s Day and serve your sweetie a romantical rose cocktail? My “Eau de Rose” (rose water) martini is the perfect special treat!
Note: You can use any good quality gin here but I’m partial to Hendricks as rose is a primary flavor in it so it works beautifully here! Cheers!
Eau de Rose Martini
1 1/2 oz. Hendricks gin (@hendricksgin)
1 oz. Lillet blanc (@lilletus)
1 oz. rose water
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Stir all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Strain into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a fresh rose petal.
Warm up your holiday with festive spices like cloves, cinnamon, and star anise simmered and served warm in this traditional mulled wine recipe.
1 large orange
2 cardamom pods
6 whole clove
6 allspice berries
6 whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, plus 4 for garnish (optional)
1 bottle (3 cups) fruity red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
With a fine grater, zest, then juice the orange.
With the flat side of a knife, press firmly on the cardamom pods to bruise them. In a large pot (not aluminum), combine zest, juice, cardamom, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, cinnamon, wine, sugar, and brandy. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; simmer until flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve; garnish with cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve immediately.
This Italian classic combines flavorful marinara sauce with rich cream and parmesan cheese for an easy and delicious pasta sauce. It’s great over any type of pasta but I typically use penne for easy-eating. This pasta is nice on it’s own or you can add grilled chicken, sausage, or shrimp for some extra protein. I like it plain though.
Pasta with Vodka Sauce
1 lb. penne pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
1 qt. smooth marinara sauce
1 c. vodka
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
salt & pepper
In a large sauté pan, bring the tomato sauce and vodka to a simmer over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and allow it to melt.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.
Serve topped with additional grated parmesan cheese if desired.
A supernaturally satiating blend of gin and mysterious cordials in an eerie black hue, my “black magic” cocktail is sure to elevate your Halloween soirée to another realm! This dark libation could be prepared by the pitcher or as a punch bowl full of darkness!
“Black Magic” Cocktail
3 oz. Hendrix gin
1 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. grenadine
1/4 oz. orange flower water
1/4 oz. lavender syrup
4 dashes el guapo love potion bitters
4 dashes Peychauds bitters
1 drop black food coloring
Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker filled with ice.
Shake very well until combined and very chilled.
Strain into a coupe-shaped cocktail or martini glass.
This simple pumpkin soup is velvety, creamy, and full of flavor. I roasted my own pumpkin and pureed it to use, but you can certainly buy canned pumpkin as well… just make sure it is the plain pumpkin, not the spiced pumpkin pie filling. This quick recipe is the perfect warm, comfort food for a cool fall night!
Easy Pumpkin Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large potato
1 yellow onion
4 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 can pure pumpkin
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. heavy cream
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add potato and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin. Using an immersion blender, purée mixture until smooth. (Or, use a blender to purée mixture in batches, then return to pot.)
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in cream and heat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.
This creamy pasta dish has all the flavors of New Orleans with juicy blackened shrimp, smokey Andouille sausage, red peppers, and like any true Cajun dish, a good amount of heat! This simple pasta meal is sure to become a favorite worthy of weeknight dinner and special occasions alike!
Spicy Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta
1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/2 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1-2 Tbsp. Cajun/ creole spice mix (adjust to suit your tastes/ heat level)
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. Cajun/ creole spice mix
1 tsp. brown sugar
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c. crushed tomatoes
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. heavy cream (or half & half)
12 oz. fettuccine
kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper
grated parmesan, for serving
chopped fresh parsley, for serving
Bring large pot of water to boil for pasta. Toss shrimp with 1 – 2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning and coat well. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and drizzle bottom of pan with olive oil. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or so until starting to curl. Flip shrimp over and cook another minute or two and then remove to a plate and set aside. Drizzle pan with a little more olive oil, add sausage and brown until nicely caramelized, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove to plate, set aside.
Add pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente, a minute less than package instructions.
Lower heat to medium and add another good drizzle of olive oil to the pan, add the onion, red bell pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, brown sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until onion and pepper have softened a bit, scraping up any browned bits that you can. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, simmer a couple minutes. Add cream and stir to combine, bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add cooked pasta and andouille sausage and stir to combine and heat through, 2 – 3 minutes. Add more chicken broth or cream if it seems dry or you’d like more sauce (I added ¼ cup of each). Salt and pepper to taste and then lastly, add blackened shrimp and combine, or place shrimp on top of pasta. Sprinkle with some more freshly cracked black pepper, grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
*Original recipe courtesy of thehungrybluebird.com
These simple fruit skewers of vibrant red strawberries, plump blueberries and refreshing watermelon are a perfect summertime treat! They’re simple to make and are sure to be a hit with kids and adults at your next Fourth-of-July event!
Fourth of July Fruit Kabobs
Serves: 24-30 skewers
1 whole seedless watermelon
1 pint fresh blueberrries
1 container fresh strawberries
Wash blueberries. Cut tops off of strawberries and wash.
Cut watermelon crosswise into thin rounds (disks). Use a star cookie cutter to cut stars out of the watermelon disks.
Assemble kabobs, starting with a strawberry, then about 4-5 blueberries, a watermelon star in the middle, then continue pattern as shown in picture, or come up with your own pattern!
I LOVE salmon… It’s one of my favorite foods. I like it grilled, on a salad, and especially raw in sushi or sashimi. But when I’m cooking it at home THIS is my absolute favorite way to make it! The sweet, flavorful glaze is sure to please everyone making one of my go-tos if I’m having company. It’s SO SO easy to prepare, virtually impossible to mess up, and I promise you people will be so impressed! I like to serve this with wild rice and of course a slice of lemon for a quick, healthy meal!
Soy Ginger Glazed Salmon
4 – 6 oz. salmon fillet portions
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
2 Tbsp. dry white wine (or water)
1 tsp. grated ginger, fresh
1 tsp. corn starch
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except the salmon filets in a small saucepan.
Over medium heat, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly. Simmer 1-2 minutes, just long enough to allow the cornstarch to thicken the glaze. Remove from heat.
Place salmon portions in a nonstick baking. Brush each with some of the glaze, reserving the rest.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, basting the fish with more glaze every 5 minutes. Salmon will be opaque but still a very bright pink in the center when it is done.
Remove from oven and baste one final time with any remaining glaze. Serve over wild rice with a lemon wedge.