Frozen Gin and Tonic

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It’s hot in Portland. I was making my sons a frozen blueberry and lemonade smoothie after school and I thought to myself,  hmmm, if I put a gin and tonic in the blender will it be delicious?  And then I answered myself. Yes, it will.

  • 1 C. ice
  • 2 oz. gin, I used Portland Dry Gin from New Deal Distillery
  • 4 oz. tonic, I used Schweppes because I am a classy lady
  • 1 small lime slice

I use a Ninja smoothie maker/blender. Careful not to fill it too full because the tonic will bubble a bit and the whole thing will expand.  In my smoothie cup the ingredients filled it about half-full. Blend all the ingredients, including the lime slice together until smooth, about 30 seconds. Serves 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Negroni Spritz

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Italians are the best at cocktail hour. In Italy if you sit down for a cocktail in a bar they will bring you a delicious assortment of bar snacks at no charge. Apertivi, the drinks you might have before dinner are generally low in alcohol and very refreshing. A traditional Negroni calls for gin rather than prosecco so it can pack a punch.  This version is much lighter.

Italian cocktail hour is not a discounted hour, and it’s definitely for getting drunk. Self-respecting Italians would never get drunk in public. Che imbarazzo!

  • 1 C. ice
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 oz. Prosecco or other sparkling white wine
  • lemon or orange wedge

Fill a tumbler with ice, pour in the Campari, and the vermouth. Stir. Top with Prosecco and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Orange is traditional but I like that the lemon doesn’t sweeten the drink.

 

 

 

 

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Saltimbocca Come Fanno gli Americani

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SO FANCY! Not really. But translating things into Italian makes it sound piu sofisticato, right?  Saltimbocca is a traditional Roman dish- the word Saltimbocca means “Jumps in the mouth” -because it’s so tasty. Traditionally it’s made with veal, sage, and prosciutto. Around here we eat chicken and bacon, hence “come fanno gli Americani”- like the Americans make it.

I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are much tastier and less expensive than breasts, and they don’t dry out. The sage leaves came from my backyard.  You could buy some sage leaves, or sub Italian parsley, fresh oregano, or fresh thyme- just remove the leaves from the stems. Serves 4-6

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 slices of bacon- mine was uncured/nitrate free
  • 8 large sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil onto a large baking sheet. Lay out the chicken thighs on a cutting board and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Lay a sage leaf on top of each one. Wrap a piece of bacon around the chicken and tuck the ends of the bacon under. Place the wrapped chicken on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the bacon is golden brown. Remove the chicken to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes before eating.

 

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Creamy Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

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My list of vegan recipes is slowly growing longer! This dish is based on a favorite of my husband’s from one of our trips to Sicily. Nuts of all kinds are used in Sicilian cooking, and the basil pesto that we are used to here is just one of the many variations that Sicilians make. If you can’t find pine nuts, or if they are too expensive (usually about $20 per pound) you can substitute walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, or even a couple of teaspoons of tahini. I used penne for this dish, but fusilli (corkscrew) would be more traditional, and would also hold more of that delicious sauce! If you prefer to use dairy, just swap out the vegan butter, cheese, and milk for the real thing.

  • 1/2 C. sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, one for pesto, two for finished sauce
  • 2 C. fresh basil leaves, packed, reserve a couple of leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 C. pine nuts (or other nuts, see above)
  • 1/4 C. grated vegan parmesan (or a T. of nutritional yeast)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 C. good quality olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 t. salt (taste after adding 1/4 t.)
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 3 T. vegan butter such as Earth Balance
  • 1 C. unsweetened, unflavored nut milk, I like to use cashew milk for cooking since I think it’s the least sweet.
  • 2 t. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. pasta, cooked according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 C. of pasta water.
  • Basil, vegan parm, and pine nuts for garnish

Using a food processor, pulse together the tomatoes, basil, one clove of garlic, the pine nuts, the parmesan, the zest and juice of the lemon, the olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Pulse to create a semi-smooth paste.  If it’s too thick you can add a little drizzle more of oil.  Taste for saltiness and add a little more if needed.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the remaining two cloves of garlic. Cook the garlic for about one minute.  Mix the cornstarch with about 1/4 C. of the nut milk to make a smooth slurry. Pour the slurry into the butter and garlic and mix until smooth. Scrape the pesto into the skillet and stir to combine.  Whisk in the remaining nut milk until smooth.  Bring to a simmer.  Continue to stir as the mixture thickens.  Toss the sauce with the cooked and drained pasta.  Garnish with some chopped, fresh basil, and some of the nuts. Serve with more parmesan on the side.

 

 

 

 

 

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Apricot Jam Scones

Seems like a good day to make these!

swellkid

Is there anything better on a rainy day than a tea party?  How about a tea party with a 5 year old, two stuffed animals, and the carpenter who’s working on your remodel?  Here are the scones we made today.  They are flaky and light, nothing like those dry, heavy ones you find at coffee shops.  Makes 16 mini scones- or 8 huge ones.

  • 1/2 C. hot water
  • 1 C. dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. cream
  • 1/2 C. Apricot jam or preserves
  • Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the hot water in small bowl with the dried apricots and allow them to soak in the water while you make the dough.  In a standing mixer, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using…

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Chocolate Sables

I just totally love these. That is all.

swellkid

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For me this is the perfect cookie.  It’s crisp but not crunchy.  Deep chocolate in flavor, but not bitter.  Freezes well, and can be made and stored for at least a week.  Another name for these could be Grown-Up Valentine’s Day cookies.  Grown-up because they are just barely sweet with an intense cocoa flavor.  Sorry kids, these are too good for you.  Since my husband doesn’t care for chocolate, I’m not sure who I made these for….ahem.   Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/3 C. Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 C. salted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy.  Add the…

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Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies with Melted Butter Icing

Now that George is almost 9 the Valentine card writing experience is not quite as harrowing.

swellkid

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Ten years ago Valentine’s Day was about roses, dinner out, maybe even a new pair of unmentionables. Today, Valentine’s day is about boxes of perforated Power Rangers cards with Tootsie Pops taped to them and forcing my 5 year old to write his own name 28 times like a Drill Sergeant. G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! Just get it done! Oh, and it’s also about frosted sugar cookies. 

IMG_0458For the dough:

  • 4 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 3 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 t. orange or lemon extract
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 T. finely grated zest)
  • 4 3/4 C. flour

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • food coloring- I used Chefmaster food coloring gel in Christmas Red to get the violent pink color.
  • 2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 t. vanilla
  • water as needed for thinning

Cream the butter and sugar until…

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