The year is coming to a close and the biggest party of the year is still to come – New Year’s Eve! It’s time to celebrate the old and ring in the new. And… let’s just say this usually involves at least a cocktail or two.
I have some great ways to give you a good start for the New Year, even if you do over-indulge a bit the night before.
My go-to cure is my Hangover Helper. Just empty a packet of Emergen-C (I like orange or raspberry) into a juice glass and add a little vodka – or gin, a dash of bitters, and soda water then top with a few drops of olive oil. Yep, that’s right – drink up!
New Year’s Day entertaining? A Bloody Mary Bar for brunch will definitely help with that headache – with a little hair of the dog!
When fresh, juicy peaches appear at the local markets, you know summer has finally arrived. Eat them raw, blend them in a cocktail, chop them up for salsa; any way to eat a peach is fine by me.
Swirl them into yogurt or chop them up and add them to a bright summer salad – or slice them thin and serve atop crostini spread with herbed goat cheese.
Blushing Pickled Peaches are easy to make and so tasty served alongside grilled pork chops.
But – have you ever had Grilled Peaches? If not, they should go on your need-to-try list! Just cut them in half, remove the pit, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Then grill on each side until nicely marked and just tender – yum! A great combination of sweet and smokey – perfect to cozy up with a juicy chicken breast or d’lish over vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of salted caramel.
And of course…peaches are perfect to shake in a summer cocktail like in my Peachy Mojito with fresh garden mint! –Kathy
Blushing Pickled Peaches
Be sure to use a freestone variety of peach for this recipe such as Elberta or Hale. Great with grilled ham steaks and poultry, and especially fantastic with thinly sliced prosciutto, crusty French bread and a glass of Northwest Pinot Gris.
Makes 1 quart
5 – 6 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and halved, about 2 – 2 1/4 lbs.
2 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/4-inch slices (2 oz wt.)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt or uniodized salt
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Tightly pack the peach halves, alternating with the ginger and garlic, into a clean quart jar.
Meanwhile, in a small, non-reactive saucepan bring the remaining ingredients to a quick boil over high heat. Immediately remove from heat and ladle over the peaches, making sure to cover them and transferring all the spices to the peaches.
Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Immediately after cooling, refrigerate peaches. Chill the pickled peaches for 2 – 3 days before using them. They’ll keep 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
2 sprigs of fresh mint
2 oz silver rum
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Simple Syrup*
1/2 oz peach puree
1 oz soda water
Garnish: lime wedge on cocktail pick
Tear mint sprigs and drop into a pint mixing glass. Measure in rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and peach puree. Fill glass full with ice, then cap and shake vigorously. Uncap then add a dash of soda water to the tin. Pour drink into a tall glass. Garnish with a lime wedge on a pick.
*To make Simple Syrup: bring equal parts water and sugar to a quick boil, immediately remove from heat. Cool and store at room temp for up to 2 weeks.
Beer cocktails are defiantly all the rage these days and especially d’lish when made with our amazing local craft beers. If you’re hosting a fiesta, a beer based punch is a great option to make bartending a breeze! Try my recipe for Hoppy Melon Rita Punch – Fremont Summer Solstice Ale, fresh citrus, diced watermelon, and tequila – Yum!
And if you’re looking for an alternative to the classic margarita, how about a chelada! Originating over 75 years ago, this classic is now a drink staple. Made with Mexican beer, the juice of one lime, and served over ice in a salt rimmed glass. Refreshing!
Michelada is another variation with added spices, sauces, and peppers. Some people also make it with a splash of tomato juice, too.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! –Kathy
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®
Hoppy Melon Rita Punch
Makes 16 – 20 servings
zest of 2 limes (zest before squeezing for juice)
1 cup sugar
1 bottle (750 ml) silver tequila
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup Ruby Grapefruit Juice Cocktail
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups diced fresh watermelon
2 (12 ounce) bottles Fremont Summer Solstice Ale
Garnish: fresh watermelon wedges
In a large punch bowl (or large container such as a stock pot or pitcher) combine the lime zest, sugar, tequila, juices, and watermelon. Stir to combine well. (At this point you can refrigerate the punch for service up to 3 days in advance). Present in a large punch bowl. Add ale right before serving. Serve over ice in punch cups, or fun margarita glasses.
Make sure to mark your calendars and buy your tickets for this hot event on Sunday, February 9th from 2:00pm – 5:00pm in Seattle’s Columbia Tower Club – featuring the Northwest’s best tastemakers: chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers! Proceeds of this event will go on to support the Women’s Funding Alliance.
I’m looking forward to shaking up the signature cocktail for the event…my libacious Rosemary Mandarin Sparkle! Hope to see you there! -Kathy
Rosemary Mandarin Sparkle
Fresh rosemary adds an herbal note to this festive cocktail. You can also make a cocktail pre-mix with the vodka, lemon and Honey Syrup then just shake 3 oz with the rosemary and mandarin, strain and top with champagne bubbles. For a demo on how to make this drink and more imbibing recipes and ideas, check out this episode of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen!
Makes 1 drink
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 – 1/4 mandarin or clementine depending upon size
1 1/2 oz Crater Lake Vodka
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup*
1 oz Michelle Brut Champagne
Garnish: small sprig of rosemary
Bend rosemary sprig and drop into mixer glass. Squeeze and drop in Mandarin.
Measure in the vodka, lemon and honey syrup. Fill with ice, then cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add a splash of champagne. Garnish with rosemary.
*To make Honey Syrup: combine 3/4 cup local honey with 1/2 cup hot water. Stir to dissolve. Store refrigerated.
Sparkling Cocktail Pre-Mix
Makes 20 ounces or about 6 – 7 cocktails
1 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Honey Syrup*
This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen®, I shake up a Gold Martini! The Lemon & Black Peppercorn-Infused Vermouth is simple to make and has a wonderful golden hue once it’s finished infusing. This with Stoli Elit Vodka makes for a perfect martini! For added bling bling, I love to garnish with a dusting of Liquid Kitchen Cocktail Gold!
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves… It’s time to spice it up! We love these spices in tasty cookies, cakes, and muffins. And there are even more dishes out there ready for that hit of warm spice pizazz!
One of my favorite and somewhat un-sung spices is the cardamom seed. This flavorfully potent spice is native to India, but its flavor and use has spread throughout the world, from Scandinavian to Middle Eastern cuisine.
Cardamom adds a sassy flavor to my Spiced Squash Bisque. The aromatic spices combine well with the flavor of sweet winter squash making this soup a great cold weather dish.
Other favorite spices that I love are allspice and cloves, so great in spiced shortbread cookies, stews – and I especially love them infused in my recipe for Spiced Red Vermouth … perfect in a Manhattan!!
Rubs are another great way to incorporate new and unique spices into your meal. There are so many great pre-made options available like my Fragrant Star Anise Rub. It’s an excellent way to add an exotic flair to a roasted pork or chicken.
If you like to experiment with creating your own rubs, check out the bulk spice section at your neighborhood grocer, or head on over to Pike Place Market’s World Spice shop to pick out what you want. World Spice has tons of loose spices, and you can buy just what you need, whether it’s a pinch or a squiggle. You can also find spices online from BulkFoods.com to Amazon.
One last hint: a coffee grinder is excellent for grinding your own spices. Just be sure that you keep one for solely that purpose… the star anise “scented” coffee at my house was not a big hit!
So remember, a little bit of spice can go a long ways in bringing out your dish’s flavor! -Kathy
Spiced Squash Bisque
Organic or homegrown squash is preferable to use for this recipe because it creates a much more pronounced and sweet flavor. I like to use hubbard, Danish, or butternut squash, or a combination. Make the Crispy Seeds while the soup is cooking.
Makes 6 starter servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cubed winter squash (any type of sweet squash or pumpkin combination may be used; reserve 1/4 cup of seeds for Crispy Seeds)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely crushed
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, finely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more or less depending upon whether you are using a homemade stock)
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Salt to taste
1/4 cup seeds from squash
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash, garlic, spices, bay leaf, and salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender.
Meanwhile, make the Crispy Seeds: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse seeds under cold water to remove any squash flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine cumin, sugar, and salt and sprinkle over the seeds. Toss well and spread seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.
Remove bisque from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. In a blender or food processor, carefully purée the hot soup in small batches with the sour cream. (Be careful not to make your batches too large, since the soup is very hot.) Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed, especially if using homemade broth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and keep warm.
Divide the soup among warmed soup bowls. Sprinkle each serving with about 2 teaspoons Crispy Seeds.
For a vegetarian version: substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
For a fun and impressive presentation, thin out a small portion of sour cream with milk or cream until it is a “squeezable” consistency and put in a squirt bottle. Swirl the top of each serving with the sour cream.
This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen®, I shake up a Rosemary Mandarin Sparkle! For this festive cocktail, fresh rosemary adds an herbal note while playing well with the vodka, mandarin, housemade honey syrup (3/4 cup honey to 1/2 cup hot water), and champagne bubbles. This cocktail can easily be pre-batched before your next holiday party, too!
This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen®, I make a Chai One On cocktail! Using the classic Whiskey Sour as a template, this inspired drink mixes a chai tea-infused bourbon with PAMA Pomegranate liqueur, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice to round out the flavors while the egg whites add texture.