Not your moscow Mule

My husband is kind of a mixologist. He does really well with texture and flavor, so when he asks if I want a beverage, my answer is ALWAYS yes.

This drink is not too sweet, but just sweet enough. What I love about Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. cherries is that they are great in Manhattans, Old Fashions and really, any drink. The cherries are Bing, and not overly sweet. Plus the syrup they’re in is great to use as an ingredient.

ingredients

3 oz Ketel One Vodka
6 oz Cana Dry Sugar Free Ginger Ale
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 – 2 Cherries from Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
Spoon-full of syrup from Cherries.

directions

  1. In your Cocktail Shaker, fill 1/2 way with ice.
  2. Combine Vodka, mint leaves, and cherry syrup.
  3. Using a Muddler, muddle for a good 20 seconds, sing happy birthday, etc.
  4. Into a glass with ice and cherries, strain and empty contents of shaker.
  5. Finish with Ginger Ale and however many cherries you want to eat!

Smoked Mussels with Beer, Shallots and Garlic

We don’t have a smoker, but we do have charcoal! This recipe is super easy and my husband really enjoyed making this dish. During this quarantine we have been shopping at small businesses like our local fruit stands, Meat Markets and Fisheries like the Taylor Shellfish Farm. This recipe is another gem from the Weber New American Barbecue Cookbook.

I didn’t use the mayo dip that they suggest you use, the mussels are SO GOOD solo. But what I DID do is toast some Rye Bread I stored in the freezer from St. Paddy’s day, slathered some butter on that beast and dug in! My one suggestion is to have a bottle of hot sauce and a beer near by. This is the perfect late lunch for 2 or appetizer for a group of 4.

Ingredients

1/4 Cup ( 1/2 stick) of butter cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup Chopped Shallots (I didnt have shallots but I did have an onion, and that turned out great!)
4 garlic cloves (I used 6 but, I am italian)
2 12 oz Bottles of wheat, amber beer or Pale Ale. We used Montucky Cold Snacks.
6 sprigs or fresh thyme
4 lbs Live mussels, scrubbed and debearded.
1 tsp kosher Salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

directions

Prepare your charcoal grill for direct heat, temp should be 350 degrees.

  1. Place butter, onions/shallots/garlic in pan and close the lid.
  2. Cook until butter is melted and onions/ shallots are tender for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add beer and thyme, cook until mixture is steaming.
  4. Once mixture is hot enough, add Mussels into the pan. Cook mussels uncovered over direct heat with the grill lid closed until the mussels open, about 5-15 minutes.
  5. discard any un opened mussels and thyme sprigs.
  6. Season the cooking liquid with the salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.

Baby Back Ribs with Sweet and spicy BBQ Sauce

This is not a vegan site, sorry!

But this IS a site where we discuss things that we have wanted to learn, have tried and want to share. BBQ is actually a really hard thing to do. Some folks think anyone can just throw stuff on a grill and POOF BBQ! Not so much. Did you know you were supposed to take the membrane off the bottom of the ribs prior to cooking them? I DIDNT, but the Weber New American BBQ Cookbook goes through details of how to properly cook specific cuts, how to prep appropriately on top of having awesome sides to accompany all of the amazing things you’ll BBQ. I cant tell you how much I appreciate this book!

Rub Ingredients

1 Tbsp Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp Prepared Chili powder
1 Tbsp Salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

2 Racks of baby back ribs, 2 – 3 lbs each. If you have one, I recommend cutting the recipe in half. You don’t want to over rub the meat.

Sauce Ingredients

3/4 Cup Ketchup
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Molasses (Not blackstrap)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I didnt have any and used Soy sauce instead, turned out GREAT)
1Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions

  1. Mix rub ingredients
  2. Rub meat on both sides with oil
  3. Add rub to the bottom but save the majority for the meatier parts of the ribs.
  4. Prepare charcoal grill for indirect cooking. If you dont have a charcoall grill you can certainly do this on a grill. I placed the ribs on foil, had two burners going on Low on either side. DO NOT DO DIRECT HEAT.
  5. While your ribs are cooking the first hour, prepare your sauce and cook on low. Do not boil, just simmer until consistency is a light syrup.
  6. After the first hour is done, spray your meat with a light spritz of water all over. Continue to cook for another hour on low.
  7. After your second hour of cooking, transfer racks to a flat open surface, brush the racks with your sauce you have cooked, place in foil and wrap tightly.
  8. Return to grill for another 45 minutes.
  9. After 45 minutes in foil, remove racks from grill to check doneness. Ribs should have 1/4 inch or more of the ends shrunken back. If they haven’t, return to the grill for another 10-15 minutes.
  10. Remove from foil, basting ribs for a final time with your sauce, and return directly onto grill with indirect low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened / set into the meat.

Fluffy Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bars

These are not Paleo, or Whole 30 BUT these ARE Sugar free and it is great for anyone watching their sugar intake, or on Weight Watchers. This recipe will give you soft but cake-like breakfast bars.

Ingredients

2 Bananas
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp Molasses
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil Melted (But not super hot because you dont want to scramble the eggs)
3/4 Cup Monkfruit Sweetener
1 Cup King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Cup Quick Oats
1/4 Cup Bob’s Mill Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
1 Cup Dried Cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a square baking dish with parchment paper.

  1. Combine all wet ingredients and Monkfruit sweetener, whip for a solid minute.
  2. mix all dry ingredients (but not the cranberries and Coconut) together.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Once all combined, add Shredded Coconut and Dried Cranberries.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until top starts to brown/ toast.
  6. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into bars and wrap individually. Bars will keep for a week.


Salmon + Kale Frittata

I know, you are probably rolling your eyes right now, Kat sure does love her frittatas! Well, that is because you can use your leftovers in them! This recipe is Whole 30 and Paleo, but for the one I made, I added in some whipping cream because it just gets nice, creamy and fluffy.

The other night we made Salmon, and since we are just two people, we always plan our left overs ahead of time. We decided to make another frittata but this time with the fresh Kale I just harvested from our garden. I now have 2 lbs of fresh kale to use so, here come the recipes!

Ingredients

9 Eggs
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 lb Fresh Kale
1/2 onion
6 oz cooked Salmon filet
1/4 tsp lemon zest
Pinch of red pepper
Pinch of salt
Finish with fresh chives or parsley

directions

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees

  1. In a nonstick pan, combine Olive oil, Onion and Kale, sauce until the Onion is soft and set in a greased pie pan.
  2. Break up the salmon filet by hand and spread evenly over the Kale and Onion mixture.
  3. Whisk eggs, Lemon Zest, Red Pepper & Salt and evenly distribute over ingredients in the pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until edge starts to become golden and middle is cooked through.



Kat’s Paella

Since we are cooking for the end times, I always keep rice and other dried goods on hand to build a meal off of. Tonight’s meal was what I like to call a “Pantry to Freezer” meal.
I had frozen and cooked shrimp with the tail off, this helps cut down on time and since it is already cooked, all you have to do is thaw and then warm them in your dish at the end. This also helps your shrimp from being overcooked. The chicken was frozen previously, which I let thaw and then cubed, cooking it in the sauce as the paella was reducing. The Andouille sausage was placed in at the end as well just to heat. Perfect meal for a night in and little effort.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion Diced
1 Bell Pepper Cubed (I prefer Red or Orange, but Green is good too!)
1 Jalapeño Cubed
2 14.5 oz Cans of Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
2 Cups Matiz Paella Rice
7 cups Vegetable Broth (for this recipe I used Better than Boullion Vegetable base)
1 tsp Saffron
1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 lb Thawed, cooked tail off shrimp
2 Chicken Breasts Raw, Cubed
2 Aidell’s Smoked Pork, Cajun Style Andouille Sausage Links, sliced
1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
1 Bunch Green Onion thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a Large dutch oven or pan: Combine Olive Oil, diced onion and sauté until onion is transparent.
  2. In a separate pot, simmer your saffron with the vegetable broth.
  3. Add peppers, jalapeño and cook with onions until al dente.
  4. Add Cans of Tomatoes, the Rice and simmer with onions and peppers until most moisture is gone.
  5. Slowly add in broth and stir to combine.
  6. Add the Chicken and cook thoroughly. Stirring often to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  7. Once Rice is cooked, add in your thawed Shrimp and Sausage. Turn temperature to low.
  8. Warm for 10 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley and green onions.
  10. Serve with a vinegar base hot sauce.

Mediterranean Frittata

Frittatas are my go to when I am feeling lazy. Feeds a lot of people and leaves more time to relax with your coffee.

I also like to meal plan and sometimes will use left over vegetables in the mixture. Last night we had Asparagus and I saved some for breakfast. I knew it would be great paired with spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese! This is easy, inexpensive and will actually feed you for a few days! Keeps well and is good for on-the-go.

Rye’ced Tea

When I was a little girl, anytime it was sunny, my mother would always make Sun Tea. Sun Tea is easy: Just fill a glass container, whether it is a pitcher or a half gallon canning jar, be sure to pay attention to the amount of tea bags necessary (for example, 1 teabag per 8oz of water) fill your Jar/ whatevervesselyouareusing with water and let it sit in direct sunshine. That last part is important, you NEED sunshine, and the vessel NEEDS to be glass.

Fortunately for us, during self quarantine, we lucked out with some wonderful weather! I made some Sun Tea and felt inspired by the warm weather. Cheers to adult Iced Tea!

Ingredients

1oz Knob Creek Rye/ Any bourbon you prefer.
1/2 Oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz (12 shakes) Bitter Housewife 
6-10 Oz of Sun Tea or English Breakfast/ Black Tea that has been cooled. (I prefer PG tips myself.)
Lemon Wedge

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients with ice in a shaker, shake for 20 seconds.
  2. Strain Mixture into glass with NEW ice. Top should have a good 1/4 inch froth.
  3. Add Lemon Wedge and Enjoy

Rosemary Lemon Spritzer

Did anyone just sit around during the sunny week we were all quarantined? We sure didn’t! It was the perfect time to get out into the garden and freshen up our flower beds. We had a rosemary bush that was squashed by not one but TWO snowstorms, so we ended up giving it a hair cut and propping it up, resulting in A LOT of fresh cut rosemary that needed to be put to use.

Ingredients

3 oz Vodka (preferably Kettle one)
1/2 Lemon 2 sprigs Rosemary
1 tsp Bitters
Finish with Sparking Water/ Club Soda

directions

  1. Combine ice, vodka, 1 large slice lemon and 1 sprig of rosemary & muddle until the liquid turns green. About 20 seconds, the same amount of time it takes to wash your hands….
  2. Empty liquid contents into a clean glass with fresh ice, and 1 tsp of bitters.
  3. Finish with Sparkling water and club soda, garnish with Lemon slice and Rosemary.

Carrot Marmalade

Recipe Courtesy of Foolproof Preserving.

This recipe is good solely for temporary storage in the REFRIGERATOR. Marmalade stores for up to two months.

This is my go to preserve. I am not much of a sweet fan, but when you have Carrot Marmalade, it can go either way. Fold some into a dollop of cream cheese for your morning bagel, or into your Mashed Sweet Potatoes for some extra zing. This simple and super easy jam is sure to please and dress up your goat cheese log on a summer charcuterie plate!

Ingredients

1 1/3 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Sure-Jell for Less or No sugar needed recipes
10 Oz Carrots = 4 Large Carrots Peeled and Shredded, about 1 2/3 Cups.
1 Tbsp grated Fresh Ginger
1 Garlic Clove (or more if you are a garlic hound like me.)
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg
3 Tbsp Bottled Lemon Juice.
* Lemon juice for canning NEEDS to be bottled in order to ensure proper acidity levels.

Directions

  1. Whisk 1/4 Cup Sugar and Sure-Jell together a bow and set aside.
  2. Microwave 1/2 cup shredded carrots in a covered bowl until soft, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer Carrots to Blender and add 1 1/4 Cups of water, process until smooth about 2 minutes and set aside.
  4. Combine Ginger, Garlic, Salt and Nutmeg, remaining carrots and water into a large sauce pan.
  5. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots have softened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Uncover and simmer until water has evaporated, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add Blended carrot mixture, lemon juice and Sure-Jell mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  8. Add remaining sugar and bring to a boil, once boiling cook for 1 minute.
  9. Remove pot from heat and skim foam from surface.
  10. Meanwhile, place two 1-cup Jars (I ALWAYS use Ball 8 oz jars, they just look so pretty!) in a Large Bowl and run hot water over for about 1-2 minutes and shake dry. I also personally like to run the dishwasher while I am cooking the jam and pull them out right as I am about to can, they’re HOT and they are sterile!
  11. Shake dry, and place on a towel with space to cool.
  12. Using a Funnel for Jam and Ladel, portion hot marmalade into hot jars and let cool to room temp, cover and refrigerate until marmalade is set for 12-24 hours and serve!

Cereal Milk Ice Cream

Ice Cream Base Recipe Courtesy of Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cook Book.

Part of the fun of cooking is improvising and sometimes combining recipes to make it your own!

I realize that not everyone has an ice cream machine, I know I dont! BUT if you have a kitchen aid, you can purchase an attachment that will do the job! Cereal Milk Ice Cream is one of the very best things in the world. It is the end of your favorite cereal, but in ice cream form! For this, I made quite a few modifications, and it worked out great!

Pandemic Pizza Dough

Pizza is something that ANYONE can make at any time. Most folks have canned tomato sauce in the pantry and cheese in the fridge……oh hey, that is technically a pizza! A pizza can be anything, get creative. You don’t have to only use a red sauce. Blend together some EVOO and fresh garlic to make a garlic sauce, or get fancy and make an Alfredo sauce! My particular favorite is when I have an abundance of fresh basil and parsley, I blend it together with some Olive Oil and make a pesto base. Have fun with it!

If you are anything like me, there is always flour, yeast, sugar and salt on hand. If you’re not like me, go to Trader Joes and get you one of them pre-made dough balls! They are actually really good in a pinch. But today, I am going to talk about MY particular favorite, which is made with a bread maker.

Ingredients

1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Water (Room Temperature)
2 Tbsp Olive/ Vegetable Oil

  1. Measure all ingredients and place into bread pan.
  2. Follow the instructions on your bread maker “Dough” function. I personally own an Oster Bread Maker and highly recommend using the cook book that comes with it!
  3. When the dough is done, roll it out on to a lightly floured surface. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
    **This recipe is for one pizza, but if you prefer thin crust, it will make Two 12-16 inch pizzas.
  4. Place rolled dough onto well oiled parchment paper.
    **I suggest getting a pizza stone if you don’t already have one. However, there is a pandemic and I realize that is probably not top of the priority list. So, use a baking sheet and move the rack one below the middle.
  5. Bake for 15-10 minutes or until crust is brown.
  6. IF you are making a thicker crust pizza with less toppings, bake your crust for 10 minutes, take it out & immediately top the pizza and place back in the over.
  7. Bake for the remaining 10 minutes in order to properly cook your crust and not over cook your toppings.

My Darling Lemon Thyme (biscuits)

Lemon Thyme is one of my absolute favorite Herbs to grow in our garden. It’s virtually impossible to kill, will thrive from Spring to just about winter. It grows super fast and you will most likely have so much you won’t know what to do with it!

For this recipe, I followed a basic Buttermilk Biscuit recipe but altered it a tiny bit to give it a little flare. Hope you like it!

Ingredients

2 Cups Flour
(If you want to do whole wheat, do 1 Cup All Purpose and 1 Cup whole wheat)
1 tsp Salt
2tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Large Sprig of fresh Lemon Thyme
1 tsp of fresh Cracked Pepper

*** Don’t have buttermilk? Thats fine! Use any kind of milk, and add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar to help coagulate and add tang!

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter until it is the size of small pebbles.
  4. Stir in your buttermilk SLOWLY.
  5. Knead dough a few times on floured surface and use a cookie cutter (in my case, I used a jar that I flipped upside down. Whatever works for you!
  6. Remove thyme from stem and combine with fresh cracked pepper, sprinkle over the top of Biscuits and lightly press down.
  7. Bake for 12 Minutes. Makes about a Dozen.

Favorite Jam Crostata

Recipe from “Preserving Italy” by Domenica Marchetti

This is the perfect recipe if you have extra jam you need to use by the end of the year. Every season I make a TON of jam. My garden has quite a bit of blackberries, and for this particular crostata I used my Blackberry Earl Grey Jam.

Ingredients

3 Cups Unbleached all – purpose flour
1 Cup confectioners sugar (plus more for dusting the crostata)
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Orange
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4 tsp Fine Salt
2 sticks Cold Unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 – 2 Cups of any Jam you want to fill your crostata. Search your pantry and see what needs to be used. Really, all Jams belong!

Directions

  1. Combine Sugar, zest, salt into a food processor. Process briefly to combine.
  2. Distribute butter pieces around bowl and process until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add Eggs and Yolk and process until the dough begins comes together. (Don’t over do it.)
  4. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and pat into a disk.
  5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and wrapping, cut it into 2 pieces – one slightly larger than the other.
  8. Roll larger half into 11-12 inch round, wrap around rolling pin and drape it into well greased/ buttered cast iron skillet. (Pam works too).
  9. Gently press into the skillet.
  10. Spoon the Jam onto the dough, spreading it evenly & smoothing with the back of the spoon.
  11. Roll remaining dough & cut into 3/4 inch strips, for a lattice OR try using a cookie cutter to cut out shapes!
  12. Bake until slightly golden, let cool until at room temperature and dust with powdered sugar!