The funny thing about blogging is that it can be a solid month before I get to share projects… and so today I am beyond thrilled to share a project with Ford called Switch It Up! Ford challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at a super-complex recipe, shrimp biryani. In fact, this entire project is a series where different experts give each other challenges! Thankfully, I had the help and guidance of Merrill Stubbs from one of my favorite sites, Food52. She gave me loads of pointers and even came back to ‘grade’ how I did — be sure to check out the video to see more!
Plus, here are a few snaps from behind the scenes… are you hungry yet??
I’ve never even considered making Indian food, much less a recipe with so many special ingredients. Seriously, guys, I have never bought cardamom in my life. I learned a lot, all while not burning myself too badly — basically, a minor feat in my book.
The sun is shining, sandals are out and real berries are back on shelves. Not the tasteless ones we see all year long, but instead the real, fragrant berries that seem to come right from our backyards (I mean the one we wish we had!). Today, for my first post on Jojotastic, I want to share one of my favorite summertime recipes, anise and blackberry skillet crumble.
Blackberries have an interesting twist to them since A. they are black (can’t think of another fruit with such a Goth color), B. their taste is pretty mild compared to more acidic berries, and C. they are rumored to keep your skin young and glowy! For these reasons, blackberries are THE ingredient of choice to indulge in all summer long! In this recipe, the subtle fruity flavor of the blackberry pairs very well with the sweet-n-spicy kick of the anise. I could imagine how good this combination must be in a cocktail form (mental note taken).
This crunchy crumble served with anise infused whipped cream will be a huge hit at your next dinner party. My testers and I still rave about it and it probably will become one of my staple for all of my summertime entertaining. This recipe is easy to prepare since it doesn’t require fancy equipment (just your hands). To add to the cuteness effect, I baked and served mine in this adorable octagonal cast iron skillet (c/o Finex).
When the weather heats up we tend to retire our scotch-laden drinks and spirit-driven libations for those with seasonal fruits, juices, and more neutral spirits (like tequila and vodka). Margaritas come to mind immediately when hosting summertime get-togethers. That being said… you should always have a few good cocktail recipes in your repertoire to rotate through for entertaining — one can only have so many margs. Meet the Grapefruit Fennel Fizz!
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a good margarita (sans sour mix, of course), but sometimes you want something a little… different. Today’s Grapefruit Fennel Fizz will please margarita and citrus lovers alike. Fennel is an herb often reserved for roasting, soups, and citrus salads, but don’t dismiss it when it comes to garnishing your cocktails!
Believe it or not, I often take inspiration for cocktail creations and combinations from food. When I find two flavors in a dish that strike a cord with me, I will play around with them in my cocktail laboratory — *ahem* my kitchen. Often, I find that what I loved about that dish can be recreated in sipping form.
We are just about half way through 2015, can you believe that? So far this year I got married (what?!) so I’m excited to see what else this year has in store! For surviving making it this long, we deserve a drink! I have a great onetoday that’s peeerfect for Spring. It contains lingering flavors of Winter along with the fruity notes that dominate Summer time libations. Meet the Blood Orange & Sand!
It is a twist on the delicious and classic Blood & Sand. I don’t mean Lemon Drop or Cosmo kind of classic (let’s not get into that right now), but created-over-a-century-ago kind of a classic. This drink has staying power and for good reason.
This cocktail is a great intro to drinking Scotch, if throwing an ice cube in a glass and pouring a finger or two of smokey whiskey seems a little daunting your first go-round. It also is a tasty merger of fruity yet beautifully smokey flavors for seasoned Scotch drinkers, ahem, like Joanna and me. Adding in a splash of blood orange soda to the traditional cocktail gives it some added citrus flavor and bubbles. Bubbles are always fun (right?!).
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin is a favorite of ours)
3/4 oz blood orange juice (substitute orange juice if blood orange is not available)
1/2 oz blood orange soda
2 all natural maraschino cherries (such as Luxardo)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (we love this shaker and this one) except for blood orange soda. Shake with ice. Strain into 6 oz cocktail glass and top with blood orange soda. Garnish with maraschino cherries and orange peel.
It calls for one component that may be unfamiliar to some: Cherry Heering. Don’t even think about replacing it with another cherry brandy, kirsch, or liqueur! I mean, you could, and it may be just as good, but you would have a whole other drink on your hands. Instead, invest in a bottle of Cherry Heering — a little goes along way.
This staple liqueur is made with cherries and spices that give it it’s unique flavor profile that works here to balance the smokey notes from the Scotch. It is actually a very usefully bottle to have on hand for your home bar. Many traditional cocktails can be made with it and it makes for great experimenting to create new concoctions!
The Blood Orange & Sand is a pretty sexy drink that would be great for a dinner for two at home to impress your date or partner (they don’t have to know how simple it is!). Top with more orange juice and — et voilà — you have a fun and pretty drink thats suitable for a brunch with your friends or fam!
p.s. I also shared another perfect springtime cocktail over on Sugar & Cloth this week!
“You put the lime in the coconut and drink ’em bot’ up!” This song has found itself firmly planted in my head lately (maybe because the warm weather has finaaally decided to come out and play!) I can’t help but think of lounging on the beach, toes in the sand, with a tropical drink in hand whenever I hear this song! I found myself singing this as I waltzed down the produce aisle, grabbing coconuts, pineapples, and limes with out even thinking! And what do you think I made with all of these? A cocktail! What else does one do with such beautiful and tasty ingredients?
Knowing there needed to be something else to marry these citrusy and creamy ingredients together and give it some oomph, I searched for the perfect accompaniment. I came across one small, but mighty item that seemed perfect, albeit unconventional for cocktails: Thai Chilies!
These little guys may look harmless, but pack quiiiite a punch. Sticking a whole one of these into a drink would surely cause a 5 alarm fire in your mouth, not exactly what I am look for when I’m parched on a Friday at 5 o’clock. Steeping a few chilies in a brown sugar syrup mellows out the overpowering burn, while maintaining some of the heat and flavor that gives the drink so much depth!
Ebenezer Cobham Brewer wrote in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): “In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. ‘If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.'”
For those of you who value the sanctity of St. Patrick’s Day, i.e. the American St. Patrick’s Day of reappropriated Jameson, Guinness and general shenanigans, this donut is your “hair of the dog” (though in an appealing, palatable way). With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, the calendar has betrayed you revelers. Depending on whether you partook in weekend celebrations, or hold the 17th to be the true day of commemoration, this donut will either nurse you back to health or kick off your merriment.
Inspired by another hair-of-the-dog remedy, the Irish Coffee, this powdered sugar donut hides a Jameson-laced, coffee custard, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Steer clear of kids, coworkers and bosses, and slip away on St. Patrick’s Day morning. Enjoy this boozy breakfast with a (spiked) coffee and cure what ails you (or brace yourself for what will ail you).
Erin Go Bragh! St. Patrick’s Day, the green-filled-slightly-made-up Irish holiday, is this coming Tuesday! It is hardly celebrated on the Emerald Isle, but it’s almost unescapable here. Many see this as a time to overindulge and drink a few too many green pints.
If you’re neither a fan of having shot-after-shot of Jameson or knocking back numerous Irish Car Bombs, I have a refreshing alternative libation you can sip on (slowly) on St Paddy’s Day while still celebrating in true Irish fashion!
The Luck of The Irish Whiskey Rickey is citrusy and bubbly with a fresh herbal finish, and, of course, the zing from the whiskey. You can use either Irish Whiskey, but we used the Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve Whisky which has orange citrus peel notes that pair well with the lime juice. It’s on the crisper side, which makes it a good option for those that find Irish Cream liquor a little too sweet.
Luck of The Irish Whiskey Rickey
2 oz whiskey
1/2 oz lime squeezed
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1/2 lime sliced
mint soda water
mint sprig garnish
Cut cucumber and limes into slices. Add 2 oz whiskey to glass. Squeeze half a lime in. Top with mint soda water. Add in sliced limes and cucumber. Top with mint for the piece de resistance!
The Rickey was the first “grown up” drink I learned I could order at almost any bar and they knew what I was talking about (I never was a Cosmo kinda gal). It’s comprised of 3 simple ingredients: gin or whiskey, half a lime squeezed, and soda water. Easy peasy lime and squeezy!
I used whiskey in this particular Rickey, the Irish are famous (infamous, perhaps?) for their love of whiskey after all! As an Irish girl myself, I can attest it does, in fact, run in our blood. Adding in slices of cucumber and mint will really brighten up the whole cocktail! You can play around with different flavors of soda water, in this case I went with mint to enhance the notes from fresh, mint garnish.
If you’re feeling lucky, mix up a few of these Whiskey Rickeys this St Paddy’s Day. You may not find a pot of gold at the bottom of your glass, but you will have had one good drink!
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