Boo-tini

To finish off ghost week I present to you a cocktail. If you’re throwing a party tomorrow add this martini to your bar menu. Or, maybe you want something with a little kick to sip on while you’re handing out candy to the little ghosts and goblins knocking on your door.

Do kids really dress up as ghosts and goblins anymore? These days it’s all about wanting to be their favorite movie character – I challenge you to count the number of Elsas and Olafs. (Hey, this cocktail could easily be redone in the winter as a melted snowman!)

Boo-tini

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part vanilla simple syrup
  • 1 part cream
  • 2 parts seltzer

Steps:

  1. Combine martini ingredients in a large pitcher and gently stir. Pour into martini glasses. If only making one, 1 part = 1 ounce.

*This recipe is adapted from Janelle at http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/liquefied-ghost-cocktail-recipe/index.html *

Boo-tini

SRC: Vanilla Extract

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Today is another Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the secret recipe club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was assigned Ros’s blog The More Than Occasional Baker. Ros’s blog name doesn’t lie – her blog is entirely made up of sweets!

I was really hoping to do a savory post for this month’s SRC post because you might have noticed that my August archive has an unusual amount of dessert recipes. I guess my blog wouldn’t show up in a summer bikini body recipe search! But alas, the assignments were sent out and my hands are tied. I’m sure you are all completely bummed. 😉

I almost didn’t participate in this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal, but after not participating last month to focus on our new family member (my son was born July 3rd) I just knew I couldn’t sit another month out! When July 28th rolled around I found myself feeling lost without a SRC post! I still scrolled through the reveal day posts though – you should too!

This month we moved from Florida to Ohio and spent a week with my husband’s family in Alabama. I knew it’d be hard to squeeze in some home cooking. Luckily I found this how-to for Vanilla Extract on Ros’s blog! I’ve been wanting to try making my own vanilla extract, and now I have the perfect excuse. Well, two really. One: I have to restock my pantry anyway, so why not?! Two: It’s on my SRC assigned blog!

Don’t think my selection of Vanilla Extract means Ros doesn’t have some awesome recipes. She does! When life settles down again (will that ever happen now that I’m a mom?!) I’ll definitely be putting my favorite soda in her Root Beer Bundt Cake, using my poppy seeds in her Orange Poppy Seed Muffins, and getting a feeling of summer when the weather turns cold with her Lemon, Lime, and Basil Cookies. She also has some very fun ideas with my favorite savory snack, popcorn – check out this Popcorn Cake!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ingredients:

  • vodka
  • vanilla beans

Steps:

  1. Put vodka in an airtight bottle. (I used a salad dressing mixer that I found at the local thrift store!)
  2. Add vanilla beans – scrape out the seeds and add to the bottle along with the pods.
  3. Allow vodka and vanilla beans to transform into vanilla extract over the course of 4 weeks.

*This recipe is adapted from Ros at http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.com/2012/10/homemade-vanilla-extract.html*

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To see the other bloggers who participated in the Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

CIC: Lemons & Peeps

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This month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge reveal day falls on Easter so our host Dawn of Spatulas on Parade picked the ever popular Easter candy Peeps to be paired up with Lemons!

If you’re wondering where last month’s edition of CIC was, I posted instead my first #BundtBakers recipe on March 20th.

But back to April’s CIC post. The biggest challenge with this month was using an already finished product.

Leave it to the preggo to come up with a cocktail! (Please don’t call child services, but I did taste a sip so I could validate that the recipe works!) I present to you the perfect cocktail for your Easter Sunday – Marshmallow Peeps Lemon Drop Martini. This is definitely what adults want in their Easter basket. If we can’t hunt for eggs, then we might as well sip on something fun!

An Original Recipe

Marshmallow Peeps Lemon Drop Martini

Ingredients:

  • 3 yellow peeps (any color will do, but a yellow lemon cocktail looks best)
  • 3/4 C vodka
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3/4 C lemon juice
  • sprinkles (optional)

Steps:

  1. In a jar soak peeps in vodka for at least 4 days. Remove Peeps from vodka (strain if they’ve fallen apart).
  2. In a small saucepan dissolve sugar in water over medium-high heat. Allow to cool.
  3. Place sprinkles on a flat plate. Run a slice of lemon along the rim of the martini glass and gently twist the glass in the sprinkles.
  4. In a cocktail shaker with ice combine equal parts lemon juice, simple syrup, and Peeps vodka. Pour into martini glasses.

Marshmallow Peep Lemon Drop Martini

Marshmallow Peep Lemon Drop MartiniMarshmallow Peep Lemon Drop Martini

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

CIC: Coconut & Tomato

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I interrupt my recount of Hawaiian food to bring you this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge! This month the task was to combine Coconut and Tomato. Upon seeing the ingredient list I thought I was going to sit this one out as I am allergic to coconut. But then I got an idea and decided, why not! Just because I can’t eat it doesn’t mean my friends can’t be my taste buds.

My original idea was to do a play on the Bloody Mary – either make a virgin version substituting vodka for coconut water, or simply adding coconut water to the cocktail, or even making a “creamy” version with coconut milk, garnished of course with toasted coconut.

This idea was altered slightly when I searched Food Network’s website for Bloody Mary recipes. I’d never had one before! I found Rachael Ray’s recipe for Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail and thought, that’s a better idea! And I can serve it with coconut shrimp instead of typical shrimp cocktail. This way also prevents my husband from trying multiple Bloody Marys before I came up with the right recipe. I also bought cocktail shrimp so I could dip in too!

I served this appetizer during last weekend’s football game. We had some friends over and I was given the “this is addicting” nod of approval. I hope this boozy dip makes it to your next tailgate!

Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip

Ingredients for Shrimp:

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 C shredded sweetened coconut

Ingredients for Dip:

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2-3 shots of vodka, to taste

Steps:

  1. Bring oil to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, garlic powder, and onion powder. In another bowl beat eggs and season with S+P. In a third bowl combine coconut and panko. Season shrimp with S+P and dredge in flour, egg, and panko. Fry shrimp 2 minutes on each side. It’s best to do this in batches so as not to decrease the oil temperature too much.
  3. Combine dip ingredients. Serve with celery sticks!

*The shrimp is adapted from The Neelys and the dip is modified from Rachael Ray*

Coconut Shrimp and Bloody Mary Dip 2Coconut Shrimp and Bloody Mary Dip 1

Click the link below to see other blogs that participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge!

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Penne with Vodka Sauce

I love pasta. I could never do a carb-free diet… because, I love pasta.

When I was a little girl, the only thing I would eat was Macaroni and Cheese in the Blue Box. And then my pasta diet grew up a little bit to pasta with butter and balsamic vinegar. (I had some recently, and it’s still delicious!) I love pasta.

Now, my favorite pasta sauce is Vodka Sauce. And I’d always wanted to try making my own. Then I found a recipe on a friend’s food blog. So I made it! It takes time to make because the sauce actually gets baked in the oven, but I multi-tasked and while the sauce was doing its thing, I prepared dinner for the following night! When I opened the oven to pull out the sauce, it smelled like Italy. Okay, so I haven’t actually been to Italy, but it’s what I imagined Italy would smell like. I would also advise to not skip out on the fresh oregano. I’ve been known to substitute dried herbs in lieu of purchasing fresh (because I can’t grow my own…) but in this recipe, I’m glad I didn’t. The best bites were those with some fresh oregano. I love pasta.

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 C olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes depending on your spicy preference
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 C vodka
  • 6 roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 lb penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large, oven-proof skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat. When translucent, add garlic, pepper flakes, dried oregano, S+P. Pour in vodka and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
  3. Put the peeled tomatoes in the pan and crush with a potato masher. Season with S+P, cover, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Cook pasta according to box directions.
  5. Blend cooled tomato sauce and heavy cream and puree until smooth. Return to the stove and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 3/4 of the fresh oregano, S+P. Toss in the pasta and parmesan cheese.
  6. Garnish with remaining oregano, extra Parmesan, and red pepper flakes if desired.

*This recipe makes 2-3 servings and is modified from Tara at http://www.tarasmulticulturaltable.com/penne-alla-vecchia-bettola-penne-in-tomato-vodka-cream-sauce/*

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