Posted in Cocktail Friday, daily, drinks, recipe

Cocktail Friday: French 77

When it comes to adult beverages, I’m a fairly simple (if basic) girl. I like whiskey or bourbon with Coke or ginger ale, vodka with anything sweet, non fussy margaritas, and those drinks that most bars call “martinis” but are anything but.

I know, I’m terrible.

The past couple of years, however, I’ve been introduced to (and really enjoy) St. Germain, a sweet and slightly floral elderflower liquor that has been popping up in bars and trendy speakeasies all over the place. I’ve found the simplest yet most enjoyable way to imbibe St. G is with a French 77. It’s light and fresh, and adds just a touch of fanciness to your Friday night.

French 77

  • 2 oz St. Germain elderflower liquor
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 oz champagne or prosecco
  • lemon twist

Fill a martini glass with ice to chill and set aside(optional). Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add St. Germain and lemon juice and shake. Remove ice from glass and pour St. G. and lemon mixture. Pour champagne into glass and add lemon twist.

Chin chin, darlings. Enjoy the weekend.

Posted in breakfast, brunch, daily, recipe

Cheese Steak Frittata with Chunky Tomato Sauce

I have a strange relationship with eggs. I enjoy them, but only in certain – okay, two – forms. Scrambled and omelet. No egg sandwiches. Not hard or soft boiled. Not poached. And certainly not fried. “Dippy” eggs? Really, Pennsylvania? ::full body heaves::

So, yeah. I’m weird with eggs. I have, however, recently discovered that I am a fan of the frittata. Which is basically just a big-assed omelet that’s started on top of the stove and finished off in the oven, so I guess I’m not as adventurous as I’d like to make it sound, but hey. It’s another kind of egg dish so I win.

I am also a fan of cheese steaks in any form, so much so that I previously made a cheese steak egg scramble on a (much, much) older version of this blog, so this is perhaps not such a new recipe as much as it is a “re-imagining” of an old one. But I deleted that post because the pictures didn’t show up anymore(which is just as well, because they were TERRIBLE). Besides, “frittata” is just way more fun to say.

Morning light is weird in my kitchen.

Start with the necessities: Eggs, thinly sliced steak (you can use Steak-umms or what have you, I found this thinly sliced sirloin in the freezer at the grocery store), bell pepper, onion, cheese. For the tomato sauce, just a can of diced tomatoes, some fresh onion and garlic, and a little fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 375. Slice the onion and bell peppers thinly. Saute them in a large nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat with about two tablespoons of olive oil approximately eight to ten minutes, until they are golden brown and softened.

Add minced garlic and allow to cook until just fragrant, about 30-60 seconds, without letting the garlic get too brown/burned. Add the sliced steak to the pan and cook about another five to seven minutes until the meat is cooked all the way through (very important for frittatas or any egg dish, because you don’t want to overcook the eggs while waiting for the filling to cook). Season thoroughly with salt and pepper.

While filling is cooking, crack eggs into a large bowl, add half and half (or milk, or whatever you have on hand), and whisk, whisk, whisk until light and frothy.

Add butter to the pan with steak, onions, and peppers and allow to melt, spreading/swirling it around pan to ensure the frittata will release from the pan when you take it out of the oven. Spread the filling out around the pan and slowly add the egg mixture to the pan, swirling it around to make an even layer of egg and filling.

Top with cheese. For this I used an extra sharp provolone from the deli department (just cut up the sliced cheese a bit before adding it to the frittata), but any kind of cheese you prefer is fine.

Cook on the stove top for three to four minutes until the edges get just cooked then transfer to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.

While the frittata is in the oven, prepare the tomato sauce. Dice the other half of the onion finely. Sautee over medium high heat in a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pan for a few minutes, until just translucent. Add a clove of minced garlic and stir again for about 30 seconds. Add a can of diced tomatoes, reduce to low heat and bring to a simmer. Add some fresh basil, if desired.

Turn the frittata out of the pan onto a cutting board.

I probably let my frittata bake in the oven a touch too long, but I like my eggs a little more well done than most. I’ve mentioned I’m weird about eggs, yes?

Cut into slices and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

But plain is good, too.

I certainly have no room to judge.

Cheese Steak Frittata with Chunky Tomato Sauce

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 oz. thinly sliced steak
  • 4 oz. sliced or shredded cheese (if using sliced, cut into smaller strips)
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion – 1/2 thinly sliced, the other 1/2 diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato
  • 3 TB olive oil, separated
  • 2 TB butter
  • 3 leaves fresh basil, julienned
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. In a large pan, sauté onion and bell peppers in 2 TB olive oil for approximately ten minutes over medium high heat, until softened and lightly browned. Add 1 clove minced garlic and sauté another 30 seconds until fragrant. Add sliced steak to the pan and cook thoroughly, an additional 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness of steak). Season with salt and pepper. Spread mixture around the pan in an even layer.

Whisk eggs and milk together until light and frothy. Add butter to pan with filling and allow to melt, swirling around the pan to coat it. Slowly pour egg mixture into pan and stir it around a bit, making sure the egg and filling is again in an even layer.

Add cheese to the top of the egg and filling and cook on the stove top for a couple of minutes, until the edges of the frittata are barely cooked. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until top of frittata is no longer “wobbly”. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Loosen from pan and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

For the tomato sauce, sauté the diced half of the oven in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat for five minutes until translucent. Add remaining clove of diced garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Add canned diced tomatoes and lower heat. Bring sauce to a simmer. Stir in basil and serve over frittata, with additional basil for garnish.

Posted in Cocktail Friday, daily, drinks, recipe

Cocktail Friday: Raspberry Lime Colada

This one is perfect for these last steamy summer days we’ve been experiencing.

Tart, bright, and refreshing. I put a slight twist on the traditional pina colada and hoped for the best. I was quite pleased with my results, indeed.

It’s stupid easy to make, too. Start with ice, frozen raspberries, and lime juice. Add rum and cream of coconut and blend into submission. Pour and serve.

Raspberry Lime Pina Colada

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 3 oz white rum
  • 2 oz cream of coconut
  • lime zest and sugar for garnish, if desired

For the garnish: Zest the lime into a bowl, and 1 tsp of granulated sugar and mix together. Run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass, dip glass into zest and sugar mixture and set aside.

Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve.

If you have little paper umbrellas lying around, here’s where you’d use one. Enjoy!

Posted in burger, daily, recipe

Kufta Style Lamb Burgers with Garlic Tzaziki

This post has been a few months in the making. It was one of those things that had been in the back of my mind to do but took a while for me to actually get around to cooking.

Back in February I threw my annual Oscar Party and served these Middle Eastern Kufta style sliders:

Hat tip to The ElVee for the photo. 

One taste of these and I knew I wanted to recreate them in a regular sized burger. The different spices gave the meat such an interesting depth of flavor that was only highlighted by its accompaniments – fresh plum tomatoes, caramelized onions, cool creamy garlic tzaziki, spicy store-bought harissa, and a savory dakkous. I didn’t have that many toppings this time around, but as far as I’m concerned, (nearly) anything goes.

Start by measuring out all your spices and set aside. Grate one half of a medium sized onion (white or yellow) into one pound of ground lamb. Add a clove (or two!) of grated garlic, and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley. Add spices and mix thoroughly to combine.

Form into 4 oz patties and allow to rest 20-30 minutes so the flavors combine and meat comes to room temperature. Press a small dent into the middle of the burgers when forming to prevent them from “puffing up” in the center while cooking.

While my burgers rested I made my tzaziki sauce. Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, grated garlic, chopped dill, grated english cucumber, salt, pepper. Stir.

Set aside.

To serve with the burgers, I made Ina Garten’s Meditteranean Vegetable Salad, minus the chickpeas. It’s not a true fattoush, but many of the flavors are the same – cucumbers, tomatoes, lots of parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. So fresh and delicious. There’s a reason why Ina’s the queen, you know.

We also had dakkous, or a savory tomato sauce, for topping the burgers. It’s tasty and so easy to make. One can of diced tomatoes, one garlic clove minced, a bunch of cilantro, chopped fine. Bring to a low simmer in a pan with some olive oil, mash it up (I used my immersion blender), and serve.

So much better than ketchup. (Shout out to my friend Sara who made this in exchange for dinner.)

Onto grilling the burgers on my sad excuse for a grill.

Seriously, that thing’s getting replaced before next spring. That poor burner is hanging on for dear life.

Grill the burgers on medium high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.
I served the burgers in large, thin pita I found at a local market (Elias Market on Linden in Bethlehem. A little dumpy but some great finds.), but you can use any type you prefer — or just on a regular bun. I wrapped the pita in foil and placed them in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes before I was ready to serve. The pita were so big I was able to cut one in half for my burger.

Top burger with preferred toppings and serve. I went for it here – tzaziki, crumbled feta, tomatoes, the harissa, and dakkous.

It was messy but so worth it.

Lamb Kufta Burgers 

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 Grated onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine spices and set aside. Grate onion and garlic into a bowl with the ground lamb. Add chopped parsley and spices and mix thoroughly. Make four 4 oz patties, forming them with a slight dent in the middle of the patties. Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes. Grill over medium to medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from grill, allow to rest, and serve.

Garlic Tzaziki

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes and serve.

Posted in daily, dessert, recipe

Peach Almond Tart

It’s starting.

There’s Halloween candy in grocery stores. Autumnal decorations in Target. Pumpkin beers on tap at the local pub, for crying out loud. Hell, I even saw some Christmas lights in Big Lots the other week.

Fall (and Winter) is coming.

School has started in some areas, community pools are closing, and if I’m not mistaken, the air has been a little cooler in the mornings.

But right now it’s still summer, at least for another week or two. And there are still peaches to be had. Sweet, tender, juice-dripping-down-your-chin peaches. My absolute favorite summer fruit.

I’ve been wanting to use these tart pans for a while. I love the idea of individual desserts, and peaches are pretty much the perfect fruit for such a vessel. I decided to go with a sweet shortbread-like crust using almond meal instead of the usual pie crust type pastry, just to switch up flavors/textures. I kept the filling very simple, just a little brown sugar and cinnamon, mainly to let the peaches speak for themselves.

Start with the tart crust. You’re going to want to give yourself some time with this, it needs to sit in the fridge a bit.

In the bowl of your mixer, mix butter, almond meal, flour, confectioner’s sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and salt until it comes together. The dough will be very sticky. Turn dough out of bowl onto plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove dough from plastic wrap and turn out onto countertop sprinkled with flour (you can use confectioner’s sugar, but be careful, because that’s how you get ants, Lana), and roll out with a rolling pin to approx. 1/4 inch thickness. Use your tart pan to “template” the amount of dough you need per pan – cut around pan and flip/press the dough into it.

(This is the part where I tell you I did not wait at least an hour for my dough to set, it was *incredibly* sticky, and I ended up piecing it into my tart shells because half of it stayed stuck to my counter. Learn from my mistakes.)

Poke dough with a fork all over the bottom of the tart shell, place pans on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until just lightly browned.

Once shells are baked and have cooled slightly, slice peaches thinly into a bowl (you can peel them if you want, I didn’t. I like the color/texture), sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and stir. Place peach slices in tart shells and return tarts to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. I was experimenting and squeezed a little bit of honey over the peaches before I put the tarts back in the oven, but as far as I can tell it didn’t really add anything to the tarts.

Remove tarts from pans and serve while still warm.

Preferably with some ice cream.

Peach Almond Tart 

Recipe makes four 4 inch round tarts.

For the crust (adaptation of this version):

  • 1 cup almond meal (almond flour)
  • 1 cup all-puropose flour
  • 6 TB softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix together until combined. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, cover, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove from plastic and roll out on counter sprinkled with flour until about 1/4 inch thickness. Using the tart pan as a template, cut dough around pan and turn over, pressing dough into pan and along the edges to remove excess dough. Poke holes into bottom of dough with a fork. Repeat with remaining tart pans and dough. Place pans on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until tart shell is slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

For the filling:

  • 4 peaches
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Slice peaches thinly into a bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and combine. Place peaches in tart shells. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly. Remove tarts from shells. Serve while still warm.

Enjoy your last gasp of summer, guys. I plan to!

 

Posted in Cocktail Friday, daily, drinks, recipe

Cocktail Friday: Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s Milkshake

I’m a terrible person. There’s no excuse for this.

Really.

You shouldn’t make this. Unless you want to plant your ass on the couch for the rest of the night after drinking it, because that’s what happened to me. LETHAL.

There was a time I could have drank three or four of the…ahem…”beverages” this milkshake is based on (I won’t call them by their name, because it’s considered offensive in more polite circles) and functioned perfectly fine for the rest of the night.

Those days are gone, APPARENTLY. Shameful.

Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s Milkshake 

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 4 oz Guinness (Or any other stout you prefer, would be delicious with a craft/bourbon aged version)
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Irish Cream liquor
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix. Add more ice cream if you prefer a thicker shake, or a little milk if you want it thinner. Pour into a glass and serve.

Then collapse face down on the couch when you’re done drinking it.

Posted in daily, recipe, salad, vegetable

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This salad has been a staple in my family for years during the steamy months of summer, especially when dad’s garden had a plethora of cucumbers. It’s simple enough to throw together in a pinch, and the sweet/tangy flavors make it a great accompaniment to almost anything. 

Five ingredients. Could this salad BE any easier?

Mix your dressing together first: Mayo, vinegar, a touch of sugar, salt, and pepper. Start will small(er) amounts. Whisk whisk whisk. Taste. If it’s too sweet, add a touch more vinegar. Too much vinegar? Add a bit more mayo. Taste again. Perfect.

Peel and slice cucumbers. I removed the seeds because I think they give me the burps. You can leave them in, though. Most people do.

Cut a red onion in half, remove the root end, slice in three lengthwise, then slice across thinly.

Toss cucumber and onion in the bowl with the dressing. Stir to combine and place in fridge for at least an hour to allow flavors to combine.

A tip: Don’t make a huge batch of this and expect to eat it all week. I don’t think it keeps very well past a day or two.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced. (Seeds removed, if preferred)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly.
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk thoroughly. Taste and adjust as needed. Toss cucumber and onion with dressing and stir to combine. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour to allow flavors to combine, and serve.

Someone pass the barbecued chicken thighs.