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Light Summery Cocktails and Pickled Cherries

I’m back on the raw diet in full force which means I am trying to look for healthier options when happy hour comes around.  I found this deliciously light and sweet Red Red “Vine” Cocktail on yummly.

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You’ll need:

  • 12 Fresh Concord grapes
  • 2 oz Bulldog Gin
  • 2 Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 (.25-inch) slice Fresh ginger
  • 3 Lemon wedges
  • 1 tsp Raw sugar
  • Club soda

Directions:

In a shaker, muddle the grapes. Add the remaining ingredients except the club soda and fill with ice. Shake well and double strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a mint leaf and a grape cluster.

I’ve also learned about the many healthy benefits of eating fermented items such as pickles and sauerkraut so I was delighted to find this recipe for pickled cherries in the new Sweet Paul magazine.

Pickled Cherries

cherry

1 quart sweet cherries ( I used both Bing and Rainier and the sweetness of the Rainer worked much better with the sweet and spicy recipe)

You’ll Need:

2 cups white wine vinegar

2 cups water

2 3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of 1 lemon

4 bay leaves

2 hot peppers

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients except cherries and bring to a boil.

2. Lower heat and simmer liquid for 5 minutes to infuse with flavor.

3. Add cherries, continue cooking for 2 more minutes, and remove from heat.

4. Let cool and and serve or refrigerate.

I also made an adaptation of the cocktail above with the leftover juice from this recipe.

 Pickled Cherry Cocktail

1 part cherry pickling juice

1 part gin

1 part club soda

add one pickled cherry to drink

Enjoy!

Lauren

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Mumbo Jumbo, I Love GUMBO!

I was recently told by my acupuncturist that I needed to add more okra in my diet.  Aside from having it with pasta, I was inspired to try to make my very first gumbo!  It just so happens that it’s just in time for Fat Tuesday as well.  I grew up on my mom’s jambalaya, but have never made gumbo.  I never knew the difference before either, but I’m guessing it has a lot to do with the roux.  According to http://www.chowhound.com, jambalaya is more of a rice based dish, while gumbo is more often referred to as a soup or stew with okra.  Apparently, jambalaya is the African word for ham with rice and gumbo is the word for okra.  Here is the recipe I found on http://www.allrecipes.com from user: dailyrecipedoctor.

Good New Orleans Creole Gumbo

Original recipe makes 20 servings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 3 quarts water
  • 6 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere’s®), or to taste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder (Sassafras powder) I didn’t have this on hand 😦
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons gumbo file powder

Directions

  1. Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

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2. Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

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3.  Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

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4.  Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crab meat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.

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I must say that this recipe was quite amazing; I am a fan 🙂 .  I’m sure that it’s blasphemous to not have the gumbo file powder, but I think it worked pretty well without it this time.

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Enjoy!

Lauren

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