Berry Patch

My good friend George challenged me to make a Blueberry drink.  So I took up that challenge.  I decided I wanted to make an after-dinner drink, a dessert type drink.

I tried to make a drink with fresh blueberries as a base.  I love blueberries; however, they’re really not that sweet.  I tried several different ways, but none suited me.  But my frustration only spurred me on.

I then set out in a different direction.  I decided to try a Blueberry flavored Liqueur.  I went in search of one. At my “happy place” in Knoxville – McScrooges, I found Vergnano’s Mirtillo Liqueur.  Honestly I thought Mirtillo was such a cute name.  It means Blueberry in Italian.  “Old Dog Learns New Trick” moment.   Once I brought it home, I had to have a little taste.  I wanted to know if I’d like it on its on, and would I think it would mix well.  And the answer to both questions is Yes!

On its own, the Mirtillo isn’t very sweet.  I has a wondrous hint of blueberry.  And it’s smooth.  Very smooth.  So it makes for a great sipping drink all on its own.

  It’s #OhMyYum

Now I felt I was on the right track.  As with my Lucky Black Cherry, I love to use Chambord.  (See my earlier yummy recipe.). Chambord is such a yummy Black Raspberry liqueur.  And it makes such a great addition to drinks and also as a stand-alone bit of yumminess.

Now that I was sold on two major ingredients, I needed a base.  I have a few go-to’s to that I love.  For an after dinner drink, I find Vodka works best.  Recently I have discovered Effen Vodka.  Not only does Effen make great vodka, they make really great flavored vodkas.  I chose the Black Cherry version for this recipe.  (The Blood Orange will be featured soon.  Stay tuned!). But for now, the Black Cherry is the star of the show.

And here is my recipe for Berry Patch:

Pour the first three ingredients over a few cubes of ice and shake vigorously.  Pour into a punch cup and fill the with the desired amount of Half & Half.  Garnish with a Black Cherry, a Raspberry and a Blueberry.

Enjoy responsibly.  And often!  I drank mine while I enjoyed a bowl of berries.

#ThirstyThursdays

Peace & Love!!

PS:  I love “fancy skewers and glasses”.  And Crate And Barrel makes some really cute, cool and affordable barware.  Elevate your drink each chance you get!

Seafood Salad

Today’s post comes about because I get the “Munchie Mondays” blues.  Somedays I want something simple and tasty, easy to make, and not too filing.

One thing that I like to make fresh is a simple seafood salad.  You can easily buy one of these at the grocery store, but I prefer to make my own.  It’s super fresh and oh so easy.  And I know how long it’s been on the shelf because I made it myself.

I started with 3/4 of a pound each of Cooked and Deveined Shrimp and Imitation Crab Meat.

My biggest task is not to eat all of the ingredients before completing the salad.  (You can also use other types of seafood, but it must be cooked and cooled beforehand.)  Even though the shrimp is cooked, after I pinch off the tails, I give them a rinse in a colander.  Once washed I add crab to the colander.  I also added some chopped up celery to give the salad a bit of a crunch.

Next I add some seasoning.  Today I used  Dill Weed and a little Orange Zest and notched it up a bit with Tony Chachere’s It’s Spicy More Spice Seasoning.  I love Dill Weed.  I add it to lots of egg dishes and almost all seafood creations.  Adding the Orange Zest gives this seafood salad an extra nice fresh touch.  You can use lime or lemon zest too.  But today I wanted the smoothness of the Orange.  And the Tony Chachere Seasoning adds a whallop of zing and wow.  This seasoning isn’t for the faint at heart.  So I use it a compliment, not as a cover-up.

As usual I create my wet or binding in a separate bowl so I can fold it into the main ingredients.  Today I used 1 heaping tablespoon of Duke’s Mayonnaise and one teaspoon of Woeber’s Reserve Champagne Dill Mustard.

Once I have all of the ingredients combined, I put it in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors settle and marinate.  If I’m making this for a party, I usually spread some on Pepperidge Farms Dark Pumpernickel squares or on a lettuce leaf.  I garnish it with a little extra Dill Weed and Parsley.  Since I am my only guest today,  I’m eating it just as it is.

 

OhMyYum.  This is so Tasty and Easy.

Ingredients:

ENJOY !

Peace and Love

 

Crooked Halo

You know you either have one or you wish you did.  lol. Come on now, be Honest.  A Crooked Halo might be a bit of fun.

And when it comes to my newest drink creation, it’s way more than just fun.  It’s delicious.

The inspiration came from the wonderful people at Angel’s Envy.  They have pledged to plant a white oak tree for each post tagged with #ToastTheTrees (click the link) and of course I thought if they can do something this great, then I could create a drink to celebrate their pledge.  And that is the backstory of my Crooked Halo.  And it’s super easy to make and is made with things you might already have.  But if not, get to shopping!

CROOKED HALO

Muddle an orange slice in a glass.  Add two ounces of Angels Envy and one half ounce of Grand Marnier and stir together to incorporate.  Fill glass with ice and finish off with ginger ale.  (Fever Tree is a great Ginger Ale.)  Garnish with an orange wedge.  I served mine in a vintage Playboy rocks glass.  I’m cool like that.  Here’s the results:

Cheers to Angel’s Envy for their mission.  May it be a Success!

Enjoy often and responsibly.

#ThirstyThursdays

Love & Peace

DAN

 

Comfort Food Deluxe

One of my all time favorite comfort foods is Chicken Salad.  Especially since there are dozens of ways to make it good.  And I make it great!  No brag, just fact.

I like to sample with variations of my theme, but for the most part, I follow these simple steps:

I always use both white and dark meat.  I find that the addition of thigh meat gives the chicken salad a depth that white meat alone doesn’t seem to bring.  Because breast and thigh meat cook at different speeds, I typically use breast strips.  I cook both in the same skillet.  Opposite of cake batter where I typically prefer oil, I only use butter when frying up my chicken for this recipe.  I also use a citrus juice as my acidic tenderizer.  Today, I used an orange.

I also use an electric skillet.  I love the heat this skillet gives and also the easy clean-up.  I used about 3/4 of the orange in the cooking.  Half of the orange at the beginning of the cooking and about a fourth once I turn the meats.  With steak and pork it’s all about the resting of the meat after cooking.  I feel the same way about this chicken.  I cook it until an internal temp of 165 and then I plate it and cover it to rest.  With chicken salad, the chicken needs to cool completely.  Here are my bird parts hanging out to rest.

Up next comes the creative part.  Here are my staple ingredients.

From previous posts you will glean that I adore pickles.  And for my money there is only one brand that is the best:  Mt. Olive Pickles.  For chicken salad, I lean toward the sweeter side of pickles.  Dill are great, but for my chicken salad I always choose sweet.  And for this one, I chose three different kinds of sweet pickles.  Again the Simply Vidalia version is heavenly. And to that I added Simply Relish and Sweet Relish.  All together a pickle rapture.  (The Simply Vidalia are slices, so I diced them up.)

Now I will share with you a few of my “tips” (or hang-ups).  Occasionally, I like to add nuts to my chicken salad.  The only nuts I will incorporate early on are almonds.  If I use pecans or walnuts, I only add them as an after delivery add-on.  In today’s version, I also added dried cranberries.  Here too is another hang-up.  For any type of fresh fruit, I add it upon serving.  I may do a quick toss just before serving, but since I make large batches of chicken salad, I estimate left-overs.  And there are some things that I prefer to leave out for the storage (ie fresh fruit and certain nuts).

Wet and Dry:

I assemble all of the dry ingredients (chicken, celery, diced onion and almonds) in one bowl and give mix them up well.  Separately, I combine the wet ingredients (mayonnaise, mustard and pickles). There are two reasons.  I want the wet to be completely mixed together into one wet ingredient.  And then when I fold the wet into the dry, I will get an even blend.  I almost always use both mayonnaise and mustard, in a 4 to 1 ratio.  I don’t want mustard here and not there.  I want it smooth.  It’s a great recipe, not a haphazard one.  lol

Now let me tell you about some YUM.  When I moved to TN, I discovered some mustards that I hadn’t run into before.  (I may just have never noticed them, but oh boy are they great.)  Inglehoffer (by Beaverton Foods) makes several different mustards and I have fallen in love with both the Creamy Dill and Honey Mustard varieties.  If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them.  And then there’s the King of Mayonaises, Duke’s.  Enough said!

After I assemble all of the goodness in one bowl, I sample and sample and then finally I put it in the fridge to chill and be ready for Netflix.  I can and do eat chicken salad when it’s first prepared, but I find that it marinates so nicely and the YUM factor simply increases after an hour or two of chilling.

 

Here’s my assemblage. After plated, I added a few extra Simply Vidalia Bread and Butter pickles and a few extra cranberries and a extra pinch of fresh dill.  Trust me when I say Netflix asked to Chill with Me and My Chicken Salad.  What comfort!

Peace and Love and OhMyYum!

DAN

Thank you my dear sweet friend George for having your Martha watch over my Paula always.  XOXO