Fall is when I start to crave darker beers. And there are tons of great dark beers out there. Here’s a short video about Dark Beer Myths Debunked. Check it out–I know I learned something from it.
As promised, here’s the other cocktail I made up with DIY Cocktails. It’s called Deadly Nightshade.
The drink is a mix of black current juice, current liqueur, and bourbon. We also added some grapes in the glass for a creepy garnish. It’s a bit more manly tasting than the Blood Orange Margarita, but both drinks would be great at a Halloween party. Recipe:
- 1 1/2 oz bourbon
2 oz black currant juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz. creme de cassis (current liqueur)
8 or so grapes to garnish
Shake bourbon, juice, syrup, and liqueur over ice and strain into cocktail or old-fashioned glass. Add some ice and a small handful of red or black grapes. Top off with club soda. Enjoy.
These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies are so cute. And they don’t look hard to make. The tutorial shows you how.
Here’s my recipe for real macaroni and cheese. I call it real because it has no bread crumbs, no peas, no ham, and certainly no powdered dairy substances in it. It’s just cheese, elbow macaroni noodles, milk, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. It’s the ultimate in comfort food and perfect for fall. No kid will turn it down.
Much of the time when you get macaroni and cheese in a restaurant–even in a nice restaurant–you end up with an orange-colored puddle at the bottom of your bowl. That’s because of one of two thing: 1. the restaurant was cheap and didn’t use enough cheese or 2. they didn’t let the sauce thicken before putting it in the macaroni.
That’s a shame. Macaroni and cheese is all about texture. You want the crust on top, the cheesy/creamy sauce below, and the noodles balancing everything out. To insure the last point, I buy the large-sized macaroni noodles. They seem to hold the cheese better and are more satisfying to eat.
Now for the million dollar question: what kind of cheese? In this recipe, I use cheddar, jack, and mozzarella, but there are lots of combinations you can go with. For example, if you want to go fancy, try mozzarella, Gruyère, and a touch of Gouda. Or add in some Parmesan or Edam or even goat cheese. In fact, any cheese that melts will work, but I wouldn’t put in more than three at a time. More than that and the flavors tend to get a little muddled.
Real Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 3-4 people)
3 1/2 c cheese, broken down like so: 1 1/4 c cheddar, 1 1/4 c jack, 1 cup mozzarella
2 c large elbow macaroni
2 c milk
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put on a pot of salted, boiling water and cook the pasta until done, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the pasta to a casserole dish.
Grate the cheese. Next, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it thickens into a paste-like substance. Pour about half a cup of milk into the flour/butter and stir until that thickens. Repeat until you have added the entire 2 cups of milk. Add the salt and pepper and taste.
Next, add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese to the sauce. Slowly stir until the cheese has melted. If you have done this right, the sauce will almost have the consistency of Velveeta (but it won’t taste like it!). If it is watery, simply let it sit on the stove for a moment or two, stirring until it thickens. Taste the sauce. If you want to eat the whole thing right then, it is ready.
Pour the sauce over the macaroni and cheese. With a spoon, gently stir so that the cheese distributes around the noodles. If it still looks watery, you can add a little grated cheese to absorb the extra moisture. Finally, top the whole thing with the remaining half cup of cheese for the crust.
Stick the macaroni and cheese in the oven and let cook 30-35 minutes. Next, put the oven on broil and let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes more. Make sure to keep an eye on it. When the top starts to get golden brown, it’s done.
Remove from the oven. Let sit 7-10 minutes. This last step is important for the cheese to congeal and the crust to form, so don’t skip it. And, as always, enjoy!
I love apples! They are so versatile. Here are a few apple recipes to consider:
Apple Walnut Tart with Maple Custard. It looks gorgeous, at least.
Here’s my no-fail way to cook acorn squash. I usually serve it as a side with meat, but it can also be used in a host of other dishes–add the squash to risotto, use it as stuffing for raviolis, etc. However it’s prepared, I find this dish is well-received, even by people who are not that into eating vegetables.
Easy Roasted Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
3-4 Tbs butter
2-3 Tbs bourbon
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the acorn squash in half. Remove the seeds and lay face up on an oiled pan. Brush with bourbon (if you prefer, you can sprinkle with brown sugar instead) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Break the butter up into chunks and lay around the rim and in the center of the squash.
Put the squash in the oven and cook until soft, about 40 minutes. Serve right away. Enjoy!
This being the end of summer, we’ve got a lot of peaches and mint on hand, two flavors that (surprisingly) go great together. So DIY Cocktails and I decided to make a Peach Mint Julep.
The recipe is for one drink, but it would be great to make a pitcher and drink them on a rocking chair on a porch, Southern style.
What a refreshing way to celebrate the end of summer.
Peach Mint Julep
1 peeled peach
3/4 ounce simple syrup
3 sprigs mint
2 ounces bourbon
Sparkling water or tonic water
Peel the peach. Cut into sections and remove the pit. (If you can’t get fresh peaches, frozen peaches should work well too.)
Strip the mint leaves off the mint sprig and discard the stem.
Combine mint, peaches, simple syrup, and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Thoroughly muddle until the peach is smashed and has released its juices.
Pour into a glass and put a layer of crushed ice on top. Top with sparkling water. Enjoy!
Town Hall is a restaurant in San Francisco and they make a great pepper jam that they serve with buttermilk biscuits. One day, when contemplating what to do with all the peppers I grew, I checked to see I could find the recipe. It turns out there’s a cookbook by the Town Hall chef and the pepper jam recipe is online.
I made the recipe and was pleased with the results. The jam is sweet with a spicy kick. I served it at a party I had and it was a hit. Here’s the recipe:
(Adapted from Cooking My Way Back Home)
3 bell peppers (I used chocolate bell peppers)
3 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c cider vinegar
1 tsp dried chile flakes
3 oz liquid pectin
Clean and sterilize 2-3 jars and lids.
Halve the peppers lengthwise and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. Pulse the peppers in a food processor until finely chopped.
Put the peppers to a heavy-bottomed pot and add the sugar, vinegar, and chile flakes.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the pectin, and cook, stirring until the jam registers 220°F on a candy thermometer.
Remove the jam from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the jars. You can seal them using this method or store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Enjoy!
I’m already overwhelmed by zucchini. It’s no wonder since my zucchini plants are huge.
Therefore, I tried Judy’s Zucchini Pickles, which are served at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.
The ingredients are pretty common–apple-cider vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard, onion, turmeric, and zucchini, of course–and the pickles are ready in only a few days. They are a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet, i.e. a perfect side for grilling.
Mr. Savvy wants to try them with pulled pork. I say yes to that.