Perfect Negroni cocktail

There’s no doubt cocktails are having a real moment. And why wouldn’t they. There’s something so deliciously pleasing about taking a bit of time to prepare a perfect cocktail, whether it be a boozy one like the classic Negroni, or a mocktail with fresh and innovative ingredients. The entire ritual around preparing a cocktail is a real joy for me- I love setting the mood with the right music and lighting, getting the ingredients out, choosing the right glassware (this is very very very important in my house!) and mixing it up. That first sip just sets the mood perfectly for a relaxing evening ahead.
Maybe it’s a result of the pandemic, but I’ve definitely seen more and more personal recipe books with incredible cocktails in them, which inspired me to put up this recipe for my fave classic cocktail. Well, to be honest, it’s a toss up between the bitter and sweet gin based Negroni and the smooth bourbon Manhattan. Both are pretty easy to make.

Ingredients

1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Garnish: orange peel

Instructions

Add the gin, Campari and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Superbowl worthy crispy chicken wings

Superbowl worthy air fryer chicken wings

I’m new to the Air Fryer trend, but ever since we got ours, I’ve been experimenting with cooking different things in it. It’s definitely a useful appliance! But its moment of glory is really when it comes to cooking things extra crispy without deep frying them. Take the humble chicken wing. It’s like it was meant for the air fryer. And with the big game coming up on the weekend, we can’t think of a better time to use this trendy appliance!

Ingredient list

2lb chicken wings
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredient list

Instructions
In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika cayenne pepper, and salt. Sprinkle dry mix over wings, and refrigerate for 60-90 mins, uncovered.
Heat air fryer to 380. Spray the rack with non stick spray. Line chicken wings on the rack in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch one another. You may need to cook them in two batches. Cook 12 minutes, turn, cook another 12 minutes.
While they are cooking, mix butter, hot sauce and pepper in sauce pan and cook over low heat until melted.
Turn the heat up to 400 and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until crispy.
Remove wings and toss in hot sauce mixture, or serve as a dipping sauce. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing!

Chili spiced braised beef

Here is a warm and cozy family favorite recipe that’s been updated with a spicy twist. Enjoy it on a cool winter night with corn bread or rice.

Ingredients

8 to 10 dried ancho chilis (2 tbsp ground if you can’t find them)
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
One 4- to 5-pound chuck roast or tri-tip roast, cut into 1-inch cubes, or try short ribs for richer, but fattier version
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoons sugar
2 bay leaves

Preparation instructions

Add the chilis and garlic to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off half the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender, puree the peppers, garlic and remaining liquid until smooth. You can skip this step if you are using ground chilis.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the meat with the salt, pepper and spices. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the Dutch oven and brown on all side. Set aside.
Add the tomato paste and onion to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, sugar, bay leaves and pepper puree to the pot and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot and cover. Cook in the oven until the meat is fall-apart tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Remove the bay leaves. You can serve this as is as a stew, or pull it apart and serve it in tortillas as you would carnitas. Garnish with cilantro.

Pickled Veggies Recipe For Your Custom Family Cookbook

I recently learned how to make quick refrigerator pickles from my greek friend Peggy. Now I’m obsessed! They’re so super quick and easy, deliciously crunchy and spicy. Try pickled onions on burgers, in salads, gourmet sandwiches, next to grilled meats… Or how about pickled beans in a spicy bloody mary (or Ceasar for my Canadian friends!). And pickled jalapenos on fish tacos, picked cauliflower on a cheese and charcuterie platter – well, they just make everything better!
pickled veg

Ingredients for pickled onions, beans, asparagus or cauliflower

1-2 red onions, cauliflower, green beans or asparagus
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 to 1 cup apple cider vinegar, or as needed to fill your jar (I prefer white vinegar for beans, asparagus and cauliflower)
1/2 tsp pickling spices (you can make your own with peppercorns, mustard seed, coriander seed, bay leaf, chili pepper- experiment with the tastes that you enjoy)

Ingredients for pickled jalapenos

Kalapenos
2 cloves garlic, sliced or smashed
2 tsp coarse salt
1-3 tblsp sugar (higher quantity of sugar will lessen the heat of jalapenos)
3/4 – 1 cup white vinegar
2 thai chili peppers (if you like additional spice)
1/2 tsp pickling spices (see note above)

Preparation instructions

Prepare vegetables- for onion and jalapenos, slice into thin slices
For beans, trim into lengths that will fit into your jar
For cauliflower, trim into small florets
Wash prepared vegetables with hot water from the kettle, dry on a paper towel
Add all spices to the bottom of a clean 8oz jar
Add 1/4″ of the vinegar and stir until dissolved
Pack vegetables tightly into jar.
Pour remaining vinegar over top, push veggies down father, and top up, leaving a little at the top.
Screw top on and label. Keep refrigerated. These will be ready to eat in a day or two.
Eat within two months. Don’t leave these out on the counter for long periods of time- they are not sterilized, so treat them accordingly!
Tip: don’t use metal when preparing these- it doesn’t get along well with vinegar!
Tip: Change up the flavor by adding fresh thyme, dill, ginger, turmeric- whatever you like!

easy curried lentil soup

Super quick curried lentil soup with coconut milk

This is a recipe I make when I have no food in the house! I often just throw a bunch of vegetables together with some red lentils, spices and broth, and see what happens. But I think this version turned out especially delicious with it’s simplicity and cozy warmth. It’s a breeze to make vegan or vegetarian, although, being French, I tend to go for the dairy/bone broth version!
easy curried lentil soup

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil (or other type of vegetable oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (I used the jarred kind I had in the fridge)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups broth
1 small 5.5oz can of coconut milk
greek yogurt or sour cream or non dairy alternative for topping
chopped cilantro

Ingredients:

Heat oil in medium saucepan
Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook over medium/low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn
Add spice. Stir and cook an additional 3 minutes or so.
Add lentils and broth, stir, cover and cook 30 minutes or so until lentils are soft and mushy.
If it gets too dry, add a bit of water. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure lentils don’t stick
Add coconut milk.
Heat through.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce (always!)

Cinnamon Rolls For Your Custom Recipe Book

Ingredient list

4 1/2-5 c. all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter

Powdered Sugar Glaze:
In a bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and enough half & half (1-2 T.) to make of drizzling consistency.
Instructions

In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the yeast.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, the 1/3 cup butter, and the 1/3 cup sugar just until warm (120-130 degrees and butter is almost melted. Add to the flour mixture, add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then high for 3 minutes, scraping sides. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour (2 1/4-2 3/4 cups) as you can.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball; place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover, let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

For filling: combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the remaining 1/2 cup butter till crumbly; set aside.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll dough to a 12-inch square.

Sprinkle filling over the dough square; roll up jelly-roll style, pinch edges to seal. Slice roll into eight pieces; arrange in a greased 13×9 inch baking pan.

Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap; let dough rise until nearly double, about 45 minutes.

Brush dough with half & half or light cream. Bake in a 375 oven for 25 minutes or until light brown. Frost with powdered sugar icing. Serve warm.

BBQ sandwich

Braised Beef with BBQ sauce

Ingredient list

1 6-pound brisket

Rub into beef:
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoning salt, pepper, paprika

Marinate beef for 8 hours in:
2 cups oil
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire
2 bay leaves

Place in covered container over indirect heat for 3 1/2-4 hours, basting with marinade every 30 minutes.

The last hour of cooking, coat both sides of brisket with barbeque sauce. Continue to cook until tender and baste only the top.

Barbecue Sauce:
4 cups catsup
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons seasoning salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon pepper

Bring to boil. Remove bay leaf.

Whoopie pies

Ingredient list

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
Creme Filling:
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. shortening
1 c. marshmallow creme
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
Instructions

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Drop by tablespoons 2″ apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375ยบ for 8 -10 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly in center; cool. Prepare creme filling: cream butter and shortening. Gradually beat in 1 c. marshmallow creme. Blend in vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Beat to spreading consistency. Spread bottom of one cookie with 1 tablespoon of filling. Cover with second cookie.

Sweet and sour brisket

beef roast
Ingredient list

3 and 1/2 pounds 1st cut Beef Brisket
2 cups Heinz ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 and 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 packages Lipton Onion Soup Mix
6 large cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon pepper
Instructions

Place all ingredients (except brisket) in a bowl and mix well.
Divide marinade in half and marinate brisket for 24 hours.
Place brisket and the marinade you marinated it in into baking pan, cover and bake 2-3 hours at 350* – fork tender.
After cooking, refrigerate overnight.
Take out and slice thinly AGAINST the grain (while cold).
Place in clean baking dish, cover with remaining marinade and reheat at 350* 15-20 minutes until hot.

White lasagna

Ingredient list

1 lb lasagna cooked
3 lbs ricotta + 1 container
4 eggs
parsley
grated Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
salt
milk if needed
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. Beat ricotta very fine, mix eggs and seasonings. If too dry, add a little milk. Boil lasagna about ten minutes. Do not over cook lasagna. Add oil to the pot so lasagna noodles will not stick. Strain lasagna and run water over them to stop the cooking. Put sauce in bottom of large pan and place 3 strips of lasagna, layer of ricotta mix, Parmesan cheese, sauce; continue with layering until pasta is finished. Pour sauce and parmesan cheese over top layer. Cover pan with foil and cook in oven one hour. Let stand fifiteen minutes. You can add two boxes of drained chopped spinach to ricotta if you would like vegetable Lasagna.

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