Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hallowe'en Spirits

It's been awhile since I've shared a cocktail recipe. And I think that this one is especially appropriate for the upcoming holiday. It's a devil of a drink, sweet and sour upon first sip, with a heat that slowly builds in your mouth and on your lips that just makes you want another sip...and then another. Before you know it you're gulping down martini number two. Honestly, you should stop right there, because as we know (some of us all too well)....

Martinis are like breasts--one is not enough and three are too many.

Orange Stinger Martini

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 martini


2 jalapeno slices
2 shots (about 1 1/2 ounces each) Absolute Mandarin
1 shot Patron Citronge (or other orange liquor)
1 shot freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large pinch sugar


1. Muddle the jalapeno slices in a cocktail shaker to release all the spicy juices.

2. Add 2 handfuls of ice, and the rest of the ingredients.

3. Cover and shake well, until martini is thoroughly chilled.

4. Rub the rim of a martini glass with a slice of lemon and dip in a plate that's been coated with sugar. Strain martini into the glass and garnish with another slice of jalapeno if desired.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Traditions are what hold a family together. They make memories and create a tribal sense of unity because each family does something in a way that no other family does it. Sure, hundreds if not thousands of folks visit the pumpkin patch each year, but each tribe does it a little bit differently, with their own unique twist.

As our own family propels itself ever forward, faster and faster it seems, I find myself clinging to our traditions. Almost too much. I am one who hates change, generally. I like things to stay just the same, predictable forever and always.

But kids aren't like that. They embody everything that is wonderful and terrible about change. They are new people everyday, molded by their friends, their experiences and everything they are learning about the world around them.

I know that one day our family traditions, especially surrounding holiday events, will have to change, as our tribe will be changing. We will say goodbye to childhood fantasies, and hello to mature thought...and that umbilical cord that connects to my kids will become longer, and longer as they are allowed more and more freedoms (like trick-or-treating on their own!!).

I truly feel that this year, we are standing on the cusp of that change, and it's just about time for me to put on my hiking boots and get ready for that journey into the wilderness of having teenagers.

I will have a teenager in two months. This is him. I'm not sure what happened to the brightness in this picture, but I wanted to show it to you so you could see why I'm feeling a bit afraid. He is big. And tall. In this picture I am wearing boots with 3-inch heels. He can carry me like a baby. It kind of makes me want to cry like one.

But thankfully, he plunged into the corn maze with enthusiasm, matched only by his kid brother who beats him through every year.

Not this time! In a startling upset, big brother wins!

My daughter is not interested in racing the boys at all (can you blame her?), rather she likes to pose for a photo with each animal hidden throughout the maze. There were seven in all.

Then there are the requisite photo ops. Here in the pumpkin patch....

And later with their perfect pumpkins. They are already discussing their carving strategies, and what faces they will cut into their glorious gourds (by themselves...duh).

Don't forget the caramel apples. And please, for the love of the Great Pumpkin, do not show this picture to their orthodontist!

What are your fall traditions?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hooray for Me!

Hey all! I am the happy recipient of my very first "blog award" given to me by Jessi over at the Juici Life. Please check out her very cute, stream-of-consciousness blog about anything and everything. (She has some great recipes too.)

Here are the rules for this award...

1. Thank the award giver.

Thank you Jessi!!

2. Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using 5 words.

I heart food. A lot.

3. Share the love with 10 other blogs.

The following are some of my very favorite no particular order:

1. Diary of a Locavore-Elspeth lives in Cape Cod and lives la vida locavore. She also has a local radio show and writes for several publications including Edible Cape Cod. Her writing style reminds me a bit of Molly over at Orangette (another great blog, by the way).

2. That's Not What the Recipe Says- Laurie also lives in Cape Cod and makes wonderful food with her hubby (fondly known as the Kitchen Genius or KG). She writes for the Cape Cod Times and other publications when she is not cleaning out her chicken coop.

3. Starving off the Land- Tamar moved from the big city to live off the land in Cape Cod (yes, I know another one...). Her blog details something she has grown, hunted or gathered each day. Sometimes she shares recipes...other times hilarious vignettes about her efforts to grow/hunt/gather her food.

4. Cold Antler Farm-Jenna is a young lady (I can say that because she is in her twenties and I'm in my thirties) who literally bought the farm and is working it all by herself. Her funny, insightful blog shares the ups and downs of being a full-time farmer...with a full-time job.

5. Ann Mah-Ann and I went to college together. Now she lives and writes in Paris (poor thing...). Her blog takes you on a culinary tour of mostly France, and her pictures of food, the local markets, and the countryside make me green with envy. Her first novel, Kitchen Chinese, was published earlier this year.

6. Apples and Butter-Jessica has a fun food blog, with yummy recipes and gorgeous photos of things she cooks up for her boyfriend and herself in sunny, Southern California.

6. Kiss My Spatula-G lives in the bay area and takes the most mouthwatering, big, rich photos that can only be described as food porn, to accompany her fantastic recipes. For fun, she shares "music pairing" ideas.

8. Angry Chicken-Amy Karol proves that sewing isn't just for grannies with her fun, stylish patterns that will make you wish you sewed...and maybe even inspire you to learn how.

9. Bluebirdbaby- Maine-based photographer, Erin, shares her pictures, her home, her recipes, her crafts, and much more on her lovely and inspiring blog.

10. Heather Bullard-Heather, senior editor of Flea Market Style, shares her decorating tips, (gorgeously styled) photos from her home and many antiquing expeditions, and the occasional recipe too on her picture perfect blog.

Well that about wraps it up....I could go on all day as there are SO MANY great blogs out there! Hope you go visit those I linked to and enjoy them as much as I do! Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Come Away With Me....

We were lucky enough to be treated to a very-much-needed weekend away recently. Without kids. So while my mom and sister kept the home-fires burning and kept my little tax deductions alive and well--we rested, and took long walks on the beach, and ate an obscene amount of food, and drank and even more obscene amount of wine.

And in between all that wining and dining, we snuck away to this place. The castle high upon a hill. Tour 2 was the only one we had time for, and turns out, it was perfect. It highlighted some of the best bedrooms...and the kitchen!

I won't bore you with my spotty knowledge of Hearst and his family and his castle, but if you haven't been, you should go. It truly is one of the most interesting and spectacular places in California. There is an astounding amount of imported European art that is built into and displayed in every room in the home.

But of course, I felt most at home in the relatively modest kitchen. Check out these gorgeous faucets!

And everyone needs German beer on tap!

And huge steel islands that are heated or cooled (depending on what kind of food you are preparing).

And a giant rotisserie oven, as well as bread ovens for your loaves of artisan bread!

Talk about stand mixer....and that color is perfect!

And the view out those windows? Well, lets just say it might be a wee bit distracting...

Plenty of room for the 12 cooks who worked there....

I could have stayed all day in that kitchen, but we were rushed through and forced to head back to the beach for more wine and more dine.

It was a heavy cross to bear, but alas, sometimes we must suffer so. Eventually our weekend wrapped up and we happily returned to our brood, refreshed and relaxed and already thinking of our next adventure...