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laetitiae

25 Cocktails Everyone Should Know

Awesome list! I'd suggest adding the Corpse Reviver #2 which was the first cocktail to really open my eyes to the magic that happens when you combine the right ingredients in the right proportions. For those who have never had one - go order or make at home! It's 1 oz gin, 1 oz Contreau, 1 oz Lillet, 1 (scant) ounce lemon juice, and a few drops (~1/4 t?) of pastis or absinthe.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Wonderful. Thanks for the link and tips, rbnyc!

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

This is *so close* to a flourless cake. Do you think that skipping the flour would be terribly bad for the cake? I have a friend with celiac disease and would love to make this for her. Could I perhaps add a bit more of the hazelnuts to make up for the lack of flour?

Cook the Book: 'This is a Cookbook'

Erm. Locally sourced beet salad? I confess I'm not very up-to-date on what's 'hip'. Mostly concerned with what's tasty.

From Behind the Bar: On Crappy Bars

While in grad school I had the misfortune to love a bar that changed ownership and went from a good bar to a very bad bar. The bar was good for what it was - a bar in a university town that served a lot of poor twenty-somethings. It had good grub, a nice selection of beers with one or two quite fine beers on tap, bartenders who had been there a long time and knew your favorites, and a juke box with a decent selection of tunes to pick.

But then it changed ownership and the new owner thought boobs were more important than good service or an ability to mix a drink, that an already lively Friday night could be made absolutely bustling by adding wet tee-shirt contests and theme nights, and that a decent selection of beer and serviceable cocktails should be replaced by cheap beer and a selection of -tini's of more and more ridiculous names (chocotini, bananatini, and the like). Oh, and the new owner apparently bought the bar because he thought it gave him carte blanche to harass the female customers, believing that owning the bar would make him a chick magnet. Or something. Needless to say that the place was deserted within 3 months and underwent another change of ownership within the year but never really recovered. It's now closed.

As crazy as it sounds, that owner is a man for whom I bear a not-small amount of anger towards (to the point of confronting him if I were to see him in public). He took something that was well loved by many people and turned it into a shithole. May he burn in a very hot hell.

Poll: Which Pizza/Bread Hybrid is Best?

katz2360 - I've been using the frozen naan from TJ's too, with great success. I particularly love the garlic naan as the base. Is it as good as proper pizza? No, not really. (It doesn't have that pull of good pizza crust.) But it's pretty damned good in its own right!

Pie of the Week: Key Lime Pie

I must be in the minority, because I love key lime pie made from the pre-squeezed juice you can get in the grocery store. It's the perfect mix of lip-puckering tart and oh-so-creamily sweet. Yum!

Cook the Book: 'The Homesick Texan Cookbook'

Smitten Kitchen and Closet Cooking!

Preview: Pioneer Woman's New Food Network Show Premieres This Weekend

Thanks, seriousreader. I was taken aback by some of these comments. Serious Eats is normally a wonderful place on the internet with lovely and helpful commentators, but a couple of the comments above go beyond critical to being mean. (I'm looking at you, Lacey. Your comment is terrible in just about every way.)

I only occasionally pop over to Pioneer Woman -- I prefer other blogs/sites to hers. But I am impressed that she started out as a regular blogger much like many of us and has achieved really remarkable things. And I think she's done great things to get people who wouldn't otherwise cook (or do photography) to start experimenting and getting more comfortable in the kitchen (or behind the camera). That's a really admirable thing she's doing.

SE Staff Picks: Our Favorite Cheeses

Mmmmm. Cheeeeese.

I love all sorts...but one of my particular favorites is cambozola. It's like the best of brie and blue, wrapped together and just waiting to be slathered on crackers or bread. YUM. So, so much yum.

Drinking Seasonally: Sour Cherry Caipirinha

:( I'm so jealous of those who live in places with tart cherries. The closest I can find are the frozen variety.

I have a jar of the Trader Joes morello cherries. Maybe adding some of those and decreasing the amount of sugar could recreate the drink?

Regardless, it looks delicious!

Cocktail 101: How to Make Shrub Syrups

I just made two - one strawberry and one cherry. They are *amazing*! I made a drink with some of the strawberry syrup, some gin, and some fizzy lemonade. And I believe I've found my summer drink. The only thing bad about it is that it was so drinkable that I could find myself drinking much more gin than I should.

So thank you so, so much for writing this up. I would have spent my summer without some berry shrub syrups, had it not been for you. :)

Drinking in Season: Balsamic Strawberry Smash

Thanks for the recipe! I have some fresh strawberries just crying out to be used for this!

One quick question -- what do you do with the lemon slice in the cocktail? Do you muddle it with the strawberries? Juice and add at the end?

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Trader Joe's Beer

"This isn't the worst thing in the world—Canadian hockey fans and rain, for instance, are worse..."

This made me laugh out loud, in a rather quiet office. Heh. :)

Also, the nearest TJ's is three and a half hours away from where I live. Makes me sad, it does. (That said, it also makes for epic shopping trips whenever I get to a TJ's. Me, a cooler, and a cashier who must think I'm obsessed with their dried Montmorency cherries and gnocci alla sorrentina.)

Pusser's Rum Discovers the Cost of Trademarking Drink Recipes

How can cocktail recipes be trademarked but normal recipes not be trademarked? Presumably the trademarkers would argue that the precise ingredients and proportions dramatically affect the resulting drink...but surely this same argument could be made against, say, chocolate chip cookie recipes. So what's the difference?

(And I think that (a) being able to trademark a cocktail and (b) suing and winning over variation from the trademarked recipe are both quite ridiculous.)

Coconut Layer Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I just finished making this and it's currently in my fridge, waiting for a get together this evening. I'm excited to taste it! It was quite time intensive but fairly easy to make. The cake was very easy to handle when arranging and frosting. One warning: the cake itself is quite soft, so if you (like me) put some strips of parchment paper down when frosting the cake, be very, very careful when pulling them out from under the cake. Part of the cake wanted to go with the paper!

One quick note about the recipe -- the instructions mention vanilla extract but there isn't any amount listed in the ingredients list. I just added a teaspoon and it seems fine.


LivefromTuscany -- no, they're not the same. Cream of coconut is a very sweet, very (very!) thick coconut syrup concoction. You usually find it near the mixers in grocery stores, as cream of coconut is usually used in making pina coladas.

BitchinFixins -- I put about 1 1/4 cup of sugar in the batter (because sweet Jesus is there a lot of sugar in the whole thing! Between the sugar, the sweetened coconut, the coconut cream, the powdered sugar, the corn syrup, and the chocolate, this isn't something you want to have if you have problems processing sugar!). The cake didn't have any leavening problems and tasted fine (from the crumbs, at least). If I make this again, I'll probably drop the sugar down to a cup and think about other ways to reduce the sugar a bit.

Taste Test: Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor

Steel cut oats keep in the fridge really, really well. I make a pot on Monday and then scoop portions out over the week. A few minutes in the microwave and I have a hot, steaming bowl of delicious oats. (My preferred treatment: oats, vanilla and cinnamon, dried tart cherries, and pecans with a smidge of maple syrup to finish it off.)

I've been doing this for a few months now, and it makes my pre-coffee stumbling in the kitchen so much easier, as all I have to do is scoop some oats into a bowl and stick it in the microwave. Of course, it does require a bit of thinking/planning/acting ahead, so I'm grateful for the taste test!

Would You Eat Human Cheese?

Add me to the 'no, that's gross' camp. And I'd imagine that there are probably pretty decent evolutionary/biological reasons why people feel a natural sort of disgust about consuming the flesh or fluids of their own kind while lacking it when it comes to the flesh or (some) fluids of other animals. We are probably built not to want to drink that milk because that would have meant that women were producing milk to satisfy adults rather than for the nourishment of infants. And, well, in the days before formula, that would have been pretty disastrous for the infants.

And seriously -- something's morally wrong with wasting milk when it could be donated to a milk bank? *Maybe* that would be the case prior to the advent of baby formula. Modern baby formula is shockingly good and more than adequate for infants. Studies and studies and studies have shown this. No infant, with proper access to formula, is going to die or be impaired because of some lack of natural breast milk.

So, erm, yeah. First with the armchair theorizing about evolutionary explanations to rationalize my disgust reaction. Then with some eyebrow raising at the pro-breast-milk-damnit lobby that seems to have cropped up in the comments. I guess I should quietly go back to my corner now...

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: D'Artagnan Boneless Heritage Ham

I think it may have to be a simple white roll with a thin layer of mayo and some ham. It reminds me of growing up when this would be our meal the day after Christmas, using up some of the leftover ham and rolls from the Christmas day dinner. I remember grabbing one of the sandwiches and then running off to play with my new treasures. :)

It's amazing how memories can add so much to the taste of things!

Cook the Book: Masala Chai

Mmmm. Chai. The spicier the better. I like the chai that makes the back of your throat tingle a bit from all the pepper in it.

The version I make usually has a blend of ginger, cloves, star anise (just a bit), cinnamon, pepper, and of course cardamom. That with some black tea and honey and you've got yourself a delicious drink!

Poll: How Do You Brew Your Coffee?

I was about to say french press but realized I've been using my espresso machine pretty regularly for the last few months. I go in phases. Usually in the summer I make espresso so that I can have an iced latte. Once it gets colder, I'll switch to hot coffee via my french press. And then there's the sludge in the office...that comes via one of those industrial sized coffee maker things that can have four pots simultaneously.

School Lunch in India

That looks *delicious*! sjburnt, while it may look brownish, I'd imagine that those dishes have more flavor and vegetables (even the dal) than almost all of the traditional lunches that we, or our children, eat most every day.

Cook the Book: Sonoran Hot Dogs

Being just a mile and a half away from El Guero Canelo - home to one of the best sonoran hotdogs in Tucson and, dare I say, the whole of the United States - does mitigate the fact that the high this last week been averaging about 104, topping out yesterday at 108.

(El Guero Canelo, if I recall, uses a big roll, pinto beans, a chopped tomato/onion salsa, jalapeno relish, some mayo and mustard, and a bacon wrapped dog.)

Poll: What Kind of Cheese Do You Like on Grilled Cheese?

I really love a grilled cheese with provolone. It melts perfectly and has a nice mild flavor. Perfect for dipping in some tomato soup!

What Are the Must-Eats in Your City?

In Tucson, I'd suggest:
* Cafe Poca Cosa - delicious and inventive (central and southern) Mexican food. I have a feeling I'm going to crave their tamale pie until the day I die (well, other than when I go and eat it, that is!)
** And Little Poca Cosa, which is the little brother to Cafe Poca Cosa. Nestled in a small little building a few blocks away from CPC, it's got a lot of the same food for much cheaper and it's a much more casual environment. It may have the best huevos rancheros in the city.
* El Guero Canelo - gotta get a Sonoran dog!
* Ghini's French Bistro for a lovely brunch. Their hash browns are delicious. And there's an attached bakery to bring some tasty bread and pastries.
* The Dish - for the mussels and a fantastic selection of wine
* The B-Line, for good, solid lunch fare (and it has a pretty damned good breakfast, too)

Cocktails to make with ginger liqueur?

On a bit of an impulse buy at the liquor store, I bought some ginger liqueur (probably in reaction to not being able to find *any* ginger beer in the entire town!). I made one drink with it that was pretty tasty...basically a ginger lemon drop. But I'm now looking around and trying to figure out other cocktails that I make with it. Any favorite drinks that use it? Or any suggested flavor combinations to try out? (I suppose I should note that it's not the Domaine de Canton but a more generic ginger liqueur, in case there are recipes particular to the DdC that wouldn't work well with other ginger liqueurs...)

Thanks in advance!

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