I get so excited walking into a grocery store this time of year. The produce section is brimming with local vegetables and fruits, teeming with potential. This recipe is perfect for late summer or early autumn’s bounty. Equally good with pasta and spaghetti squash, baked eggs, or even on a spoon (don’t feel guilty, it’s mostly just vegetables!), I have found many ways to use this hearty sauce.
Western folklore describes the Hailstorm as “the earliest known mixed drink in Colorado.” Likely dating to the 1830s when trappers rendezvoused at Bent’s Fort, this refreshing iced drink was the western version of the mint julep but used whiskey instead of brandy or bourbon.
We have been enjoying unseasonably cool weather and what might be described as a very early monsoon season. Oh, and hailstorms. More hail than I can recall seeing in one year.
Palisade, Colorado is famous for its peaches – yes, there’s even a peach festival in August. I’m hoping that the worst of the hail passes them over and spares the peaches, but I imagine that many orchards are looking a bit battered right about now.
I’ve been holding this back for a little while but now seemed an appropriate time for this drink. Hail, whiskey, summer, peaches. Perfection.
Traditionally enjoyed over Independence Day (to break the heat and probably because it’s easy to make for a crowd) whether it’s hot or hailing, cheers!
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 Tbsp. Palisade peach preserves
3 oz. Colorado whiskey
2 oz. iced tea
Hail (or ice!)
Directions: In a shaker, combine mint, peach preserves, whiskey, and ice. Shake vigorously. Shake more! And shake it again. Pour into a wide mouth glass or mason jar. Top with tea.
Happy birthday to me! I’ve never been one to hate birthdays. I believe in celebrating to the fullest extent. I try to have a birthday get together every year – sometimes dinner, occasionally brunch, and often just hanging out at a great local watering hole.
This year, my best friend offered to plan the bash. She picked a great, newish, local craft brewery – which had a wood fired pizza truck hanging out that day. She also made a scrumptious vanilla bean cake – the fragrance was intoxicating (although maybe that was the craft beer talking.) The bash was last weekend and I’m working on my actual birthday. I’ve been thoroughly fêted but still wanted a bit of a treat for my actual birthday.
I love lemony desserts. The bright, acidic flavor plays so nicely with sugary sweetness. Each sweet, tangy bite is like a burst of golden sunshine. Lemon curd is so simple to make and with so many uses (if you can hold off on eating it straight from the jar) that it just had to be my treat.
Sun Burst Lemon Curd
Adapted from Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks
1 c. granulated white sugar
4 lemons, zested
1/2 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. St. Germain, divided
1/8 tsp. rose water
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into tablespoons and chilled
Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring 1-2 inches of water to boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in medium metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in lemon zest, juice, 2 Tbsp. St. Germain, and rose water.
When water reaches a boil, reduce heat to low. Place bowl on top (water shouldn’t touch the bowl). Whisk frequently until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Whisking constantly isn’t necessary but whisking frequently will ensure that the eggs cook but don’t scramble!
When mixture has thickened, remove bowl from heat. Quickly stir in one tablespoon of butter until melted. Repeat with all butter. If the mixture gets too cool, you may need to very briefly return to double broiler just to heat slightly.Stir in remaining Tbsp. St. Germain. (Optional) For a smooth curd, use a fine mesh sieve to strain out lemon zest.
Store lemon curd in glass container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the lemon curd, to prevent a skin from forming.
Sometimes, the best things are the result of unexpected circumstance. This is one of those delightful accidents. I’d purchased unsweetened almond milk for a recipe and found myself with about a half bottle that needed to be used up. I started thinking of ways to use it up but kept coming back to one fact: I like cow’s milk. Any recipe I could think of was a recipe in which I would have used cow’s milk to begin with. Until I found myself running out of milk.
We had a bit of a cold snap recently and I found myself chilled. I wanted something comforting and warming. It was too late for coffee. Tea just didn’t seem to fit the bill. A cocktail? Well, that would be warming…
I’ll never forget the first time I had an Old Fashioned. I was in Prague visiting one of my oldest friends and we stumbled upon a very charming cosmopolitan cocktail bar, Hemingway Bar. I knew immediately that this was my kind of place. The sleek, dark wood bar was accented by perfectly straight rows of bottles and stacked glassware. Slightly pretentious, in the best possible way, it was a bar with decorum and literary references. I was young enough that I wasn’t quite sure what type of drink to have, though I did have a concept of my tastes. After some brief discussion with the bartender, he suggested a classic cocktail: the Old Fashioned. I was informed that it would take a bit of time as it was a laborious process, but well worth the wait. A much younger version of me watched with a sense of awe as he crafted the drink. Exacting portions were painstakingly stirred until the sugar dissolved in a subtly sweet infusion. All these years later, I’m not entirely sure whether he used rye, bourbon, or some other whiskey. There aren’t many drinks in life that leave such a lasting impression, but that cocktail is one I’ll always remember.
In February, this really incredible thing happened. I was asked to help write a cookbook. Mind you, I’m merely a small piece of a big project; it took a talented team to pull off this feat. Yet, here we are. It feels like a dream to see my name listed on the title page but, somehow, it’s real.
I half-jokingly compare it to a gestation period. In the course of nine months, I felt like there were big and exciting changes but the world around me wasn’t privy to this in the same way I was experiencing it. I’ve tried to distill it down but it was exciting, rapidly changing, at times chaotic – as the few paragraphs below are, and not easy to fully explain. And, as they say happens with childbirth, I seem to have forgotten any frustration and would happily do it all over again.
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