One of my favorite spots in the city is this restaurant called Nellcóte. They have an ever evolving, seasonal menu that is always delicious. Try it sometime. You won’t be disappointed. Delicious food and unbelievable drinks. In fact, they have one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted. Aptly named “The Vodka,” it is super light and refreshing but unlike anything I’ve ever had. Needless to say, I had to find the recipe for myself.
After I discovered the recipe I found out that the main ingredient was something called Orgeat (pronounced “or-zsa” like Zsa Zsa Gabor). Orgeat was originally used in Mai Tai’s, and is now used as an almond syrup in coffee drinks and cocktails.
I called around and was unable to find it anywhere in the city. So I decided to just make it. It is actually really simple as long as you can find Orange Blossom Water (or orange flower water). I found mine at Whole Foods by the extracts and spices.
It turned out great. I altered the recipe I found a bit by adding a little less of the orange water and vodka, you can add more to taste if you would like!
I think this is a great summertime cocktail. We typically drink Moscow Mule’s a lot in the summer so this will be a fun way to mix things up a bit!
Spring has finally sprung!
The trees are budding and the grass is green. People have come out from hibernation and are beginning to walk the streets again.
My favorite fruits and vegetables are ripe and in season and as though I needed any further proof that spring has arrived…I can’t stop sneezing and blowing my nose. I never thought allergies could seem so exciting.
I bought some fresh strawberries at the store the other day and I decided I needed to bake with them. I decided to use the pretty fruit to make some pink cupcakes as a “thank you” to send to work with Mikey.
If you don’t already know, I’m walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer the first weekend in June, here in Chicago. I’m walking with a group of close friends, in honor of one of the girls Mom, whom she lost to breast cancer when she was a little girl. We decided it’s now or never! We are all excited and nervous as we try to raise the money and prepare for the 39 miles of walking.
I sent the cupcakes with Mikey because I have been overwhelmed by the support everyone at his company has shown me, and cupcakes were a small way to thank them for being such an encouragement.
A final word on the cupcakes: They are soooooooooooo delicious and the strawberry puree makes them dense and fruity and the frosting tastes like straight up strawberry ice cream. If you don’t make the cupcakes at least make the frosting. You can put it on anything and everything. It’s that good.
This is the frosting you dream about.
It tastes like strawberry ice cream and it will change the way you look at frosting.
I made this to go on top of my strawberry cupcakes and let me tell you…it’s magic.
Best of luck in trying not to eat the whole bowl before your cake/cupcakes are frosted!
Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Buttercream
1/2 Cup Whole Strawberries (about 3 tablespoons)
2 Sticks (1 Cup) Butter, A bit cooler than room temp
Pinch of Salt
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
If you have not already pureed your strawberries, do so by placing them in a food processor and mixing until a sauce forms. If you make the strawberry cupcakes, just make sure you have about 3 tablespoons reserved for the frosting.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until it is light and fluffy, anywhere between 3-5 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners sugar beating well until combined and turning up to a higher setting to reach a desired and fluffy texture.
Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree and blend for about 1 minute on low.
Place in a pastry bag or frosting gun and frost cupcakes. Serve at room temperature (otherwise frosting will be really hard) and enjoy!
Recipe from Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting on marthastewart.com
It was a cold and rainy day and I didn’t want to leave the house. But I wanted to bake. So I scrounged around in my pantry and freezer and these bars are what were born.
There is a gooey layer of peanut butter caramel sauce sandwiched between an oat and butter crumble and then topped off with chocolate and Reeses Pieces…What’s not to like?
Be careful when making these bars…the sweet and savory combination is dangerous and you may not be able to stop going back for more!
I always love when friends or family ask me to post a specific recipe.
It takes the pressure off of me to think about what to cook and gives me a mission: find the perfect recipe and make it work.
My friend Catherine asked me to post a recipe for French Onion Soup (which I was excited about since it just so happens to be one of my favorites).
I searched high and low and compared a thousand recipes before going with this classic recipe from Balthazars restaurant in New York. The sweet onion smell will fill every nook and cranny of your house (we smelled like onions for a week). Although it takes time to make, it is well worth the work. The longer you caramelize the onions the sweeter they become so make sure you set aside a couple hours to enjoy the process. And as though caramelized onions are not enough…you top it off with a thick layer of melted gruyere cheese…heavenly!