The Obamatini (aka, Chocolate Hawaiian Martini)

January 19th, 2009

Tomorrow is Obama's first day as President of the United States. It's the end of a bad era and the beginning of New Hope. To honor that, we'll be gathering with friends and watching the Inauguration saved via Tivo whilst sipping tasty drinks. I've created a new martini just for the occasion.

The Obamatini:

  • 2 oz Coconut Rum - Malibu or similar is fine.
  • 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Rum
  • 1 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liquor - no substitute here. The Godiva gives the drink the creamy texture and color.
  • 1 oz Creme de Cacao - I cut the Godiva with this to save on the cost a bit without losing the chocolate flavor.
  • Powdered Cocoa - Swiss Miss works nicely. :)

Shake all the liquors with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder and a Kit Kat stir stick. (A spear of maraschino cherries would do nicely as well.)

The inspiration for this martini comes from Obama's Hawaiian heritage. Adding chocolate tastes good with the tropical flavors and is an obvious choice for a drink named after our first black President. Careful when drinking these, it tastes like a chocolate piña colada and sneaks up on you quickly.

On that note -- good riddance, Bush! Your time is nigh.

Pomegranate Martini

January 2nd, 2009

In honor of the Big Lebowski party, I created a purple martini we now call the Quintanatini. Named after the purple Jesus in The Big Lebowski. It's a berry-licious concoction comprised of pomegranate and vanilla flavors.

  • 3 oz Vanilla Vodka - Absolut makes a fine one.
  • 2 oz Pama - pomegranate liqueur
  • 1 oz Pomogranate/Blueberry Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with fresh blueberries if you've have them.

Pear Martini

November 2nd, 2008

Seems like there're as many pear martini recipes as there are types of pears. I played around for a good part of the week trying various ways of consuming Absolut Pear vodka and here's my final cut:

  • 4 oz Pear Vodka - Absolut makes a fine one.
  • 1 oz Disaronno - don't even pretend that there's a different kind of amaretto
  • splash of grapefruit juice
  • juice from 1/2 a lime

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with a pear slice if you've got it, else a lime slice works fine.

I like these kinds of experiments, I'll have to come up with some other martini recipes so I can perfect them and drink all the "mistakes". ;) read more »

Potato Gnocchi with Fresh Pesto

October 8th, 2008

After depleting the Manfort of everything except beer, drink additives, and a few hard boiled eggs, it was time to grocery shop and replenish the pantry. The first thing I made with all my new yummy ingredients was gnocchi and pesto all from scratch. Always my preferred method -- I get a kick out of cooking from the basics.

Recipe after the jump... read more »

My Martini Recipe - the Manfortini

April 15th, 2008

Speaking of martinis, here's how I like mine:

(Dirty of course.)

the Manfortini

  • 4 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth -- Noilly Prat please
  • 1 oz Olive Juice -- especially the fine squeeze from olives marked as "martini olives".

Before-hand, stick the martini glass in the freezer to chill it. Fill your shaker half full of cracked ice. This is important as the ice serves two purposes: to chill the ingredients (obviously), but also to add enough melt water to the drink to soften the alcohol's bite. Add the vermouth to the glass, swirl, and toss out. Add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously for half a minute. Cheers, Mr. Bond. strain into your frozen glass and toss in a few olives on a spear.

Tasty business there. Remember, although a good martini is stiff, don't sip and nurse it. Nothing ruins a martini faster than letting it get too warm. I also think they taste better whilst wearing a silk robe Heffner-style. :) read more »

Amish Friendship Bread

March 21st, 2008

Someone gave me a bag of goop the other day with a set of instructions. "Um, thanks?" I thought at the time. But I was willing to give it a shot.

Amish Friendship Bread straight from the oven.

The bag was the starter mixture for a fermented bread called Amish Friendship Bread, something akin to sourdough.

The instructions indicated mushing up the bag each day for 10 days and then adding the rest of the ingredients before baking. Alrighty then -- I'll give it a go. I faithfully mushed my bag each day and added ingredients to quadruple the mixture half way through as indicated. Later research confirmed that you can skip this step if you don't want to end up with three more bags of starter at the end of the process. read more »

Albino Chili Recipe

February 5th, 2008

Betsy and Angelo have a great tradition of hosting an annual Super Bowl Party that includes lots of food and adult beverages. Part of the fun is there's always a few chili varieties and guests are invited to bring their own to share. I've done this a couple of times and although Angelo's standard steak chili is always sublime, and Stacy has her award winning vegetarian chili -- I like to try weird styles that usually turn out to be a bit of an experiment.

Two years ago I brought green chili (with tomatillos and lots of green chilis). This year I went with white chili, or as I've appropriately dubbed it: Albino Chili. :) I found the recipe online and adjusted to what I thought might be better. It still turned out kinda soupy, so I've adjusted the following recipe. (The original called for almost twice as much stock.) I learned it's important to add the cheese just before serving, too -- it keeps it from burning. And it's a lot of cheese! And even more beans -- if your tummy is inclined to do gastro-intestinal somersaults over legumes, you'd better steer clear of this one.

Recipe after the jump... read more »

Zojirushi makes happy rice and more!

December 7th, 2007

I'm lovin' my new rice maker. I eat a lot of it, so it's more than handy to have a little machine in the corner that does all the work for me while I prepare other edibles.

The first job I gave it didn't even involve rice -- instead couscous was on the menu and I thought I'd see how it would fair with the wee pasta. While stew was brewing in the crockpot, I set up the new cooker with the following: read more »

Best Mojito Recipe

July 5th, 2007

I was recently put on the spot for my version of a Mojito. Given my, ahem, experience with this delight -- I was horrified to find I couldn't spout off the drink recipe instantly. Of course this must be fixed, so here's the behind the curtains look at the drink.

A mojito is generically rum, soda, mint and lime. People add various sugars to liven it up a bit or make it their own. Here's mine:

Mojito Recipe

  • 2-3 oz White Rum - (or light rum.) Any good quality rum will do, just don't used the Bacardi flavored crap. Save that for mixing with coke.
  • 2 oz Soda Water
  • Mint Leaves - fresh, please. Get it from the produce section of your favorite supermarket.
  • Cane Sugar - comes in both stick form and cubes. It's basically "raw" sugar from Hawaii. Supermarkets carry it. (Just use the white stuff in a pinch)
  • 1 Lime - again, fresh only. Your can't say you've got a bar setup without limes and lemons on hand.

Using a morter and pestle (or spoon back and small bowl), crush a teaspoon of sugar and 2 or 3 sprigs of mint. Squeeze the juice from one lime into the bowl to facilitate transferring the entire mix to a drink shaker. Add the rum and shake with ice into a high-ball glass with a few fresh cubes. (I like the crushed mint in my glass so I use a very rough strain or simply hold back the shaker cubes with a spoon.) Top with soda water and garnish with mint or a cane sugar stem.

And damn that stuff is good. We used to keep a pitcher of it in the fridge during the summer and always served at parties. Case in point:

Coffee at its best is coffee pressed

October 17th, 2006

I gots me new Frenchy Press yesterday and I brewed my first cup o' heaven this morning with it. :) Tell you what - I thought the new Obsidian blend from Caribou was yummy, getting it to go every morning on the way in, but now that I've had it press style - there ain't any going back. There's a whole new range of aromas and flavours that haven't been burnt away when the beans are freshly brewed without boiling or burning. All kinds of blends will now require re-tasting with this new brew method.

Ever have one of those fancy coffees that look like tar at a pricey bistro in the teeny cups? Me, too. And that's just what we get out of the new frenchy press. Uber-delicious morning sludge that's the complete perfection of coffee. I definitely recommend the procedure. Quit fouling your buds with the nasty office/foam cup swill and join me on the better side of caffination.

Here's my recipe:

  • Have your favorite local caffiene dealer grind a dark, dark blend on rough. (Tell 'em it's gonna be pressed.) Don't grind it with a whirly - you'll just end up with filter clogging powder. Keep your grinds in the freezer when your not digging in it.
  • Fill your 12oz frenchy with 3 heaping tablespoons of rough ground beans. (I always err on the side of more and probably have around 4 tablespoons.)
  • Pour hot water into the frenchy to within about an inch of the top. At work, we have a fancy new coffee brewer/water heater that delivers perfect 200 degree filtered water. Don't use boiling water, you'll scald the grounds and they'll be too bitter.
  • Stir with a plastic spoon, put on the lid and let steep for exactly 4 minutes. 4 minutes is critical - use a stopwatch. Too long and the coffee will be too oily. Too little and you'll have watery mule-piss.
  • After 4 minutes, gently press the frenchy's filter down to the bottom and pour your perfect cup o' joe. My 12 oz frenchy is just enough to fill my coffee mug. The smells and tastes will be like none you've had before. Unless of course you're already enlightened.

Mmmmm - heaven in a cup.