Friday, April 23, 2010

Ginger Lemon Martini

I feel like I am on the backside of a trend because I keep seeing this Domaine de Canton at all the restaurants around town and I keep meaning to try it, but I never do. Not wanting to have this cool new booze trend completely pass me by, I seized the opportunity to try it at a Thai restaurant in Charleston, SC. We had just bellied up to the bar (after putting our name on a waitlist - they didn't accept reservations) and I spied the familiar bottle that I kept meaning to try. I asked the bartender to make me some kind of cocktail with it, his choice. Of course I didn't see exactly what brand of sake or what amounts he put in, but this is my home version of what he made:

Ginger Lemon Martini (makes 2)
4.5 ounces of Domaine de Canton
4.5 ounces of dry sake
juice of one lemon

Chill two martini glasses with ice and water.

In a shaker, mix Canton, sake and lemon juice. Give it 20 shakes.

(Knowing nothing about sake, I totally guessed at Randall's. My guess was good!)

Strain into chilled glasses and garnish with a twist.

With its ginger lemon goodness, it's a perfect cocktail for summer. Beware though. It's almost all booze and it'll sneak up on you.

Canton is also delicious mixed with green tea on the rocks and when used to fortify an unoaked white like a nice Sauvignon Blanc.

Coke Addict (Iced Green Tea)

I am by no means a heath nut. Never have been, and most likely never will be. I do, however, object to eating highly processed foods. Luckily, I've got the time and inclination to cook from scratch. The one notable exception to this "no highly processed food" rule that is a daily struggle for me is Coca-Cola. I love it. I REALLY love it. Put a cold six pack in front of me and I can't chug down a couple mindlessly. And easily finish the rest of the 6 throughout the course of the day.

About a year ago, I made the switch over to Mexican Coke, which is made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Mex Coke comes in a real glass bottle, in a smaller serving than it's American bottled counterpart, and is more expensive than regular Coke. It's so delicious. There's something special about it that makes me want to savor every sip. I've been able to cut back to about one Coke a day since the switch to Mex. I've also become a snob. I'm no longer interested in drinking the overly fake sweet tasting regular Coca-Cola anymore.

So The Captain and I go on a couple of trips - right in a row. I don't have access to Mexican Coke in either location, so I just don't drink any soda at all. Which is completely crazy for me. My soda is the first thing I drink the the morning. No coffee for me. Soda is my caffeine delivery system.

Anyhoo, one of the cities that we travelled to was Charleston, South Carolina. While there, we visited the only domestic tea plantation. Now, The Captain and I aren't tea drinkers, but since I was visiting the ONLY place in the US that actually grows tea, I figured I would pick up a souvenir box of green tea.

When I got home, I realized that it had been a couple of weeks since I had consumed a Coke. I decided to see how long I could go without drinking one. I would need another source of caffeine. A freshly unpacked box souvenir box of green tea was starting at me from the counter top. Hello, green tea. Nice to meet you.

Iced Green Tea
6 cups of water
3 bags of caffeinated green tea
1 inch knob of ginger
1 citrus fruit (lime, lemon, or orange)

I have to make this in batches because we don't own a tea pot. I peel the knob of ginger and slice it. Add it to the water and bring it just barely to a boil. Add the tea bags and let steep for about 6 minutes.

In the meantime, add some ice to a pitcher. Slice citrus and add. After the tea has steeped, add honey to taste. (I only add a little, I don't want it super sweet.) Pour tea into pitcher.

Serve over ice.

Now, in addition to replacing some absolutely empty calories, there are health benefits associated with ginger tea and green tea. Ginger tea (which is just ginger steeped in water) aids in digestion and has been traditionally used to ward off colds and flu. And green tea studies show that it has the potential to fight cancer and heart disease. I don't know about all that, but I do know it has the ability to fight addiction.

Hey, speaking of ginger...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Granola Tastes Like Blueberry Pancakes

I'm beginning to think I am losing my mind. Ever since I have discovered that I love oatmeal, I have been looking for ways to use it in my cooking. I could have sworn that I read a granola recipe in the April issue of Martha Stewart Living, but when I went back to look it up to actually make the recipe, it was nowhere to be found. I hope this isn't some strange side effect of my new daily oatmeal habit.

Anyhoo, I googled some recipes for granola and put together my own recipe. Who needs Martha anyway? (Just kidding. I do! I do!)

Blueberry Granola
4 cups thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup dried blueberries
2 heaping tablespoons ground flax seed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
1/2 cup brown sugar
vanilla extract

Preheat over to 325F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly coat foil with some vegetable oil. Mix oats, nuts, berries, flax seed, a dash of salt and a few healthy dashes of cinnamon in a bowl.

Combine oil, syrup, and sugar in small pan. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and add a little vanilla.

Mix the liquids with the oat mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread on baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the house smells fantastic and the oats are brown. Remove foil to cooling rack.

Seriously, yum. Tastes like blueberry pancakes.