Friday Cocktail: Whiskey-Peach Smash

As you may have read earlier this week I’ve been peaches every day while trying to get the most out of the end of the season, which means that a peach cocktail was in order for this week’s post. You could definitely enjoy this easy, summer peach smash alongside a slice of the peach galette I posed earlier this week, but this may just become your go-to summer drink for those long, hot end of summer evenings–galette or not.

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While the recipe (which I found here and adapted) calls for any whiskey, I recommend using rye. It’s a bit stronger and less sweet than regular whiskey, which really helps to balance the sweetness of the late-summer peaches. You’ll definitely want to overestimate how many peaches you slice, as if you’re anything like me a few may go “missing” on their way into the shaker. Don’t worry about removing the skins of peaches- you’ll be straining the drink anyway, and why do extra work when you don’t need to?

The peaches I used made the drink appear a bit pink, but don’t worry if yours doesn’t have quite the same color– I made another with a different batch of peaches as the color was a lot more yellow.

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Ingredients:

• 1/2 peach, sliced

• 1 wedge of lemon

• 1/2 oz simple syrup (I would test this based on how sweet your peaches are, and how sweet you like your drinks)

• 2oz whiskey

Directions:

1. Add peach, lemon, and simple syrup into the bottom of a shaker and muddle

2. Top with ice, then whiskey

3. Shake, strain, and serve in a highball glass with some ice and a peach slice

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Enjoy!

Perfect Peach Galette

I love galettes. They are a lovely vehicle for fruit of any kind- I have made apple galettes in the fall and winter, berry in the summer, and even a few savory galettes. Not only are they beautiful, they are a great deal easier to make than a pie, which is a huge plus!

This past weekend I picked up a surplus of peaches from The Peach Truck when I saw that it was the second to last weekend they’d be driving up. Since then not only have I been eating at least one peach a day, I have been furiously trying to find ways to use them- this week’s Friday Cocktail may very well be peach themed as well!

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This recipe makes a smaller galette, suitable for about four servings, which is great as I hate having things go to waste, and Cameron and I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) eat a whole galette over aa few days. The filling is unbelievably simple, and the crust is perfect- the bit of cornmeal added makes it super crisp and the perfect base for amazing summer fruit. I found the recipe for the pastry dough here, and adapted the filling.

Ingredients:

For the Crust

• 1/2c + 2tbs all purpose flour

• 2tbs cornmeal

• pinch of salt

• 2 tbs sugar

• 4tbs extra chilled vegan butter

• 2tbs ice water (you may need to add an additional 1-2 tsp)

For the Filling

• 3 peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced

• 2 tsp sugar

• 1/2 lemon

• 2-3 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

1. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl, whisk lightly to combine

2. Add the chilled vegan margarine or shortening then, using a fork, incorporate the dry goods. Mix until it has the consistency of large bits of sand. You could also use a food processor for this.

3. Add the cold water, first the 2 tbs, then the additional if needed, mix, then knead just to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

4. Place the sliced peaches in a bowl, covering with the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Mix gently to combine and let sit for a few minutes.

5. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out onto a well floured surface. Trip the edges into a rough disk, then place onto a baking sheet (if you wait until after you’ve added the filling, it will be quite difficult to move). Try not to overwork it- if it gets too warm it may be harder to work with.

6. Arrange the peaches in the enter of the dough, adding blueberries if you wish. Be careful not to add any extra liquid as you add the peaches.

7. Carefully fold the edge of the dough around the filling. Then brush with a bit of almond milk to give it some color in the oven.

8. Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

9. Let cool completely before slicing.

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Enjoy!

Friday Cocktail: Champagne Cocktail (and a bit of a celebration!)

I had already planned this week’s Friday Cocktail when I received some very exciting news, so it was a very fun coincidence that this week’s cocktail is a bit festive.

Even though I’d already been accepted to graduate school, I decided a few months ago to apply to an additional program at King’s College. I hadn’t seen it when I was originally applying to schools during my senior year of college, but it sounded amazing, and I had nothing to lose by simply applying. This week I finally heard back that I’ve been accepted, and as soon as I read the letter I knew that I had to switch programs. Yes, its a bit unusual to switch something like a grad school program roughly two months before the beginning of the course, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. After all, aren’t your twenties the perfect time for change and new adventures?

So, fast forward a few days and Cameron and I are hastily packing up our apartment, planning weekends with family and friends, and  preparing to move to London in just under two months!

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Despite all of the hectic preparations, I managed to carve out some time to properly celebrate. We picked up this bottle of Prosecco at a tasting over at The Bottle Shop last weekend, and I though this would e the perfect time to open it. It’s an extra dry, which means that there isn’t too much sweetness, and has a really lovely floral quality. I would be happy to drink this on it’s own, or in a cocktail. Yes, I know this post is meant to be about a champagne cocktail, but a good Prosecco can definitely take the place of champagne in a cocktail, and can often be a bit more wallet-friendly.

Champagne cocktails are a classic around the holidays at my house, and we make them as described here, but with a splash of cognac added to the bottom before topping with champagne. The cognac is definitely optional, but also a really nice touch– just be careful as they have a habit of catching up to you rather quickly.

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Ingredients:

• One Sugar Cube

• Angostura Bitters

• Prosecco or Champagne to top

Directions:

1. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute (or white wine glass), top with enough bitters to turn the whole cube pink.

2. Top with prosecco, and enjoy!

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You certainly don’t need a reason to celebrate to enjoy these, although you could always toast something smaller– like the end of the week, a new book, or whatever day of the week it happens to be!

A Family Favorite with an Update

My mom has made Beans and Greens for as long as I can remember. The version I grew up with has it’s roots in the cooking of my Italian great-grandmother, and is both delicious, and a wonderfully easy dish that I make all year. Growing up my mom alway used spinach (the original recipe called for escarole), and occasionally used frozen spinach, making it a super hearty dish perfect for dipping bread into.I like to get a bit more creative and use what’s in season if I can. In the spring and summer I love to go by what I can find at the farmers’ market– dandelion greens are great because of their bitterness, as is broccoli rabe, and chard (especially red chard) is awesome, and of course spinach is always a classic. In the winter I use mostly different kinds of kale because it grows just about all year, and will become quite tender when cooked down for bit.

While this is not entirely the beans and greens I grew up with, it is certainly close. I don’t like to cook my greens down all the way, instead leaving a bit of crispness in the stems, and I no longer top them with a generous amount of Pecorino Romano (but you are more than welcome to if you so choose). I do use the same generous amount of olive oil, and a bit of kick with some garlic, red pepper flakes, and some lemon.

One of the things that makes this dish so simple is that canned beans work quite well here, so there’s no need to plan too far ahead. If you choose to leave the stems of your greens on, like I do, then your prep time is shortened as well. Cutting your greens into thin ribbons across the whole leaf helps them to cook evenly, making them a bit like a leafy green pasta.

For a more filling meal I like to serve this over polenta, but a nice piece of toast is the perfect accompaniment if I’m pressed for time, or not quite as hungry. One of my favorites, though, is just a whole bowl of beans and greens on their own, with perhaps a piece of ciabatta to soak up all of the garlicky olive oil at the end.

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This recipe makes three generous servings, but you can stretch it by doubling the beans, and adding more greens to taste. It also keeps well for a day or so as leftovers, though if you use a lot of garlic you probably shouldn’t take it into work.

Ingredients:

• 13-15 oz can of cannelloni beans, drained. (or equivalent amount of freshly cooked)

• 1-2 bunches of red chard, chopped into fine ribbons

• 1 green bell pepper, chopped julienned

• 1-3 cloves of garlic, minced

• pinch of red pepper flakes to taste

• 1/2 lemon

• Several tablespoons of good olive oil

• Salt and pepper to saste

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The two main ingredients to an easy weeknight meal

Directions:

1. Cover the bottom of large pan with olive oil and heat over medium. If you can, try to use one with high sides, or even large pot- it will make stirring a lot easier when you first add the greens.

2. Add the garlic to the oil, being carful not to let it burn.

3. Once the garlic has softened, add the bell pepper,red pepper flakes, and the beans. Heat until the beans have absorbed most of the oil, and there isn’t much liquid in the pan.

4. Add a bit more olive oil, then top with the greens. This is when you will be glad to have a pan with high sides. Cook the greens down until they have about half of their original volume in the pan. Squeeze the lemon of the greens if desired, and add any salt or pepper. If you notice that it seems a bit dry, add more olive oil.

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The greens just before adding the lemon

5. Serve over polenta, with some good, crusty bread, or on its own. I like to add final drizzle of olive oil and a squad of lemon to bring all of the flavors out.

Enjoy! One of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is to alter based on what’s available and in season, so feel free to get creative!

Friday Cocktail: Cucumber Fizz

The first time I saw Mr. Q Cumber’s soda at the store I just new it would be perfect for a cocktail. When I found some awesome cucumbers at the farmers’ market the other day I knew that it was the perfect time to test my theory.

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When its especially hot and humid, as it has been here, the thought of making even the simplest of cocktails can feel a bit like a chore. This cucumber soda is great because it does all of the work for you. Its pretty good on its own, but adding a few cucumber slices, a lemon wheel, and a bit of vodka makes a delicious cocktail that practically makes itself.

If you can’t find Mr. Q Cumber’s, you could try to make your own by muddling some cucumber, adding a bit of simple syrup, then top with club soda or seltzer. This drink would be just as good with gin instead of vodka, but if you do opt for gin, then I recommend using a few lime wheels instead of lemon.

Ingredients:

• 2oz vodka (or gin)

• 1/2 Mr. Q’s Cucumber Soda (one bottle should be enough for about two drinks)

• Cucumber slices and lemon (or lime) to taste.

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Directions:

1. Add cucumber slices to a glass with ice and vodka; let sit for a minute to meld flavors

2. Top with cucumber soda, then garnish with a lemon wheel.

Enjoy while doing some serious relaxing on the porch!

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My Favorite Lip Color

I love a great, neutral lip color that can take me from day to night, but I usually have a quite a hard time finding one that fits the bill. While I like a neutral, it has to be more pink than beige, and on top of that it needs to be moisturizing, and not flake. As you can see the list starts to get quite long.

The first time I saw Butter London was a few years ago when I came across their nail polish, which is “three free,” meaning it has no DBP, formaldehyde, or toluene. This makes it safer both for the person using it, and the environment. Those three chemicals are found most nail polish, as well as some pretty scary things ranging from sealants, to gasoline, to paint thinner– definitely not things I want to have on my skin or nails.

When I found out they had a line of other cosmetics I knew I had to try them! Their lipstick and tinted balms are made with shea butter and vitamin E, and come in a range of awesome colors which are perfectly matte. Their tinted balm in axis kiss is the perfect shade of pink- neutral, but a bit more interesting- and lasts for hours without flaking or feathering off. It’s the perfect pop of color to finish an outfit, or to make me feel more “pulled together” on a day I’d rather not put a full face of makeup on (like when it’s super hot/humid).

Even though I adore the color, sometimes I want something a bit more subtle. To get the same color with little bit less saturation, I like to apply a thin layer of Smith’s Rosebud Salve, then dab on lipstick until I get the desired amount of color. Rosebud Salve is amazing- not only as a lip balm, but as a great salve for scares or cuticles in a pinch.

Friday Cocktail: Watermelon Martini

The first time I had this cocktail was two years ago when my family was in West palm Beach for the summer. We’d become semi-regulars at Būccan, which has both amazing food and drinks, when my mom ordered this drink on a bit of a whim. The drink arrived at our table the most vibrant shade of fuchsia, with a huge cube of fresh watermelon perched delicately on the rim of the glass. After an initial worry that it may be too sweet, everyone at the table agreed that it was by far the best drink of the night, and immediately began to brainstorm how we could recreate it at home.

This drink captures that amazing feeling of taking your first bite of watermelon in the summertime. It’s fruity, fragrant, and delicious. Requiring few ingredients, the watermelon is definitely the star of the drink, so do your best to find a really good one when you’re ready to make these.

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These also happen to be extremely easy to make. A lot of watermelon-based cocktails I’ve come across require you to puree and strain the flesh to get a separate juice, but this recipe cuts out the middle part, calling for cubed watermelon placed directly into the shaker with the rest of the ingredients. By some sort of magic, aka the ice slamming around in the shaker, the cubes blend perfectly into a smooth cocktail that requires a hard working strainer, but very little prep work.

Ingredients:

• 2 oz vodka (or gin)

• 1/2 oz lime juice

• 1/2 oz simple syrup (or less if your watermelon is quite sweet)

• about a pint glass full of cubed watermelon

I definitely recommend using a Boston shaker for these if you have one- the cubed watermelon will mix really well, and will be far easier to strain afterwards. If you don’t have a Boston shaker, then I would remove the whole top of the shaker, and strain the drink using a cocktail strainer rather than the built in one.

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Directions:

1. Combine ingredients into the base of a shaker, cover, and shake vigorously

2. Strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with a cube of watermelon.

This is the perfect cocktail for those unbearably hot summer days. The watermelon is light and refreshing, and the lime provides the perfect balance for the vodka.

Cheers!

-Chloe

My Favorite Banana Bread

I first found this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen a few years ago, and it quickly became my go-to for sorority events in college, and since graduation, has become my favorite thing to bring when staying with friends, or as a hostess gift. It’s also the perfect thing to bring to a party of non-vegans. The admittedly large amount of earth balance and sugar make an amazingly dense, flavorful banana bread, that perhaps fits more closely to the definition of cake.

Whenever I travel to see friends, especially when staying with them, I love to take some sort of gift- whether its food, a little of wine, or even a candle- and this banana bread is always at the top of this list. Cameron and I are going to a wedding this weekend, and are taking an extra day and night to see some friend while we’re there. I thought a loaf of this banana bread would be the perfect snack for either late night, or pre-breakfast snacking, and would be a great “thank you” to our friend who organized the rental house we are all staying in.

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I’ve altered the recipe over time- subbing a bit of coconut oil for some of the earth balance, using cashew milk instead of soy, and adding chopped walnuts (and occasionally chocolate chips). The walnuts a great because they add a bit of texture which I feel the bread needs, but if you don’t like walnuts, or are allergic to nuts in general, then feel free to leave them out- you will still want to devour this whole loaf in one go.

Since there are no eggs in this recipe the banana provides the moisture and really helps to hold everything together. The key is to be sure your bananas are ripe enough- the ones pictured here are even a bit underripe for what I usually use. A few brown spots generally means they are perfect for mashing into this bread (or for freezing and blending to make banana “nice” cream).

I particularly enjoy making banana bread lazy days, usually Sundays, where I can relax, and spend the hour waiting for the bread to bake either cleaning up, reading a bit, or doing some yoga. When its time to remove the bread from the oven, make sure you check it with a toothpick or knife, and give it an extra ten minutes if needed.

Ingredients:

• 3 very ripe bananas

• 1/2c white sugar

• 1/2 brown sugar

• 2 c all purpose flour

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• 1/4 tsp allspice

• 1tsp baking soda

• 1/4c cashew milk

• 6tbs earth balance

• 2tbs coconut oil, softened but not melted

• 1 tsp lemon juice

• 1/2c chopped walnuts

• 1/2c chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease an 8x4in bread pan with earth balance and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together earth balance, coconut oil, and sugar. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice.

4. Mash three bananas in a small bowl.

5. Place 1/4c cashew milk + 1tsp lemon juice in a small bowl.

6. Add banana, and soy milk mixture to the earth balance and sugar mixture.

7. Add wet ingredients to the dry, mixing well to incorporate. I recommend adding the liquid in three increments.

8. Add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, mix to combine using a spoon.

9. Add batter to greased baking pan. I like to add a few whole walnuts to decorate, and bake for 60-70 minutes.

10. Let cool and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! One of the best things about it is that you can really make it your own by adding, or subtracting the chocolate chips or nuts.

Red, White and Blue Smoothie Bowl

My original plan for an Independence Day themed breakfast was to make pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, and a nice dollop of coconut cream. However I woke up feeling a bit lethargic, so thought it best not to have a large breakfast that would only add to the problem. Instead I decided to make one of my favorite breakfasts- smoothie bowl.

I love a smoothie bowl for breakfast, especially during the summer. You can customize it to your taste, adding protein powder (I like hemp protein), any fruit that strikes your fancy, and even some leafy greens or veggies. Once you have the base of your smoothie bowl you can add toppings- a handful of granola, some berries, hemp or chia seeds. It’s a nice way to start your day with a large serving of fruit and veggies, which I always feel makes it easier to continue getting enough fruits and veggies for the rest of the day.

For my smoothie bowl this morning I decided to celebrate American Independence day with a flag-inspired design with sliced strawberries for the stripes, and blueberries for the stars.

Ingredients (for one):

• 2 bananas, frozen overnight

• 2-3 strawberries sliced

• Handful of blueberries

• splash of coconut milk

Directions:

1. Place bananas in the base of a high powered blender or food processor

2. Process until smooth. You may need to add a small splash of coconut milk (or other nondairy milk) to get things moving.

3. Arrange strawberries and blueberries and enjoy!

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I hope you have a very happy independence day! For those of you not celebrating, I still recommend this smoothie bowl, but perhaps with a different design!

Have a great weekend!

-C

Friday Cocktail: The Fitzgerald

Last week I was visiting my family in Wilmington to get a new drivers license (mine was stolen) and to see my family and  a few friends. As usual, time went by far too quickly, and I was sad to leave, even s it looked like I might not make it out. Every time I fly out of Philadelphia I run into some sort of problem- there’s an accident on the way and I miss my flight, there’s bad weather, or even just bad timing for no discernible reason. This trip was an unfortunate combination of the last two- some bad weather delayed all outbound flights which caused a huge domino effect and caused my 7:20pm flight to eventually depart at 11:30pm (after sitting on the runway for close to three hours).

Before I’d boarded my mom called ask asked if I wanted to come home for one more night and switch to a morning flight- I wish I’d taken her up on it. Luckily Cameron is pretty amazing and picked me up from the airport at 1:00am, and surprised me with a bunch of lilies, which have made our apartment smell amazing.

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One of my favorite flowers, and always a welcome surprise

Back in Nashville, I will be working through the holiday weekend. At this point all I’m hoping for is a glimpse of some fireworks (ideally without rain), and some patriotic pancakes (featuring some strawberries, blueberries, and maybe some whipped coconut cream- recipe coming soon!).

Planning this week’s cocktail was the perfect time to relax and spend some time with Cameron. This drink has been a favorite of ours for quite a while. I still remember the first time I had it; Cameron was spending the summer at Sewanee, where we both went to school, and I was visiting him for a few weeks. When we found this classic cocktail in an old bar book one of us had picked up we decided to give it a try, and it’s been a favorite ever since.

I love these Jefferson cups I got for Cameron for a gift a few years ago

I love these Jefferson cups I got for Cameron for a gift a few years ago

They are great in the summer, but I you could really enjoy this drink any time of year. It’s well balanced, and a pretty shade of pink from the bitters, and it’s another cocktail that includes ingredients you probably have on hand. The name is also fun- Fitzgerald happens to be one of my favorite authors.

Ingredients:

• 2 oz gin (I like Gordon’s here)

• .75 oz lemon juice

• .5oz simple syrup

• a few dashes of Angostura bitters (I used three)

Directions:

1. Add ingredients to cup/shaker

2. Shake vigorously, strain into a chilled glass

3. Garnish with a lemon wheel if desired.

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Let me know if you like it in the comments!

To everyone celebrating Independence Day tomorrow- have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Cheers!

-Chloe