Monday, July 6, 2015

Jeremiah Weed Sarsaparilla Slushie

When I was offered some Jeremiah Weed whiskies to try, I wasn't exactly sure what it was. I mean, I know what whisky is, but I hadn't tried this particular brand.

There are three flavors, spiced, cinnamon, and sarsaparilla. I was particularly smitten with the sarsaparilla. It's similar to root beer, which is one of my favorite flavors. I started playing around with flavors, but then decided to pare things back to the whisky could really shine.

I thought about making an ice cream drink, but then decided to make something less heavy using ice and half-and-half. While half-and-half is certainly richer than milk, there's a lot of water from the ice. I've also made this with milk, and it's fine.

I also tried a variation of this with chocolate, and it was pretty darned good. Try it with just a little chocolate, and add more to taste. If you add too much, it can overpower the sarsaparilla flavor.

Yes, I've had quite a few of these.

The other flavors are also good served this way. The cinnamon with chocolate reminded me of Mexican chocolate.

Jeremiah Weed Sarsaparilla Slushie

1 1/2 cups ice
1 1/2 ounces Jeremiah Weed Sarsaparilla Whisky
1 ounce simple syrup
4 ounce half-and-half (or milk or heavy cream)

You don't need to measure the ice cubes precisely. I measured what came of out my ice cube tray a few times, and it averages 1 1/2 cup, but it depends on how neatly they go into the measuring cup, and it also depends on how full I fill it or how much spills out. Sometimes I'm a little sloppy.

Put the ice cubes in your blender. Crush until you have a fine snow.

Add the whisky, simple syrup, and half-and-half. Blend until well combined and a little frothy.

Serve in a mug with a straw.

I received the Jeremiah Weed at no cost to me.
Sarsaparilla Slushie
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Friday, July 3, 2015

12 Hot Dogs that are Anything but Ordinary

Hot dogs are great steamed, grilled, pan-fried ... and in a pinch you can heat them in the microwave. You can cook them creatively. You can omit the bun. You can top them with all kinds of crazy things.

In a roundup for Parade Magazine's online Community Table, I chose a dozen amazing hot dog recipes, including one crazy dessert dog.


Here's a sample of the dozen dogs with links to the blogs. Go ahead and visit them, and say "hi." For the rest of them, check Community Table and take a look at the bottom of this post for more of my roundups.

Spiralized Spud Dogs


The perfect companion to a hot dog is fries, but this takes the idea to a whole ‘nother level, with spiral-cut potatoes wrapped around the hot dogs before they’re cooked until brown and toasty. Find it at Busy in Brooklyn.


Zucchini Marinara Hot Dogs


There’s no actual dog in these dogs, so they’re perfect for meatless meals. The zucchini offers texture, while the sauce and cheese provide substantial flavor. Find it at Noble Pig.


Beer Brat Dogs with Peach Salsa


The close cousin of the hot dog, the bratwurst, plays the starring role, accented with a spicy peach salsa. Make extra salsa to serve with chips. Find it at The Beeroness.


Crispy Crack Hot Dogs


These dogs look impressive, but they’re simple to make, and totally fun for kids and adults. Find it at Kitchen Tested.


BLT Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs


If a hot dog and a BLT sandwich had offspring, they’d look a lot like these bacon-wrapped hot dogs. The avocado takes it over the top. Find it at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts.


Philly Cheesesteak Hot Dogs


The Philly Cheesesteak is a classic on its own. Combine it with a hot dog for something that’s more than the sum of its parts. Find it at Country Cleaver.

And find the whole roundup HERE.

Want to see more of my roundups for Parade?

Do you love potato salad? Me too. So I compiled some of the most unusual I could find.
17 Potato Salads that Walk on the Weird Side in a Good Way

Here's the hot dog post. They're AWESOME!
Some Bark, Some Bite: 12 Hot Dogs that are Anything But Ordinary

Cocktails and mocktails that are perfect for a hot summer day, or a cheery summer night.
Summer is a Thirsty Season: These 15 Cocktails will Fix That

Strawberries might be the most popular, but other berries want your attention, too.
22 Berry Wonderful Ways to Use Berries that Aren't Strawberries

If you love corn (and corny jokes) you'll love this roundup!
This Isn't a Corny Joke: 15 Recipes for Corn that are Out. Standing. In their Field (groan)
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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raspberry Vinaigrette

A while back, the Oregon Raspberry Blackberry Commission contacted me about writing a post about their berries. Specifically frozen berries.

I made a few recipes and they were good, but for one reason or another, I didn't want to post them. Sometimes the photos didn't work out, and other times I wanted to tweak the recipes further.

I set the berry cooking aside for a while, even though I had more berries in the freezer. I knew I'd get back to them eventually, because frozen berries are so versatile. They're great when berry season is over, but they're handy to have, even during berry season.

See, when you buy fresh berries, you really need to use them pretty quickly. If you shop on the weekend, but you're planning on using the berries on Wednesday or Thursday, you're probably going to need to sort through the berries to pick out the bad ones. It's best to buy them and use them in a day or two.

But that's not always practical. I don't live horribly far from a grocery store, but I still don't want to drive there more often than I have to.

Unlike fresh berries, frozen berries are just as good a week or a month later, as long as you keep them safely frozen. And they're always there when you decide to make something on a whim. No need to run to the store and hope that the berries are looking good.

So anyway, I finally grabbed some frozen raspberries (Stalbush Island Farms is an Oregon brand, by the way) and made a very tasty vinaigrette.

Since this vinaigrette includes both the juice and pulp of the berries, it's pretty thick. Which means you don't need a lot of oil - which is what makes the emulsion with the acidic component in a normal vinaigrette. A little oil is used to add the richness and savory flavor, though.

This is amazing on salads, and wonderful drizzled on vegetables. It would also be a lovely glaze on chicken or pork. You could use it as a marinade.

I'm pretty sure you will think of plenty of other uses after you make it. It's really versatile.

The easiest way to get separate juice and pulp from berry seeds is to let the berries thaw and then let a juicer do the work for you. If you don't have a juicer, you can use a blender to break them down a bit, then pass them through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds.

You could also use a food mill to mash the berries and get rid of the seeds.

Some folks don't mind the seeds, but I don't care for them. If you like seeds, leave them in.

I used red raspberries, because I wanted the bright color. You could certainly use black raspberries, or a berry mix.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

4 ounces red raspberry juice and pulp (extracted from 8 ounces frozen Oregon berries)
2 ounces red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon prepared brown mustard
2 ounces olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a jar (I used a dressing shaker with a handy pouring spout, but you can use a jar with a lid) and shake to combine.

Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, sugar, or red wine vinegar to adjust it to your taste.

If it's too thick to pour, you can add a little water to thin it out.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate until needed.

This was particularly good on asparagus along with a basil mayo drizzle. it sounds like an unlikely combination, but it was really really (really) good.


Thanks to the Oregon Raspberry Blackberry Commission for sponsoring this post!
Raspberry vinaigrette is perfect on salads or vegetables
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