Pear and Sage Sazerac

I’ve been on the search for the perfect fall cocktail recipe, and the other day, inspiration struck and I came up with the idea of a pear and sage sazerac. I made a small batch of sage simple syrup, and a puree with some pears from our CSA box. What followed was a delicious cocktail reminiscent of New Orleans, with just enough sweet and herby flavor to be a fall standard.

Pear and Sage Sazerac

  • 1-2 ounce bourbon (depending on your preference)
  • Splash of Pernod or Absinthe
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 4-5 drops bitters
  • 1-2 pears
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Begin by combining equal parts sugar and water (I did 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup for a small batch of simple syrup), bring to a boil until it begins to thicken (it should stick a bit to the back of spoon) and remove from heat, stir in 1 bunch of sage and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. After it’s had a chance to sit, remove the sage leaves.
  2. Peel and core 1-2 pears (depending on how much puree you’d like), put in a steamer basket and steam for 10-12 minutes or until you can prick them easily with a fork. Once they are cooled, cut and place into a blender with some lemon juice and puree.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 TBSP pear puree, 1/2 ounce sage simple syrup, a few additional sage leaves, and muddle. Add 4-5 drops of bitters, and 1-2 ounces of bourbon (I prefer 2, but then again, I live in Williamsburg), and ice. Shake and strain* into a glass and garnish with a sprig of sage.

*The pear puree can get a bit thick towards the end, if this bothers you, I’d suggest straining through a cheesecloth.

Caramelized Onion Jam

When Jason and I got back from the market with our CSA box and pulled out yet another bunch of onions, we got a bit stressed. We already had a fridge full of onions, and we couldn’t use them fast enough, so now what were we going to do with an additional bunch?

I decided to go with caramelized onion jam, it would use up plenty of our onions, and I could use it on everything from sandwiches, to pizza, to pastas. The one problem I had was that nearly every recipe used chicken stock of some sort, and I was out. I used this recipe, but modified water instead of chicken stock. So far I’ve used the caramelized onions on smoked salmon sandwiches, toast, pizza, and vegan mac n’ cheese. They pack a ton of flavor without the calories, an awesome condiment option to add to anything!

 

September Vegan Challenge- First Weekend

This past week, I began my September vegan challenge. I know I briefly wrote about it here, but there were a few things I had forgotten to mention. The truth is, that my vegan month, probably won’t be fully vegan. I know it’s sad and a bit contradictory, but there are a few things I am keeping in my diet for convenience sake.

The first is eggs. Now, I love eggs, and I always have, but the reason I’m keeping them in this month is more about food waste than anything. As part of my CSA share I get 1/2 dozen eggs every week, and unfortunately, Jason just does not eat them. I have already looked into giving some away, but considering I know the farmer I get my eggs from and have already paid for them, I feel strongly about not letting them go to waste. Although, I will be drastically cutting down my consumption.

The second exception is butter. Now, I’m not cooking with butter at home, so this is more of a rule for when I go out to eat. Last time I did a vegan challenge, Jason and I found it super frustrating to go out and eat, and considering this is one of our favorite things to do together, it caused much more harm than good. While I still aim to eat as vegan as possible when I’m out, I feel like butter is one of those battles I just can’t win, but I’m really going to try to moderate it and order food that will naturally be butter free!

I started eating vegan slowly last week (I was at about 75%) with my first day of actually trying to eat vegan being Friday. I spent the past couple of weeks finding recipes, and stocking up on ingredients. And although the first half of my weekend was so, so busy, I managed to spend a ton of time in the kitchen during the second half of my weekend prepping food for the week.

The first thing I made was the Radicchio Pizza from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. It was super simple, and so, so delicious. I added some sauteed garlic and shallots to the pizza in addition to the radicchio and it was so insane I could not get enough of it.

Jason is going to hate me for posting this picture, but I can’t help it! It was great to see him enjoying the vegan fruits of my labor as well!

I also made the oyster mushroom, leek, and pea risotto, ginger baked tofu, a big batch of lentils, and even a quick vegan mac n’ cheese for lunch one day. I gotta say, I’m really starting to enjoy it!

Avocado Squash Salad

One of the best things about living in an overly hip place like Williamsburg, is the amazing access to farm fresh produce. This summer, in addition to joining a CSA, we’ve made it a point to spend our Saturday mornings perusing the local greenmarket for our weekly grocery needs.

Lucky for us, there is a really great farm that has tons of awesome Asian fruits and vegetables that I’ve rarely, if ever, seen around (one of the owners is Korean). And that’s where we discovered the avocado squash. Needless to say, I’ve become absolutely obsessed, and I buy several of these bad boys every week. At first, we simply grilled them up, and while that was certainly delicious, it isn’t the healthiest form of veggie eating.

So, we started making them into a salad, which sounds a little weird, but is one of the freshest, most delicious salads you could have in the summer time. The best part? Outside of the squash, all the ingredients were already something we had at home, making this a regular go to option for a busy night.

Avocado Squash Salad

  • Avocado Squash
  • Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Parsley

*All ingredient amounts are subject to your own preference. For a recipe like this, it’s good to just play around and see what you like!

Wash and trim the ends of the avocado squash. Use a mandolin to create thin slices of squash.

Finely mince or crush the garlic cloves. Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice, let sit for a few minutes. Whisk in the olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. Sometimes I find that with this particular recipe, way more salt than I would imagine is usually required.

Pour over top of the salad and enjoy!!!

One of the best parts of this salad is that you can leave it sit for a couple days in your refrigerator without it getting too mushy!

Dark Chocolate, Cardamom, Orange Cookies

This is what I call my “adult chocolate chip cookie.” I had limited time on Saturday to bake for an event, and wanted to figure out a quick dessert that would go over well. Everyone loves a good, soft chocolate chip cookie, but there is something about it that reminds me of elementary school, but with the inclusion of orange zest and cardamom (I used this recipe), a simple cookie becomes an impressive dessert.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cashew Dreamcake

This Sunday was a pure rain out. I didn’t leave my apartment the entire day, and while I had a million things to do around the house, I couldn’t help but take advantage of my time inside by making a delicious cashew cake. I love to experiment with vegan and raw recipes, especially since Jason can actually eat them, but since this wasn’t my first time making a cashew dreamcake, I decided to switch it up by adding a chocolate layer.

The result was a creamy, smooth, coconuty dessert with just a hint of delicious cocoa and a bit of crunch from the crust. It manages to give you that feeling of eating dessert without the heaviness of dairy, perfect for the guilty pleasure while still trying to stay healthy.

Chocolate Cashew Dreamcake (adapted from My New Roots):

Crust
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dates
1 TBSP Coarse Sea Salt

Filling
2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
Juice from 1-2 lemons (depending on how juicy they are)
Seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar (could substitute honey)
2 TBSP-1/3 cup cocoa powder

1. Chop almonds and dates before putting them into a food processor with coarse sea salt. Process until it is sticky enough to pack down into a pie plate covered in cling wrap or a 7 inch spring form pan. Pack down so that there is even coverage along the bottom and sides. Put into fridge to cool.

2. Melt coconut oil and agave nectar in a small saucepan, add to the cashews, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds into a food processor, blender, or Vitamix if you have one.

3. Blend until creamy and spreadable, this may take a while depending on what type of machine you’re using. Spread 1/2-2/3 of the mixture (depending on your preference) onto the crust so it is even.

4. Add the cocoa powder to the rest of the cashew mixture and blend until it’s incorporated. Spread onto the plain layer and chill in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I thought I had reached my red velvet saturation point, but when a friends birthday happened over the past weekend and they liked “all things red velvet,” I managed to find a new red velvet recipe that I couldn’t wait to try. And, not being one to make anything easy on myself, I decided to make a white chocolate cream cheese frosting as opposed to a typical buttercream. I followed this recipe with a few ingredient alterations (see below), and added a few squares of melted and cooled white chocolate.

The result was a rich, dense cake with a creamy, tangy delicious center. I was surprised as to how great these turned out (my whoopie pies in the past haven’t exactly been amazing), and they were certainly a hit at the party!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red gel food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk