Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tequila by the Slice

A fellow baseball mom shared a recipe for this handheld cocktail in the middle of our summer season. So, so glad she did!

These adult "drinks" are light and refreshing on a hot day. Since I'm on vacation this week, they are top of mind (again!)

One tip: If you bring these to a gathering or party where children will be present, be sure to have some slices for the kids, too. This way you can avoid a little one taking a bite of "grown-up watermelon."

Another option: A friend added a drizzle of basil simple syrup when she recently served these. Also very yummy.

If you don't use a whole watermelon when you make this, you can use the rest for some delicious Watermelon Raspberry Rum Punch.

Mangia! Mangia!

Tequila by the Slice
Inspired by

1 seedless watermelon, quartered
Silver tequila
2-3 fresh limes, sliced
Coarse salt for topping

*Note: It is best to add the lime juice and salt right before you eat the watermelon slices. Doing so in advance makes the watermelon too salty.

Slice each watermelon quarter into 1-inch triangles. If you like, cut each piece in half to get smaller triangles.

Place watermelon slices on a large cookie sheet.

(Please pardon the drywall. Kitchen still a work in progress!)
Splash each slice with some tequila. Eyeball it. I used about 1/3 a bottle of tequila for a medium sized watermelon. Let sit 15 minutes. Turn over each slice and soak for another 15 minutes.

Serve each piece with a lime slice and some coarse salt.

To enjoy, drizzle with lime juice, sprinkle with salt and repeat!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mini Cherry Pies

Nothing says summer like cherry pie, so here you go!

If your family likes cherries, these sweet little tarts will hit the spot for dessert or a hearty snack.

And if you don't have a cherry pitter, I recommend investing in one. I found a model that pits 6 cherries at a time for under $20. My son Sam gets great satisfaction out of using it; I love having a helper in the kitchen.

This recipe calls for a homemade crust, and I recommend taking the small amount of extra time needed to make it. So yummy.

Mangia! Mangia!

Mini Cherry Pies
Inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 1/12 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons chilled vodka
5 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar, divided
2 tablespoons corn starch
5 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Optional: 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Items you will need:

  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Six 4-inch tart pans. 

No tiny tart pans? Use mini foil pie dishes instead.

Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse a few times until mixture looks crumbly. Add 1/4 cup water and vodka. Pulse about 6 times or until the dough comes together.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Divide dough into 12 equal-sized balls.

Roll each ball of dough out into a roughly 4-inch cycle. Arrange on the lined baking sheet. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap and chill for 1 our or until firm.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Move oven rack to middle position.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add cherries and lemon juice, gently mix to combine.

Divide pie filling among the 6 tart or pie pans. Top each with second pie crust, or let your kids cut out fun dough shapes and use those instead.

Brush top crust, if using, with egg white. Sprinkle remaining sugar over crust or dough cut-outs.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place tarts on baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until mini pies are golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.

Take pies out of pans to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature. My boys liked these with ice cream on top.

Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mom's Potato Salad

We had tons of family gatherings when I was growing up. That was a big plus to living where all of our relatives were within an hour's drive.

In the summer, potato salad was usually on the menu. My mom added a little twist to her recipe and I still love it — a chopped apple. The fruit gives the side salad an unexpected sweet crunch.

I remember my mom served it to a college friend's family when they were visiting. When I saw my friend's step dad again more than a decade later, he remembered the potato salad!

My recipe here may differ a bit from my mom's (because I make it for a family of 4 and she was usually serving 30+ people), but you'll get the same effect.

Mangia! Mangia!

Mom's Potato Salad

1.5 or 2 pound bag of small yellow potatoes
1 bunch green onions, sliced and chopped
2 hard boiled eggs
1 large apple, peeled and diced (use Granny Smith, Honey Crisp of Fuji)
1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise
1/4 cup dijon or champagne mustard
1 teaspoon dill (fresh or dried)
*1 teaspoon dried spice mix for Green Goddess Dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup diced celery or bell pepper

*If you can't find this, use another 1/2 teaspoon dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon dried onion, 1/2 teaspoon dried celery flakes and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.

Peel the potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Set the pot to boil. Once thee water boils, lower the heat a little and cook until a knife easily inserts into the potatoes.

Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Then rinse with cold water. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, dice them and place in a large bowl.

Add egg, green onions, apple and any other vegetables, if using. Add mayonnaise, mustard, dill and Green Goddess spices.

Mix to combine, until everything is coated in the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or chill before serving.

I liked this potato salad with barbecue chicken and grilled squash.

Refrigerate any leftovers.