Halloween Cocktail – The Corpse Reviver No. 2

Corpse Reviver No.2

The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the perfect Halloween cocktail. Or maybe, like it’s original intent, it is the perfect AFTER-Halloween cocktail, when you need a bit of “the hair of the dog” to revive you. In fact, it used to be served as a “breakfast cocktail” to cure you after a night of debauchery.

Even though I said that I was putting my gin away until warm weather returns, this gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and absinthe cocktail is really delicious AND has the creepy name to commemorate either Hallow’s Eve or The Day of the Dead. 

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Italian Pickled Eggplant

Pickled Eggplant

In Italy, late afternoon is the time for apertivo, a kind of happy hour with cocktails and snacks. Apertivo cocktails can be as simple as a beer or a glass of wine, or a traditional aperitif, such as Campari or Aperol Spritz. As for the snacks, they can be almost like a small meal. When we were in Fano, Italy recently, our apertivo came with olives, roasted peppers, tomatoes and mozzerella cheese, nuts, focaccia and pickled eggplant – a huge spread! I’ve had plenty of marinated or roasted eggplant before, but this was a tangy, raw eggplant pickle. When I came home, I knew that I had to try to make pickled eggplant myself.

Apertivo nibbles

Apertivo nibbles – roasted peppers, focaccia, pickled eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella, olives and chips.

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Lion’s Tail cocktail made with homemade Pimento Dram

Lion's Tail Cocktail at the 5 & 10 in Athens, GA

In the cooler months, it’s traditional for those who imbibe to switch to the “brown liquors” – bourbon, whiskey, rye. I don’t want to mess with tradition, so I’ve put away the gin until the warm days return in March. In the meantime, instead of just sipping whiskey, I want to build my repertoire of good whiskey cocktails. One that I found last year was the Lion’s Tail cocktail. It is a spicy combination of rye or bourbon, lime juice, syrup, bitters and Pimento Dram. The Lion’s Tail became last year’s biggest holiday party hit.

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Homemade Grenadine and an El Presidente Cocktail

Homemade Grenadine

I’m starting to see the fresh pomegranates back in the stores again this week. I do love cutting them open and popping out those garnet-colored seeds to eat. They stain your fingers bright pink, but I really don’t care. They are sweet, but have a slightly tart taste and a crunchy texture. If you turn the juice into a syrup, you have a homemade grenadine to make classic cocktails such as the Jack Rose, the Mistletoe and the El Presidente. Homemade grenadine is tart and sweet and adds a rich red color to any drink.

Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate Seeds

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Easy Thai Tomato Coconut Soup

Thai Tomato Coconut Soup

Let’s face it. Weeknight cooking when you’re working is a challenge and there are some nights you just can’t be that fussy about dinner. On those nights, I’m usually looking in the pantry and trying to throw together something that is somewhat healthy and somewhat easy to make. One cool trick that I’ve learned is to make tomato soup from canned tomatoes. I always keep cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry. If I dig a little deeper, I can usually find a can of coconut milk, too. So, if I just add some onion, garlic, celery, pepper and fresh basil & ginger, I have a delicious, creamy Thai-flavored Tomato Coconut soup that I can make in about 15 minutes. 

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Muscadine cocktail – using wild grapes for a fall cocktail

Muscadine Cocktail with boiled peanuts

 If you live in the South, you have probably have had your share of muscadines and scuppernongs, our native wild grape. In Georgia, a walk through the woods in late summer and early fall will usually yield at least a handful of the Southern wild grapes to enjoy. You can often find them along the ground, where they’ve fallen from their high perch in the trees.  I usually eat them where I find them, but sometimes we’re lucky enough to come upon low-hanging vines that make picking a couple of pints an easy chore. They are fragrant, juicy and sweet. Like pears or apples, the muscadine signals Fall in the South. They are my inspiration this week for a Southern Fall Muscadine Cocktail.

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Multi-Colored Ham Vegetable Quiche

Multi-colored Ham & Vegetable Quiche

If it’s been a while since I’ve been to the market for groceries, it can be challenging to come up with dinner. If I dig around in my fridge, most of the time I have eggs, cream, vegetables, cold cuts and cheese. I can turn those ingredients into sandwiches or a pasta dish, or a version of “breakfast for dinner”. With the addition of a pie crust, I can turn all of that into a quiche. Using a beautiful, multi-colored rolled vegetable tart on Pinterest as inspiration, I decided to try my hand at a wrapped ham vegetable quiche. I think that my results aren’t nearly as tidy as the one on the French site, but I was happy with my results. By wrapping all my ingredients from the center out, the simple Ham Vegetable Quiche became a savory, rainbow-colored dish ready for dinner or a party buffet. 

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