Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wasabi Bloody Mary

How do you like your bloody mary - Hot, spicy, and sure to clear your sinuses?

Always looking for new ways to spice up brunch cocktails I decided to stray away from my more classic bloody mary recipe and try something new and it turned out great!


Yield: 1 pitcher of Bloody Mary Mix, serves 6-8

For the Mix:

1 bottle Tomato Juice
2-4 tablespoons Wasabi Powder
2 tablespoons Worcester Sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Olive Brine
Salt & Pepper to taste

For Garnish:

2-3 Starfruit, sliced
Queen Green Olives stuffed with Pimento
Bamboo skewers
2 tablespoons Wasabi Powder
2+ tablespoons Sesame Seeds
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
dash of Pepper
Lime wedges


Cocktail Prep:

Fill your serving pitcher about 3/4 full with tomato juice. Add wasabi, worcester, tabasco, lemon juice, olive brine, salt and pepper. Stir very well. Taste and adjust to your liking. Top off with remaining tomato juice, stir again. I put 4 tablespoons of the wasabi in the mix and it was QUITE SPICY - even for the wasabi lovers, I would start with 2 or 3 tablespoons and add more if you wish.

Thread starfruit and olives onto bamboo skewers. I trimmed my skewers by about 1 1/2 inches so that they would fit nicely in the mason jars I served these cocktails with.

On a small plate mix together 2 tablespoons wasabi powder, sesame seeds, sea salt and pepper. All guests to "rim" their own glasses with this mixture if they'd like! Rub rim of glass with lime wedge and then dip into plate of wasabi powder mixture. 

I always leave out extra "fixins" for people to add to their drink like extra Wasabi Powder, Worcester Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, Sriracha, olives, pickled okra, etc. This mix was so delicious and powerful that I didn't see anyone make any additions! 

To Assemble Drink:

1.) Rim serving glass with lime wedge and wasabi powder mixture.
2.) Place a few ice cubes in glass
3.) Add 1-2 shots of Vodka (or not for a "virgin" cocktail)
4.) Top with Wasabi Bloody Mary Mix
5.) Garnish with starfruit skewer, celery and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Ruby Red Grapefruit Sangria

YAY FOR SANGRIA! I made this sangria for a recent brunch and brewing afternoon that we hosted. We invite a bunch of friends over for pot-luck style brunch (the food is always friends are culinarily inclined) and once the feasting is over we brew a batch of homebrew. This time we made a Strawberry Ginger Kolsch - I'll let you know how it turned out in 6 weeks.

Typically we go for classic brunch cocktails like bloody marys and mimosas but this time I decided to mix things up a bit. I found a recipe for Blood Orange Sangria on Pinterest and when I couldn't find any blood oranges in town I decided to tweak things a bit - the end result was amazing!

The crisp citrus of the grapefruit was perfect for a summer brunch!This sangria is very refreshing and hides the alcohol very well... which makes it delicious and dangerous.


1 cup Sugar, for glass rimming
10 Ruby Red Grapefruits
4 bottles of Pinot Grigio
2 cup Club Soda
1 cup Brandy
1/2 cup Cointreau (orange flavored liqueur)
24 ounces of Strawberries, sliced
2 pints of Raspberries
2 Apples, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup Superfine Sugar
    (you can just put regular sugar in the food processor)


Zest one of the grapefruit and combine it with the 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until fragrant. Set aside, this will be used for rimming your serving glasses. Refrigerate if needed.

In a large serving container (I used a glass jug) combine the wine, brandy, cointreau, club soda, apples, strawberries, and raspberries. Stir well to combine. Juice 5 of the grapefruit (include the zested one) directly into the sangria (I cut them in half and juiced them by hand). Cut the remaining grapefruit into wedges and toss into the sangria. Add 1/2 cup superfine sugar. Stir well. Refrigerate overnight (or longer). Before serving taste sangria, if too tart add more of the superfine sugar as needed.

Allow guests to rim their glass with your sugar/zest mixture. I layed out a few orange wedges (because that was the only citrus I had left) for guests to rub onto the edges of their glass rims and then twist into the sugar mixture if they wanted.

Note: this definitely gets better as it sits, so you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge. I made mine on Friday night and served it with brunch Sunday morning/afternoon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Creamy Sriracha, Cilantro & Lime Grilled Corn

+Aaron's family came over for lunch last weekend and I was really struggling to find interesting, tasty & light lunch-time recipes. I wound up serving  salmon sliders with a creamy avocado sauce, a grilled peach, goat cheese & hazelnut salad and this AMAZING grilled corn.  Lunch was a delicious success! 

These spicy grilled corn were my favorite part of the meal. The charred corn with the creamy sauce makes for a really interesting combination. The Sriracha sauce gives it a spicy kick while the chipotle chile powder lends for a really smoky taste with some added heat. The cilantro and lime cools things off a bit it gives the corn a really light and summery vibe -- essentially this is the perfect side dish for any summer cookout.


4 Ears of Corn, shucked and split into halves
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
Bunch of Cilantro, roughly chopped
Chipotle Chili Powder
3 limes, sliced into wedges


In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha and a squeeze of lime juice. Whisk to combine.

Preheat your grill on high. 

Drizzle your corn with olive oil, roll corn around to make sure they're covered in oil.  Sprinkle all over with garlic powder and sea salt, again roll the corn around to make sure it's covered in all the goodness.

Grill the corn until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Turn occasionally to cook on all sides.

As soon as the corn comes off the grill, while it's still smokin hot slather it with the Sriracha-mayo mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro, chili powder and a bit of sea salt. Roll all the corn cobs around in the mixture to get it all evenly coated, and serve with slices of lime so guests can squeeze more juice as they like.

So messy and so delicious… but it's so worth it!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

I'm always looking for fun recipes that are easy enough for a weeknight, post-work zombie allIwannadoissitdown kind of mood... and this sure did deliver. The steps are simple and leave you with a lot of time to relax and/or get a head start on dishes and/or whine loudly so that someone else does your dishes for you.

I don't cook a lot of fish. I can do shrimp, fish... not so much. Preparing fish scares me for some reason. It's probably because the only fish we ate as kids were tiny little brook trout that my dad caught - he'd just throw them on the grill with a little butter and NO seasoning. Boy were they fishy...I always went to bed hungry that night, I was not a fan. As an adult, though, I've slowly been reintroducing myself to fish and this dish is a winner even for the folks that aren't typically fans of fish.


Teriyaki Salmon

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons honey
2 salmon fillets
Cooked rice, for serving
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Sliced green onions, for garnish

Sriracha Cream Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk


In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature (I put mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes to speed up the process).

While your teriyaki sauce is cooking you should have time to make the Sriracha cream sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha and condensed milk in a small bowl. Taste for spiciness and add more Sriracha as needed. Refrigerate until needed.

Pour the teriyaki marinade over salmon fillets (I used my glass baking pan and then there was no need to transfer to another dish for baking); marinate 30 minutes. This is the point in which I change out of my scrubs and open up a cold beer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Serve the salmon immediately with rice and a drizzle of the Sriracha cream sauce (It's SOOOOOO yummy... don't be shy with this stuff). Garnished with sesame seeds and green onions if desired. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

DIY Beer Growler Lamp

Sooooooo, I'm re-doing our guest bedroom. It's been a lot of fun, it's just been kind of slow because I'm making or re-finishing a lot of things myself and I'm spreading it out so that financially it's not a huge burden all at once. So far I've made a headboard, changed up the bedding (I think the throw pillows are the most expensive thing in the room, go figure), added some cute wall art, refinished a dresser (mostly... still waiting on some fancy knobs to come from Etsy-land), re-vamped an ugly old lamp that came from +Aaron's bachelor pad, and added some cute knick-knacks here and there. I only need a few more things for the walls to make it complete...and trust me I'll post a whole bunch of pictures when it's all finished!

Today I'm presenting you with quite possibly the coolest thing in the ENTIRE ROOM. A Lamp made out of a beer bottle... and I did it myself!

I was inspired by this absolutely gorgeous DIY Bottle Lamp from I actually went looking for a glass water cooler bottle but found them being sold for upwards of $100 on Etsy and Ebay and that just wasn't in my budget... not to mention that I think the lamp would wind up being WAY too big for the space that I had in mind.

Aaron and I are REALLY into beer. We homebrew, we've visited a bajillion craft breweries in NC and VT and everywhere in between so I thought that making a lamp out of a beer growler would be really cool and really display a passion of ours.


Beer Growler (clear) - FREE ( technically you probably paid a bottle deposit )
Modge Podge - Gloss (optional) - I had some already but it's about $5-6 for an 8oz jar
Green & Blue Food Coloring (optional) - who doesn't have food coloring?
Foam Brush (optional) - I had these already too but I they're about $1 each.
Lamp Socket - $4.06
Lamp Wire (I recommend the clear kind even though it's a little pricier) - $6.27
3/4 inch Rubber Chair Leg Tips - $2.19 for a set of 4 (and you only need 1)
Drill/Handy Boyfriend - free (kind of)
Lamp Shade - $10-20 ( I paid $14.97 at Lowe's for the one shown)

 *DO NOT BUY A LAMP MAKING KIT* They tend to come with shorter, white cords and the bottle plugs they come with are too small for the mouth of the growler. Also all the kits I found were for harp style lamp shades and all the fun decorative and inexpensive lamp shades are the kind that just sit on the socket.


1. Acquire and Stain your Growl (if desired)

The guest room's colors are mainly whites, teals, and greys so I needed a light colored base to my lamp. Most growlers come in brown but I had two clear growlers in our giant stash (seriously, we have SOOO many). I really liked the blue tint of the lamp from so I decided that I would tint my glass a shade of blue. It's super easy and I've been tutorials on Pinterest for a while. 

Glass Tinting Paint = 1/4 cup of Modge Podge, 2 drops blue food coloring, 1 drop green food coloring
Paint the glass in even, vertical brush strokes. Let dry. 

This method of glass tinting is NOT waterproof and leaves some texture (which I like). You can buy permanent/texture free glass tinting liquids at craft stores - I already had all the materials for this method so it was a no brainer. Both of the growlers shown below are from local Raleigh breweries. Roth Brewing Company is no longer in business so it was pretty convenient to turn their growler into a lamp since I can't go to the brewery to refill it anymore. I even think the clear growler would look great without staining the glass, here's how they look side by side:

2. Assemble Into a Lamp

I bet when you read the supplies list you were like "WTF do I need Rubber Chair Leg Tips for?!?" I shall enlighten you... but first I will tell you a story: 

We were wandering around a big box home improvement store carrying my tinted blue growler trying to find pieces to make this lamp (for like the fifth time since starting this project) and asked an associate in an orange apron if they had any corks or rubber plugs that would fit in the jug. He said he didn't think so but told us to try the rubber chair leg toppers in aisle 12. HOLY COW, HE'S A GENIUS! The 3/4 inch tip fits perfectly!

Drill a hole in the top (solid end) of the chair leg tip that the socket can fit snuggly inside. Put the rubber into your growler to determine how deep it will go in, make note of this and then drill a smaller hole in the side of the tip for the wire to come out of. This is so the wire can sit in back of the lamp without having to be seen/and so that you don't have to drill a hole in your glass (because that sounds complicated and I didn't want to buy any extra tools). 

Pull your wire through the smaller hole on the side of the rubber tip and then wire up into lamp socket - there are instructions on the packaging on how to do this... I am not an electrician and don't want to be responsible for you burning your house down so I won't give you specifics on this step. 

Now you should have a working light socket! You can see the wires in the neck of the jug in the photo above, the plug hangs discretely in back of the lamp so you don't see it all! 

Thread your lamp shade onto the socket ( I secured it with a couple of very small dabs of hot glue because it seemed a little wobbly). Screw in your light bulb and VOILA, a wonderful beer themed lamp... that actually works!

Here's a preview of the lamp in our guestroom. You can see the new bedding/throw pillows, DIY headboard (coming soon to a blog near you), and the dresser makeover (minus cool knobs). It's starting to look pretty spiffy in there!

If you're interested in some of the other decor seen in these photos check out some of my other cool projects from my guest bedroom makeover :

DIY Starburst MirrorDIY "No Tools" Headboard
Guest Bedroom Furniture Revamp

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grilled Yakitori Chicken & Zucchini Skewers

This is yummy dish that's perfect for grilling on a nice summer evening. I was looking for a fun but easy dish to make and stumbled upon a recipe from while in the grocery store parking lot on my way home from work... I'm kind of bad at meal planning. I tweaked a few things due to preference and convenience and it came out awesome! 


2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Honey
3 Garlic Cloves, pressed/chopped
1 lb Chicken Tenderloin, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 large Green Onions, cut 1-inch-long
1 medium Zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
approximately 10 skewers


If you're using disposable bamboo skewers, soak them in water during prep so they don't burn!

Bring rice wine vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, honey and garlic to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pan, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and place in a ziplock bag; pour half of the marinade over the chicken. Place the zucchini in a second ziplock bag and pour the remaining marinade over the zucchini. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, I recommend marinating your zucchini for less time (maybe 15 minutes) - the saltiness from the yakitori sauce is really soaked up into them.

Thread the zucchini onto skewers, alternating with green onion, reserving the marinade for basting (you can do this while your chicken marinades for an extra 15 minutes). Thread the chicken onto skewers, alternating with the remaining green onion, discard the chicken marinade - salmonella, yuck! Ain't nobody got time for that! 

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. When hot, spray with oil then reduced heat to medium; grill the zucchini and chicken skewers about 5 to 6 minutes on each side brushing both sides of the skewers with the yakitori sauce during the last few minutes of cooking time.

I served this dinner with A Taste of Thai's boxed Garlic Basil Coconut Rice and it was delicious and EASY! It would be great with a little spicy mayo for dipping... it would give it a sort of Hibachi-like twist. 

This dish would also make for a great appetizer for a party or get together! And how about substituting the chicken out for shrimp... I'll have to try that next!