All posts filed under: Appetizers and Drinks

Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Almonds

We’re hosting a Christmas Eve cocktail party. Now, Dad Cooks Dinner, but Mom is the Mixologist; she’s responsible for the drinks, I’m responsible for the nibbles. Here is one of my favorite appetizers. Sweet and salty, sour and crunchy; the dates, goat cheese, and almonds combine into one tasty bite. Even better, I can make it a day ahead of time – stuff a date with goat cheese, add an almond, repeat – and pull it out of the fridge when it’s time to serve. I made my picky eater try one. He took the tiniest of nibbles, and stuck his tongue out. “I don’t like goat cheese.” “Pop the whole thing in your mouth” I said. “You need to get all of it at once.” He gave me the “jeez, dad” look, hesitated, gently put it in his mouth, and started chewing. He grimaced. Then got a thoughtful look on his face, shrugged, and said “eh.” Well, at least he tried it. Later, he came over with a sheepish look on his face. “Are …

Sous Vide Limoncello

<…In the car, listening to america’s test kitchen podcast…>Wait…I can make my own limoncello? Phew! Christmas list solved. I’ll look up the recipe when I get home. <…At home, searching the web…> Darn…it has to rest for weeks, if not months. Christmas is too close. Hmm. <…adjusting search terms…> Aha! Sous Vide to the rescue! I can speed the infusion time up from weeks to hours. Next, I need 190 proof grain alcohol. <…remembering a particular party in college…shudders. Moving on…> Darn, again…I can’t buy Everclear 190 in Ohio without a prescription. It’s 127 miles to Pittsburgh. I’ve got a full tank of gas, ten organic lemons, it’s snowing… <…one bootlegging run to Pennsylvania later…>  Excellent warning labels on this bottle: “Caution! Extremely Flammable! Contents may ignite or explode.” That’s what you get with 95% alcohol. I got to work scrubbing and zesting lemons. And…that’s it. Lemon zest, Everclear, a quart mason jar, and three hours sous vide yield lemon infused liquor; simmering water and sugar gives me simple syrup, and the two combine into …

Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey Old Fashioned with Grilled Orange

This post is sponsored by Knob Creek® Distillery and the Original Brothers of Bourbon website. I enjoy the bold, spicy taste of Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey while I grill. The other day, as I sipped my drink and waited for the grill to preheat, the penny dropped. I can grill my oranges, adding smoky, caramelized fruit flavors to my Old Fashioned. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? How do I grill an Old Fashioned? While preheating the grill for the main course, I put an orange wedge on the grate for a minute or two, long enough to give it good grill marks. After the wedge cools down for a minute, I squeeze a little of the orange juice into a rocks glass, muddle it with sugar cubes and a dash or two of bitters, and stir in some Knob Creek® Rye. Add some ice, the squeezed orange wedge, top with club soda, and I have a tasty beverage – just what I need to fortify myself for an evening of grilling. Recipe: Knob …