An elegant ending to Easter

Happy Easter! I hope the Easter bunny brought you some chocolate almonds (Piedras de Chocolate from Spain). They came all the way from Wegmans in our case. (If not, malted chocolate eggs will probably work okay, too.) Pair them with a Twisted Sidecar by the fire (as it was snowing today!) for a relaxing and elegant ending to your Easter.

2eat2drink-sidecar-p

Twisted Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac
  • 3/4 ounce Cointrau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Demerara sugar for rim

Run a lemon wedge around the top of your glass, then dip it in a small amount of Demerara sugar to coat the rim. In a shaker over ice mix ingredients and shake well. Strain into glass and garnish with twists of lemon and orange (twisted together).

2eat2drink_pierre ferrand ambre

Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is an awesome value. For $40 you’ll get a blended cognac aged, on average, 10 years. It’s smooth, light, and bright with flavors of vanilla, honey, oak, and a mix of citrus and flowers. It’s very nice on its own, and excellent in cocktails.

Cheers!

A Guinness pint and a wee bit o’ Disney.

First off, happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be on your side today! Ya may be askin’ what Disney has to do with a nice, tall, shamrock-laden pint. Considering I had it in Epcot at the Rose and Crown pub…a lot!

_DSC3518-Guinness pint

Along with the beer, I had a Scotch egg. Between the pint, the egg and the pub, all 3 British Isles were covered.

The rest of this post is coming from all the way back in 2013. Yes, I have been that busy. No excuses, it’s just that the studio has been busier than ever. A big thank you to all who have made that happen.

Let’s hit the parks!

On to a couple resorts and Epcot!

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom!

Make sure to get your pint! Sláinte!

A book-inspired cocktail

My lovely bride has published another book with her brother, the third installment in the José Picada series entitled Act of Abduction. During my private reading (yes, I am privileged), I learned that this book has a pivotal scene featuring the José Picada Margarita. Heather asked if I could come up with a recipe that would be appropriate for Chef Al. I did my best. I hope you enjoy the José Picada Margarita as much as I know you’ll enjoy the book. Salud!

JosePicadaMargarita

The José Picada Margarita

  • 2 oz. Casamigos reposado tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Ancho Reyes liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz. agave nectar

Shake and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with jalapeño and lime.

You can find the José Picada, P.I. series on MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope you all had a fabulous year and are looking forward to 2015! It was a busy end to the year here on 2eat2drink, and we are closing the year out with over 19,100 views! Wow, I’m not sure what to say other than thanks and I hope you are eagerly awaiting my next posts. I have 4 cocktails coming up soon. Here are previews of the photos…recipes to come. Be safe and cheers!

A quick version of pho, Thai style

I like pho. Do you like pho? I bet you do. You just don’t know it yet. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup. I wanted to make the authentic version, but figured it would take too long (who has three hours to make stock?), so enter… Thai culinary stock. Some recipes use a chicken stock, but I figured the Thai stock would have a flavor profile closer to Vietnamese. Or something like that.

2eat2drink-shrimp pho-p

I used this recipe as a rough guideline, but as usual, I changed a few things. I specifically liked the idea of pan searing some of the elements to add more flavor; thus the mini stir fry. Enjoy!

  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved through root end
  • 2 Thai chili peppers or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1” piece ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 8 cups Thai culinary stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. of peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 cup beech mushrooms
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Thai Kitchen straight rice noodles
  • Mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, thinly sliced scallions, chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts, and lime wedges (for serving)
  • Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, cut side down, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  • Add chiles (if using crushed red pepper flakes, add with fennel seeds), garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise to skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds (do not burn). Quickly transfer to a large saucepan (reserve skillet) and add onion, ginger, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broth is flavorful.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, toss in the skillet with baby bok choy and beech mushrooms. Stir fry for a minute or two until shrimp is cooked through.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions. Divide among bowls and add stir fry. Strain broth and ladle into bowls. Top pho with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts and serve with lime wedges.

 

Ahhh, Calamari. Why have I not made thee before?

This was so easy, and so fabulous. Sautéed calamari is a frequently ordered item when Heather and I go out, but I’m kicking myself for not making it before. All in all, prep and cook time was 15 minutes or less. The recipe is below. As usual, I’m pretty vague with my portions (you just need to feel it). Make sure to do the cooking in portions, as the calamari must be cooked in a single layer. The sauté time is quick, so you need to make sure it gets cooked through. Enjoy!

2eat2drink-sauteed calamari-p

 

  • 1 pound cleaned calamari
  • 2-4 garlic cloves chopped
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • tri color grape tomatoes, halved
  • small bunch chopped oregano
  • small bunch chopped parsley
  • salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Dry calamari with a paper towel and cut into 3/4″ rings. The tentacles can be left whole, unless very large.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add butter (to taste), then only enough calamari to cover the pan surface. Add similar portions of garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and parsley to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook, tossing frequently, until squid is opaque and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook. Repeat until all the calamari is cooked. Squeeze lemon over squid, toss and serve.

Octopus, anyone?

Every time I passed the sushi case, the octopus was there, daring me to step up and order some. Yesterday, I finally did. Have you had it before? You just have to get past the fact that it’s covered in suckers. The texture is not nearly as chewy as you may think. Heather described it as almost crunchy, like a soft water chestnut. It has a mild flavor and is truly excellent.

2eat2drink-octopus-p

It was too beautiful not to photograph the whole leg, but we served it diced up into bite-sized pieces, along with finely diced ginger and scallions, and drizzled with teriyaki sauce.