Sunday, November 21, 2010

NEW WEBSITE!

PLEASE VISIT http://peaceloveguacamole.com FOR OUR NEW WEBSITE!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

SHENANIGANS! (AND STOCKING STUFFERS!)

Last Christmas I was given two of the most amazing gifts ever. One was a checkered apron which pretty much resembles my catholic school girl uniform from high school (if it didn't have a back... and was checkered) and the second which directly humored my love for cooking AND Matryoshkas. I spent the last year in awe of the innovation of using Russian nesting dolls as measuring cups, but have FINALLY found the website from which the idea came forth... World Wide Fred. Catering to my awkward sense of humor and love for kitchen supplies, the goodies on this website are my ideal stocking stuffers (hint hint) and would be great party enhancers or quirky commonday items.

A few of my favorites include... the Peace of Cake, Ninja Cookie Cutters, Table Saw Cake Cutter, Frozen Shot Glass Mold, and for the religious with a sense of humor... the Holy Toast. Oh, and there's matching Matryoshka Measuring Spoons... which I don't have yet... FYI.


On another note (and not from FRED), this Peace Sign Ice Tray is pretty friggin cool. (no pun intended). I'd like to find that in my Christmas stocking as well. ;)

APPLE COBBLER (inspired by Heather)

So, I'm not quite sure who "Heather" is, but I'm a big fan of her Apple Cobbler Recipe.  I discovered it after scouring the internet for a cobbler recipe that would be comparable to the fabulous peach concoction my friends made one night following yoga.  I think she had me with the words "fool-proof" in her description, so I dug through my cabinets for the ingredients.  But weren't you trying to make a peach cobbler?, you might ask.  No, no... I'd just gone apple picking and had a large bag sitting on my kitchen counter just waiting for inspiration... which came in the form of peach cobbler that early October night.

::fantasizes about eating peach cobbler::

Oh, sorry.  I get a little distracted by my love for food sometimes.  What was I saying?  Oh yes, Apple Cobbler.  So, I basically take Heather's recipe and suit it to my own taste (as I always recommend once you've tried the original recipe at least once).  She asks for 6 cups of peeled/sliced green apples, but you can mix it up and throw a few Red Delicious in with your Granny Smiths.  Basically you take a giant mixing bowl and dump 3/4 cup of white sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (or slightly more), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup hot water.  Instead of doing 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (because I react to nutmeg) I then add in 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of clove.

Next is the fun part...

After dumping all these ingredients into your bowl, mix it up with your hands, adding the apples in and covering them using a toss-like motion.  Lightly butter a square baking dish and then pour the entire mixture in, placing the 1 1/2 tablespoon of butter you've scooped out (or cut) in the center of your filling.

To make the topping...

Grab another bowl and mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt (BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER SALT! LESS IS MORE!), 2 tablespoons of softened butter (if you're using country crock it's already soft, yay!), and 1 egg (or egg substitute).  Use a spoon to mix until smooth and then drop it on top of the filling.  Heather suggests that you do it evenly, but I just try to cover the top using a drop-cookie technique of little spoonfuls of topping placed side by side and gently smushed together with your fingers.  it gives it texture.



What Heather doesn't tell you to do is create a mixture of brown sugar, water, and cinnamon that is NOT TOO watery.  Then, you take a spoon and "Pollock" your crust. (Yes, you pretend your name is Jackson and dribble the mixture across your crust).  The mixture will bake in and look pretty.  If you want to create cinnamon icing, you can always add a bit of confectioner's sugar to your mixture as well... but that's far too sweet for my taste.

The batter will spread as you cook the cobbler for 30 minutes at 350.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three-Minute Vegan Breakfast

For those of us who need a quick, delicious breakfast on the go, I have come up with a healthy fix for the busy veggie.  How's this: Six meals for less than $10, each which can be completed in under three minutes and consumed on your commute.  If the ingredients are on sale, then even better.

What you need:
- 3 minutes
- a toaster
- a butter knife
- tofutti better than cream cheese
- natural path flax plus granola
- thomas' whole grain english muffins

Step 1: Tear apart a Thomas' Whole Grain English Muffin and pop it in your toaster.

Step 2: When the toaster pops out your english muffin, lather a generous amount of tofutti better than cream cheese onto each side.

Step 3: Sprinkle a small handful of granola onto the tofutti better than cream cheese (so it sticks).

Step 4: Grab and go!
 

You see? I told you that would be simple... and can be eaten at your house, in your car, or while rushing off to catch a bus with little to no clean-up.  Different types of granola or muffins can make for great seasonal variations, so start getting creative and eating well!  ENJOY!

Monday, October 11, 2010

"The Curse of the Compulsive Cooker"

First, I'd like to say, "HAPPY LEFT-OVER DAY!" as well as a belated "HAPPY OCTOBER" to all of you out there who are compulsive cookers such as myself, but have eventually run out of room for left-overs in your fridge and/or money to fund new concoctions. After a two-week cooking and baking spree, the day has finally come for my kitchen. This entry is entitled "The Curse of the Compulsive Cooker" to tie in with the glorious pumpkin-filled holidays quickly approaching, although for those surrounding the ever-cooking chef, it is quite the blessing for their tummies and taste buds. Needless to say, coming to the end of your funding and fridge space should not be a sad ordeal which leaves you feeling defeated! Trust me, your meal does not have to be demoted to microwavable mush! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Left-Over Day just means it's time to get creative!

What I found in the fridge today:
Left-Over Baked Ziti
Left-Over Garlic Bread
Chopped Tomato (from last week's guac)
Chopped Onion (also from last week's guac)
Reduced and Spiced Mashed Pumpkin
Chicken Parm (not cooked by me)
HomeMade Gravy (not cooked by me)
Fresh Parmesan (from pasta night 2 weeks ago)
Two Portobello Mushroom Caps (which had been marinating for 2 full weeks in balsamic vinegar & honey)
Two Small Handfuls of Veggie Shreds "Mozzarella"
Tiny Bag of Fresh Basil (from the plant in my garden)
1 Cup of Pancake Mix
Half a quart of Soy Milk
Couple Eggs
Left-Over Wheat Tortillas (from breakfast burritos last week)

There's more, but I won't bore you by continuing the list. Nevertheless, you get the idea of why the fridge is full and my stomach wasn't... two problems which both needed to be addressed... FOR FREE and fairly quickly! <3

LEFT-OVER BREAKFAST CONCOCTION: (veggie friendly if you still eat eggs)
- 1 Cup Aunt Jemimah Original Pancake Mix
- 3/4 Cup Soy Milk
- 1 Tsp Vegetable Oil - 1 Egg (or egg substitute to make it vegan!)
- 1/4 Cup Spiced & Reduced Mashed Pumpkin
- Butter, Country Crock, or other Vegan Equivalent
- Syrup (or none, depending on your taste... they're good either way)

Follow the directions on the box and you'll do just fine. Basically you dump all these ingredients into a bowl and mix until you have a slightly chunky liquid mixture which resembles cake batter. (Hence the term pan-CAKES). Put a small sliver of (i use country crock) "butter" onto a pre-heated non-stick frying pan and move around in a tiny circle with a spatula until melted. Then, pour just enough of the batter onto the frying pan to cover the spot created by the butter. If the circle of pancake batter is bigger than the palm of your hand, you probably used too much. Let the pancakes cook until they start to bubble lightly and keep scraping the spatula beneath the sides to coat them in butter. You will also want to use that opportunity to gently lift the sides of the pancake and test whether they are prepared to be flipped. Flip gently (so you don't splatter the uncooked side of your pancake all over the frying pan and stove) and let cook until fluffy. Both sides should be a light golden (slightly orange from the pumpkin) color. Repeat until there is no pancake batter left. Stack (i like to stack four pancakes at a time) on your favorite dish and drizzle with syrup from the center outward in the shape of an X so it resembles an IHOP ad.

Portobellos After 2 Weeks of Marinating
Before I discuss lunch with you, let's chat about Portobello Mushrooms. Once upon a time I had a vicious craving for Portobello Mushrooms having spent some time out of the city and without any decent Vegan or even Vegetarian restaurants in suburban New Jersey. I've found restaurants with veggie options here and there, but no place I can walk right into and KNOW that I'll be safe eating anything on the menu. My personal favorite dishes from the last two year of foodventures have somehow involved Portobello Mushrooms, so upon a Whole Foods shopping trip, I decided to humor my own craving and buy some. A friend had suggested that I marinate them in what I recalled to be Balsamic Vinegar and Honey, so trusting my memory I did just that. I had no recipe, no measurements, and no clue how to shop for them, but I knew I was craving so I bought a package of 3 Portobello Mushroom caps and skipped merrily on my way. That night, I filled a container up half way with Balsamic Vinegar, dropped the mushroom caps in, and began squirting Honey from my HoneyBear generously and to my own amusement without taking any measurements. The best I can tell you is that I used A LOT, squirting it on each side of the mushrooms and beneath the mushroom cap with hopes of it seeping in and making them deliciously sweet. I ate one about four or five days later and it was delightful, but left the other two in the container marinating (i flipped them over every few days to make sure they were coated properly) for oh, what I shamefully hate to admit was two weeks. Needless to say, today marks that second week and I figured that I had two options: eat 'em or toss 'em. Considering the fact that they were not cheap, I went with the former of the two options. In celebration of LEFT-OVER DAY, I decided to use them on my lunch... and made pizza.

LEFT-OVER LUNCH PIZZA:
- 2 Wheat Tortillas
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4-6 tbs HomeMade Gravy
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Handfuls Veggie Shreds "Mozzarella"
- 1 Handful Chopped Tomato
- 1 Layer of Onion, Diced
- 2 Marinated Portobello Mushroom Caps (2 weeks in Balsamic Vinegar & Honey)
- 1 Breast of Chicken Parm, shredded
- 1 Handful Fresh Basil, shredded
- Oregano
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Pinches of Parmesan

(Okay, so one particular left-over is keeping this from being a totally vegan or veggie friendly dish. However, considering that this is a recipe totally concocted from things found in our fridge, I'd guess that any normal veggie or vegan wouldn't have chicken parm laying around well, anywhere... so omit it and you're good to go. Hell, just replace it with some peppers or other veggie-friendly topping of choice! For the rest of the world, however, feel free to add that chicken parm. I won't tell.)

LET'S START COOKIN!
Pre-heat that oven of yours to 425, my dears! Then, grab yourself a cookie sheet or piece of tin foil large enough to place two tortillas on side-by-side without overlapping and you're ready to start!

BEFORE YOU COOK: Please make sure your hands are clean for this one. I shouldn't have to say it, but you just never know. Wash 'em with soap and sing Happy Birthday a few times as you lather, kiddies. Please.

Prep time should take about 3-6 minutes.


Detail: Veggie-Friendly Pizza
Neatly place your two wheat tortillas side-by-side on your baking apparatus of choice, pour a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil onto your hands and gently rub them across the entire upper surface of your tortillas. (be careful not to drip it onto the pan or tin foil by itself or else you might have a smoke cloud coming out of your oven with no genie popping out to grant you the wish of your smoke alarm shutting up) Take 2-3 tablespoons of HomeMade Gravy (or jarred sauce like Francesco Rinaldi Sweet & Tasty Tomato if you're not keen on cookin' from scratch or just don't have the time) and swirl them outward to cover most of the surface area of your tortilla. Repeat for the second tortilla. Peel and mince two cloves of fresh garlic and sprinkle across the gravy (or sauce) generously and somewhat evenly. Next, divide your Veggie Shreds "Mozzarella" into two portions and grab a pinch with your hands to sprea over the gravy/sauce to here its edge meets the empty tortilla crust. Apply generously, but try not to layer vertically, just one light layer will do the trick. Finely chop your layer of onion into tiny slivers and use your fingertips to sprinkle them across the veggie "cheese." Grab your pre-chopped tomatoes (or slice one tomato into squares about the width of a fingernail that's not your thumb) and distribute across the "cheese", scattering pieces randomly. Slice the stem off your portobello mushroom caps and slice into rectangles (about the size of your pinky nail from the nail bed to your fingertip) and scatter across the "cheese" in the places where the tomato missed. Next, wash and shred your basil leaves, distributing evenly across each pizza. Repeat this process with the left-over chicken parm (or equivalent) until "cheese" is nearly covered completely by toppings. Sprinkle pinches of Parmesan across both pies generously or to whatever extent you see fit.

By the time, your oven should have beeped... so pop that baking tray into the oven and bake at 425 for 10 minutes... no more, no less. Remove cautiously with oven mits and let rest for approximately 5 minutes or until your glasses don't fog up when you lean over the pizza. Remove from baking dish by sliding horizontally onto a plate (so not to lose any of your glorious toppings). Slice carefully into 6 pieces (if you are using a knife you want to start at the center and drag the knife toward the edge while holding the pizza) or just 4 pieces (if you are using a pizza cutter and want to slice in the shape of an X). Last but not least, don't forget to share with friends! They'll love you for it <3.

I hearby call this recipe "The-Portobello-Mushroom-Caps-Have-Been-Marinating-For-Two-Weeks-So-We-Should-Probably-Eat-Them-Today-Let's-Make-A-Pizza!" aka the "Everything-In-The-Fridge-Has-About-One-More-Day-Of-Shelf-Life-So-Let's-Clean-It-Out-Before-It-Goes-Bad" Pizza. Yup, the curse of the compulsive cooker.

DINNER IS UP TO YOU NOW! TELL ME WHAT YOU MADE!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

CONSIDER THIS AN IOU, READERS.

It's been a busy month of cooking and eating and I currently owe you...

THE FOLLOWING RECIPES:

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream
Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
Salted Pumpkin Seeds
Mint Green Tea with Kiwi
Garlic, Lime, & Ginger Rotini
Pumpkin Granola Breakfast Muffin
Bruschetta / Bruschetta Pizza
Veggie Pie (veggie pizza)
Vegan Baked Ziti
Vegan Baked Lasagna
Vegan Stuffed Shells
And of course... "Peace, Love, Guacamole"

THE FOLLOWING NON-VEGAN RECIPES:

Beer Steak with Peppers and Onions
Garlic Monster Mashed "Beer Potato!"
Nom-Nom Breakfast Burritos

THE FOLLOWING REVIEWS:

Foodswings, Brooklyn, NY
Yaffa Cafe, East Village, NYC
Eurasian, Red Bank, NJ
Benny's Burritos, West Village, NYC

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I have been out and about gathering ideas and testing out new restaurants in NYC as well as spending hours in the kitchen over a stove creating new and inventive dishes to eat and to sell. I do light catering if you're ever interested in having someone do the work while you sit and relax, by the way, so feel free to contact me with comments and questions!

Friday, September 17, 2010

RIVER CITY EXTENSION @ GLASSLANDS, BROOKLYN

River City Extension played The Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn last night. They, of course, did not disappoint, even after my high expectations following the Gogol Bordello show at Starland Ballroom last July where they opened with The Dead Kenny G's (who by the way are absolutely insane and wonderful and are SO worth checking out live!) for their gypsy punk headliner.  The gallery itself is located in the most obscure spot humanly possible which I very well may never have found had I not thought to acquire directions prior to making the voyage from New Jersey to Brooklyn.  It's off the Bedford stop on the L, down a bunch of blocks, past what appears to be somewhat abandoned (or at least closed and abandoned for the night) buildings, around a corner and down toward the water.  Walking back did not take nearly as much time as walking there, but I blame my quest for some delicious vegan fast food at FoodSwings for side-tracking me to Grand for an hour. (You can read about that on my food blog by clicking HERE). 

Anyway, the venue is this little "hole in the wall" sort of place that is deceiving from the outside.  Inside you have a very creative, inventive, swanky sort of vibe with a bar to your right, a bathroom with a shower in it, vines on the walls, church pews to sit in, a little overhang that reminds me of what a fort from when I was 9 would look like had I made one now complete with a few tables and chairs with flickering candles.  The stage is framed by a piece of installation art resembling clouds against a sky blue wall, elevating the bands into the heavens and creating a very gorgeous visual.  They are a fully licensed bar so there is beer on tap, some in bottles, wine, and other lovely spirits.  I stuck to a night of Shock Top myself.  The sound quality was considerably better than average and the event was fairly priced: $10 ADV / $12 DOS.  This is the way shows used to be, the way they should be... no ticket, pay at the door, get your hand stamped, reasonably priced drinks, and a very intimate, inviting, and inspiring environment.  Needless to say: I was most impressed by the space. I won't lie, though, it was slightly overrun by catty hipsters... but this is Brooklyn we're talking about, and Bedford at that.

Now, on to the show...

The opening band (Only Son) reminded me much of bands I would see in high school and the singer had a voice that I never expected to come out of his body. If I had more cash on me, I'd have looked into buying their CD. It's a nice mix of slow and upbeat with a very chill sound. Apparently the singer (Jack Dishel) was also the lead guitarist for The Moldy Peaches. I can dig that. Anyway, you can check them out on myspace if you'd like a sampling of their music, but they had a very different feel live. Perhaps I am partial to live music or perhaps these recordings do not do them justice. Regardless, check them out.

Second up was a band called Common Prayer whose website pretty much sums up the experience of seeing them live. The most valuable members of the band (musically) are without a doubt the singer and the drummer, flanked by an interesting keyboardist with a very ska scene vibe and ensemble to match, and two women with varied talents.  One had a very sweet sort of style that reminded me of a friend from youth group ten years back. She sang and played a free standing drum. The other woman had the most peculiar style to match her instrumental expertise... she reminded me of a young Sophia from the golden girls (strictly based on her choice of glasses and hairstyle) and played the clarinet, a milk pail, and a coach whistle in addition to singing as vocal support to the lead singer. Their music is a little bit of Unicorns meets Neutral Milk Hotel, meets a mellowed-out family in the south playing banjo and whatever other creative instruments they had lying on their front porch. Listening to their music on myspace has a VERY different effect than seeing them live because of the visual distraction of how eclectic this band really was. It reminded me of a family of roomates, not that that's a bad thing, but it was different... more relaxed. I'd give their CD a shot to listen to in the car or just relaxing and editing photos or writing. The singer's voice reminds me a bit of Delta Spirit whom I love because of their fist album and am supporting through their second despite its different feel.

After a significant time of technical difficulties from the bands prior, we finally did get to enjoy River City Extension. Here are some clips from the show (I am sorry if the sound is a bit blown out... I just got a new camera that I am not quite used to filming with yet!):



Something Salty, Something Sweet



Our New Intelligence



Friends & Family






With the single tweet: "River City Extension does not disappoint." I believe I summed up their performance. They were well worth the wait to see them between sets. Great job, guys. Very tight. I really appreciate the energy in an amazing live show... and quite frankly that was some of the hottest drumming I've seen in a long time.

The headliner for the night was Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea who is described on myspace as "heartache in combat boots climbing a mountain in the dreamy lands." The woman has quite a voice on her, let me tell you that. I'd have enjoyed her more had the venue not become a bit of a sauna from the energy of the crowd mixed with the humidity of what was apparently an insanely destructive storm outside... it was also after 1am, so I was starting to lose steam after a long day of being awake, traveling in, enjoying vegan fast food, and consuming numerous beers. Check her out and see what you think for yourselves... it's some very cool stuff if you're into sexy female singers. She's apparently on tour with The Black Keys on the west coast for the next few weeks if you're out there and want to check her out live.

Sadly ducking out early into a light drizzle, we caught the L to 14th, grabbed some garlic knots, and then waited an eternity for the PATH (which, as always, was only running one way at 2am and that way was of course not the direction we wished to head... I think it's NYC trying to tell us to stay).  Rolled in around 3am and passed out cold.  Overall, a great success on an otherwise stormy, dismal night.

And now, for a little exit music...

Friday, September 10, 2010

LET US NOM: CREAMY GARLIC SPAGHETTI

Perhaps you find yourself drawn to the scent of garlic, herbs, and spices as they simmer on the stove... mixing gently with tomato and cheese to delicately coat the pound of whole grain spaghetti eagerly awaiting in the colander above the sink.  You walk into the kitchen to peer over my shoulder and observe the gentle care taken to delicately fold the glorious concoction of condiments into the heaping pile of noodles whose exotic complexion compliments the creamy mixture as it crashes over each strand.  You close your eyes to take in the aroma as I stir the pasta gently before scooping it into a tiny ceramic dish.  A sprinkling of fresh parmesan tops off the dish like a dusting of winter snow discovered upon waking.  You follow me into the living room and with a gentle clink of the fork to the bowl, you know dinner is complete.

I curl up beside you on the sofa, sitting cross-legged, my own bowl of pasta in my lap as I rub my hands together in excitement for the feast.  As you take your first bite, I watch intently for your reaction, proud of my accomplishment and eager to begin eating myself.  You say to me that you do not understand- you are not overwhelmed by garlic and the sauce is so creamy, but I did not use milk.  "Well, well," I say, "let me share with you my secret."

Okay, here's your toolbox:
- pot large enough to boil 1 lb spaghetti
- stirring utensil
- measuring spoons
- colander
- bowl/fork (for serving)

Here's your shopping list:
- 1 lb Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti
- 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jar Francesco Rinaldi Marinara (or Sweet & Tasty Tomato) Sauce
- basil
- oregano
- pepper
- parsley
- sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil
- Veggie Shreds
- 2 heaping tbs Country Crock
- 1 tbs of fresh grated parmesan cheese

Estimated nom time: less than 15 minutes from time of boil.

Here's the breakdown:
- Set your pot of water on the stove top with just a pinch of sea salt to quicken the boil
- Add olive oil to prevent the strands from sticking (and garlic... if you so desire)
- Remove the Whole Grain Spaghetti from the box, gently placing it in the boiling water at a 45 degree angle.  Please, oh please, DO NOT break the strands in half... gently use a utensil to push the ends into the pot until they are submerged completely.
- Set your timer: 6 minutes.
- Do not walk away.  Stir your pasta periodically to ensure separation of strands & even cooking.
- Gently press down on each clove, removing the tip with a knife.  The rest should peel off.
- Mince the garlic into tiny squares and put aside.
- When you hear that magical beep, six minutes have passed and you can drain your pasta.
- Shake the spaghetti in the colander a few times to help the water find its way out.
- Leave the colander and spaghetti suspended over the sink and return to the stove.
- Using the same pot (saves water & time while washing!) coat the bottom with a layer of olive oil.
- Dump the garlic into the olive oil and let simmer on your lowest setting.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn or brown.  From my experience, it tastes HORRIBLE.  If this happens, throw it away and start over.  Seriously.  Badly cooked garlic could ruin ANYONE's appetite... even the Garlic Monster's!
- Scoop out two heaping tablespoons of Country Crock and stir them around until melted.
- Add a handful of Veggie Shreds (mozzarella), stir until melted.
- Note that you have a creamy mixture that may stick to the pot.
- Add in the jar of Francesco Rinaldi and continue to stir.
- Cover half the surface of the sauce with basil.
- Cover the full surface of the sauce with oregano.
- Add pepper at your own discretion.
- Add one pinch (literally) of parsley.
- Continue to stir until mixed fully.
- Remove the spaghetti from the colander and pour into the still-simmering sauce.
- Gently fold the sauce into the spaghetti, being sure to cover ever surface.
- After folding the sauce into the heaping pile of spaghetti, stir.
- Scraping from the bottom (to make sure you get enough garlic!) place pasta into designated bowl.
- Top of with approx. 1-2 table spoons of fresh grated parmesan cheese... and serve!

This is one of my favorite meals to prepare and even more so to eat.  I hope you enjoy... and  please feel free to comment with pictures, suggestions, modifications, and family reactions!

=====================================================


Fans of this dish also like:
- lactose-free baked ziti // lactose-free baked lasagna -
- lactose-free penne alla vodka // vegan stuffed shells -

Thursday, July 15, 2010

HIPPIE JUICE - THE ORIGINAL RECIPE

HIPPIE JUICE - THE ORIGINAL RECIPE BY SKA JENNY
CREATED IN 2010 FOR KALEIDOSCOPE PARADE NYC

Care for a refreshing summer beverage that will have you dancing in the rain surrounded by rainbow unicorns?  Then look no further than your own liquor cabinet for some creative, but economic ideas for fun-time summer sweetness!

Say hello to HIPPIE JUICE!

Once upon a time in the Summer of 2010, a joyous gathering of assorted performers reclaimed the streets and subways of our urban playground (New York City) carrying hula hoops, streamers, and instruments of musical merriment in the annual Kaleidoscope Parade.  Knowing very well that I would need to travel by bus, boat, train, and foot with hundreds of colorfully dazzling dreamers, I needed to whip up something that was fast, easy, portable, and most importantly: SHAREABLE!  Now, my natural reaction was to default to my usual bottle of coke complimented with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, but I felt a bit like things of this nature should be reserved for the pirate related activities of the upcoming fall (ie: PirateCon) so instead, I decided to hunt through my cabinets and see what sort of fun concoction I could whip up.

Digging about for just a few short minutes, I found a ton of goodies to throw into the mix!  I'd made vodka lemonades with Watermelon Smirnoff a few weeks back, so I had both Pink Lemonade AND vodka... a bit of Malibu I'd been mixing with the OJ whose containers now filled my recycling bin... a few other miscellaneous liquors and well, Triple Sec.  Upon opening the fridge, I discovered the small bit of strawberries left over from the previous night's smoothies and decided to utilize these resources to their fullest potential.

Time to recycle...

I grabbed one of the Simply OJ containers out of the recycling and gave it another rinsing... then I decided to add about 4 scoops of the Country Time Pink Lemonade to the bottle using a funnel.  Next, I did a bit of quick drunky-math and decided that 1 cup of Watermelon Smirnoff would be appropriate for this sort of mixture, complimented by 1/3 cup each of the Malibu Coconut Rum and Triple Sec (for some special summer flavors).  After that, I began to fill the container with cold water until it had about reached the neck of the bottle,  and added in three strawberries, each sliced four ways using an X technique.  Once the strawberries were in, I topped off the bottle.

The parade went off without a hitch, and as we reclined on the grass beneath the monumental artwork leftover from Figment on Governor's Island that summer, all were able to enjoy this perfect new summertime favorite.  "So how," you might ask, "did you get the name Hippie Juice?" Well, if it is not already apparent, this subtly boozy nectar was enjoyed and loved by all who sampled... a colorful whirl of characters and personalities coming together like the groovy tie dye shirt of a hippie.  That, and many of those partaking were indeed hippies, but there's no need for technicalities here.


TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY & MAKE YOUR SHOPPING LIST:

Ingredients:
- Water
- Country Time Pink Lemonade Mix
- Fresh Strawberries
- Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka
- Triple Sec
- Malibu Coconut Rum

Supplies:
- Simply Brand (Apple, Orange, Etc.) Juice Container (59 oz carafe) or equivalent
- Measuring Cup
- Funnel
- Knife
- Cutting Board


Easy Prep:
Carefully wash out your Simply brand Juice Container.  Then use the funnel to neatly pour 4 scoops of Country Time Pink Lemonade into the container.  Next, measure out 1 cup of Smirnoff brand Watermelon Vodka, 1/3 cup Triple Sec, and 1/3 cup Malibu Coconut Rum into a measuring cup and use the funnel to add your mixture.  Using cold water, fill the rest of the container up to the base of the neck.  Rinse 4 strawberries and cut straight across with a knife to remove the stem.  Then place the strawberries upside down on the cutting board and slice evenly into 4 pieces using two motions forming a cross.  Drop the strawberries in, add water to the top, cap and shake gently to mix.  Refrigerate and voila! Hippie Juice!

Serves 4-8 depending on cup size.
Serves a mob of thirsty burners & hippies a sip at a time.

===================================================

VACATION MODIFICATION...

Faced with the challenge of preparing enough Hippie Juice to last through a one-week trip for two adventurers to Colonial Williamsburg, I gathered up all the containers that I could find (and fit in the cooler) and began to mix away.  The two juice containers turned out perfectly since I was able to stick to my original recipe, but the little group of waterbottles were not so easy.  I attempted to cut the recipe down and mix it by sight and scent alone.  Alas, they were far too strong, even for us... so what was my solution?  GATORADE!

I obtained a small bottle of Glacier Freeze Gatorade which had been hiding in the back of the fridge for hang-over treatment purposes and decided to throw that into the mix to kill the alcohol taste.  Pouring half the container of Gatorade into a glass, I added the ultra-strong Hippie Juice to the remainder of the Gatorade... it was DELICIOUS!  I then mixed this concoction back into the water bottles to create a sweet way to make your mind as fuzzy as the alcohol then tasted.



Hippie Juice has since been enjoyed in many forms and by many people at multiple festive occasions across the 50 states.  It's popped up at BBQs and Birthday Parties in its original form, transformed itself into a brilliant pink punch at a Halloween Party, has come disguised as "Pirate Poison" to the NYC PirateCon, and has even taken the form of jello shots at a New Years Eve celebration.

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RECIPE COPYRIGHT © SKA JENNY 2010-2015.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peace, Love, Guac.


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's Cookin, Good Lookin?


Well hello, hello and welcome to my kitchen! I have studied various diet trends and love to mix and match styles and recipes to create new, exciting, and healthy dishes. I began my quest for the ultimate menu in October of 2009 when I took it upon myself to sell my soul for straight teeth. The quick, efficient, and least costly way about it was to pretend that I was ten years old again sporting silver sidewalks with rainbow chalk games of hopscotch played on them. That's right, metal braces. (Painful little buggers, aren't they?)

The braces caused a serious problem: chewing was ungodly painful. Considering the fact that I am lactose intolerant and had very much enjoyed quesadillas and burritos in particular, I needed to find an alternative to the chicken and meats that I could no longer chew. My natural reaction? Go vegan!

With the help of my yoga instructor and his family, I began to compile recipes and alternatives to the foods I had previously enjoyed. Tofu and I became well acquainted after the first week or so when I found that tofu coated with chili powder and lightly baked to nearly the firmness of chicken worked wonders on my Mexican dishes. In fact, tofu coated in any sort of sauce or mixture tasted just as delightful if not better than my original meats. I highly recommend the firm kind because it slices like a dream and holds its form.

From there, I moved on to vegan deserts, lactose free ice cream, and various shakes & smoothies. My favorite of which was, without contest, vegan pumpkin cheesecake... and its derivative: pumpkin cheesecake cookies. Everything was made milkless and eggless, which is quite convenient for those of us who cannot (or can hardly) resist a prime opportunity to eat raw cookie dough... and pumpkin, naturally.

That said, my teeth apparently have shifted enough that it is only the week after adjusting that I must return to the vegan menu, leaving the other three weeks out of the month free for caveman meals (inspired by the Paleo Diet) and personal concoctions such as "Beer Lover's Pepper Steak with Garlic and Onions" with a glorious side of "Garlic Monster Mashed Potatoes" (covered in beer gravy).  Deeeeeeelish!

Nevertheless, welcome to my world... and bon app├ętit!