a spirited frap

Just two weeks ago we enjoyed a pan of Great-aunt Helen’s Toffee Squares. A promise was made to return with a suitable beverage pairing and though having kids out on summer break has derailed me, a promise is a promise … Continue reading

baking bars: toffee-tastic

Anyone else see a river of chocolate, Willy Wonka-style, in this picture? As a child, I toured a local department store’s annual Christmas display with my school. Their elaborate productions changed yearly and in my 6-year-old eyes, they’d outdone themselves … Continue reading

cracking old-school crackers

We’re back to flipping through Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box, but this time we look outside of that box. Turns out there are two smaller recipe books in her collection as well and while they contain fewer recipes than the boxes, … Continue reading

getting our (whiskey) fix

20160516_133649.jpg

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Last week’s rhubarb pie went over so well that there is none left to enjoy with this week’s cocktail. I’d wanted to make another, but haven’t gotten around to it. So we’ll just imagine a slice of thisas we sip … Continue reading

rhubarb pie, please

Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box has yet again yielded riches. Seasonal riches at that. With rhubarb growing strong in the backyard, my family had been making noises about bringing that rhubarb inside and putting it in a pie. So when I … Continue reading

old-fashioned southern comfort

Cocktail U is once again in session. Thank you for coming to class this week. If you’ll please take your seats, I’ll first pass platters of Great-aunt Helen’s Grits. Our assignment this week was to find a cocktail to accompany … Continue reading

kiss my grits

20160425_142223.jpg

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Hello, WordPress world. My but I’ve missed you. Offline life has completely taken over for me and it’s been nearly a year between posts. Never my intention to let things go so long. But here we are (thank you that … Continue reading

Kentucky cocktail, cake optional

wpid-kentucky-mule_01.jpg.jpegwpid-buttermilk-cake-slice_02.jpg.jpegLast post’s Buttermilk Cake was a sweet tribute to my late Great-aunt Helen. And as we do with all of these sweet tributes, it’s time to find an adult beverage pairing.

Because I’ve been enjoying classic Moscow Mules (a.k.a. Vodka Bucks) lately, I considered suggesting that this vodka-lime cocktail accompany the cake. But somehow the flavors of the cake and cocktail didn’t seem to mesh.

My thoughts next turned to bourbon, as they often do, and I remembered a Mule variation I also enjoy: The Kentucky Mule.wpid-kentucky-mule.jpg.jpegSadly, none of my cocktail cookbooks carried this recipe, so I googled and found this beauty. Three ingredients were mixed and I soon had a Kentucky Mule in hand.

Some recipes I’d found also contained mint, hinting at another bourbon favorite–the Mint Julep. But I stuck with the simplicity of bourbon, ginger beer, lime juice and was richly rewarded. More tart than sweet, it could have used an extra pour of ginger beer, but overall it was refreshing and lovely.

Opportunity to pair it with the cake was missed as the cake didn’t last long enough to meet the Mule. The Kentucky Mule doesn’t need a cake partner, though, and I’ll happily toast food for fun readers with a glass. Thanks for being here!wpid-bourbon-mule.jpg.jpeg

baking buttermilk cake or adventures in frosting

wpid-cake-batter.jpg.jpeg

This gallery contains 15 photos.

As I continue to flip through the yellowed three-by-five cards in Great-aunt Helen’s recipe boxes, I’m amazed at the breadth of her recipes. Savory and sweet, complex and simple, old-school and avant-garde–they all happily co-exist. Admittedly, more are simple than … Continue reading

going grey(hound)

wpid-salty-dog_01.jpg.jpegWelcome to another session of Cocktail U, where we ponder adult-beverage basics and find sippers to match recipes from Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box. Today we ask ourselves, “what to drink with DIY BBQ chicken?”wpid-20150407_175147.jpgWhat indeed? A Greyhound–my husband’s go-to cocktail–seemed a good match. Basically a Screwdriver with grapefruit juice replacing the orange, Greyhounds are tart enough to be interesting while sweet and boozy enough to make you want to empty your glass.

My husband happened upon this cocktail classic when we needed to move through a crate of grapefruit purchased from a school fundraiser. While a half-grapefuit, drizzled with honey and sometimes broiled, is good for breakfast, there is also something fun about squeezing these monster citrus fruits for their tasty juice. Even better is mixing the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with spirits. (Tequila and vodka are especially good pairings.) wpid-greyhound.jpgHence, the Greyhound. According to Amanda Hallay’s Vintage Cocktails,, mixing this beverage is as simple aswpid-20150421_185840.jpgWith the tartness of grapefruit, it’s possible you’d want to stir in agave syrup or honey. I liked it as-is, though, and further dressed it up by rimming the glass with salt. Technically, then, we’re looking at a Salty Dog, but no matter what you call it, it’s a refreshing cocktail and partners well with barbecued chicken.wpid-salty-dog.jpg.jpeg

winner winner chicken dinner

No surprises here today–title and opening photo have given it all away. The latest run through Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box turned up a recipe written in a familiar hand. I was tickled to find a recipe attributed to my mom, … Continue reading

sherry stirred, not shaken

wpid-20150324_161524.jpgAfter an unintended break, food for fun is ready to climb back on the Cocktail U train in search of the perfect cocktail for last post’s Cheese Soufflé. This seemed a tricky pairing. While wine and cheese go together like, well, wine and cheese, I can’t think of many mixed drinks I’d want to sip alongside a mixture of cheese, eggs, and bread. So I asked this question: What would Great-aunt Helen do?

And the answer is that she would drink sherry. Though I was too young to join her in a glass of this fortified wine, I remember seeing her sip sherry from a small, pretty stemmed glass. It means the world to me that I now have one of her original glasses and can sip sherry from it, just as she did back in the day.

Sherry by itself, though, does not a cocktail make. To my trusty collection of cocktail books I turned, where I found what sounded to be a lovely sherry-based drink in The Savoy Cocktail Book.wpid-20150324_160152.jpg

Ordered from Amazon after reading about it on another Word Press blog, Savoy is old-school. Originally published in 1930, this book celebrates the famed London Savoy Hotel bar. Without so much as an index, it was challenging to search, but because the drinks are alphabetized, I turned to S for sherry and found this little gem:wpid-20150324_160219.jpgI mixed a Sherry Cocktail to the best of my ability (Who’s to say exactly how much sherry is “1 Glass”?) and enjoyed the results.wpid-20150324_161447.jpgPretty as can be, strained into Great-aunt Helen’s classy vintage sherry glass, this amber-colored drink was bracing. Only slightly sweet, it was meant for sipping, and would make a nice foil for a rich and creamy cheesy soufflé.wpid-20150324_161549.jpgThough it’s becoming vogue again, sherry is often thought of as a drink best suited for old ladies. There may be some truth to this as Helen was one of those older ladies–at least when I knew her. But I’ve always enjoyed sherry as well (and I’m not OLD), especially the sweeter “cream” style. That it mixes well into a cocktail is a lovely bonus.wpid-20150324_161538.jpgA Sherry Cocktail toast, then, in memory of Great-aunt Helen. And a toast to you as well: Thank you for stopping over. Next week we’ll find another recipe in Helen’s collection that needs making.

Say cheese (soufflé)!

wpid-20150303_154747.jpg

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Another week, another riffle through Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box. (New to this series? The preceding link brings you up to speed.) Having thus far only made sweets and snacks from Helen’s decades-old recipe collection, I wanted to make a main … Continue reading