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

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

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.

milk with a punch

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Last week we enjoyed oatmeal muffins à la Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box and the promise was made to next find an appropriate beverage to accompany.Now to borrow an advertising slogan: Got Milk?Muffins and milk make good partners, but because we’re … Continue reading

cocktails 101 – the g & t

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After an extended holiday, food for fun is finally ready to kick off 2015. And what better way to ring in the new year than with a cocktail? What with my enrollment in an online bartending course (Groupon made an … Continue reading

the holiday frita

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This week was another for posting at Blog of Funny Names and once again I learned plenty. If you like margaritas, especially of the frozen variety, you’ll want to know who to thank. Click here for the story, then please … Continue reading

the bourbon slide show

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Remember that Bourbon Festival mentioned last post? It’s in the rearview mirror and I now have only memories. More accurately, I have only memories, lots of photos, and oodles of bourboncentric souvenirs. Though I won’t be pulling out the slide … Continue reading

the drinks of Door County

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Life was sweet last week when food for fun took a quick trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Next on our list are the beverages enjoyed on my recent foodie vacay. Quick recap: A friend invited me to join her for … Continue reading

cocktail dreams, mojito moments

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Why do we blog? I can’t answer for everyone, but I know I’m here–at least in part–to indulge in fantasy. Though I try to (mostly) write about real life, I read your blogs for vicarious reasons. Thanks to your posts, … Continue reading

gate-crashing a Sicilian cocktail party

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Liz: Well, hello. Welcome to a Special Travel Edition here at food for fun. I hope you brought your passport, as we’re going International today. First, you’ll want to meet my friend Saucy of Saucy Gander. She puts my simple … Continue reading

soy brownies and rum?

Spring break is so over. A week of r& r at the in-laws–complete with far more DIY marshmallows consumed than recommended–was lovely, but this week it’s back to that real world and all its ensuing insanity. Cue the crazy.

Which put me at the intersection of Nothing Prepared and No New Ideas when time came to write this week’s post. So I’ll fall back on a now time-honored tradition of repeating myself, visiting my work elsewhere in the blogsphere.

Another month, another post at Minnesota Soyfoods Real Story Blog: Brownies anyone? (no worries–neither tofu nor actual soybeans were used)

We also play a game here at food for fun called “Find a Cocktail Recipe.” Enter part deux of this post…

Immediately upon opening the liquor cabinet, out fell a small paperback volume I don’t remember seeing before.

vintage 1940

vintage 1970

Famous Rum Drinks of the Virgin Islands is all of 32 pages and was penned by a Ms Dea Murray as a collection of drinks from “famous hotels, restaurants & bars.” Drowning in red, brown, gold, and harvest orange glory, it could only be a garage sale find. Yet its appearance rang no bells.

That said, it fell out of my liquor cabinet–reason enough to thumb through. Bluebeard’s Wench called for blue curaco, which is not on my shelf. Same story Hurricane Buster. Old Fashioned Voodoo would be mine if only I had guava juice. Swashbuckler called for Champagne and Coco Loco requires the purchase of coconut cream. Clearly I need a better pantry for this book.

wpid-mntsdcardPhoto-Editor2014-03-19-20.32.06.jpg.jpgFortunately, Rum Swizzle met me where I was at. Out came the rum, sweet vermouth, lemon, bitters, and fresh nutmeg. Though not a big fan of rum, I like what it stands for: warm sand and sun, island breezes, tropical tunes.

The resulting sipper was bracingly tart and could’ve stood a bit more sweet, but it won me over by being both assertive and classy. A newly purchased thrift-store cocktail glass made the project even more fun.

sS what if it's only 33°F outside? I have rum in my cocktail.

So what if it’s only 33°F outside? I have rum in my cocktail.

Our winter may not be over quite yet, but the mercury climbs slowly and surely a tropical rum cocktail can help push things in the right direction. So here’s to seeing the backside of winter. Here’s to garage sale finds–remembered or no. And here’s to the busy-ness of life. May it all be great fun as often as it can. Cheers!

2 oatmeal cookies–one traditional, one not so much

A fellow WordPress blogger set a lofty goal for herself in committing to read 52 books in 2014. An avid reader as well, I pledged to join her. While I read a fair amount of food-related fare (culinary mysteries are faves), I enjoy genres of all sorts.

Take my most recent read: Before Green Gables. The prequel to the series of Anne and her adventures on Prince Edward Island, it covers the span from just before her birth to her arrival on PEI. It’s a tale that speaks to the spirit of the underdog as well as how hard life was in earlier centuries.

Though there was no direct food connection, Anne’s story made me crave cookies. Molasses, oatmeal, and other old-school favorites were mentioned in its pages. I wanted a plate of old-school, from-scratch, homemade cookies. Oatmeal seemed the thing and despite a disdain for raisins in baked goods (which I’ve learned many of you wholeheartedly share), I had to have me some oatmeal raisin cookies.

yes, they have raisins, but they're so good!

yes, they have raisins, but they’re tasty!

The recipe came from Susan G. Purdy’s The Family Baker. I followed directions for the extra-chewy version, soaking the raisins in beaten eggs and vanilla for an hour before stirring into the batter. Note that this version replaces 1/2 cup butter with an equal amount of shortening, though coconut oil works if shortening isn’t happening in your kitchen. These are lovely cookies, chewy and sweet. Pair them with a glass of milk and call it breakfast.

And the other oatmeal cookie? This one was found in Bartender’s Black Book, purchased ten or so years ago as my first foray into cocktails. I remember well the winter weekend my husband and I were snowbound with a sick baby. We watched movies to pass the time, but my recently purchased spiral-bound bar guide called to me and I flipped through, imagining the cocktails I could create if only I had the booze.

The following weekend we were still snowbound and baby was still sick. Tired of winter, tired of sick, it was time to make my cocktail dream reality. After making notes of recipes I wanted to try along with spirits to buy, I ventured out the few blocks to a local liquor store and came home with ingredients for an Oatmeal Cookie.

oatmeal cookie squared

an oatmeal cookie served with oatmeal cookies

In the spirit of cocktail evolution, I more recently dressed this drink up after Attempts at Domesticity posted this marvelous concoction on deLizious facebook. A cap of marshmallow fluff and brief spin in the microwave made for a steamy and sweet cookie cocktail. No surprise that it pairs perfectly with treats that Anne (with an “e”) would most certainly have enjoyed.

before heating

before heating

30 seconds later

30 seconds later

what a way to drink!

what a glorious drink!

Extra-Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Add raisins; stir to coat. Let soak 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

In mixing bowl, beat together butter, shortening, and granulated and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add soaked raisin mixture; beat to blend. Slowly beat in flour mixture just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in oats.

Drop batter inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets 1 minute; transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Oatmeal Cookie Cocktail

  • 2 ounces half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 ounce Jägermeister
  • 1 ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • Large spoonful marshmallow fluff

In microwave-safe drinking glass or mug, stir together all ingredients except marshmallow fluff. Top with fluff, spooning to seal rim of glass. Microwave, watching carefully, 30 seconds or until warm and fluff is puffed but hasn’t yet overflowed.

in-laws, outlaw marshmallows, plus a pan of bars

The blogosphere has been abuzz with end-of-year posts and kicking-off-the-new-year posts and year-end reports. And while I’d like to consider myself capable of looking within and learning from the past 365 days in hopes of improving my next round, I find that mostly I just move forward. I go and I do.

Balancing professional and personal ambitions with mommyhood leaves precious little time to just Be. And while that’s a bit disturbing, it’s where I–along with a lot of other mommies–am right now. Forward march with the task-driven mentality. (Though should you need a good look inward, I’ll send you over to meet Kaela. She’s fun!)

So to kick off 2014, food for fun offers you its most recent Adventures in Marshmallows. (If you were reading food for fun last winter, you know that I went through a bit of ‘mallow madness back then as well.)

Another blogging friend and I have been trading cocktail recipes and found we share a love for bourbon. Her use of cherry-flavored bourbon piqued my interest and I did a bit of “research” when visiting my in-laws over the holidays. Their small town boasts one liquor store and it’s little more than ten or so shelves on one wall, plus a few bottles behind the counter. I figured my chances of finding cherry bourbon were small, and it was indeed a wash.

Yet I knew from reading Drink More Whiskey (best. birthday. gift. ever. Thanks, dear husband!) that on some level whiskey is whiskey–whether bourbon, Scotch, Canadian, etc–and a bottle of black cherry Canadian had to share some common ground with cherry-flavored bourbon. I bought said bottle and returned to my in-law’s.

cherry whisky meet other marshmallow ingredients!

cherry whisky meet other marshmallow ingredients!

But I didn’t plan to drink it. Instead, I was subbing it in for bourbon in a cheeky recipe I’d found at The Tart Tart. The resulting marshmallows were amazing and lovely–the cherry sweetness came through as the spirited booze flavors flew just below the radar.

whitedogmallows

I bet Santa would have enjoyed a few of these!

Santa would have enjoyed a few of these!

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law helped me lick the beaters (and spatula and bowl) clean upon project completion. It was then that s-i-l made a game-changing comment:

“I need rice krispies with this. And butter.”

My universe shifted a bit at her words. Boozy rice krispy bars. Sheer brilliance! A few rice krispies were stirred into the fluff left in the bowl and we enjoyed  a taste.

Fast forward a few days and I was back in my own kitchen using TTT’s recipe again, this time replacing the bourbon with rum.

there's rum in these 'mallows

there’s rum in these ‘mallows

After the marshmallows had cooled and been cut, I measured up 10 ounces and made a batch of Hot Buttered Rum Rice Krispy Bars. Oh divine.

hot. buttered. rum.

hot. buttered. rum.

The possibilities seem endless–adult rk treats in flavors of margarita, mudslide, etc. I sense that 2014 has taken on a new purpose for me. My resolution seems clear: Make More Marshmallows. (Which oddly enough is not too far off from my 11-year-old’s “eat more gummy bears” resolve.)

So please stick around (marshmallow pun–get it? 😉 ) and help me meet my ‘mallow-y goal. A fellow blogger (you’ve met amb here before) and I have joked about Marshmallow Mondays and while I’m not sure yet exactly how this will play out, I see it as a good start for a new year of sweet and fluffy fun.

Introspection will always be welcome here and maybe even occasionally offered outright. But it’s mostly about the food and the fun that accompanies. Marshmallows, then, seem a good way to kick off the new year. Wishing you all a mountain of marshmallows in 2014!