happy hour @ foodforfun

A few months back, I happened upon a blog I connected with instantly. Andi, a.k.a. The Weary Chef, is mom to two little ones and enjoys playing with her food while building her virtual empire complete with facebook page, tweets, pinterest boards, and lots of other icons I don’t know but am sure lead to great fun. She strives to put homemade meals on her table–and provides readers with the recipes for those meals–and I absolutely connect with all of that.

What got me really excited, though, was her Happy Hour. Each Friday, Andi posts an original cocktail and I was enamored enough to mention it in a previous post here, pledging to recreate her Friday beverages to the best of my pantry’s ability.

Though I never again mentioned it at foodforfun, I’ve been faithfully recreating The Weary Chef’s cocktail each Friday on my deLizious facebook page. If  you’re already on board, thank you for that (!), and you’ve perhaps seen these drinks before. But if facebook isn’t your thing, a recap of food for fun’s take on The Weary Chef’s Happy Hour is in order:

my first TWC Happy Hour

my first TWC Happy Hour

This was my first attempt to recreate Andi’s concoctions, and I was thrilled with the results. Not only did I match her ingredient for ingredient (save using whipped cream vodka instead of plain vodka, though wouldn’t do again as my drink was just a touch too sweet), but I even had a similar glass for photo.

I was over-the-moon with this one as I’d just ordered it the weekend before at a fancy-pants restaurant. I’d also seen mention of this classic cocktail in one of my favorite reads: Boozehound On the Trail of the Rare, The Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits. Here I matched her on all ingredients and it was a lovely drink for sure.Aviate

deLizious facebook sat this one out as it was Easter weekend and my mother-in-law’s pantry is less well-stocked than my own. But being at my mother-in-law’s had other rewards, as it was she who introduced me to the pink squirrel. Here’s what we made that weekend.

usually use fat-free half-and-half, but at the  in-law's it's ice cream all the way!

usually use fat-free half-and-half, but at the in-law’s it’s ice cream all the way!

not much green at all

not much green at all

With so much greenery, this drink was prettier than it sounds. Yet without Coitnreau, cucumber, and fresh basil, I ended up with an entirely different drink detailed here in facebook archives:

“Lacking pretty much everything for The Weary Chef’s Green Quencher, I had to make a few changes. This one (gently) muddles 2 strawberries, a few (frozen) basil leaves, 2 parsley sprigs, cut-up tiny lime. Topped with 2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce Chambord, and seltzer to the top. It was sweeter than what TWC served up and probably a bit more intense, but still mighty tasty. Will call this one the Berry-Lime Smash.”

Seems odd that the two Happy Hours I’ve had to miss have both been sangrias, but there you have it. I was busy doing art-y like things for my girls’ school that day (not to be confused with doing real art for which I am unqualified) and also into the evening for their Art Show. Fortunately, the art-program ladies cap off their night at a local restaurant known for its Rudy-tinis. Served with a side of champagne, this drink is–in the words of a facebook commenter– “four drinks in one.” While not my beverage of choice that night, I snapped a photo and put it up on deLiz facebook so Andi would know I at least tried.

yep, four drinks in one

yep, four drinks in one

oldfashionedAndi was especially clever with this one, taking a classic and giving it a fruity spin. And because bourbon always wins with me, I was thrilled to have an excuse to open a bottle. No pineapple on hand (though by now Andi was dropping hints via messaging that I might need certain ingredients on hand come Friday), I subbed in kiwi and used a bit of strawberry juice for the pineapple juice. I liked mine well enough, but would have also liked to have tasted her version.

TWC's was more pink than mine

TWC’s was more pink than mine

Here’s where I outdid myself: I had both sake and rose water on hand–no hint needed! (Though no canned pineapple for the previous week’s cocktail. Go figure.) This one rated “tastes like a flower!” in my comment to Andi and is a light and pretty little cocktail–think bridal shower or garden party.

Because I’d (finally) caught Andi’s hint, a bottle of Pimm’s was on my shelf when I saw her Happy Hour post that week. This one is my favorite thus far–lots of tang and fruit and sweet. Refreshing and perfect for summer. Also got the most deLiz facebook comments, making it a crowd favorite as well. (That said, my husband wasn’t a fan. ??)

summer in a glass

summer in a glass

a touch too pink to pass as a snickerdoodle

a touch too pink to pass as a snickerdoodle

She used Goldschläger, I used cinnamon liqueur. Hers was white, mine was pink. She had vanilla vodka, I had tuaca. My version didn’t look a thing like her original, but was still sweet and yummy. Very much a dessert beverage.

So there you have it–Happy Hour with the Weary Chef as told by deLizious and food for fun. I invite you to stop over at deLiz facebook page Friday afternoons for whatever Andi puts together next. Or start at Andi’s page and work your way over to mine. I remember posting a while back about wanting to expand my repertoire of fun and tasty cocktails and now as I write this, realize my goal is being met. Many thanks to Andi at TWC for helping me along. (Another rockin’ cocktail shout-out goes to Putney Farms for some of the most gorgeous sippers I’ve seen.) Cheers to all!

failed pink squirrel pie

I’ve posted before that I love a pink squirrel. This sweet cocktail is a blend of equal parts cream (or ice cream, if so inclined), white crème de cacao, and crème de Noyaux (also known as crème de noya or crème de almond). Made of apricot kernels, crème de Noyaux takes its name from “noyau,” the French word for kernel, pit, or core. Its red hue puts the pink in a pink squirrel and lends a more interesting flavor than if similarly flavored amaretto were used in its place.

Pink squirrels rank high on my list. So does Marshmallow Fluff. (Click over to deLizious Facebook for proof of the fluff obsession.) With two dozen jars of fluff in my pantry (I can only find it on store shelves once a year, folks. Please don’t judge me. 😉 ), I’ve taken The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook down from the shelf. A recipe for Grasshopper Pie caught my eye and I thought why not crème de Noyaux instead of de menthe? A traditionally mint green pie went pink as I subbed in one liqueur for another.

I’d like to say it was an amazing success. Except that it wasn’t. My tendency to play fast and loose with recipes got me into trouble. Instead of using gelatin, I used vegetarian gelatin left over from a past project (vegetarian marshmallows anyone?). I also let the gelatin mixture come to a boil, which is for sure a no-no. In the end, the chilled gelatin mixture was a bit gloppy–certainly not the light and airy mousse I was going for. Once folded into the freshly whipped cream, it made a passable pie filling, though it never fully set, so slices didn’t hold their shape once plated.

pink squirrel pie

pretty and delish, but so not what I was going for

I’ll call it pudding in a pie shell and still enjoy, but will try again another day using regular gelatin and paying more attention when heating the gelatin mixture. It’s a reminder to me that experimenting with recipes doesn’t always lead to success. Even the mistakes are delicious, though, which is why I’m ok making mistakes in the kitchen. And for the sake of deliciousness, I hope you are, too.

Pink Squirrel Pie

Play with flavor by switching out the crème de Noyaux for another liqueur.

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (vegetarian gelatin not recommended)
  • 1 (7.5-ounce) jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup crème de Noyaux
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • Sliced almonds

In medium saucepan, stir together cold water and gelatin; let stand 1 minutes. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly,  just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow fluff and crème de Noyaux. Refrigerate until mixture mounds when dropped from spoon.

In large bowl, whip 1 1/2 cups cream until soft peaks form. Fold into thickened gelatin mixture. Pour filling into crust. Top with 1 cup whipped cream; sprinkle with almonds. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.