Showing posts with label Beverages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beverages. Show all posts

12 June 2011

5 Cooling Watermelon Drinks 4 Summer

Instructions on how to carve a watermelon Birthday Cake

From Denny: Did you know that America ranks as number four in production of watermelons? Bet you didn't know that important factoid. Now you are ready when you see the Trivia Crowd coming your way. You are sure to impress.

Some more fun facts about watermelons from the site National Watermelon Production Board:

* About 200-300 varieties are grown in the U.S. and Mexico
* 50 varieties are very popular
* The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
* Watermelon is 92% water
* Early explorers used watermelons as canteens
* In 1990, Bill Carson of Arrington, TN grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds (1998 ed. Guinness Book of World Records)

Today - and this past week - the temperatures have been riding high in the 90's, near 100 degrees, making everyone miserable. One sure way to help cool off in this heat is with fresh fruit like watermelon.

Seedless watermelons now make up 60 percent of the crop as they are highly favored among consumers at the grocery store. And don't worry if you prefer not to buy a large melon. You can do like I did this weekend and just purchase a large slice of your favorite watermelon. Sometimes, you just want to enjoy watermelon for a few days not an entire month! :) I like to buy the wedges because I can see how ripe the watermelon is and check out the seed level, if any.

Take a look at these wonderful recipes from the National Watermelon Production Board. They sure have been busy on their site figuring out how to entice people to enjoy their product.




Watermelon Pomegranate Green Tea

From: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 cups watermelon purée
2 cups pomegranate juice
4 cups strong prepared and chilled green tea
1 cup white grape juice
Ice for serving

Directions:

Mix ingredients together in a large container (except ice) and chill well. Stir before serving and serve over ice.







Frozen Watermelon Blackberry Margaritas With Cilantro and Vanilla

From: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Makes: 3 to 4 drinks

Ingredients:

1 cup chilled watermelon purée
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1 tsp. fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Juice from 1 or 2 fresh limes
1/2 cup chilled tequila or to taste
1 tbl. Triple Sec
2 to 3 cups crushed ice

Directions:

Blend first seven ingredients together until smooth. Add ice and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Note: Rim glasses with sea salt or raw sugar.






Watermelon, Pineapple and Peach Smoothies

From: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped, seedless watermelon
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
2 cups peach yogurt
Dash of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Blend ingredients together in a blender until smooth and serve immediately.






Watermelon and Grapefruit Shooters

From: National Watermelon Production Board

Serves: Makes about 12 shooters

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water
4 ounces strawberry flavored gelatin mix
1 1/2 cups watermelon puree
1 cup pink grapefruit juice
1 1/2 cups Tequila

Directions:

Bring one half cup water to a boil. Place the gelatin in a heatproof container with a spout and pour the water into the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Combine the dissolved gelatin and the watermelon puree. Divide the watermelon mixture among 12 shot glasses or small juice glasses. Cool until thick but not set. Top each glass with the grapefruit juice and tequila.





Pink Watermelon Chardonnay Sparklers

From: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1/3 glass watermelon purée, chilled
1/3 glass chardonnay, chilled
1/3 glass sparkling water, chilled
1 watermelon ball

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a wine glass and serve immediately.


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19 February 2010

10 Perfect Hot Drinks to Warm Us in Cold Weather

From Denny: It's cold outside and you still feel cold inside. What to do? Make a hot drink to warm you from the inside out. Make sure it is a drink you can linger over and savor the moment, enjoying the goodness. After all, a hot drink to warm you is more than raising your body temperature. It's about ambiance and style! :) OK, did I mention it has to taste really good? Anyway you look at it, a warming drink will keep your spirits up throughout the day or at the end of a long day. Make the drink spicy and it will warm your soul too.

Gary Regan, of The Bartender's Bible, says "the secret to making good hot drinks is a simple one: Don’t skimp. Don’t use canned whipped cream and when the drink is made, spend some time enjoying the aroma; savor the whole experience of the drink. It will warm the cockles of your heart.”

Sounds like a good idea to me!

Let's take a look at your choices:

Hot Coffee Drinks:

Café au Lait
Irish Coffee

Hot Milk Drinks:

Williamsburg Hot Chocolate
Hot Taffy Milk


Hot Rum Drinks:

Hot Buttered Rum
Orange Toddy


Hot Cider Drinks:

Warm Fruit Cider
Honey Spiced Cider
Spiced Mulled Cider
Maple Mulled Cider




Hot Coffee Drinks





Photo by David Humphreys @ Junior League of Baton Rouge


Want a rich and creamy hot beverage? Café au Lait is the answer. It has a smooth velvety taste and is a Louisiana favorite every morning at our house! We make it with Community Coffee brand's New Orleans Blend (with chicory). Chicory is great for reducing the acidity in coffee that can bother your stomach. It's also a wonderful herb to aid liver function. Drinking hot milk in your coffee is a great way to replace the calcium that coffee can leach from your body so it all balances out.

Café au Lait

From:
“River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes” cookbook published by the Junior League of Baton Rouge

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

4-1/2 cups milk
4-1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee or espresso

Directions:

1. Heat milk in a saucepan over low heat just until barely boiling and whisk until foamy.

2. Pour the warm foamed milk and hot freshly brewed coffee into a heated carafe. If possible, warm each person’s coffee cup before serving.





Photo by Richard Alan Hannon @ 2TheAdvocate.com

Houmas House Plantation executive chef Jeremy Langlois often prepares Irish Coffee to conclude dinners in the plantation’s Latil’s Landing Restaurant. Part of the presentation of the classic beverage is carefully pouring the cream over the back of a teaspoon into the hot coffee so that the cream floats on top of the coffee.

Irish Coffee

From: Jeremy Langlois, executive chef at Houmas House Plantation and Latil’s Landing Restaurant

Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tbl. brown sugar
1 jigger Irish whiskey (1-1/2 ozs. or 3 tbls.)
Heavy cream, slightly whipped
Pinch of nutmeg for finish

Directions:

1. Pour hot coffee into warmed cup until it is about 3/4 full.

2. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Blend in Irish whiskey.

3. Top with whipped heavy cream and sprinkle nutmeg on the cream for garnish. Serve hot.

Editor’s note: According to “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, “Irish whiskey is a distilled liquor made primarily from barley (malted or unmalted) as well as corn, rye, wheat and oats. Irish whiskeys are triple-distilled for extra smoothness and are aged in casks for a minimum of 4 (usually 7 to 8) years. The aging casks have typically been used previously for aging bourbon, sherry or rum, the flavors of which contribute unique nuances to the whiskey.”



Hot Milk Drinks



Williamsburg Hot Chocolate

From: Grand Marnier

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
Grated zest from 1/2 orange
1 stick cinnamon
1 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
2 tsps. Grand Marnier
Whipped cream for garnish, if desired

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, slowly scald the milk with the orange zest and cinnamon stick.

2. In a blender, combine the hot milk with the chocolate and Grand Marnier. Blend on slow speed until very smooth.

3. Pour immediately and top with whipped cream, if desired.



Hot Taffy Milk

From: Tommy Simmons, Food Editor @ 2theadvocate.com

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat milk
3 tbls. cane syrup (if not available use a favorite thinned molasses)
Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Pour milk and cane syrup into glass measuring cup. Mix to dissolve cane syrup.

2. Microwave on High in 1-minute intervals until desired temperature is reached. (Takes about 2-1/2 minutes.)

3. Pour into mug. Dust top with cinnamon, if desired.



Hot Rum Drinks



Hot Buttered Rum

From: “The Bartender’s Bible” by Gary Regan

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 tsp. brown sugar
4 ozs. boiling water
1 whole clove
2 ozs. dark rum
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

Directions:

1. In an Irish coffee glass, combine the brown sugar with the boiling water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the clove and the rum. Float the butter on the top and dust with the nutmeg.



Orange Toddy

From: David Simmons

Serves: 2

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
2 tbls. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. butter (a tiny pat)
1 to 2 tbls. rum

Directions:

1. Mix orange juice, water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and butter in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on High for 2 minutes or until just beginning to boil.

2. Remove from microwave, stir in rum and serve in mugs.



Hot Cider Drinks



Warm Fruit Cider

From: “Slow Cookin’ in the Fast Lane” by Julie Kay

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

1 (64-oz.) bottle apple cider
2 oranges, cut into quarters, peeled
2 lemons, cut into slices, with peel
6 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

1. Pour apple cider in slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients.

2. Cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. When ready to serve, remove orange quarters, lemons, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks.

3. Pour into individual mugs or punch cups and serve.





Honey Spiced Cider

From: National Honey Board

Makes: 8 (6-ounce) servings

Ingredients:

5 cups apple cider
3/4 cup honey
24 whole cloves
2 small navel oranges, quartered
7 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 (4-inch) strip lemon zest
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

Directions:

1. Combine cider and honey in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the honey dissolves.

2. Push 3 cloves into the rind of each orange quarter. Add to the cider along with the cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and nutmeg.

3. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer at the merest bubble for 20 minutes. Remove the fruit and spices with a slotted spoon and discard. Serve hot.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 178 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol and 7 milligrams sodium.





Spiced Mulled Cider

From: Tabasco

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbls. honey
1 tbl. Tabasco brand green pepper sauce
1/4 cup rum
Apple slices for garnish

Directions:

1. In 1-quart saucepan over high heat, heat apple cider, cinnamon stick, honey and Tabasco green sauce to boiling. Reduce heat to low, remove cinnamon sticks and set aside, and continue simmering cider for 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat; add rum. Pour into glasses or mugs; garnish with apple slices. If desired, use the reserved cinnamon sticks as stirrers.





Maple Mulled Cider

From: “Fix-it and Forget-it Diabetic Cookbook”

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon cider
3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
2 tsps. whole cloves
2 tsps. whole allspice
1 to 2 tbls. orange juice concentrate
1 tbl. maple syrup


1. Combine ingredients in slow cooker.

2. Cover. Heat on Low 2 hours. Serve warm.

Testing note: The original recipe listed the orange juice concentrate and maple syrup as optional ingredients. However, both used together make for an enjoyable boost of flavor.


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03 July 2009

Recipe: Italian Chocolate Soda

chocolate sodaAnother chocolate soda version, looks yummy! - Image by rho.doras via Flickr

From Denny: Whew! It's so hot here it's 101 degrees F. in the shade! Sitting in front of the fan while I blog - and, oh, yeah, the air conditioning is on full blast too. :) Enjoy this quick chocolate fix on a hot day! Now everyone say after me, "Ah, chocolate comfort food!"

From: About.com

A sparkling drink with a hint of chocolate and cream. Even with the heavy cream, this is a very refreshing recipe for the heat of summer.

Ingredients:

•3 Tablespoons chocolate syrup

•3 Tablespoons heavy cream (I use low fat milk as a substitute)

•Crushed ice

•Club soda or other sparkling water

Preparation:

Add syrup and cream to the bottom of a glass and mix well. Add crushed ice to nearly full, and then top off with club soda.

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09 June 2009

Wine Video: Perfect Wines for Summer

French wine and French gastronomy are often en...Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: OK, I like wine so I like to watch these wine videos where folks make recommendations - especially if it's a price conscious wine that won't empty my wallet! :) I'm often a big fan of Chilean red wines as they are tasty but budget conscious. Chilean wines come from French vines planted over 150 years ago. The Chilean philosophy is the same as their Spanish forebears: Everyone should be able to afford a good glass of wine often!

Here's an interesting video of current recommendations from The Today Show on NBC - one of the few networks that offers the ability to embed videos. Yet another reason to like these guys! :)



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23 May 2009

Video: Beautiful Fruit and Floral Cocktails Served with Chocolates!

From Denny: This NBC video was developed for Valentine's Day but these cocktails are good year 'round. The one demoed in the video is most unusual and refreshing for the summer season.

Where's the chocolate? Not in the cocktails but I'd definitely serve these cocktails with a side dish of your best dark chocolates to complement the fruit and floral tastes.



Here are the recipes:

L’Amour de Fleur

From:
Michael Cecconi

INGREDIENTS

Drink

• 1 ounce pink peppercorns

• 1 ounce kosher salt

• 2 ounces sugar

For the drink

• 2 ounces gin

• 1 ounce fresh lime juice

• 1 ounce simple syrup

• 1/2 ounce Rothman and Winter crème de violette (Available at Astor Wines and Morrell)

• 4-6 mint leaves

• 1 pinch dried lavender flowers (available at Dean and DeLuca and Kalustyan’s); give them a good crush before you drop them in the shaker

• Edible pansy flowers (optional; available at Kalustyan’s)

DIRECTIONS

For the drink’s spice rim: Coarsely grind pink peppercorns in either a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or mini-processor; mix with salt and sugar in a bowl, then pour onto a plate. Moisten a rocks glass with simple syrup, then dip it into the spice mixture. (There should be enough spice mixture left over for several cocktails.)

For the drink (serves 1): Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker; add ice, shake, and then pour through a julep or other fine strainer into an ice-filled, spice-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with an edible flower sprinkled with a bit of the spice mixture.

The Honeysuckle Rouge

From: Michael Cecconi

INGREDIENTS

For spiced red wine and honey syrup:

• 2 bottles inexpensive red wine

• 3 star anise pods

• 2 cardamom pods

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 5 cloves

• Zest of 1 orange*

• Zest of 1 lime*

• Zest of 1 grapefruit*

• Zest of 1 lemon*

• Pinch of salt

• 2 cups honey

• 1 cup hot water

For the drink

• 2 ounces Anejo Tequila

• 2 ounces Spiced Red Wine and Honey Syrup

• 1/2 ounce lemon juice

• Thin round of lemon for garnish in cocktail

DIRECTIONS

For the Spiced Red Wine and Honey Syrup:
Combine all the ingredients, except for the honey and hot water, in a large pot, bring to boil and reduce to roughly 1 pint (about 25 minutes at a hard boil). Pour through a fine strainer and set aside. Stir honey and water together until fully mixed. Combine one pint of the spiced red wine with one pint of the honey syrup. The spiced red wine and honey syrup will keep in a refrigerator for a week and freezes well, too.

*Save fruit for juicing or eating.

For the drink (serves 1): Combine tequila, spiced red wine and honey syrup, lemon juice, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass, then garnish with a thin slice of lemon.

Sparkling Sunset

From: Michael Cecconi

INGREDIENTS

For the pomegranate syrup

• 2 cups sugar

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 quart pomegranate juice*

For the drink

• 3/4 ounces pomegranate syrup

• 1 ounce fresh orange juice

• 1 ounce Plata (silver) tequila

• 2 ounces dry sparkling wine

DIRECTIONS

For the Pomegranate Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in a medium-size pot over high heat, and boil until the syrup thickens and uniform bubbles appear on top (around 15 minutes; do not allow syrup to caramelize). Reduce the heat to low, and slowly, carefully add the pomegranate juice, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat, cool, and refrigerate. The Pomegranate Syrup will keep for a week and freezes well.

*Juice fruit like you would a grapefruit: Cut it in half and then use a countertop citrus juicer to extract the juice.

For the drink (serves 1): Pour pomegranate syrup into a flute. Combine tequila, orange juice and ice in a cocktail shaker, then shake. Using the back of a spoon, strain the liquid into the flute, on top of the pomegranate syrup. Top with the sparkling wine, then serve to guests with a small spoon and encourage them to stir the ingredients together.



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19 April 2009

Drink: Concord Berry Sparkle




From Denny: From the folks over at Welsh's comes this non-alcoholic drink that would be just perfect for a Sunday gathering if you wanted something that was just a bit special. It sounds so refreshing! If you wanted to make it alcoholic just add a light white wine.

It's the seltzer that makes it so refreshing. Seltzer is a flavorless effervescent water. Originally, it came from the town of Nieder Selters, located in the Weisbaden region of Germany. Most of us are familiar with seltzer as soda water that is actually injected with carbon dioxide to mimic the one from Germany. Today, soda water as we know it began back in the late 1700's. We still use this basic technology in our soda drinks. Amazing, huh!?


Concord Berry Sparkle

From:
Welch’s

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients:


3 blueberries or 3 red grapes

4 ozs. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made from Concord grapes

1/2 oz. seltzer water or club soda

1 wedge fresh lime

1 sprig fresh mint


Directions:

1. In a glass, muddle blueberries or red grapes.

2. Add ice to glass. Pour in grape juice and seltzer.

3. Stir to blend fruit juices and sparkling water. Squeeze a little lime in, slosh the glass around and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.

Note: You can make a berry skewer to fancy up the drink for a party or guests.

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