A Bit of Cocktails and Dressings ll

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In honor of the midweek achievement, it’s only right to continue the cocktails and dressing segment with this tasty cocktail recipe that infuses a little bit of fruit and heat. I have challenged myself to use the fresh herbs that are doing surprisingly well in my backyard, in as many ways as possible. Since we are still in strawberry season, it was an easy fruit pick and I decided to pair it with basil, an infused vodka and a surprising kick. ­čÖé If you are not a pineapple person, I would recommend a coconut or citrus infused vodka for this recipe below. Thanks to my pal Lance, I had the perfect mason jar glass to put my drink in and toast the end of the day. Since my salads have been topped with chicken salad this week for lunch, I’ve kept the dressing simple with balsamic, but somehow I think an avocado dressing may make the next cut.

Share your thoughts and enjoy!

Strawberry Basil and Jalape├▒o Spritzer
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
1/8 cup of fresh strawberries (2-3 small)
2-3 basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 lime wedge (1/4 of a small lime)
1 small seeded jalape├▒o
1.5 ounces of pineapple vodka
8 ounces of club soda

Directions:
1. Rinse all produce.
2. With gloved- hands, cut the tops off of the berries and cut the jalape├▒o in half before removing the seeds, ribs and top stem.
3. Squeeze half of a lime into a steel cup or drink shaker. (A bowl will work too.)
4. Add berries, jalape├▒o, lime and basil in with the squeezed juice. Mash items down with a pestle or a drink muddler for 30 secs-1 minute or until the contents start to break down.
5. Add pineapple vodka and 1/2 cup of ice. Use a second cup pouring the contents from one cup to the other to mix the ingredients well. You can also use a martini shaker if preferred.
6. Pull out lime wedge and jalape├▒o halves.
7.Add ice to a glass and pour in mixture. (You can strain it if preferred).
8. Add club soda and squeeze lime wedge over the glass.
9. Enjoy.

Note: For a more intense flavor, let mashed ingredients steep in the vodka for 15-20 minutes prior to using. You can also make it the day before and steep the mixture overnight in the fridge.

A Bit Of Pecans

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So I’ve determined that for the next few posts I will alternate between a meal and the cocktails and dressing series. I won a herb garden from a fundraising event I recently attended and have been testing out my green thumb to support both dishes and drinks. When a friend of mine brought me some fresh Louisiana pecans, I thought that would be great with some herbs in a fish dish. I had some catfish on hand from a previous indieplate.com order and some veggies from my farmers market trip and below is the creation that came from it. Hope you enjoy it if you try it and share your thoughts!

Pecan Topped Catfish
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 medium red potatoes (1 cup chopped)
2 fillets of catfish
1.5 cups of string beans
1 cup sliced yellow onion
2 tsp. coconut oil or oil of choice
┬ż cup of water
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. coarse black pepper
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. of chives minced (reserve for plating)

Ingredients Pecan Topper:
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp. fresh chopped oregano
1 tbsp. butter

Directions:
1. Diced a small onion. (If onion is larger than what is needed, chop it and store it in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for an easy addition during the week.)
2. Wash and dice the potatoes and add the potatoes and half of the onion to a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add 1 tsp. of each seasoning to the potatoes. Let them begin to brown slightly (3 mins) before adding ┬╝ cup of the water. Let cook for 5 minutes before putting them in a bowl for later use. (They will not be cooked through completely.)
4. Rinse out pan and add coconut oil over medium heat. While heating, add 1 ┬Ż tsp of each seasoning to the fish (add 1 tsp of cayenne to each to boost the heat). Place in heated skillet seasoned side down and season the other side with the same amount. Sear on each side for 3 minutes.
5. While the fish sears, rinse green beans and cut off rough ends. You can leave them whole or cut in half. Add green beans and remaining onion to a small pan over medium heat with ┬╝ cup of water and remaining seasoning. Once it begins to boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low.
6. Once fish is browned make room in the pan and add back in the potatoes and onion to continue cooking. Add another ┬╝ cup of water. Top and reduce heat to medium low.
7. Let green beans and fish cook for an additional 5 minutes.
8. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. While the butter melts chop pecans and herbs before adding to saucepan. Stir every 30 seconds for 2 minutes to lightly toast the mixture. Do not let the nuts burn.
9. Turn off all pots. Plate potatoes, then top with the fish and add half of the pecan mixture to each fillet. Add green beans beside the fish and sprinkle 1 tsp of chives over each plate.
10. Enjoy!

 

A Bit Of Cocktails and Dressings

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Though it’s May it appears summer is already here in Louisiana. With that, the weather also brings cocktails and summer salads. I thought it could be fun, per some conversations with friends and family, to dedicate a few posts to my favorite homemade mixes of fresh drinks and salad dressings for the health conscious. I am certainly a fan of a salad and a cocktail which to me equals a guilt free meal. ­čÖé Since I’ve referenced it before, I’ll start with my recipe for strawberry lemonade. I am guilty as charged of mixing it with everything from New Orleans spiced rum that has been steeped in herbs, to pineapple vodka. There are certainly many tasty variations to appeal to your palate. Enjoy the recipe and certainly drink responsibly (as they say). The dressing can go on an avocado and tomato salad (add shrimp if you’re feeling adventurous) or on any traditional salad with your favorite toppings. Below are the ingredients for the lemonade, the cocktail and a ┬ádressing as well as the directions. Enjoy and share your thoughts!

Strawberry lemonade ingredients:

1.5 cups of lemon juice
1 pint of strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of local honey
8 cups of water

Directions:
1. Peel and juice lemons in a juicer. If juicing by hand, cut in half and juice fruit (9-12 lemons). Add juice to a clean pitcher.
2. Rinse and cut green tops off of strawberries. Put in blender or food processor with a cup of water and blend until smooth.
3. Add strawberry mixture to pitcher and sugar and honey and stir until completely dissolved.
4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients for cocktail: (serves 2)
1-1.5 ounce rum per person
1 spring Rosemary
5 large basil leaves
3 ounces club soda
4-6 ounces of strawberry lemonade
2 lemon wedges
Directions for cocktail:
1. Add rosemary and basil leaves to a cup and add the rum you plan to serve in beverage. (1 to 1.5 ounce per person on average).
2. Let steep for at least 30 minutes before use.
3. Add a serving of rum then 4-6 oz of strawberry lemonade and half of club soda to each glass.
4. Squeeze the lemon wedge over each glass and use as a garnish.

Dressing ingredients:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Dissolve sugar in balsamic vinegar by stirring with a whisk or fork.
2. Stream in olive oil until well incorporated.
3. Sprinkle in salt and pepper in half tsp increments until desired taste.