Yeah, so it’s pretty clear from the title of this post that I’m about a month late in getting around to it…
Garden & Gun
But it’s never too late for a beer-based beverage! Especially one that acts as a welcome substitute for a Bloody Mary when the summer is too sticky for tomato juice but you still need something to knock last night’s fog out.
The basic version of this drink is just lime juice and beer, but The Chef pointed me toward a Garden & Gun recipe that uses soy and Worcestershire, and my salt addiction rejoiced. (If you are not a sodium addict, you can control the amount by limiting the sauce additions.)
So if you like to drink anything bloody (Mary or Beer – this is not a vampire reference), try this out on Memorial Day. It’s an icy, refreshing change of pace. Ole!
1 beer (Mexican preferably, but anything without too strong a flavor will do)
2 limes, juiced
dash of soy sauce
dash of Worcestershire
dash of spices (like Tony’s)
- Run a lime wedge around your glass and rim with salt.
- Fill halfway with ice.
- Add all ingredients, saving beer for last.
- Stir and slurrrrrrrp. Salty goodness.
My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.
As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:
- isn’t bright pink
- uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
- doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.
And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.
While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.
The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.
2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish
- Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
- Combine all ingredients and chill.
I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.
To round out the Akin Family Christmas trilogy, we now have the quintessentially Southern giblet gravy. I know words like “gizzard” and “turkey neck” turn some people off, but for real Southerners, they just mean flavor.
This is my Aunt Sylvia’s gravy recipe, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to turkey or oyster dressing. And it’s actually pretty darn good over everything, but people look at you funny if you cover your whole plate in it, so consider yourself warned.
turkey neck, liver, and gizzard
1 boiled egg, chopped
1 large spoonful of dressing
- Boil turkey neck, liver and gizzard in chicken stock. Chop.
- Add one large spoonful of dressing and the egg and stir until mixed.
- Thicken with cornstarch to desired consistency.
So despite my moral dilemma of yesterday, I’ve decided to go ahead and pull this one out of The Vault. (As it turns out, my threshold for withholding secret recipes is quite shallow, which is probably to be expected from a person who has a blog about recipes on the Interwebs.)
Anyway, perhaps the groundhog will take a page from my book – you know, bringing things to light and such – and ignore his stupid shadow so we can get on with Real Spring instead of this faux Fall we’ve been having.
Annnnnd, rambling is now over. As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been a long time coming. My cousin Melissia had to watch my Aunt Sylvia make it three times to come up with the recipe because it had never even been written down. So it’s old school traditional is what I’m saying.
I’m also saying it is delectable, so even if you have to tinker with it a little bit to get it right, your efforts will be rewarded.
1 pan cornbread
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 raw eggs
2-3 boiled eggs, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 can oysters
1 tsp+ poultry seasoning
1 tsp+ sage
salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook celery and onion in broth until tender.
- Crumble breads and mix all ingredients together. Taste and season accordingly. (This is where the extra sage or poultry seasoning comes in.)
- Pour into 9×13 pan.
- Bake for at least 40 minutes (longer if all of the excess moisture hasn’t evaporated).
Despite the long absence from you, Num, I have returned. And I have brought with me the spoils of my annual Ripley Christmas trip.
Namely, the somewhat hyped and super delicious cider recipe from Uncle Stewart’s tailgate… and Akin Oyster Dressing. (I’m still debating the morality of posting that second one since it took me several years to annoy my cousin Melissia and Aunt Sylvia into relinquishing it, so time will have to tell on that one.)
For the moment, this simple sipping cocktail will have to suffice. And I guarantee it will quench any thirst, a winter one especially.
Apple Cider or Juice
- Mix cider and spices as directed on package. (Incidentally, the spices come in an adorable milk carton package, so this drink is both cute and yummy.)
- Add Hot Damn to taste.
- Heat (do not boil) and imbibe.
This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.
I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.
While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.
Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
- Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.
You might think I’m titling these cake balls “crazymaker” because you’ll be made “craaaaazy by how good they are!” or something equally infomercially. You would be wrong. I am titling them this because every time I’ve made them, they’ve made me a few shades more insane.
On the face of it, this recipe is simple. And in reality, I think it once was for me because I remember making literally 7 different varieties of these when I worked at the state capitol. For some reason, though, the last time I made these, my kitchen and Ripley were covered in batter and sadness by the time it was all said and done.
Nonetheless, you dessert folk get seriously neglected here at Nummy, so I’m trying to throw you a sugar bone. If you actually make the cake/icing mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it, the step where you dip the balls in melted chocolate might not make you postal.
1 box cake mix + ingredients to make it
1 container icing
1 bag of chocolate (white, dark, whatever)
- Make the cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble.
- Stir in icing until cake and icing mixture is smooth and creamy. CHILL.
- Melt chocolate in the dreaded double-boiler. (Or ANY OTHER WAY to melt chocolate if you know one.)
- Roll into balls and dip into chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry and lightly dust with sprinkles.
You know, as I wrote this up, I remembered that it was actually enjoyable to see the finished product of these things, especially with fun flavor combinations like carrot cake and cream cheese frosting with orange sprinkles. Cute as sh*t, no?