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Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.

Easy Creamed Corn with Basil

Easy Creamed Corn with Basil is a summer staple in our house. These sweet kernels are just barely simmered in a sauce made from silky mascarpone cheese, a little half and half and not much else. Add a sprinkle of fragrant basil and you’ve got a simple, supremely summery side!

The Monarch: A Brown-Sugar Bourbon Cocktail with Thyme and Lemon

Inspired by the sweet nectar of summer flowers, we created a cocktail in partnership with Heritage Distilling’s Brown Sugar Bourbon, which has notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, to which we added fresh thyme, lemon and elderflower liqueur. It’s tart, herbal, and beautifully smooth and luscious and very drinkable. After all, don’t we all deserve a little sweetness in our lives?

The. Best. Mojito.

The Best Mojito

Does the world need another mojito recipe? Yes. Yes it does, because this one has a little something extra that, in my tipsy, slightly slurred opinion, takes it to the next level of yumminess. And no, I’m not suggesting you buy an expensive, impossible-to-find rum. Or scour the earth for special ice made from Himalayan mountain water. In fact it’s something really simple. Mint simple syrup…

imageIf you’re not familiar with it, simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar melts. That’s it. It’s when you start infusing syrups that they get really interesting.

We’re growing all this mint on our deck and smelling it seriously put me in the mood for mojitos. I snipped a whole bunch but before I got to muddling, I thought about trying to make a syrup instead. I’m telling you, it’s a revelation. It’s not only intensely minty but you also don’t have to get a mouth full of squashed herbs every time you take a sip. I did still muddle a few leaves but not the massive handful that a good mojito usually needs.

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Corpse Reviver #2

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imageMy stepmom, Marcia, told us about this cocktail when we visited over the summer and though we didn’t get a chance to try it, it sounded so good I had to make it when we got back.

While it sounds like it should be served out of a skull, bubbling over with dry ice, the “Corpse Reviver” family of cocktails are actually classics. The name refers not to zombies (unfortunately), but to their use as hangover cures. There are several types of Corpse Reviver cocktails that were first listed in the Savoy Cocktail Handbook by Harry Craddock in 1930. When prohibition began, Craddock fled to England, where he became chief barman at London’s swanky Savoy Hotel.

This is his sage advice on how to properly drink a cocktail, “Quickly, while it’s laughing at you”.  He’s now my spirit animal. 

Corpse Reviver #2 is definitely the most popular today and I can see why. It’s not overly sweet and has a lovely citrusy, herbal flavor. It is strong though so prepare yourself for a fun night (or a nap).

One of the main ingredients is Lillet Blanc, which is a French aperitif. I really love it on its own just with ice, but it’s also a fantastic ingredient in cocktails. You’ll absolutely want to use fresh squeezed lemon juice for this, no refrigerated stuff out of a squeeze bottle.

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The chickens have landed! I repeat, the chickens are in the coop!

The chickens have landed! I repeat, the chickens are in the coop!

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Matt writes:

Hello there, chickadees! You’ve probably gathered that I’m not quite as prolific as m’wife when it comes to updating the blog, but I think it’s about time – no, past time – for an update on how the chicken coop is going. Well, it’s done. We have chickens.

“What’s this?”, you cry in alarm. “The last we heard you were planning on building one, and now you’ve built one, and you have chickens, and this is how we find out, you tell us?”

All those things are true. I found a plan online, a plan that was detailed and had lots of pictures (quite important for an idiot like me with no knowledge of power tools), I ordered the lumber and hardware parts, and hove at it. There was sawing. Quite a lot of sawing. There was the judicious application of nail and screw, along with a fair number of brackets, and a great deal of hardware cloth, wrapped around and sunk a foot into the ground. There is a brace, ‘cos it’s a bit wonky.

Essentially, it’s a walk-in coop consisting of a framed shell, roofed with corrugated vinyl, and enclosed on one side with interior plywood and exterior siding, to form the henhouse. Once the frame was together, our friends Karen and Tom helped us position it down in a corner of the yard, and I built up the frame, roof, netting and henhouse a step at a time when I had a few hours in the day. Last weekend I finished the plywood nesting boxes and interior walls, and today we drove up to Saugerties and handed a farmer some cash money in exchange for four chickens.

The design of the coop means that they can be confined within, but since we have a fenced yard, they should be safe to roam around under supervision, provided the whistle-pig doesn’t take a fancy to them…

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Emily says:

Yes! We picked these four lovely ladies up today. Seriously, can you believe we actually have chickens? In our yard? I’m agog. AGOG, I say!

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Arya says: “Whats? Im cant beleave!”

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(At least she seems to realize they aren’t her dinner…so far.)

 

Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken (inspired by Withnail and I)

Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken (inspired by Withnail and I)

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You’ve seen Withnail and I, right? Of course you have. It’s a classic fil…wait, WHAT? You haven’t? You must see it! Right this minute! Go on, we’ll wait. *Taps fingers on table sternly*. Cut to 5 hours later (because you had to watch it twice and have a nap because you were tipsy). Now… don’t you feel better? Something was missing, wasn’t it?

For years, every time I’d roast a chicken, I’d be tempted to stand it up in the oven, just for giggles.

chicken_upon_a_brickNow, I know cooking chicken on a beer can is a thing but I am way too accident prone to try to balance a large, slippery chicken on a tallboy . Then I saw this, noticed it was only $20 and decided that I must have it. I have to tell you, it actually works incredibly well and, more importantly, your chicken will look hilarious as it hangs out, sitting up, in your oven.

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I imagine this will be me, Matt and one of our chickens very soon.

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Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Honey Balsamic Glaze

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I’m kind of weird with mint. I think I associate it too closely with toothpaste so I’m super picky about when I use it. I really, really don’t like it anywhere near my ice cream, chocolate or potatoes. It’s perfect with watermelon and feta though. I decided to make a glaze with honey and balsamic vinegar to brighten the sweet and tart flavors. I left the shallots out this time (because I was tired and forgot them). It was still good but a touch of sharp shallot helps bring it over to the savory side. This is so summery and incredibly quick to make. 
 
I must be on a sweet/salty kick because when I bought this watermelon, I couldn’t wait to chop it up and throw some feta and mint on that bad boy (Sorry, not sure why I’m talking like Guy Fieri all of a sudden. Shudder.). This is a classic combination which just really works in a “greater than the sum of it’s parts” sort of way.
 
Don’t forget to buy a seedless watermelon. I got a seeded one by accident and it made it slightly annoying to eat. While I do enjoy spitting watermelon seeds like a trucker spitting dip, it’s less hilarious when it’s in my living room and I’ve got to clean it up. 
 

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