Thirsty Thursday--Blackberry Paloma

I'm back for round two of my tequila dedicated posts this month,
with a big thanks to Casa Noble Tequila.

This time I decided to try out the crystal 

in one of my favorite tequila cocktails---The Paloma.

I have what you might call an obsession with all things grapefruit.
So this cocktail calls to me.
I pumped it up a little bit by adding a few of my other favorite ingredients...
blackberries and St. Germain.

And behold, my new favorite cocktail (for right now).

You are going to love this cocktail.
When you are pouring it into your glass your mouth is going to water.
The smell is divine.

Grapefruit, blackberries, elderflower, lime, and tequila.
It's intoxicating.

Blackberry Paloma

makes 1 cocktail

10 blackberries
1 teaspoon sugar or sweetener (I used Truvia)
juice from 1/2 lime
3 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ounce St. Germain
2 ounces crystal tequila

In the bottom of the cocktail shaker, add the blackberries and sugar.  Muddle until macerated.  Add all of the remaining ingredients.  Add ice and shake until well blended.  Pour into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of lime or grapefruit.

**adjust sweetener and lime depending on sweetness of berries--you may not need any sugar at all.


Thirsty Thursday--Raspberry Chipotle Margaritas

A few months ago I was approached by Casa Noble Tequila to experiment and make a few tequila cocktails to celebrate Earth Day.

The company was so generous,
they sent me 3 different bottles of tequila.

So who was I to complain.
I already share a Thirsty Thursday every week,
so why not share my favorite spirit the entire month of April.
(I am not one to pass up experimenting for a few new cocktails.)

Casa Noble Tequila is one of the best tequilas that I have ever tried,
and I've tried a few.
I really love the earthiness found in the tequilas and the taste is exceptional.

I was also very impressed when I researched it a bit more and found that the tequilas are made with 100% Blue Agave and are Certified Organic.

For this cocktail,
I decided to break out the big boy--Anejo.

Casa Noble Anejo Tequila is described as robust and complex with  intricate aromas of dried fruits, spice, and toasted oak, complemented with butterscotch, vanilla and cooked 
agave flavors. It has been aged in French White Oak Barrels for two years.

I paired this anejo tequila with smoky chipotles and sweet raspberries,
which produced one excellent margarita.

Raspberry Chipotle Margarita

Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces raspberry simple syrup**
3 ounces Casa Noble Anejo Tequila
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, pureed
2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 ounce Chambord

Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake until well mixed.  Pour into a glass over ice rimmed with lime and a mixture of chipotle pepper, sugar, and salt**.

Raspberry Simple Syrup

1 cup raspberries
1 cup sugar
3 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Smash the raspberries and allow mixture to boil for approximately 8 minutes until it begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

For the rimmer:

Combine 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, and a pinch of chipotle chili powder.  Use to rim margarita glass.

This cocktail is a little sweet with a tiny kick of heat and smokiness from the chipotles.
If you prefer a less sweet cocktail,
then add a touch more lime and chipotle.

You can find Casa Noble on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Thirsty Thursday--Spicy Bloody Marys

In my opinion, 
the Bloody Mary is the perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, going out cocktail.
It's great any time of the day or night.

It's got to be spicy, ice coldand full of groceries.

If you are from Louisiana, you know what I mean...
but if you aren't, 
it means that I like mine full of delicious garnishes.

My favorites are jalapeno stuffed olives, pickled okra, pickled green beans, and pepperoncini.
Sometimes I even add cucumbers and celery,
but only if I'm trying to be healthy.
(That's a joke.)

This recipe is pretty darn spicy, so adjust to taste.
If you want to kick it up a notch though, try jalapeno infused vodka.
It's amazing.

Spicy Bloody Marys

Printable Recipe

(makes 4 drinks)

2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup vodka

In a medium pitcher, mix all ingredients.  Pour into chilled glasses and garnish as desired.
(I used cajun seasonings -Tony's and lemon juice for the rim.)

Recommended garnishes:  pickled okra, olives, pickled green beans, pepperoncini, cucumbers, celery

Slow Roasted Carnitas

There is almost nothing that I love more than Mexican food.
Tacos, fajitas, enchiladas... I'm not picky.
I love it all.

This time I opted for Carnitas.
Slow roasted with a little spice.

I cooked them for an entire day and added guacamole, sour cream, and cotija cheese.
There's no way you won't love them as much as we did.

Slow Roasted Carnitas

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 8 pieces
1 large onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons chipotle chilies in adobo, pureed
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin

In a large dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium heat.  Place the tenderloin pieces in the hot oil and brown on all sides.  Reduce heat to low and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to make sure that the pork does not burn.  Shred the pork to serve.


Thirsty Thursday--Grapefruit Martini

I'm pleased to announce 
Thirsty Thursday 
is officially back!!

Oh, martinis and margaritas how I've missed you.
(Not that I haven't really been drinking them, 
I just really haven't been taking pictures/cooking/blogging--
I know--bad me!!)

I'm about to kick it into gear though.
I've cooked a few things lately,
made a few cocktails,
and added a few new things to the house.

So here it goes...
My first Thirsty Thursday of 2014.

My absolute favorite cocktail
(so far and for right now).

This absolutely tasty and beautiful cocktail was inspired by my sweet friend Kelly.
She mentioned making a Grapefruit Martini using fresh grapefruit and St. Germain and I was hooked.
I bought a few ingredients and started experimenting.

Grapefruit Martini

3 ounces fresh grapefruit wedges (frozen, pureed, and strained)**
3 ounces Grapefruit vodka (I used Deep Eddy's)
1 ounce St. Germain
squeeze of fresh lime juice
splash of club soda

Add first four ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and mix well.  Pour into a chilled martini glass. Top with a splash of club soda.

**I used grapefruit wedges in light syrup.  I froze them and pureed them in a blender.

Makes 1 cocktail.

This beautiful pink color makes me very, very happy.


Mexican Layer Dip

I think that I've shared my love of Mexican food many times.
This dip is no exception.
It's simple to make and so very tasty.
I love to make it with fresh ingredients and serve it cold with some blue corn chips.

The best part is that you can add whatever you like to it and it always tastes great.

Mexican Layer Dip

1 can refried beans, cooked and cooled
1 tomato, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
juice from 1/2 lime
4 ounces light sour cream, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon taco seasoning, plus more for topping
4 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 green onions, diced
1 avocado, chopped

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the refried beans, tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice. Layer mixture into the bottom of a medium-sized serving bowl.  Next, combine the sour cream and taco seasoning.  Spread the mixture on top of the bean mixture.  Add the cheese and top with avocado, a spoonful of sour cream, and green onion.  Sprinkle taco seasoning on top of the sour cream.


Roast Chicken-Lightened Up

A few weeks ago,
I posted about making a few lifestyle changes.
I've been dieting pretty heavily and the results have really paid off.

When I say "dieting" I feel like I'm using the term kind of loosely.
I figured out a long time ago that depriving myself only works for a while.
I'm trying very hard to control certain aspects of my diet to help me achieve my goals.

I've been exercising--which I ABSOLUTELY hate
and trying to eat with moderation.
(I've even cut back on my cocktails!!)

The exercising totally sucks,
but the food moderation is way worse
(in my opinion).
I absolutely love food,
it just loves me back way too much!!

This recipe is an adaptation from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook.
I completely love all of his cookbooks, 
but Bouchon is probably my absolute favorite.
It is one of my many go-tos.

The book is a little intimidating, 
but I promise, 
the man is positively a genius in the kitchen.
All of his recipes are amazing.

This roast chicken recipe is probably the simplest recipe that I've ever made,
and one of the best.

I mean, check out this beautiful bird.
(I know your mouth is watering.)

I know that you aren't going to believe me,
but this chicken was cooked with NO OIL or BUTTER at all.
And it is absolutely amazing!!

I roast my chicken a little bit differently than EVERYONE else.
I usually roast the chicken breast down.

I've tried it both ways and to me the bird stays juicier.
You usually just have to lower the temp by a few degrees and add a few minutes cooking time.

Roast Chicken--Lightened Up
(adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller)

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1-large chicken (usually around 3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the chicken (remove chicken heart, gizzards, etc...).  Completely dry the chicken inside and out.

Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the chicken liberally.  (You will probably use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper.

Truss the chicken with kitchen twine.  ( I like to truss mine a little bit loosely and leave the neck open a little.)

Place the chicken breast down in a deep roasting pan.  Roast for 1 hour.  (The internal temperature will read 155 degrees between the leg and thigh.)
After the chicken has cooked for 1 hour, turn off the oven and allow to sit in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove and allow chicken to sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Meanwhile, add the thyme leaves to the roasting pan and baste the chicken with the mixture.

Serve with more of the chicken-thyme jus.

It is amazing how you can get this beautiful, crispy skin with no oil at all.

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