Bloody Mary Basics

live seasoned crab bloody mary-1It’s summer vacation! At least for the Schu family, it is. We’re all gathered here on Saxis Island, Virginia for a few good beach weeks. Besides a good book on the screen porch, we start our morning with a big bloody mary. A couple years back we featured a rosemary vodka & herb bloody mary, but if that sounds like too much work (though it’s not!) we have a few bloody mary basics to elevate your morning booze game.

The best bloody marys are flavorful, cold, and topped with an amazing garnish. Over the years, I’ve mostly stopped making bloody mary mix from scratch. Instead, I spend my time jazzing up the pre-made mix, my favorite is Zing Zang, and prepping garnishes to really elevate the flavors. Start by stashing your bloody mary mix in the fridge overnight. When morning comes, brew a pot of coffee and then get to work.

Mix up the following spices then rim each glass by running a lemon or lime along the edge before dipping it into the spice mixture.

  • 1 tablespoon of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Add 6-8oz of bloody mary mix and a shot (or two) of vodka to each glass. Then add a dash or a shake of the following, leaving out whatever doesn’t suit you. Give each glass a good stir and add a few ice cubes.

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Clam juice
  • Pickle juice
  • Hot sauce (I use whatever is on hand, but Tapito is a great choice)
  • Horseradish
  • Ground pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Old Bay
  • Celery salt

Now it’s garnish time and really, here’s your opportunity to play it low-key, pile it on, or experiment with something over the top. Here are a few garnish suggestions, but don’t feel pressured to do it all, coming up with your own unique combo is the way to go.

  • Celery stick
  • Pickle
  • Bacon
  • Pickled okra, green beans or some other veggie
  • Olives
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Fried soft shell crab

Whaddaya say? Bloody marys with brunch this weekend? Stir one up for us too, we’ll be hanging out on the porch!

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Midsummer Mojito

Apparently, I was indulging in the bounty of the season around the same time last year and put together this Midsummer Magic post full of other berry delicious treats. I’m seasonally predictable like that. And if you like mojitos, we also have watermelon and rhubarb variations!

There comes a certain point every summer when the mint makes itself known in our garden. It grows like crazy, and we’re treated to its sweet and refreshing smell every time we walk among it.

This is the point when I make the switch from my nightly G&T to mojitos! There’s no better sensory experience than picking the mint, smashing it with some brown sugar, squeezing the lime juice, giving it all a stir, and then taking a big sip.

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Last week while I was picking mint, the boys were picking raspberries. We brought our bounty (or what was left, in the case of the berries) into the kitchen, and I was making my drink while unpacking our farm share. Inside the box was a fresh cucumber.

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Independence Day Eats & Treats

Happy Fourth Y’all! This post was originally published in 2015, but we think it’s still relevant 😉 Now I gotta go blast a Bruce Springsteen album while I consume and entire watermelon and light a bunch of sparklers.

JULY

As shown from top to bottom, left to right:

Watermelon Mint Salad     Mint Agua Fresca     Homemade Pizza Four Ways

Mint Simple Syrup Mojito     Cashew Fruit Dip

Watermelon Gazpacho     Mint Ice Cream     Rosemary Infused Bloody Marys

 

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Chive Blossom Fritters

It’s Pollinator Week, and we’re sharing pics of bees and one of their favorite early summer treats in our yard. Coincidence? Possibly.

Chive fritters, because it’s fair season, and just like pickles, cheese, and ice cream, even flowers can be fried. Classy? No. Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

Our house came with large patches of chives that produce an overabundance of beautiful edible blossoms every spring. I love the chives, but they also drive me slightly crazy because I feel bad when I’m not making use of the bunch. One of the easiest things to do is sending Alex out to pick chive and dandelion blossoms for our salads. He loves the independence that comes with being sent to do a job like this. I’ve also experimented with chive-infused vinegar. Remember the dressing in our pollinator salad? These fritters are yet another good use for the blossoms. chive_fritters1

But as it often happens happens, when I’m outside picking the blossoms, the bees are buzzing. They’re gently collecting pollen as they move from one flower to the next, and it’s then that I’m reminded that it’s perfectly fine to take a handful or two and just let the rest be. {Look at that bee bum!}

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Ginger & Pomegranate Punch

I made this punch last weekend for a cookbook club meeting (more on that soon!). I’m not normally a punch-maker and was a little bit nervous putting it together, but it ended up being amazing! I think it was all due to the ginger beer… If this is any testament to the punch’s deliciousness, it was the first thing to go at my little cocktail bar that night. This recipe is our party gift to you at the beginning of what’s sure to be a long, fun, and punchy (ha!) holiday season.

With the realization that we had a winner of drink on our hands, I knew that I wanted to share it on the blog, but forgot to take any beautifully staged drink shots, instead, we have some after-party empties. #oops

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The ingredients for this bad boy couldn’t be simpler : ginger beer, pomegranate juice, and mango nectar. The ginger beer provides a ginger flavor (obvs), but I really like it because it also adds a fiery warmth to the drink that you aren’t going to get with ginger ale. Don’t accept any ale substitutes. The pomegranate juice provides the punch’s tart flavor and the mango juice its sweetness.

I used 25 oz of ginger beer, 8 oz of pomegranate juice, and about 12 oz of mango nectar. After you put that all together, you can give it a taste and adjust things to your preference.

Originally I was going to spike this with light rum, but then decided against it since we were going to have some non and light drinkers in the group. Instead, everyone had the option to add whatever alcohol they would like (we had rum, gin, vodka, and SNAP available). I loved it with rum and stuck with that for my two glasses, but I know a lot of other guests were excited by the ginger-snap description of SNAP and ended up enjoying that paired with the punch.

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Since I was serving this for an October event, I used it as an excuse to experiment with dried ice for the first time! My goal was to serve the punch in a pumpkin with dry ice creating a smoke or haze that would flow out and around the punch bowl. I would give the final result a C+. The punch in the pumpkin looked super seasonal at the drink station (I even kept the pumpkin top and it made a cute lid on the punch before party time), but I couldn’t get the volume of smoke that I was looking for. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Here’s what I did : I cut the top off of an extra-large pumpkin and cleaned out the insides. Then I carved out the insides slightly until I was able to fit a metal* bowl down inside the bottom of the pumpkin, BUT I tried to not carve too much of the top rim of the pumpkin away so that my glass “punch” bowl could rest on the pumpkin and not sit down in the metal bowl. I think the following two pictures will help to illustrate the set-up.

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At party time, I placed the dry ice in the lower metal bowl and poured some water over it to get it smoking, then I placed the glass punch bowl on top for serving. While the ice would smoke some, it would also peter out fairly quickly. We would pour more water over it, causing another big release of smoke, but again, it was quickly exhausted…. maybe I just needed more dry ice in the lower bowl? While it wasn’t a dramatic success this time, everyone loved that we gave it a shot, and I’m still game to do a few more dry ice experiments.

*Metal is essential here since the dry ice gets so cold that it could shatter glass bowls (I even worry about pyrex because there have been some issues with lower quality pyrex being manufactured in recent years).

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See what I mean? It’s an ehh, on the scale of awesome, but hopefully I’ll have my dry ice game down by the time the boys are teenagers (gotta impress them with something).

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