Friday, May 10, 2013

Pina Coladas Are the Best Part of Vacation

Ryan and I recently ventured south of the border to watch his lovely friends Ernest and Ellie tie the knot in gorgeous Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. I had so much fun meeting his friends, learning his incredibly embarrassing nickname, “Pattycakes” (are you kidding me? Like, I die) and drinking the best Pina Coladas the entire time. For approximately 9 million calories, you can enjoy your own at home, any time you like, just follow these simple instructions...


The Classic Pina Colada

Pina= pinapple

Colada = strained/bleached or washed (wtf?)

Pina colada = bad decisions in tropical locations

1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup coconut cream 
1/4 cup coconut milk 
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 shot of kahlua (optional)
Sliced pineapple, for garnish (optional) 
Maraschino cherry, for garnish (non-optional best part)

Fill blender with ½ the frozen pineapple. (If you only have fresh, you should do ½ pineapple ½ ice cubes.)

Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and remainder of pineapple. Puree.

Serve, with a shot of kahlua a the bottom of the glass, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry. 

Since you're clearly on vacation (or pretending to be) at this point, go ahead and play a game of who can tie that cherry stem in a knot using only their tongue…because as dictated above, when constructed and consumed correctly, Pina Coladas lead to bad decisions in tropical locations. So drink up, and leave your stories in the comment section below.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

This one is for my little lady on our official one year anniversary. Miss Rhubarb Victoria and I have seen many ups and downs since April 2012 and so last night, on the anniversary of the day I brought her home, I made strawberry rhubarb crisp. It's sweet, it's sassy, and it's everything I love about Rhubarb.

I love you, my little nugget, this one is for YOU

4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
Vanilla ice cream, for those a la mode aficionados out there

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large baking dish toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the zest together. 
In another bowl combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. Using your hands add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. 

Serve warm with ice cream, while snuggling a perfect little pooch named Rhubarb.

Bison Zucchini Garlic Lasagna

Bikini bodies aren't made in June, but neither is lasagna so while it’s still raining out let’s talk about cheesy noodly goodness and how to create it.

I have to give half the credit to the handsome fellow pictured below who managed to get his feedback included in the final result, because he sneakily got me drunk…allow me to explain.

First, ingredients:
No boil noodles
Ground bison, buffalo or, wait for it… beefalo (totally a thing)
Whole milk ricotta
Mozzarella (buffalo milk style if you have it, because it’s delicious and themes are nifty)
Pasta sauce
Fresh garlic
Red chili flakes

How I accidentally let someone help me make dinner:

Preheat the oven to 350 (grab a beer, because cooking should be fun, casual and carefree)

Brown ground bison with some garlic, salt, and red chili flakes (if someone tosses garlic salt in the pan, suppress your need to control, wonder to yourself if cooking with a buddy could be neat, and take another sip to calm your fears that garlic salt might have just ruined your entire life)  

Grate zucchini and chop onions then brown in a pan with a bit of olive oil or butter. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and set aside (if someone suggests you add additional garlic here, have another sip or two and encourage that kind of creative thinking. Then examine the situation carefully because someone is clearly trying to make vampire-slaughtering lasagna over here…but why?)

In a large casserole dish (that is shaped like a damn fishbowl because it’s all you could find at this bachelor pad and so now you pop another Stella while you try and figure out how to make this work)

Layer in: pasta sauce, noodles, ricotta, zucchini, bison cheese and repeat, ending with hefty cheese coverage. (As you layer, allow someone to help you. If they suggest nibbling the dry, uncooked edges of the noodle sheets in order to shape them to fit in the casserole dish, you go with it, because somehow this turned into a drinking game of chug a beer every time I lose a little more control of this dinner and now I’m too wasted to protest eating cardboard) 

Pretend not to notice when he picks up on your little drinking game and joins you. His game seems to be drink when your lady friend begins displaying signs of mounting anxiety. 
Let bake for 60 minutes. (Watch an episode or two of the real housewives and get your shit together. Maybe the lasagna wont taste like garlic drywall and you can invite this “cooking as a duo” idea into your life. Then you open another Stella, curl up on the couch with your little puppy and think to yourself, this is why I only cook with my dog)

Then! You find out the lasagna is actually delicious and garlic had the audacity to outshine the bison. You give your gentleman friend a high five and wonder if you are in fact, crazy.