I’ve been really enjoying digestifs recently. Something about having a nice cocktail after dinner just makes me smile. While dessert is absolutely the only way to end a meal, a cocktail to go with it just puts the icing on the cake… so to speak.
Unlike an aperitif which gets you ready for your meal, a digestif helps to digest the food. They’re usually on the sweeter side which is why they’re the ideal way to finish off your meal. Although a digestif usually consists of a brown liquor like scotch or brandy, it can also be a mixed cocktail made up of sweeter liqueurs and mixers. That’s exactly what the Cadillac is. There actually isn’t a single drop of brown liquor anywhere in the cocktail. Instead it’s made up of Galliano, cremé de cacao and heavy cream. It’s the cremé de cacao that makes it sweeter than your standard snifter of brandy or port, which means this drink could be dessert all on its own. But come on, we all know a cocktail is definitely better when sipped between bites of cake or pie.
The Cadillac was created in 1952 in El Dorado, California, at a bar called Poor Red’s. The story goes that a newly engaged couple came into the bar and wanted to celebrate their engagement with a cocktail created specifically for them. The bartender of the time, Frank Klein, thought it should match their newly purchased gold Cadillac. So, he mixed and mixed and mixed and after several misses finally came up with what we now know today as the Golden Cadillac. Because it uses Galliano, Poor Red’s became the largest consumer of Galliano liqueur in North America. In fact, the Golden Cadillac is such a popular drink, Galliano gave Poor Red’s a Gold Cadillac to display outside the bar.
I can’t wait to sip an authentic Golden Cadillac at Poor Red’s. But since I don’t have any plans to visit El Dorado, California any time in the near future, I guess I’ll just have to whip up my own. Won’t you join me?
- 1 oz. Galliano
- 1 oz. Cremé de Cacao
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into an aperitif glass and serve.
Anyone out there a fan of blackeyed peas? I am. Or rather, I am now. Up until a couple months ago I’d never even tasted the delectable little beans. But thankfully Melissa’s Produce changed all that when they sent me some of their Steamed Blackeyed Peas for New Year’s. I loved them so much I asked Melissa’s to send me more. But this time instead of making a hearty stew, I thought I’d make a pasta dish I’d seen in Food and Wine Magazine.
What intrigued me about this dish wasn’t just the blackeyed peas, but all the other ingredients incorporated in it. When looking at the recipe it seemed sort of hodge podgish, like it wouldn’t necessarily go together. I mean, there’s bacon, fresh baby spinach and tomatoes. The good news though, is that when finally put together the pasta not only tastes delicious, it looks more like a salad than your standard pasta entreé. But that’s okay with me because I love a good, hearty pasta salad, and the fact that it’s warm makes it even better.
But what really sold me on this recipe, was how easy it was to throw together. Most of the recipes from Food and Wine are complicated and involved. Yes, they’re delicious and well worth the effort, but during the week, I just don’t have two or three hours to get dinner on the table. This recipe wasn’t like that, especially since Melissa’s Blackeyed Peas are steamed and all ready to go. All you really need to do to get this dinner on the table is boil the orecchiette and fry up the bacon. That’s right, you don’t need to soak these beans overnight like most other brands. With Melissa’s you simply slice open the package, rinse the beans and you’re good to go. Since I have two boys whose extracurricular activities take them until at least 6 most nights, any recipe I can get on the table within 30 minutes gets a big ol’ smiley face next to it.
Blackeyed Pea Orecchiette Pasta
- 1/2 pound bacon sliced thinly crosswise
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 package of Melissa’s Steamed Blackeyed Peas
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- 5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain.
- Add the oil to the bacon grease and heat. Once shimmering, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Pour the garlic oil into a bowl. Add the blackeyed peas, tomatoes and vinegar and toss to coat.
- Boil the orecchiette in a large pot of salted water; drain.
- Add the pasta and spinach to the blackeyed pea mixture and toss until the spinach is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
- Spoon into shallow bows, sprinkle the bacon and some Parmesan cheese on top and serve.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Melissa’s provided me with the blackeyed peas for recipe testing. As always, any opinion expressed is my own and is not influenced in any way by the manufacturer/PR firm as I only review products that I have personally tested and endorse.
The Academy Awards are Sunday and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be plunked down in front of the television starting around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and not moving until at least 9 when that long awards show is finally over. Why are we sitting in front of the TV all day? It’s partly to see who wins best picture, director, actor and actress. But it’s also to rate what everyone’s wearing. If you’re anything like me, you need to drool over the beautiful gowns and gasp at the hideous, “what-were-they-thinking” outfits. And what goes perfectly with beautiful gowns, tuxedos and glamorous jewels? Champagne of course!
While you could sip champagne all by itself, I’ve always preferred mixed drinks. There’s nothing better than taking all those different alcohols and whipping up some awesomely tasty cocktail. And while all the mixed drinks I’ve had are quite delicious, there’s none I prefer more than a cocktail made with champagne. Or vodka. Or bourbon… okay, so I’m pretty impartial. But for special occasions nothing beats a cocktail made with champagne, and the academy awards are definitely special. I mean, all the stars will be drinking champagne, so why can’t we?
Unlike some of the other champagne cocktails I’ve made, this one was created specifically for royalty (hence its name). Although I’m not sure which bartender crafted this special drink, I do know it was created in 1950 for the wedding of Margaret Rhodes, the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. The two have been close ever since they were little, and Rhodes was even a bridesmaid to Princess Elizabeth when she married in 1947. You can see why a cocktail was created for this special lady and why it earned the name Queen’s Cousin.
So, if you happen to be watching the Oscars on Sunday and thereby in the presence of Hollywood Royalty, why not sip a Queen’s Cousin? Not only will you enjoy this delectable cocktail, you’ll feel like the royalty it was named after.
Queen’s Cousin Cocktail
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/4 oz. Cointreau
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 4 oz. champagne or sparkling wine
- Pour the first 5 ingredients (through the bitters) into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 1 minute until nice and cold. Strain into a wine glass.
- Top with champagne and serve immediately.
Remember how I said I was going to be making a few Angel cocktails for Valentine’s Day? And remember how I said that a couple of them would elicit thoughts of S – E – X even before the first sip? Well, they say a picture’s worth a thousand words… so I’m pretty sure you all know what today’s cocktail is supposed to remind you of and how it got its name.
Just like last week’s cocktail, this one is also a sweet aperitif. But unlike last week’s, this cocktail only has 1 liqueur. It’s just Maraschino and cream, which makes the layering required to create this drink much easier. What makes this cocktail so special, and the perfect choice for the holiday of love though, is the placement of the cherry. As you can see, the cherry needs to be right in the center of the cocktail, otherwise you don’t get that image and the cocktail’s moniker makes no sense.
Even though it’s quite sweet, the Angel’s Tit was actually one of the most popular aperitifs you could get during the Prohibition. It’s popularity was most likely due to the combination of whipped cream and sweet liqueur. The two together make this beverage not only tasty, but similar to a chocolate dessert, the perfect way to end your Valentine’s Day dinner.
- 1-1/2 oz. Maraschino liqueur
- 1/2 oz. whipped cream
- Pour the Maraschino in an aperitif glass.
- Place a dollop of whipped cream on top with a spoon.
- Garnish with a cherry placed right in the center of the cream. Serve.
Saturday is chocolate day. No, it’s not National Chocolate Day. Believe it or not, that’s in October. Saturday is chocolate day because it’s Valentine’s Day, and other than flowers and jewelry, the most popular gift given on this holiday is, you guessed it, chocolate. So you’ll see pretty red hearts in all the chocolate stores waiting to be purchased. But instead of buying chocolate, why not make some instead?
But this cake isn’t like most other Valentine’s chocolate choices. What makes this cake special is its hint of citrus. I’ve never been a big fan of citrus with my chocolate. I know plenty of people who love their oranges dipped in chocolate. But if I’m adding fruit, I usually go for strawberries or cherries. So, you can understand why I wasn’t really excited about this cake when I found it amongst a list of popular chocolate desserts. But since we’re right in the middle of citrus season, and I do love a good flourless chocolate cake, I figured I’d give it a shot.
I’m so happy I did. This cake is not only rich and chocolatey, that hint of citrus elevates the flavor to something truly amazing. It actually makes it holiday-worthy. And it’ll turn that Valentine’s Day dinner into something special. So special in fact, that the jewelry in those pretty velvet boxes? They could end up being secondary to that awesome home cooked meal.
Chocolate Citrus Cake
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 14 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-in. springform pan and set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse the bittersweet chocolate until finely ground. Add the cocoa and pulse to combine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, orange juice and zests until the mixture is thick and pale. Beat in the chocolate and melted butter.
- In a clean bowl beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture, then pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake until cake pulls away from the edges of the pan and top is well browned, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
- Run a knife around the cake and release the pan. Set the cake on a platter and garnish with a light dusting of cocoa powder if you like, slice and serve.