Since St. Patrick’s Day is just over a week away I decided to bring you a cocktail that is neither green nor has Irish in the name. You’re probably thinking “wait, what?! How can there be a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail that is neither green nor Irish?” Easy, it has Clover in the title, and as you all know clovers are also big during St. Patrick’s Day. But as I said this clover is neither green nor four-leaved. It is instead pale pink and seriously packs a punch.
The Clover Club was named for a group of Philadelphia journalists who met regularly from 1882 into the 1920′s at the Bellevue Hotel. Although the group was mainly made up of journalists, plenty of celebrities were invited to the party… pretty much to be heckled. But much like the Algonquin Circle, if you could get into the Clover Club, even if it was for just one drink, you were thought to be able to get in anywhere.
While the club started in 1882, the cocktail for which it was named was created around the turn of the century at the Bellevue. Although it’s pink in color, Jack Townsend, the president of the Bartender’s Union, was quoted in 1951 as saying “the Clover Club drinker is traditionally a gentleman of the pre-Prohibition school,” a “distinguished patron of the oak-paneled lounge.” In other words he’s a man’s man.
So on this Irish holiday men can feel confident drinking the Clover Club because it packs a gin-based punch while women can enjoy the cocktail because it’s pretty in pink. And if anyone asks why in the world you’d be drinking a pink cocktail on a holiday that’s all about being green, just quote the men from the Clover Club: “While we live, we live in clover; When we die, we die all over!” Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.
- 2 oz. dry gin
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 oz. raspberry syrup
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously for a minute, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve. Note: Incidentally, if you add a sprig of mint for garnish, you’ll have yourself a Clover Leaf Cocktail.
As you know, I’m a mother with a toddler which means my days are pretty packed. Because my days are so packed I only have the chance to go to the grocery store once a week to get everything I need for the upcoming week. Since I’m there so often, I’ve had a chance to really examine my store, especially the checkout lines.
Have you ever taken a good look at the checkout before? It’s amazing how much stuff there’s still left to buy even though you’re cashing out to leave: candy bars, every kind of gum imaginable, even breath mints. But if you’re not in the mood for edible items there are also magazines. Half of them are the social, keep you up to date on who’s dating (or married) who and which stars have suddenly lost (or gained) enormous amounts of weight. But right next to all those impulse buys are usually one or two cooking magazines, like Sunset, Real Simple or Better Homes and Gardens. These are the things I buy impulsively because there’s always a recipe or two buried in the pages that look interesting. A few months ago the same thing happened: I picked up Sunset’s Best Recipes of 2012 and found several yummy sounding recipes including a delicious oven pancake that seemed like the perfect treat for a Mother’s Day brunch. I was right.
The pancake was a rich, custardy entreé covered with my favorite berries. (Although the recipe calls for strawberries and raspberries, you could easily substitute blueberries or blackberries or any combination that you prefer.) It was like having a delicious dessert for breakfast that goes perfectly with coffee or a mimosa.
So, after a long year of making breakfasts, dinners and school lunches, this pancake is the perfect treat to show Mom how much you care. And since all the ingredients get poured into an oven-proof skillet and baked in the oven, it’s an easy recipe for the kids to make alone or with their daddies. But best of all, it allows moms everywhere (even me) to sleep in on Sunday. And if you’re a mother, you know how nice those extra five minutes of “beauty rest” can be.
Custard Oven Pancake with Mixed Berries
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups raspberries, divided
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Place an oven-proof 12-inch skillet in the oven to warm.
- While the skillet is warming, whisk the eggs, honey and lemon zest together in a large bowl until combined. Add the salt, flour and 1/4 cup milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and set aside.
- Purée 1 cup of raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain to discard the seeds.
- Using an oven mitt, remove the warmed pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 400°.
- Add the butter to the pan and swirl until melted. Pour the batter into the pan. Pour the raspberry purée over the batter in wide ribbons. Bake the pancake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes (the pancake will fall).
- While the pancake cools, combine the strawberries, remaining raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Spoon half the berry mixture onto the pancake and place the rest on the side in a bowl. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve.
Last week I attended my first Food Bloggers Los Angeles meeting. It’s a group of local food bloggers who get together once a month to share ideas, socialize and of course eat. Well this month’s meeting was all about potatoes since Don Odiorne, the VP for food service for the Idaho Potato Commission, was the guest of honor. So to honor his visit, all the bloggers who attended were asked to make something with potatoes in it.
Of course my first thought went to casseroles or something hot because that’s usually how I eat potatoes. But then I realized I’d be traveling to West Los Angeles from the South Bay during rush hour traffic, which meant anything I made would be cold by the time I reached the meeting. And cold potato dishes are not yummy. So I started thinking what could I make that would taste good served cold. At first I thought potato salad, but I figured (correctly as it turned out) that there would be a potato salad or two. Then I thought of a cold potato soup or Vichyssoise (which I ended up making for my dinner column over on She Knows). But since I’m a baker first I really wanted to make a dessert. So I started looking up potato desserts and found this awesome chocolate potato cake from Taste of Home. And since chocolate is my favorite food group, I figured why not?
While the recipe from Taste of Home called for a caramel frosting, I’ve always been partial to fruits with my chocolate. And since I’d just bought a bunch of raspberries, I thought a raspberry buttercream frosting would be a nice tart compliment to the sweet chocolatey goodness of the cake. Guess what? I was right. The fruit went perfectly with the chocolate and the potato made the cake more moist than I could have expected.
Chocolate Potato Cake with Raspberry Frosting
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
- Boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the water, mash the potatoes and let cool.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed potato and vanilla.
- In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition.
- Pour the batter into the two cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes cook, make the frosting – In a large bowl beat together the raspberries, butter and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended and smooth. Spread between the layers, over the cake, and serve.