Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Ah, the Cuba Libre. Better known to many as the rum & coke. Has anyone else felt somewhat “above” this drink, or was it just me? My skepticism was most likely due to the fact that it was the preferred beverage of many a douche on the UAlbany campus during my years there — providing those fine young gents with a special combination of caffeine and liquor that let them really get their drink on, as loudly and late into the night as possible. (Seriously, you can only hear “yo bro gimme five captain ’n’ cokes” at a seedy college bar so many times before any thought or mention of rum + coke is met with Pavlovian eye rolling.)

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Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

I cannot believe that it’s already Thursday. I attribute the seeming disappearance of the week to the fact that I traveled to NY on Sunday, to house-sit while my parents are away for the next week. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I do this fairly often. It is, in fact, one of my favorite things. My parents take vacations to see family and go to things, and that means me, here in upstate NY, doing the exact opposite. Which is pretty much my ideal vacation. I make a mess of my mother’s usually pristine kitchen on a daily basis. I pick a ton of flowers from the gardens, then quell bouts of paranoia about some of them being poisonous because I think my throat feels funny, and maybe my face feels a little tingly too. (I read weird non-fiction medical books. This is the result.) I don’t answer the house phone. I barely look in the mirror. I wear the same comfy sundress until it actually feels dirty. In short, I have a grand ol’ time. Just me, nature, and a couple of cats.

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Guest Post : A Trio of Summer Beverages

A Trio of Summer Beverages

Hey everyone! I am super duper excited to be sharing a guest post over at The Vanilla Bean Blog today. I adore Sarah’s space, and having the chance to occupy it (coupled with the recent unseasonably gross heat wave) inspired some ambitious drink-themed planning. The result was three pretty ridiculously delish drinks. (Also, I shoot with a white background, and I LOVE it. Madness!) So head on over to The Vanilla Bean Blog and check them out. Also, Sarah will be taking a little break this summer, so be on the lookout for lots of other awesome guest posts!

Happy Summer of Fun to Sarah and her family!

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Red Bell Pepper, Lemon, & Basil Soda

Red Bell Pepper, Lemon, & Basil Soda

Earlier this week, while enjoying my usual early morning routine of sipping coffee, catching up on blog posts, and postponing looking at my work email for as long as possible, I happened upon Lan’s question: What color would you describe your days right now? It made me pause, not in search of an answer, but in surprise at how quickly mine came to me.

Lately, my days have been a little grey. This is due, in part, to the much-needed rainy spring weather. But mostly to the fact that I am, for the first time in a long while, single. After nearly four years, Johnny and I decided to part ways last week. It was not preceded by constant arguing or festering animosity, nor was it entirely unexpected. We’ve simply realized that we are better friends than anything else, and that freedom from the constraints of a relationship would be best for both of us, as individuals and as friends. Despite the fact that this is the most amicable end to a relationship I’ve experienced, the sadness is no less difficult to bear. It makes food taste bland, turns seemingly normal breaths into heavy sighs, and makes it impossible to write this post without pausing to brush away a few tears.

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A Walk in the Weeds

A Walk in the Weeds

Of all the things to experience crazy synchronicity over, celery seems one of the more unusual. And celery drinks, at that — stranger still. I mean, the universe could point me in any number of directions, like towards giving up my possessions and traveling the world, or quitting my job and devoting my life to helping the less fortunate. But apparently, at this moment, it really just wants me to put celery in my booze. Who am I to argue with that?

It began with the newest issue of Imbibe and a little piece called Put a Stalk in It, which discussed celery as a versatile ingredient in cocktails, along with three recipes. As I read it, I thought about that one time many years ago when I bought a can of celery soda purely out of curiosity, and took barely two sips before declaring it mega-nasty. My palate has come quite a long way since those days (that was also the time when I couldn’t stand gin — can you even imagine?!), so it occurred to me that it might be time for me to give celery-flavored drinks another go. Then a couple hours later, Alanna sent me an email discussing, amongst other things, celery soda. “Ooo! Weird!” I thought, and I told her all about the celery cocktails. Then the next day, as I was perusing Liqurious, two more cocktails caught my eye, both of which also happened to contain celery. And to top it all off, one of them was photographed by another one of my favorite food gals, Linda. I mean, can we all agree that this is some totally weird celery mojo?

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