Blood Orange Margarita

Happy Pi Day everyone! Unfortunately, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I’m not here to share a pie recipe with you. I am in fact in the middle of making this delightful-looking pie from Smitten Kitchen, but I’ll just link to that recipe in case you’re feeling particularly pie-ish.

Nope, I’m here to share a different recipe with you. Because not only is it Pi Day, it is an incredibly, unseasonably warm 60+ degrees in Minneapolis right now. I’m celebrating the fact that all our windows are open and I just finished cleaning off our patio furniture. In March. Awesome.

How am I celebrating, might you ask? With a blood orange margarita. Bright, tangy citrus fruits are one of the things that cheer me up in the middle of winter, and blood oranges are one of my favorites. Their growing season is slowly tapering off right now, so making a summery margarita seemed to be the perfect way to say goodbye to winter and hello to this early spring. And, since people are thinking a lot about math today, margaritas also have one of the easiest drink ratios ever– 3:2:1. Cheers!

Blood orange margarita

Blood Orange Margarita

  • 3 oz. freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from 1-2 blood oranges)
  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • kosher or coarse sea salt, for the rim

Rub the rim of a glass with the cut half of a blood orange. Sprinkle some salt on a plate and gently dip the rim of the glass in the salt. Place a handful of ice in the glass and set aside.

Combine blood orange juice, tequila, and triple sec with additional ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain over the ice in your glass. Serve.

Yield: One delicious margarita.

Source: White on Rice Couple

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Cherry-Basil Soda

For a long time, I hated cherries. Perhaps it was due to an unfortunate maraschino ruining a perfectly good ice cream sundae, or just one lick of a dreaded cherry lollipop when I was expecting strawberry, but as a young girl I detested the things. Of course, I hadn’t tasted real cherries.

A few years ago I finally tasted sweet cherries for the first time, and it was love at first bite. They remind me of tiny little plums, bursting with juice that’s a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Yesterday I learned a neat trick for pitting cherries, and I just have to share it with you. After removing the stem, I used a closed star frosting tip (Wilton 27 to be exact) to push the pit out the bottom of the cherry. So much easier than trying to use a knife!

Using a frosting tip to pit cherries

Using a frosting tip to pit cherries

Using a frosting tip to pit cherries

Armed with an abundance of cherries and a quick and easy way to remove their pits, I set out to make something light and refreshing: cherry-basil soda. It’s the perfect way to welcome summer!

Fresh cherries!

Cherry-basil soda

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Cherry-Basil Soda

  • 2 cups fresh cherries, rinsed and pitted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • sparkling water or club soda

Combine the cherries, sugar, and basil in a bowl and stir. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Using a blender or food processor, blend the cherry mixture (including the syrup at the bottom of the bowl) until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve and discard the remaining pulp.

Mix cherry syrup with sparkling water to taste. (I like to use 1 oz. syrup for every 5 oz. sparkling water.)

Makes approximately 12-16 oz. syrup.

Source: Slightly adapted from Gluten-Free Girl.

Clementine Gin Fizz

Happy spring! After a long and rather hectic winter, Gabe and I are so looking forward to a warm, relaxed summer. I’m going to kill grow fresh veggies and herbs, spend as much time as possible walking around the lakes, and wear skirts and dresses everyday.

But what I’m most looking forward to with the changing season is the fact that our apartment has a balcony again. I don’t care that it overlooks the dumpster on trash pick-up day; our little corner of the outdoors is south-facing and three stories up. Plenty of fresh breezes and sunshine.

I’m anticipating many warm evenings out on the balcony, sipping a fizzy drink and watching my plants die… er, grow tall and strong. At the very least, I’ll be growing my hair and letting freckles sprout! Happy spring, indeed.

Clementine Gin Fizz | Lingonberry Jam Clementine Gin Fizz | Lingonberry Jam

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Clementine Gin Fizz

  • 6 clementines
  • 4 oz. gin
  • dash of seltzer water

Slice each clementine in half and squeeze the juice into two glasses, three clementines per glass. Add 2 oz. gin to each glass and a dash of seltzer water, to taste. Stir and add ice. Serves two.

Source: Adapted from Skruzel via Group Recipes.

Citrus Salts and Strawberry Sugar

These are really fun recipes because they’re not something you’ll serve for dinner one night and be done with. (At least I hope not.) Nope, here’s a way to make your own pantry staples. DIY time!

Citrus salts are great sprinkled on fish or fresh veggies, but the most obvious use is decorating the rim of a margarita glass. They can be easily adjusted to your own preferences; I’m thinking a lemon-lime combo would be awesome. Strawberry sugar… well I suppose it could add sparkle to a frosted cupcake, but it’s so perfectly paired to a daiquiri I don’t know why you’d ever want to separate the two. :)

Also, you could probably make your own pixy stix by filling paper straws with strawberry sugar. But that would be a very bad idea.

Citrus Salts and Strawberry Sugar | Lingonberry Jam Citrus Salts and Strawberry Sugar | Lingonberry Jam

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Lemon Salt

  • 1/3 cup kosher flake salt
  • 1 heaping Tbs. fresh lemon zest

Chipotle-Lime Salt

  • 1/3 cup kosher flake salt
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle

Strawberry Sugar

  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For citrus salts, combine ingredients in a small bowl. Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 225° F for about 60 minutes, or until zest is dried out and crumbles when pinched between two fingers. Let cool.

For strawberry sugar, place strawberries in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add sugar to the bag and shake until well-combined.

Store at room-temperature in airtight containers.

Sources: Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, Rosemarried, and One Hungry Mama.

Margarita Mix

We finally got semi-settled into our new apartment and Gabe decided this would be a good time to head home to L.A. for five weeks. Okay, fine, he has a good excuse. (An awesome summer job in the legal department of Legendary Pictures.)

But I’m still sad. It’s a good thing I have Netta’s cat to keep me company for the rest of the summer. As a side note, she’s currently throwing herself at the couch and hoping she’ll stick. Should I tell her that it’s a sofa, not a velcro wall?

Anyway, after saying a tearful goodbye at the airport, I came home to do fun things like reorganize the spice drawer and hang art on the walls. And eat popcorn and drink homemade margaritas.

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Homemade Coffee Syrups

As you may have been able to tell by the infrequency of my postings, things have been a bit hectic around here. Finals are quickly approaching, and I’m kicking myself for the oh-so-wise decision to load up on classes and graduate a semester early. (I’m sure the decision will eventually pay off, but still…)

On top of school stress, Gabe and I are still dealing with a mouse problem. I thought this week’s 80° weather would coax those critters back outside, but apparently they love our apartment. (And why not? We’ve made it a cozy home.)

Needless to say, our general busyness means that meals this week have mostly revolved around take-out food and leftovers. (And surprisingly tasty precooked cajun chicken sausages.) But even when we’re too busy to cook, the one thing Gabe and I will take the time to lovingly prepare is coffee.

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Cranberry Vodka

Happy Valentine’s Day! Gabe and I have totally different schedules so I won’t see him until late tonight, but I did pack his lunch and included a sandwich in the shape of a heart. (Guess who I learned that from?)

Today’s recipe has me in good spirits. I used high quality vodka for this instead of the bug spray cheaper stuff I used for my homemade vanilla extract. Of course, the actual consumption will have to wait until the weekend, when a certain high school friend is paying us a visit. (That’s right, Sam. It’s on the blog; you can’t back out now.)

Happy V-day, everyone! Much love!

P.S. Credit goes to Gabe for the bug spray joke. He makes me giggle.

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