Watermelon season is the best!! It’s the quintessential summer snack. I have a special place in my heart for the Yellow Doll Watermelons we get from Springdale Farm. They are an heirloom variety with vibrant yellow flesh and adorable curlicues to boot. Typically they are crazy sweet but it’s still a little early in their season so they aren’t quite there yet.
This gave me a great excuse to develop a late summer cocktail around them for #drinkthesummer 2016 put together by Sherrie over at With Food + Love! I follow a lot of food blogs, like an embarrassing amount of food blogs and Sherrie’s is one of my favorite. She’s based in the Midwest (huge bonus points), focuses on fresh local produce and posts a fair share of cocktail recipes – definitely someone to recruit to the squad. With #drinkthesummer tons of bloggers are posting seasonally inspired cocktail (and mocktail) recipes TODAY! Scroll down to the end of the post for a full listing of all these delicious summer drinks! (more…)
It is no secret that I love beer. I am one of those people (I can feel Sheila rolling her eyes already) who will sit and chat with my server about their selection of draft beers ad nauseum. What type of hops? How long was it barrel-aged? Would you classify it as sessionable? Is there more of a malt finish? And so on and so on – some real hipster shit. I am spoiled with the craft beer scene in Chicago. I feel like there’s always a new brewery I haven’t heard of or a must-try collaboration for the upcoming season. If you drop by my house I’ll have a few six packs of local stuff but what I always have on hand by the case load is Tecate. Some people sneer when I tell them about my affinity for the Mexican lager but it is my go-to beer all summer long. I don’t recommend drinking it straight but just add a generous squeeze of lime and you’re good to go. It’s everything I want in a summer beer. It’s light and not too high on the ABV making it quite sessionable. I can drink it when I’m just hanging out grilling in the backyard or I can drink it when I’ve come home from work and about to take care of business in the studio. (more…)
As a woman in her late 20’s (OK well I guess I’m officially 30 as of the solstice) I attend quite a few weddings throughout the summer. The invitations have been slowing recently as a majority of my close friends are now married but there’s usually at least a couple tucked into my summer schedule. If the bartenders are willing, my go to wedding cocktail is an old fashioned. Simple but strong enough to get the job done. Sheila’s go to wedding cocktail is a little different – it’s the Dirty Shirley. Not familiar with it? It’s a Shirley Temple with vodka. It’s quite tasty but it often raises a few eyebrows. Typically I’m the one getting drinks for the two of us and without a doubt I get carded every time I order a Dirty Shirley, every time. (more…)
There used to be a little family owned Mexican spot on St. Charles Road called Tierra Grill that was the best Mexican food in the area hands down. Like seriously good, authentic food made fresh to order. I heard they also had the best margaritas but sadly they lost their liquor license before I had a chance to try them. Obviously I would order tacos, enchiladas and elotes on the regular but I often had the hardest time choosing between these classics and their tequila salad. I know, I know. Salad? Over enchiladas and elotes? But seriously there was something magical about the tequila dressing that made it the most addictive and satisfying salad I’ve ever eaten. They’ve been closed well over 5 years now but the thing I still find myself missing is the tequila salad. (more…)
Strawberry Rhubarb is my jam! No, but really it is actually my jam. The local strawberry season is usually just getting starting around my birthday and rhubarb is almost always aplenty so naturally strawberry rhubarb has been the go to flavor profile for my birthday desserts. I’ve come to anticipate the classic combo as my birthday draws near but am totally burned out on strawberry rhubarb crisp and pie. Since the solstice is a time of celebration what better way to incorporate my love for these early summer favorites than with a tasty cocktail. (more…)
Baba Ganoush is one of my favorite dips! It’s creamy, rich and smoky which makes it feel indulgent even though it’s really not. Charred roasted eggplants give it a touch of richness and the tahini makes it extra smooth and creamy. It’s the prefect dip to bring to a party because it is Vegan and Gluten-Free so you know everyone can enjoy it. It’s actually best to make it the day before as it develops more flavor as it sits in the fridge over night allowing you precious time before the party to choose the perfect beer to bring.
I can be pretty impatient when it comes to local produce. My Instagram feed doesn’t help the situation at all. All of you amazing food bloggers living on the west coast posting your market pics of fresh stone fruit, berries and heirloom tomatoes in May (seriously?!) makes me somewhat delusional. I start expecting to see local strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb and peas just a few weeks after a soul-sucking cold spell. If you live in the Midwest you have to have a short memory – it’s required. You quickly forget how unforgivably cold winter is and wholeheartedly believe that long lazy summer days will never end. I really shouldn’t be so delusional. I know better – I really do, but every spring I find myself puzzled as to how crops need actual time and light to grow. (more…)