Frozen Pineapple Cilantro Mojito

Cilantro Mojito

One of the most refreshing beverages I had last summer was this Frozen Pineapple Cilantro Mojito. (Just brought home the ingredients to make a batch this weekend… and yes, I know it’s only Wednesday… some things are worth the wait. ;)

Now that our temps have soared to 100º F, I’m ready for more. (Cocktails, not heat!)

Credit goes to “Baking A Moment” and this recipe. Many thanks! Ahhhhh…

Enjoying a lil’ heat relief,

~ Kim

A Toast To Trucking

Martini 1

In case it seems odd to propose a toast to trucking, I did it on purpose.  Drinking and driving don’t mix!

(Please bear with my mini-soap box.)

Back when I maneuvered an 80,000 pound vehicle down the freeway, highway, byway, or city street, I was mindful of the responsibility of having a CDL (Commercial Drivers License.)  The same goes when I’m driving my Jeep nowadays; on four wheels or eighteen, I value human life — mine included.

Please celebrate responsibly!

Ok, nuff said… I enjoy a good cocktail or a great wine now that I’m off the road.

To everything there is a season…

Speaking of which, it’s almost summer here and cocktails, beer, wine, and/or alcohol-laden concoctions are often a part of it.  For those of you who don’t imbibe, you have my utmost respect and permission to skip this post — but you’ll be missing out on a trucking story or two later. :)

For those of you who do tip a glass now and then, Martinis are on my mind.

Martini 2

I searched high and low for the perfect Martini recipe (mostly on Google) and was confounded by what I found (mostly controversy!)   Gin or vodka?  I prefer the latter.  To stir or not to stir?  I like the James Bond version — “Shaken, not stirred.”  Olives or lemon peel?  I enjoy the former.  How much Vermouth?  A splash does me fine.  (Have I lost you yet?!)  Just call me “The Queen of Parenthetical Thought!” (Lol.)

Anyway, to add to the ambience of this classic cocktail, I recently went in search of a Martini-making set and “spied” one (pardon the James Bond pun) at Libbys in Eufaula.  That’s where I got my very cool red double boiler, too.  I love the stores in this town!  By the way, Libbys features Picasso-like clothing combined with vintage cooking items and antiques — one of the many delights of shopping local, when I have occasion to shop.

Okay, I might as well throw in those trucking stories now, since one of them relates to being thirsty. :)

Martini

Martini 3

(Excerpted from an August 2006 letter)

Livingston, Tennessee was the place I heard my first genuine, bonafide “HOOO-EEEEE” from a Southern fellow by the name of Robert.  He came to unload our trailer, took one look at the huge generator we were delivering, scratched his head, and let out a Jed Clampett sounding expression that tickled me pink!  It was 100+ degrees outside, and humid, and by the time he was done unloading, Robert worked up a powerful thirst.

He went inside the office building, scrounged up the largest “water glass” he could find, and came out drinking ice cold H2O from a flower vase.  Driving around is a pleasant part of our job, but it’s the PEOPLE who really touch our hearts.

HOOO-EEEEE!

There’s another fellow I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention him (excerpted from a January 2006 letter.)

This past week our trucking trip was an adventure from the start.  We left early Thursday morning to pick up a load headed to Salt Lake City and the first person we encountered was “The Kissing Bandit.”  We hadn’t been in the terminal more than two minutes when this grizzly-looking fellow climbed up to Russ’s window and asked, “May I have permission to kiss your wife?”

Russ’s answer was: “You’d better ask her.”

The gentleman ambled over to my window, held out his hand, and revealed two Hershey’s kisses.  As it turned out, The Kissing Bandit carried a pocketful of chocolate kisses and enjoyed handing them out to the ladies. ;)  That’s one of the reasons I love trucking — ya never know when you’re going to meet a character, and God provides such a variety of people along the way.

Martini Set

Well, I’ve worked up a powerful thirst… and it’s time for a cocktail.

Like trucking stories, one (or two) will do.

Have a great week!

Enjoying vintage storytelling (and Martini sets),

~ Kimby

Orange & Chocolate Treats for Halloween

With Halloween-related recipes making the rounds, I figured it was time to celebrate two of my favorite colors and flavors… chocolate and orange.  (Chocolate qualifies as a color and flavor, yes?)  First up, orange…

I grew up (or came of age) in an era when dessert drinks were popular.  The Brandy Alexander.  The Grasshopper.  Basically anything booze with ice cream!

It seems incredible now that we often ordered them after a substantial dinner.  Of course, there were “lighter” dessert drinks, too — The Pink Squirrel and The Golden Cadillac, to name a few.  (Booze and half & half… not quite as “dessert-y” to me, though.)

Clearly a compromise is needed to solve this dessert drink dilemma! ;)

Recently, I found myself with a leftover shot of Jose Cuervo.  (Bear in mind, I started with one of those teeny, tiny bottles — not the whole shebang.)  Anyhow…

What does one do with an ounce of pure Gold?

The first thing that came to mind was a Tequila Sunrise — or an orange-flavored Margarita.  (The contents of my fridge voted for the latter option.)  So, I spent the better part of a lazy Sunday afternoon messing around with a simple syrup infused with orange peel.

Ta da… The Orange-arita!

I took a sip… hmmm… close, but not quite.  (It was really sweet and I was out of limes or I would’ve rendered some sourness promptly!)

It needed… something.

Hmmm again.  (Opens fridge.)  Aha!

Heavy cream… the perfect compromise between ice cream and half & half.  (I love “aha” moments!)  After a gentle stir and a tentative sip, I deemed it creamy… dreamy… and much better than the traditional (vodka) versions I’ve tasted, in my opinion.

No trick — it was a treat!

The Tequila Dreamsicle

1 oz. Jose Cuervo Gold (or to taste…)

1 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 oz. orange-infused simple syrup (recipe to follow)

1 1/2 oz. heavy cream

1 orange peel twist, for garnish

In a shaker over ice, combine Cuervo Gold, simple syrup, and orange juice; shake until combined.

Strain mixture into a chilled Margarita glass.

Stir in heavy cream until smooth.  Enjoy!

Orange Infused Simple Syrup

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar

Orange peel (including pith) from 1/2 an orange

In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; add orange peel.

Simmer several minutes until orange essence is infused.

Remove from heat; cool mixture to room temp.

Remove orange peel before adding syrup to shaker.

Note:  These quantities make one drink.  Feel free to multiply. ;)

And now for the chocolate… actually, chocolate and orange!

Trick or Treat!!!

Wish I could take credit for this delectable dessert, but it’s a photo of the beautiful chocolate-orange cake that my son surprised me with when I was in the middle of care-taking in August.

Thoughtful young man that he is, he invited me to a “night off” from cooking, including picking out a dessert from a local bakery that he knew would tickle my fancy.  (It did!)  He also treated me to his signature burgers hot off the grill (a recipe I hope to share with you one day) and garden-fresh potatoes sauteed to golden goodness.

I love thoughtful treats, don’t you? xo

Wishing you a Happy Halloween.  Be safe and have fun!

Enjoying a lil’ dreaminess in moderation,

~ Kim

Not Your Average Joe (Two Tone Chocolate Mocha)

After my last post, it rained for two days straight (hallelujah!), and with the rain came a renewed sense of purpose… and a whole lot of coffee drinking.

Bear in mind, I admire folks who can contain themselves to a single cup per day — an early morning jolt, a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or a post-dessert accompaniment.  I also marvel at those who partake of coffee now and then — truly a matter of self-controlled savoring.

As for those who abstain from it altogether, I have nothing but the deepest respect.  Coffee isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. :)  I also believe our differences are what attract us to each other — seeing how the other half lives, eh?  (Cause for celebration, not condemnation!)

As for moi… well, I grew up drinking the stuff.  It’s part of who I am.

After all the years The Man Of Few Words and I spent over-the-road drinking “mud,” we’ve pretty much adapted to the constant influx of caffeine.  Addicts?  No.  Acclimated?  Yes.

So as not to bounce off the walls with our near-IV consumption of java, our “home brew” falls somewhere between strong enough and weak enough.  We’ve also worn out three or four coffeemakers in the course of our eleven year or so marriage.  Who’s counting?

(Coffeemakers or anniversaries.)

So as the recent rain fell, coffee was brewed and cups were refilled.

Again and again.  Ahhhh…

It seemed appropriate to mark the occasion with something out of the ordinary — something more than just cream and sugar (which I enjoy once in a rare while) — or, at least cream and sugar in a different form.  In other words, not your average Joe.

I decided on a variation of my White Chocolate Mocha.  Made with a chocolate ganache base, it settled into an amusing (and quite satisfying) two layers.

(Three, counting the chocolate sludge on the bottom…)  But again, who’s counting?

Not nearly as sweet as the typical coffee-house version (with the addition of unsweetened chocolate), drinking it was rather like a duel between coffee and chocolate in my mouth.  Both of them won.

Two Tone Chocolate Mocha

Freshly brewed black coffee (whatever strength you desire)*

Chocolate Ganache, divided (recipe to follow)

Whipped Chocolate Ganache, for garnish

Chocolate chips, for garnish

For each 6 to 8 ounce cup of coffee, stir in 3 tablespoons of chilled chocolate ganache mixture.

Whip remaining chocolate ganache (see below.)

Top beverage with a dollop of whipped chocolate ganache.

Sprinkle randomly with chocolate chips.

(Note: most of the whipped ganache melted on contact, but that’s okay — I was going to stir it in anyway.  Also, all but one of the chocolate chips sank.  Oh well.)

*If coffee doesn’t tickle your fancy, try preparing this with hot milk for a grown-up Hot Chocolate.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 oz. (1/2 square) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

In a small saucepan, heat cream just to boiling; remove from heat.

Add chocolate chips and chopped chocolate; let sit for several minutes until softened.

Whisk until combined.  (I was in a hurry; mine had residual chocolate “flecks” — not a bad thing.)

Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled.  (I chilled the beaters at the same time, too.)

Reserve half the ganache mixture for stirring into coffee.  Store “leftovers” — if any — in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Whip remaining ganache with an electric mixer ’til soft peaks form.

Average Joe, meet Empress Josephine… love at first sip.

Technical difficulties aside, this treat did the trick.  I feel right as rain.

Enjoying java in all its glory,

~ Kim

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Cream or Sugar?

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Every once in awhile, a quote will crop up that causes you to consider where you are in the mad dash to the end.

Statisticians will tell you that you’ve spent x amount of days standing in line or so many hours in front of the television, but I prefer to measure my time with coffee.

Looking back over the last half century, it seems I’ve spent a great deal of it with a mug in my hand.

Coffee helps me sort things out, or at least ponder the transitions that have brought me thus far.

Meet my companion, my confidante, and my cohort through it all.

How do you measure your time?  What stands out as being a significant part of it?

Enjoying my morning java,

~ Kim

P.S.  For more coffee-related ruminations (and a revolution), please click here.

Sweet Dreams

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m thinking about coffee…

Coffee in any way, shape, or form.  Except instant.  Good coffee takes time.  I don’t want to think about time right now.  I want to think about coffee…

But, all I can do is wish… want… wait… for a rich, robust, rakish cup of coffee.  (I like the idea of jaunty java.)  In desperation, I dig out the attempted art shot.

Premeditated coffee consumption does NOT cure insomnia.  I’ll share a recipe instead…

White Chocolate Mocha

2/3 c. heavy cream

3 oz. white chocolate

1/3 c. milk chocolate chips

In a small saucepan or microwave proof bowl, heat cream until hot but not boiling.  Add the chocolates and let sit for 2 minutes; stir until well-mixed.  Store in a tightly covered glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.

To prepare one serving of White Chocolate Mocha:  Stir 1/4 cup of the “mix” in 6 to 8 ounces of strong coffee.  If desired, top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Garnish with a dusting of cocoa or a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Add a mountain of chocolate curls if you like.  Turn off your cell phone.  Send the kids (or grandkids) outside to play.  Dispatch the hubby to the hardware store.  Sit back, relax, and ENJOY…

 

I will be dreaming of this when sleep comes… Good night.  Happy Saturday.