Written on February 5, 2014 at 9:00 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’m looking for ways to celebrate. Because I plan to spend the day alone, a night on the couch with a good movie and a delicious cocktail sounds kind of perfect. And, since it’s Valentine’s Day, a martini is a must. There’s something about sipping out of a martini glass that makes me feel classy – even if I’m sitting on the couch, in my sweats, with a cat by my side.
For inspiration, I decided to look to a classic Kamikaze.
The recipe is pretty straight forward. It’s just a combination of vodka, lime juice, and orange liqueur. As you might expect based on the ingredients, this cocktail is very light and refreshing, but it will bring a little pucker to your lips.
To add a little depth of flavor and sweetness, I made a few small adjustments. First, instead of plain vodka, I opted for a berry-flavored vodka. If you’ve been to the liquor store lately, you’ve probably noticed that vodka is available in pretty much every flavor imaginable. You can get fairly creative here, however, I do like how this red berry vodka works in this drink.
The other small addition I made was to add a splash of grenadine to the cocktail once it was poured into the glass. As I mentioned above, this cocktail is packed with citrus flavor. The grenadine gives a little burst of sweetness. You can mix this up before drinking, but I like to keep it at the bottom of the glass for the final sip. Delightful.
And that, my friends, is what I’ll be sipping on Valentine’s Day. What fun plans do you have for this day of love?
You can get the traditional Kamikazi recipe here. Cheers!
Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm
Written on November 21, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
On a recent trip to Granada, Spain, I bought these adorable Moroccan tea glasses, sold all over Granada because of its Moorish history. I drink a lot of tea during the day while working from my cabin in the woods, but I thought I’d mix it up and make some hot cider instead. (Feels very holiday!)
Since the word Granada means pomegranate in Spanish, I was inspired to add fresh pomegranates to the cider. Starting with this BHG cider recipe, I simmered apple juice, pomegranate juice and spices, then garnished each cup with fresh pomegranate seeds and an apple slice decorated with cloves. I think this would be a fun after-dinner drink on Thanksgiving Day to cozy up by the fire with (plus, it can be spiked with bourbon for the adults!).
Cheers…And Happy Thanksgiving!
Spiced Apple-Pomegranate Cider
Adapted from BHG’s Recipe, serves 6-8
1 gallon of apple cider or apple juice
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup or packed brown sugar
Peel from 1 organic orange, cut into strips
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves, plus more for garnish
Thinly sliced apple and seeds from 1 pomegranate for garnish
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine apple cider/juice, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup or brown sugar.
2. To make a spice bag, cut a double thickness of cheesecloth into a 12-inch square. Place the orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves in center of cloth. Bring the corners of cloth together and tie closed with clean kitchen string. Add spice bag to the cider pot.
3. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and discard.
4. To serve, ladle cider into mugs. Drop 1 T fresh pomegranate seeds into each glass. To make the garnish, slice an apple into ¼ inch thick circles. Then cut each circle into quarters and push whole cloves into the apple slice (see photo above). Make a little slit in each apple slice to hang it over the side of the glass.
Photos and Illustrations by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog and soon-to-be cookbook full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.
Written on November 13, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
I’m always on the lookout for unique ideas for cocktails Throw in a seasonal twist and that instantly makes it a winner in my book. As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches and get-togethers with family and friends abound, it’s always helpful to have a deliciously fresh cocktail idea in your back pocket when you hear you the doorbell ring.
Today I’m pulling inspiration from BHG’s recipe for Apple Cider Punch. Being a fan of the always classy martini, I’m upping the ante a smidge and turning this punch into a martini.
With an apple cider base, this martini is perfect for the fall. The touch of citrus gives it a flavor that is bright and fresh.
My favorite addition to this drink, however, is the splash of sparkling wine or champagne to finish it off. The bubbles dress this drink up for any fall holiday celebration.
To keep things simple, I garnished this martini with a few slices of fresh apple. I love the way the bubbles gather around the slices. It’s a clear sign that you are in for a treat. Now, let me tell you how to mix one of these up.
Here’s what you’ll need for one martini:
3 ounces apple cider
2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce sparkling white wine or champagne
Fresh apple, sliced
In a shaker filled with ice, add apple cider, orange juice, vodka, and the juice from one lemon wedge. Shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass, leaving room at the top for a splash of sparkling white wine. Float an apple slice or two in the martini as a garnish.
And that’s it, friends. A delicious martini with all the flavors of fall and a little bubbly to boot! It certainly will be a star at your next party.
Michael Wurm, Jr – Inspired by Charm
Written on May 23, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
Hello! Erin from The Forest Feast here, with an easy appetizer idea. I have oodles of mint in my garden right now, so I whipped up some Mint Pesto inspired by this BHG Homemade Pesto recipe. I used mint instead of basil for a fresh spring taste, and pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts because they are nutrient rich and much less expensive. This mint pesto is also great on pasta!
- 1 bunch (about 1 cup firmly packed) fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup piepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
- 5T olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set this pesto aside. Toast several slices of baguette and toast on a baking sheet in the oven until golden brown (approx 3 minutes under the broiler). While bread is still warm, spread a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese on each slice. Top that with a spoonful of the mint pesto, and garnish each with a couple pepitas. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and Instagram, @theforestfeast.
Written on March 22, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Michael Wurm, Jr.
I always look forward to the holidays, but they can become stressful when planning a meal for friends and family. As much as I love cooking and entertaining, all of that can be overwhelming when I just want to enjoy being with my guests. After running a small inn for five years, I found that breakfast is one of my favorite meals to make. I also would have to say it’s one of the easier ones. Breakfast can be quickly adapted with a few hardy additions plus a fun cocktail to create a beautiful, delicious, and satisfying brunch! With many baked items that can be prepared in advance, even the host can spend most of the day outside the kitchen. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love brunch?
1. Veggie Frittata // 2. Hash Brown Quiche // 3. Pisco Sour Drink // 4. Fruit-Granola Parfaits // 5. Cherry-Berry Smoothies // 6. People Pleasing Cinnamon Rolls // 7. Gooey Monkey Bread // 8. Two-Tone Banana Bread
Today I put together a quick Easter brunch menu using some of my favorite recipes from Better Homes and Gardens. Whether your guests have a sweet tooth, are eating healthier, or love the classics, these recipes will certainly please them while giving you time to enjoy the celebration. Hoppy Easter!
Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm