Cocktail Hour: Hemingway Daiquiri

A Feteful Life: Hemingway Daiquiri

While I usually make the mental shift from summer to fall after Labor Day, the actual change of season doesn’t happen until September 22nd. So, in honor of this last week of summer I’m making one last “tropical” cocktail. And, I say that in quotes because most tropical cocktails (and daiquiri’s for that matter) are super sweet. But this daiquiri is very different — there’s not even an ounce of simple syrup in there!

This cocktail was created at El Floridita in Havana, Cuba whose claim to fame is their creation of the classic daiquiri along with their most famous regular customer, Ernest Hemingway. Apparently, he spent a lot of time there drinking lots of daiquiris and this particular variation became his favorite. And, I have to agree with Hemingway, it’s definitely my favorite daiquiri as well.

So, here’s to summer! Cheers, it was fun. Now bring on the apple picking, pumpkin patch visiting, and turkey roasting. I’m ready for you fall!

The Hemingway Daiquiri (from El Floridita)

Ingredients

2 ounces light rum, such as Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gifts

I can’t believe the Jewish New Year starts in just a week! It always sneaks up on me as I’m finally getting into the groove of school. So I tried to plan ahead just a bit this year and pull together a few useful hostess gift ideas incorporating the traditional holiday food customs. L’Shanah Tovah!

A Feteful Life: Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gifts

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

I Want It Now: Champagne Coupe

A Feteful Life: Champagne CoupeI’m finding my barware lacking in one certain category: the champagne coupe. Honestly, how can I possibly make a champagne fountain without them? I can’t. I’d prefer gold rimmed ones, but these are probably more practical. Cheers!

8 Amazing DIY Plastic Animal Transformations

As I’ve mentioned here and here, I love transforming items with the help of spray paint. It’s so inexpensive, it’s so easy, there are so many color options, and it gives new life to something that would otherwise be discarded. And, these adorable animal transformations are no exception. I love all of them so much and want to try all of them.. right now!

The pig as a place card for a rustic wedding, the elephant bookends, the gilded magnets… they are all so amazing and inspiring. Now I just need to decide which one I’m going to try first. I think it’s going to have to be the magnets! They are just too fabulous.

A Feteful Life: Spray Painted Animals1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8

 

DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

While I’m getting a bit sad that warmer weather will be on its way out soon (although it has been super hot and humid around DC lately and I won’t be sorry to see that go), I love love to see fall jewel tones make their arrival. Couple that with my general love of all things sparkly and a real sweet tooth (it is some serious kind of cruel that Halloween candy is already in stores), I thought I’d try my hand at making some edible candied jewels. Now, as I’ve said before, I’m really not much of a baker. I just lack the ability to measure exactly and patiently work in that particular arena of the kitchen. And while I love how these candied jewels turned out, they certainly pushed my frustration meter to the limit. It took me lots and lots of tries to get a good batch and, even then, I’d make a random bad one. They’re not difficult, but they require some time to concentrate. I do think they’d be beautiful as a lovely little favor packaged up in a glassine bag, served alongside a cup of cider or hot toddy, or even topping a plain cake. So set aside some time to slow down and try them yourself!

DIY Candied Jewels (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- gel paste food coloring
- 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract, such as lemon, orange or cinnamon (optional)
- cooking spray

Other Equipment
- hard candy gem molds (such as these)
- candy thermometer
- pyrex measuring cup

Directions
1.  Spray molds lightly with cooking spray and set atop waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. Bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Heat until mixture reaches 300 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat immediately and add 1-2 drops of food coloring and 1/8 teaspoon of flavor extract if using. Transfer mixture to a pyrex measuring cup and let settle for 15-30 seconds.

3. Slowly pour mixture into candy molds sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Fill molds until just below the top. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Tips
- Make sure the mixture is heated to exactly 300 and then remove quickly from the heat source. If it’s under that temperature, the candy will be sticky. If over, the mixture will caramelize.
- Pour less than you think will fill a mold cavity to start out — the mixture expands a bit once its in there.
- If candy hardens inside of your saucepan and/or pyrex measuring cup, fill the saucepan with water, place measuring cup inside, and bring to a boil. Discard water once residue melts.

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

A Feteful Life: DIY Candied Jewels

Cocktail Hour: English Garden Gin + Tonic

A Feteful Life: English Garden Gin + Tonic

Fall might be coming, but I’m not ready to give up my refreshing, warm-weather gin drinks just yet. It’s no secret that we’ve been obsessed with the Gin Rickey this past summer, but I was in need of a little variety. Plus, my husband has been traveling internationally a bunch and likes to pick up local spirits to bring home. A recent trip to London brought me back one of my other favorite gins: Hendrick’s. Hence, this week’s cocktail hour. It’s light, refreshing, and includes veggies. Perfect.

English Garden Gin + Tonic (adapted from Kindred Cocktails)

Ingredients
- 2, 1/2″ slices of cucumber (plus a few thin slices for garnish)
- 1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 4-8 drops rose water (to taste)
- 1/4 ounce St. Germain
- 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
- tonic water

Directions
1. Muddle cucumber, lime juice and rose water in shaker. Add St. Germain and Hendrick’s. Shake with ice.
2. Strain into glass with fresh ice and top with tonic water.
3. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Date Night In: Sushi

Before having kids, I was obsessed with sushi and we ate it at least once a week. Then I got pregnant with our first child and I was totally repulsed by the thought of it, which was fine because I couldn’t really eat it anyway. But, the feel lasted, and lasted, and lasted. It has only be in the last year (almost 6 years later) that I’ve gotten the sushi bug back. Phew. So, now that I’m back on the sushi wagon, I’ve been wanting to start making some at home and I think it would be a perfect date night in. Jim’s not one to help out in the kitchen but I can totally imagine him getting his precise engineer self on while rolling up some yummy new rolls. Here’s what I’m thinking…

A Feteful Life: Sushi Date Night In1. I’m not a huge fan of sake but I do love me some Japanese beer.

2. Sushi – duh, you need sushi for a sushi date night. Salmon rolls are my faves.

3. Since I’ve never made sushi before, this beautifully photographed and basic sushi cookbook will be perfect to help guide us through the process.

4. Aren’t these chopsticks and stands awesome? I love the little fish and the colors. Perfection.

5. I love this marble serving tray from CB2. Our sushi rolls will look beautiful on it!

6. A bamboo rolling mat is so inexpensive and easy to find at your grocery store or kitchen supply store. It doesn’t need to be fancy.

 

I Want it Now: An Organized Refrigerator

A Feteful Life: I Want it Now - Fridge OrganizationI have a dream, a dream that I will someday have an organized refrigerator. I feel like I’m a fairly organized person with most of my life but my fridge always seems to get the best of me. But, then this week I got the new Crate & Barrel catalog and I saw a picture of this beautifully organized fridge. I love it and I want it now!

Starry Night Party

I’m a little bit of an astronomy buff. I’ve been known to wake my kids up in the middle of the night to try and catch a meteor shower. And a stargazing party was high up on my list this summer, but I didn’t get to it! So I’m thinking of moving the party indoors this fall and putting together a starry night party full of midnight blue, metallics and twinkling lights. Here’s what I’m thinking for decor ….

A Feteful Life: Starry Night Party

1/ DIY french dot constellation table runner – OK, who wants to make this for me?! Amazing.

2/ Gold mercury glass votives – I love the shadows these cute little shimmery votives cast.

3/ Honeycomb decorations — these pretty honeycomb shapes remind me slightly of planets and help mix in a few other tones.

4/ Glitterati slate pillows — I’d love to have a low dining table and strew a bunch of these metallic print pillows on the floor.

5/ Starry string lights — these gorgeous lights come in a variety of bulb colors on flexible copper wire.

6/ Agate earth coasters – some of these totally remind me images I’ve seen taken in space. Plus, agate.

7/ Copper mirror tray — so shiny and perfect for my low table.

8/ Tassel garland — I love metallic tassels and, having made many of them, can appreciate when someone else does the work!

9/ Gold pouf – the reasonable price of these faux leather poufs would let me scatter several around.

Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary AlmondsI’ve been dreaming about these almonds for over a year now. The last winery we visited (Robert Sinskey) during our trip to Napa last year had wonderful food pairings with their wines. All of the food was amazing but the almonds are the only thing that I kept thinking about (probably it was the only thing that I could figure out how to make on my own). Anyway, so with the extra rosemary that I had from the Italian Greyhound I posted yesterday, I decided that it was time to give this dish a try. So I did, and then I proceed to eat the whole bowl. Yum!

Fried Rosemary Almonds 

Ingredients

1 cup blanched almonds*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary
coarse salt

Directions

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the blanched almonds to the oil and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes to ensure the almonds don’t brown to much. Remove the pan from the heat, add the rosemary and salt the almonds to taste. Cool before serving and store in an airtight container for a week or two.

* If you can’t find blanched almonds, you can easily make your own. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add raw, unsalted almonds to the water and let them cook for about a minute (not any longer or they will soften too much). Immediately strain the almonds and place them in an ice bath or run them under cool water. Once cooled, simply peel the skin from the almonds (they almost pop out of the skin if you squeeze on one of the ends). Place the blanched almonds on a paper towel to remove any excess water before frying them.

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds

A Feteful Life: Fried Rosemary Almonds