Watermelon Sours in a Watermelon Keg

This post is a twofer. It is a mix of Friday’s 5 o’clock somewhere cocktail recipe, and a fun How-To tutorial on making your own watermelon keg. Sounds fun to me and brings a whole new meaning to throwing a watermelon bash! This is definitely on my two do list once I get back to the states. First lets learn how to make the keg…

Supplies

Directions

Prepare your watermelon by cutting a lid from the top and scooping out the fruit (save the fruit to use later to make the drinks). Use an apple corer to drill a hole just slightly smaller than the keg shank. Attach the shank and faucet and you’re ready to add your cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups watermelon chunks, pureed
  • 4 oz Alizé Red Passion, or any other fruit-flavored liqueur
  • 8 oz gin
  • 2 cups sour mix
  • Sparkling rosé
  • Lime slices, for garnish

Directions

After pureeing 4 cups of watermelon chunks, strain. Stir in your fruit-flavored liqueur, gin and sour mix. Chill. Add sparkling rosé before serving. Garnish with lime slice and enjoy!

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Basic French Toast

French toast is by far my favorite breakfast food of all time. In fact, it is a strong contender for my favorite food in general. When I was little my Grandpa Roger would make it for me every time I visited him. I loved going to his apartment on the weekends. It was a nice little escape from the stressful day-to-day of a 9-year-old. To this day, every time I eat french toast I think of him. Needless to say, I have eaten a lot of french toast in my day. Enough to know what I like and what I don’t like. You would think that somebody that knows exactly what kind of french toast they like would know exactly how to make it, but french toast is harder than you think. There are so many factors: The type of bread you use; How much milk you add to your egg mixture (custard); Do you use cinnamon and vanilla; How long you let the bread soak in the custard; How long you cook it for and on what heat level; How evenly your skillet cooks. The variables are endless and each yields different results. So to the drawing board I went, to try to figure out my favorite french toast method. I experimented with many different techniques and think I have settled on one that I am happy with.

We are not fancy bread type people, so I tend to use basic wheat sandwich bread, because it is what we have in the house. I am more of a thin crispy bread, sightly “overcooked” kind of french toast person rather than a thick soggy/wet french toast girl, so I don’t let the bread sit in the custard for too long. I start with cooking it on the stove until it is a nice even golden brown on both sides, and then I add it to the oven to get and even crisper crust, while maintaining just the right amount of moisture in the center. I also love cinnamon, so sometimes I can be a little heavy-handed in that department. It can be hit or miss, depending on the stove and pan performance and my level of patience, but overall it is the closest I have gotten to the delowcious french toast of my childhood. When it comes down to making it, really I just eyeball everything, which is another reason I get different results each time. But if I had to come up with a recipe, this is what I would say:

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat bread
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk (Sometimes a little more, because I eyeball it and don’t like my french toast super eggy)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (If I was being honest, I probably use an entire tablespoon.)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (A little goes a long way, so be careful!)
  • Butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs in a bowl large enough to dip bread into. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla and mix together.

Dip bread into mixture and let soak for 5-10 seconds. Flip and repeat.

Melt butter in a hot skillet set to medium-high and place bread into skillet. Let brown on each side (about 2-3 minutes – depending on your skillet and how brown you want your bread) and then place directly on the oven rack (or on a backing sheet with a cooling rack placed on top of it) and let cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately.

Notes: What I love about the stove to oven method, is that you can cook in bulk much easier. Make all your french toast on the stovetop and then add them to the oven at the same time so they can be served piping hot all at once! The only thing worse than soggy undercooked french toast, is cold crispy french toast.

  • Recipe Yields: 4-5 pieces

Egg in the Hole

Last summer my cousin, Tyler, made me this awesome breakfast called Egg in the Hole. Sounds a little bizarre and possibly a little perverted if you have “that” kind of mind, but don’t worry, there is nothing dirty about this recipe. Basically, it is a piece of bread with a hole cut out of the center, filled with an egg served over easy. It seemed simple enough to make. I mean come on, if my 19-year-old male cousin can pull it off, I think I can handle it. With a little practice, it has turned out to be a huge success in the Grasso household. The Hubby requests them every weekend for breakfast. My favorite part about this recipe is using the extra cut out piece of bread to make a little piece of jam covered toast on the side. No need to be wasteful!

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat bread (one piece per serving)
  • Eggs (one per serving)
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

Turn on the oven broiler.

Cut a hole out of your bread about 3 inches in diameter. (You can use the top of a small glass or a cookie cutter if you have one.) Lightly butter each side of the bread. and place in a heated skillet set to medium high. Brown one side and flip.

Crack egg inside the hole. (Be careful not to break the yolk.) Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper over the egg. Cook until bread is browned underneath and egg whites are almost cooked through.

Place in oven until reached desired doneness. I like my yolk a little gooey, almost solid, and the Hubby likes his yolk a little  more on the runny side. Everyone is different, but no matter how you make it, it turns out delowcious!

Notes: As I say with many of my projects and recipes, have fun with it. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter if you are making them for someone you love, or even a pumpkin or christmas tree shape for special holidays. Get creative, the hole does not always have to be round!

Summer Sangria

With the official first day of summer just around the corner (June 2oth), I thought it was the perfect time to post a tasty version of one of my favorite summer time drinks. Sangria! My favorite thing about sangria is the fruit that not only adds so much flavor, but absorbs the alcohol for little bites of amazingness. It reminds me of my grandpa, who was a gin gimlet man. I used to love when he would give me the highly coveted olive that was infused with a hint of gin. Just enough to give a 10-year-old a little buzz. Probably not appropriate, but I loved it, which makes me like this fruity recipe even more. What’s even better, this recipe adds a bit of kick with the help of a Serrano pepper. Love, love, love everything about this recipe, created by Jerry James Stone at TreeHugger.com

Ingredients

  • 1 small carton of raspberries
  • 1 small carton of strawberries
  • 1 lime
  • 2 apples, granny smith and a braeburn
  • 1 Serrano pepper (more if you are daring)
  • 1 bottle of Viognier
  • ½ cup of white grape juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 can of club soda
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Directions

For a detailed play-by-play, check out Jerry’s special recipe on TreeHugger.com

Blueberry Lavender Mojito

Ingredients

  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1 ½ parts Rum
  • 1 ounce lavender syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 10-12 blueberries
  • Pinch of ground Cardamom
  • Club soda

Directions

In tall glass, muddle mint leaves, Lavender syrup, lime juice, blueberries, pinch of ground cardamom and rum. Muddle just enough to combine flavors, being careful not to over-muddle. Fill glass with crushed ice. Top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with blueberries on a cocktail pick.

Pink Lemonade Margarita

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 3 (12  ounce) cans of cold water – (just use the empty pink lemonade can)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of tequila
  • ½ (12 ounce) can of Grand Marnier
  • Ice cubes – (I like to use crushed ice)
  • Salt to rim the glasses
  • 1 lime, wedged

Directions

  1. Pour the (thawed) frozen lemonade concentrate into a pitcher, and fill the can with cold water.
  2. Pour into the pitcher and repeat twice for a total of 3 cans of water.
  3. Fill the can with tequila, and pour that into the pitcher.
  4. Fill about half of the can with Grand Marnier, and pour it into the pitcher.
  5. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Or blend mixture with ice to make a frozen version.
  6. Serve over ice in salt-rimmed glasses with a lime wedge!

Notes: You can also get the same delowcious looking effect with a grapefruit version from The Barefoot Contessa via There Goes My Cupcake. So whichever way your taste buds pull you, your drink will still look amazing!

Vootbeer

This special little cocktail is very dear to my heart, and quite possibly the reason I am where I am today. It was this unsuspecting mixture that gave me the courage and lack of inhibitions to “seduce” my now Hubby during our first meeting almost 3 years ago. Basically I was drunk and he was nice enough to simply fall in love with me rather than take advantage of the very inappropriate situation this cocktail created. It was a warm summer day on the lake… Just me, my closest friends, my future Hubby and my vootbeer. The rest is history and well worth the hangover! The Hubby and I go together like peanut butter and jelly, however, we and liquor still don’t mix. It is a very tasty concoction though.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 5 ounces root beer
  • Whipping cream for garnish
  • Maraschino Cherry (optional)

Directions

Fill glass (mason jar) with ice. Pour vodka over said ice and then fill with root beer. Garnish the top with whipping cream and cherry if desire. Pretty simple, right? But it will change your life!

Notes: It’s way tastier when you drink it out of a mason jar!

Watermelon Margarita


Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups frozen watermelon cubes
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 large lemon, squeezed (lime juice also works very well! use 2 limes)
  • 1 fresh banana
  • 2 shots of tequila (or sub with more water or fruit juice)
  • Cayenne powder (few dashes)
  • 2 slices of watermelon (frozen with rind on for garnish)

Directions

Add ingredients to blender and blend and pour. The cayenne pepper can either be added to the mixture or over top after blended.

Garnish with frozen watermelon rind slices.

Serve and enjoy!

Homemade Pizza {in Singapore}

Homemade Pizza ~ via The EGGEureka! I found fresh basil in Singapore! I had heard rumors that you could find it at stores such as Cold Storage, but I am a Fair Price shopper. It’s locations are more convenient and for the most part it tends to be less expensive. The only problem is only certain Fair Price’s carry the different ingredients I love. The Jurong Point Fair Price has amazing french baguettes. They are better than the stuff I find at some grocery stores in the states, no joke. The Clementi Mall Fair Price has a good fruit selection and now the Jurong East Fair Price has fresh basil. Slowly but surely, Singapore is becoming more and more livable. Unfortunately, as we discover the tricks that make living in another country easier, we simultaneously start to miss home, family and friends more as well. However this pizza I made for lunch today makes it all a little more bearable… I call it food therapy, which can me dangerous, so be careful now. Emotional eating is never good, but if you are going to do it, why not soothe your woes with something fresh, healthy and most of all delowcious. I know what you are thinking, “Elizabeth, pizza is not a healthy food.” Yeah, yeah yeah, I know. Not usually, but this time it is different. I made my pizza on a whole wheat tortilla, used a minimal amount of cheese (just a sprinkle to lightly cover the sauce), garnished it with fresh veggies (tomatoes and fresh basil) and seasoned it with garlic powder and crushed red pepper. The thin crispy tortilla lowers the normal high carb count of pizza and makes it more like an italian tostada. The garlic powder and crushed red pepper add tons of flavor without tons of sodium. And I don’t have to tell you what the veggies do. Unless I am missing something, nothing about that screams bad for you. In fact, it all seems pretty healthy.  Here is how I made my margarita tostada…

Ingredients

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 tablespoons of preferred pizza sauce (spaghetti sauce will work)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 4 red grape tomatoes (cut is 4ths)
  • 4 yellow grape tomatoes (cut in 4ths)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (chiffonade)
  • 1 handful of grated Italian cheese mix
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  1. Spread sauce over tortilla.
  2. Sprinkle with garlic powder to taste.
  3. Cover with cheese.
  4. Add crushed red pepper. (I like to add the red pepper before I cook my pizza. It really brings out the flavor.)
  5. Scatter  sliced tomatoes on the tortilla.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
  7. Drizzle olive oil over top.

Place pizza directly on the middle oven rack and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until tortilla has reached your desired crispiness.

Cut in 4’s and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Tequila Sangria

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pineapple slices
  • 2 to 3 orange slices
  • 2 to 3 blackberries
  • 2 to 3 lime wedges
  • 2 ounce or ¼ cup tequila
  • 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons elderflower-flavored liqueur
  • 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons simple syrup

Directions

In desired drinking glass, add the pineapples, oranges, blackberries, and lime wedges. Cook’s Note: If you don’t like the fruits suggested here feel free to use whichever fruits you desire.

Next add the tequila, elderflower-flavored liqueur, simple syrup, pineapple juice, and orange juice. Add ice to glass and stir to mix ingredients. Top glass with red wine and enjoy.