Old Fashioned

Photo by The Serving Wench

Photo by The Serving Wench

Full of drama, Mad Men on the AMC network, has become a world-wide phenomenon.  A period drama set in 1960’s Manhattan, NY, specifically on Madison Ave.

With the show’s impending premiere, there will be many watch parties across the globe.  This is a staple drink that should be served if you want a true Mad Men or 60’s themed party.  To anyone who are cocktail connoisseurs or know the history of this particular cocktail, knows that the original Old Fashioned did not incorporate fruit.  Somewhere down the road, fruit was introduced (rumor is fruit was added to sweeten or add flavor during the Depression).  Below I have included the traditional recipe and the one you’ll find Don Draper drinking.

Classic Old Fashioned

  • Angostura bitters
  • American Rye Whiskey
  • ice
  • sugar
  • water
  • lemon or orange peel (as garnish)

Directions:

  1. In a small rocks glass, add ½-1 tsp of sugar, add three dashes of bitters and then add a splash of water.  
  2. Muddle until it becomes a syrup.
  3. Add 2 oz. of rye whiskey
  4. Add ice and stir.
  5. Garnish and enjoy.

Don Draper’s Old Fashioned (Modern recipe, most likely served at bars)

  • Angostura Bitters
  • Bourbon
  • orange wedges
  • Maraschino cherries
  • sugar
  • water
  • ice

Directions:

  1. In a small rocks glass, add an orange wedge, a cherry, a dash of bitters, splash of water and a tsp of sugar.  
  2. Muddle until it becomes a thick syrup.
  3. Add 2 oz. of Bourbon, ice and stir.
  4. Garnish as desired and enjoy (with a cigar, if you want to get fancy and all *tailored suit required for full effect*)

 

Baked Brie with Assorted Toppings

Baked Brie cheese with a fruit compote and crackers

Baked Brie cheese with a fruit compote and crackers

The holidays are upon us and there is always a holiday party to attend to.  What should you bring?  Brie cheese is a great and easy dish to serve up at a party, whether it be your own or another’s.  Serve it with crackers or toasted French bread.  We guarantee it’ll be a big hit!

Featured in the picture is a fruit compote consisting of raspberries and blueberries and served with “Everything” flavored, all natural multi-grain crackers from Milton’s Craft Bakers.

Prep Time: Cook   Time: Level: Serves:
15 min. 30-40 min Easy 8

INGREDIENTS:

2 (8 oz.) wheels of Brie Cheese

Fruit Compote

  • 1 pkg. raspberries (half pint)
  • 1 pkg. blueberries (half pint)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C Cran-Raspberry juice

Roasted Garlic

  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 bulbs of garlic

Bourbon Poached Pears

  • 4 fresh pears (I used Bosc)
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Brie Cheese:

  1. Preheat oven at 350°F. (If you are going to bake while roasting the garlic, leave it in for less time than stated in step 3)
  2. On one side, thinly slice off rind to expose the center. (The rind is edible, but for serving purposes we cut off one side)
  3. Bake in a 9×9 inch pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese starts to melt over the its sides.
  4. Using a spatula, scoop the cheese onto a serving platter.  Surround with crackers and served toppings in several different dishes as you please.

For Fruit Compote:

  1. Combine fruit, sugar and juice in a saucepan over low heat.  Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Roasted Garlic

  1. Preheat oven for 400°F.
  2. Lightly drizzle olive oil on cookie sheet.  Spread garlic cloves on cookie sheet and lightly drizzle the rest of the olive oil on cloves.
  3. Bake until cloves have softened.

Bourbon Poached Pears

  1. Peel the pears and quarter them.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a pot and mix, then place pears in the pot.
  3. Simmer until pears are soft but not falling apart–roughly 25 minutes.

Gift of Giving (Experience Series Part 2)

Gift of Nostalgia

Create your own memory calendar.  Collect favorite or unforgettable memories from family, friends, neighbors and/or co-workers for a specific family member.  This would be great for elderly family members.  Write on one card, one memory and who its from.  Try to have each person be descriptive as possible.  You can create a box to hold the cards or fold them and put them in an artistically decorated jar.  Each day the person pulls out a card and reads a memory that they shared with someone they love.  This can be a time-consuming project as you’ll need 365 memories to record, however we’re sure the pay off will be well rewarded.

For pre-teens and teens alike, you can create a book with with 365 cards, each dated for one day of the year.  Each card will have years listed starting with 2013.  Every day for every year, your teen records one major event that happened that day that was important to them.  It is a great reflection piece for them to review back on years later.  To create this project, you could use large index cards (5×8), a 5 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in binder and you could create your own template on Microsoft word.  Have fun and customize the binder to the interests of the child.

Bananas Fosters with Dr. Pepper Pecans and Bourbon Whip Cream

Bananas Fosters wth Dr. Pepper Pecans & Bourbon Whip Cream
Photo by Nicole Ramos

I was flipping through Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, and I saw her recipe for Dr. Pepper pecans and I was intrigued.  Let me just say, when I do indulge in some soda, Dr. Pepper is my choice.  I also had been craving some Bananas Fosters.  Then I thought, these pecans would really taste awesome with bananas foster and then my mind trickled to, “OOoooh BOURBON whip cream!!!!”  Who DOESN’T love some bourbon whip cream?  I still had some Jack Daniels Honey left from the Peach Melba, and thought, “We have a winner!!!”  So I set out to make this dish and wondered how crazy I really was…

I adapted my Bananas Foster recipe from the original recipe from Brennan’s Restaurant, but I liked the idea of using allspice as a seasoning and adding heavy cream to make the caramel thicker.

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
 15 min.  35 min.  Easy  4-6

INGREDIENTS:

Bananas Foster

  • 4              bananas
  • 1 stk       butter
  • 1 C         brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp     allspice
  • ¼ C         dark rum
  • ¼ C         heavy cream

Dr. Pepper Pecans:

  • Dr. Pepper
  • Pecans
  • Butter
  • salt

Bourbon Whip Cream:

  • 1 C          heavy whipping cream
  • 1 TBS     Jack Daniels Honey (or any bourbon)
  • 2 TBS     confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ tsp     pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Bourbon Whip Cream:

Whip together all ingredients until it’s light, fluffy and peaks.  Leave in fridge until ready to serve.

Dr. Pepper Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the Dr. Pepper and butter to a boil over medium-high heat.  Simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in pecans and continue to cook until the liquid becomes a sticky glaze (3-4 min.)
  4. Bake, stirring once or twice, until toasted about 10 minutes.

Bananas Fosters:

  1. Slice up bananas into pieces.
  2. In a heavy frying pan or skillet, melt butter completely over medium-high heat.
  3. Add brown sugar and stir it around and cook until it starts to bubble up.
  4. Stir in heavy cream and cook until it bubbles.
  5. Add banana slices, sprinkle allspice over it.
  6. Carefully pour in rum, and light it with a wand lighter.  If you’re anything like me in the kitchen, I’m just short of being a hot mess, but somehow I create some deliciousness…Sorry lost concentration, as I was saying!  I don’t trust myself in gentle tipping the pan over the hot flame.  HOT MESS!!  Seriously, I cannot emphasize those two words enough!  For safety and well, cleaning sake, I use a wand lighter. Oh yeah, back to the recipe…
  7. The flame should go out within a minute and the result is heaven, pure heaven…okay no seriously, you should have slightly seasoned cooked bananas swimming in a dark caramel sea of heaven.  Okay I may have said heaven too much, but really, once you try it, I know you’ll agree.
  8. Reduce heat to low or warm.
  9. Sprinkle ice cream with the pecans, pour over the Bananas Foster, and top with the Bourbon Whip Cream and hear the angels’ sing of this dish’s magnificence!  Okay over exaggerating again, but you’ll definitely be doing a little dance while eating…