Bites, Sips and Sides

You know I like to share the random with you; so here’s a rundown of some bites, sips and sides I’ve been enjoying lately.

I’m super late to the party; but Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, where you been hiding?
This is DELIGHTFUL. Its Trader Joe’s version of this magic; but the “B” word is never uttered.  And why yes, I made a wee little happy cookie sandwich by spreading a bit of the cookie butter between two Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps. Kind of amazing. And if you have one (or two), it won’t break the calorie bank.

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What is worth breaking the calorie bank is this cup of fluffy, chocolately
boozy lusciousness.

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Dark Hot Chocolate made with milk, with a splash of Kaluha, topped with boozy coconut whipped cream, with flecks from Trader Joe’s  Sugar, Chocolate  and Coffee grinder shook over it. All frothed up with a mini-frother. You should probably make this, like now.

As long as we’re talking boozy drinks, I enjoyed these two over the weekend.
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Fleuri 75 at Orchids at the Palm. A happy mix of gin, elderflower syrup, champagne and lemon. This was fizzy, citrusy and refreshing. If tasted like summer on a patio (rather than 35 degrees at a hotel bar). Dream with me.

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On the opposite end of the “light and refreshing” spectrum was this beauty;  Pig in the City enjoyed at Metropole. This was billed as a mix of bourbon, maple and bacon, which sounded, dark, spicy and savory. I loved the idea and the first few sips, but truthfully, I didn’t love it like I thought I would, it was a little too piggy tasting for my liking. I think I like my bacon, where it belongs, fried, covered in jalapeno honey. Of course.

Still with me after the pork juice? Great, let’s get into side dishes I made recently.

Faced with a ton of leftover cabbage from making a stir-fry, I decided to get a little rich and cheesy with the rest of the cabbage. Always looking to make recipes a little lighter, I used Laughing Cow cheese; but you could certainly use the traditional Gruyère as well.

Cabbage Gratin
1 tbs butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large red or white onion, sliced
1 bag (10 oz/4 cups) shredded cabbage
2 tbs Whole Wheat or All-Purpose Flour
3/4c. Half-half or Milk
2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges (or 1/2 c. shredded Gruyère)
1/2c. Shaved Parmesan cheese (plus 1/4c. for topping)
Pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt, black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a deep skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and saute until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Add cabbage, a dash of salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Over the vegetables, sprinkle the flour to coat everything. Slowly pour in
half & half, stirring steadily to ensure that the sauce is thickening, and the flour bits are
incorporated. Once everything is combined and warmed, stir in cheeses and pinch of  nutmeg. Everything should be looking melty and delicious. Add a bit more black pepper here.  Pour gratin into a greased 8×8 casserole dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese (or bread crumb topping if you prefer). Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and edges are bubbly. Serves 4. 

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Not super pretty, but super good when only melty and cheesy will do. IMG_4432

Finally, I’ve been digging into this fresh jumble of savory, tart and smooth ingredients, usually with pita chips or tortilla chips but most often, just a fork.
Is it a salsa? A chutney? A salad? No clue. Let’s just call it a snack, cool?

Snack 
1 avocado, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
5 kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 stalk of scallion, cleaned, diced, green parts only
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp.Cracked pepper
1 tbs Lemon juice
1 tbs olive oil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well. Devour. Serves 2.
This would amazing as an omelette filling or tossed with cooked pasta. 

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So there you have it, drinks, snacks and sides. We’ll be back to regular recipes and restaurant eats soon.

But we all need a little random in our day.

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