Libation Celebration: The Pink Crane …

I love a signature cocktail at parties.  It’s a great way to minimize expense and remove one more thing from the shoulders of the host.  So I asked an experienced and a budding mixologist to create a set of drinks that they think could put anyone into the holiday spirit.  Up first is my friend Hector and his “Pink Crane” …..

Pink Crane Cocktail 2

Hector works in the wine industry and has become quite the budding mixologist in his off time.  Given the instructions to create a drink that was light, refreshing and easy on the wallet, Hector spent a weekend working (aka drinking…) to come up with this delicious holiday libation.  The unexpected note of vanilla/almond is what makes this cocktail so unique – it’s the perfect up note to take the drink to a new level.  It’s also the reason why called it the Pink Crane….light, refreshing and definitely a drink that will bring your guests good luck in the coming new year!

Pink Crane Cocktail

[photo credit: photo by adza//food styling: courtney lake//recipe: hector maldonado ]

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Recipe: Best Roast Chicken ….

Did I ever tell you about that one time in college that I forgot to dethaw the turkey for Thanksgiving?  Well I didn’t forget per say but I didn’t take into account that it would take more than 6 hours to dethaw an 18 pound bird.  Needless to say, we had a hearty meal of sides and hot dogs that year.

Whether it because of poor planning (me), a need to serve a small number of guests or you simply don’t like turkey (I know a few peeps like that), then may I suggest an alternative…. roast chicken.  That Sunday dinner standard has the potential to really shine at your Thanksgiving table.  Think about it — it’s flavors can be dialed up or down depending on your guests tastes.  It pairs beautifully with all the traditional Thanksgiving sides.  And it is WAY less work than a turkey.  Added bonus that you aren’t stuck trying to figure out how to fit a turkey carcass into your fridge at the end of dinner.

This recipe is super simple but results in some of the best roast chicken I have EVER had.  So may I introduce to you to the ……

Best Roast Chicken ……

Best Roast Chicken

…that you will ever have on Thanksgiving!

Ingredients

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 stalks of rosemary
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • Olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Check inside the chicken and remove giblets and neck. Thoroughly rinse the chicken inside and out. Check the body for any leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the rosemary lemon, garlic and onion. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken from oven and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Notes:

– I like to use a cookie sheet with a baking rack to roast my chicken. Using a roasting pan I find that the skin doesn’t get as crisp. With this method, the chicken roasts on all sides and doesn’t steam.

– Feel free to mix it up with your spices. Sprinkle smoked paprika over the onions to give the chicken a wonderful smokey flavor. Or substitute an orange in lieu of the lemon. The options are endless!

[photo credit: photo by adza//recipe & food styling: courtney lake]

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Recipe: Quick Cranberry Sauce

There are three things I can’t stand:  racism, homophobia and canned cranberry sauce.  Something about the fact that it takes the shape of the can weirds me out.  Bleh!  As a kid, I would pile my plate full with everything else at Thanksgiving in the hopes of avoiding the dreaded sauce, yet my Grandma always found a way to wedge a quivering sliver of it on my plate.  I would build a green bean moat around it and go about my way enjoying the rest of my meal knowing that it would be meeting a quick deal under my napkin and eventually the trash can.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was introduced to the whole concept of fresh cranberry sauce.  It totally blew my mind – BOOM!  Tangy, sweet and fresh tasting this quick cranberry sauce is the perfect palette awakener during a meal that can be bogged down in heavy foods.  Even better is that after the meal it done, try the sauce on a turkey sandwich in lieu of sandwich spread.  Totally delish and since it’s made from fresh fruit, I like to think it counteracts the two slices of pie I will most likely have on Thanksgiving……

Quick Cranberry SauceQuick Cranberry Sauce – makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Zest from half an orange

Directions

Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

Stir in orange zest and remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate.*

* Don’t worry if the sauce looks runny. It will thicken as it cools.

For more quick and easy dishes, check out my Recipe section…..

[photo credit:  photo by adza//recipe & food styling: courtney lake]

Check me out on PinterestTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness. You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.