heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

summer heirloom tomatoes heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

 

 

I have big love for tomatoes. When I was growing up, I used to bite into huge beefsteak ones apple-style in my grandparent’s backyard, inevitably ending each summer afternoon wearing a tomato-soaked t-shirt.

 

A decade later and I’m still obsessing over the vegetable (Fruit? Tomato, tomahto), only now I’m chasing after the yellow, purple and striped varieties of tomatoes that are popping up in the end-of-summer markets here in the city. You certainly don’t need heirloom tomatoes for this recipe, but the flavor variety and varying colors definitely adds something to the final product.

fresh basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart maldon sea salt heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

 

Two musts for this recipe? Fresh basil and really good sea salt–I swear by Maldon, which you can pick up at any Whole Foods or specialty market near you. I know you’re probably thinking, “How big of a difference can specific salt really make, lady?” but I swear to you, use this once and you’ll never go back to that other stuff.

 

heirloom tomato tart heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

 

 

To start, you’ll need a defrosted sheet of puff pastry–Pillsbury makes a great one. Lay it out on a baking sheet thats been covered with parchment paper. Your oven should be pre-heating to 400 degrees.

 

In a bowl, mix together a cup of whole-milk ricotta with two tablespoons sugar. Once combined, spread the ricotta onto the puff pastry, leaving about an inch of pastry uncovered around the perimeter. Start layering on your tomatoes, sliced thin, until you’ve covered the ricotta almost completely. Finish with fresh basil, a small drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a general sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.

 

 

heirloom tomato tart with ricotta cheese and basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

 

Before putting it in the oven, make an egg wash (one egg and one tablespoon of water whisked together) and paint it on the uncovered pastry edges. Pop the tart into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and brown, and the tomatoes are shriveled (if you can, sneak a spatula under the center of it–it should be firm, not gummy and raw).

 

summer heirloom tomato tart with ricotta cheese and basil heirloom tomato, basil and ricotta tart

 

Once cooked, allow the tart to cool on the pan for 10 minutes–if you try to move it too soon, it can crack and shatter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese

fresh summer yellow peaches summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese

 

 

One of the best things about summer has to be the fresh, flavorful produce that seems to be everywhere. I could spend countless hours (and countless dollars, if I had them) perusing the Union Square Green market, on the hunt for juicy berries, sweet peaches and colorful veggies. I try to take advantage of it as much as possible during the weekends I’m in the city, because come winter I will be a sad little hermit in Queens, dreaming of farmer’s markets to pass the time.

 

And although I rarely go into a farmer’s market day with an exact plan of what I want to make for a dish, I do stick to one tried-and-true rule: keep it simple. Often, the picks are so flavor-packed and fresh that it’s best to treat them very simply to let their flavor shine.

 

baked bread for panzanella summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese

 

Take this peach panzanella salad, for example. Panzanella salads are an Italian-born traditional dish that basically pairs fresh vegetables with chunks of bread. Sounds pretty easy, no? And it is–the only thing you have to worry about “making” for this salad is the chunks of bread, and that’s as easy as cubing up a fresh loaf, tossing with tons of olive oil (truthfully, tons–double what you’d think you’d need) and sea salt and then popping it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the cubes are browned and crunchy.

 

summer peach panzanella salad summer peach panzanella salad with goat cheese

 

Instead of sticking to the traditional bread-and-tomato combo for this salad, I decided to mix it up a bit and add in goat cheese, baby kale and tons of fresh peaches. It was a winning flavor combination–the bread added that desired crunch, while the combo of the peaches and goat cheese was out of this world. Finish yours off with a little bit of a balsamic drizzle and call it a meal. You’ve done the farmer’s market proud.

 

 

 

 

jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

block party 1 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

 

 

Hey guys–it’s been a hot second, hasn’t it?! It’s been regrettably quiet around these parts as I settle into my new job, but I’m working on drumming up new content and being more organized with my posts–an admirable goal, no? Either way, thanks for sticking around–consider the following two delicious Pinnacle vodka jello shot recipes your reward.

 

block party 13 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 6 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 5 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

For the next installment of my Pinnacle vodka collaboration, we’re throwing a little block party–packed with music, lawn games, friends, picnic food, and of course, boozy drinks.

 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m entertaining a large crowd, having them mix their own cocktails can get messy. It’s much easier to have pre-made vodka shots they can throw back–especially if they’re either of the cool and sweet ones that made an appearance at our block party.

 

block party 8 1 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 8 2 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

 

With so many flavor options, it was hard to choose what Pinnacle vodka flavor to mix into jello shots. We finally landed on two versions–a coconut lime version using Pinnacle Coconut vodka, and a Swedish fish shot, using the namesake Swedish Fish flavored vodka (they really do think of everything, don’t they?), which was the brain-child of my roommate.

 

block party 9 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

For the Swedish Fish jello shots:

 

These can be made for however large a group you have. This recipe is one “batch” but feel free to double everything if you’re doing it for a large group.

To start, combine one cherry jello powder pack and boiling water in a bowl, using half the recommended amount of water listed on the package. Stir in Swedish Fish vodka in equal amounts to the water you added (for instance, if your jello packets called for 2 cups water originally, you’d use one cup boiling water, one cup vodka). Stir to combine, then pour into small dixie cups or plastic shot glasses. Allow to cool in the refrigerator until fully set, about two hours. Serve chilled.

 

For the Coconut Lime jello shots:

 

Boil 2 1/4 cups water and add it to 2 packages of lime jello mix and one package of lemon jello mix. Stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 can coconut milk, and 2 cups Coconut Pinnacle Vodka. Stir to combine, then pour into small dixie cups or plastic shot glasses. Allow to cool in the refrigerator until fully set, about two hours. Serve chilled.

 

 

block party 14 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 7 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 10 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 12 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party] block party 11 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

 

Needless to say, the jello shots were the perfect addition to a great summer day–summer, stop going by so fast!

 

block party 2 jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

 

 

 

AuthorLogo Pinnacle jello shots with pinnacle vodka [+ a block party]

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at http://pinnaclevodka.com. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or find more fun entertaining and drink ideas on our Pinterest page.

 

Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  This is a sponsored partnership, with Pinnacle® Vodka, via Mode Media.  The information, comments, and ideas expressed on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies, or any of their directors or employees.

peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

spiked peach sweet tea recipe copy peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

 

I’m interrupting our previously scheduled travel content this week to bring you…happy hour. I trust none of you are complaining–who doesn’t want a sweet summer cocktail?

 

You may remember that I’ve partnered up with Pinnacle Vodka this summer to showcase fun cocktail and party ideas–and for my latest post, I wanted to throw together the quintessential summer bash (cocktails included). To me, nothing says lazy summer nights more than BBQ and sweet tea.

 

spiked peach sweet tea with pinnacle vodka recipe peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

 

You don’t need to be from the South to appreciate sweet tea, and if you’ve never had it before, this recipe is the perfect boozy introduction. It’s light, refreshing and packed with real-fruit flavor, thanks to the peach Pinnacle Vodka and fresh peaches mixed in. Picture yourself sitting on a porch, wearing cutoff jean shorts, listening to Paul Simon and sipping this cocktail. Nothing better, right?

 

muddling peaches for a pinnacle vodka cocktail peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

 

The best news? These only seem fancy–really, you can whip up a few mason jars full of cocktails for friends in under ten minutes, making them perfect for parties or bigger get-togethers this summer.

 

First, peel and slice up half a fresh peach and place it in the bottom of a tin mixology glass. Add two teaspoons granulated sugar to the glass and muddle the peach slices until they’re pulpy and juicy (about five minutes of a little elbow grease). Add two shots of Pinnacle’s Peach Vodka to the glass, and fill the rest of the way with unsweetenedfreshly-brewed iced tea and ice. Please do yourself and your dentist a favor and make sure it’s unsweetened. The flavored vodka, coupled with the two teaspoons of sugar, will make this sweet enough for you, trust me! Shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds, then pour the cocktail into a mason jar, straining out the ice and the leftover peach in the process. Garnish with another slice of fresh peach and a striped paper straw (no science behind that…they’re just cute).

 

Pinnacle vodka peach sweet tea cocktail peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

 

Serve alongside your favorite BBQ eats, like our delicious burnt pork ends, corn bread with honey butter and bacon baked beans (or you could try your hand at this killer BBQ chicken recipe). Most important: make sure you buy enough peaches for a second–and third–round. These are going to be in-demand all summer!

Pinnacle vodka peach sweet tea cocktail recipe peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

 

 

 

 

 

 
AuthorLogo Pinnacle peach sweet tea cocktails with pinnacle vodka

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at http://pinnaclevodka.com. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or find more fun entertaining and drink ideas on our Pinterest page.

 

Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  This is a sponsored partnership, with Pinnacle® Vodka, via Mode Media.  The information, comments, and ideas expressed on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies, or any of their directors or employees.

philly cheesesteak sandwiches

philadelphia philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

Happy Monday! This past weekend, we made our way down to Philly for a bit of sightseeing and a Dave Matthews concert. After a week of rain here in New York City, having a sunny Saturday filled with friends, food and day drinking was just what was needed.

 

philadelphia 2 philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

And the food, oh the food….I literally had the best cheesesteak sandwich of my life in Reading Terminal Market. It was massive, so I saved half for after the concert which was just about the best decision ever.

 

I tried my hand a recreating the magic at home with homemade cheesesteak sandwiches. This version is equally as delicious, but I’m not sure if anything will ever top the original–but I guess that’s why they’re famous for them!

 

philly cheesesteak ingredients philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

 

For the cheesesteaks, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound shredded steak
  • three cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound sliced Provolone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for the rolls
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

philly cheesesteak rolls philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

Butter your grinder rolls on each side, then toast in the oven on 325 while you cook the steak. In a large skillet, melt the two tablespoons of butter. Saute the onions and garlic until they start to go limp, then add the steak and cook until browned, seasoning with salt and pepper. Set the skillet heat to the lowest setting to keep it warm.

 

Layer Provolone cheese onto the rolls and pop them back in the oven, this time setting it to broil. Keep an eye on the rolls–the cheese will melt fast and can burn easily!

 

philly cheesesteak sandwiches philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

Stuff the grinders full of steak and serve immediately. They’re hot and gooey and so delicious–they’d probably be even better served alongside a cold beer. Enjoy!

 

philly cheesesteak sandwich recipe philly cheesesteak sandwiches

 

summer mexican-inspired picnic recipes

vegetables for mexican picnic summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

Ugh, you guys–I’m sorry. I think it’s pretty evident I need to work on my whole work/work/life balance thing (I mean obviously, considering I couldn’t make the time to post this whole last week). I’m going to make it up to you, starting with this delicious Mexican-inspired picnic I pulled together this past weekend–it’s a yummy one.

 

pineapple summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

Is it just me, or is Mexican food one of the things you crave most in the summer time? I don’t know what it is, but the instant the temps heat up I’m all about guacamole, salsa and tacos, 24/7. I went home this past weekend, where the kitchen is large and my Mom buys the groceries (win!), so I decided to put a summer spin on some of my go-to recipes Saturday night. I stuck to the basics: salsa (which I made homemade with peach for an added summer flavor), the best guacamole ever, fresh fish tacos and Coronas. I mean, tacos and cervezas? Sign me up.

 

fresh avocados summer mexican inspired picnic recipes homemade guacamole recipe summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

For the guacamole, you’ll need:

*This serves 5 people

 

  • 4 avocados, pits removed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 small vine tomatoes, diced
  • the juice of two limes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Start by scooping out all the avocados and putting them in a bowl. If you didn’t already know, avocados brown very quickly, so you’ll want to make this guacamole shortly before serving it so it doesn’t turn an unattractive brown (it will still taste good, just not look good!). Add the chopped onion to the bowl and mash the avocados well, either with a fork or a potato masher (my preferred method). Add the rest of the ingredients, then mix well with a spoon, tasting to see if you need to add more salt or pepper. Serve immediately alongside corn chips (and, of course, the tacos).

 

peach salsa ingredients summer mexican inspired picnic recipes homemade peach salsa recipe summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

For the fresh peach salsa, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (still in their juice)
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 2 peaches, skinned and chopped up
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (add more if you like more of a kick!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Pour 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes (still in their juice) into a bowl. Add the pepper, peach, onion, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine. For the best flavor, make this the morning before serving–it’s at it’s most delicious when the flavors have a chance to sit and combine a bit. Serve along side corn chips.

 

grilled tilapia summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

For the fish tacos, you’ll need:

 

  • Fresh fish (something sturdy, like tilapia or mahi mahi works well). You’ll want to get one filet per two people.
  • the juice of 3 limes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The tacos taste best when the fish has been grilled, so a few hours before dinner place your fish in a baking dish with olive oil, the lime juice, salt and pepper and allow it to marinate for at least two hours. Once you’re ready, rub your grill pan with canola oil (don’t use olive oil–it has too low of a smoke point, meaning it can catch fire easily and become toxic). Grill your fish over high heat until light and flakey, about 10 minutes per side. Plate on a large serving platter so guests can help themselves, and finish with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of fresh cilantro.

 

mexican street corn summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

For the Mexican street corn, you’ll need:

  • One ear of corn per person
  • Cojita cheese (or queso blanco, if you can’t find cojita)
  • chili powder
  • cilantro
  • butter
  • salt and pepper

Boil the corn as you usually would, coating it in butter after cooking. Top with crumbled cojita cheese, chili powder, salt, pepper and cilantro. Go to town.

 

mexican inspired picnic food summer mexican inspired picnic recipes

 

Set everything out, along side tortillas for the fish tacos and beer for your belly. I also diced up some fresh pineapple for people to top the fish tacos with if they wanted–it was a great sweet addition! All together, this is such a quick, easy and delicious way to entertain–happy summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

lemons for limoncello homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka


 

For as long as I can remember, there has been limoncello in my house–specifically, my garage. While some parents may brew their own funky beers, mine loved to mix up the classic Italian drink for any occasion they could think of–graduation parties, summer picnics, even our annual Christmas party. It’s become a delicious partner to celebration in my house.

 

Which is why, when partnering up with Pinnacle Vodka this summer to showcase fun cocktails and entertaining ideas, this is the first thing that popped into my head. Not only is it a great, refreshing drink to have on-hand for summer entertaining, but it was the perfect way to celebrate my impending trip to Italy in a few weeks. Because what’s more Italian than limoncello?!

 

homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

 

Let’s get down to business. To start, you’re going to first want a bottle of high-quality, high-proof vodka. Enter: Pinnacle! Their traditional, unflavored version of vodka was perfect for this–it’s imported from France and is the highest rated vodka, so the quality is amazing, and it’s 80 proof, so it packs enough of a punch to really help extract all the flavor from the lemons (you should aim to use anything from 80 proof to 100 proof, which Pinnacle also has). You’ll be using four cups of vodka, along with 12 lemons and, eventually, 2 1/2 cups of sugar.

 

lemon zest homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

 

Zest the lemons using a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the white part (the pith). Put the zest into a large mason jar or other sealable glass jar and add the vodka (there should be enough to cover the zest–if there isn’t, add a bit more!).

 

homemade limoncello made with pinnacle vodka homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

 

Set aside the mixture in a cool, dark place for 4-8 days (a garage would be perfect, but if you don’t have one, like me, a pantry will do!). As times lapses, the alcohol will remove the essence of the lemon, leaving the vodka a pale yellow color (and smelling amazing!).

 

pinnacle vodka homemade limoncello homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

 

After that torturous wait period, it’s finally time to mix up your limoncello! Pour the vodka out of the bottle through a strainer, so you catch any rogue lemon peel pieces in the process. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 6 cups of water over medium heat. Warm it until the sugar dissolves (but do not boil) and the syrup is clear, about 10-12 minutes. Allow it to cool, then pour the syrup into the lemon-infused vodka–it will turn cloudy and an even paler yellow. Sample as you go to achieve the desired sweetness–limoncello is traditionally served over ice in an iced glass, so you want it sweet enough to be able to sip casually. Cin cin!

 

 

 

AuthorLogo Pinnacle homemade limoncello with pinnacle vodka

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at http://pinnaclevodka.com. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or find more fun entertaining and drink ideas on our Pinterest page.

 

Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  This is a sponsored partnership, with Pinnacle® Vodka, via Mode Media.  The information, comments, and ideas expressed on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies, or any of their directors or employees.

angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote

homemade angel food cake angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote

 

 

Summer days spent at my grandparent’s house came with one specific snack growing up: rhubarb. My grandpa had a whole amazing garden for most of my childhood, so there was never a shortage of fresh veggies for us to get our hands on while we were out playing in back, but rhubarb season was always extra anticipated.

 

I have distinct memories of sitting on their back deck, which was always forest green and forever giving me splinters, dipping long stalks of rhubarb in a huge bowl of sugar with my mom and slowly-but-surely finishing them all. The tangy taste of rhubarb is practically made for desserts, so I wanted to recreate that summer treat alongside one of my grandmas best cake recipes–homemade angel food cake. This combo is seriously out of this world, and it’s the perfect “light” summer dessert. It still feels like a treat, but it’s doesn’t weigh you down!

 

 

egg whites for angel food cake angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote angel food cake batter angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote

 

For the cake, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy peaks form. Add 3/4 cup sugar, then beat on high again, until the mixture forms very stiff peaks (this will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes, so have patience!). Switch the speed to low, then add the flour, vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, mixing slowly until combined (you may have to scrape the bottom, just to make sure you don’t have any leftover dry bits).

 

Pour the batter into an ungreased pan, then slam it on the counter once or twice to remove any air pockets. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the top has browned significantly and springs back slightly to the touch. Cool upside-down on a wire rack–after 20-30 minutes, run a knife gently around the edges and allow the cake to slide out. Cool for another 10 minutes.

 

 

strawberries and rhubarb angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote strawberry rhubarb compote angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote

 

For the compote (which totally makes the cake 100 times better, by the way), you’ll need:

 

  • 1 package strawberries, chopped small
  • 1 large stalk rhubarb, chopped small
  • 1 cup sugar

 

Place the chopped strawberries, rhubarb and the sugar in a pan over low heat. Stir to coat the strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar, then allow it to reduce down significantly, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes–it will first become a bit watery, and then more of a mush once the strawberries and rhubarb soften.

 

 

homemade angel food cake with strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream angel food cake with strawberry rhubarb compote

 

 

To serve, cut a generous slice of angel food cake, and top with the compote (warm or cold–it’s good both ways!) and a dollop of Cool Whip or fresh whipped cream. Happy rhubarb season!

 

 

chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

baked chicken two ways chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

 

There’s one thing I really hate about living in the city: the absence of a grill. There is nothing I love more when warm weather hits than a few delicious charred pieces of BBQ chicken on the grill. It doesn’t make much sense for us three girls to buy a grill for the (minimal) space outside our apartment, so I knew I needed to come up with a new way to capture that classic grilled chicken taste. Enter: the chicken showdown.

 

This is really just a by-product of boredom one rainy Sunday, but it turned out delicious. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a sweet homemade BBQ sauce and while I was at it, I whipped up another marinade of honey ginger garlic to see which one came out on top (and wait till you see which got the guy stamp-of-approval).

 

bbq sauce ingredients chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

 

For the sweet BBQ sauce, you’ll need (this was actually just one big “throw stuff in a pot” experiment, but it turned out good!):

 

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worchestire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add another 1/4 teaspoon if you want an extra kick!)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

 

Saute the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan until soft and translucent. Add the remaining ingredients in, stirring well to combine/dissolve the sugar. Allow to come to a boil (really more like a “bubble”) then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

honey garlic sauce and bbq sauce chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

 

For the honey ginger garlic sauce, you’ll need:

 

  • 4-5 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger (you can find this in the aisle with all the other spices, typically!)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the honey loosens up and combines with the ginger and garlic.

 

chicken drumsticks two ways chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

 

 

For both sauces, place chicken legs (or breast or whatever you like best!) in a glass baking dish. Pour the sauces over the top, making sure to coat each piece evenly (you can use your hand to disperse the sauce if you need to). Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the skin of the chicken has browned (the inside should be juicy and white, with no visible pink).

 

Baked honey garlic chicken chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq baked sweet bbq chicken chicken showdown: honey ginger garlic vs. sweet bbq

 

So the general consensus? Both were delicious, but everyone seemed to like the honey ginger garlic better! Maybe it’s because it was a bit different than the norm–the BBQ ended up tasting like a fresher version of Sweet Baby Rays (a good thing, if you ask me), and the honey ginger garlic with a nice change of pace. Either way, these would both be winners at your next summer weekend party–whether or not you have a grill!

 

 

 

the one where I became a master mixologist

pinnacle cocktail club the one where I became a master mixologist

 

 

Up until last week, the extent of my cocktail mixology skills ranged from pouring a shot to cobbling together a vodka soda. Embarrassing for an almost 25-year-old? Probably. But how many times in your life are you taught how to make actual, three-ingredients-or-more, measured-out cocktails? Not enough times, that’s for sure.

 

Which is why, when Pinnacle Vodka invited me down to the cabanas at the Maritime Hotel in NYC for a little mixology class last week, I was totally on board. Master Mixologist (um, how cool of a job would that be?) Brian van Flandern gave us the basic lowdown on everything an amateur bartender needs to know–how to pour, how to layer the ingredients and how to shake a cocktail just right to achieve the perfect temperature without watering it down. Brian even taught us how to properly “taste” vodka, which I didn’t think was possible without choking, but it really is. First he had us smell the vodka and describe it (similar to what sommeliers do)–Brian’s well-trained nose smelled garden hose and fresh grass…I smelt delicious vodka and college. What can I say, I don’t have an expert palate. Then, while sipping slowly, you’re supposed to exhale through your nose, eliminating that signature vodka “burn” you can sometimes experience–try it out, it totally works!

 

pinnacle dessert table the one where I became a master mixologist

 

dessert table at pinnacle event the one where I became a master mixologist

 

donuts the one where I became a master mixologist

It was a nasty NYC rainy day outside, but the setup inside the event was as cute and festive as could be–think tables themed with desserts that mimicked the cocktails and lights strung over the whole venue. We mixed, mingled and sipped drinks made with some of the newest Pinnacle flavors (out of an impressive 42-flavor line-up…seriously!). One of my favorite combos had to be the tropical martiki, made with Pinnacle‘s Tropical Punch Vodka–if an all-inclusive tropical vacation had a taste, this would be it:

 

Pinnacle Vodka’s Hawaiian Hula Tropical Martiki

  • 1 part Pinnacle Tropical Punch Vodka
  • 2 parts iced tea of your choice
  • Garnish with lots of tropical fruit (we had pineapple, kiwi and raspberry on-hand!).

 

*p.s. “One part” means 1 jigger full, filled to the brim!

 

Now onto the part I’m most excited about: for the next three months, I’ll be partnering up with Pinnacle to bring you guys fun summer entertaining ideas and cocktails for you to re-create at home. I can’t wait to show you everything I’ve cooked–er, mixed–up. If you have any favorite cocktails you’d like to know how to create, send ‘em my way. It’s going to be pretty fun around here the next few months!

 

 

AuthorLogo Pinnacle the one where I became a master mixologist

Pinnacle Vodka shakes things up with unexpected experiences and delightful discoveries. Explore with other fun flavors at http://pinnaclevodka.com. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, or find more fun entertaining and drink ideas on our Pinterest page.

 

 

Pinnacle® is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. and is used with permission.  This is a sponsored partnership, with Pinnacle® Vodka, via Mode Media.  The information, comments, and ideas expressed on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Jim Beam Brands Co., its affiliated companies, or any of their directors or employees.