mint + melon sparkler

over the last week, i've been hunkering down in the kitchen. wes and i have a baby shower we are catering next week and over the last couple weeks we have had an uptick in catering & cake inquiries, so i've been menu testing most days. just me, my tiny kitchen and some tunes. 

so far we have had some real winners, but my favorite is this cooling cocktail for the baby sprinkle (a baby shower for a mother that already has a child or two at home, for those not well versed in the ins and outs of baby parties). watch out, it is one of those dangerous drinks that tastes like there isn't any booze in it. 

not a drinker or have some at your party who aren't? you could easily make this non-alcoholic (we are for the sprinkle) by omitting the vodka. you could even make a batch with out the booze but serve it on the side for those who want to add it in. 

mint + melon sparkler
serves: 2 cocktails 
prep time: 5 minutes 
active time: 5 minutes 
total time: 10 minutes 
ingredients: 4 oz vodka. 2 cups chopped honeydew melon. 20 mint leaves, plus 2 long sprigs for garnish. 2 oz lime juice. 12 oz club soda or other sparkling water (i used one that had a hint of lime). food processor. strainer. 2 collins glasses. 2 cups ice. 
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start by combining the mint leaves, melon, lime juice and vodka together in the food processor. 
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blend until completely pureed. 
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over a bowl, strain your blended liquid until you have a bowl full of nice smooth liquid. 
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fill each glass with a cup of ice and a sprig of mint. 

fill each glass 75% of the way with melon juice mixture. 
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top off with sparkling water or club soda. 
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serve and enjoy. 
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xo, a

mint + melon sparkler serves: 2 cocktails
prep time: 5 minutes
active time: 5 minutes
total time: 10 minutes
ingredients: 4 oz vodka. 2 cups chopped honeydew melon. 20 mint leaves, plus 2 long sprigs for garnish. 2 oz lime juice. 12 oz club soda or other sparkling water (i used one that had a hint of lime). food processor. strainer. 2 collins glasses. 2 cups ice.
start by combining the mint leaves, melon, lime juice and vodka together in the food processor. blend until completely pureed. over a bowl, strain your blended liquid until you have a bowl full of nice smooth liquid. fill each glass with a cup of ice and a sprig of mint. fill each glass 75% of the way with melon juice mixture.top off with sparkling water or club soda. serve and enjoy. 

pistachio pesto

now don't get me wrong. there is a time and a place for classics. if you love pesto and can't imagine mixing things up from the classic basil + pine nut combo, i get it. respect tradition. 

but my basil plant is going off and with so much on hand, i had an itch to get a little creative. 

this twist on a traditional basil pesto has a thicker texture than it's traditional brother, but has all those salty, herbaceous flavor you love from the original. and if it makes you feel any better, i made it like the little italian grandmas do with a mortar and pestle. 

pistachio pesto 
serves: 1 cup pesto 
prep time: 5 minutes 
active time: 10 minutes (5 if you use your food processor) 
total time: 15 minutes 
ingredients: .5 cups pistachios, roughly chopped. .5 cup packed basil leaves. 1 cup good olive oil. 1 cup finely grated good quality parmesan. 1 small garlic clove, smashed. 1 tsp kosher salt. mortar and pestle or food processor. 
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in the mortar or bowl of your food processor, combine the pistachios, basil, garlic and salt. 
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using your pestle, mash everything into a rough paste. 
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start to add in your cheese a little at a time, till everything is well combined. 
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slowly, add in your olive oil a little a time, stirring it in until you achieve your desired texture (i like my pesto a bit thicker while some like it a bit more smooth and oily). 
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us as desired or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
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xo, a

pistachio pesto
serves: 1 cup pesto
prep time: 5 minutes
active time: 10 minutes (5 if you use your food processor)
total time: 15 minutes
ingredients: .5 cups pistachios, roughly chopped. .5 cup packed basil leaves. 1 cup good olive oil. 1 cup finely grated good quality parmesan. 1 small garlic clove, smashed. 1 tsp kosher salt. mortar and pestle or food processor.
n the mortar or bowl of your food processor, combine the pistachios, basil, garlic and salt. using your pestle, mash everything into a rough paste. start to add in your cheese a little at a time, till everything is well combined. slowly, add in your olive oil a little a time, stirring it in until you achieve your desired texture (i like my pesto a bit thicker while some like it a bit more smooth and oily). us as desired or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

friyay happy hour: mango mojito

phew. we made it. i feel like i say this every friyay, but this week was a doozy. my schedule has really been picking up with the addition of some yoga classes and swim lessons. summer (my busy season) is in full swing and it has me driving a giant daily triangle all over orange county. and while i am TRILLED that my businesses are picking up and i welcome the hustle and bustle, i was VERY ready for friyay this week.

since it's summer and heating up in my neck of the woods, i needed a cooling cocktail today. something to make me feel like i'm on vacation even though i really only have a few hours to rest before i'm off again. bam. enter the mango mojito. it was so good, that it only lasted about 5 minutes and wes was bummed i only made one and we had to share. if you can't come by some beautiful fresh mango, you can always sub some mango juice (mango nectar) for the flavor with out the hassle. 

mango mojito 
serves: 1 cocktail 
prep time: 5 minutes 
active time: 3 minutes 
total time: 8 minutes 
ingredients: 1 mango (or 3 oz mango nectar). 3 oz light rum. 8 mint leaves + a sprig of mint for garnish. 1 lime, halved. 1 tbs sugar. 6 oz club soda. muddler. shaker. food processor. 1 cup ice. 
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start by slicing a wedge out of your mango to reserve for garnish. then remove the rest of the flesh from your mango and puree the mango. you need about .25 cup of mango puree. reserve any extra you have for another use. 
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into the shaker, squeeze the juice form both sides of the lime and throw the lime halves in as well. rip up your mint and add it to the shaker with the sugar. muddle it all together until the mint is very broken up and your sugar is dissolved. about a minutes. 
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add a couple ice cubes, the rum and the mango puree to the shaker. shake well to combine. 
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fill your serving glass with the remaining ice and garnish your glass with the mango slice and the sprig of mint. 
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strain your mojito over ice. 
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pour in your club soda to take the mojito to the brim of the glass.
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serve and enjoy! 
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xo, a

mango mojito
serves: 1 cocktail
prep time: 5 minutes
active time: 3 minutes
total time: 8 minutes
ingredients: 1 mango (or 3 oz mango nectar). 3 oz light rum. 8 mint leaves + a sprig of mint for garnish. 1 lime, halved. 1 tbs sugar. 6 oz club soda. muddler. shaker. food processor. 1 cup ice. start by slicing a wedge out of your mango to reserve for garnish. then remove the rest of the flesh from your mango and puree the mango. you need about .25 cup of mango puree. reserve any extra you have for another use. into the shaker, squeeze the juice form both sides of the lime and throw the lime halves in as well. rip up your mint and add it to the shaker with the sugar. muddle it all together until the mint is very broken up and your sugar is dissolved. about a minutes. add a couple ice cubes, the rum and the mango puree to the shaker. shake well to combine. fill your serving glass with the remaining ice and garnish your glass with the mango slice and the sprig of mint. strain your mojito over ice. pour in your club soda to take the mojito to the brim of the glass. serve and enjoy!