friyay happy hour: rosemary + hibiscus greyhound

we are finally starting to feel the first bit of crisp fall air in socal. while the cooling temps and shorter days don't exactly get me revved up (i am an endless summer kind of girl), the appearance of colder weather produce in stores does.

i haven't bought an orange or grapefruit in months and i am more than ready for blood oranges and big fat ruby reds.

citrus juice is one of my favorite cocktail mixers because it basically completely neutralizes the harsh flavor elements of booze. mixing it with something floral and something herbaceous makes it the perfect drink to welcome those earlier sunsets with. 

five o'clock sun down is the perfect compliment to happy hour.

rosemary + hibiscus greyhound 
serves: 1 cocktail prep time: 2 minutes active time: 2 minutes total time: 4 minutes ingredients: 4 oz grapefruit juice. 2 oz vodka. .5 oz hibiscus syrup. 1 tbs rosemary leaves. 1 cup ice. shaker. sprig of fresh or frosted rosemary for garnish. 
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start by filling your shaker with a couple of ice cubes. take the rosemary leaves and smash them in your hands to release the oils and add them to the shaker. 
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pour in the vodka, grapefruit juice and hibiscus syrup. shake well till everything is well combined. 
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fill your serving glass with the remaining ice and pour the contents of the shaker over the ice. 
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garnish with fresh or frosted rosemary and enjoy! 
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xo, a

rosemary + hibiscus greyhound 
serves: 1 cocktail 
prep time: 2 minutes 
active time: 2 minutes 
total time: 4 minutes 
ingredients: 4 oz grapefruit juice. 2 oz vodka. .5 oz hibiscus syrup. 1 tbs rosemary leaves. 1 cup ice. shaker. sprig of fresh or frosted rosemary for garnish. 
start by filling your shaker with a couple of ice cubes. take the rosemary leaves andsmash them in your hands to release the oils and add them to the shaker. pour in the vodka, grapefruit juice and hibiscus syrup. shake well till everything is well combined. fill your serving glass with the remaining ice and pour the contents of the shaker over the ice. garnish with fresh or frosted rosemary and enjoy!

tips & tricks: frosted rosemary

whether i like it or not, the holidays are just around the corner. our november catering and cake schedule is already looking full and december is starting to add up. so i'm starting to do little things in advance that i can keep on hand during the holiday season to make my life easier. 

first up are these beautiful frosted rosemary sticks. they are beautiful in a cocktail, they can be broken up and used for small hits of pretty green on a cake or you can use a few to style up a platter that is a little bland in color and needs some holiday cheer. plus they smell AMAZING. 

frosted rosemary 
serves: 4 rosemary sprigs 
prep time: 1 minute 
active time: 4 minutes 
total time: 5 minutes 
ingredients: 4 sprigs rosemary. 1 tbs simple syrup. .25 cup sugar. 1 plate. 
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start by pouring your the simple syrup onto your plate. gently brush your rosemary sprigs through the simple syrup one at a time. 
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after the sprig gets brushed with simple syrup, gently sprinkle it with the sugar. 
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i like to pour the sugar over a plate or bowl to catch any excess. once your rosemary sprig is frosted, set it aside on a platter or in a jar and finish the remaining sprigs. 
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use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 
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xo, a

frosted rosemary
serves: 4 rosemary sprigs
prep time: 1 minute
active time: 4 minutes
total time: 5 minutes
ngredients: 4 sprigs rosemary. 1 tbs simple syrup. .25 cup sugar. 1 plate. start by pouring your the simple syrup onto your plate. gently brush your rosemary sprigs through the simple syrup one at a time. after the sprig gets brushed with simple syrup, gently sprinkle it with the sugar. i like to pour the sugar over a plate or bowl to catch any excess. once your rosemary sprig is frosted, set it aside on a platter or in a jar and finish the remaining sprigs. use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

potato + leek soup

lately, i have been a busy little bee cooking up a bunch of new projects. currently, i am working on a revamp of newfoodtuesdayz. in the works are more user friendly recipes, beautiful, easy to use recipe archives and new features like online ordering for my cake business.

so i have been going through old posts, looking for direction and inspiration. i went all the way back to the beginning. and one of the first posts was an all time favorite. potato leek soup. i believe the recipe i used was from one of my idols, martha. the recipe gave my my first real cooking tip. since leeks can be dirty and gritty, slice them and soak them in some water. all the dirt will wash off, drain the leeks and pat them dry and they are ready for use. 

not only did i learn my first pro tip, for the first time, someone cooked a recipe from newfoodtuesdayz. now, it wasn't really MY recipe, but it didn't matter then.

but that's not even the best part. the friend who cooked the soup? my dear friend lindsey who is working with me on the other BIG project i am working on. a CAKE calendar. yes. you read that correctly. i will let you process for a moment... 

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yes. a calendar all about cake. here is a taste from our first shoot.
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while you contemplate what cakez i could possibly come up with, here is MY version of potato + leek soup. sorry martha, mine is my better. 

potato + leek soup 
serves: 4 
prep time: 10 minutes 
active time: 35 minutes 
total time: 45 minutes 
ingredients: 2 tbs olive oil. 3 large leeks, white and light green parts sliced .25 inch thick (soaked in water, strained and dried). 1.5 lbs yucon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped. 1 tbs minced garlic. .5 cups marsala wine. .5 tsp nutmeg. 5 small sage leaves, chopped. 6 cups chicken stock. 1 tbs kosher salt. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. 1 cup seasoned croutons. hand immersion blender, blender or food processor. 
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start by hearing the oil over medium high heat until hot. add in the leeks and cook until starting to brown. about 5-8 minutes. season the leeks with a couple pinches of salt and one of pepper. add in the garlic and cook until it is fragrant. about 1 minute. 
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pour in the marsala and while it bubbles up, scrape up any browned bits. 
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add in the potato, sage, nutmeg and the remaining salt and pepper. bring the soup to a boil. about 7-10 minutes. reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid had reduced a bit. you should have lost about .5 inch of liquid from the original liquid lime on your pot. once you can smash a potato piece against the side of the pot, it is ready. 
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remove from the heat and blend until smooth. 
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serve hot with croutons.
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xo,a

potato + leek soup serves: 4 prep time: 10 minutes
active time: 35 minutes
total time: 45 minutes
ingredients: 2 tbs olive oil. 3 large leeks, white and light green parts sliced .25 inch thick (soaked in water, strained and dried). 1.5 lbs yucon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped. 1 tbs minced garlic. .5 cups marsala wine. .5 tsp nutmeg. 5 small sage leaves, chopped. 6 cups chicken stock. 1 tbs kosher salt. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. 1 cup seasoned croutons. hand immersion blender, blender or food processor. start by hearing the oil over medium high heat until hot. add in the leeks and cook until starting to brown. about 5-8 minutes. season the leeks with a couple pinches of salt and one of pepper. add in the garlic and cook until it is fragrant. about 1 minute. pour in the marsala and while it bubbles up, scrape up any browned bits. add in the potato, sage, nutmeg and the remaining salt and pepper. bring the soup to a boil. about 7-10 minutes. reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid had reduced a bit. you should have lost about .5 inch of liquid from the original liquid lime on your pot. once you can smash a potato piece against the side of the pot, it is ready. remove from the heat and blend until smooth. serve hot with croutons.