Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cocktail Month: Vodka Root Beer Floats

I thought about how I should wrap up cocktail month here on Kettler Cuisine and then it hit me, end the month like you end a meal...with dessert! For the final installment of Cocktail Month, I present the Vodka Root Beer Float! It's a nightcap and dessert in one!

Cocktail Month: Vodka Root Beer Floats |

The Hubby and I have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the kitchen experimenting with different cocktails this month. But even more, we have enjoyed all the great comments and praise from our followers and friends! Thank you for all the comments and pictures sent!!

Cocktail Month: Vodka Root Beer Floats |

So, to recap Cocktail Month on Kettler Cuisine:
The days of boring vodka tonics are over! Get in the liquor cabinet and play around with flavors and combinations. It's hard to go wrong :)

Vodka Root Beer Float

Yields: 1 drink

1 shot vodka
Root beer
2 scoops vanilla gelato or ice cream
Chilled glass

For best results, start with all cold ingredients. We like to chill our glasses in the freezer for about 30 minutes before making. There are two ways to make a root beer float, either start with the ice cream or start with the root beer.

We like to start with the vodka and fill the glass 2/3 full with root beer (leaving room for ice cream), then add the ice cream scoops on top, it bubbles up and starts to blend together pretty quickly! The result is a boozy, delicious, creamy dessert beverage.

Cocktail Month: Vodka Root Beer Floats |

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Birthday Almond Cake

Birthday Post!!!

Birthday Almond Cake |

Anyone that knows me, understands my affection for birthdays, especially my own! I love to be with friends and family and eat cake. I didn't want to squander all the hard work I have made over the last several months going gluten free, so decided to make a gluten free cake. At first, I didn't have high expectations, but then I discovered serenity/paradise.

Birthday Almond Cake |

I came across Heidi's almond cake recipe and realized that it was gluten free. I was very hesitant at first since it only had 5 ingredients, but after making this cake was blown away at how delicious it was! It had a very similar consistency of a pound cake, but not nearly as bad for you!

Birthday Almond Cake |

Yum Yum and Happy Birthday :)

Almond Birthday Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Yields: 3 cups cake batter or one 8-inch cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

2 tubes of almond paste (14 ounces total or about 1 1/2 cups)
5 large eggs, whisked
45 grams (about 1/4 cup) corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch pan or bundt pan very well. 

Break the almond paste into a food processor and pulse a few times until small pebble-size pieces form. Add in the eggs and process until smooth. Add in the cornstarch and salt, pulse a few times, then add in butter and pulse a few times more. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until a deep golden. Test the cake with a toothpick (should come out clean). Let the cake cook in the pan on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes, then remove from the pan.

To prepare the glaze, whisk all the ingredients together until free of lumps. The consistency should be thicker so it will stay on the cake.

Birthday Almond Cake |

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event

Since going gluten free, I have been on an everlasting search for new foods and products to enjoy. Much to my surprise I discovered an event that brings it all to me! On August 17 the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event will come to Durham and I will join several other bloggers to help promote and attend the event!

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event |

Although there are days when I miss pastries and cakes and pies, for the most part, gluten free is not that difficult of a life change, especially when there are so many great products and vendors that are paying attention to a growing market of gluten free eaters. 

I first found out about the event from a fellow blogger and was instantly excited! They are expecting more than 40 vendors and 1000 attendees. The event is open to the public and only $10 admission for adults.

I will post more information about the event prior to August 17, but encourage those with allergies or those interested in a gluten free lifestyle to attend. You will certainly find me there tasting all the samples!!

And remember, gluten free is not that difficult to stick to anymore - they even make gluten free ice cream cones! You will survive :)

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event |
Bi-Rite ice cream in a GLUTEN FREE cone in San Francisco!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cocktail Month: Cucumber Chill Martini

It's cocktail time and I've had a good week, a REALLY good week! I wrapped up a big project at work, got a promotion, was asked to promote an upcoming event on my blog (details to be shared soon), on my way to see my family AND my birthday week officially started! I know what you are thinking....Jess, say no more, "Let's have a drink!"

Well, alright then! I have the perfect one in mind to cool us off as the hot weather starts to creep in. I can feel it after my afternoon runs, summer is definitely here! Hopefully this cocktail will help bring our body temps back down to normal.

Cocktail Month: Cucumber Chill Martini |

"Cool as a cucumber," as they say. A cucumber is the perfect summer vegetable to cool you down. I have been on a kick recently adding cucumber slices to my water, it reminds me of being at a spa! I thought, why not add some vodka and we have ourselves a real vacation!

This martini (like most martinis) is pretty strong, so not ideal for throwing back. However, if you are not a big drinker, you can simply add in mineral water to tone it down a bit. Rain Vodka is really good here, but use your favorite brand of cucumber vodka.

Cocktail Month: Cucumber Chill Martini |

Cucumber Chill Martini

Yields: 1 drink

2 shots cucumber vodka (suggest Rain Cucumber Lime vodka)

Juice of 1/4 lime
3-4 cucumber slices
salt for rim
Lime wedge and cucumber slice for garnish
Sparkling water (optional)

Chill a martini glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, add in a few slices of cucumber to the sides of the glass so they stick. In a martini shaker, add in ice, vodka and lime juice and shake well until chilled.

Pour about a tablespoon of salt onto a flat plate and spread out.

Remove prepared martini glass from the freezer and dip into the plate of salt to coat the rim of the glass. Pour in the chilled vodka mixture and garnish with lime wedge and cucumber slice.

If using sparkling water, start with a large class and add ice into the glass as well before pouring the vodka mixture and mineral water in.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Slumgullion

Happy Father's day to the World's most amazing father!! I am lucky to have such a wonderful role model in my life, and one that can cook a good breakfast! Cooking is deep rooted in my family - it comes from both sides and has passed through many generations. I am blessed to have many of these recipes and dishes passed down to me. One of which is a breakfast dish that always makes me think of Grandpa, my Dad's father. He is no longer with us, but his spirit, personality and kind heart are still here. I know it is unusual to ask your Dad to work on Father's Day, but knowing how good of a writer he was and his love for his own father, I asked him to guest post today. He was honored and had the perfect idea to make Slumgullion. And yes, this is a real thing!

Father's Day Slumgullion |

Happy Father's Day out there to all the fathers. 

Much love,
Kettler Cuisine

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cocktail Month: Cilantro Pineapple Julep

The hot weather is coming! Ugh, yesterday was so humid and sticky that I seriously thought about relocating up north for the summer. Although, my cousins in NYC don't have it much better from what I understand. 

To continue Kettler Cocktail Month, I have a delicious treat for you today. Warm weather always makes me think of mojitos. I first discovered this drink with my mom on a family cruise about 7 years ago. We were at sea for a full day, and thought "why not drink on the deck and watch the sun go down." Unbeknownst to me, one drink turned into several and we partied the night away!!

Cocktail Month: Cilantro Pineapple Julep |

I love to muddle ingredients (as you can probably tell from my previous drink) and I love clear liquor drinks in the summer. I had some cilantro in the fridge and wondered if I could create a cocktail similar to using mint. 

What do you get when you combine fresh pineapple, bottle of Patron (a family favorite) and a hot day? The Cilantro Pineapple Julep. Simple, fresh and delicious! (I have a feeling my Texas family might like this one)

Cocktail Month: Cilantro Pineapple Julep |

Cilantro Pineapple Julep

Yields: 1 cocktail 

8-10 fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon honey
Juice of one lime wedge
2 ounces Patron (or other silver tequila)
2 ounces pineapple juice

In a large glass, muddle the cilantro leaves, honey and squeezed lime wedge. Pour the tequila and pineapple juice over the muddled mixture and stir well. Add mixture to a shaker along with several ice cubes. Strain and pour into your favorite chilled martini glass with a garnish of fresh pineapple and cilantro leaves.

Cocktail Month: Cilantro Pineapple Julep |

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shrimp and Fennel Salad

We love it when an unexpected meal comes together! Ryan and I were packing up for the beach, which meant cleaning out the fridge for dinner. We had some frozen shrimp in the freezer and just enough ingredients for two salads. Ryan insisted that I add this salad to the blog because it was so good!!

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

I realize that most people don’t just have some of these ingredients laying around in their fridge, but go get them!

While I was putting the salads together, I was working on one of the new cocktails for a future June Cocktail Month post (spoiler alert – Cilantro Pineapple Julep). The drink and salad paired perfectly together and put us in the perfect mood to finish packing up for the beach.

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

Here is a tip for using frozen shrimp. A lot of times I will purchase shrimp in bulk and freeze for later use because I can’t always find fresh, local (or wild caught) shrimp on demand. The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is to submerge it into cold water in a very large bowl. Change out the water every 10-15 minutes and the shrimp should thaw in about 30 minutes. I do this right when I come home and prep other ingredients while it thaws and voila! The shrimp is thawed and ready to go.

(Side note: if you have a cat, put the bowl of water/shrimp in the microwave to thaw so you can step away without the cat feasting on the raw shrimp. Obviously don't start the microwave!)

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

You have to try this salad because the flavors itself will take you to a delightful, tropical place!

Shrimp and Fennel Salad

Yields: 2 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes (to thaw shrimp)
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
10-12 shrimp, deveined and tails left on (thaw out if frozen)
6-8 cups salad greens (we used romaine and spinach)
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
Brie cheese, sliced (can also use feta, goat cheese or other triple crème cheese)

If using frozen shrimp, thaw this out using the method above.

Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the sliced fennel, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the prepared shrimp with the blackening rub and add the oil to the pan. Sear the shrimp on each side for about 2 minutes and remove from the pan immediately. The shrimp should be just cooked through and slightly bouncy to the touch.

Prepare the remaining ingredients and assemble the salad, then top with your favorite dressing.

Shrimp and Fennel Salad |

There are a ton of ways you could dress the salad, but since Ryan loves his Ranch, I don't make up dressings all of the time. For this salad I just topped with a blood orange infused olive oil that I got for Christmas this year. The citrus flavor complimented the spice of the shrimp and the bitterness and sweetness of the fennel. If you don't have this on hand, you could whisk fresh orange juice with olive oil to get the same flavor or top with your favorite simple vinaigrette.

The wonderful thing about salads is that you can top any way you want! Have fun with it and enjoy!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cocktail Month: Basil Grape Crush

Let the drinking continue!! It has been a very busy week, but don't think I've forgotten about my readers and your longing anticipation for cocktail month to continue!! 

Cocktail Month: Basil Grape Crush |

I don't have much to say about this drink besides the fact that I got the idea from a restaurant and decided to make a much cheaper version. The drink I had at dinner included Domaine de Canton, which would be too pricy to purchase for one cocktail and not widely enough used to add to our liquor cabinet. I played around with different ingredients and amounts to create a cocktail more wallet-friendly for the Kettlers (and all of our amazing followers)!

If you don't like ginger ale or want a less sweet drink, try sparkling water instead. Also, you can strain out the muddled grapes and basil leaves if you don't like sipping on leaves and pulp in your drink.

Cocktail Month: Basil Grape Crush |

If you are looking for a little adventure, try this drink to mix up your normal happy hour!!

Basil Grape Crush

Yields: 1 cocktail

2 basil leaves

4-5 red seedless grapes
2 shots full of ginger ale, plus a splash
*1-2 shots vodka
Lime wedge

Muddle the basil, grapes and a small splash of ginger ale in a glass. Add in the vodka and squeezed lime wedge. Pour this into a shaker and give it a good mix. In a small cocktail glass, fill halfway with ice and pour in the mixture from the shaker (your choice to leave in the muddled basil and grapes or strain out). Pour the 2 shots of ginger ale into the glass and stir with a spoon. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy!

*I like stronger drinks, so I do 2 shots of vodka, but some people don't like the overpowering boozy flavor. Reduce the amount down to 1 shot if you are this person! The flavor is still great.

Cocktail Month: Basil Grape Crush |

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset

In the words of the semi-homemade Food Network star, “It’s cocktail time!”

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset |

It’s Cocktail Month on Kettler Cuisine. June, possibly my favorite month, is the time of year when the weather gets hotter and the drinks get cooler! What better time to share a few of our favorite drinks to cool us down when the hot weather comes. For most of June we will be sharing new drinks, to go along with some of the favs we have already shared:
-       Bloody Mary
-       Cosmopolitan
-       Clean Margarita

To kick-off Cocktail Month, we are going to share a delicious combination of pineapple and peach, we like to call the Tuscan Sunset, so aptly named from a special time in my life.

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset |

Back in college, I had the chance to study abroad in Florence, Italy. It was there that I officially grew up and became an adult. I developed a sense of independence, curiosity and culture. During my first week, fellow students and I discovered the best little café and our soon to be favorite bartender, Claudette. After dropping in several days in a row, she made us her special concoction of pineapple juice and peach vodka (vodka alla pesca) and we would drink while the sun set over the Duomo. I was hooked.

I started ordering this everywhere in Italy. I developed a signature drink at 19 years old (and yes, I was drinking under age, but hey, I was in Europe). I remember writing my parents from Florence and telling them about this drink. I now look back and think that this probably concerned them that I was so excited about a drink and not the classes I was taking.

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset |

But that was not true, I LOVED the classes. I had to take a few required history courses, but the majority of my time was spent in the studio studying oil painting. It was a blast, and I had the chance to work with some amazing professors (and create some of my best artwork). I took it all in. Everything about Italy was amazing, beautiful and interesting. I traveled to Rome, Venice, Capri, Sorrento, Cinque Terre, but spent most of my time in a little apartment in Florence, right across from the Accademia Gallery (home of Michelangelo's David).

My favorite spot was Capri….by far the most gorgeous place in Italy. You must go during the early summer so you can see the grottos (natural caves) and travel to the top of the island for the best gelato and view of the Mediterranean.

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset |
One of my paintings - Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy)

I have found a few types of peach vodkas over the years; Stoli, Pinaccle, Absolut. I think that Absolut Apeach is the best flavor though. You could also take a stab at making your own peach infused vodka.

If you have a juicer, you could also make fresh pineapple juice, but I usually don’t like to pull out my juicer to make a cocktail. I get the fresh pineapple juice from Trader Joe’s (not made from concentrate and no sugar added).

Years later, I still love to make this drink when it starts warming up. It reminds me of the wonderful memories that I made while in Europe AND the beautiful Tuscan sunsets.

Cocktail Month: Tuscan Sunset |

Tuscan Sunset

Yields: 1 cocktail

2 tablespoon pineapple juice
1 shot peach flavored vodka
2 T cherry juice (from maraschino cherry jar)
2 cherries

Fill a cocktail glass with as much as ice as desired and transfer the ice to the shaker. Add in the pineapple juice, vodka and cherry juice and shake vigorously. 

Pour the drink with ice into the glass and add in the cherries on a toothpick or drop in the bottom of the glass. Enjoy!