Caper, Shallot and Lemon Schmear

Who doesn’t love a good schmear on their bagel? Or maybe a better question would be– what kind of schmear (a.k.a. cream cheese spread) is the ultimate for your bagel? With Easter brunch menu-planning in the works for everyone over the next few weeks, thought I’d share my favorite toppings, as well as offer you my Caper, Shallot and Lemon Schmear.  It’s the simplest, easiest and *tastiest* of bagel spreads you can serve up at your next brunch or holiday breakfast gathering. It’s so good…it’s sure to be a hole in one (so bad,  I know).  Continue reading

Entourage Elixir ~ A Tequila Cocktail

Happy National Tequila Day!
entourage exlixir-1

I created this tequila and bitter lemon drink right after seeing the Entourage Movie. If you saw it, then you’ll know why tequila was on my  brain. As soon as I walked in the door, I went over to my liquor cabinet, pulled out the Tequila Avión Reposado (that’s my fav, and looks like I need to buy more!), then rummaged around the “mixer” compartment in my fridge –better known to most people as the crisper bin, but alas mine has never seen even a leaf of a vegetable, just lots of stuff to mix with booze!–and found a bitter lemon mixer. Viola, my Entourage Elixir was born. Talk about the power of suggestion huh!

If you aren’t familiar with the Entourage tie-in, read the full story here. But here’s a quick explanation: the original Entourage series on HBO® first introduced the Tequila Avión brand to the masses here in the U.S. through an on-going storyline with one of the characters. Most people thought it was just a made up brand for the series. They had no idea it was a real Tequila. Once people realized they could buy it….well, the rest is history. And movie spoiler alert: we learn it’s ultimately how Turtle made his millions. Zoing!
tequila avion reposado | whiskandmuddler.com
tequila avion reposado | whiskandmuddler.com

My choice for the mixer– no brainer- had to be FeverTreeI love their brand of tonics and mixers. I typically use their Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon. They’re truly a cut above the rest. Can’t wait to try their new Elderflower tonic water too! What I like about either of their lemon bottlings is the bitterness is mixed in with just a touch of sweetness. They both have the undeniable flavor of true British bitter lemon soda. And bubbles add a nice touch to any cocktail right!
fevertree and san pellegrino mixers | whiskandmuddler.com
fevertree and san pellegrino mixers | whiskandmuddler.com
entourage exlixir | whiskandmuddler.com

If you really want to get into the spirit of today (ha, pun totally intended), then enjoy this sip with my Margarita Shrimp Tacos. Cheers to the conclusion of a great show and all-things Tequila.  Salud!


Entourage Elixir
yields one serving |  Entourage Elixir- A Tequila Cocktail PDF

3 ounces Tequila
half bottle (3.5 ounces) FeverTree Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon Mixer
juice of one lemon and one lime
lemon or lime slice to garnish

Combine tequila and citrus juices in a shaker over ice. Shake well. Pour into tumbler glass over ice. Top with lemon mixer. Garnish with citrus slice.


Notes:
If you can’t find FeverTree Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon, use any bitter citrus soda like San Pellegrino Pompelmo (grapefruit)….or a brand you like. For the Tequila, I used Reposado (my favorite) but a Blanco/Silver or Añejo works fine too. Just make sure it’s the good stuff!
*not a sponsored post*

Meyer Lemon Biscotti

If you could have smelled my kitchen yesterday.
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It was lemon central. And it was divine. I used not only the zest and the juice of meyer lemons, but also candied lemon peel in these pretty little Meyer Lemon Biscotti. The heady floral aroma of a meyer lemon is like no other. It has such a distinct scent. You know it’s a “meyer” when you smell it. The back door was open for a while since it was such a warm spring day, and the heat made the tree’s fragrance even more intense. I couldn’t help but pick a few and get to baking!

Good thing too, as I think my tree is just about done bearing fruit for a while. Figured I better enjoy them before it’s too late. But the good news is I see a ton of new buds on the tree, which hopefully means more deliciously sweet & tart lemons will be coming soon? Fingers crossed! Here in Northern California, we’re fortunate in many of the micro-climates to have citrus fruit year-round. And with this little guy, since it’s a dwarf variety, and in a pot near the house, it’s protected from the cooler nights….plus get loads of sunshine and warmth during the day.

So in honor of these gorgeous little gems…and because it’s Spring…..and because it’s Easter Sunday next week—you’re going to want a simple, make-ahead dessert so that your holiday entertaining is even sweeter. And these Meyer Lemon Biscotti  taste as good as they look!


Meyer Lemon Biscotti
yields 26-30 | printable version

To make these even more lemony,  I added candied lemon peel. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, just bump up the lemon zest and add 1/2 more tablespoon of lemon juice. And if you can’t find meyer lemons, substitute eureka lemons (the variety found in most grocery stores, they’ll work just fine.)

Biscotti:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons candied lemon peel, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons meyer lemon zest

To make the biscotti:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard baking sheet with non-stick liner. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add in zest, juice, candied peel, oil, and eggs.

Mix to combine. Dough will be loose and crumbly (and appear dry) but it will come together once you start kneading it. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for about 5-7 minutes, or until dough forms a nice ball. The dough will feel sticky, that’s ok, don’t add any more flour though. Just keep kneading on floured surface until you can easily shape it. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half with your hands to an 8-inch roll and approximately one-inch thick.  Place rolls on baking sheet a few inches apart from each other. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 or so half-inch slices. Place the slices cut side down back on the same baking sheet.

Reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Then turn biscotti over and bake one last time for another 10-12 minutes. The interior will still be a bit soft, but it will harden as the biscotti cools. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.

For the glaze:
Combine the confectioner’s sugar, zest and juice in a small bowl. Then drizzle over cooled biscotti. Or you can put the glaze in a pastry bag and pipe if you’re feeling fancy.
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Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy, Happy Everything!!    (couldn’t resist!)

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