Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider

Doc's Hard Sour Cherry Cider

Hands up if you like cider? It’s kind of the gateway drug to beer. Sometimes it’s super sweet. Sometimes it’s too chemically sharp. There’s a spectrum from Woodchuck on one side to Cidre Bouché on the other.

We were at The Top last night and were pointed at this deliciousness – Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider. It’s on draft and made by Warwick Valley Winery, which also makes gin and wine. The cider is gluten free, which is totally hipster. It’s made in New York state – ‘Murica!

Anyhow, we had already ordered our drinks and one of the bartenders that know I like cider had us try this, so we ended up double-fisting our drinks and this cider. Better yet, when we came back for brunch today, what else could you want?

It’s nicely sour, with a soft punch of cherry, supported by a dry apple cider. The cider pours a deep red brown color, and has a slightly sweet hint at the back of your tongue.

Try it, dude.

Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider
Found at The Top
$5 / 12 oz pour

[Girl21]


There’s No Zucchini Here

Zucchini Rice Casserole

Not to keep harping on this, but there are just some foods I was traumatized by as a child. Zucchini is one of them. I just can’t help thinking of phlegm.

As part of my effort to bring the ‘good’ foods back into my house, I’m trying out zucchini again. But I still cringe at MY OWN cooking if there’s zucchini in it. So the more I hide it FROM MYSELF, the happier I am. Blegh.

Enter the grater. Make it as small as possible. Hite it. And add cheese. It really works. Not only do I eat this, but The Man eats it. He actually says ‘yum’ when he finds me making it. I am NOT shitting you.

First make 1 cup of basmati rice, which becomes a little over 2 cups. While that’s cooling off a little, grate up
3 small zucchinis (or two medium ones, but this is a case of smaller is better)
2 medium carrots
6 to 8 ounces of cheddar (white sharp cheddar, not the orange junk)

You’ll need to toss that in a large, heat-resistant bowl with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Keep a little of the grated cheese to sprinkle on top later. Add in:
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard (Ba-Tampte is our current fav.)
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt (more if you like salt)
¼ teaspoon chili powder (or just a nice dash of cayenne)

I like to add in a few cloves of crushed garlic, or half of an onion, diced fine. I like to add some protein in the form of a can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. Once you mix it all together to get all moist and evenly spread around, scoop in the rice and mix it up a bit more. Pour this into a casserole dish – I like to separate it into two 8”x8” dishes so that I can bake the second one in a few days for fresh casserole. Spread it out and smoosh it flatter or the pokes of rice will get overly crunchy, and then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese gets nice and bubbly with a little golden color. Probably about 20 minutes or so. After a few minutes to cool, you’re good to go. You can’t even tell there’s zucchini in there. Really. You don’t even have to tell anyone.

So, ingredient synopsis:
2 cups prepared basmati rice
3 small zucchinis, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
6-8 oz sharp cheddar, grated
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder (or just a nice dash of cayenne)
Either 3 nice cloves of garlic crushed, or ½ finely diced onion (optional)
1 can cannellini beans (optional)

If you want to hide the zucchini in there a little better, maybe finely chop up some spinach to camouflage the green bits ;-)

[Girl21]


Smack That Basil!

Basil Gin Limeade drink

I’m not going to lie. I’m not a huge gin fan. Don’t throw something at me!

But I feel obligated to expand my horizons. I keep my eyes out for cool new flavor combinations. So hey – gin, lemonade, and basil. Why not?

My baby basil plants I started from seed were just big enough to produce decent leaves. As a fanfare to start the fresh basil season, I wanted to celebrate. Coinkydink? I think not. (That’s weird to see that word written down.)

Keeping it basic (seriously, some of these drinks recipes want you to steam or simmer the leaves beforehand), I settled for one part gin and three parts limeade over ice and basil leaves. Instead of muddling the leaves (green chunks in your teeth!), I opted to smack the three large basil leaves between my hands a few times to bruise them. Bonus is that my hands smelled good afterwards.

The Man did something similar with more gin, because he loves gin. Our gin of the night was Bombay Sapphire, something we readily have on hand. Again, The Man likes gin. And our limeade is generally Simply brand. No need for simple syrup or extra steps tonight. It’s Sunday and who needs that?

I think next round I’ll try more gin too because the flavor combination is quite nice. Citrus tends to highlight the best side of gin. And fresh basil will make almost anything taste awesome.

Repeat:
Old fashioned glass
Medium ice
3 large basil leaves, smacked like they asked for it
2 fingers of gin
Top off with limeade (or lemonade)

Great for a rainy Sunday evening.

[Girl21]