Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Shadows of a thousand years, rise again unseen,

Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!" 

~ Dexter Kozen

Eat, Drink and Be Scary!
or in Buffy's case, be cute!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween Cocktails

I don't know about you, but Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Any holiday that I get to go to parties, eat "gross" food, dress up, horde candy and act like a kid  - yes please!

But the best thing about being an adult at Halloween, is drinking spooky cocktails. Here's some that will definitely make your holiday a little more fun and are perfect for bringing to a party.

1. Spiked Apple Cider

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (get the good stuff without preservatives)
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 4 organic whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pick your poison, to taste - we used spiced rum and caramel vodka but you can add your favorite booze. I think bourbon is a tasty choice too. Maybe some cinnamon vodka or Fire Water? Moonshine? 

Mix all together and serve - it's that simple!

To kick it up a notch, carve into the slices of apples with spooky picture or sayings. I did RIP and ghosts. We also tossed in a handful of plastic spiders and perched a big scary rubber one near the handle of a ghost pail. You could use a plastic pumpkin or if you have an extra fresh pumpkin that is really big, you can scoop it out and put a clear container inside.

This is also super tasty served hot. Keep in warm in a crockpot on low so all your alcohol doesn't evaporate.

2. The Ghostbuster

  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 1 ounce peach schnapps
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baileys
  • club soda to taste
Add Midori and peach schnapps to shaker with ice. Pour into glass. Add club soda. Carefully drizzle Baileys on top to create the Slimer effect. 
- remember this guy? 

3. Berry Scary Martini
This one is inspired by Martha Stewart ~ it's the one on the right. Looks awesome and tastes great too.

Combine ice, vodka, and cherry juice in a cocktail shaker; shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glasses. Thread Amarena cherries onto a cocktail skewer, and place in drink. Serve immediately. If you can't find the cherries or don't want to spend the money, you can go with the original recipe and use raspberries and blackberries.

Now all you need is a costume. Cheers!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Peanut Butter and Oreo Stuffed Brownie Cupcakes

Every now and then a recipe I find online stops me dead in my tracks. When I saw Picky Palate's Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Cakes, I knew I had to try them. Sunday's Brown's game pig roast was the perfect excuse.

It has all the best qualities of a recipe: easy, limited ingredients and delicious. I tweaked her recipe a little by only using one Oreo - I didn't want the cookie to overwhelm the brownie. If you like Oreos more than brownies, you can double up the cookie.

Peanut Butter Oreo Stuffed Brownie Cupcakes

  • 1 package of your favorite brownie mix - I like Duncan Hines Family Style Chewy Fudge or Ghirardelli Double Chocolate
  • 12 Oreos
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • Use a silicone muffin pan or line your pan with paper baking cups.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop, place enough brownie batter in each cup to cover the bottom.
  • Spread peanut butter on top of each Oreo.
  • Gently press one peanut butter covered Oreo in each cup, being sure not to press so hard that you push all the batter off of the bottom.

  • Fill each muffin cup, taking care to surround and completely cover the Oreo.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.
  • For some added fun, you can add sprinkles or chopped nuts before you bake them or frost them after they are cool.

This recipe was a hit! If you like frosted brownies, definitely frost them - so cute! 

I couldn't find the orange Oreos but they would have been PERFECT for the Brown's party! Maybe I'll make some more for Halloween if I can find them. 

Next time I'm going to try letting them sit overnight in the fridge before baking because I would love for the Oreos to get mushy. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coffee is Beautiful: The Katz Club Diner & Rising Star Pourover Coffee Tasting

Hello everyone!
I'm officially back from all things #EatDrinkWedding and would like to start with a shout out to my AWESOME guest bloggers Craveable ClevelandBite Buff and Call Me Trouble. Be sure to check out their blogs!

I promise to do a wedding related post - we just got our professional photos back and I'm picking out some to share. Stay tuned!

I was so happy when Emily from The Katz Club Diner contacted me about a special coffee tasting that was being held AFTER the wedding. I would have been so sad if I had to miss this one! I'm a HUGE fan of Chef Doug Katz and have been dying to pay a visit to his latest venture, The Katz Club Diner, since it opened. 

It's located in the two diner cars located at 1975 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights north of Cedar. This location was underutilized for years and I was anxious to see what the latest incarnation looked like.

It's separated into two distinct areas: a traditional diner and a dark and sexy cocktail lounge.

We started off the evening in the diner car where we met the barista manager Theresa and Andre from Rising Star Coffee - two extremely knowledgeable coffee professionals.

I'm a devout coffee lover and was looking forward to learning about a way to make coffee without using a traditional pot. They demonstrated the pourover method of manual drip brewing. It's a precise and lovely way to make coffee that originated in Japan and is a lot like a tea ceremony. It's fun to watch and the coffee is smooth and delicious. It allows for complete customization of your brew and is perfect for all you science experiment lovers out there.

I had heard of this type of coffee before but had never seen it being made or tried it. These two take their coffee seriously. I was in for a treat! Here's the short version:

They started with a Bee House Dripper - a pot that is user friendly and only about $20. You place a paper filter inside and then prime the pot by pouring water over the empty filter. This causes the paper to stick to the sides

This also preheats the pot and container you'll brew the coffee into.

After this step, you fill the pot with 30 grams of coffee, flatten the grounds and then pour water that's 205 degrees over top (slightly less than boiling.) You pour the water into the grounds just a little bit at first and it will release the carbon dioxide and foam up. This is called preinfusing.

This steps allows you to have an even pour so don't skip it!

Then you pour the water into the grounds, starting in the center and moving around in one direction only. This is where the skill comes in.

It reminds me of folding batter, you are mixing but gently. You start and end in the center.

They are very precise at the Katz Club Diner and weigh the yield - 300 grams - but if you want to skip the weighing it results in just over a cup of coffee.

We tried two single origin beans - a lighter and fruitier Panama and a deeper and richer Nicaraguan. Both delicious but very different.

Both the pourover and regular coffee are from Rising Star Coffee. It's another example of Chef Doug's commitment to using local and the best quality ingredients at all of his restaurants. You can buy their coffee beans at the diner too. 

Will I try this at home? Definitely! But not for my first cuppa joe of the day. For me, it's better suited to an after dinner or weekend brew because of the additional time and precision needed. I like the ritual of it but when you need a ton of coffee fast, an automatic drip or french press is the better choice.

The Katz Club Diner will be offering workshops so you can learn about the pourover method and taste the difference for yourself. The first one is scheduled for November 16th at 2pm. Until then, stop in and order a cup. The pourover coffee is $3 a cup and totally worth every penny. It's the smoothest cup of coffee ever but full of flavor. Be sure to watch them brewing it for you.

We ended the night with a tour of the bar car.

oooh la la! love the sexy corner conversation area
Get there after 8pm and you'll experience craft cocktails in a dining car like no other. This space can be rented for private dining events too.

Did you know you can grab a cup of coffee and some delicious bakery to go? They also have a killer on-the-go breakfast deal: a gourmet egg mcmuffin and a cup of Rising Star regular coffee for only $5.

Super breakfast deal, Burgers and Bourbon tasting event TONIGHT and coffee to go are just some of the cool things going on at the Katz Club Dinner
Rising Star Coffee, homemade pop tart
perfect cappuccinos, homemade goodies galore and Rising Star beans to go
yes, that's a homemade pop tart!

Thank you to Katz Club Diner for inviting us to a fun, informative and delicious event!
Happy bloggers: Meaghan, me and Amanda

Disclosure: In addition to inviting us to the coffee tasting, we each received a goodie bag of baked treats, coffee beans and a gift card. We were also offered a sample of food from the regular menu. As always, the opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, October 11, 2013

#EatDrinkWedding Guest Post: Favorite Fall Drinks

To wrap up my time off in newly wedded bliss, Katie from Call Me Trouble is sharing some of her favorite fall cocktails. I totally love her and I think you'll want to be her friend too after reading this post. I know what I'll be making with all my leftover wedding booze!

First and foremost, HUGE thanks to Crystal for thinking of me for a guest post. This is one of the first Cleveland blogs I read and Crystal has welcomed me into the community and her life with her warm smile and vibrant laugh. Two things that may not come across in a blog but trust me, are so there.

In honor of Crystal’s nuptials, here are a few of my favorite fall drinks I will be making and drinking in honor of the happy, new husband and wife!

1. Pumpkin Old Fashioned
Yes, I’m starting bold. This is not for the faint. I wasn’t sure Old Fashioneds could get any better until this. I’m gaga for pumpkin in the fall and it only makes sense to incorporate my favorite fall flavor into a classic cocktail. This is the perfect drink to have while making a pumpkin dessert, a little puree for the pumpkin pie dip, a little puree for my bourbon...

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 ½ ounces of bourbon (Or 2)
½ ounce Grand Marnier
A dash of orange bitters
Orange peel twists, for garnish

Directions: Combine the liquid ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake the container, then strain the liquid into a chilled cocktail glass with ice. Top the cocktail with an orange slice. Want to get real fancy? Poke some cloves into the orange slice. Inspired by Learn2Serve

2. Apple Cider Sangria
I’m a strong believer in having a sangria recipe for every season, this is my autumn home-run. (Get it? Baseball playoff season?) No fridge should be without cider in the fall, and my fridge is rarely without a bottle of Pinot Grigio in case of an emergency. This is a simple sangria, which I can really appreciate. Too much prep should never come between a lady and her drink of choice.

1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy (Regular brandy is just fine too. I don’t believe in buying obscure liquer for a seasonal drink)
3 apples, chopped- The recipe recommends honey crisp but I’m a green apple kind of girl. You pick your apple, Eden.
3 pears, chopped

Directions: Combine all ingredients together and stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving. Inspired by How Sweet It Is

3. Hot Chocolate with a Twist
Perhaps my most simple and beloved drink of the fall is hot chocolate and a little something, something. This is how I get warmed up for a football game, cut the briskness after jumping in leaf piles, and read a book during a chilly fall rainstorm.

Hot chocolate - however you like it, by milk, by hot water, by keurig. It can be milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, whatever your fancy.
1.5 ounces of one of these divine vodka flavors:
  • Marshmallow (of course.)
  • Whipped
  • Cherry Whipped (with dark chocolate)
  • Vanilla
  • S’mores
  • Cake
Directions: Pour 1.5 ounces (one shot) into your hot chocolate and stir! P.S. You’re never to old to add mini-marshmallows.

Thanks for joining me at Eat*Drink*Cleveland and I hope you try one (or all) of my favorite fall libations.

What are some of your iconic fall drinks?

Monday, October 7, 2013

#EatDrinkWedding Guest Post: Boursin Potato Soup

Now Katrina claims not to be able to cook but I think this recipe she is sharing today just might prove her wrong!

Hello, readers! I’m Katrina, from over at Bite Buff. My blog shares my dining adventures as I navigate the restaurant scene in Cleveland. I’m a terrible cook, and have been known to burn water out of pots, set the smoke detector off using the toaster oven, and ruin even the simplest things in the kitchen. Luckily, my handsome boyfriend, fondly called “R”, is a wonderful cook and we have fun trying new recipes all the time. I recently started sharing some of these recipes on my blog, and Crystal asked me to guest post today with one of them. This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. It’s our favorite cooking magazine. So, here we go…

Boursin Potato Soup with bacon and chives (makes 4 servings, total cook time: 45 minutes)

  • 4 strips thick-sliced bacon, halved on the bias (Note: for bite-sized garnish, dice it before cooking and just sprinkle it on top)

Sweat:  Note: if you don’t know what it means to “sweat” vegetables, then look it up first
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • ½ cup diced celery (Note: we cut them larger and removed them because I dislike cooked celery)
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 lb. gold potatoes, peeled and diced (6-8 cups) Note: We used about 7 cups.

Stir In:
  • 1 package Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin cheese, crumbled (5.3 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives

Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, and reserve 1 Tbsp. drippings.

Sweat onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in drippings in same pot over medium heat until onions soften, 5 minutes.

Add broth, water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 10-12 minutes.

Pulse soup with a handheld blender until partially pureed.

Stir in cheese until it melts. Simmer soup for 1-2 minutes more; season with salt and pepper.

Garnish each serving with bacon and chives and serve.

This recipe gave us a nice, classic potato soup on a chilly fall-like evening. We’d tweak a few things, like adding the peas that we had purchased and are still sitting in the refrigerator (oops). “R” also said that he would reduce our 7 cups of potatoes to just 6 cups, and he’d add more carrots. He also pureed the soup a bit too long, and we would have liked more chunks in the soup. However, this was overall a winner if you’re in the mood for a hearty, classic potato soup.

We served it with Braised Brussels Sprouts with apple, bacon, and mustard. They were fantastic, and unique. You’ll have to head over to my blog today to check out that recipe!

Thank you, Crystal for allowing me to guest post over here today. 
Best wishes to the happy couple from one Cleveland foodie to another!   
- Katrina

Thursday, October 3, 2013

#EatDrinkWedding Guest Post: Scrumptious Strongsville

This is the first of guest posts from some of my favorite #CLE blogs. Thanks to everyone for your help while I'm off celebrating #EatDrinkWedding. 
Hi Eat*Drink*Cleveland readers! A big thanks to Crystal for having me today while she’s off tying the knot. I'm Beth from Craveable Cleveland.
Today, I thought we could talk about Strongsville. Strongsville is where I live and admittedly, it’s not the hippest part of our great city. So when it comes to restaurant choices, what’s a foodie to do in a sea of mall shops and chain restaurants? Luckily, Strongsville does have a few delicious options from independent owners that I’ll highlight today.
Brew Kettle – This is my favorite place to meet for a drink, Ohio's First Brew-On-Premise Microbrewery. Their wide selection of craft beers is a treat! And their casual food is great too – I adore their veggie burger and highly addictive sweet potato fries.
DC Pasta – A casual Italian spot from Dante Boccuzzi. If you haven’t tried his LINGUINE ALLA CARBONARA CON TARTUFO with pancetta, poached egg and truffled cream do yourself a favor and get to Strongsville immediately. It is divine.
Pomeroy House – I don’t often go into the main restaurant but enjoy their cozy basement pub in the winter and beautiful patio in the summer. Best burger in Strongsville, without a doubt!
Pure Delite – They call themselves a guilt-free bakery but with cupcakes this good, who cares about that! I am a sweet freak so trust me; I’ve tried a lot of cupcakes. These are dense, decadent and not too sweet. Cupcake perfection.
Beth’s house – but the best place to eat in Strongsville is of course, my home. You’re all invited for dinner anytime!
Thanks for reading and I’d love to see you over on my site. Big congrats to Crystal on this exciting new chapter of her life.
xo Beth