Cookbook Reviews

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Belize Rum Punch


Pat loves a drink similar to these at one of our favorite restaurants. The drink is called the Problem Solver. The name should say it all. It is loaded down with several types of liquors and juices.When I sampled these for inclusion into The Pub and Grub, he became giddy as a school girl. He now gets excited whenever he has seen that I have made them.

It is a blend of two kinds of rum mixed with other Caribbean flavors to tickle the taste buds. Be sure to use CREAM OF COCONUT. No coconut milk. No coconut water. The cream of coconut helps to cut down on the bitterness of the drink. Plus, it gives it that really cool froth on top.

Note: Don't go nuts with the grenadine. A dash is just that...a dash.

So, here we go:


2 ounces LIGHT rum
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce sour mix
1 ounce cream of coconut
2 dashes grenadine
2 ounces pineapple juice


1) Place a hurricane glass in the freezer. Allow it to get nice and chilled.

2) Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into prepared hurricane glass.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dew Drop

So, we have another Naomi Blackburn original. I was on a search for drinks for The Pub and Grub and Bette Lee Crosby's Midweek Mixers. I was watching a Tipsy Bartender video and he had a drink called the Mountain Dew Me that made me take a second look. Now, it seemed tasty and when I made it, it was ok, but was definitely missing stuff. Not to mention, there was no way that I could send Bette a drink called the Mountain Dew Me.

So, I got to concocting. This is definitely different. It is a blend of coconut, melon and pineapple. The Mountain Dew topper, definitely something I would never consider in tropical drinks, definitely adds a touch.

A huge shout out of thanks to my bud, Andrea Tiberi for the name. I wanted something creative. I can create the drinks, but stink at naming them. Dew Drop fits this drink perfectly.

On that note, here we go!:


2 oz Malibu Rum
1 oz CREAM of coconut (not coconut milk or water)
1 oz triple sec
1 oz midori
1 oz pineapple juice
2 oz Mountain Dew (I only drink diet Dew and it was fine)


1) In a shaker filled with ice, place first 5 ingredients. Shake vigorously to incorporate the cream of coconut.

2) Pour into a well chilled hurricane glass filled with ice. Top with the Mountain Dew.

3) Stir gently to incorporate the Dew, but not to break up the bubbles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quick Pork Soulvaki

Adapted from

I love this recipe! I love the simplicity in it. I love the taste of it. I love the versatility of this dish.  I really love the authenticity of the taste to the real deal. On that note, this is not authentic soulvaki, but a really close off shoot that is perfect for nights I don't feel like in winter!

The main key to this dish is the timing. Every aspect to it requires some kind of sitting/marinading time. I frequently start this in the morning and wrap it up in the evening. The meat requires marinading and I have found the longer it marinades, the better I like the turnout. The Tzatziki sauce requires two steps of extended prep. First, I have found that allowing the cucumber to sit with salt on it removes the better chunk of the water from the cucumber. This leads to a less watery sauce that is just better all around. One last note on the salt. I have used both Greek yogurt and regular yogurt. I find both work well. I just use the Greek yogurt if I am in the mood for a thicker sauce.

I have said that I love this meal due to its versatility. I have used this meal as a heavier meal with a side of couscous and Greek style veggies or as a sandwich done gyros style with a side of chips or fries. Both have worked well. It is whatever floats your boat. 

So, here we go!:



1.5 lb Pork Tenderloin, chopped into medium sized chunks
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 T. FRESH lemon juice
2 T. FRESH oregano, chopped
1 t. jarred garlic
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper

Tzatziki Sauce:

1 cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 t. jarred garlic
1 t. FRESH lemon juice
2 T mint leaves, chopped
salt/pepper to taste

4 Pita Bread, warmed
sliced onions (optional)
sliced tomatoes (optional)


1) In a strainer that has been place over a bowl, add cucumber. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit for no less than 30 minutes. This step removes the excess water from the cucumber that can often water down your Tzatziki sauce.

2) While cucumber is sitting, combine all ingredients for meat and let sit for no less than 30 minutes. I have often done this in the morning and finish up the cooking in the evening.

3) In a cast iron skillet sprayed with cooking spray, add 3 T. additional olive oil. Heat until very hot and add meat mixture including marinade. Fry until cooked through. Mine is usually done in 10 minutes. Place in warmed oven while finishing Tzatziki sauce.

4) For Tzatziki sauce, drain off cucumber water and add cucumber to bowl. Add rest of ingredients and stir until combined. Add in a bit extra salt and pepper to taste.

5) Serve over warmed pita bread with tomatoes and additional onion slices, if desired.