Cookbook Reviews

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mojo Marinade

I love Chef Aaron McCargo and have his book SIMPLY DONE, WELL DONE. I have pulled numerous great recipes from this book. This is one of my top favorites and I make this stuff at least twice per month during the summer months. It is fresh, flavorful and preservative free unlike the commercially prepared one found in grocery stores. Each batch makes 3 cups. I have used it chicken, pork and beef and it is just super yummy. I want to try it with fish, as well but simply haven't had the opportunity yet.

One of the ingredients is jerk seasoning that he has included the recipe. I don't use a whole lot of jerk seasoning so I simply purchase McCormick's jerk seasoning. The bottle is small and lasts me forever. Another note, the original recipe calls for 1.5 TABLESPOONS of salt. I don't like to use that much salt in my cooking, so I have cut that in half. Don't mind the salt, use the full amount. 

Finally, the directions call for the ingredients to be placed in a blender and processed until smooth. I don't do that. I mix it up in a very large bowl. I like the chunks of onion in my marinade.

According to Chef McCargo, each batch will last one month if refrigerated in a glass container with a tight lid. Mine never lasts that long.

So here we go!:

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup FRESH SQUEEZED orange juice
1/2 cup FRESH SQUEEZED lemon juice
6 cloves chopped or 3 t. jarred garlic
2 T. Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 t. Kosher salt
1 T. Honey
1 T. Jerk Seasoning
1 T. coarse ground pepper
1 t. dried oregano


1) Place all ingredients in a blender and process. Pour into glass container and refrigerate unused portions for no more than one month.

The Spiked Siesta Frappe

I love coffee drinks. Because of this love, Pat and I purchased a bottle of Patron's coffee tequila because it is coffee AND tequila(!), but by itself, it is pretty disgusting. Needless to say, it was time to start concocting so that it didn't go to waste and what a better way than in a frozen coffee drink. I will say that this is one of the top 5 drinks that I have concocted. There is a cinnamon coffee taste partnered with a creaminess of the half/half and Rumchata to it that just rocks.

Because of the tequila base, I decided to go with more of a Mexican flare and added Kahlua and RumChata to it to expand the flavors. Now, this drink has a whole lot of alcohol in it, so I stretched out one recipe to 4 drinks. Top it with canned whipped cream and drizzle with a tablespoon of Kahlua for extra pizazz.

So, here we go:


1/2 cup STRONG brewed coffee
1/2 cup half and half
3 ounces Patron coffee tequila
3 ounces RumChata
2 ounces Kahlua
3 ounces Creme de Cacao
3-4 cups ice


1) Place all ingredients in a blender and processed until smooth.

2) Pour into a well chilled 8 ounce glass. I place glasses in freezer about 2 hours before making the drinks.

3) Top with whipped cream. Very slowly drizzle one tablespoon of Kahlua over the whipped cream as to not break it down, but give it the color. Place a straw in the glass and serve.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Citronella Cooler

I keep talking about my new love. Nope, not a new man, but a new site! I absolutely love The Tipsy Bartender that can be found on Instigram and Youtube. He has some of the most creative and fun drink recipes on it that allow me to add to my drink recipe catalog and takes some of the pressure off me for concocting drinks for Bette Lee Croby's Midweek Mixers. I also get to try them out before recommending them highly or giving them a thumbs down.

This one was a HUGE hit in my house. I partnered it with steak tacos and EVERYTHING was gone by the end of the night. It almost acted as a palate cleanser. It is a blend of citrus flavors that are softened with the cranberry juice. It is perfect for warm Summer days and just went down like a smooth lemonade.

Just a note: He poured the cranberry juice on top of the drink and let it settle. I poured everything into a shake and blended it that way. I loathe, simply loathe unmixed drinks!

So, here we go!:

1.5 oz Citrus Vodka
2.5 oz Lemonade (the "premade" stuff. Not the powdery garbage!)
.5 oz FRESH SQUEEZED lime juice
1 oz cranberry juice
Lemon slices
Lime slices
Fresh strawberry


1) Place hurricane glasses in freezer to chill.

2) In a metal shaker filled with ice, pour first four ingredients. Shake for no more than 30 seconds.

3) Pour everything into chilled hurricane glasses and garnish with lemon, lime and strawberry.


The Frozen Flying Monkey

Look at that well chilled glass!

I love fun drinks. When this one came across from Sue Dyer in my weekly Yahoo recipes batch of emails, I knew I was all over it and printed it off immediately for my "to make now" pile. This one wasn't only fun, it was pretty dang tasty too.

It is a frozen drink with no ice cream in it, but it does have that consistency of the ice cream. The fresh banana and banana liquor really helped to boost the flavor in it, so be sure to use both. Also, try to use an older banana. It will have more flavor to it than a brighter yellow one. I could taste the difference.

While the recipe called for a cherry to garnish, there was no way that I was going to do that. I went banana slices that were on top of whipped cream for this one.

Also, I added 2 ounces of white chocolate liqueur. I thought it gave it a real taste boost that was almost the flavor of a chocolate covered banana, which are one of my favorite treats.

Want a fun appearance for your guests, swirl chocolate syrup in a WELL CHILLED glass and place it back in the freezer while you make the drink. It is absolutely beautiful and will impress the guests.

This will make 2 drinks.

So, here we go:


2 oz. Banana Liqueur
2 oz. Kahlua
2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream

2 oz white chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva)
4 oz. Half & Half
1 Banana
2 cups of ice

Canned whipped cream
Cherries to garnish


1) If desired, prepare glasses as instructed above.

2) Place first 7 ingredients into blender. Blend until well combined and ice is broken down. It should almost have the consistency of an ice cream shake...ALMOST!

3) Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with the whipped cream and sliced banana.