Tuesday, June 9, 2009

LUSH-US Drinks: Blessing In Disguise

We were having a good time eating, laughing & sharing... it was super easy to fall into a food coma, but my Puerto Rican Buddhist Goddess was like "OYE me... you cooked I clean!" It was like the gates of heaven opened up .

I LOATHE cleaning, people wonder why do I cook so well & how can I focus on labor intensive dishes... it's because I have absolutely NO cleaning cells in my brain!

Damn Sexy!
Ave Maria.... not the song but Maria (my long lost domestic goddess of a house keeper) how I miss you so. Seriously, when I lost my job it wasn't the fact I couldn't go shoe shopping , or travel, or can't buy drinks at the bar anymore & instead be subjected to the seedy business of sneaking into the bathroom to drink from my roadie or flask I stashed in my purse that I was going to miss the most, it was my dear dear Maria....

Aye, Maria, as Julia Childs is my witness I will sell this show... I promise & we will be together again forever, amen! *she slips away to cry for a moment*

Ok I'm back. Vinda challenges me... "ok bartender... make me a drink!" I put on some Salsa music, cranked up the volume walked to the bar & was like "I got it!" Game on.

Being that all three of us are going through some challenges I made us my favorite concoction I named a "Blessing In Disguise". I like to make my drinks with the same thought process as I make my food.

I created this drink when my friend Michelle went through a terrible break-up & this is the drink that is featured in my pilot for Single Serving:

1 part Tequila: because it numbs the pain & losing someone or something hurts.
1 part St Germain (Elder Flower Liquer): because what says fabulous than something French.
1 part Champagne: because HELLO this is a celebration bitches, good riddance!
Lemon Sorbet Floater: because Women are sweet, fresh, tangy, tart & refreshing & through every adversity have the strength to rise to the top.
Vinda said this was the greatest drink she has ever had & could drink only that for the rest of her life. She happily scrubbed my stove (HAPPILY, can you imagine?!?!?) whilst shaking her glorious bootay & Perri feeling nice put the pole on spin mode & broke into an impromptu performance. The cocktail made us all feel so nice.

Vinda said I should rename it Vinda or heaven, told her I couldn't but I feel a cupcake version named Vinda's Heaven is coming

The Star Studded Cast

Cooked: Lemony Farfalle with Wild Arugula & Asiago sauce with Pollo Empanizado & Crispy Beef

All that cupcake making had us hun-GRY! We decided to do the frosting on Sunday so I made a quick & easy dinner & enough pasta to last us for Sunday's frosting. I wanted a spa like pasta but with a light sauce so you felt like you actually ate something. 

My Buddhist Goddess Vinda  , the dame that Shaka Buku'd me into the practice (Buddhism) I invited over to cruise by. We're both from Miami & have been club girls for YEARS, this was honest to God the VERY first time I had someone at my home on a Saturday night for dinner my whole life. I've been working at a club since the week after I graduated from High School, it was such an incredible feeling

It was for her the first time she had a home cooked dinner on a Saturday night for years & she appreciated it SO much. I am forever indebted to that girl. Here's our dinner.

The Star Studded Cast

Getting to use Dan's Jamaica Me Crazy spice again... SO good!
Turning the buttery club crackers into breading I got to de-virginize my brand new KitchenAid extremely sexy candy apple red processor I won from Bakespace.com
heart Babette!
Ghetto Breading Station

Figured I'd spoil the Broads

Cheated, couldn't wait til Sunday so we had some samples of the Bellini Cupcakes for dessert

Perri had me over for Pilates before we finished the cupcakes & we were starving! I had enough pasta left over from the night before, but the chicken was a goner. I had some ribeye in the icebox (HA how retro) I defrosted it, whipped out the Jamaica Me Crazy & added the crispy beef & some romano on top of the pasta.

Why does pasta ALWAYS taste better the next day? My goodness this was so good. I especially loved the contrast between the crispy chicken & beef with the creamy pasta! 

Crispy Beef

Baked: "Making Cupcakes Ain't For Wussies"... WORD!

The Chorus Line.... 5,6,7,8!

That's a direct quote from my girl Perri except I swapped the P for a W to make it blog friendly. Perri is a Trader by day & a Pole & Pilates Instructor by night... Rwarrrrrrrrr! She graduated from Johns Hopkins & for a teeny tiny 26 year old I find her to be one of thee most intriguing & empowering women I have ever known.

She followed her heart & moved out here, heart was broken & she stayed. I watch her get by day to day on her journey & wonder how she has the strength to do it all & am SO grateful for our friendship.

As a Trader she found out it's a Man's world.... as an attractive woman in that world she has found her peers of female coworkers to be just as cut throat if not more than the men because they are intimidated by her beauty & her youth. She would NEVER admit to that but it's what I have observed.

Anywho, there's a chick at her job encroaching on her space bringing cupcakes to get a leg up (ha even in the business world a chick needs to get a leg up to get ahead... I made a joke without trying... AWESOME!) She called me frustrated by this & I thought that this chick must be STOPPED at once, hahahahahhahaha.

I started a cupcake food fight with alcohol laddened, whole wheat "heathier" cupcakes in 4 different flavors. We made this our weekend project & by the end of it we had 100 glorious cupcakes... well actually what Perri coined "cuffins" because the whole wheat gave them a muffin texture.

The whole time I was baking I kept thinking of this song... over & over, "A Man's World". So here's a jam from the late great Godfather of soul Mr James Brown sung by the incomparable Leela James. Please play as you look at the pictures. Enjoy!

Car Bombs!
On Sundays after my softball team from Maeve's Re$idual's would ahem... lose, we would meet at the bar & drown our sorrows with SEVERAL shots of Irish Car Bombs.

One of the bars I used to work at didn't have Jameson so whenever someone would order one & say it's not authentic when I used Jack or some other Whiskey I would reply why would you want to drink ANYTHING named after the pain & suffering Irish people still endure? This shut them up REAL quickly, we also didn't have Guinness on tap at the club so they would pay $15 dollars for what I just called car bombs... terrible, Hollywood is such a rip-off.

Anywho... I was checking out We Are Not Martha (LOVE ) that site, those girls really are doing a "fabulous thing" & Sue made Guinness cupcakes & someone mentioned they made car bombs in the comments section... I FLIPPED!

Perr & I were just going to make Bellini & Pomegranate Martini cupcakes... FUHGETABOUTIT these HAD to be added to the repertoire! I can't thank that blog enough for the inspiration

I googled the recipe & Smitten Kitchen seemed to be the most popular. It was beautiful but at the same time I just wanted my own version so I used the basics of my Strawberry, Chocolate & Champagne Cupcakes & made a white chocolate truffle with the cream liquer for the center instead of milk chocolate & whiskey.

My friend Juwan left 2 bottles of Guinness in my fridge after one of our late night ragers & I had several different Whiskey's on hand & a FAB bottle of African cream liquer called Amarula, which has a fruitier taste than Bailey's. I chose to use the Phillips Union Whiskey, because of the hint of Vanilla I thought would be perfect & add to the sweetness.

Star Studded Cast:

These WONDERFUL chocolate covered Sunflower Seeds I thought were PERFECT in lieu of sprinkles:
Dark Chocolate instead of Cocoa Powder:
Looks like she's got the right stuff in the kitchen....
LOVE the Yin & Yang of it all... AND mouth for the kitchen!

The recipe requires only one cup of Guinness... WHAT?!?!?!
Oh man I can look at this ALL day she looks like a 4 year old I LOVE it!!!
Oh darn filled one too much & one too little must fix this! HA!

Adding the White Chocolate & Amarula for the truffle center, I added some of the Amarula frosting to thicken the truffle up

Spraying more Whiskey onto the cake


Perri lived in Italy for 6 months so when we were discussing what cupcakes to make & she really loved my Strawberry Champagne ones she said jokingly we should make Bellinis! I thought it was perfect. There's a Strawberries & Cream muffin I make all time & always figured one of these days I'll make one with Peaches.

I didn't like Peaches growing up but Man oh Man do I a Bellini. I found a fantastic bottle of French Peach Champagne & knew there was no way in hell between the Peaches, Peach Champagne AND Peach nectar would I ever lose that Peach flavor.

The flavor wasn't overpowering, the best way I could describe it was that it was "perfumey" (I love to make up words). Not like you sprayed perfume on & your mouth was open... EW, but this light stick to the roof of your mouth perfumey-like thingy... yeah I won't be getting a job over at Bon Appetit any time soon... yeah right! It was just so fresh & effervescent. It was just beautiful, I look forward to making this again.

My favorite part was listening to Perri speak in perfect Italian... damn this girl has it ALL!

The Star Studded Cast.

Perri gets the joy of cooking with alcohol
Peach Frosting

Pomegranate Martinis
One of my ALL time faves to make at the bar are Pomegranate Martinis! They're just so chic & slick & a great way to convince someone they're doing something so nice to their bodies while doing something so naughty to their liver, hey a Girl's gotta get those Antioxidants somehow.

I added Pom liquer & juice into both the mix & the frosting. I also added some vodka & pureed berries to the frosting. Pomegranates are not in season so I was just tickled pink when I found this Cranberry & Pomegranate seeds mix in the dried fruit section of Trader Joe's.

While Perri was getting increasingly frustrated from having to pick out the sticky, icky seeds one by one I figured how cool would it be to stuff some cranberries in the cupcake also?

I made a basic Vanilla Buttercream base & added all the liquor & juice into the mix. These rose beautifully & very much felt & tasted like a grown up cupcake.

The Star Studded Cast

Sneaking in the cranberries

Acai Caprioska

I met my best friend Angela when I went to Salvador, Brazil (Bahia) for my 30th birthday. She was there to study ethnic dance. Everyday she would hike up 30 mins to Pelourino for dance & capoeira class after she had some Acai for breakfast, she's a very determined little firecracker .

Then on break she'd have another Acai bowl. She'd have another one for lunch before she hiked back down meet us for dinner & guess what she'd have for dessert? MORE Acai hahahahahaha! She started getting all self conscious about it & lie but she'd always get busted... she had a permanent Acai mark on her lip. I miss her! Please check out her blog: Anjela Canalese

Her faves to add to her Acai were bananas, berries, coconuts & granola... YUM! I bought a case of Acai juice at the 99 Cent Only Store AND they also had a granola mix with coconut in it, I never even heard of that before I couldn't believe it! Sometimes I truly believe in my heart of hearts that place along with Trader Joe's & Tarjay (Target) were made just for me!

My friends have their own Vodka brand, Veev which is Acai infused but I ran out of that sooo...

I had some PINK Vodka which is a Guarana based Vodka. Guarana is SO Brazilian. I was stuck between making it a Caiprinha which is a Cachaca drink (Cachaca is very similar to rum & so popular in Brazil) or a Caiproska which is a Vodka drink I fell in love with in Prague & it's their version of the popular Brazilian cocktail, I felt that the mint might screw up with the Acai bowl taste & opted to just use the vodka since I already had it on the counter from the Pom martinis... yeah I'm SO damn lazy!

The Star Studded Cast
Getting the Bananas a little drunk on Haiti's finest.
Mashed Bananas & Berries
Adding the pureed berries, Acai & Vodka into the frosting

Since I was on the Pom Martini kick & loved adding the cranberries to it I decided to add a berry in the center of the cupcake. The berry flavored frosting & berry center kicked some serious Capoeira arse! Can't wait to see my Bestie Ange & make this for her. ♥♥♥

Sending those puppies outta my house before I ate them all in color coordinated Disney character boxes we got at the 99 Cent Only Store... Eat that Martha Stewart on a budget at the trade room! HA! LOVE you Perr Bear