Queen Bee Eats for a Day

My My Mojito September 4, 2010

Filed under: Drinks — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 8:47 pm
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OK, so we just posted Mojito Madness, but had to get these recipes over to you guys right away – well ok at least before we move on to a new topic.

I’ve done some experimenting with the Mojito because I am bound and determined to be able to mix a decent drink at home.  Nothing is better than a lazy Sunday at home with Husband and Cat just hanging out and making drinks.  Not that we do this often, but it is nice when we do!

Here’s what we’ve tried of the Mojito variety lately…

Traditional Mojito

¼ quarter of a lime, cut into wedges
5-6 mint leaves, whole without stems
1 tablespoon of superfine sugar (or simple syrup)
1-2 ounces of club soda
1-2 ounces of white rum
Ice – crushed or cubes

Throw the limes, mint, and sugar (or syrup) into a cocktail shaker and muddle well.  You really want to juice those limes and dissolve the sugar.  Next, add the club soda, rum, ice, and give it all a good shake.  Pour into a fun glass.  Garnish with a sugar along the rim or a simple lime wedge and sprig of mint.  This makes one drink.

Watermelon Mojito

¼ – ½ of a lime, cut into wedges
5-6 mint leaves, whole without stems
1 tablespoon of superfine sugar (or simple syrup)
¾ – 1 cup of watermelon, without seeds and cubed
2 ounces of white rum
Ice – crushed or cubes

In your cocktail shaker muddle the lime, mint, and sugar (or syrup).  If you’re using sugar, make sure it dissolves.  Then, add the club soda, rum, and ice.  Give everything a good shake.  Garnish with sugar along the rim and/or a wedge of watermelon and some mint.  This makes one drink.

Note on Ginger Watermelon Mojitos…

There’s also a ginger watermelon Mojito that we tried.  Use the same ingredients as above, but with a twist…ginger simple syrup!

I have always thought that watermelon goes really nicely with ginger.  If you’re so inclined, make a batch of ginger simple syrup (see our recipe for simple syrup and just infuse it with ginger), and use that instead of the plain superfine sugar or simple syrup.

Alright, this one really isn’t a Mojito in the most traditional sense of the drink, but it’s a fun variation.  I was in Florida for almost a month back in May and while I was down there, I came across 4 Orange Vodka.  While I was watching the local news with my parents, they featured a story on this spirit.  It’s vodka made WITH oranges – not with orange flavoring.  Nifty!  So, of course I had to get my hands on it.  This is what I did.

Orange Mojito

¼ – ½ an orange, cut into wedges
5-6 mint leaves, whole without stems
1 tablespoon of superfine sugar (or simple syrup)
2 ounces of club soda
2 ounces of 4 Orange Vodka
Ice – crushed or cubes

In your cocktail shaker muddle the lime, mint, and sugar.  Once the oranges are really juiced and the sugar is dissolved, add the club soda, vodka, and ice.  Give everything a good shake.  Garnish with an orange slice and sprig of mint.  This makes one drink.

Oh, and if you want to serve your drinks in chilled glasses, don’t forget to put them in the freeze for a bit (this is something I always forget.)

Let us know if you try any and what you like best!

 

Mojito Madness! August 30, 2010

Filed under: Drinks — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 7:51 am
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After a long, much-needed break including a make-over of the hair kind, a quick getaway, and some easy, laid back days at home, I’m baack!  Thanks to those of you that left comments and emails asking of our return.  We love you, too.

Let’s jump right into the heart of this post…Mojitos.

When you want to kick back and relax with a cool drink in your hand on the summer weekends, what do you think of?  A lot of us think of Mojitos, charming little drinks they are.  Of course you love the refreshing lime flavor and kick of rum, but do you know anything else about them?  Maybe other than they taste delicious and were a favorite of Ernest Hemingway?

Mojitos as we know them today were born in Cuba, though the true origin is debated among food scholars.  Some believe that the original Mojito was actually the “El Draque” which was made with tafia, a primitive form of rum, and named for Sir Francis Drake.  The mint, lime, and sugar were most likely meant to hide the harsh taste of the alcohol.  Mind you, this is only one theory.

There are also debates over the origin of the name.  Many believe that it relates to mojo, a seasoning made from lime and prevalent in Cuba.  This makes sense to me.  Plus, if you think you’ve lost your Mojo, just have a Mojito!

OK, so getting back to the basics…

The Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball cocktail.  The basic five ingredients are white rum, sugar, lime, sparkling water, and mint.  There are many variations of this drink, including those made with fruit-flavored vodkas, spiced rum instead of white, and even different fruits!  Let’s get the party started!

Recipes will be shared in a separate post – we’ve got a few!

 

Honey Honey August 26, 2010

Filed under: Good Stuff — haleyhoneybee @ 5:33 pm
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So the Queen Bee sent me an email today, reminding me to send home some honey with her hubby (he is in town staying with us as he has some important business matters out here). She has been having a pickle of a time finding a shop that sells the honey sticks  I packed in her travel goodie bag for her flight home last time she visited. They are pretty perfect if you want some tea on a long plane flight.

I went into the pantry to see if I had any left. I figured I could always just stash a few into her hubby’s suitcase, just in case I forget to make it to the store. And if I make it to the store that still requires me to remember why I am there.

Mmmm honey…. I am a particular fan of honey. Maybe because my name means honey bee. There I was, in the pantry, looking at the honey section on the shelf, between the coffee/teas and the olive oils. Big jars, little jars, bears, tins. I realized at that moment I may have a few more honeys in my pantry than normal. Bold honeys, mild honeys, sage honey, avocado honey, orange honey, lavender honey, honey combs, french honey, local honey. Those for cooking and those for teas. I have eight different types of honeys. And I had to laugh because I had been standing there dipping my paws in for a lick as though I was Pooh. It was so so sweet and good.

I do have a favorite, even though it is not local - I love Le Grand Miel.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Honey tidbits:

  • Because of the low water holding capacity, bacteria doesn’t easily grow in honey
  • If a jar of honey crystallizes, place it outside – an afternoon in the sun is the perfect remedy
  • Local honeys give you great protection against allergy causing pollen ailments
 

Cherry Cherry July 28, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Adventures,Recipes & How-Tos — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 10:40 pm
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Apparently I was thinking of the 1966 Neil Diamond song when I was came up with a title for this post.  My intentions were to avoid something like “How to Freeze Cherries” which can be so bland and boring, right?

So, the weekend of July 4th this year brought several new adventures for me – I learned to make simple syrup and I learned how to freeze fresh cherries.  Freezing cherries was completely an accidental discovery.  Here’s the backstory.

The summer is a great time for fresh fruits and vegetables; we all know that!  The cherries we had been getting were particularly good and as such we bought a few more packages.  My mistake was that I assumed each was going to be as sweet as the last.  Well, that last package just wasn’t sweet enough to eat, but definitely good to cook with.  What to do?  A little quick research told me I could freeze them for later use – fabulous idea!  I could then figure out what to do with them later.

So, I thought I’d share what I learned – it’s not everyday you learn to freeze cherries, right?

You will definitely need a cherry pitter – one of the greatest inventions of all time!  You can pit most olives, cherries, and just about anything else that fits inside!  Caution: Keep your fingers OUT of the way – we learned the hard way.

How to Freeze Cherries:

1 – Wash the cherries carefully, removing any debris.  Remove the stems while you wash them.  Rubbing them gently with your fingers will usually suffice.

2 – Remove the pits.  You can freeze cherries with the pits, but they often take on a nutty, almond-like flavor, so you may want to avoid that.

3 – Lay the washed, pitted cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen.  This will prevent them from clumping together and will retain their shape.  They will remain round and colorful.  After they are frozen, place them in a freezer bag, removing all the air.  They will last about a year.

Tips & Tricks for Storing and Freezing Cherries:

  • Allow the cherries to dry thoroughly before you freeze them.  This will reduce the likelihood of them all sticking together when you freeze them.
  • When shopping for cherries you should look for cherries that are bright, shiny, and plump.  The darker the cherry, the sweeter the taste.
  • Cherries with their stems have a longer shelf life.
  • When pitting cherries you may want to don an apron – the juice stains everything!
  • If you aren’t freezing your cherries, store them unwashed in plastic bags in the fridge.  Before eating, let them come to room temperature for the best flavor.
  • Some cooks like to freeze cherries in a syrup (40% – 4 parts water to 3 cups sugar) and ascorbic acid or citrus juice.  I skipped this because I am not sure what I will use the cherries for.
  • Sour cherries are best for freezing for pie filling.  You stir in sugar (measurements depend on how many cherries, etc.) and pack in rigid airtight containers for this purpose.

Our cherries are sweetly nestled in the freezer, waiting for me to decide what to do with them.

Does anyone have any ideas?  Make a compote?  A pie, perhaps?  Some cherry sauce for sundaes?  Would love some suggestions!

 

Seafood and Sunflowers July 22, 2010

We spent a wonderful weekend in New England… full of seafood and sunflowers.

The journey began with oysters for breakfast actually. Well sort of, we had an early lunch at Matunuck Oyster Bar in Rhode Island as a pit-stop as we drove from Massachusetts to Connecticut after taking the red-eye in from Cali. But oh the oysters were so good – and fresh!! Some were even plucked right out of the waters behind the restaurant.  We definitely recommend eating outside, but it is worth peeking your head in to check out the bountiful oyster selection on ice.

After settling in, next up was for dinner at Abbott’s lobster in the rough in Noank, CT. Is a seasonal BYOB diamond in the rough sort of joint. Steamed lobsters, mussels & clams, huge steamers, clam chowder. You get your elbows dirty and have a perfect picnic table feast. Note – you will definitely need to map to find this place, it is sort off of the beaten path, but worth the scenic drive.

Just recently we were reading an article about breakfast spots state by state, and heard about a tiny place in Mystic, CT. Since we were to be in the area we thought we’d check it out. Kitchen Little is the name, and that pretty well describes the restaurant as well. Its a tiny little peanut of a place, but that’s all it needed to be. The view of the seaport from the outside patio was kinda perfect for an early morn. Hubby ordered their claim to fame dish – the Portuguese fisherman (spicy hot chourico and linguica from Fall River, scrambled together with eggs, peppers, onions, and jalapeño cheese in a lightly spiced sauce served with a Portuguese English muffin). I had scrambled eggs with cream cheese and crab. We definitely recommend asking if they have any specials. And if in season get an order of blueberries and creme.

Oh yeah, for a bit on silly tourist fun, we went to Mystic Pizza!

And finally, to complete our weekend in New England, we embarked on a hay ride. I’ll admit, that part of the afternoon nerved me, but the rest of the day was beautiful. Buttonwood Farm participated in a sunflower festival fundraiser for the Make a Wish foundation. The hay ride took us through 4 of the 14 acres of sunflowers, sold sunflower bouquets, and their farm fresh ice cream. And so, to wind down our weekend, we delighted in caramel ice cream with sunflower seeds.


 

Thanks for the Versatile Blogger Award July 18, 2010

Filed under: Food Adventures — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 3:39 pm
Tags: ,

Versatile Blogger Award, Anyone?

Yesterday afternoon, we made a very fantastic discovery!  We found out that our friends over at Just Food Snobs had chosen us for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Yippee!

This was a most welcome surprise for a lazy Saturday afternoon.  It was so super exciting, in fact, that I called Husband up during a business meeting just to tell him!

We are extremely honored to have received this award, especially since it is given out by peers.  So, we humbly, and happily, thank Just Food Snobs for thinking of us!  Thank you!

The Guidelines for accepting this award are:

- Thank the person who gave it to you.
– Tell 7 things about yourself.
– Pass the award on to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered, and think are fantastic!

7 Things about Queen Bee:

1 – The bees are Melissa and Melissa.

2 – We met in college and have been a part of each others lives for all the major events – our weddings, big moves to new cities, babies, etc.

3 – Queen Bee’s awesome husband takes most of our pictures. Thank you, my sweet!

4 – Thanksgiving is our traditional Bee holiday – we get together and make a fabulous meal.

5 – We’re honorary members of the haters club.  Our husbands are the founders.  Long story.

6 – Both bees are the oldest children in their families.

7 – We both love a really delicious Bloody Mary.

15 Fantastico Blogs That We Recently Discovered, In No Particular Order:

1 – Just Food Snobs – http://justfoodsnobs.blogspot.com/

2 – Simply Maren – http://www.simplymaren.com/

3 – lollcakes – http://lollcakes.wordpress.com/

4 – Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right – http://motherrimmy.com/wordpress/

5 – Vintage Sugercube – http://www.vintagesugarcube.com/

6 – Island Vittles – http://islandvittles.com/

7 – The Manly Housewife – http://www.themanlyhousewife.com/blog/

8 – Bakerwanabe – http://bakerwanabe.com/

9 – Cookin’ Canuck – http://cookincanuck.blogspot.com/

10 – Pittsburgh Hot Plate – http://www.pittsburghhotplate.com/

11 – The Merry Gourmet – http://www.merrygourmet.com/

12 – The Dirty Oven – http://thedirtyoven.blogspot.com/

13 – All Day I Dream About Food – http://dreamaboutfood.blogspot.com/

14 – The Diary of A displaced HouseWife – http://thediaryofadisplacedhousewife.blogspot.com/

15 – More Than A Mount Full – A Culinary Journey – http://www.morethanamountfull.blogspot.com/

Thanks again, Just Food Snobs, for including us in this award!

 

Simple Summer Stir-Fry July 17, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Adventures,Recipes & How-Tos — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 9:22 am
Tags: ,

The summer is a great time to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  Not only does the grocery store have more of a selection fresh produce that actually looks appetizing (at least in New York) but the farmers markets are out of this world.

Because this is such a great time for produce, it’s also a great time for making a really good stir-fry, which I am all about.  It’s healthy, it’s quick, and it’s something Husband will eat!  In fact, I’ve heard that a stir-fry is a great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables as well!

So, a couple of weeks ago I found a recipe for a simple stir-fry and jazzed it up a bit.  And  even if you’ve never made a stir-fry in your life, this is so easy to do (and easy on the wallet as well.)

The Ingredients:

  • Fresh ginger, minced – 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Vegetable oil (though you could use Peanut) – 3 tablespoons
  • Asian sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Fresh ground pepper – ¼ teaspoon
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 heads of baby bok choy, stalks cut into ½-inch pieces and leaves shredded, separate
  • ½ pound of snow peas
  • 5-10 radishes, depending on size
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • ½ pound of spinach (without the stems and washed well – baby spinach is great, too)
  • ½ pound of tofu (firm), chicken, shrimp, or beef (depending on your preference)
  • Soy sauce – 4 teaspoons

The Process:

  1. Combine the ginger, fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil, sesame oil, ¼ a teaspoon of salt, and the pepper.  Whisk well and set aside to allow the flavors to mingle.
  2. In a wok, heat the rest of the cooking oil over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir until it’s fragrant, about 10-15 seconds.  Don’t let it burn!
  3. Next, add the bok choy stalks and cook for about 1-2 minutes, just until it starts to soften.  Throw in the snow peas and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Add the radishes, zucchini, squash, and soy sauce cooking and stirring for another minute.
  5. Now, add the bok choy leaves and spinach plus the remainder of the salt.  Cook and toss until the leaves begin to wilt; this should take about 2 minutes.  Add a tablespoon of the stir-fry sauce you made earlier – just enough to coat the contents of the wok.  Then, remove the vegetables from the wok.
  6. Add the rest of the stir-fry sauce to the hot wok and heat it over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu, chicken, shrimp, or beef.  If you’re using tofu, cook until it’s just warmed through, for about two minutes.  With chicken and shrimp, make sure the meat is cooked through.  Cook the beef to your preferred temperature.
  7. Put the vegetables back into the wok and toss everything together.

We served this dish over plain white rice, at Husband’s request.  But for a fun twist we thought you could try some Asian noodles.  I love picking at stir-fry as-is, so I often leave out the rice.

 

 
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