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Minted Limeade

This recipe, from one of our many bbq books, is an excellent thirst-quencher on hot days.  Or any day, for that matter.

You’ll need:
1 bunch of fresh mint, rinsed and spun dry (or to taste – I used two large sprigs from the garden – about a small handful of leaves)
1 cup of lime juice (4-8 limes, depending on size, and how limey you want it)
1 cup sugar (or more to taste)

The mise en place.

 
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from four of the limes – try not to get too much of the bitter white pith.

In a small saucepan, combine the lime zest, sugar, mint and 1 cup of water, bringing to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Then reduce the heat to lowish and let simmer gently for five minutes.  Remove mixture from heat and strain into a pitcher (or let it cool to room temp first if you plan to serve right away.)

Lime zest, sugar, mint - simmering.

Juicing limes

Squeeze the juice from all of the limes (1 cup or to taste) and add to pitcher with four cups of water.  Taste and add more sugar or lime as necessary.  Stir well and chill or serve in tall glasses over ice, garnished with mint.


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Linguine in Vodka Sauce

This is a super easy dish even though saying it out loud “Linguine in Vodka Sauce” in a very Italian-like accent makes it sound really fancy. You could easily add some chicken and a side of asparagus to really jazz it up and add color.

The vodka sauce was really tasty, but way too runny. I cooked it and cooked it trying to thicken and it never did so we just ate it as is. Next time I’ll leave out the water the recipe calls for. Still, it was super easy to make and really tasty! I added a little extra red pepper flake because we like things spicy, but you could certainly do everything exactly the way the recipe asks and it would be very good.

For those of you with an aversion to clicking on links, here’s the basic recipe:

You first have to make a marinara sauce. I used a recipe for Perfect Marinara Sauce, which in my humble opinion is nowhere near perfect. So I suggest making your favorite marinara sauce. Mine involves browning some garlic and onions very finely chopped in olive oil then adding a can of tomato sauce (a small one because you only want about 2 cups of sauce), basil, oregano, black pepper and a pinch of brown sugar. If you like chunkier sauce use the Perfect Marinara sauce link above. They call for a can of whole peeled tomatoes. They make it taste really good, but also make it too thin for my liking. My Mom would most likely enjoy the chunkier version. 🙂 Whatever you decide, leave out all the extra goodies like olives, zuchinni, etc. in this sauce. Save those things for spaghetti.

After you have made your basic marinara sauce however you like to make it, saute a couple of shallots (or finely dice some sweet onion) in 2 Tbsps of butter. Add the marinara sauce to your shallots or your shallots to your sauce depending on what kinds of pans you use. Then add 3/4 heavy cream to the mixture and heat through. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Add 1-2 Tbsps of vodka and stir well. That’s it. Told you it was easy.

While you have the vodka out… try my drink of the night: Slutty Shirley. I find having a drink or two while cooking makes the experience twice as nice. To make this drink do a shot of vodka (if you have raspberry vodka use that, but regular works fine) in a glass with a few cubes of ice. Fill the glass almost full with Sprite and add a little grenadine for color. Plop in a maraschino cherry and drink.

Now for dessert: Decadent Raspberry Brownies. They are so amazing they need their own post so check back later for the word on the brownies.