What You Should Bring When You Don’t Know What to Bring [snip doodles]

These snip doodles, a predecessor of everyone’s favorite cookie, the snickerdoodle, are amazing.

I brought them to big group of people who confirmed what I already knew upon first bite, and begged for the recipe. I’m happy to report they couldn’t be easier to make. When you find yourself with a bake sale, or book group, or holiday who-knows-what, and you’re supposed to bring something for dessert, you know what to do.

Social Media [brussels sprouts gratin]

I’ve been playing around with the idea of doing something else on social media.  Snapchat?  Podcast?  Instagram stories?  I played around with stories the other day as I made this brussels sprouts gratin.  And I don’t see as many Snapchat stories these days, so maybe this is where everyone is hanging out now?


I had never made a gratin before, which seems slightly ridiculous.  I love cheese, I love roasted veggies, and I love cream sauces.  What was I waiting for?


I’d tell you this is amazing but I bet you already figured it out.  Oh, it has pancetta, too.  So it can’t be bad.

Since this was my first gratin, I perused a couple recipes, wanting to make sure I’d land on a good one.  I ended up going with Elise’s, because she’s a great person to turn to for classics.  Truth be told, I’d prefer it had I roasted the sprouts for about 25 minutes, and then finished them in the gratin, but boiling them was just fine.  I know a lot of people put a rich sprouts-centered dish on their Thanksgiving table, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again on any old evening I want.

It’s Cocktail Time!

Man, do I miss me some Sandra Lee.  Is she still on TV?  I remember watching her in high school and cracking up over her excited, “It’s Cocktail Time!” at the end of each episode.  I don’t think I understood what an exciting time cocktail time is.  Now I know.  In fact, the way my summers go, the months of June through August are pretty much one giant, extended cocktail time.  Here are three recent faves:

blood orange margaritas

1.  Blood Orange Margaritas

Holy yum!  These are a handmade specialty of one of my childhood neighbors, and you’re going to have to invest in some blood orange concentrate (nectar of the gods) if you want to make them as he did.  Until I can be convinced to spend $100 for three containers (check out the shipping costs!), I may have to tide myself over with Deb’s version.  In the meantime, here’s my neighbor’s:

In a cocktail shaker, mix 2 oz. tequila, 3/4 ounce Cointreau, or other orange liqueur, 1 T blood orange juice concentrate.  Fill with ice, and round out any remaining space in that shaker with margarita mix. Shake and serve on the rocks.

2.  Rum and Tonics

Said neighbor’s wife joined us for an impromptu barbecue on the fourth and showed up at our doorstep with hard liquor.  That’s my kind of gal.  She introduced my vodka-inclined little self to rum and tonics, and I’m so glad she did.

Start with some ice in a fun glass.  Looks like Crate and Barrel has the right idea.  Pour in a little bit (no more than an inch) of Mount Gay Rum, and fill the rest with tonic water (not to be confused with sparkling water or seltzer).  Squeeze in a slice of lime before serving.


3.  Panaché (pictured here without ice because I can’t be bothered)

This is the simplest of shandies, which seem to be having a moment this summer.  I’ve enjoyed this stuff for years, but never thought to make my own at home.  Panaché (pan-nah-SHAY) is refreshing, bubbly, and a lightweight’s version of hillbilly lemonade.  Perfect after you’ve come in from a hot, sticky day.

Fill a glass with ice (or don’t, if your ingredients are cold and you’re okay with it).  Fill half with beer (nothing with too much flavor, I always go Miller Lite in this case), and half with Sprite.

No matter which you choose to make, happy Friday, and cheers, dear readers!