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Hibiscus Moon

hibiscus moon 5

Continuing on our quest to bring you delicious and festive holiday cocktails I proudly present the Hibiscus Moon (the best part of this is picking names, right?). A combination of hibiscus tea, moonshine, honey, and bitters it is simple yet packs a powerful punch. And, beautiful. A perfectly wintery cocktail.

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When I was in college hibiscus tea was my favorite afternoon drink. During breaks in class I’d pop into the campus cafe for a cup of Tazo’s Passion, which is hibiscus, orange peel, rose hips, and passion fruit. I’ve never been a smoker and I didn’t start drinking coffee until after college, so a cup of tea was my favorite way to unwind or break the stress of a long studio class. When I was dreaming up mixers for these winter cocktails it struck me how perfectly this tea would compliment moonshine. It’s tart and full, strong enough that it can be paired with a strong alcohol yet full of subtle, nuanced flavor. Combined with a few tablespoons of local honey to sweeten it and it was done before I knew it.

hibiscus moon 1

One of Dan’s Christmas presents this year (we opt for a 25 days of Christmas approach, exchanging gifts over the course of the month of December) was a mechanism for making large ice spheres. These giant pieces of  ice are ideal for cocktails where you don’t want your drink to be watered down (because they melt slowly) but might taste better served on the rock. Not to mention they’re quite the statement piece. Nothing makes turns a regular cocktail into a serious cocktail like a giant ice sphere.

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hibiscus moon 6 Hibiscus Moon

In a medium saucepan combine 6 cups water with 6-8 hibiscus teabags (we used Tazo Passion). Bring to a boil and then let cool. As it’s cooling stir in 3 tablespoons honey. Remove teabags and refrigerate the tea until chilled. Combine two fingers moonshine (or vodka), and three fingers tea. Add a splash of bitters and serve on the rock(s).

This post is not sponsored by Tazo, I just happen to love their tea. It’s also not sponsored by Midnight Moon. I just love their moonshine (made in NC).

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Grilled Carrots

This week I am coming to you once again from the fair city of Baltimore. I’m up here doing photoshoots and (more importantly) to see my Esther put on a show at the second annual Esther Fest, a program Rachael and I created last year at the Museum featuring my spirit animal Esther making latkes, telling jokes, and being (as her husband Morty calls it) a kosher ham. I’m super excited to see her in all of her glory, I’m so fortunate that I was able to make this trip. This is all to say sorry that this post is a few days behind and thanks for bearing with me during this busy season of moving/traveling/holidays! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled timely posting as soon as the dust settles.

One of my favorite side dishes throughout the year is grilled carrots. Marinated in everything from sesame oil and soy sauce to balsamic vinegar and rosemary to worchestershire sauce, grilled carrots are a subtle, hearty, and delicious compliment to pretty much any meal. In the summer we make them teriyaki style and pair them with sesame salmon. In the fall and winter I love them with roasted (or grilled) chicken and turkey with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. They’re also incredibly easy to put together. Marinate the peeled carrots in the seasoning of your choice for a few hours or overnight and then grill until tender and blackened! Voila, vitamin A!

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White Yam & Candied Bacon Casserole

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania, with Dan’s cousin Nathan, his fiance Jess, and the two dogs (Chase and Kaylee). It was relaxed, fun, and full of delicious food.  It’s the first Thanksgiving that I haven’t been with a lot of family (or at least some of our parents) and it had a definite kids-table vibe to it. We cooked all day long, ate a HUGE meal, took a nap, went for a walk, and then drank wine and relaxed on the couch. An ideal Thanskgiving, for sure.

One of my favorite dishes this year was a White Yam and Candied Bacon Casserole, something we created completely by accident. We intended to make a traditional sweet potato casserole with candied bacon and marshmallows tossed into the topping (Dan’s request), but I accidentally bought white yams instead of orange ones. And can I tell you what a happy accident it was? The yams were sweet and soft and creamy and the topping was this amazing combination of salt and cinnamon and sugar. I could have eaten the whole casserole! And while I’m going to save most of this year’s recipes for next year’s Thanksgiving menu I thought this would be just as wonderful on a Christmas table, so I beg you- try it! You won’t regret it.

We’re finally home now after a week long Thanksgiving tour (Wilmington -> Arlington, VA -> Mountainhome, PA -> Oreland, PA -> Harleysville, PA -> Baltimore -> Wilmington) and man are we exhausted. We’re playing catch up on unpacking, taking care of the dog, Christmas decorating, work, and life. But despite the craziness of the past few months we have so much to be thankful for. I made a list over on missELENAeous, but it can really be summed up in three words -health, happiness, love. We’re very lucky, us three.

photo by our friend Bill

White Yam & Candied Bacon Casserole

For the casserole:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

6 cups mashed white yam

For the topping:

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp butter

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb bacon

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Peel, chop, and boil your yams.  Mash, and set aside.  Beat eggs, sugar, and butter.  Add milk and vanilla, and combine with potatoes.  Spoon into a greased casserole dish.

Cook your bacon. As you’re cooking sprinkle both sides with cinnamon and sugar.

Combine brown sugar, butter, crumbled bacon, marshmallows, and pecans.  Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over potato mixture.

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

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