Category Archives: drinks

Stormy Scuppernong

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Lately my drink of choice has been the Dark and Stormy. Actually, I can’t get enough of any combination of spicy/strongly flavored spirits mixed with my beloved ginger beer. From the Honey Buck to the Dark and Stormy it’s my preferred cocktail for nights out at restaurants to afternoons spent relaxing on the porch, and everything in between.

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I made an impulse decision a few weeks ago to buy a bunch of scuppernongs. The season is fleeting and I knew I’d find a way to use them that would make the most of this local favorite. After much deliberation (read: procrastination) I threw them, whole, into a pot to simmer with brown sugar, a little lemon juice, and water. They boiled down and down and down until I had a lovely dark brown simple syrup. When I tasted it everything clicked- what the syrup really needed was some black spiced rum and a splash of ginger beer. Of course.

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What can I say, I just do what the syrup demands. Twist my arm! I filled my mixer with fresh lime juice, a few glugs of Kraken, and my syrup. Topped off with Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer (is there anything better? I’m not sure), and I had invented my new favorite drink, the Stormy Scuppernong.

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Stormy Scuppernong

scuppernong syrup:

2 cups fresh scuppernong grapes

1 cup brown sugar

3 cups water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lemon

cocktail (serves 2):

1 lime

3 jiggers black spiced rum

2 jiggers scuppernong syrup

1 bottle ginger beer

To make the syrup combine all ingredients over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until grapes have burst. Press through a fine mesh strainer. If the syrup is too thick to pour, whisk in a bit of water until it is the desired consistency. Chill.

To mix your cocktail combine rum, lime juice, and syrup in a mixer with a handful of ice. Shake well. Strain and pour into your serving glasses. Top with ginger beer. Serve and enjoy!


Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns

fiddlehead fern 4 It’s Spring! Spring is here! This week was all 70 and 80 degree weather, bright sun, flowers, and sneezes. I’m in heaven. I’m also in San Francisco, but that’s beside the point.

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This week I hosted Book Club, which meant I fed a group of people that I haven’t cooked for before but who know I write this blog (not to mention the cookbook), which is a scenario that gives me panic attacks. What if they don’t like what I’m serving? What if it’s awful? What if I fail? My answer to these questions is to make something I know I do well, so I served up a grits bar and a Bloody Mary bar. And, despite my deepest insecurities, it was a hit.

fiddlehead fern

fiddlehead fern 3 To add a little pizzaz to the Bloody Marys I pickled a batch of fiddlehead ferns, a Spring delicacy on par with ramps and garlic shoots. As my friend Katie described them, they taste like a blend between okra and green beans, the perfect taste of this fleeting season. A season I am whole-heartedly enjoying.

fiddlehead ferns 2 Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns

1 cup fiddlehead ferns

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp green peppercorns

1 garlic clove, minced

Quick pickles:

Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water. In a non-reactive saucepan, heat all ingredients to a low boil. Simmer 10-12 minutes. Transfer into a jar/covered dish and store, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Cupboard pickles:

ed note: These ratios make 1/2 pint of pickled ferns. Multiply ingredients as needed. 

Begin by sterilizing your jar and lid in a pot of hot water. Set aside. Leave the pot of water boiling.

In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt.

Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water.  In your sterilized jar, combine ferns with remaining ingredient. Pour vinegar and salt into jar, wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on the jar, and screw band on tightly.  Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes.  Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit.  Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.  They will stay for up to a year.

Kale Apple Ginger Smoothie

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I’ve always said that this blog follows what we eat, week in and week out. And the truth is that lately, this is what I’ve been eating. It’s filling, tasty, and it hits the spot in a way that no other food is hitting the spot right now. So smoothies it is- bring on the kale, ginger, lemon, and apples.


Kale, Apple, Ginger Smoothie

2 apples, sliced and frozen
1 carrot, sliced and frozen
2″ ginger root, sliced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cups of apple juice, depending on preference and strength of your blender

Combine ingredients in a blender and purée, adding apple juice as needed. Serve immediately.