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December 23, 2015

The Fortune Teller Cocktail

Fortune Teller Cocktail

This is a cocktail that I stumbled upon creating sometime last summer.  Having bought a fancy cocktail book for a friend’s birthday and subsequently thumbing through it, I happened upon a recipe for a cocktail featuring gin, St Germain (an expensive but delicious elderflower liqueur), and grapefruit zest.  We made it, and the cocktail was incredible.  But ooh-wee, it is a potent assembly, and while the flavors scream for summer, the sippability of it combined with its predilection to warm up quickly on a hot summer day drove me to adjust, tweak, and tone down/amp up this cocktail to a more accessible format. I have found that in most recipes calling for St Germain, other types of elderflower syrups can be used.  I have gotten a fancy Italian one at the food importer downtown Seattle, and then happened upon elderflower syrup at none other than Ikea.  And it was only $4.99 instead of $35 plus the relevant local taxes.  So for all purposes, I stick with elderflower syrup instead of elderflower liqueur. But this cocktail is also incredible with the St Germain, so by all means if that’s your jam (also easier to find at any liquor store vs a trip to Ikea or a fancy food importer), go with the St Germain. Also, this cocktail is pretty easy to mix up and prep ahead of time and then just assemble as people ask for them.

mise assembly


The Fortune Teller (makes 1)


  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz elderflower syrup or liqueur
  • large wide strip of grapefruit zest
  • 2 segments grapefruit
  • seltzer


  • Combine gin and elderflower over ice.  Stir.
  • Strain into an old-fashioned glass over crushed ice
  • Top with seltzer and garnish with grapefruit zest and segments



Posted in: Cocktails, Drinks
December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Posted in: Beauty, Misc
December 15, 2015

Monte Cristo Sandwich Inspired Palmiers

Monte Cristo Palmiers

A friend was having a birthday brunch/football game gathering over the weekend. It was a combination of fancy brunch and football game.  That’s a potentially tough line to walk.  You don’t want something that’s too fussy or fancy, but you also don’t want to do something that doesn’t honor the birthday girl and brunch aspect of the event, like a 7 layer dip.  Also, I love tiny food. And I had some homemade puff pastry thawing in the fridge.  In my searching, I found a recommendation for monte cristo sandwiches, and decided to run with the idea, making a monte cristo inspired palmier, which is essentially just a puff pastry “rollup” that’s sliced thinly and then baked.  And these are seriously a breeze to make.

monte cristo palmiers assembly

Monte Cristo Palmiers (makes 24)


  • 1 package puff pastry (or 1/2 recipe Nick Malgieri Puff Pastry), defrosted
  • 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3-6 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 3 slices prosciutto, chopped up into small pieces
  • 3-4 oz shredded gouda, swiss, or fontina cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • On a floured counter top, roll out your puff pastry  into an approximately 9×13″ (or larger) rectangle
  • Spread mustard, then jam on puff pastry
  • Sprinkle prosciutto pieces somewhat evenly on puff pastry
  • Sprinkle cheese over everything else
  • Roll dough up, lengthwise, in from both long edges, meeting in the middle.  Try to keep your roll tight.
  • Place on a sheet pan or cutting board and put into the refrigerator or freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up a bit (warm puff pastry is painfully frustrating to work with)
  • Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and slice the log into 24 somewhat even slices, aiming for about 3/8″ thick.
  • Place 12 slices per sheet pan.  If they’ve flattened out at all, re-form them a little to even them up a bit.
  • Return to refrigerator/freezer for 10-40 minutes.  Alternately, these can be frozen at this point, and baked from frozen, adding a few extra minutes of baking time.
  • Place one pan in the middle rack of your preheated oven.  Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, rotate pan, and set a time for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, check to see if puff pastry has begun browning.  If it has, remove from oven. If you’re not satisfied, bake longer, checking in 2 minute increments.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then remove from paper using a spatula.  Store at room temp for up to 2 days.

monte cristo palmiers cutting


Posted in: Baking, Food
December 9, 2015

Matcha Spritz Cookies!

Matcha Spritz Cookies

I am in full-on holiday food hoarding mode.  This usually manifests in me taking  a few days off work in mid-December and burning myself out on baking for the remainder of the winter.  This year has been an interesting shift.  I have been hoarding appetizers.  You know those things that you buy at Trader Joes and like to have around in case you have guests over?  Well I’m making them from scratch!  So far I have mushroom strudel and black pepper-parmesan-rosemary crackers, prepared and ready to bake off at a moment’s notice. But I had my cookie press out for the cheesy crackers, and the good folks at Midori Spring sent me a tin of their fancy ceremonial grade matcha powder, and I have been dying to try baking with matcha, so I got crazy and made some festive Midori Spring Matcha Spritz Cookies.  If you haven’t had Spritz cookies before, they are little cookies that are shaped when the dough is pressed out of a cookie press through different shaped plates that will give you fun shaped dough without the fuss of rolling and cookie cutters.



creaming butter and sugar

Matcha (Green Tea Powder) Spritz Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks – 8 oz) butter (at room temp)
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups  (304 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1 g) iodized table salt
  • 2 T (10 g) Midori Spring Matcha Powder


  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • Cream butter and sugar together using paddle attachment of your stand mixer (I like to use setting #4-5.  Cream for at least 2 minutes, scraping the bowl after 1 minute.
  • Add egg and continue to cream for an additional 2 minutes.  You butter mixture will be fluffy and whitish.
  • With the mixer on low, add your vanilla and almond extracts and mix thoroughly.
  • Sift together your flour, salt, and matcha.  With the mixer on low, slowly add your flour mixture.  Mix just enough to combine.  Once all of the flour has been incorporated, stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and paddle, and mix again, for no more than 30 seconds.
  • Prep your cookie press with whatever plate you want.  I loved the look of the christmas tree, so I went with that.  Add dough to press and ratchet it down until dough starts coming out and air bubbles have been compressed out.
  • Press your cookies out onto an ungreased baking sheet or a sheet of parchment paper, leaving 1-2″ between cookies.  You may find that they don’t stick sufficiently to parchment.  It can be frustrating, which is why a baking sheet is easier.  If you are planning on freezing unbaked cookies, press them onto parchment and place the parchment (on a pan) into your freezer.  When they are solid, you can either pop them off the parchment and place in a freezer bag, or you can fold it up and stick the entire thing into a bag, then just unfold and place on a pan when ready to bake.
  • To bake, place cookies on a baking sheet into your oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan after 6 minutes if your oven has hot spots like mine does. Frozen dough may take an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
  • Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but the vibrance fades after a day or so, and they aren’t as crispy.  They can be returned to a hot oven for 1-2 minutes to “recrisp” prior to serving.

Matcha Spritz Cookies Matcha Spritz Cookies

Full disclosure – I was given this matcha powder in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions and statements above are my own.

Posted in: Baking, Food