the pamplemousse cocktail

My husband and I are having a party soon — all part of my commitment to myself to entertain more. One thing I realized during the planning process, though, is that if you call a party a cocktail party, you should probably serve a cocktail. And, let me preface this post by saying that I am much more of a wine person than a cocktail person. In fact, I’ve never made what could be considered a cocktail. I mean, mixing up some rum and Coke doesn’t really count, does it?

So, the pressure is on to find a cocktail recipe that I can’t screw up.

My husband has agreed to help me with the taste-testing — tough job, I know. So, last weekend I set out on a mission to find a cocktail recipe that didn’t have a ton of steps, used alcohol that we had on hand or could easily find, could be made in advance, and could  triple or quadruple for a crowd. And it had to taste fabulous, too. Can’t forget that.

In my search for the perfect cocktail, I found a few candidates on Epicurious. One potential was the Pamplemousse Cocktail, from Bon Appétit. Since I’m really not comfortable with messing up expensive alcoholic beverages, I followed the recipe pretty much to the tee. The cocktail got great reviews online, so I decided not to mess with a good thing. A handful of weeks ago, the great folks at Pom Wonderful sent me some of their pomegranate juice to try, so I was able put it to excellent use in this cocktail.

And, folks. We may have a winner.

Yield: Serves 6.

The Pamplemousse Cocktail

Ingredients:

7 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 cups vodka
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
18 fresh mint leaves, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
ice cubes

Directions:

Make pomegranate simple syrup by bringing the first 4 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool. This step can be done one day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.

Combine pomegranate simple syrup, vodka, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and mint leaves together in a large pitcher. Fill pitcher with ice cubes and stir vigorously. Strain drink into martini glasses. Garnish each glass with mint sprig and serve.

    meyer lemon and lime cookies

    After lots of procrastination, I finally finished a stressful project at work at the end of last week. To reward myself, I decided to bake up some cookies. It’s not so much the cookies that are my reward but the baking of them. The simple acts of baking – gathering ingredients, measuring flour and sugar, mixing the dough, and watching it all come together like magic in the oven – are therapeutic for me.

    Our markets are always overrun with citrus, so I knew I wanted to make something with lemons. When I stopped in Publix on my way home from work on Friday, I happened upon some Meyer lemons. I’ve never used Meyers in my cooking or baking, so I picked up a couple, along with some regular lemons and some limes. I didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do with them, but I just can’t resist citrus, so the fruit sometimes just ends up displayed in a bowl on my breakfast nook table.

    The cookies I made are based on a recipe for Lemon Icebox Cookies from Everyday Food. I made a few changes to the original recipe, partly because I wanted to and partly out of necessity. I used the Meyer lemons for lemon zest and lemon juice, and because I wanted a bit more citrus kick, I added some lime zest and lime juice. The original recipe calls for rolling the dough into a log, freezing it for a couple of hours, then slicing it into 1/4 inch slices. My dough was too sticky to form into the log shape, and I didn’t have the patience to work with it. Instead, I refrigerated the dough overnight (because I got distracted with other things), then made drop cookies.

    The cookies turned out great. They had great citrus flavor and I could taste both the lemon and the lime. I could also taste the saltiness from the kosher salt, and it balanced out the citrus flavor nicely. The texture was light and almost like a shortbread – crumbly and sandy. They were a hit with my husband and daughter, too. Both kept trying to sneak extras – always a sure sign of a successful recipe.

    Yield: approx 24 cookies

    Meyer Lemon and Lime Cookies

    Ingredients:

    2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 tablespoon lemon zest (I used a Meyer lemon)
    1 teaspoon lime zest
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (again, I used Meyer)
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    2 large egg yolks

    Directions:

    In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, lemon zest, and lime zest until combined. Add butter and process until sandy. Add egg yolks and lemon and lime juices; pulse until dough comes together. Place dough in a bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours (or overnight).

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (roll the dough into balls with your hands if the dough is too firm) onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

    Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. (To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)

    in the kitchen with….me!

    Several weeks ago, Kim over at The Stir asked me if  I would participate in their In The Kitchen series. Well, of course I jumped at the chance. It was so flattering to be asked. I stressed and agonized over which photos to send in, and I probably drove my husband crazy.

    After all of my stressing out about it, I think it turned out quite nice. Best thing? My family thinks I’m famous. I think I’ll play along.

    Click on the photo to go to The Stir and check it out for yourself.