Blueberry Lemon Cake Martini

It’s “just enough” sweet balanced with the perfect amount of tart.  It quenches your thirst but leaves you wanting more.  It advances a fruity foo foo cocktail to the next level and adds a twist of sophistication.  Move over Cosmopolitan.  (Insert wink here.)

1 part Three Olives Cake Vodka
2 parts Simply Lemonade with Blueberry
Lemon slice to garnish
Rim chilled martini glass with squeeze of fresh lemon.  Add vodka and juice to shaker over liberal amounts of ice.  Shake vigorously, until frost appears on outside of shaker.  Pour into martini glass and garnish with fresh lemon slice.  Enjoy!

Crockpot Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup with Bacon

1 package of bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
6 tablespoons of flour
2 cans of evaporated milk (12 ounces each)
1 bottle of Black Butte Porter
3 cups of chicken broth
5 cups of broccoli florets, stems removed
16 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of cream or half & half
Salt
Pepper
Garnish: spoonful of sour cream and finely sliced green onions
Sauté bacon until cooked, drain off most of the fat from the pan but leave 2-3 tablespoons.  Add onions. Continue cooking over medium heat until translucent then add minced garlic.  Continue over medium heat, stirring often.  Add flour 2 tablespoons at a time and stir into paste.  Slowly add evaporated milk and stir until well combined.  Add half the Porter slowly and incorporated over low heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chop broccoli florets into bite sized pieces and put into crockpot.  Cover with remaining beer, broth and then slowly pour rest of mixture over the broccoli.  Set crockpot on high and cook stirring occasionally for 3-4 hours.
Turn crockpot to warm (or off), add butter, cream and grated cheese stirring in to incorporate.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top with a sprinkle of green onions.

Triple Chocolate Porter Cupcakes?! Yes!

Want to add a little depth to a cake box cupcake?  Add some adult flavor to an old favorite?  Easy peasy!
Replace the water in any cake box mix recipe (I used Betty Crocker’s Triple Chocolate Fudge) with your favorite Porter or Stout.  Kona’s Pipeline Porter has the added layer of Kona coffee.  I also split the oil measurement with half sour cream and half olive oil for a bit more tang and to add density. The only thing I kept the same was the number of eggs I added.
Easy, chocolate and Porter.  Three of my favorite words.  I don’t know if they will last long enough to frost!

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

Oh my yum!  Beyond bacon or an occasional good ham, I’m not a giant fan of pork but this meal is a double thumbs up at our house and so easy to throw together that it’s a “must share”.

The pork tenderloin is currently available at Costco in sealed packages sold by the 4 pack.  I usually cook 2 at a time because we have a large crockpot and the leftovers make incredible sandwiches. The hardest part about this recipe is simply remembering to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw the day before!
The measurements are flexible.  I never make it the same way twice and it has never failed to turn out great every time.
The basic ingredients are:
Pork tenderloin roasts
Garlic
Wine, a red cab or merlot
Broth, we use chicken broth
Rubbed sage
Rosemary
Salt
Pepper
Brown sugar
Balsamic vinegar
Cornstarch
Horseradish, cut or creamed (optional)

 

Add 2 minced cloves of garlic to bottom of crockpot, rinse the tenderloins and put them on top of the garlic.  I then add 1-2 cups of leftover red wine and fill the rest with a combo of broth and/or water. Sprinkle in the teaspoon of sage, teaspoon of rosemary, salt and pepper.  I make sure the tenderloins are covered or just barely peeking out.
Turn the crockpot on low for an all day roast or high for a 4-6 hour cook time and go on with your day.
The pork should be cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  I pull it out and shred it into large chunks in a 9×11 baking dish, covered with foil to keep it warm.
In a saucepan mix 1 to 2 cups of the broth from the crockpot, 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon-ish of minced garlic, a half a cup of balsalmi vinegar, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of minced horseradish.  A tablespoon or two of corn starch will thicken it.  Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t.  Heat this mixture up stirring until it boils, then pour over the shredded pork.
 
I broil the pork in the oven, turning the shredded pork over a few times, until the topping coats and sticks to most pieces.  Sometimes I skip this step, too.  The sweeter I make it, the more important this step is but my husband isn’t a big fan of sweet so a light coat of sauce is plenty and glazing it on to make a nice crust isn’t as important.
 
My favorite way to serve this is on a toasted potato roll bun, smeared with a light coat of creamed horseradish but I’ve watched a grown man eat it with a fork, right out of the serving dish.

The Pink and Purple Panther

It’s a cousin of Cupid’s Cup (http://cocktails.about.com/od/vodkadrinkrecipes/r/cherub_cup.htm) and the Red Martini Bar’s (Redmond, Oregon) Cupid’s Kiss!

Crisp, light, dry and fruity but not too sweet.  A perfect cocktail to sip in the hot tub!
Happy Valentines Day!
Muddle:
1/4 cup (or handful) of fresh or frozen huckleberries
2 oz vodka
1 oz St. Germain
Loosely strain mixture over ice:
Finish with a light layer of Pink Moscato Champagne
or substitute Sprite or seltzer water in place of champagne.
Stir and enjoy!