Good for What Ails You [Spicy Bloody María + Slow-Roasted Tomato Vegetable Juice]

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Good for what ails you. Or so I tell myself. 

I’ve been known to turn to spicy tomato based drinks whenever I start feeling under the weather. Bloody Caesars are my standby, their endless substitution and ability to take on big flavours so well means I never tire of them. But bloody marys? Eh. Never been all that excited about them. Plain old tomato juice, some worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and vodka… yawn. Nothing about them has ever stood out to me enough to order one off a menu. 

That is, until I started making my own tomato juice base. This is where you can pump in some big, bold flavours to amp up the appeal of your bloody mary. Roasting the tomatoes until their juices are sweet and concentrated gives you a great base to start with. If you just pureed the roasted tomatoes, you’d have a pretty killer tomato juice. But I wanted to pump things up even more than that. And this juice is BIG. Lots of complex flavours, lots of spice and depth. 

I’m dealing with a nasty bout of bronchitis right now and I can safely say that this did not cure it. But it did bring a smile to my face on an otherwise crappy day. I imagine this version of a Bloody Mary would be well-received at a mid-afternoon brunch (or a morning brunch… but I’m a lush so I understand if you’d like to push this to after 12pm). Drink it and be healthy…and drunk. 

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Roasted Tomato Vegetable Juice
makes approx. 6-8 cups

10 roma tomatoes (about 3 lbs)
2 jalapenos, cut in half + seeds and veins removed
3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1/3 white or yellow onion, rough chopped
1 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on spice tolerance)
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
Juice from 1 lemon (2-3 tbsp)
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 300. 

Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet cut-side up. Do the same with the jalapenos but removed the seeds and veins. Roast for 40 minutes or until they’ve shrunken down by about half. They should be slightly wrinkled and dry-looking around the edges.

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Dump the tomatoes, celery, jalapenos, onion, horseradish, sugar, cayenne, a few pinches of salt and pepper and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. At this point you can drink it as is or pour through a mesh-strainer. I prefer a smooth juice so I always strain mine. If it’s too thick, add water to thin it out a bit. Chill and serve. 


Spicy Bloody María
makes 2 cocktails

2 ounces white tequila
6 ice cubes, whole or crushed
Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 dashes per glass
Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of choice), as much as you like (I do 3 dashes)
4 cups roasted tomato vegetable juice
2 celery stalks, optional (garnish)
green pimento-stuffed olives, optional (garnish)

Put a few ice cubes in each glass and top each with 1 ounce of tequila. Add your worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and top with the tomato vegetable juice. Garnish with celery stalks and olives, if using. 

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A Thyme Tequila [Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer for Taste of Home]



Oh man! It’s Friday! 

You know what that means, right? Time to roll up your sleeves, crush up some ice, and end your busy week with something icy cold and brightly flavoured!

Taste of Home asked if I might be interested in submitting a cocktail recipe for their “Cocktail Friday” feature on the blog. Clearly, we have yet to become too acquainted or they would have know that I would jump at the mere mention of the word cocktail. I am a lady who believes a day is not complete without indulging in a beverage of the alcoholic varaiety. Yes, I have ousted myself as a lush, but I’m sure this isn’t news to you. Avert your judging eyes! 

I spent yesterday working on a Lemon-Thyme Tequila Spritzer that is as refreshing as it is soothing. Bright and citrus-packed with an herbal punch of flavour that first hits your nose and then delicately tickles your taste-buds. 

Follow the link for the recipe and you’ll be thanking me come 6pm tonight when you’re happily sipping on the perfect summer libation! 


 
[ps: bonus points to anyone who gets where I was going with the title of this post. I bet you clever chickadees got it right away!] 

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Seasonal Delicacies [Drunken Spot Prawn Ceviche Tostadas]



It’s been hot and steamy in Ottawa lately, and not in the sexy way, either. In the whine-endlessly-while-laying-in-a-starfish-on-the-hardwood-floors sort of way. I admit, I’ve been known to turn into a temper-tantrum-throwing 4 year old when the mercury rises above 28 degrees. I simply can’t handle our weather in Ontario some days. Most days. All the time. 

Not that the heat has ever stopped me from plowing through a plate of pasta or reaching for another serving of my mom’s creamy, buttery, whipped mashed potatoes, but if meal selection was chosen solely based on temperature, I would be eating anything and everything citrus for the full 3 months of heinous, humid, Eastern Ontario summers. 

Ceviche, the process of cooking raw seafood in citrus juice, is one of a handful of dishes that I could never, ever tire of. Ever! There are so many easily adaptable recipes that suit every taste, seasonal ingredient and budget, that there is no excuse to not make it at home (if it’s your cup of tea, of course. I won’t peer pressure you into making ceviche… but you should… immediately. Or else.)



Since it’s nearing the end of Spot Prawn season and I hate to miss out on seasonal delicacies, I decided to get my paws on a bundle of fresh prawns from The Whalesbone Sustainable Retail & Fish Shop. They were a stunning shade of rosy, blushed coral and smelled fresh like a salty gust of ocean air. I knew in a heartbeat that they would make the perfect ceviche to top some crispy corn tortillas. 

Say it with me now; Whether it’s prawns, white fish, salmon or scallops -  ceviche is your favourite summer friend. Repeat that 10 times fast and I think you’ll make it through the parching summer. 


 
Drunken Spot Prawn Ceviche Tostadas 
makes 6 tostadas 

A note on buying and handling from Wild BC Spot Prawns; 

When buying live Wild BC Spot Prawns look for lively, almost translucent prawns. The tail should be straight in line with the head. The head should be firm to touch, with no black colouration.

Wild BC Spot Prawns come from cold Pacific waters. After buying your prawns, immediately get them into a cooler or on ice. This will help prevent the prawn meat from deteriorating. Wild BC Spot Prawns harvested “live” should be cooked immediately or have their heads removed as soon as possible. After the heads are removed the tails should be thoroughly rinsed.  Spot prawns have an enzyme that begins to permeate through the tail and turns the meat mushy.  Removing the head and rinsing the tail keeps the flesh firm. The head of the prawn can be removed from the tail by swiftly turning it and pulling it away from the tail.

Ingredients:
16 spot prawns, heads removed
Juice + zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp tequila
1 cup cucumber, cubed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed and diced
small bunch (2 tbsp) mint leaves, minced
2 tbsp red onion, minced

To serve:
6 corn tortillas
vegetable oil, to fry
2 avocados, diced
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges

Holding the prawn tail, lift the shell up and away from the body to remove. Discard or save (freeze) to make stock at a later date. 

Cut the prawns into bite sized pieces and put them in a medium size bowl. Add the  lime juice and zest, tequila, cucumber, jalapeno and half the red onion. Give everything a good toss and place in the fridge, stirring often, for 30 minutes. 

10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Test the oil by flicking a little water into it - if it sizzles, it’s ready to fry some tortillas! Place tortillas, one at a time, into the oil and fry until lightly browned in spots, 40 seconds. Flip and fry the other side. Repeat with all 6 tortillas.

Place 1 tortilla on a plate, top with ceviche, avocado, green onion, red onion and a squeeze of lime. And please, for the love of god, enjoy them with an icy margarita!! 

 

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