Spicy Peach Caipirinha Mocktail

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

After a long couple of weeks at my office desk, I cannot express just how good it feels to get back in my kitchen! And I’ve managed to completely tear it up in less than 24 hours. Typical. But, what a beautiful mess it is.

Two years ago on August 17th I stayed up well into the night creating this website. Like most passions of mine, I became a woman on a mission. I started to fall in love, hard, with food photography. I stumbled my way through most of it, and still stumble often (aren’t we always learning?) and today I’m more proud than ever of what’s conspired. Not only in the physical but in my heart. Through the mundane tasks of life, my kitchen, my camera and this blog have been the silver lining– the thing I look forward to each weekend. My sweet escape in it all. I’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again: find what it is that keeps you up at night, the thing that keeps you on your toes: and do it!

In celebration of the 2nd anniversary of Cuoco Contento, I decided to have some fun with peaches. August is also my birthday month, and I always make a peach pie (at least once). There’s nothing quite like a big, juicy peach– one that falls apart in your hand and drips down your arm. Soft and sweet.

I’ve teamed up with the wonderful folks at Health-Ade for a special Anniversary giveaway!! We’re giving one winner a case of their outstanding Kombucha. It’s my absolute favorite, not only by itself but as an alcohol replacement in mocktails. It’s bubbly, fun and good for your gut. If you’re trying to kick the soda habit and need some carbonation, get yourself in on this giveaway! Details are up on my Instagram page! Health-Ade and I want you to #followyourgut, whatever that means to you. Get out there and make it happen.

Today I present to you a happy little anniversary mocktail, made with Healthade’s Ginger Lemon kombucha. A Caipirinha is traditionally made with sugar and lime. Here I’ve replaced the sugar with honey and added some spice. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and all together summer.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Makes 4 drinks

  • 2 very ripe peaches, peeled and skins removed
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 8-10 oz Health-Ade Ginger Lemon kombucha
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • ice cubes
  1. Slice peaches (peel those skins!) and place in a blender. I use a NutriBullet. Add lime juice and honey. Mix until well blended.
  2. Prepare 4 chilled glasses with ice cubes. Divide the peach mixture among the glasses. Top with kombucha. Garnish with lime wedges and jalapeños. Spicy and sweet!

American Berry Swizzle

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

The 4th of July weekend is here! Its shaping up to be a hot one in New York. Cold drinks are a must. Alcohol is optional. I’m all about mocktails these days, for three reasons: one, there is absolutely no limit to how many I can suck down (the limit does not exist). Two, my all-time favorite alcohol substitute is kombucha: not only delicious, but actually GOOD for you. Three, mocktails are just plain trendy now. You don’t need to feel guilty about excluding the prego’s, the underaged or your 85 year old grandpa with health issues. Your gaurenteed to have a killer time when the whole gang’s counted in.

This drink is a “swizzle,” which originates in the Carribean and is traditionally made with rum. Today the name really just refers to the method of mixing: muddling or churning with a swizzle stick. You can swizzle anything you like. Check out this video on the FeedFeed where I demonstrate the swizzle. Celebrate safely and have a happy 4th of July!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Serves 4

  1. Chill glasses for at least 15 minutes before starting!
  2. Divide mint leaves evenly in 4 glasses. Add a half of the frozen raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Muddle with the back of a spoon just to break up the juices.
  3. Fill each glass almost to the top with crushed ice. Pour in even amounts of the kombucha, energy drink and blackberry juice.
  4. Using your swizzle stick (or a small bar spoon) hold the stick between the palms of your hands and rotate the stick rapidly by sliding your hands back and forth. Now you’re swizzling!
  5. Garnish with the remaining fruit and serve immediately.

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Mulled Hot Apple Riesling

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

For years, my family has taken an annual trip to a farm on the East end of Long Island. I close my eyes: the October air is crisp on my face. Corn mazes, hay rides, and apple trees await plucking from all sides. Children laugh with their siblings as they run though the pumpkin patch. Mom and Dad pull their youngest in a wagon and search for a pumpkin without flaw for their doorstep. The warm, inviting scent of roasted corn in butter, turkey legs and apple cider fill the air. This is my happy place.

After an hour or so of brisk fall fun, all I can think about is sinking my teeth into a roasted ear of corn and sipping on a cup of hot cider. There’s no better feeling than warming the chill in your bones with a hot, soothing drink. I adapted this version of a mulled cider with the addition of my favorite white wine and a little brandy. I imagine this to be just the ticket for pre-dinner on Thanksgiving Day. It’s smooth and warm all the way down. The Riesling and apple cider is mulled with rich cardamom and allspice. A “mulled” drink is one that has been heated with a combination of spices (typically cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg in addition to a fruit like apple or orange peel). Heated low and slow over your burner for an hour or two, all those beautiful spices infuse themselves into the drink. Of course, you can still mull the apple cider as follows without the alcohol for a kid-friendly version. Served hot or cold, this cocktail is a guaranteed Autumn winner! Garnish with a single thin apple slice and cinnamon stick (you’ll impress all your friends). Happy drink making!

Serves: 6 — Hands on time: 10-15 minutes — Cook time: 1 – 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of Riesling (crisp, dry, sweet: perfect! I like Clean Slate Riesling from Germany at under $10)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon good maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger, sliced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 8 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (I used Calvados)
  • Apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish
  1. In a large pot, combine Riesling, apple cider, maple and honey. Add ginger slices, allspice and cardamom to the pot. Cover and cook on low-heat for 3 hours or medium heat for 1 hour (I think low and slow works best, if you have the time. If using medium-high heat, make sure you do not boil).
  2. Stir in brandy. Pour into 6 cocktail glasses (each should hold about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve hot for my preference! If not serving hot, refrigerate and try serving on the rocks. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Iced Coffee Popsicles

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Makes 8-10 servings — Prep Time: 5 minutes — Chill Time: 1-3 hours


Coffee lovers unite! The minute I saw this recipe I had to have it. Lately, it is 85+ degrees in New York. How refreshing do these beauties look? This is about all I want to jumpstart that afternoon lull, especially in this heat. Customize the pops to your taste– black, light, sweet, you name it! A strong brew will make better pops, as the ice will dull the flavor a bit. This is also a creative way to serve coffee after dinner on warmer nights. Because they melt quickly, serve in a chilled glass with a napkin. And get on that caffeine fix!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups cold strong coffee*
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for the bottom of the molds
  • sugar to taste

Directions:

  1. Set aside 1/3 cup of cream and sweeten it with sugar to taste. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Pour a small amount of cream into the bottom of each mold, about 1/2″ high.
  3. Freeze the mold for about 1 hr or until the cream is solid.
  4. Mix the coffee, more cream and sugar (to taste) in a cup and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled.
  5. Pour the chilled coffee into each mold, filling to the top.
  6. Cover the top with tin foil and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until pops are solid.
  7. To pop out the treats from their molds, submerge into bowl of warm water for 30 seconds.

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Notes:

*To save time on brewing, you can buy pre-made iced coffee in a carton from Starbucks or International Delight. Then add sugar and cream to taste.

I have 2 molds holding 4 pops each. This recipe will make approximately 10 popsicles. Depending on your mold size, it may make more or less liquid.

Most molds come with their own plastic tops. These can get stuck when trying to remove the pops from the mold– using the tin foil/wooden stick method will yield better — and prettier results.

Wrap each pop in a plastic baggie or waxed paper to store.

Recipe courtesy of The View from Great Island via Country Living.