Cilantro Martini

I wanted to get this drink recipe out as quickly as possible because its that good. I am not as easily impressed by drinks these days but this one really surprised me, it has a wonderful flavor without being too herb-y. If you hate cilantro (Mom) then this is not the drink for you, but if you don’t mind it then don’t let the strangeness of an herb being in your drink stop you from trying it. The cilantro flavor is very mild and incredibly refreshing. Both my husband and I thought is drink is the best we have had in a long time. So get yourself some cilantro and drink up, you wont be disappointed.

Cilantro Martini:

From the book: Hip Sips

Crushed Ice (I crush two cubes)

5 to 7 fresh Cilantro leaves

2 1/2 ounces of your favorite Vodka

1 ounce fresh Lemon-Lime juice

1 ounce Simple Syrup

Lollipop Rim

Muddle the crushed ice and cilantro leaves in a cocktail strainer until the ice is slushy and the cilantro is evenly smashed among the ice. Add the vodka, lemon lime juice and simple syrup, then fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with the lollipop rim. Enjoy.  Makes one drink.

For the simple syrup, take equal part sugar and water put them in a sauce pan and heat up until it comes to a boil or the sugar dissolves. Let it cool.

For the lollipop rim, simply take superfine or regular sugar and put it on a plate, run a lime across the top of the glass and dip it into the sugar, to rim it.

Lemon/Lime juice is simply equal parts fresh lemon and fresh lime juice. Make a bunch and freeze it in ice cubes for later!

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagas & Herbed Goat Cheese

This is a very simple dish, one of my favorites for a weeknight dinner.  And as a plus, most of the time Gattor will eat it (ha the fickleness of a three-year old). I also love the flexibility it has, you can adjust it to your taste or simply according to what you have on hand. This particular  time I didn’t have herbed goat cheese, so you will notice in the picture the sauce is lacking the specks of herbs, it was still great but the herbed goat cheese is definitely better.  Another note make sure to read this recipe all the way through before you start because you will be boiling the pasta while you cook the shrimps. If you get all your ingredients out and ready it makes this dish cook in a flash.

Shrimp and pasta with herbed goat cheese.

adapted from: Cooking light

12 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
6 tablespoons (3oz) herb-flavored goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups chopped asparagus

3/4  pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2/3 cup chicken broth

other options:
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups snap peas

1. Cook pasta in boiling water 10 minutes or until al dente, add asparagus during final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and asparagus and place in a bowl. Add cheese, basil, salt and pepper, stir until well blended.
2. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds.  Add  shrimp and cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp are almost done . Add broth, cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Add shrimp mixture to pasta mixture, toss gently to combine. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups.)

Chocolate x3

With another birthday at work comes another request, this one however was for all chocolate. What could be more fun than trying to come up with three ways to put chocolate together? And why stop there, if you get exact, there is actually 4 ways chocolate is used in these. You have my go to devils food cupcake which is filled with chocolate pastry cream, then topped with rich creamy Chocolate Swiss Meringue butter cream then sprinkled with a white chocolate drizzle. Well, that was the plan, then I went a little bonkers with the white chocolate shavings and chocolate sprinkles. I am not usually a chocolate cupcake girl, I will almost always choose a vanilla cupcake over chocolate and chocolate frosting has never been something I was fond of. This frosting however changed all that, I really, really liked it. Its not too rich, not too chocolaty, its smooth and creamy and light. (That is light on taste not calories!)

And again, these were night photos, I tried using a halogen light and instead of super yellow they now look freakishly psychedelic. That is probably why its taken me so long to post these cupcakes and they deserve better, they were delicious.


Devils Food chocolate cupcakes- this is my go -to recipe for chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Pastry Cream:

Recipe from: Carroll Pellegrinelli


  • 2-1/4 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted


Boil 2 cups of milk. Beat yolks with sugar and remaining milk. Whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture (take your time with this step, drizzle very slowly). Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce to low and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolates. Pour into a shallow disk. Cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure wrap touches surface to prevent a skim from forming.) Cool to room temperature  (you can put it in an ice bath to speed this up). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Makes approximately 3 cups.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

From Martha Stewart Cupcakes

  • Yield Makes about 5 cups


  • 4 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Melt  4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, let it sit until cooled. (It should be cool by the time you need to add it in step 3.
  2. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips or gets to 140 degrees F ).
  3. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Set your timer, it makes life much simpler.
  4. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. If for some reason your frosting now resembles curdled milk, don’t freak out, just keep beating it; it will come back I promise. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla and cooled melted chocolate. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep butter cream at room temperature if using the same day. This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated, if you do that, make sure you let it get to room temp before you re-beat it. If you are using the next day, simply take it out the refrigerator the night before and let it sit on the counter, it will be the perfect temperature to whip the next morning.

White chocolate drizzle: simply melt some white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time until melted. Then put the melted chocolate in a pastry bag (or Ziploc baggie- cut a tiny hole in the corner) and drizzle on assembled cupcakes.

Assembly: Cut a cone shaped hole out of  the center of each cupcake and put a fair amount of pastry cream in. Replace the tops to cover the cream (you may have to trim the cones). Then swirl the buttercream frosting on top and add your white chocolate drizzle and shaved chocolate. I added some pastry cream to the tops of some of the cupcakes because I had a bit left over and it looked cool. Have fun with it.

Cones placed back on-ready for frosting.


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