Tag Archives: cocktail

The Beach, Cape May: Day 1 and deciding on the Holiday Happy Hour Cocktail (with recipe!)

So, it is officially Summer and yesterday, we packed the car to the gills and headed to what appears to be our annual trip to the beach at Cape May, New Jersey.


The first look at the beach for my kids and their best friend Marie-Lyse!

The traffic was pretty brutal, so what was supposed to be a 3 hour drive turned into 5. This would have been awful except for the fact that my daughter and I decided to use her iPod to make videos of ourselves singing along to whatever was playing on the radio. Yes, it had definite goof-ball qualities but I am pretty sure that it is done on long road trips more than travelers are willing to admit!

Day 1

Day 1

We were meeting our friends who drove from Quebec to meet us at the same house they rented last year. The kids had not seen each other since Christmas when they came to stay at our house for the holiday, and were beside themselves when we arrived. It was so odd, I was a year older and felt every bit of it, and they had grown inches taller and looked fabulous.


Ide & Marie-Lyse

Instantly they hugged and laughed and then sort of stood back and looked,  feeling sort of shy staring back at their friend who had morphed into a different person, older looking… was that eye make-up?  It was an interesting moment to watch, and then I remembered I was a tired and frustrated woman in dire need of a drink: just to calm the nerves.

Beach finds

Beach finds

Our friend Kelley stood in the kitchen and pointed to the counter and said, “I’ve been to the wine store, what should we open?” I told him that wine was great but that this time I was going to introduce him to a new drink, a cocktail that perhaps we could make a staple of our happy hour for the week. There were no objections.

green rocks

Green rocks

The day before I had killed myself cleaning the house, planning possible menus and packing for our trip, and by evening felt the urge to go to a bar and have a shot of whiskey. What I mean is…have you ever watched one of those movies where the protagonist has gone through some major crisis and the next shot is of him (or her) bellied up to their local bar and nodding to the bartender? Of course you have. Then the bartender would pour the required drink and it would be downed in a single head throw-back. This is how I felt, only I wanted to act as my own barkeep.

Marie-Lyse and Green Rocks

Marie-Lyse and Green Rocks

As Kelley went for the wine opener I asked if there was ice? When he nodded I told him we were going to have something a little stronger. “Like what?”, he said. “Like Vodka”, I replied. He said he hadn’t had anything but beer or wine in “God knows how long”, but he felt my urgency and pointed to the freezer.

The Beach

The Beach

I told him about my crazy day of trip preparations and the need for a drink, and the discovery of having nothing alcoholic in the house, followed by the trip to my sister-in-law next door where we were supplied with what they had: vodka, and then my inventing this drink, which was derived from pure desperation: lemonade from my daughter’s Lemonade Stand and the vodka from next door.

The cocktail

The cocktail

The drink that was created satisfied me to no end and this is what I wanted to reinvent for Kelley, (after all when drinking one needs a partner!). I paired vodka with homemade lemonade over ice. I wasn’t quiet satisfied as I wanted it to be something special and more unique. It is hard to serve up a simple vodka and lemonade in this day and age with all of those mixologists out there grinding herbs and infusing fruits into drinks that should be photographed and not libated! So, I added a sage leaf that I had brought from my garden and served it to Kelley who said, “Why would you put a leaf into a perfectly good drink?”

Well, he drank it! And, the next day we had another, and another. He seems to be fine with the “leaf ” now.

The drink with a leaf in it!

The drink with a leaf in it!

Anyway, we have 6 more days here in Cape May and the only thing missing is Celine, Kelley’s lovely wife and my good friend who could not make it this time around. This week of our adventures of sun, beach, food and cocktails is dedicated to her so she feels a little like she is here with us.

Recipe for Vodka with Lemonade and Sage

1 shot (1/4 cup) of chilled vodka

2/3 cup lemonade (the most natural you can find)

1 slice lemon

1 sage leaf


Fill glass with ice. Pour vodka with lemonade into glass. Add a slice of lemon and sage leaf. Feel free to bruise sage before adding to release flavor. Drink!

More to come

More to come

Pollo al Limone e Spaghetti (Lemon Chicken with Equally Lemon-y Spaghetti !) serves 6

This recipe came about because of the excess of lemons in our house due to my daughter’s Lemonade Stand this past Memorial Day (Read all about it HERE). I was in no way flummoxed as to what to do with bunches of lemons, as the lowly lemon can be thrown into so many dishes. With so many however I decided that the lemon flavor would be the star of this dinner.

A great use of lemons!

This dinner makes great use of lemons!

You may know that you can make a quick emulsion if you whip lemon and butter together. I have tasted many pasta dishes with a lemon zing, which is usually achieved by using this basic premise.

the zest of a lemon adds punch to any dish

The zest of a lemon adds punch to any dish

I had chicken, I had spaghetti, I had butter, and I had lemons: this dish is the result. What can I say; it will be a staple from now on!

a cool glass of good lemonade

A cool glass of good lemonade (I’m sure adding a shot of vodka or gin to this would make a great Summer cocktail!)



You will need:

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup water

sea-salt (for seasoning meat and to taste)

2 lbs chicken thigh cutlets (no skin, no bones)

1 medium red or sweet onion, diced

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

zest and juice of 3 lemons

8 tbs unsalted butter

sea salt & black pepper for seasoning

1 lb spaghetti pasta (I use Barilla brand)


Preheat oven 400*

* Cook the pasta while the chicken is resting. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining and reserve (you may need it at the end). Do not rinse the pasta. Add directly to the lemon sauce after draining*

1 – Scatter onions in bottom of big saute or roasting pan. Add zest from 1 lemon to pan, the water and 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes. 

scatter onion, lemon zest and pepper flakes into pan

scatter onion, lemon zest and pepper flakes into pan

2 –  Lay chicken on top (it is good if it’s snug). Season lightly with medium to coarse sea-salt, and the rest of the pepper flakes. Drizzle with the oil and place in the oven for

place chicken on top and season

Place chicken on top and season

3 – Remove chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

remove chicken to a plate

Remove chicken to a plate

4 – Put the pan on medium/high heat and add the lemon juice and remainder of the zest. Bring to a boil and let it bubble for 1 minutes. Take off heat.

add lemon juice and boil

Add lemon juice and boil

5 – Add butter and swirl into sauce until melted.Taste sauce for addition of salt and pepper and adjust according to your liking.

add butter

Add butter

6 – Add the pasta immediately and toss everything together.

add pasta

Add pasta

Serve as it is with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and more cayenne pepper flakes…

It is great without the chicken also!

Amazingly robust yet light pasta dish 

or you can also add chicken

I also cooked some brest meat for 1 person in ur house who cowers at the mention of dark meat

I also cooked some breast meat for 1 person in our house who cowers at the mention of dark meat

Cosmopolitan cocktail (serves 1-that would be me..)

the perfect treat..

I know it is one of those “faddy” girly drinks but I am one girl who is not afraid to say that it is the absolute ultimate cocktail. It is not something I drink as a matter of habit but when I want a cosmopolitan, I must have one. It is festive and cheers me right up. Sometimes when my friend drops in for dinner and has the look of “I hate my life!” in her eye, I immediately grab my trusty shaker and fill it with ice…..almost instantaniouly, she is purring like a grateful little kitten who gets to drink cream from a Wedgwood saucer!!! I think my way of making this cocktail remains true enough to the original but I am certain the quantities have evolved to suit just my taste (and apparently all of my friends!) The one thing I insist upon is the right cranberry juice. The run-of-the-mill juice is far too sweet and kills the other flavors so I found what works best for me is a wild Organic Cranberry juice. It is not that unreal red color but a lovely hazy burgundy and mildly sweet. I’m sure you can find something similar in your local “healthy” food shop. I also store a bottle of vodka in the freezer. Colder is better for this drink. The vodka gets syrup-y thick.

You will need: 1 shot vodka (if you don’t have an actual shot measure, it is just over 3 tbl), 1/4 shot triple sec ( scant tbl), 1 shot organic cranberry juice, 1 tsp lime juice, 1 lime wedge.

Put a martini glass (or a glass with a narrow bottom and wide rim) into the freezer to chill. Fill a shaker with ice and add vodka, triple sec, cranberry and lime juice in that order. Shake vigorously. Take glass from the freezer and pour. Garnish with a lime or lime twist.

nothing more to be said....cheers!