About Champagne Cocktails


I do so love me a glass of bubbly and since every day is a celebration around these parts (CARPE THAT DIEM, BITCHES!), there's almost always a bottle in my fridge. And since there's almost always a bottle in my fridge, that bottle is generally an inexpensive (ok, cheap) sparkling wine. Do I wish every bottle was a bottle of Moët Impérial? Of course I do. Am I made of money? Of course I'm not. But I've found that one of the easiest ways to elevate that bottle of Cristal(ino) is by adding stuff to it!

The concept is simple: Put stuff in a glass (from a splash to half-full (or half-empty, I suppose), depending on how much you want your cocktail to taste like other stuff). Top glass off with bubbles. Simple.

One of my favorites is this, which I will now dub... Blueberry Pom Royale.


As you can see, the "stuff" is just Blueberry POM Wonderful.

Some other traditional variations include:

Mimosa: Just add OJ!

Bellini: Fresh peach puree!

The classic Champagne Cocktail: Pop a sugar cube in the bottom of your champagne flute and shake 3 drops of bitters onto it. Add an ounce of Cognac and fill'er up with French Champagne. Feel classy!

French 75: Stuff includes 1 1/2 ounces of Cognac, 1/2 ounce simple syrup, and 1/2 ounce lemon juice. I <3 you, French 75!


Um, whatever this monstrosity was. ANYWHO, I think you've gotten the point.



About Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Summer is winding down, and I suppose I should have posted this recipe months ago but life went from bad to horrifyingly awful since my last post and, well, that's all I'm going to say about that. But THIS, this is by far the very best way to make iced coffee (if you're the iced coffee sort), and if you've done it right (which, if you're literate--which I assume you are, otherwise, the fuck you doing here?--should be no problem) will give you just about the smoothest brew imaginable.

So here's what you need:

3 ½ cups water
1 ¾ cups ground coffee

Mix that together in a big pitcher.


Cover it up, and let it steep for at least 12 hours, but not more than 24 hours, at room temperature. Then, give everything one more stir (to loosen up the coffee grounds TRUST ME ON THIS ONE), and strain your mixture through a coffee filter.


Pour your coffee concentrate into a bottle and park that baby in the fridge until it's chilled.


Now, it's important to note that what you've made is actually a coffee concentrate, so when the time for drinking comes, you're probably going to want to dilute it with at least an equal amount of water.


Serve that over ice with a little milk and simple syrup (if you like), have your boyfriend make you one of his world-famous omelets, and get ready to face whatever new horrors life decides to chuck directly at your face.


About How I Learned To Cook

Well hello there. I just thought I'd pop by for a sec and see how y'all are doing. More than one of you has asked the question so I thought maybe it's time I drop by to answer that question, and by "that question" I mean, "What the hell happened here?"


To be blunt, I almost died. The day after my last post I was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. Several, actually; both of my lungs were completely riddled with clots, and that pretty much changed everything. I was put on medication that severely limited my diet (no alcohol, no greens, no fats, NO ALCOHOL), and as you might guess, a severely limited diet severely limits the recipes one might want to share on one's recipe blog.

Luckily(?) that medication didn't work, and at the end of the summer I almost died AGAIN. And of course I did, because I'm the girl who had chicken pox TWICE as a child. So I switched over to this new experimental drug that has no diet restrictions (YAY ALCOHOL), but as I told Vahid last weekend, that does nothing to alleviate the shitty lighting situation I've got going on in my kitchen. Until I figure out a solution to that problem, all of those half-written recipes I have waiting in the wings will just have to wait some more (wings, incidentally, being one of those waiting recipes).


I thought that while I'm checking in I might as well talk to you about how I learned to cook in the first place, you know, in case that maybe helps you learn how to cook or get more comfortable in the kitchen or whatever it is you hope to accomplish by reading this nonsense. I don't know your life. But I do know mine, and yes, it all started in my mother's kitchen.

As many of you know, my mother is an amazing cook. But she comes from "the old country," and from what I've gathered over the years, people from "the old country" see their children mainly as sources of manual labor. So while I started helping my mother cook at an obscenely early age (I was rolling chả giò before I could talk), I was basically doing all the hard work. Like rolling chả giò. Crushing cornflakes and peanuts. Peeling potatoes. Prepping green beans. You know, all the SEXY GLAMOROUS STUFF.

While I did pick up a few things from my mom, and from all the crazy group meals my friends and I shared in college, it wasn't until I got to law school that I bought my first cookbook. And that cookbook is this cookbook.


I wanted to learn how to cook everything, so I bought a book on how to cook everything. And to this day, it's still the first place I turn to when I want to try something new. The instructions are clear, the recipes are simple, and most of all, they are bare-bones BASIC. In other words, they're the perfect jumping off point for experimentation. My copy of How To Cook Everything is filled with scribbles: ingredients to add, extra steps to up the ante, notes on what worked really well. If you don't have a copy, run out and get one immediately.

When I first moved to DC I didn't have cable, so I ended up watching a whole lot of PBS. (The other day my boyfriend said he'd fight to the death anyone who dared suggest that I wasn't the very first American to watch Downton Abbey. I still watch a lot of PBS apparently.) And while I was watching a lot of PBS, I watched a lot of America's Test Kitchen. Hoo boy, this show. If you want very specific instructions on how to do things, this is the show for you. Their recipes are INSANELY FUSSY; like, they are the polar opposite of Bittman's. But they are really, really great at actually teaching you how to cook. They not only show you how to dice an onion, they explain why it's important that your onion is diced evenly. They get to the science of cooking, and when you understand that, cooking is easy peasy.


It wasn't until I moved in with Mitch and Seth that I got cable, and started watching Good Eats. That thing I said about ATK and the science of cooking? Consider this a graduate course.


So there you have it. I learned how to cook from a book and two television shows. Looking back it turns out this was an incredibly boring story, so if you made it this far, I apologize for putting you to sleep. Maybe I'll bake you a cake or something.