Cocktail O’Clock: A Cosmo with Kick

There is probably no cocktail with a less hardcore rep than the cosmopolitan. Not sure if it became this way because of Sex and the City or just due to bloggers making fun of it, but no self-respecting cocktail snob could ever order one with a straight face. But is that fair? Really, a cosmo is supposed to be just fresh lime (good), cranberry (not so rough-and-tumble, but not a horrible flavor either), and a ton of vodka. If made right, this shouldn’t be an embarrassing drink at all.

Urbana in Washington, D.C. is now making a cocktail that tries reclaims the cosmo, with spicy fall flavors, including ginger- and allspice-based liqueurs.

Spiced Cosmo

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Food Bloggers Give Panera’s Menu a Gluten-Free Makeover

Remember the team of activist food bloggers who took our list of America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches and made vegan versions of each sandwich? Well, Namely Marly and her team are at it again. This time, they’re giving one of America’s biggest bakery chains a GF makeover. Namely Marly writes:

I recently met a friend for breakfast at Panera and was surprised, nay shocked, to learn that they didn’t offer any gluten-free items at the bread bar. How could this be? Are they not aware of the growing number of people who are flocking toward gluten-free lifestyles?

The solution? De-gluten-ize the whole place! Namely Marly and her crew came up with gluten-free recipes for nine different items on the Panera menu. But will the bakery chain add any of these creations to their roster? Your move, Panera.

1. Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Recipe: Multiply Delicious

2. Caramel Pecan Rolls

Recipe: Namely Marly

3. Spinach and Artichoke Souffle

Recipe: Clean Green Simple


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Endless Poptails: Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour

We ESers like our whiskey combinations and we’re betting you will too. Never mindful of the rules, this week we created a blasphemous bartending nightmare by skipping the shaker for some rotating blades. Yep, everything is headed for the blender including the whiskey. Um, please muffle all outraged screams until you have tried this. Along with the whiskey are some sweet cherries, tart apples and a lime to create a popsicle that will assist you with obtaining your daily fruit serving.

So while we may not be rule-minded we’re a thoughtful bunch and giving you two options for your whiskey. Sip it in a whiskey cocktail or get a lick of it in these Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour Poptails. Of course we recommend you try both.

Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour Poptails

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The Return of Miss K…and the Great Stuffed Pumpkin


Last fall, I wrote a few posts for this website, heading down a path I was sure would lead to fame and fortune as a food writer. It wouldn’t be long before Gail Simmons was calling me to do a story and Rachael Ray was looking to me for advice on new ways to serve chickpeas. But then I hit a literal bump in the road in my relationship with food — pregnancy. I spent the first three months “uneating” my dinner every night at ten only to wake up ravenous at 3 am. Why exactly is it called morning sickness? Then, I took a job as a camp counselor for 3- and 4-year-olds, which left me with exactly enough energy each afternoon to go home and go to bed, sometimes at 7 pm. Eating became rote, done primarily to keep my stomach from devouring itself before I could make it downstairs for breakfast.

My darling boy arrived in September at a robust 8 lbs, 6oz.. I guess someone was getting enough to eat. Now that the haze of the first few months has lifted, I am back to some of my old hobbies, namely cooking and writing. Plus, we finally polished off the last casserole in the freezer. For my return, I have a recipe that represents my life — the same as a year ago, but really not the same at all. Here’s an updated take on last year’s baked stuffed pumpkin:

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All For the Chips


I don’t know why but I was craving banana. I haven’t eaten a banana in a while. Oh wait. Actually, I had banana this weekend in my friend Raj’s birthday pie for his 30-year-old girlfriend’s birthday party: a pie filled with Nutella and topped in quarter-sections with strawberries, pretzels and chocolate chunks, apples and then bananas.

I ate a sliver of banana-topped Nutella pie. And it must of still been in my head come yesterday lunch; I craved a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I wanted a gooey mess of a sandwich. I’m sorry. I just did.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any bananas in the house. I sincerely love bananas but I rarely buy them anymore fearing its massive carbon footprint. So I did what I always do: make do.

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Top 10 Halloween Cocktails

It’s not really the costumes. It’s not even the candy. The real reason we love Halloween—it’s another excuse to get drunk. Here are some ideas for scary, beautiful and tasty libations.


10. Brain Hemorrhage

Who knew Bailey’s actually had a purpose in life? [TangoPango]


9. Bloody Apple Cranberry Cocktail

Apple cider and apple vodka up the seasonal quotient. [The Cooking Photographer]


8. Blood Drip Vampire Style Martini

Making this blood is as easy as candy. Wait, that’s not the saying. [Hostess with the Mostess]


7. Witches Brew

Although it’s a virgin drink, it still contains a beating heart (red heart-shaped Runts). [Fahrenheit350]

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How Hard Is It For Restaurants to Source Locally?


I wear slim, light gray pants that stop an inch and a half above my ankle. I wear shoes with a peep toe. It’s a hot fall and I can’t make up my mind, so I split the difference: giving into the season, but remembering that just because we’ve passed the fall equinox, the temperature hasn’t ducked too low.

This same compromise appeared to me at a press lunch last week. Eating outside on a sunny day at Agora, yet enjoying fall’s produce.

House-made pita dough is turned into a soft flat bread and can be found underneath melted feta and manchego cheese, topped with thin slices of a Granny Smith apple.

So far, it’s a happy story for a meatless meal. I can find the joy of fall’s favorite offspring while I dine comfortably alfresco. And my gray pants are adorable, I might add.

While chatting with the chef, Ghassan Jarrouj, a native of Lebanon, he tells me the Peynirli Pide (the cheesy flat bread) receives its fall glow from “Washington state or New York apples, most likely New York.”

Jarrouj assured me that they are in the process of lining up several local growers to supply produce to the restaurant. With such a diverse variety of apples grown only miles away in Virginia, it’s hard to hear that customers can’t enjoy fruits of the Mid-Atlantic.

Now I know how easy it is to supply my own kitchen with farmers market goods (and if you don’t know, check out Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food, a new non-profit with a mission to educate the public on sustainable, local eating), but it is quite another issue to buy enough food for a restaurant.

In fact, there’s been plenty of stories on how difficult it is for restaurants in the DC area to source local ingredients (see The Go-Betweens by ES fav Melissa McCart.) But I’ve got to think restaurants can make it work for a few months out of the year.

Hopefully, Agora, there’s a local winter squash flat bread in my future.

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