Category Archives: Cynthia

Cynthias José Collins

–  Anytime is tequila time as far as I’m concerned! This recipe was given to me by an old Duenna on my 16th Birthday.  It’s great with Ruthie’s Cheesy Beef Burrito Casserole!

juan-collins

 

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • Tequila
  • Tonic water or ginger ale
  • Limeade or lemonade or cranberry juice or apple juice – whatever!
  • Fresh lime / lemon if you have it.

Directions:

  • Get yourself a tallish beverage glass and fill with ice
  • Pour over the ice
  • A shot (the size of your shot is up to you) of tequila
  • Top with about two – three fingers of your fruit juice (fill the glass up to the middle-ish)
  • Add the tonic water or ginger ale to fill the rest of the glass
  • Stir
  • I prefer to sip through a skinny bar straw – it makes me feel elegant

Cynthia Says:

Most tequila recipes call for Agave nectar as a sweetener but you don’t have to go buy it if you use limeade or other sweetened fruit juice . You can get diet lime/lemonade too if you look in the cooler section at the grocery. The tonic water / ginger ale gives a nice sparkle. If you go with diet tonic be sure you get it with Aspartame NOT Saccharin. Saccharin leaves an icky aftertaste. Of course if you WANT the sugar stuff you have my blessing.

 

Cynthia’s Best Bloody

Oh dear here it is Sunday morning – well almost Sunday afternoon….and you need a little hair of the dog?  

il_570xN.468529293_jcr0Well hon. –  Anybody can make a bloody with just about anything you have in your personal Bitchin’ Kitchen.

All you need is:

Some sort of tomato juice base (pick one or mix and match) and some clear liquor… vodka, gin or moonshine – whatayagot?

For your tomato juicy base you can use:

  • A mix (I like Mr. and Mrs T’s – I keep a supply in the fridge)
  • Your basic canned tomato juice
  • V8
  • Clamato
  • In desperation, I once used tomato sauce, another time, I used leftover spaghetti sauce.  Get creative!
  • If you are going for the basic tomato sauce thing you probably need to add Worcestershire (You can use steak sauce if you haven’t got that- personally I cant tell the difference – Don’t tell Ruthie)
  • Tabasco to taste

Fill a container with ice and pour on your alcohol add the tomato mixer and garnish with something or nothing.  Optional: salt the rim and serve with beer chaser.

Garnish is what makes the bloody special and you have got SOMETHING on hand.  If not just serve plain.  Here is a list of all the garnishes I can think of:

  • Avocado
  • Baby Corn         Vintage-Vine-Bloody-Mary-Bloody-Mary-Bar
  • Bacon
  • Basil Sprig
  • Beef Jerky
  • Pickled Beans
  • Leftover Burrito or Some other wrap style thing – look at the picture!
  • Carrot Stick
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cheese Cubes
  • Chicken Cubes or Tenders
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cilantro Sprig

Come on ! You KNOW there is SOMETHING in the fridge!

  • vintage-fridge-j-corradi-avant-garde-openCocktail Onions
  • Cucumber Spears or wheels
  • Dill Sprig
  • Edible Flowers
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich Wedge
  • Tofu – Fried or Fresh
  • Green Pepper Ring
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Jalapeno Popper
  • Jicama
  • Kimchi
  • Lemon, Lime, Orange or Grapefruit wedges, wheels, twists or zest
  • Olives – olives stuffed with blue cheese or peppers always impress
  • Onion Rings – hang ’em over a straw or another garnish!
  • Parsley Sprig
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pepperoni Stick
  • Demitri’s Pepperoni Straw
  • Peppers – pickled or fresh
  • Pickle Spears
  • Pickled Asparagus, carrots, cherry peppers, okra…pickled pickles!
  • Prawns
  • Radishes
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Rosemary Sprig
  • Scallion
  • Skewered Steak Bites  December 2011 f 009
  • A Whole Slider
  • Smoked Oysters or Mussels
  • Stuffed Olives – Stuff your own with bleu cheese, chile-peppers, garlic
  • Thyme Sprig
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Zucchini Planks or Wheels

Take heart.  SOOON you’ll be able to sit on the porch in your jammies and sip.  

Spicy Foods, Fish and Wine

HOT STUFF!  

what-wine-with-fish-pairing

The active ingredient in spicy food is a small but pesky molecule that activates your pain nerves.  The wrong wine can make the effect bigger.

It has been my experience (validated by many experiments with my chemistry pal Dr. Carl – NO hes not the Walter White type!) that a robust dry red will set off the smoke alarm if you’re eating something spicy.

Now I do like my wine but hot and spicy food generally calls for a decent dark beer.

I found that fruity wines or frothy belgian-style beers  will work fine and I lean towards whites over reds, because even slightly dry wine can amplify the heat.

Here’s another fun fact Courtesy of Chemical Carl:  Tannin and fish oil represent one of the strongest chemical reactions in the food and wine pairing kingdom. Tannin is a bitter, astringent compound found in all red wines and in white wines that have spent time “ageing” in wood.  When tannin and fish oil come together, the wine ends up tasting like copper or aluminum foil and the fish tastes fishy.  Ever have that happen to you?  Well now you know why.  When you’re not eatin’ cheese and salami, you gotta change the script.

“Naturally, the oilier the fish and the more tannic the wine, the worse the reaction. It has nothing to do with the color of the wine. A chardonnay that soaks up oak tannins from the barrel, when paired with seafood, can give you a bad case of metal mouth. Conversely, a  not so dry red, can work perfectly well with sea fare.

So with that spicy fish…. get yourself a robust frothy beer or a light sparking white – (not Brut – Sec or Demi Sec) Bubbly.   veuve-clicquot-demi-sec

Bring on the Champs Carl! Im cookin’ those Fiery Prawns!

 

Meanwhile, In Ireland…

The Day after St. Pats is National Hangover Day.  It’s Breakfast Time – Again

Up all night drinkin’ to the lost then were you? Aside from native Wisconsinites, the best drinkers in the known universe are the Irish. (Sorry Russians you loose) 63% of Irish people found the best cure for a hangover is a traditional Irish breakfast. Some 15% went for tea and toast. 13% opted for the ‘hair of the dog’.

So It’s bangers, and beans for you me darlins’.  If you started off yer revels with Bangers and Mash do it again!

irish_breakfast copyFor your “afters” add some fried eggs and any kind of canned beans and some bacon or a rasher (Canadian bacon) if you’ve got it.  Also suggested are fried potatoes (any kind) tomatoes and mushrooms. And then there’s farls, (fried bread),  boxty (a fried potato cake) and puddings (not your mother’s  pudding – dont ask…. you dont feel well enough) – But that’s it on the upper right of the photo. Google it later – Black Pudding

But lets keep this simple.  If you were true to form last night you’re not gonna be makin’ no boxty or puddings today.

For the hair of the dog part you might try the Guinness gravy or just throw some leftover Guinness in the Bean sauce if you are finding it difficult to stay upright long enough.  OR make yourself a nice Irish coffee.  Tea and toast is for wimps.

Click here for Bangers and Mash with Guinness Gravy:

Cynthia’s Bangers & Mash

A true soldier will drag in to work.  But if you really have to call in, take some Advil lay on the sofa under the duvet and watch the Informer (1935) – the Greatest Irish Film Noir EVER.

The Informer trailer

Cynthia’s Quick Irish Stew

Here’s a hearty good Irish Stew you can make in just 30 minutes!

imagesIngredients:

  • stew meat, beef or lamb cubed 1.5 lbs
  • flour 1/2 cup
  • salt and pepper couple of tbs each
  • oil
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • onion, chopped in big pieces
  • carrots and peas – you can use fresh and chop or save some time by using a bag of frozen peas and carrots.
  • beef broth, 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans or prepared beef bouillon (cubes)  OR prepared dry onion soup equal to 2.5 – 3 cups

AND the most important ingredient

  • 1 (11 ounce) Guinness stout

Directions:

  • Mix flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. You can put a little dry onion soup in there too….  Coat the stew meat in the flour mixture, reserving the rest of the flour when done.
  • Heat oil in a non-stick stock pot. Brown meat on all sides.
  • Add potatoes, onion, carrots and remaining flour. Stir and cook until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add your prepared beef broth or onion soup and the Guinness.
  • Simmer at least 15-20 minutes, or longer if desired.
  • Add peas just before serving, stir to warm them up.

Delicious when served with warm crusty bread and butter!

Here’s the printable pdf:

Cynthia’s Quick Irish Stew

CYNTHIA’S BANGERS AND MASH

Oh sure ‘n begorah this is a good one to start off (or end) your paddy’s day revels.  

Before you start or while you read – here’s some music to get you in the mood. From Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren no less!

downloadAnd in my trailer we don’t stand on ceremony.  So do your best.  

Here’s all you need:

  • Instant Herb/Chive or other special flavor mashed potatoes – I box
  • Milk and butter (sometimes we are out of these and you have to add them to the potatoes).
  • Big fat pork sausages – a bunch – (if you can get real Irish bangers so much the better but remember this is the NEW country and part of the suffering is that we can’t always get the real thing)

Way Simple Directions:

  • Make the potatoes according to box directions
  • Fry up the sausages
  • If you are of a mind arrange them on a plate – or just eat them out of the pans.
  • Serve with some “Irish” in the coffee or just plain.

Salute the fallen and the lost.  Cry if you must.

If you are REALLY motivated try the Guinness gravy!  Guinness Braised Bangers on Colcannon 500 7644 (1)

Basic ingredients

  • Oil
  • Guinness – a bottle
  • Chopped Onions – a handful
  • Brown Mustard – Squirt or spoonful
  • Worcestershire sauce – dollop
  • Brown sugar – pinch
  • Flour – about 2 tbs.

Follow these as best you can:

  • Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the sausages and cook until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side, take them out of the pan set them aside but save the oil.
  • Add some chopped onions to the oil and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add some garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. (if you don’t have this stuff just leave it out…like I said we don’t stand on ceremony)
  • Sprinkle in about 2 tbs flour and let it cook for a few minutes.
  • Add one bottle of Guinness, some Dijon or other brown mustard and Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of brown sugar
  • Put the sausage back in the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the sausage and continue to simmer to reduce by half about 10 minutes

   Tis’ yer  Guinness gravy!   Click for printable recipe:

Cynthia’s Bangers & Mash

ST. PAT’S – Helpful Hints For Drinking Day

It’s Like a Polish Wedding. With Strangers.  And Bagpipes.

ireland_by_fredrickburn-d5qrk0v“Hang em high for justice the whole world to see.  Now off with their heads boys and bring’ em to me”. 

Ah St. Paddys is on the way. And mostly it falls on a weekday, so some of you may find yourself wearin’ the green on the weekend – but true purists will arrange their schedules.

Don’t embarrass Auntie by being an amateur on St. Pats.  Please don’t wear light up shamrocks or one of those cat in the hat things.  Take the high road.  Drinking will make you foolish enough without looking like that person below and to the right.   st-patrick

I am here to tell you that everyone is NOT Irish on St. Pats. But yes…. we all want to be.  (I actually am – with real relatives over on the old sod….so I can preach at you.)

This is the day I get out my Belfast Giants hockey jersey and drink to the fallen soldiers.  I can do this.  I have had practice and I have the genes.  So let me give you some advice…. Especially the youngsters.

I do NOT want to you see staggering out of some bar with an O’ in front of the name…. at 9 AM in the morning.  This is NOT good form.

You may start early but, you must pace yourself or you will miss the bagpipers when they start making the rounds in the evening.

Here are some helpful hints from a St. Pat’s professional.

HAVE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT

  • Know where you are and how you will end up at home.
  • If necessary write instructions on your hand with a sharpie so they won’t wash off in the rest room (as you may be visiting the restroom a LOT – and later you may need to show them to a cab driver)
  • If the instructions are still there and you can’t read them its time to stop.

recipe-image-legacy-id--5300_10

 

EAT

  • Start with a good base of bangers and mash and continue to ingest carbs SLOWLY as you go along.

WHISKEY IS FOR GROWNUPS

  • It will creep up on you – whiskey on St. Pats is like church wine….you sip from a glass with respect. You drink to the fallen and the lost and then you sing some old songs and cry.
  • Please. Try not to throw up in the alley like niece Patty did the minute she hit Dublin (simply from drinking on the airplane on the way over).  images

DRINKING AND FIGHTING DO NOT MIX

CASE IN POINT:  The recent UMass-Amherst Blarney Blowout Riot.(Google it).

  • If you get rowdy or if you get in a rowdy situation back off  – go hide in the rest room….
  • If law enforcement becomes involved be polite and remorseful…. at least outwardly, like a good Irish Republican.
  • Trust me, you don’t want to argue with a sober officer when you are in your cups.  Live to fight another day.

DON’T GO OFF ON YOUR OWN

  • As the day wears on and especially if you have gone over your personal best on total drinks imbibed – please travel with friends.  Bad things have happened to loners. (I am serious here).

stpatsfreerides12_fullsize_story1

REMEMBER – THE BUSSES IN MILWAUKEE ARE FREE AFTER 6 PM

I have no fancy recipes for this day.  Stick to the basics…. Guinness and /or Jameson

Have fun but – know your limits.

Don’t end up all over the interweb with your pants on your head.  May all your twerking pipers have flames shooting from their tenor drones. 


Cynthia’s 2-Ingredient Cocktails

It’s All About the Glass

Some say that a true cocktail has to have three ingredients.

Well Aunty Cynthia is here to tell you that it’s all about the GLASS. If you put alcohol and anything else (including vegetables on a stick) in a martini, hurricane, collins, old fashioned or any other fancy glass – BOOM you got yourself a cocktail.

download

Why spend your hard earned money on bar syrups and triple secs and Cointreaus when you could send Ruthie some cash and become a backer for the Bitchin’ Kitchen web series?  (You knew I was going to get to that eventually didn’t you? )  Heres the Link: 

Go look… Ill wait for you to come back:  Ruthie sponsorships_2_15

That being said and hopefully done ….  Here are three quick and easy 2-Ingredient cost-saving Cocktails

Rum and Root Beer

  • You got root beer?  You got Rum?  Put them together you will be pleasantly surprised.

Irish Cream and Choco Milk

  • The kids make you buy chocolate milk.  Well… give your self a chocolaty treat and throw some Irish Cream in there. It’s a double creamy dreamy delight.

Hot Apple or Cranberry Juice and Whiskey

  • Hot or chilled  juice (but hot is good these days) add whiskey.

The BLACK HEART

Black_Heart_by_DASOO

Well here it is Valentine’s day.  At my age, and I have lived a somewhat interesting life to date, if you don’t have some regrets…. Well you are delusional.

I’ve discovered that most of the ladies/gentlemen (for some are both ladies AND gentlemen) in my circles tend to be somewhat disenfranchised on this crazy day.

Valentines for the disenfranchised can only be observed, not celebrated, in the company of other disenfranchised souls at a warm and cozy neighborhood watering hole with a variety of menu items that are SOOOOOO good yet very very bad for you.

This year, its SUNDAY! The bestest day for a long lingering BRUNCH.  Tales of the road to perdition must be told, secrets revealed and hidden depths of unplumbed bizzareness wrenched into the cold light of day.

It would be really good if somebody drunk dials a former lover at 3 pm and sings “Desperado”. Sometimes that happens.

So order up a big platter of fried carb-laden something and partake of this Valentines day libation that can carry you all the way to St. Paddy’s, when as I’ve said before, it is indeed OK to drink, cry and fight.  If they don’t serve this at the place where you are, as the bartender to give you the ingredients and make your own.

THE BLACK HEART220px-Black_Velvet_Cocktail_Layered

  • Champagne or other bubbly white wine. (most bars will have champagne split specials on V day)
  • Stout Dark Beer – Guinness  (needs to be chilled – not warm like “over there”)

Any sort of a glass will do — from your basic pint glass to a wine glass to a champagne flute if you are feeling classy.  It only needs to be tall.

Fill the tall glass ½ way with the bubbly – float the chilled beer on top.  The different densities of the liquids (AH – Chemistry! – Just like love!) will cause them to remain in separate layers with the dark on top and the light on the bottom.

If you pour the beer over an upside down spoon it will run gently down the sides of the glass and make the layers more apparent.

Click the link for the anthem of they day and NO – its not Love Stinks…. YOLO!   Let’s get over this and move on. St. Pats is only a month away.

A Cocktail for the Hopeful

Hope Springs Eternal – We HOPE

20120506-despair-3Oh here it is – the day before The Day and here you are, at your soul crushing day job or sitting in the kitchen surrounded by dishes and laundry.  In both cases you may be gazing out the window into the cold light of a Monday morning and dreaming of what might have been

Well lets not dwell shall we?  Lets remember that, as our dear Scarlett O’Hara (who should be an example to us ALL)  said,  “tomorrow is another day”  SHE never gave up and neither did these ever hopeful lads and lasses who despite one, two and even more than three strikes just kept the faith and went at love again. And again. And AGAIN.

It’s the annual Cynthia Says “Day-Before–Valentines Day-Marathon-Marriages”

At 7 each we have:

  • RICHARD PRYOR, (two do-overs)
  • JERRY LEE LEWIS (no do-overs but the last one is the ex-wife of his underage ex-wife’s brother. Figure THAT one out.)
  • HENRY 8th  (No do-overs but um… the wives were definitely unlucky in love)

8 each:

  • MICKEY ROONEY (No do- overs)
  • LANA TURNER (one do-over and first husband Artie Shaw ALSO had 8 marriages… what WAS she thinking?)
  • LARRY KING  (one do-over)

and of course

  • LIZ (with that one do over to Sir Richard weren’t THEY a pair?)

And the top dogs on Cynthia’s Hopefulness/Never Give Up the Ship list are:

  • ZSA ZSA GABOR
  • JENNIFER O’NEILL

Both have NINE marriages with NO do-overs but my vote goes to ZsaZsa who kept getting married since 1937 – the last one was in 1997.Zsa+Zsa+Gabor+Prince+Frederic+von+Anhalt+Billboard+54OQkDm0zm5l

So if you are feeling sorry for yourself today and figuring there is no hope for love, hoist a Hope Springs Eternal Cocktail

  •  Citrus twist or plain vodka or gin (no matter)
  •  Pineapple Juice
  •  Orange soda – I like to use orange CRUSH for this one it seems appropriate somehow

Pour two shots of your vodka or gin into the glass. Add some pineapple juice and then fill the rest of the glass with orange soda.6a00d8358081ff69e2016760c19820970b-800wiThen hoist a toast to the hopeful and listen to this hopeful ditty from Uncle Deano.  And remember EVERY BODY LOVES SOMEBODY – SOMETIME

See you tomorrow at the corner tap…. and I hope you left work early Friday – before that annoying Wanda person got her 6 dozen roses. Everybody KNOWS she sends them to herself.