Cover recipes from Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey, Copyright 2009
Pear Thyme Fizz, Cha Cha Cashews, & Piccolo Caprese Picks w/ Quick Basil Aioli
Happy Hour is a time of day that many folks partake in, and this little cookbook has some new ideas for jazzing it up. There is something rather fun about a cookbook filled with creative recipes for cocktails and appetizer munchies, and this cookbook by Kathy Casey has a delightful mix of both.
I decided to try out all three recipes on the cover of Sips and Apps: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Cocktails and Appetizers. The drink is a Pear-Thyme Fizz… kind of like a specialty martini with both regular and pear vodka, but with a surprise splash of champagne (thus the “fizz” name). There is a spiced-up cashew (Cha Cha Cashews) that is really easy to make- cashews covered with spices and slow roasted. The third recipe is a Caprese-style tomato/mozzarella/basil pick with a homemade basil aioli.
Pear Thyme Fizz
Source: Sips & Apps
1 large sprig fresh thyme
3/4 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce pear vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup (see my notes down below)
Splash of chilled brut Champagne, dry sparkling wine, or soda water
Garnishes: thin slice of fresh pear, small sprig of fresh thyme
1. Bend the large thyme sprig and drop into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the vodkas, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Champagne. Float a pear slice and thyme sprig in the drink for garnish.
Makes 1 drink
Cha Cha Cashews
Source: Sips & Apps
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 lb (about 3 1/2 cups) salted, roasted cashews
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, or lightly oil it, and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg white and water until foamy. Add the cashews and toss to coat. Transfer the nuts to a strainer, shake, and let drain for about 2 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and cayenne. Add the nuts and toss to coat thoroughly.
4. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 40 minutes. Stir the nuts with a spatula and spread them out again. Roast for 20 minutes longer, until the nuts are dry.
5. Using a spatula, loosen the nuts on the baking sheet but do not remove them. Let cool to room temperature. Be sure to let the nuts cool completely and become crisp. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. If necessary, recrisp them in a 350 degree F. oven for a few minutes before serving.
Makes 4 cups
Piccolo Caprese Picks with Quick Basil Aioli
Source: Sips & Apps
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
24 cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
24 small fresh basil leaves
24 ciliegine mozzarella balls (the tiny 1/3-ounce balls), drained well
freshly ground pepper
24 short bamboo or other fun picks
1. To make the aioli: In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, and basil. Whisk in mayonnaise until smooth. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The aioli can be made up to 3 days in advance.
2. To assemble the caprese: With a paring knife, halve each cherry tomato horizontally, being careful to keep the halves together. Then thread onto a pick in this order: a tomato top, a basil leaf, a mozzarella ball, and the tomato bottom. Be sure the cut sides of the tomato face toward the cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with the aioli in a bowl for dipping or drizzling.
Notes from Culinary Covers:
*I’m not a drinky-drink kind of person but I loved this cocktail. I splashed a little more champagne in mine than suggested and it was just right. The flavor of the thyme comes through more if you add a little extra in the shaker. Eating the vodka-infused slice of pear at the end was a nice treat!
*To make simple syrup: Mix 1 cup water & 1 cup sugar (or any equal parts of both) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil 1 minute, then immediately remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a clean container, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or refrigerated for up to 3 months.
*The cashews are addicting and not too spicy. I made a half a recipe, and we munched on them around our house for two days. They kept well in a covered plastic container.
*I find that Caprese-style appetizers can sometimes be a bit boring. The aioli that accompanies these Caprese Picks is perfect. A little dunk in that garlicky-basil concoction and they are transformed into an amazing Happy Hour treat (and they’re pretty too!)
Did these recipes deserve the cover: Yes! The Cocktail recipe is unique and delicious, and the appetizers are good too. All of the recipes well represent the theme of the cookbook.