Tag Archives: a different kind of sports drink

Super Bowl

Mr. and Ms. S&C hosted their seventh annual Super Bowl party over the weekend. I realize the Super Bowl has been covered ad nauseam, so there’s no need for a recap of the game, the commercials, or the Boss here. I will say Jennifer Hudson looked fabulous and I would kill for her outfit. Loved the jacket, the shoes and the jewelry.

Even Top Chef jumped on board for the media overload, so I may pass on the Top Chef recap/drink pairing from last week’s episode. Except to say, it was pretty cool that the Quickfire Challenge involved squares. I love playing football squares.

There were two items from our party I feel bound to share — bloody mary’s and the world’s best lasagna.

As of late, I’ve heard many cocktail enthusiasts who have been advocating a return to the original Bloody Mary. The original recipe, thought to have been created by either a bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City or one in Paris, started with equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Some mixologists highly recommend this simplified version, with maybe a dash or two of Worcestershire, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Ms. S&C personally loves the bold spiciness that can come with a Bloody Mary. Lots of horseradish, Tabasco, old bay, celery seed, citrus — you could call it “the works.” And, I love to experiment with garnishes — maybe a fresh jalapeno and a shrimp, maybe bacon? Celery is an old favorite, but cucumber is now my go-to garnish of choice.


Bloody mary bar at the Super Bowl party. Cool football shaped glasses
were a gift from an aunt.

Our Super Bowl parties have usually featured traditional fare such as chili and sandwiches and the like. This year, we served lasagna. And, I have to say, it was pretty incredible. So good, that I’m going off-topic. The first time I made this lasagna, it was right after our trip to the city of brotherly love when I used a lot of fresh ingredients from the Italian market. I recommend you splurge on some premium canned tomato products because the sauce is the best part.

World’s Best Lasagna
(adapted from the recipe on all recipes.com)

1 pound ground Italian sausage
¾ pound lean ground beef
1 cup minced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
½ cup dry red wine
3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lasagna noodles (it is okay to use the no-boil noodles)
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and red wine. Season with basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. (Note: the sauce can be made a day in advance.)

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1 ½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with noodles. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Top with sauce. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. To prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

posted by Ms. S&C

Happy valley

S&C went tailgating over the weekend.  Headed to State College, PA,  to see friends JD and Bob, and see Penn State take on clobber Michigan.  It was super-fun being in a college town, and one that is crazy about football.  Tailgating is, of course, awesome.  S&C really likes hanging out with friends during the day, eating, and drinking.  Not to mention, the fall foliage was gorgeous up there.

To celebrate the festivities, we prepared an autumnal punch, recipe courtesy of Ms. RB, our friend out of Texas.  This punch is very mellow, so it is definitely appropriate for an afternoon of drinking.  If you’re planning a Halloween party, or attending some other fall-related shindig, serve this punch.  It is a winner.

Autumn Spiced Punch

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 cups cold apple juice
  • 1 12 oz can apricot nectar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 bottles white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc

In a saucepan combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain spices from syrup.  Combine syrup with fruit juices.  Pour into punch bowl (or plastic pitcher, if you’re tailgating) and add wine.

And, in case you’re interested, our tailgating menu included: chicken wings, pork barbeque, coleslaw, and baked beans.  Perfect for the back of a pick-up truck.

After the game, we headed to The Tavern Restaurant, a town favorite, and famous for a drink called the “Original Sin.”  The Original Sin recipe is top-secret, but apparently is 50% alcohol (including brandy), mixed with club soda, a secret fruity mixture (definitely includes maraschino in some form), and topped off with champagne.  It reminds you of a spiked punch you may have had in high school.  If you’re there, you have to try it.

Thanks for the great weekend State College friends!  Reserve a tailgating spot for us next year – we’ll be there, ready to party Nittany Lions style.

Cool as a cucumber

The Drink: Pimm’s Cup

My friend, LC, is an inspiration in so many ways, but her latest contribution to making my life my enjoyable was introducing me to the drink Pimm’s Cup. This British-bred concoction is fresh and tasty, and definitely an old-school classic. Made with an obscure liqueur, with a flavor similar to a spiced gin, this drink is perfect for an occasion when you’d like something to take the edge off, but you don’t want to get hammered. That’s why it rules the leisurely brunch scene and is a staple at Wimbledon. It looks like iced tea, so it’s a natural thirst-quencher and a perfect match for outdoor activities.

The Occasion:

While I’m likely not heading to Wimbledon next year, and horse-racing season is over, there’s still a time and place for Pimm’s Cup. Hosting a brunch? Playing lawn games? Or, how about – the sun’s out, I don’t have any plans, let’s call some friends, sit out on the patio and play cards?

The Shoes: Wedges

These shoes speak outdoors. I’m a big fan of heels, but you don’t want heels sinking into the lawn. And, heels can sometimes come off a little severe with a summer dress or the ultimate summer fabric, linen. Wedges provide comfort and stability whether you’re headed to Gold Cup, playing croquet, or if you’re like me and just want a light cocktail in the afternoon.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

Fill cocktail glass with ice

Mix 1 part Pimm’s Cup No. 1 with 2 parts seltzer (preferably lemon or lime)

Stir lightly

Garnish with cucumber and lemon


posted by Ms. S&C