recipe

The Sherry Cobbler

The Sherry cobbler is a historic recipe, and when I say historic, I mean it!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m all too well aware that fancy speakeasies and prohibition era cocktail lounges are all the rage right now, but this drink pre-dates even those. While those cocktails were popular in the 1920s or 30s, the Sherry Cobbler most likely came of age sometime in the 1820 or 30s and really took off in the 1840s!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

They say that like champagne was to the 1920s, or the Cosmo to the 1990s, The Sherry Cobbler was a quintessential part of American life and culture in the 1800s. In fact, when Charles Dickens visited the US, it was one of his favorite things about his trip and he talks about it in his 1844 book The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. “Martin took the glass with an astonished look; applied his lips to the reed; and cast up his eyes once in ecstasy. He paused no more until the goblet was drained to the last drop. ‘This wonderful invention, sir,’ said Mark, tenderly patting the empty glass, ‘is called a cobbler. Sherry Cobbler when you name it long; cobbler, when you name it short.’”

The “reed” mentioned in this passage refers to what we today call a straw. At the time this was written, a drinking straw was a total novelty, and people in bars would often need to be shown how to use one because it was so unfamiliar. The Sherry Cobbler is actually credited with introducing the straw to popular consciousness in America! These weren’t the demonized plastic straws of today though, but a rye or reed straw, a bi-product of the hay industry. Today similar straws are making a comeback as America tries to find alternatives to plastic straws, and in fact the straws you see pictured here are the very same!
I got them from a company called HAY! straws.

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

So- what is a Sherry Cobbler?
I’m glad you asked.
It’s essentially Sherry, shaken with muddled citrus & sugar, and strained and poured over crushed ice. It also happens to be super delicious and refreshing, especially on a hot day. It’s sweet and bright and citrusy in all the best possible ways, and not too boozy, so you can keep ’em comin’!

A few things made the popularity of the Sherry Cobbler possible at this specific time in American history.

Sherry, a fortified wine from Andalusia Spain, had recently started to find it’s way into America as trade increased and tariffs dropped. Nineteenth-century Americans saw sherry as foreign, fancy, and affordable all at once, and it became very popular.

Sugar and citrus were also making their way into American homes as trade increased and prices dropped. Suddenly even in Northern states, people were able to get fresh citrus at certain times of year when it had been extremely rare before. Cheap sugar meant that Americans developed a real sweet tooth though, so I actually scaled back the sugar in my recipe, because I found the original recipe a bit too sweet for modern tastes.

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

Perhaps the most important part of the drink though, was the ice! Before this point, most alcoholic beverages were served warm or hot, because ice was rare and expensive and refrigeration wasn’t yet a thing. At that point, ice had to be harvested by sawing huge blocks out of frozen lakes and storing them in ice houses. In the 1840s though, they began to industrialize the harvesting process, and suddenly ice was affordable and readily available, so it could be used on frivolous things like drinks. To me, the crushed ice in this drink makes it feel a bit like an adult snow-cone! It also means that if you tipped the glass toward your mouth, the ice would spill all over you, hence what I said before about this cocktails singlehandedly popularizing the drinking straw!
I used a canvass ice crushing bag called a Lewis Bag, along with a mallet (I used my CLEAN meat tenderizer) to get my finely crushed snowy ice!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know this is a very summery cocktail to be sharing in October, but there’s a very good reason that I’ve waited until now to share it with you.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a special project with my good friend Stephanie…

 

We’re starting a podcast!!!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

I hope this doesn’t break your hearts baking lovers, but food is not the theme of our show. There will be a cocktail featured in each episode though, if that softens the blow at all.

You already know I love history, but I also really love politics. Now, as a food blogger, discussing politics has always been a touchy subject because it’s such a personal thing and I don’t want to alienate anyone who just came here to look at bundt cakes. I’ve touched on a few specific topics over the years, when the issues at hand were incredibly important to me, but for the most part, I’ve left that part of my life out of Brooklyn Homemaker.

Don’t worry though, Stephanie and I will NOT be discussing current events on our show. There are plenty of voices out there already doing that. Our podcast will actually be about the politics of the past, specifically political scandals from American History! The show is called Beyond Reproach, because while we believe public servants should be squeaky clean upstanding citizens, history has shown us time and time again that they definitely ain’t. I know this topic may sound dull, but I promise it’s presented in a really fun way. Basically, we’ll be telling each other stories from America’s sordid past as we drink fancy cocktails, talk too much, interrupt each other, put our feet in our mouths, and go off on (sometimes totally unrelated) tangents. If cursing offends you, this probably isn’t the show for you, but I promise it’s hilarious, eye-opening, and educational all at once!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

What does all this have to do with this old-timey cocktail recipe you ask?

Well, for each episode we choose a cocktail that was popular during the era of the first scandal we discuss. In our very first episode, Stephanie tells a story from the late 1800s, so this was the first cocktail we featured.
Not only that, but today also just happens to be the very day that we officially launched the show, and to celebrate I wanted to share my fun new project with all of you! Nothing would make me happier than to have you come over and check us out!
I won’t overwhelm you with all the social media and all that, but please click these links to find us on itunes, and check out our show’s website.

Please do check us out, and if you like us, don’t forget to subscribe to the show, and maybe even give us a rating or review on your favorite pod catcher!!!

Thanks y’all! I hope to see you over at Beyond Reproach!

sherry cobbler | Brooklyn Homemaker

The Sherry Cobbler

  • Servings: makes 1 cocktail
  • Print
Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 orange wheels (1 for garnish)
2 lemon wheels (1 for garnish)
2 teaspoons superfine sugar, (or 1/2 oz simple syrup)
3 ounces dry Sherry (amontillado or mazanilla)
mint sprig and raspberries for garnish

Muddle 1 orange wheel, 1 lemon wheel, and sugar or simple syrup together in a cocktail shaker. Add Sherry and plenty of ice, and shake vigorously until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds.
Strain into a collins or highball glass filled to the top with crushed ice. Add more crushed ice, packing into the glass and mounding above rim. Garnish with mint, raspberry, an orange wheel, and a lemon wheel. Drink with a straw, and enjoy!

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zucchini peach bread

It’s officially September you guys. I know.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back to school season. Pumpkin spice everything. Sweaters in store windows…

While some people lament the end of summer and others celebrate the onset of fall, for all intents and purposes, it’s actually still summer. Like SUMMER. Dog days style.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Here in Brooklyn we’re in the midst of yet another record-breaking heat wave. My backyard looks incredibly parched, sad, and droopy; and the heat over the past few days has felt downright oppressive and just generally awful. In fact, the other day many schools in the area announced they’d be letting out early because of a heat advisory, in their first week back!

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Trying to take full advantage of the extended summery weather, Russell and I took a trip to the farmer’s market over the weekend. I’ve been really stumped about what to do and make for the ol’ blog lately, because I’m having such a hard time deciding what would be considered seasonally appropriate right now. Last week I posted a recipe for some hot and steamy soup, and then the weather decided to follow my lead and went all hot and soupy too.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I figured I should just go and see what spoke to me, and hoped I’d be able to make a plan from there.

Wandering the stalls of the market I was met with piles of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and bushels of ripe sweet corn, but for some reason stacks of bright green zucchini were what called out to me, along with some seriously beautiful local peaches. But, what the heck could I do with peaches and zucchini in the same dish? I thought about just making a peach crumble or something, and then using the zucchini for dinner later on. I paid up and was on my way, and by the time I got home I knew what I had to do.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was little I was a big fan of banana bread, especially my grandma’s banana bread. As I got older I started to develop a “distaste” for bananas that eventually blossomed into an intense hatred for bananas and anything banana related.

I usually pride myself in my openness to any food available to me, and my willingness to try anything someone might dare me to eat, but bananas are just an absolute no-no. I don’t know why, but I really can’t stand them. The tiniest piece of banana snuck into a smoothie deems it unfit for anything but the trash bin. Even the smell of them makes me retch, and my co-workers are well aware that eating a banana anywhere near me is absolutely forbidden.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

For the past few years there has been a banana bread shaped hole in my heart, but thankfully zucchini bread has stepped in to fill that giant void in my life.

So those bright green beauties fresh from some local farm had a clear and bright future, grated and baked inside a loaf of warm nutty quick bread, along with the tastiest peaches summer had to offer. (Thankfully we recently got a new AC unit so turning on the oven didn’t turn our tiny apartment into a sweltering inferno)

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

These loaves are every bit as tender and moist and delicious as you could want, with a wonderful crunchy top thanks to the addition of some demerara sugar sprinkled on just before baking. They’re really the perfect transitional food between summer and fall. The zucchini and peaches are bright and fresh and summery, but they’re paired with warm autumnal spices and crunchy bitter walnuts. I never liked walnuts in my breads when I was younger, but I’ve learned to absolutely love the contrasting texture and flavor. I think the bright sweetness from the peaches really calls for the slight bitterness of the walnuts for balance, so I really recommend you don’t skip them.

The peaches aren’t really the stars of the show here, but take a backseat to the zucchini. The flavor is very similar to a normal (albeit really delicious) zucchini bread, with an added touch of sweet peachiness. I personally love the subtle addition of summer fruitiness, but if you’re looking for something with bright peach-forward flavor, I’m not sure this is the recipe for you. I added a little bit of wheat flour to soak up some of the extra moisture, but I fear that adding too many more peaches to the recipe could render your loaves dense and soggy.

zucchini peach bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Zucchini Peach Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins
  • Print
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup finely diced peaches
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon  table salt
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup demerara sugar (or other coarse sanding sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Liberally butter and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Add zucchini and peaches and stir to combine.

Combine flours, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and walnuts. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour egg mixture in. Gently fold and stir just to combine. Do not over mix. Divide the batter into prepared pans and sprinkle each with demerara sugar.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins instead, they should bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing from pans, and cool for at least 30 minutes more before slicing.

frozen watermelon margarita

I know what everyone keeps saying, but you guys, it’s still summer!!! I swear it!

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

It seems like every year, come August, people start whining and mourning the end of summer, at least six weeks prematurely. I don’t know if you’ve been outside lately, but it’s freakin’ hot out there.
While everyone is lamenting the onset of cold weather, we’re smack dab in the middle of our second heatwave in less than a month. You can’t go outside without sweating through your clothes, and the farmer’s markets are exploding with gorgeous tomatoes and stone fruit.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Last week my mom had some vacation time and wanted to take a break from fixing up her new old house and get away for a few days. She piled in the car with my little sister and drove down to Brooklyn to hang out with me and Russell, and get in some snuggle time with Doris and Betty (she calls them her granddoggers!).

While she was here we drove down to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone and check out the freak show. There were also margaritas involved. Later that night, safely back in Bushwick with dinner tucked into our bellies, mom suggested we pick up some tequila and have a few more.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Mom isn’t really a big drinker, but as far back as I can remember, she’s always been a big fan of frozen drinks. She usually makes them a bit on the weak side, just strong enough to have a little fun without getting messy, but either way she likes them just the same. When I was growing up whenever mom had a party she’d dust off the blender and stock the freezer with those frozen cocktail mixers they keep next to the OJ in the frozen food aisle. She’d usually even make an extra batch without the booze just for us kids.

To this day, it isn’t a party at mom’s house without an frosty pitcher of margaritas, daiquiris, or piña coladas. In fact, the last time I was home we decided to have a little family cookout and I swear my Aunt D wasn’t even out of her car before she was asking where her piña colada was!

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Given my mom’s inclination to imbibe the icy stuff, I picked up a bag of ice along with my liquor and limes. Since mom sometimes likes her drinks sweet and fruity, I grabbed a bag of frozen strawberries too.

Not really fond of store bought mixes, I knew I wanted to make my margaritas from scratch, but I’ve never found a frozen margarita recipe that I loved (until now). Off I went to google, and on the pages of Serious Eats I found what I believe is seriously the world’s greatest and most perfect frozen margarita recipe ever. I’ve had MANY mediocre margaritas in my day, so I really wasn’t expecting much. I knew mom would love them either way, so I gave this recipe a whirl (literally). The only change I made was to substitute about half of the ice cubes with frozen strawberries. I was floored by how good they were, and we ended up making a second pitcher before the night was through, and another two pitchers the next night! They’re not too sweet, not too sour, not too strong, not too weak. Literally perfect. I cannot sing enough praises for this recipe.

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

When we decided to have some friends over in the backyard this past weekend, I decided to revisit the recipe, this time with just a few small changes. Rather than using (somewhat flavorless) frozen strawberries, I decided to celebrate what’s left of summer with fresh watermelon instead. I picked up a whole seedless watermelon, removed the rind, cut the fruit into cubes, and froze them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Instead of half fruit, half ice, this time I used no ice.
All watermelon, all the time.

The only thing about adding so much fruit to the recipe was that they ended up a little too sweet for my taste, so I decided to make a few (tiny) changes to the next batch; namely reducing the simple syrup and increasing the booze (cuz that’s how I roll).

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

You’ll want to get started on these a day (or two) ahead so you have time to freeze the watermelon, but once you get everything prepped these puppies are a breeze to make with a good strong blender. To make sure your drinks are as icy as possible, it’s best to mix the tequila base together and put it in the freezer ahead of time too. The tequila and triple sec will keep the lime juice and simple syrup from freezing solid, but while still liquid, your mixer with be as icy cold as can be. A whole watermelon is enough for several pitchers, so I put a half dozen containers of mixer in the freezer at the same time.

It was a party, how dare you judge me!

As you may have guessed, these suckers were met with rave reviews. They’re so perfectly summery, so perfectly refreshing, so perfectly delicious, so perfectly perfect; that I still can hardly believe it. Man I could go for another one right about now…

frozen watermelon margaritas | Brooklyn Homemaker.com

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

adapted (just barely) from Serious Eats

5 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) silver tequila (100% agave is best)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) good quality Triple Sec or orange liqueur
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh lime juice (from 4 to 5 limes)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) simple syrup (see notes below)
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon (rind removed)

At least 8 hours ahead:
Arrange the cubed watermelon on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in the freezer for several hours or until completely frozen. The parchment will make it easier to remove the frozen cubes. Once frozen, transfer to an air-tight container or zip-top freezer bag.

In another air-tight container, combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup and freeze for at least 8 hours or up to one week (mixture will remain liquid). You can mix several batches ahead, but freeze each one in a separate container because a standard blender will only fit one recipe at a time.

When you’re ready to party:
Combine your frozen watermelon with the tequila mixture in the pitcher of a powerful blender. Blend on highest setting, pulsing and scraping down sides if necessary, until completely smooth. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with a small wedge of fresh watermelon.

Notes: To make simple syrup, combine equal volumes of sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool before combining with alcohol.
While you certainly can mix the base just before blending, your drinks will be significantly less frosty and more liquid. The base mixture can be made up to a week ahead and stored in the freezer.
In my experience, a small to medium seedless watermelon gave me enough cubes for roughly 8 pitchers of this recipe, but that will depend on the size of your watermelon.

orange carrot ice pops

Lately I’ve been trying really hard to stay away from foods with lots of refined sugar.

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

I confessed a few weeks ago that all my baking and bundt-ing had me feeling a little lethargic and down, so I’ve been trying my best to eat a little healthier and concentrate on fresh whole foods rather than baked goods and sweets.

I’ve actually been doing really well too!

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

That is, I was anyway, until Lindsay over at If the Spoon Fits had to go and post this Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream recipe. There I was, minding my own business, eating fruit instead of cake, and walking home after work every day, when boom!
Ice Cream!
Irresistible orange creamsicle ice cream! During last week’s damned heat wave mind you, when I couldn’t have been craving something icy and sweet any more than I was in that exact moment.

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

Not wanting to completely undo all the good choices I’ve been making lately, I started thinking about what I might be able to make to satisfy my intense craving without actually busting out the ice cream maker.

I recently saw these juice ice pops at the grocery store that had me really curious. They were made with flavor combinations you’d expect to find at a fancy juice bar- apple, celery, & ginger; or blueberry & beet. You know, that kind of thing.
I figured that trying something kind of like that could be healthy-ish and tasty-ish. I’m sure there’s plenty of sugar in them but it’s like, natural and stuff. Right?

I didn’t want to copy the fancy juice bar flavors exactly though, so I started trying to come up with a flavor that would A) taste great and satisfy my sweet tooth, and B) not taste like a health-food alternative to something I’d rather be eating.

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

Suddenly I thought of something called “Orange Carrot Elixir” that I used to drink when I was a teenager. I can’t even remember who made it, and I’m not sure the company is even around anymore, but I used to drink the stuff by the gallon.

Growing up in a small town in Upstate New York, my exposure to new and interesting flavors and foods left a lot to be desired. Fortunately, one of my first high school friends with a car shared my desire to branch out and try something new, and rather than doing drugs or causing mischief, we and our friends used to drive around checking out grocery stores and searching for their “International Foods” sections.
We’d drink Mexican Goya sodas (I especially loved tamarind flavor), eat carob “chocolates” by the fist-full, wolf down whole baguettes, and munch on marinated canned octopus. We’d drive almost an hour to Ithaca, NY to go swimming, visit Indian or vegetarian restaurants, and browse the prepared foods section at Wegmans where I’d stare at trays of sushi that I was too chicken to try.
In the grand scheme of things the Orange Carrot Elixir wasn’t nearly as exotic as some of the other things I was eating and drinking, but I seriously couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

Carrots, in sweet beverage form! Mind blown.

I decided it was worth a shot to try to capture that sweet orange-carrot combination but in frozen ice pop form instead.

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

It actually took me a few tries to get these right. First I just tried pureeing whole carrots with orange juice, but the end result was bitter and pulpy. Then I tried peeling the carrots to remove the bitterness and juicing them rather than pureeing to remove the pulpiness. This was a start but the pops still weren’t sweet enough and the flavor was kind of flat and boring. Next I added a bit of fresh ginger for kick and apple juice for sweetness. Muuuch better but the pops still weren’t quite sweet enough, and were icy hard rather than bite-able and tender like store bought ice pops.

I did some reading online and found out that since ice pop manufacturers are able to freeze their pops much faster at lower temperatures that home freezers, some type of thickener like cornstarch or gelatin is needed to help give homemade ice pops a better texture. This also keeps the juices from separating before they freeze, and helps prevent the pops from dripping while you eat them. Since ice pops (and ice cream) are frozen, they also need a little bit of extra sugar because freezing-cold foods slightly dull your sense of taste. I went ahead and added juuuust a little extra sugar, and a little bit of cornstarch, and bingo! Success!

If you don’t have a vegetable juicer you can still easily make these at home using store bought juices. Most grocery stores these days (at least here in my neck of the woods) carry bottled carrot juice, so I don’t think it should be too hard to find. The only thing you’ll need to do differently is to add grated ginger in with the sugar and cornstarch, and then strain out the pulp just before pouring into  your molds. I promise I tried this during one of my experiments and it worked great.

These puppies are TASTY! They’re bright and citrusy and summery, with just a touch of fresh spicy zing from the ginger. The carrot juice and orange juice are a match made in heaven and the apple juice just helps sweeten things up. They’re just sweet enough, with a really great bite-able texture, and the absolute last words that come to mind is “health food” or “diet”.

Craving satisfied. Officially.

orange carrot ice pops | Brooklyn Homemaker

Orange Carrot Ice Pops

  • Servings: makes ten 3-ounce ice pops
  • Print
3/4 cups apple juice (I used fuji apples)
1 3/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
zest of 1 orange
1 cup carrot juice (from about 2 lbs peeled carrots)
1 to 2 inch peeled chunk of fresh ginger (juiced with carrots if possible, finely grated if not)

In a medium saucepan, combine apple juice, orange juice, sugar, cornstarch, salt, & orange zest. If you don’t have a juicer at home you’ll also need to add your grated ginger now as well.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking regularly to prevent lumps. Once the mixture has boiled and thickened to a citrus-curd-like consistency, remove from heat. Add carrot juice and ginger juice (if you aren’t using grated ginger) and whisk to combine. If using grated ginger, strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove pulp.

Pour the mixture into ice pop molds (makes enough liquid to fill ten 3-ounce pops). If your ice pop maker comes with plastic sticks, insert now and freeze at least 4 hours or until solid. If using wooden sticks, cover the mold and freeze for 45 minutes to 1 hour before inserting sticks and freezing for at least three hours more.

To un-mold your pops, run them under warm water to 10 to 15 seconds each. Pops should slide out of molds easily and can be quickly refrozen and stored in a ziplock bag or individually wrapped in plastic wrap.