Gulf Coast Cooler – a libation to keep you refreshed all summer

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Friends, it’s summertime. I am down in Texas this week trying not to melt as I make plans and preparations for fall gardening and an impending chicken coop (stay with me for that adventure).

Did you know that Vietnamese culture is very prevalent down here? Vietnamese is actually the third most spoken language behind English and Spanish. So I was noodling on a new cocktail idea and thought to combine some ingredients that would really represent the Gulf Coast region: basil used in Vietnamese cooking, lime juice, Tajín, Topo Chico and Western Son Gulf Coast Lime vodka.

I often refer to beverages as “summery” and this one is a summer super star. Bottoms up my lovelies!

All the necessary lovelies!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 – 2 ounces Western Son Gulf Coast Lime Vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 6-8 leaves of Thai basil
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1 tsp. Tajín
  • Topo Chico
  • Ice

In a rocks tumbler muddle the herbs vigorously. Add the top four ingredients. Put some ice in a shaker. Add the ingredients of the tumbler to the shaker and SHAKE IT!

In a saucer drag the teaspoon of Tajín into a little line. Use one of your spent lime rinds to wet the outer perimeter of your rocks tumbler. Coat the wet area in the Tajín.

Add fresh ice to the glass. Pour the contents of the shaker into the glass and top with Top Chico.

Join me?

Drink till Autumn comes. Just kidding. Or not.

Bye for now my lovelies!

Printable PDF here: Gulf Coast Cooler

 

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Is it pie? Is it cobbler? It’s BOTH! Texas Hill Country Peach “Pobbler”

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hello again, my lovelies. Do you like peaches? I don’t mean using the peach emoji as something lewd, I mean the succulent sloppy stone fruit that stars in desserts from pie to cobbler.

And that brings me to this: why can’t we hybridize those two things? Oh, wait. I’m The Gentleman Caller. I can.

Here’s my issue. Cobblers can be lazy, tired, careless, overly sweet. Not enough pastry, or pastry that is soggy and wet. Pies can be too big of an event. And also potentially not enough well-executed pastry.

So here I come to save the day. The filling is sweet. The pastry is flaky and salty. The experience is perfection.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 cups peeled and pitted peaches, preferably Texas Hill Country peaches (I know how unrealistic that is)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • scant 1/4 cup flour
  • zest of 1/3 of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • splash of water
  • sugar for sprinkling
  • one recipe of The Gentleman Caller’s Perfect Pie Crust – downloadable PDF: PERFECT PIE CRUST

Make your crusts and put them in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. In the bowl of your food processor in which you probably made your crust combine the first seven items. Pulse to desired consistency. BE CAREFUL. Like 3-4 pulses max. Unless you’re going for peach soup.

When your crust is ready to roll – haha – roll out the bottom crust to fit your chosen vessel. I precautionary spray with pan release the inside AND outside. Spoon the filling into the crust. Roll out the top crust and assemble to your liking. The video will help you. Crimp edges. Place the whole thing onto a sheet pan lined with foil (for spillage).

Perfect crusts

Beat the egg with a splash of water. Brush it onto all exposed crust surfaces and then sprinkle generously with sugar.

Place in the center of your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking for another 45-60 minutes. Remove when the filling is molten, bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Allow it to cool before cutting or the filling will run everywhere. I like a scoop of ice cream. Who doesn’t? I recommend Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla if it has to be store bought.

Don’t eat the whole thing by yourself, ok?

Farewell for now, my lovelies.

Printable PDF here: Peach Pobbler

 

 

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Just Hanging Out (of a fourth floor window)

Hi, friends! This is a re-post from last spring, but it seems to be that time of year yet again! Enjoy!  xo-TGC

 

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Happy holiday weekend. Everyone leaves New York City, and for those of us who have to stay it’s party time! This particular morning I am skipping the gym and enjoying the break in the oppressive heat to plant my window boxes. I assembled the boxes and filled them with dirt earlier in the week – you can see that article here, too.

So, with a cup of coffee in one hand and Country Legends 97.1 streaming through my bluetooth, it’s time to get our hands dirty.

plant1

Earlier in the week I went around town and sourced my plants. I ended up with the following:

  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Dill
  • Flat Leaf Parsely
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Thyme
  • French Lavender
  • Sweet Potato Vines
  • Geraniums (for color)

Different plants like varying degrees of moisture, and for that reason I grouped the more tuberous, leggy things together (the first six herbs) and the woodier herbs together (the next 5). I also dropped a sweet potato vine and a geranium in both boxes for color and aesthetics. Yes! geraniums are basic, but the petals are edible. I wanted marigolds – also edible and a natural insect repellent – but sometimes you use what you got.

plant6

plant7

Get those suckers in the dirt. Leave ample room around them, and encourage the ones that cascade to do so. Be sure and plant the vine near the edge. It will cascade spectacularly. To avoid transplant shock really give them a solid watering once they’re in the dirt. You will eventually need to spike the basil if you choose to plant that, but that’s down the road. Mint is very leggy and can get aggressive; you’ll want to harvest it whether you choose to use it or not. Give it to your mojito loving friends!

plant2

OOOWEE the Oak Ridge Boys are singing to me! Time to warm up for the show. Enjoy your beautiful boxes and start planning how you’re going to use your window box bounty! The Gentleman Caller will continue to share articles and ideas about how to creatively use your home-grown herbs.

plant3

The Gentleman Caller signing out.

xoxo

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The Gentleman’s Cucumber Trellis

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Here it is once again, my friends. Creeping up on one of my favorite times of the year, when the temps get warm enough to start thinking about putting plants in the earth.

Getting my hands dirty is one of the most satisfying things you can possibly do. I come from a long line of gardening gentlemen on both sides of my family. When I was a kid growing up, I never fully appreciated the gift of fresh from the garden food. It doesn’t taste the same as store bought food.

So I am challenging you, friend, to take up the task and feed yourself!

If you think you have a black thumb, stop. The Gentleman Caller is here to offer you some tips and insights to make your experience easy and efficient.

Today I offer my cucumber trellis.

The cucumber trellis is a simple lean-to structure. You can affix it to a fence, outdoor building, garage, any structure with some integrity.  It will allow your cukes to grow upward rather than spread on the ground. This makes harvesting easier, and will likely give you an increase in your yield.

I used a wooden fence. Watch the YouTube video for full instructions.

I hope you are motivated to get a-growing!

All for now,

The Gentleman Caller

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The Gentleman Caller’s Mardi Gras King Cake

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hi friends! First of all, please forgive the brief silence here on the site. I have been navigating this change of coasts and it has taken some time and effort. But it seems that things are stabilizing! This coming week brings adventures of re-recording audio for the movie I shot in the fall and other fun stuff.

BUT, for now, let’s talk about the King Cake! Ash Wednesday arrives very early this year (on Valentine’s Day to be specific). So you best be finding your plastic babies!

I make King Cakes every year because, well… they’re freakin hilarious. They have plastic babies in them. They have garish icing, and in the case of the cake I have displayed here, edible glitter. I mean, WHY NOT!?

An added bonus is that my King Cake is dumb delicious. Trust.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (**Vanilla sugar even better if you have)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons butter flavor Crisco, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 plastic king cake baby
  • 5 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from a lemon, not a bottle)
  • Icing colors – purple, green, “gold” (yellow)
  • EDIBLE GLITTER

Warm 1 cup of milk on the stove or the microwave, then stir int he yeast and allow it to bloom. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached and immediately add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Give it a stir. Add the melted butter and butter flavor Crisco. Please do not question my choices, you know I love butter flavor Crisco and it really does slightly alter the texture.

Beat that for a couple of minutes, then add the egg yolks. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest. Allow to incorporate and form a ball.

Find a bowl about double the size of your dough ball and coat the inside with vegetable oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl and rub the exterior of the dough ball with vegetable oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise. Let it double in size. This should take a couple of hours.

Make the filling while you wait. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners sugar. (I sometimes throw some lemon zest in this as well, and sometimes a whisper of salt.)

Flour a board or countertop. Turn the risen dough onto the surface and spread into an approximately 30 x 6 inch area using only your fingers. Spread the filling over one half, allowing some room at the perimeter to form a seal. ADD THE BABY. Just shove it in the filling somewhere. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the filled half and pinch the edges together to seal it.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Carefully form a ring with the dough on the parchment, making sure the seam is at the bottom (as in under the cake). Seal all edges.

Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the risen cake with milk.

Put into the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely.

Now the fun starts!

Seriously, there is right or wrong way to decorate this cake. It’s Mardi Gras. More is more. I like the frosting colors to be very saturated and I want that thing to sparkle.

Make the icing. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, combine remaining milk (3 tablespoons), lemon juice and remaining 4 cups confectioners sugar. Here’s where you use your judgement… is the icing the consistency you want it to be? If you want a thinner icing, add a bit more liquid. If you want a more robust icing, add more sugar. I like it pretty thick. Once you’ve made your judgement call, transfer into zip-top bags and color it. Or don’t. White is fine, too, especially if you’re using tons of glitter. (It has to be EDIBLE glitter. Glitter from the craft section at Walmart will not work.)

Add food coloring to your zip-top bags and mash/mix until you get the desired effect. Cut a tiny slit into a corner of the bag and pipe onto your cake. As you can see, I used a simple zigzag and then glittered accordingly. Be creative, take risks, have fun with it.

Now your cake is ready to EAT! Be sure and warn friends and family so no one chokes on the baby and ends up in the ER. This cake is divine, especially with a strong cup of coffee.

Happy Mardi Gras!

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full printable PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s King Cake

 

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