Cool Down This August With My Grapefruit Basil Vodka Spritzer

I'll admit, I've been a bit of a lush lately. But it's not my fault. This summer has been a whirlwind of fun times. Fun times that have often involved my favorite poison. From my girlfriends visiting me, to my husband's birthday festivities, to a recent trip to Chicago for my best friend's 30th, I've been partaking more than I've been resisting. Whoops.

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It's also been delightfully sunny and warm in Southern California lately. Those blue skies and above average temps have me craving two things. Okay, maybe three. Beach, bikes, and (ice-cold) booze. Not just any booze though. You see, I've grown up quite a bit in my drinking day. I don't just drink to...you know, feel loose. I genuinely enjoy the taste of a refreshing cocktail. 

Like this cocktail right here. Combining one of my favorite fruits with one of my favorite herbs and my all-time, favorite spirit, the crisp, tangy, and perfectly sweet concoction is great for cooling down in this hot, sticky, summer heat. I won't tell you that it's also great for feeling loose pretty quickly since the basil and grapefruit are pretty great at disguising the vodka. No, I won't tell you that. You know, just in case the in-laws read this post.

Craft it in less than 5 minutes and you'll save yourself the $13 that almost any restaurant would charge you for a craft cocktail. You're welcome.

Grapefruit Basil Vodka Spritzer

Ingredients:

1/2 ruby red grapefruit

1 bunch of basil (about 10 leaves)

2 ounces Vodka

1 tablespoon simple syrup (recipe here)

Club Soda to top (1/2-2/3 cup)

Ice

Directions:

1) Using a heavy pint glass, muddle the basil with the simple syrup. Then, squeeze the juice from 1/2 grapefruit into the glass. Add the vodka and stir. Add ice cubes to a cocktail glass. Strain the grapefruit and vodka mixture into the glass. Add some basil leaves to the glass if desired. Top with club soda. Enjoy!

***Makes one cocktail

The Ultimate Egg Sandwich Made With Happy Egg Co., French Bricohe, and My Signature Bacon Onion Jam

There are very few breakfast items that I adore more than a good old fashioned egg sandwich. Y'all already know about my egg obsession though. I mean, it kinda sorta defines me. Give me an over-easy egg bundled up with some melty cheese, a couple of crispy pieces of maple bacon, and a savory spread of some sort...and I'll be in a great mood for the rest of the day. 

So when The Happy Egg Co. asked me to use their delicious eggs in a Dash of Les original recipe, I had to oblige. The company is totally on my page with animal humanity and healthy eating too. Strictly a free-range egg consumer, I had used their eggs long before they reached out to me. Just some noteworthy facts for ya; these guys were the first to be recognized as a 100% free range egg company certified by Humane Animal Farm Care. Not surprising since their hens spend their days outdoors on an 8-acre pasture...living the good life. And word on the street is that the happiest hens lay the tastiest eggs.

What's an egg lovin' girl to do when she's created Chilaquiles, breakfast burritos, egg "muffins," and a plethora of other egg recipes for her blog? Well, she simply goes back to basics. But this wouldn't be just any egg sandwich. No, this egg sandwich would be fit for a queen. 

Nestled between two thick, grilled slices of authentic French Brioche sits a flawlessly fried egg, melted Gruyere, a modest mound of baby arugula, and some of my sweet and savory bacon onion jam. 

Guys, the combo is irresistible. Just ask my husband. I can't even remember the last time I saw him making love to his food like he did when he was devouring this sandwich. The sharp bite of the Gruyere, the rich, golden yolk oozing its goodness with every bite, the pillowy and oh, so buttery Brioche, the world-class bacon onion jam, and the peppery arugula standing its ground...I can't even. Well, yes, I actually can even. But if I couldn't even, it'd be because of this sandwich.

Make it this weekend...and make it with The Happy Egg if you're a picky egg consumer and animal lover like me. The hens will thank you and your palate will forever love you. 

Brioche, Bacon Onion Jam, and Gruyere Egg Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 thick slices French Brioche (I found some at Whole Foods)

1 Happy Egg Co. Egg

1 handful baby arugula

1 slice Gruyere cheese (Gouda, white cheddar, or Havarti would be great too)

2 tablespoons Bacon Onion Jam (recipe here)

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

Directions:

1) Turn on your oven's broiler. 

2) Add 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. (I use a brush to coat the bottom of the pan). When oil or butter are shimmering, crack an egg into the pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes and then turn heat down to low and cover for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove egg from heat when the white is completely cooked. 

3) While the egg is cooking, bring a grill pan or cast iron pan to high-heat with the other 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil. Grill the slices of Brioche, for about 30 seconds on each side.

3) Spread the bacon jam onto one slice of Brioche. Top with arugula and egg.

4) Top the other slice of grilled Brioche with cheese and place on a pan. Put under the broiler for about one minute, or until cheese is melted. Then, remove from the oven and place on top of the other half of the sandwich.

5) ENJOY!!!

Recipes From A Mexican Food Fanatic: My Cinco De Mayo Top 5

Cinco De Mayo is tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Wait, take that back. I could be more excited. If the margarita clinging and taco saluting day of deliciousness was falling on a Friday instead, and if I actually had a shindig to attend. Womp, womp, womp. That's okay though. Lucky for me, I know of a gal who has a special talent in the area of Mexican gastronomy. Yeah, from what I've heard, her taco creations are drool-worthy and her Mexican breakfasts can't be beat.

There I go again. Tooting my own horn. That one was for you, Megan. But in all seriousness, (since Cinco De Mayo is a very serious matter) I do happen to love tackling a new Mexican dish now and again. Putting my own little spin on the classics. I find that the tortilla dominant cuisine provides lots of fun in the kitchen and often times comes with one spectacular reward. 

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Since I've made a wide selection of Mexican dishes in my day, I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. Whether you're in need of something to bring to a party or you'd just like to prepare a festive meal for your loved ones at home, any one of these recipes will impress....and quite possibly, bring on some drool.

Breakfast For Dinner: Chilaquiles

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If you haven’t heard of this cheesy and saucy mess of a dish, then you my friend, are really missing out. Chilaquiles (pronounced chee-lah-KEE-lehs) is a traditional Mexican meal that’s so special, it’s served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I can only guess that if you haven’t been privilege to the glorious feast you’re probably wondering what the fuss is all about.

Chilaquiles is like a twist between nachos and enchiladas. And if it’s served for breakfast, you can bet some scrambled eggs are in the mix or an over-easy fried egg is thrown on top. It’s not necessarily the prettiest plate of breakfast fare, but it is knock your socks off, tasty

Score my Simple Chilaquiles recipe here!

The Ultimate Party Snack: Crab, Mango, & Cotija Guacamole

This is no ordinary guacamole; though you can also find my traditional guacamole recipe here. This one is subtly sweet, boasts a sharp bite, and almost transports you to a tropical island. My Crab, Mango, and Cotija Cheese Guacamole is pretty damn special. Make it, and you will share my sentiment. I promise.

Get the recipe here!

The Easy Weeknight Dinner: Slow Cooker Citrus Habanero Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas. Oh yes, the fall-apart pork that tastes amazing on its own and even better stuffed into a corn tortilla. Carnitas are without question one of my favorite Mexican meats. The hints of citrus, the crusty exterior of melt-in-your-mouth, succulent meat. It's just divine.

These tacos take delicious carnitas to a whole new level. With pickled cabbage, a sprinkling of cotija cheese, and a dollop of homemade guacamole, this recipe serves up carnitas tacos on crack. I must mention, this is one crazy easy weeknight meal too, as your always dependable slow cooker will do most of the work for you.

Snatch the fool-proof recipe

The Margarita with a New-Age Twist: Spicy Strawberry & Cilantro Margarita

A certified heat-seeker, I often crave cocktails that boast some spicy flair. I also love some muddled herbs in my libations. And since margarita mix is about as nasty as it gets, I'm all about making scratch-made margaritas...with all the bells and whistles. My deepest apologies cilantro haters, you may substitute with basil. Enter: Spicy Strawberry and Cilantro Margarita.

Get the recipe here!

The Land & Sea Cheesy Indulgence: Shrimp, Grilled Corn, & Chorizo Quesadillas with Cotija

Perfect for a Cinco De Mayo party, these Shrimp, Corn, and Chorizo Quesadillas combine some traditional Mexican ingredients into one seriously memorable dish. The sweetness from the shrimp and grilled corn contrasts beautifully with the salty chorizo and sprinkling of sharp cotija cheese.

The Monterey Jack rounds it all out and provides that ooey gooey cheese decadence, a quesadilla quality that we all know and love. Make it in less than 20 minutes and you'll most definitely have a brag-worthy dish for any Cinco De Mayo fiesta. 

Get the recipe here!