Fuck Pie; Make a Rhubarb Tonic Instead
It’s rhubarb season, y’all! But you won’t find me baking a fucking pie. Nope. I put that shit in cocktails. Like my rhubarb whiskey sour. And my rhubarb daiquiri. Oh, and my fancy, boozy jello eggs. I even put it in the drink for my Easter egg decorating party at Boulevard earlier this week. Basically, when I see rhubarb at the grocery store, I Supermarket Sweeps that shit. Then I make a big-ass batch of rhubarb syrup and use it in everything. I’m also real fond of saying, “Hey, the mash that’s left over is a great jam or compote or whatever.” I even wrote about it for Food52. But I don’t eat toast or ice cream often enough so it sometimes goes to waste — which is a damn shame because it’s fucking good.
But when I love something, I often find a way to put it in a cocktail, hence this pretty pink rhubarb tonic.
To be honest, I’ve been trying to rip off the rhubarb tonic from the now-closed Nightwood in Chicago since I tried it in the summer of 2013. And while it’s been long enough for my tastebuds to forget the specifics, I remember it being one of my favorite drinks. Ever. It was bubbly and slightly sweet and a little bitter from the tonic. I think this is as close as I’ve ever come to recreating it, and as close as I’m going to get. In fact, I’m calling it a win and giving up after this.
While the drink recipe itself is super easy — just three ingredients — getting there is a little labor intensive. First, you want to make my rhubarb syrup. But don’t worry, you’ll have lots of uses for it (see above!). And SAVE THE MASH.
Rhubarb Syrup / Mash
5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add the rhubarb, sugar, and water to a medium-size pot over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the vinegar, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir, then let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more syrupy it will become.
Strain the syrup into a bottle or mason jar and let it cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate. Did I mention you should SAVE THE FUCKING MASH?! Put it in an air-tight container and refrigerate it.
At some point you’ll want to blend or puree this goodness, so you can do that before you refrigerate it, or after, or just a little as needed. Whatever floats your fucking boat.
Now, you’re ready to roll with the drink.
2 tablespoons rhubarb mash puree
2 ounces whiskey
Cold tonic water
Add the rhubarb mash puree and whiskey to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously then strain into an old-fashioned or collins glass. Add a handful of crushed ice (or a large ice cube, or regular fucking ice), and top it off with tonic water. Enjoy!
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Free Download: April 2018 Calendar
Oh, hi. Apparently March is almost over. Don’t know how the hell that happened (I mean, I haven’t even filed my 2016 taxes yet — WUT?!), but I haven’t seen the sun in a fucking week so your free printable April 2018 calendar is all about those April showers. And because printer technology not improved since 1999 and your printer probably sucks as much as mine does, it’s available in both color and black and white. As always, the calendar is free (you’ll get both versions with your “purchase”) and as you probably know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the file from my store before you can download and print it. You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. Nope, you just have to plug your information into some little boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you, and if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time — as well as go back and re-download your previous purchases. Some people plug fake information into those boxes, and while it is slightly annoying, as long as you follow me on Instagram in return, I don’t really give a fuck. But if you do plug in email@example.com, you won’t get the email with your download links or my newsletter (you know — when I finally get my shit together enough to do it in, like, three years). So there.
Get Your Free Printable April 2018 Calendar
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Honor system. Don’t be a dick.
Boozy Roséggs for a Grown-Up Easter
Hey, remember last year, when I made fancy, boozy rhubarb jello eggs for Easter? And they were a huge pain in the ass to get out of the molds? And they kind of looked like penis heads? Well, I pretty much swore off doing that ever again, but because I’m a sucker (actually, mostly because I came up with the most amazing name ever) I bought a ton of molds I hated, and trashed my kitchen twice to make Roséggs — rosé jello eggs (with gin, and no actual Jell-O).
Like last year’s fancy-ass eggs, these Roséggs are fucking amazing. Like if frosé and jello shots had an egg baby. But because I can’t seem to make a jello egg that doesn’t look like some part of the human anatomy, the first round I made kind of look liked boobs. Or maybe just breast implants. That’s because this year, I decided to forgo the hard plastic egg-shaped Jell-O molds in favor of silicone candy molds, which create half eggs that are flat on bottom. I got big molds, and little molds, and even some egg-shaped molds with easter egg “design” on them. Unfortunately, I lined the molds with cooking spray, which gave the eggs a weird texture. And the big ones looked like big boobs with weird texture, and the little ones looked like little boobs with weird texture, and everything I tried to take out of then damn “designed” molds just fucking fell apart. So I tried again. For my second round, I poured the entire concoction into a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper, then cut the eggs out with a small egg-shaped cookie cutter. Getting the pan from the counter to the fridge without a spill was harrowing, but that was definitely the best route (even though I’d skip the parchment next time and just lightly grease the pan).
Sadly, I left them out too long during my boozy shoot before getting a good closeup so I don’t have a Glamour Shot, and the ones you see here are my rejects. Oops. Maybe I’ll make them one more time before Easter. Just for the ‘Gram. In the meantime, here I am holding a tray of Roséggs.
I hope I didn’t scare you off there. You should definitely make these Roséggs. How you mold (or cut) them is really player’s choice. You could use the old-fashioned hard molds and get about 18 eggs. Or use big or little silicone molds and get a bunch of boob eggs and put them in cute little wooden spoons like I did (because I always buy them and never have a use for them) or pour your rosé goo into a sheet pan and use a cookie cutter to get your egg shapes. Whatever you do, definitely keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve, because if that shit gets too warm, it will melt and you’ll be really fucking sad.
Roséggs – Boozy Rosé Jello Eggs
2 cups strawberry syrup
8 packets powdered gelatin
1 cup fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, strained
¼ cup sugar
1½ cups gin
2 cups brut (or some kind of bubbly) rosé
Spray your egg molds or sheet pan with cooking spray (or lightly grease it since that spray shit leaves a weird texture) and set aside.
Warm the strawberry syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Before it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the gelatin, one packet at a time. Continue to whisk for about 2 to 3 minutes, dissolving as much gelatin as possible. Add the lemon juice, and whisk, then the sugar, and whisk for another minute or two, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer (to catch the clumps of gelatin) into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the gin, then the rosé. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so some of the bubbles subside. Then fill the prepared egg molds (or sheet pan) with the liquid mixture.
Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight, and cross your fingers that shit comes out of whatever mold you use.
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Shiny Shit You Can Make: Metallic Sharpie Easter Eggs
Oh, hi! I’m back with yet another Easter craft — yes, more eggs! — that needs no tutorial. So instead, I’m going to give you some pretty pictures and smart-ass comments and let you take it from there. I mean, isn’t that what lifestyle blogging is all about? Inspiration and aspiration and all that shit? I think so. Fuck. I really hope I’m doing this right.
Anyway, as you can probably deduce from the pictures and headline, these are metallic Sharpie Easter eggs. You dye eggs, then draw on them with metallic Sharpies. The end. But not really the end. Because I’m going to tell you some more things. Like, that even though I fucking love (like, stupid, ridiculous love) Sharpies, for this project the metallic Bic markers work better. And that metallic markers definitely need a little time to dry, so once you draw on half of an egg, chill the fuck out for, like, five minutes before turning it and decorating the other side. Move on to another egg, or have a drink, or give yourself a cute gold temporary Easter-themed tattoo.
Also, if you think I freehanded the stripes, you’re sweet. I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and especially not around a fucking oval. But I love stripes—at least half of my shirts are striped!—so I knew there had to be a way. And there was! I put a small rubber band on the egg to use as a guide. In case you’re wondering how small, think: the rubber band that comes on a bunch of broccolini; turns out it’s also the perfect size for an egg. (And, yes, I realize I just used a colon and a semi-colon in the same sentence. While I’m really starting to question that decision, I think I’m going to roll with it.) Just remember to let that shit dry before you take off the rubber band. (Here’s another Easter-themed temporary tattoo idea to keep you busy while you wait.)
So, if that’s it, I guess I’ll just leave you with some more aspirational BS like live your best life and be authentic and I believe in you. And drink a green smoothie. Or maybe a matcha latte.
Okay, I’m off to forage my dinner in a chunky neutral sweater and duck boots. Until next time!
P.S. If you live in Kansas City and want to make these with me while sipping on beer cocktails, join me for Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts: Easter Egg Edition at Boulevard Brewing Company on Wednesday, March 28.
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The Making of ‘The Cave Egg’
Late last year, I got an email from an editor at Food Network Magazine asking me to decorate an Easter egg for the April issue. They were planning to feature an egg from each of the 50 states, and I was pleased as punch to be the chosen Missouri crafter (and a little surprised, considering my, er, colorful language).
Obviously, I was super into it from the get-go, but to be honest, the initial concept was a bit of a challenge. I had a hard time coming up with something that screamed “Missouri!” that wasn’t super city specific. Yes, everyone knows Kansas City barbecue, the St. Louis Arch, and Branson’s flashy everything. But other than weird weather, rivers (boring!), and I-70 (the most boring), there’s not a ton that ties the whole state together. I was seriously about to go with some tired-ass riverboat theme, but then I remembered that Missouri is the goddamn Cave State (seriously, my state is home to more than 6,000 caves) and I love making dioramas, so I pitched the idea of hollowing out an egg to make it into a tiny little baby cave. It took a little work to convince them to let me go this route (especially since I’d never actually made a diorama inside of an egg shell before). And yes, I broke more than a few eggs in the process. But I eventually figured out how to cut into and reinforce the shell, and somehow even managed to overnight my delicate little diorama to the Hearst offices in New York without a ding.
I encourage you to pick up a copy, because while mine may be the weirdest, there are some straight up works of art in there. And should you want to make a diorama egg yourself, it it’s actually pretty easy, as long as you’re not in a hurry — because it’s mostly a whole lot of sitting around waiting for paint to dry. Oh, and you’re going to break a lot of eggs at first, so you should probably just be prepared to make a frittata or something.
Now, before I get to the tutorial, my vanity (including my futile attempts to appear like one of those Instagram moms with long, pale fingers) has compelled me to point out that:
- These step-by-step pictures were taken immediately following my smash cake Blogiversary photo session. I only mention this because while, yes, I have kind of reddish fat fingers anyway, sugar causes me some issues with inflammation including puffy fingers.
- As of this exact moment, I’m now using all my fancy serums and creams on my hands, because damn.
- Since I just talked about my inflammation, it’s probably time to accept that my hands probably aren’t getting any younger. So somebody pass me the Metamucil already.
P.S. If you’re interested in decorating (much easier) Easter eggs with me and you live in or around Kansas City, join me at Boulevard Brewing Company on Wednesday, March 28 for the Easter egg edition of my Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts event series.
How to Make a Diorama Egg
To make the base for a diorama egg, you’ll need:
- Eggs (I mean, you technically only need one, but you should definitely start with a full dozen)
- A pencil
- A thumbtack or X-Acto knife
- Cuticle clippers or small, very sharp scissors
- A small paintbrush
- Matte Finish Mod Podge
If you want to recreate The Cave Egg, you’ll also need:
- Green paint
- Black paint
- Some really strong glue that will probably give you cancer
- Tiny pieces of raw quartz or other crystals/rocks
- Fake moss
1. Draw a rough approximation of the area you’d like to cut. Apparently you need to do this with a very dull pencil. (Sober me totally would have insisted on a very sharp pencil for this picture, by the way. Drunk me clearly didn’t give a fuck.)
2. Firmly but carefully perforate the line (or the area fairly close to it) with a thumb tack or tip of the X-Acto knife. The X-Acto knife actually works much better, but you’re less likely to cut off the tip of your finger with the thumb tack so you should probably just go that route. Anyway, the perforation will keep the shell from cracking too much when you cut into it.
3. Starting at one of the perforation points, use cuticle clippers or very small, sharp scissors to make the first cut in the egg. Keep clipping — following the perforation with small, delicate cuts — until you’ve made it all the way around. And just to be honest: You’re probably going to screw up steps 2 and 3 a few times until you figure out the perfect pressure for perforation and clipping. But that’s okay and like I said, you can make a frittata, or even just salvage the whites for a delicious Rhubarb Whiskey Sour.
4. At this point, you’ll want to carefully rinse out the egg, and possibly kind of roll the inner membrane out with your fingertip if you feel it in there (if not, don’t worry about it). Then set the egg in a safe place to let it dry completely.
5. Once the egg is fully dry, inside and out, give the inside a coat of matte finish Mod Podge. Let that dry (at least to the touch, about 20 minutes minimum) then coat the outside as well. This reinforces the shell and the somewhat precarious opening you just created, making the whole thing less susceptible to cracking. The Mod Podge also acts like a primer, creating a nice base for paint. Once the Mod Podge is dry, you can turn your egg into any old tiny diorama your little heart desires. If you’re interested in recreating The Cave Egg, keep reading.
6. Now it’s time to paint the egg. I chose green for the outside and black for the inside (because cave). Like with the Mod Podge, you’ll want to let the paint dry on one part before moving onto the next. (See? I told you this was a whole lot of waiting.)
7. When the paint is completely dry, you can begin gently gluing your small stones inside the egg (I used E6000, which is a super-strong craft glue that’s probably going to turn me into a giant cancer). At first I’d planned to just put stones on the bottom, but then I remembered learning about stalactites and stalagmites in fourth or fifth grade, and decided I needed some quartz on top, too. I’m still debating whether or not this was a good idea — especially since my demo egg (not the one in the mag) looks kind of like the mouth of a monster badly in need of dental work. If you do decide to add some rocks hanging from the top, definitely make sure the ones on bottom are fully dry so you can let the top stones dry glue-side down (more waiting for shit to dry, I know).
8. Finally, glue some fake moss to the outside of your egg to make it all earthy and shit.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve just read the world’s most detailed tutorial for a craft you’ll probably never make. Still, I’m so glad you stopped by. And see what I mean about the monster mouth? Luckily, this was just my demo egg, and Food Network Magazine has the nicer one that looks much more like an actual cave.
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