Friday Faves: Summer Cocktails by the Pitcher

It’s officially summer ’round these parts, and yours truly couldn’t be more excited about it. Sure, it still looks like winter outside here in Seattle, but judging by this weekend’s forecast, that won’t last long.

One of my favorite things about summer? Cocktails. Sure, of course I love winter and cozying up by the fire with a glass of red wine or mug of Baileys + hot cocoa, but man, is there something to be said for a pretty drink with a little umbrella sticking out of it. Umbrellas in drinks are so fun and tropical and care-free. To me, they scream, “PARTY TIME!” And also, tequila makes her clothes fall off. But not literally. Tequila has never made my clothes fall off. I promise, mom. Sorta. Ok, fine. Like, one sock. That’s it.

Here are some of the cocktails that have been floating around in my head, just begging to be consumed…

Mojitos by the pitcher. Mojitos are a drink I’ve only recently become turned onto, and I just can’t get enough. These are most certainly on the menu for next weekend’s bachelorette party.

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Sangria. Oh, how I love thee. And this sparkling white peach sangria sounds like such a refreshing spin on the classic recipe.

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And last, but certainly not least, the ultimate summer cocktail: margaritas. Now, I love margaritas. Loooooove them. And someday I will post my favorite margarita recipe on here (I promise) because my friends go crazy for them as do I. But these strawberry basil margaritas? They look weird. But good. And I’m not sure how I feel about them yet, but you better believe these are also on the menu to try.

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Got a favorite summer cocktail recipe? Share it below!

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Black Bean Burgers That I Thought Would Suck but Totally Didn’t

Is that the best title of all time? No? It’s the worst? Ok. Fine. Well it’s true. I thought these would suck. And they didn’t. At all.

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Let’s back up a few steps to Tuesday, when I blabbed on and on about the pair of shoes that I really wanted but couldn’t afford full price. Wellllll I found them online. On sale. On FINAL sale. And I bought them. Even though shoes are explicitly not a part of my very strict budget that obviously isn’t that strict at all.

So what does one do when they immediately have shopper’s remorse? I didn’t actually have shopper’s remorse. I’m just saying I did because I think that’s how one is supposed to feel when one blows their monthly budget on a pair of shoes. I’ll tell you what you do. You do some research online and find a recipe for black bean burgers that is both 1) healthy and 2) has inexpensive ingredients that are already in my cupboard.

So that’s what I did. A sort of punishment, if you will. Because given the choice between a double double, animal style from In-N-Out or a black bean burger on a whole wheat bun, we all know which one I’d choose.

But then…something strange happened. I kinda sorta loved these. A lot. As in, I would willingly make these in place of a burger and not even feel sad about it.

What is the world coming to?

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup panko
  • 3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • burger toppings of your choice — I served mine on toasted, whole wheat buns with spinach, guacamole and sauteed mushrooms

Instructions:

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place 2½ cups of the beans (Do not throw away the rest – you will need them later! And if you’re like me, you will have to dig the can of remaining beans out of the garbage! I should learn to read instructions more carefully) in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture, toasted panko, the remaining ½ cup beans (hopefully not from the garbage), bell pepper, and shallot to the bowl with the mashed beans. Stir together until evenly combined.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties. (At this point the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking, or you can throw them in the freezer to eat later.) The patties may seem entirely too wet and goopey to turn into anything edible. Stay with me. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. I recommend leaving the patties completely untouched for the first 4 minutes, because if you try to move them too soon, they will fall apart. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.

Serve warm.

*Above photo from Google Images, because I am an idiot. I FINALLY took proper foodie pics for this recipe and then deleted them by accident from my phone. I then said a few very bad words that started with “F”.

Yields: 6 burger patties

Recipe barely adapted from (as in, I left out the cilantro): Annie’s Eats

Queso Blanco Dip

Sooooo remember back when I mentioned that one of the two foods in this world that I have absolutely zero self control over when presented to me is cheese dip?

Also, was that a super long run on sentence that you had to read more than once? I get excited when talking about cheese dip. Sorry I’m not sorry.

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Another fun fact: one of my not-so-secret dreams in life is to move to San Diego. Coronado, specifically, if for no other reason than Miguel’s Cocina. You guyssss. This place is to die for. If you order a margarita, not only do they bring you a huge margarita glass full, but they also bring a shaker full of more margarita. It’s basically like a 2-for-1 deal. And these margaritas do not mess around. It’s good shit, man.

My other favorite thing about Miguel’s? You guessed it. The cheese dip. It’s white, which for some reason is so much better (and not because I’m racist) and spicy and I could swim in it. Literally. Just cheese dip to the face, please.

So when I came across this recipe for Queso Blanco, there was no turning back. I’m planning to serve it at Laura’s upcoming bachelorette party, but figured I better experiment first, so I served it at my brother’s birthday party. To say it was a hit would be a gross understatement. Seriously. We put that stuff on everything and swallowed it whole. This could also account for my once again terrible foodie pictures. I was too busy stuffing my face to worry about getting a good shot.

So please make this. Now. And don’t blame me when your jeans don’t fit tomorrow.

Disclaimer: this dip is not exactly like Miguel’s. Someday I will make out with and/or flash a Miguel’s waiter just to get that recipe. And then I will promptly post it here.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil (veggie, olive, canola – whatever you have)
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno or serrano, seeds and stem removed; diced — now, I like a little spiciness to my dip, so I left the seeds. Use your best judgement.
  • 12 oz white American cheese (I have the deli give me 3 slices on the # 10 setting — they will know what this means), shredded
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (optional; don’t use pre-shredded)
  • 1/4-2/3 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
  • 1 roma tomato, seeds removed and diced

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted.

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At some point after you add the cheese, the dip will start to resemble a consistency (see below picture) that you might not even serve to your worst enemy. You will start to curse my name and wonder why you ever trusted me with such an important thing as cheese dip. Persevere, my friends. I promise, all those gross chunks will melt down into gooey deliciousness.

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Add the tomatoes, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Serve on anything your little heart desires (but to avoid strange looks from family members, it’s best to start with tortilla chips).

Yields: 2 cups

Recipe from: Confessions of a Foodie Bride