Artichokes + Friday Happy Hour

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I love a good happy hour. Drinks and small plates at a discount always sounds good to me. But going out isn’t always an option… especially when happy hour ends before you get off work. On Friday’s I usually like to have happy hour at home. There’s nothing better than happy hour in your sweats. Oh wait, I go to happy hour in my sweats anyway. Call me lazy. It’s a bad habit of mine.

The key to happy hour at home is keeping it simple. A few ingredients that require little work. Things like cheese and crackers, bruschetta or bacon wrapped dates. Today we are having one of my favorites: Artichokes and lemon butter.

I love artichokes. They are flavorful, easy to prepare and something you don’t eat everyday. The lemon butter just adds an extra flavor and enhances the artichoke. I promise you will be addicted after the first one. I usually eat a whole one myself…. sometimes two. I’m not ashamed.

Friday Libations: Pull — Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Paso Robles

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Artichokes + Lemon Butter   >>Serves 2

2 artichokes

1/2 stick butter

2 lemons

Cut off the tops of the leaves with scissors. This will get rid of all the pointy ends and make it easier to work with. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Juice one lemon into the water and leave the lemon halves in the water. Put both artichokes into the water and make sure they are covered. Put a lid on the pot and cook for 30-40 minutes. The artichoke is ready when the leaves pull out easily.

When the artichoke is almost done, melt the butter and juice of one lemon together. Now you’re ready to plate! Peel off the leaves one at a time and dip in the lemon butter. The “meat” is at the end of the artichoke. Simple and satisfying.

Happy Hour at home can be just as good as going out!

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Williams & Graham

A new speakeasy made its way to the Highlands in Denver, and I tried it our for the first time last night. Obviously they aren’t illegally selling alcohol, but they’re definitely hiding….

Williams & Graham isn’t what it seems when you walk in. When walking in the front door you find yourself in a small room with bookshelves as the surrounding walls. Now, don’t be confused, you’re in the right place. When it’s your turn to be sat, a secret passage is open. One of the bookshelves is a door and opens up to a dimly lit bar with an old “flapper” feel. The bar is behind the bookcase. If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. It’s like a scene from “Clue” or “Murder, She Wrote”. Only you’ll be met by vintage cocktails and a classy atmosphere on the other side. Their menu consists of vintage cocktails and most are broken down into liquor type.

Williams & Graham is a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy cocktails. I loved everything from the bookcase, cocktails, atmosphere and the bearded bartenders. I recommend this speakeasy to anyone. Plus, if you’re trying to hide, it’s the perfect place.

More Than A Cocktail.

Tonight I have a friends birthday party to attend. I was having a hard time thinking of something to get her. So I started looking at her Facebook pictures to get an idea. Kind of ridiculous, but you can get some pretty good ideas of what a person likes from Facebook pictures. She really likes cocktails and making different vintage and new drinks. I already knew this about her, but her pictures reminded me. So, I would like to give Facebook photos a shout out right now for the idea.

This is what I came up with…. A cocktail in a bottle. This is simple, easy and a great idea for a gift, party or to keep around the house. Grab an empty wine bottle from the house, clean the bottle and take the labels off. After, mix your favorite cocktail (I decided to make Pimm’s Cup) together and fill the wine bottle. Viola! An instant cocktail in a bottle! Get mixing!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 1/3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 4 spears

Preparation

  1. Fill 4 tall (12-ounce) glasses with ice cubes.
  2. Pour 3 tablespoons Pimm’s into each glass. Pour 1/2 cup ginger ale and 1/3 cup sparkling water into each glass; stir to combine. Garnish each serving with 1 lemon slice and 1 cucumber spear. Serve immediately.

Glassware.

You could say I am obsessed with glassware. I have no rhyme or reason for the obsession. It is what it is. It’s something people use everyday, multiple times a day. Since it’s something so widely and frequently used, why not use pretty glassware and make the drinking experience more fashionable. Call me crazy, but I think the drink of choice even tastes better if it’s out of a stylish glass.

*Glassware found on Napa Style via Michael Chiarello’s Web site.

Wine of the Week.

14 Hands Wine

Grown and made in Washington, 14 Hands offers chardonnay, merlot, riesling and cabernet sauvignon. 14 Hands is mostly a restaurant wine, but can be found at select liquor stores as well as ordered off their Web site store.

14 Hands is definitely worth the search. And if you see it on a wine list, order it. My suggestion: 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s perfect, but I’m partial to red wine.

 

Artichokes & Lemon Butter.

Artichokes are a great and easy appetizer to start a meal with. Tasteful and light, it will definitely be a hit.

Artichoke:

Start by steaming the artichoke(s) until they turn a bright green. After steamed, sprinkle a pinch of salt on each artichoke to enhance the flavor.

Lemon Butter:

In a saucepan, melt together butter, the zest of a lemon and lemon juice.

On a platter, put out the lemon butter and whole artichoke. To eat, pull out the artichoke leaves and dip in lemon butter. Simple. Easy. Delicious!

Say Cheese.

 In my opinion, a cheese tray is a necessity for any dinner party.

Pile up a table or a tray with your favorite cheese, crackers, bread, nuts and fruit, and of course, compliment with a great wine. Everyone likes cheese, and it’s the perfect pairing to a dinner party.

It definitely makes for a fabulous table scape!

This is genius. I wish I would have thought of this. Your own personal cheese tray with a guide infront to show which cheese is which. Love it!

(Pictures provided by 100layercake.com)