Category: Drinks

Persimmon Yogurt Smoothie

Persimmon is one fall fruit that doesn’t get the same limelight as apples and pears, but is equally delicious. I first fell in love with these orange fruit when I spent a year studying in Israel. I bought them whenever I had a chance, biting into them like I was chomping on an apple.

There are 2 types of persimmon – the heart shaped hachiya and the tomato-shaped fuyu. Hachiya persimmons contain high levels of tannins causing them to taste “furry” if eaten before fully ripening. Believe me, I know this because I’ve spent a lot of time scraping the “pithy” substance off my tongue. Fuyu persimmons, on the other hand, are non-astringent and can be eaten when firm. Upon ripening, they become freckled with tiny brown specs which add sweetness and flavor to the fruit.

What do persimmon taste like? Channeling Ron Ben-Israel on Sweet Genius, I would describe a ripe persimmon as, creamy. juicy. sweet. fragrant. peachy. hints of mango.

Freezing the persimmon and blending it with yogurt results in a thick, creamy consistency that is almost as good as ice cream!

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3 Layer Chocolate Cake Martini


With Simchas Torah just around the corner, I just had to include an alcoholic beverage for the ladies. I mean, why should the guys get to have all the fun! We deserve to make a l’chaim, especially after our string of 3-day cooking fests!

More importantly, we have the most special, amazing, heartwarming and miraculous reason to celebrate. The release of Gilad Shalit who has been held captive by Hamas for five long years.

Welcome Home Gilad!


I’m not the biggest drinker, so if I have a martini recipe, it’s because I tasted it somewhere, not because I decided to whip up a cocktail one night :) I recently celebrated my sister-in-law CR’s birthday with a night out on the town. We hit a fun broadway show, but before that, we made sure to stop by Clubhouse Cafe for some appetizers and drinks. With the show just 30 minutes later, we quickly sampled a few of their “snacks” at the bar including duck empanadas, chunky guacamole, grilled kebabs, sliders and chicken fingers. What’s a birthday celebration without a toast, so we ordered cocktails including their chocolate martini, mojito and fruit punch sangria. We finished off our appetizer feast with some real 3 layer chocolate cake (topped off with a candle and a song, of course!) We left Clubhouse just a tad lightheaded and giggly, the perfect starter to the perfect night.

The verdict? While we only feasted on Clubhouse’s snacks and drinks, I must say that the food was fresh, flavorful, well presented, and delicious. The drinks were great, and the chocolate cake was moist and decadent. I would definitely go back, this time however, for a full meal!

As I mentioned, I’m far from a lush, but when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about those chocolate martini’s. They were awesome. My sister-in-law, as thoughtful as she is, sent me over some mini bottles of the ingredients so I could create my own at home. And believe you me, I did :) When looking up the cocktail online, I discovered that the martini is actually called three layer chocolate cake. How apropo!

Happy Birthday CR!

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Watermelon Ice Cubes


The weather here in New York last week was truly unbearable, with temperatures over 100 degrees. I am the kind of person that just cannot stand the heat. Anything over 75 degrees is too hot for me. But of course, I cannot control the weather, so I need to come up with ways to deal with it. If there’s a heat wave going on, I usually don’t leave the house. Otherwise, on hot days, I tend to go from my house, to the car, to any indoor place with air conditioning. If I have to be in the sun, I make sure to have cold water with me, and if there is a sprinkler around, I’m more than likely to drench myself!

It was one such day that I was dreaming up some ideas for an ice cold drink to cool off with. I decided to make some lemonade, but instead of traditional ice cubes that tend to water down beverages, I opted to make some cranberry-juice ones to turn it into pink lemonade. I was about to head out for some lemons when the amazing food guru Alton Brown tweeted about watermelon iced cubes. Brilliant! I knew I had to make them!

Ice cubes are a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day. Here are some other fun ice cube ideas:

– For iced tea or coffee, make a tray of tea or coffee ice cubes to keep your beverage cold without watering it down.
– Citrus ice cubes are great for tea or cocktails. Juice lemons, limes or oranges and put a quarter slice of citrus in each cube.
– Decorate your ice cubes with sprigs of mint, maraschino cherries, or edible flowers.
– Coke and ginger ale ice cubes are a great addition to any cocktail.
– Punch ice cubes work well in a punch bowl for your next party.

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Banana Dates Milk & Honey Smoothie


For all those Brooklynites out there, you may remember a certain little establishment on the corner of Coney Island and Avenue P called Bissale. It used to be opened till the wee hours of the morning (I’m not sure if it ever really closed) and hailed its own psychic, who’s only charge was to pay for her meal! The place had the absolute best Israeli food, but there was some shady business going on there (not to mention it was far from clean, but we turned a blind eye). At one point they opened up a secret hooka bar in the back (there might have been more than just hooka going on there!). Anyway, my friend Dina and I used to frequent the place and we always ordered up the same thing: ftut, french fries, and a banana, date, milk and honey smoothie. The ftut was basically some chopped malawach dough, mixed up with cheese and mushrooms, with a tomato dipping sauce. The french fries were incredible. But the prize, for me, was the smoothie. It was creamy and sweet, full of delicious flavor! Bissale closed its doors a few years ago, and while I miss the great food, and even better memories (not including the calories!), I’m happy to savor my favorite shake in my favorite place, home sweet home.

The original recipe uses whole milk, but I use almond milk to pack a protein punch and nutty flavor. Also, to eliminate the need for ice cubes (which will just water it down), I freeze the banana and dates a few hours in advance.

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Sangria Sunday


In the spirit of Chodesh Adar, I decided to throw a Sunday Fun Day Party here, with a recipe for delicious light and fruity sangria, and some kick-off-your-shoes music! First things first…the sangria!  Sangria is a chilled Spanish drink, typically made using red wine, sugar, juice and seltzer. It is sometimes laced with brandy and/or liquor. It can be made with a range of fruits to soak up all the delicious flavors. I wanted to make something for the ladies out there so I played around with measurements, and this one isn’t too heavy or too sweet, it’s just right!

Now for the music! Where oh where do I start. It’s Adar and I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha.” I’m not sure how literal I’ve taken that in the past few years (or since I’ve been a teenager). Adar nowadays has me scurrying about for Shalach Manos for family and friends, gifts for teachers, costumes and shalach manos for the kids. When do I ever take a minute to breath and just, I dont know…dance?! Yeah, that’s right, dance! And I’m the type who barely dances at weddings. Someone has to pull me by the hand and drag me into the middle of the circle for that awkward moment when you dance with the kallah, and you have nothing in the world to say to her (you ALL know what I mean!). I’m the one standing outside the circle, trying to look busy, or out searching for a bottle of wine! So, you know what? Being as I’m such a horrible dancer (I once took “wedding dance classes” and when everyone was following the instructor to the right, I was going to the left), the one place I can let loose is at home, where no one over the age of four can see me (and yes, even my four year old dances better than me!).

Now what can get me, the ultimate bad dancer to kick off my shoes and move to the beat? Some unbelievably good music. And that’s what I got! My amazing sister-in-law, Chanie, just bought me the new EIG8TH DAY CD, CHASING PROPHECY. I’m a huge fan of Eighth Day and their eclectic music. It’s bluesy and chassidic all at the same time. And their poetic lyrics are so full of soul! Chasing Prophecy is by far their best CD yet. I love EVERY SINGLE song. I have been listening to it over and over and over again, and I just love it more and more with each time. And yes! It made me kick off my shoes and dance! Like a little girl, I swirled around, and grabbed my kids by the hands. They looked at me like I fell off the moon. Because for once, just once, I let all my inhibitions go, and I danced like a free bird with not a care in the world. And you know what? it felt SO GOOD! As for my kids, they giggled and giggled and are wishing on their lucky Adar stars that these happy months of candy, costumes and dancing mommies never come to an end. And so too, am I. Happy Dancing!

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