Tuaca Oatmeal Cookies…directly from heaven (can be gluten free and vegan!)

zen cookie

from the folks at liveluvcreate.com

This has nothing to do with booze except for the fact that if you make them, you might want to hide them so that drunk you doesn’t eat a whole batch. As it is, you might want to put them in a time-locked capsule that will only allow you to open it every 12 hours and remove one cookie. Not like I’m the cookie police.

Oh, and the Tuaca. Who needs vanilla extract when there is Tuaca in the world.

TUACA OATMEAL COOKIES

1 1/2 Cup Trader Joes Gluten-Free Oats (uncooked) or other oats if you don’t worry about such things
1 1/2 Cup GF all purpose flour (again, regular flour is ok too)
Couple shakes cinnamon, maybe some nutmeg
Half a shot of  Tuaca (if you don’t have Tuaca, vanilla extract will have to do).
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil (I love coconut oil in baking, it’s so moist and sticky it’s easy not to use eggs)
1 egg if you think it’s necessary
A small banana would be nice, well ripened. If you are not using the egg, definitely use the banana but you can use both.

Mix ingredients. If you decide not to use the egg, you can totally eat the cookie dough to your heart’s delight but the raw oats may prove to be an obstacle. Anyway, I eat some of it. A little cookie dough, a little nip of Tuaca. Make them as big as you want, just remember the time-locked capsule principle. If you make them pancake size and eat 2 of them, that’s on you buster. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes and you’re golden. You probably want to leave them sit for about five minutes so they don’t fall apart but you may not be able to wait that long.

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Made Marion, Let Us Kiss With Tongues: 2Towns Ciderhouse Summer Seasonal

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9 Breweries, 9 holes– Brewvana’s Putt Putt Drink Drink 5/18

This Saturday 5/15, starting at noon, Portland brewery tour company Brewvana, will host their most adventurous tour yet–Putt Putt Drink Drink. The tournament brings the giddy fun of miniature golf to nine of the awesome craft breweries that have made Portland the #1 beer city in the US. $55 gets you in the tourney and you get to show off your sweet mini-golf moves and deck out in your craziest golf outfit (whatever that means to you).

Each brewery will be constructing their own mini-golf holes (will windmills be involved? I wonder…) Tickets also include a swag bag with tasting mug, T-shirt, nine 6-oz beer tokens (redeemable at any of the hole locations), transportation between various holes, invitation to the after party and awards ceremony at Blitz Ladd, scorecard, map and pretzel necklace.

Winners receive prizes at the after-party. Categories are: lowest score, best outfit and for the breweries, most inventive hole.

Breweries include: Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, Lompoc 5th Quadrant, Base Camp Brewing, EastBurn, Coalition Brewing, The BeerMongers, Bazi Bierbrasserie, Amnesia Brewing and Blitz Ladd.

Got questions? Check out the Putt Putt Drink Drink FAQ

Sign up in advance and pick your rules and regulations packet up on Friday

And give a shout to me at Laurelwood Public House and Brewery (I’ll be the one keeping score).

On Tap: Hopworks Deluxe Organic Ale

hub_doaAccording to some people, Portland is the #1 craft beer city in the US. It makes this recent transplant retroactively proud (having come from city #6). There are 52 active breweries in the city. 52.

Hopworks Urban Brewery is one of them. Like many Portland-based businesses, Hopworks is dedicated to making itself as sustainable as possible, minimizing footprints of all kinds. Between water conservation, energy efficiency and composting, they have got the bases covered. Also, their ingredients are organic and locally sourced. I don’t know if that’s Portland organic or Oregon organic but nonetheless. The eco-friendliness extends to the brewpubs as well. It’s impressive. I take even more pride in living in a city in which the businesses really focus on keeping their eco-footprints neutral.

BUUUT enough with the tree-huggery (for now) and on to the beer.

Hopworks Deluxe Organic Ale is that mysterious style–the American strong ale. Sharing the stage with Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale and many other brews that age in bourbon-soaked oak bottles, the ABV is a husky, musky 6.9%. My personal sweetheart Yard’s Thomas Jefferson Ale (85 my ass, Beer Advocate reviewers) is the British version of this style and the overall profile is not dissimilar–neutral yet robust with a mild caramel linger, a scootch of hop and a boozy undertow. Me likey.

It’s a fairly sessionable ale but it will sneak up on you and make your head all warm and fuzzy so watch it.

Beer Profiler: Strong, handsome if a bit old school. A silver fox.

Best  Use: Great for a cool nigh,t perhaps fireside better yet if it’s a campfire with some sophisticated friends. You don’t need many and it warms up nicely so it’s ok to sip.

On Netflix: 
Dollhouse. Why do they always take the good ones too young? Two seasons? What did Joss Whedon do anyway, sleep with the wrong person’s sister?

DIY Friday Cocktail Hour: Futbol Hero

frozen margarita in mason jar

frozen mason jar cocktail a la tastespotting.com

I will readily admit that I have had a love affair with margaritas–I know a minute on the lips and a lifetime on the hips. That’s why I come up with variations on a theme that are a little bit lighter so you feel less guilt.

This happy accident came during Cinco de Mayo and is a holy hybrid of the Pina Colada and the margarita.

Ingredients: (Makes one 40 oz pitcher of  Tropical Margaritas plus ice)
Iced Pitchers
 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

On really hot days, sometimes a frozen margarita is on the menu, if the blender’s not broken 😉

Frozen Pitchers
Pre-frozen sliced banana and small can of pineapple chunks
1/2 cup cocktail ice (if available)
1 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 cup Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1/2 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

The liquid should cover the frozen bits with about a half-3/4 inch to spare. Blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute depending on the power of the blender.

Serve frozen or on the rocks in mason jars (can be kept cold in coolers or in the freezer
Or serve up in a margarita glass
Garnish with a lime and a pineapple wedge
Cocktail umbrella optional

Serve with: Spicy Mango Salsa and Tortilla Chips from my new fave Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Soundtrack: Futbol Heroes Cinqo de Mayo 2012 by pandemix

Columbia Valley CMS: A New World Bordeaux

I’m watching the first episode of Showtime’s Borgia a cable soap-opera depicting the showdown between the Medicis and the Borgias. Due to my dislike for period dramas, I haven’t even approached this show until now. But Netflix makes it so easy. Borgia has me mulling over ideas of worlds new and old. On the show, accents circle the globe from a fictitious Roman yesteryear (at least the faked accents aren’t inexplicably British) to a South Philly stoop circa now. (John Doman, I appreciate the fact that you didn’t try to “go there.”)

In the show there is an underlying sensation of watching the Godfather– the infighting, extramarital sex and of course the violence. We tend to think of this trifecta as part of the fleshly corruption of modernity but it’s always been there, just dressed in a more polished wardrobe and a big papal hat. That’s sort of how I feel about the difference between French Bordeaux and its descendant–it’s wine of the same lineage but dressed in new cloth.

Columbia Valley CMS, New World Bordeaux

Columbia Valley C.M.S. (Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah) is an inexpensive and highly drinkable example of what has been called a “new world Bordeaux,” a term that while clearly an homage to the formative years of wine making but I say whatever–we’re making it now. The blend usually includes Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, grapes that flourish in the bio-diverse regions of the “new world” and can be made amply and inexpensively. Because of this, it can serve the purpose of its old world namesake, embodying something that is both “common” in that it is an inexpensive table wine and “fine” in that it is an intentionally crafted work of art.

Columbia Valley CMS may not be a Bordeaux Superiere. It was only 8.99 a bottle, But it is a wine that is welcome on my table any time. Its raspberry nose that dips into currant and cedar are followed throughout the whole wine by a bright and light-bodied juiciness. There’s a little nibble but nothing too bristly (especially if you let it breathe). In fact, there’s no real gravity at all. Whatever tannic structure the Cabernet brings is counterbalanced by the easygoing Merlot with the Syrah holding the whole thing together.

Food Pairing: Grilled pork tenderloin and pineapple, new potatoes and a green salad
Soundtrack: Beck, Odelay
Best Use: A late spring griller with old friends who you knew before college. Buy a case.