These recipes do not require chewing unless of course they do – like a stalk of celery, an olive or a marshmallow.

Up in the Sky

LeanneA good cocktail can make you feel sort of special when you’re sipping it—an icy, perfectly balanced concoction served up in a frosty little glass. I especially love the Prohibition era drinks because so many of them feature gin, which just happens to be one of my favorites. For Christmas, I received a lovely book from Karan our BSC graphics wiz, called Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh. I highly recommend it for not only the adventuresome recipes but also for its highly entertaining history of cocktails.

The cocktail recipe I’m sharing with you today, however, is not from the aforementioned book. The first time I had the Aviation it was at the Swing Bar in Olympia and I thought it was the most perfect jewel of a drink I had ever had. They make the earlier version of it, containing Crème de Violette, and my cocktail book has the later version, which did away with that particular liqueur in the mix. The Crème de Violette gives it a beautiful pale sky blue color and I love the floral note. So here it is, in all of its glory. Please note that Maraschino liqueur tastes nothing like the bright red “fruit” you buy in a jar. Also, buying two special liqueurs can be expensive, but the bottles are very pretty for display in a liqueur cabinet and they last forever. That is, unless you like this drink a lot!

Aviation Cocktail

1½ ounces good quality gin
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce Crème de violette or Crème Yvette
½ ounce Maraschino liqueur

Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and long, and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry. Makes one cocktail. Note: I usually make two at a time.

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Beverage | 2 Comments

Christmas Isn’t Just for Kids

LeanneI have a thing about traditions, especially at Christmastime. It was pretty important to me that there would be plenty of predictable things for my kids to look forward to each holiday season—going out to the tree farm the day after Thanksgiving, opening up a box on their advent tree every day, figuring out the Christmas wrapping theme for the year, and the list goes on. However, this time of year isn’t just for children and adults need special treats to anticipate as well! My eggnog recipe is a variation on a Martha Stewart recipe I found years ago and to say it’s boozy is an understatement. A once-a-year treat, this creamy, rich concoction is such a special tradition that I found a small milk glass punch bowl with matching cups whose sole purpose is to hold this spiked drink on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve Eggnog

1 quart whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
12 large egg yolks
2 cups sugar, divided
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups golden rum
½ cup brandy
1 pint heavy cream
1 whole nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean halves. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover and allow vanilla bean to steep for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works really well for this), scrape the seeds out and add them to the milk.

Combine egg yolks, 1½ cups sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Return milk to a simmer. Add half the warm milk to the egg mixture, whisking on low until well blended. Pour egg mixture into the warm milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill completely in refrigerator or over an ice bath.

Add rum and brandy to chilled egg mixture, mix well and refrigerate. Whip cream with remaining ½ cup sugar until stiff. Gently fold into egg-milk mixture. Transfer cooled eggnog into a small punch bowl. Grate whole nutmeg over the top and serve. Makes about 20 servings

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Beverage | 1 Comment

Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows

LeanneI’ve been giving away a homemade peppermint cocoa mix to my older nieces and nephews for years and I change it up every time, searching for the perfect combination.  I have finally found it this year and I’m sharing it with you because I know you might need a last minute gift idea. I attach a tag or label to let people know how to use it and I’ve included those simple directions.  If you’re not giving it away as gifts, keep it for yourself!  I’ve also included my homemade marshmallow recipe, which is dead simple if you have a standing mixer and a candy thermometer—I promise.  And, people are VERY impressed when you give homemade marshmallows, almost as if you were a rocket scientist.  Have a very merry Christmas and continue to have fun cooking!

Leanne’s Peppermint Cocoa Mix

7 cups Nestle chocolate milk mix
2 ½ cups peppermint-flavored (seasonal) dry creamer
3 cups dry milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup crushed peppermint candy

Combine all ingredients in a very big bowl and use whisk to combine.  Use ½ cup measuring scoop to pour into cellophane bags.  Directions for cocoa: “Spoon 3 tablespoons into 8 ounces steaming water and stir. Enjoy!”

Homemade Marshmallows

2½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Combine gelatin and ½ cup cold water in an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let stand 30 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer, raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches the firm-ball stage (244 degrees). Immediately remove pan from heat.

cocoaWith mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high, beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.

Generously dust and 8×12-inch glass baking pan with confectioner’s sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar. Let stand overnight, uncovered to dry out. Turn out onto a board and cut marshmallows with a dry, clean knife into 1½ –inch squares and dust with more sugar so they don’t stick together.

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Tequila Mockingbird

With the exception of maybe around the holidays, I don’t really get cravings for cocktails in the winter and spring. When we’re heading into summer—now that’s another story. There’s something about the frivolous nature of cocktails, and the fact that they’re often made with fresh fruit and vegetables, that makes them perfect for warm summer evenings. The other day, my daughter mentioned how funny it would be if there was a drink called “Tequila Mockingbird” and of course she then had to research it on the internet. And, of course, there are numerous versions of the “Tequila Mockingbird,” not to mention a drink book by the same name, which I promptly ordered for my good friend Mary the librarian, who loves trying new cocktails as much as I do and has a birthday coming up. One recipe that we found online stood out and I had to try it right away. Don’t let the jalapeno scare you away. Unless you don’t like any kind of spice at all, be adventurous! Make it when you can get your hands around a really good watermelon. I quadrupled the recipe because it’s tedious making one cocktail after another. It’s herbaceous, summery and it has tequila in it—in short, it’s delicious!

By the way, Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federele, arrived in the mail—it’s a hoot and comes highly recommended.


Tequila Mockingbird CocktailLeanne
1 jalapeño pepper slice
2 ounces Patrón Silver Tequila
1½ ounces Watermelon-Basil Purée (see recipe below)
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce agave syrup (one part agave nectar, one part water)

In a shaker, muddle the jalapeño slice. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and double strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.


Watermelon-Basil Purée

2 cups fresh watermelon, chopped
7 basil leaves

Purée both ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

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Summer Punch

Who can resist buying those deep red, shiny, local strawberries when they’re finally in season?  When I get my hands on these beauties, I usually put them on ice cream, make Strawberry Shortcake, put them in a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette or make my Strawberry-Basil Rosé Punch.   With its heady scent of basil from the garden and juicy sweetness of ripe berries, this drink just tastes like summer.  If our less-than-sunny weather starts to get you down, I suggest that you buy a bottle of Rosé (I recommend Barnard Griffin) and make this punch.  I guarantee that it will bring on summer, no matter what the weather is like!

Strawberry Basil Rose’ Punch
10 strawberries, quartered
½ cup + 2 tablespoons basil-flavored simple syrup (see recipe below*)
1 bottle dry rosé, chilled
2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Basil sprigs, for garnish

Combine strawberries and simple syrup in a large pitcher.  With a wooden spoon, break strawberries into chunks.  Fill pitcher half way with ice, pour rose’ and lemon juice over ice, and stir.  Garnish with basil sprigs.  Serves 8


*Basil Simple Syrup– Combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat until dissolved.  Add ½ cup packed basil leaves and steep until cooled.  Remove leaves.

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Kitchen with a View

I grew up in a kitchen with a sweeping view of Puget Sound, Vashon Island and the Olympic Mountains. That can spoil a person for anything else.  My next kitchen view was from my little flat in the University District, which looked out onto a charming garden, a pink “Popcorn Tree” (Dogwood) and a picket fence. It looked particularly pretty in the spring.  The kitchen view from our Ballard house looked out onto a green lawn, a very large Bing Cherry tree and a blond two-year-old playing in her sandbox and picking cherry tomatoes off the vine.  Today, my kitchen looks out over a wooded ravine, where we see lots of squirrels, deer, raccoons, possums, owls, and many kinds of birds.  It’s a very peaceful and green kind of view. The spectacular view from the kitchen at Bayview School of Cooking is, coincidently, much like the one I grew up with, albeit from a very different angle, and suffice it to say, I love it. I’d be willing to bet that we have one of the loveliest views of any cooking school in the country!  I like to think that our cooking school—our “kitchen,” if you will—also has another kind of view, a view to exploring new cuisines,  new and tried-and-true cooking techniques,  innovative new products and just plain good food, so that the nice people who come to our classes can benefit, learn and enjoy.

What better to enjoy a good view than an amazing drink?  Here’s an really good drink that I call “The Delicious.” It’s a riff on a Mojito, using gin instead, because I like gin.

Oh, and by the way, the new name of for this blog  is “Kitchen with a View.”

The Delicious

5 tablespoons baker’s sugar
¼ mint leaves
½ cup + 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
4½ ounces good quality gin

Put sugar and mint into a large cocktail shaker and muddle with a wooden spoon. Add crushed ice, lime juice and gin and shake furiously.  Strain into 2 or 3 large martini glasses (or really, an kind of short glass will do), rimmed with sugar. Garnish with mint leaves.  Enjoy!


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