Cocktail Concocting With: Jayme Henderson

This week I am so excited to introduce a new blogging friend, Jayme Henderson. I discovered her blog a few months ago, and just can’t get enough! She is a gardener and sommelier based in Denver, Colorado. She also happens to write the wine column at the Kitchn. Her love for all-things-paired is quite evident in her own blogging and photography. I can only hope that my photographs look as wonderful as hers some day!

Last Monday, I shared a tour of my and Anne’s bar cart. Now, Jayme is here to show us how it’s done.

Blood Orange Whiskey Cocktail (Recipe below!)

Hello! My name is Jayme Henderson, and I write the blog Holly & Flora. It’s where I post original cocktails, wine-and-recipe pairings, and DIY projects. I am constantly inspired by my home garden, and my projects reflect that love. If I could spend the rest of my days surrounded by tomatoes, herbs, and flowers, trust me, I would. For now, I balance my time in the garden between working as a full-time sommelier here in Denver and writing the wine column at the Kitchn.

I was completely flattered when Victoria asked me to create a cocktail and guest post here at Scissors & Sage. I immediately felt right at home when I discovered her blog. I always look forward to her interesting and well-written tutorials. Many thanks, Victoria!

I eagerly anticipate the onset of citrus season. Not only are the bright, delicious fruits a refreshing respite in the dead of winter, but they also remind me of my grandfather. He was a second-generation citrus grower in Florida, my home state, so the aroma of oranges transports me back home. It was only natural for me to create an orange cocktail.

This particular cocktail’s flavor profile is balanced between being slightly sweet and a little bitter. The finish is refreshing and savory, with notes of baking spices. That’s definitely the somm coming out in me with those descriptors! I chose Tin Cup Whiskey as the base spirit. It’s a Colorado whiskey with a bourbon-style profile, complemented by a spicy, peppery kick. Vodka, gin, and sparkling wine all pair well with blood orange juice, but swapping them out for whiskey provides a richer and more savory flavor.

The other key ingredient I added is Amaro Nonino Quintessentia. What exactly is an amaro? An amaro is a bitter-sweet, herbaceous Italian digestif, a liqueur usually consumed after a meal. Nonino is especially enjoyable. Unlike other styles of amaro, which can be intensely herbaceous and even medicinal, Nonino is balanced and has slightly bitter notes of burnt orange and spices. I like to enjoy a skosh of it after a rich meal. It is one of those sipping spirits that warms the soul and makes you slow down. And it’s a killer addition to a whiskey-based cocktail.

Thanks again, Victoria, for letting me drop in and share a cocktail here! And cheers to enjoying citrus season, surviving the chill, and having the patience for spring’s arrival!

Haven’t gotten enough of Jayme? Find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Blood Orange Whiskey Cocktail (Serves One)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 2 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about two blood oranges)
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon)
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 2-3 dashes orange bitters
  • Sprig of thyme

Juice the citrus and set aside. Then, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whiskey, amaro, blood orange juice, lemon juice, agave nectar, and bitters. Shake until nicely chilled. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice. Finally, squeeze the thyme sprig a few times to release its aroma and garnish!

Notes:

  • This recipe can be easily doubled, and tastes great served up shaken and strained.
  • If you have trouble finding blood oranges, navels or other types can be substituted.
  • Depending upon the sweetness of the blood oranges, increase or decrease the amount of agave nectar, to taste.

All photos taken by Jayme Henderson

Floral Arranging 101 With: Elaine Burns

One of my New Year’s resolutions for Scissors & Sage is to invite other people to guest post throughout the year. I so enjoy getting to learn from crafters and bakers and the like, and thought that this would be a nice way to collaborate. The first guest blog post this year is from my friend Elaine.

Elaine and I went to college together. Have you ever had the experience of knowing someone through a friend, but not really knowing them, only to find out later that you two have so many similar interests? That’s me and Elaine. I hope to craft with her in real life someday. She lives in Brooklyn, works for J.Crew, and is an overall lover of crafting. She knits, crochets, bakes, arranges flowers, and embroiders, among other nifty talents. Today she is here to teach us how to make our very own floral arrangements! I can’t wait to give this a try.

From Elaine: It’s the dead of winter and you’re counting down the days until spring — only three more months until warmth! While it may be desolate outside, a perfect (and foolproof) way to bring the promise of springy days ahead into your or a friend’s home is with a unique flower arrangement. You really can’t go wrong with some added pops of color.

Selecting Flowers

For this arrangement, I spent about $50 at my local grocery store and purchased six bouquets of flowers. When selecting, I aim to assort a variety of textures and shapes: long and skinny (like snap dragons) and round and dome-like (like dahlias).  Next, I focus on a color palette.

In addition to selecting the focus-flowers for an arrangement, I am also sure to select some foliage flowers or plants to add needed balance. I used hypericum berries, as well as leaves from carnation stems, in this arrangement.

Preparation

Once you have the flowers back at home, immediately take them out of the cellophane/paper wrapping, cut the stems at an angle (do not trim the stems at this point), and stick the flowers in a bucket of water. Grab a pair of scissors or a knife — it’s now time to process the stems.

When you bring home a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store or farmer’s market, they are typically unprocessed, meaning they still have all of their leaves, nubs, and thorns. Use your hands or a knife/scissors to clean these leaves from the stems. This will make it easier (and less messy) to assemble your arrangement.

 

Assembling the Bouquet

When I make a vase arrangement, I find it easiest to make a traditional bouquet as my skelton and then add embellishments from there.

To start a bouquet, take two flowers and cross them in an “x” shape. Then, rotate both flowers clockwise. The flower that was on top (in this case, the orange carnation) will now be behind the second flower (here, the light purple dahlia). Repeat again with a third flower: add to the “x”, then rotate clockwise. This rotation is important because it creates the spiral shape of a traditional bouquet.

 

 

Keep adding flowers; the more the better! With the first ten or so flowers you add, the spiral bouquet shape won’t be immediately apparent. But, the more you add, the more pronounced the shape will become.

Once you have added all of the flowers to your bouquet, you can trim the stems (cut at an angle) to fit into your vase of choice. I typically go for mason jars. The one I used here is a vintage find!

From here, it’s a matter of finessing your arrangement. Aside from processing the stems, I usually spend the most time on this step. Some flowers probably slipped below others while you were assembling the bouquet, so they will need to be pulled up. If you notice that one side of the bouquet is very heavy in one color, you may need to remove some stems and place them elsewhere.  If that is the case, just be sure to continue following the twisted shape of the bouquet. You really can’t go wrong!

Bonus Bud Vase

When processing and arranging a large display, you will inevitably accumulate a collection of smaller buds, extra foliage, or a flower or two that didn’t make it into my final arrangement. Bonus!!

These smaller flowers can then be used to filled smaller bud vases (of which I now have a growing collection) and used to pepper the rest of your home with some added color and texture. I usually make a loose bouquet shape before sticking these into a vase.

So, happy winter, all! Here’s hoping your home feels a little bit brighter and warmer with the addition of a new floral arrangement.

Flowers Used

Dahlias, Carnations, Snapdragons, Daisies, Hypericum Berry

All Photos taken by Elaine Burns

How To Knit A Basketweave Scarf

In December, my dad shared his hand-carved wooden buttons on Scissors & Sage.  I was so excited to use a button for a knitting project, so I quickly got to work!  I’ve been meaning to share this scarf for a few weeks now.  At long last, here it is!  It knit up quickly, as it’s big yarn and a relatively short scarf.  I used the basketweave stitch for my first time, and really like how soft and thick it makes the yarn feel.  Below is the tutorial.

The Materials:

  • 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn (I chose the Starlight color)
  • Size US 13 straight needles
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • White thread
  • Sewing needle
  • 1 oblong button for closure

How To Knit The Scarf:

  1. Cast on 15 stitches
  2. Knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 *repeat this for 7 more rows
  3. Purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 / knit 3 / purl 3 *repeat this for 7 more rows
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the scarf reaches approximately 30-32 inches long
  5. Cast off 15 stitches
  6. Weave in ends with a tapestry needle

How To Add A Button:

  1. Place the scarf around your neck to determine where you’d like the button closure to be.
  2. Sew the oblong button onto one end of the scarf.  (If using a round button, sew it onto the scarf so that the scarf is permanently closed.  You won’t be able to feed a round button through your stitches, but you can simply pull the scarf down over your head.)
  3. Feed the oblong button through the other end of the scarf at a point where four boxes meet.  (The stitches are bigger here and can accommodate the button more easily.)

Here’s an impromptu picture of me wearing the scarf.  I find it to be incredibly cozy.  It’s almost a hybrid scarf/neck warmer!

MATERIALS FROM: Jo-Ann Fabric

Picking Favorites On Etsy

It’s officially Valentine’s season, and I couldn’t be more excited.  It’s been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was little.  You may see a nod to Valentine’s Day in my posts for the next few weeks, but I’ll try not to be too overbearing.  Try.

This week’s Picking Favorites looks a bit different from previous installments.  No collage images, for one.  And second, all of my picked favorites hail from Etsy.  With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I thought it might be nice to offer some items that have gifting potential.  The items in this post don’t have to be given, though, as you can just read this as a few things that have been inspiring me lately!

I’ve broken down these ten items into three categories.  All photos were taken by the original artists, and links to all of their Etsy shops are below.

For the Homemaker

Where to begin with Cotton & Flax…  I’ve been following Erin’s Instagram feed for a while now, and find her design and aesthetic to be so beautiful.  These handmade printed napkins would make a great gift for a loved one or for a dinner party host.  (Click here to see her website, too.)

Anne and I have recently been interested in experimenting with more cocktail-making at home.  Her parents gave her two great copper mugs for Christmas this year, and they’ve settled in nicely on our bar cart (tour coming soon!).  The copper mugs above are from Etsy shop Custom Copper Mugs.  I can almost feel summer now, and yet we’ve found they are equally tasty in winter!

This walnut cutting board by Robert at Foodiebords is exquisite.  It would pair nicely with cheese knives or a pretty dish towel.  There are few greater gifts than a well-crafted cutting board, as it’s both versatile and long-lasting.

Pretty As A Print is near and dear to me.  My friend and fellow creative arts therapist Julia runs this Etsy shop, and it’s filled with wonderful art.  The print above is of the Philly skyline, and it brings me joy!

For the Leaf Lover

The ceramic pieces in Avesha Michael‘s Etsy shop are incredible!  This mini vase, with its matte cream color and brown speckled glaze, is definitely my favorite.  There is so much texture within its three-inch height!

Red Bird Ink has a lovely Etsy shop filled with letterpress paper goods and custom printed items.  These letterpress paper coasters each have a different green plant on them.  The coaster on top here is of a maidenhair fern, one of the cutest plants around town.  While this set is mix-and-match greenery, other sets can be of all one plant or design.

Speaking of plants, the Sensitive Plant is uh-mazing.  It has a genetic mutation that causes the plant to close if touched, moved, or shaken.  It also closes at night.  I saw this plant when I was in Jamaica nearly four years ago, and didn’t know what it was called or if I’d ever see it again.  Now I might just have to buy this kit from JPants4Sale.  You will NOT stop touching it!  (See it in action on YouTube.)

For the Accessorizer

These waxed canvas travel bags from Lifetime Travel Co. are delicious.  I’m not sure I could ever choose just one color.  They could be used for toiletries, jewelry, makeup, or pretty much anything else when you’re on the move.  All of the items in their Etsy shop are incredible, though — this just skims the surface!

I’m a sucker for jewelry.  Anyone who knows me well knows that.  But when it comes to earrings, I typically want something that I can wear with 99.99% of my wardrobe.  These studs from Lunai Jewelry look like they’d do just the trick.  I love that the jewelry on her Etsy shop has a simple, very functional design and feel.

Last but not least, this infinity plaid scarf from Freckle Face Monday would look good on just about anyone.  Angie and Kay’s shop is chock-full of seriously good-looking plaid scarves.  They’ve got one for practically every skin tone and hair color.  Go check them out!

And there you have it!  Do you have a favorite item from the selection above?  Are you thinking about potential Valentine’s Day gifts, either for yourself (let’s be real) or someone else?

PS) Don’t forget to enter into the Sticky9 GIVEAWAY by this Friday!!!

How to Cook, Roast, and Enjoy Winter’s Favorite Fruit (From Health Perch)

Happy New Year, readers! I hope that you all had a safe and enjoyable time celebrating the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015.  I, for one, am very excited to be continuing my Scissors & Sage journey into the new year.  As I think and write about my own personal resolutions, I am eager and inspired to further cultivate this blog.

With that said, a representative from Ghergich PR contacted me a few weeks ago about promoting an article from Health Perch, a digital health magazine.  When I read through the content and saw the beautiful graphics that go along with it, I thought that it was definitely worth sharing.  There is a lot of very helpful information (plus many delicious-looking recipes!) about how to best prepare, cook, and enjoy the endless health benefits of squash.

I hope that you love this article as much as I did!  -Victoria


How to Cook, Roast, and Enjoy Winter’s Favorite Fruit

Here’s everything you need to know (tasty recipes included).

Bisque, risotto, lasagna, sauté, soup—there’s no getting around it: Winter squash is the fruit to cook with during the cold-weather season. Beyond just carving them for decoration, roasted pumpkin, squash, and gourds (all members of the curcubita genus) make for the perfect addition to a warm and comforting dish. Amidst reports this winter will be equally as frigid as the last, we’ll take all the healthy, warming meals we can get.

Of course, the squash didn’t start out as the diet darling we know today. More than 4,000 years ago, squash and gourds, which are actually harvested in the fall, were hollowed out and used as dishware. Researchers from the University of Missouri studied the residues in these “dishes” and found traces of starch grains, including potato and arrowroot (an interesting peek into the eating habits of early settlers).

Today, these fruits aren’t just welcome additions to our meals, but also rich sources of healthy nutrients. One study found women who maintain diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin—both found in pumpkin and butternut squash—reduce risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. Previous studies have shown these compounds work to reduce risk of AMD by absorbing “free radicals from damaging eye cells and by strengthening eye cell membranes.”

Probably the most recognizable healthy compounds associated with winter squash are carotenoids. A type of phytonutrient, carotenoids give squash their trademark yellow, orange, green, and sometimes red colors. Yellow and orange squash source their hue from alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, all of which are high in vitamin A and can be converted into retinol for eye health. Green squash sources its hue from lutein and zeaxanthin, while red squash sources its color from lycopene.

As if that weren’t reason enough to load up on carotenoids, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found increased consumption of the antioxidant is associated with reduced risk of death. Yellow-orange vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or winter squash, and dark-green vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnips greens, collards, and leaf lettuce, are rich in alpha-carotene, which was strongly associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer compared to other types of vegetables.

It’s clear the health benefits of squash are just about as abundant as the squash themselves. Before you get roasting, read on for squash-specific tips, from selecting them at the grocery store to foolproof prep.

The Skinny on Squash

Let’s start with the basics. The Old Farmer’s Almanac advises perfect-looking, “sunned” squash keep longest. In this case, sunned simply means squash stored in a sunny spot for a couple of weeks. Usually, the farmer has already taken care of this. You’ll know you picked the perfect squash if it’s blemish- and bruise-free, and the stem is intact.

Every squash is different. Some are ideal for stuffing and baking, others just for baking. A majority of squash, however, taste best when roasted. For a quick, easy way to roast, toss cubed squash with oil, spread on a baking sheet, and cook until desired consistency, usually fork-tender. Or, if you have more time, carefully wash, peel, and cut squash into same-size pieces before evenly coating with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper, then spread on a baking sheet to roast.

Why roast? Sending squash to the oven sweetens the flavor profile. This makes fruits and vegetables look great (that nice golden brown color) and more palatable to the people who aren’t the biggest fan of veggies. Ultimately, the characteristic of each individual squash will determine the best method of cooking.

Acorn Squash

AKA: Pepper or Des Moines Squash

No surprises here: This squash’s name derives from its acorn-like shape. Its color varies, from yellow to tan, but the most common type is dark green with a touch of orange on the top. It’s best for stuffing (with rice and meat), but can be roasted and sautéed. Some even toast the seeds for a snack that’s rich in protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin E.

Acorn squash isn’t as rich in beta-carotene as other varieties, but one cup contains 145 percent of the daily recommended serving of vitamin A (2,300 IU for women, 3,000 IU for men), in addition to high levels of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folate, heart-healthy omega-3s, and fiber (a key factor to feeling fuller, longer).

TRY IT: Stuffed Acorn Squash With Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries

Butternut Squash

AKA: Butternut Pumpkin (Australia and New Zealand)

Talk about the bell of the ball: This long, bell-shape squash is sweet and creamy, and arguably the most popular of the bunch (or patch?). Its skin is yellow while the pulpy flesh is orange and deepens as it ripens. It’s also the one fruit prepared most as a vegetable: roasted, toasted, pureed, mashed, and so on. It’s often served as a side or sauce rather than stuffed for a main meal or baked into dessert.

Vitamin A is abundant in butternut squash, and it is rich in vitamins, like brain-boosting folate, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

TRY IT: Crock Pot Beef And Butternut Squash Stew

Pumpkin

AKA: Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Butternut squash may be a fan favorite, but pumpkin is the season’s staple fruit. There are jack-o’-lanterns for carving, and sugar pie pumpkins for baking, roasting, and puréeing. Technically, you could eat the carving pumpkins, but they’re too wet and bland.

A cup of cooked pumpkin packs another serious punch of vitamin A—more than 200 percent of the recommended amount—as well as fiber and a hearty dose of tasty, healthy seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain a plant-based chemical called phsyosterols, which have been shown to lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.

TRY IT: Traditional Pumpkin Pie With Fluted Crust

Kabocha Squash

AKA: Japanese Pumpkin

Kabocha squash is similar to butternut squash because its bright, orange flesh is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins. It’s also loaded with fiber.

Compared to the tough skin of other squashes, kabocha’s is soft and edible so it can be cooked before peeling. Consider using kabocha to thicken soups and stews. Otherwise, roasting is a safe, delicious bet.

TRY IT: Kabocha Squash Fries With Spicy Greek Yogurt Sriracha

Spaghetti Squash

AKA: Orangetti, Pasta Squash

Chances are you’ve seen the oval, yellow squash pitted as a substitute for starchy noodles and rice. That’s partly due to its stringy flesh, which easily separates into spaghetti-like strands once cooked. Unfortunately, a squash is still a squash, and its pasta-like texture isn’t an exact texture and flavor substitute for the real thing.

Spaghetti squash contains only 37 calories per single, four-ounce serving (though you may want to double or triple that portion for a main meal). And since it can be boiled and microwaved, spaghetti squash is a great staple for busy work nights. To jazz it up, cut the squash in half, rub it in oil, season with a little salt and paprika, then pop it in the oven in a casserole dish or on a baking sheet. Just because this healthier pasta imposter isn’t the real deal doesn’t mean you can’t top it with traditional sauces, such as Alfredo, marinara, or a roasted-veggie-loaded version.

TRY IT: Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Delicata Squash

AKA: Sweet Potato Squash

With its creamy flavor and texture, delicata squash resembles a discolored cucumber. Its pale, yellow skin is patterned with dark green stripes. Its flesh is easy to prepare and eat, like kabocha squash, and it tastes like sweet potatoes.

To some food bloggers, delicata squash is considered squash for lazy people. Its skin is super thin and the squash itself takes no time to chop and roast. It contains high levels of beta-carotene, and half-cup serving is chock-full of vitamins A, and C, plus it has just 20 calories. Super quick to cook and nutritious? Sign us up.

TRY IT: Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Hubbard Squash

AKA: Baby, Blue, Chicago, Golden, Green, and Warted Hubbard

It may not seem like it, but hubbard squash is actually one of the largest winter varieties and it works well in both savory and sweet dishes. But this squash has a super tough skin. The flesh, however, has high levels of sugar, along with a texture that’s best pureed or mashed—think pie filling.

Due to its size, hubbard is usually sold in pre-cut, seeded chunks, so it’s easy to handle in the kitchen. If you do purchase the squash as is, the extra tough skin means it can be stored for months at a time.

TRY IT: Hubbard Squash Squares With Shortbread Crust

Buttercup Squash

AKA: True Winter Squash

Fill me up, buttercup (squash) baby: This orange and creamy-fleshed squash is sweeter than most, but it works equally for savory recipes. If you do choose the sweet route, bake or steam the squash to really bring out those sugary notes.

This squash provides a whole lot of beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C, and potassium, as well as calcium, folic acid, and B-vitamins. Its tough skin may make it more difficult to prepare.

TRY IT: Roasted Cauliflower, Buttercup Squash, & Kale Spaghetti with Pancetta

As the temperatures continue to drop, there’s no denying squash is an incredible source of flavor, vitamins, and healthy nutrients—regardless of type and prep process. Squash can star as a weeknight meal and double as a moderately indulgent dessert. You really can’t go wrong.