Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Or as those of you who love cocktails as much as I do may call it, Cinco de Drinko! I am beyond stoked to bring you today’s cocktail because (a) it is only the second frozen cocktail I’ve ever posted on the blog (second only to this delicious Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria, which would also be perfectly fitting for this occasion) and (b) it is the ultimate spring-summer hybrid, so perfect for this time of year! Yes, this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita I’m sharing with you today is so refreshing and tasty, you’re going to have to seriously pace yourself because you’re just going to want to be drinking these non-stop today and all through the weekend.


Unfortunately, seeing as I’m busy learning and hobnobbing with the big names at the Everything Food Conference in SLC today, I won’t be able to enjoy any of these for this festive holiday, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find some way to celebrate, and there will be plenty of time to enjoy a Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita down the road as the weather gets even warmer in sunny California!

And since I won’t be making my normal rounds to all of the Mexican restaurants/bars with the hubs and his work crew this year, I’m dying to live vicariously through all of you. Tell me, what fun things are you up to today to celebrate? I’ll probably even be jealous if your plans amount to no more than making huge vats of Kimchi Bacon Guacamole and Spicy Homemade Salsa (and maybe some Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas?) and enjoying them in front of the TV in the comfort of your own home. Ain’t no shame in that game and you’ll probably find me doing the same once I’m done with the conference for the day.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, about this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita, there’s really nothing genius about it, just a whole lot of really fantastic flavor. Now, I’m not one for frozen drinks that are made “frozen” by a heavy scoop of ice, as I find this just makes them incredibly watered down as they melt. Instead, I prefer to freeze my fruit (or any other solid ingredients you’ll be using) so it both makes the cocktail icy but also imparts a whole lot of flavor whether you drink it all right away or want to nurse it a bit (which is always a good idea with tequila!) That being said, I froze both the watermelon (seedless, mind you) and peaches before adding them to the blender with all of the other ingredients.

And speaking of “all the other ingredients,” we’re talking the classics that you see in just about every margarita recipe. So tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Like I said, nothing fancy! I want to keep this as easy as possible for you so you have no excuse to whip some of these up because they are sooooooo tasty.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pour into frosty margarita glasses. Maybe garnish with a lime wheel and/or give those glasses a salt rim if you’re feeling fancy (or need some sodium in your life…haha!) No judgment here. These recipes are for YOU.

Speaking of, I’m working on my summer content calendar right now and would love to hear from you regarding what you’d like to see more (or less of) on the blog in the coming months, anything you’ve really enjoyed that I posted, any other topics you’d like me to cover more of (traveling, eating out, or working out, for example,) etc.  After all, this blog would be nothing if it weren’t for all of you lovely readers out there 😉

I hope you have a fun, fabulous and safe Cinco de Mayo, filled with plenty of Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas!! Xo

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This fun frozen cocktail is the perfect spring-summer hybrid, with both watermelon and peach amping up your everyday margarita flavors.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces frozen peach slices
  • 8 ounces frozen seedless watermelon chunks
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau q
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. If you like your margaritas with salt, rim two chilled margarita glasses with lime juice and salt before preparing the cocktails. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses, whether with salt or without. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter

Comin’ at ya with the most delicious non-recipe recipe today!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m calling it right now: Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platters may just become summer’s “it” entertaining item. Because, I mean, when it’s sunny and 75 degrees out, who doesn’t want a plate piled high with pineapple, papaya, kiwis and allllllll the cheese?


Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Ick, how does tropical fruit and CHEESE pair well together?” Well that, my friends, is all in the cheese. You see, I take my job as a food blogger very seriously and would never want to lead you astray, so I was sure to taste multiple cheese and tropical fruit combinations before I settled on the ones you see here. True, there are some pairings that just don’t work, but hey, there are a lot of pairings that do and I’ve taken all of the hassle of figuring that out off of your shoulders and come up with some fantastic pairings that will make your next Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day get-together to the next level.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I actually came up with the idea for this Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter last October, when my dad and I took a “business” trip to Oahu, which essentially entailed us eating our way through the island for a week. If you’re in tune with the Oahu restaurant scene at all, then you’ll be no stranger to local celebrity chef Ed Kenney’s restaurants that have been making waves (haha, pun intended) all through Honolulu over the past 10 years or so. We ate at three of his four restaurants while we were there (and only skipped the fourth one because we had eaten there multiple times when I lived there) and were duly impressed by each one. Be sure to check out my Travel Diaries: Honolulu post for more deets on all of those, but right now I want to tell you all about the basket cheese we had at one of these said restaurants, Mud Hen Water.

We were able to talk my aunt and uncle into joining us for this dinner, which was all the better since everything is served family style and this way we could order double the amount of dishes to share. I was immediately intrigued by their menu offering of “Homemade Basket Cheese” so we decided to give it a shot. What was delivered to our table just moments later was a soft, ricotta-like cheese served with a multitude of fresh tropical fruits and, let me tell you, my mind was blown.

Up until that point, I had only thought that grapes, apples, apricots and the like were acceptable to be served with cheese, but boy was I proven wrong. The creamy, mellowness of the basket cheese paired perfectly with the mango and papaya that were served alongside it, and it immediately got the food blogger wheels churning in my head about what other types of cheeses might pair well with what are some of my favorite genre of fruits.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course, Hawaii has the luxury of a tropical climate (and plenty of local fruit) year round, but I decided to wait until the weather started warming up a bit again here on the mainland before giving my Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter a shot for this here blog. With temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s expected for us in Santa Barbara this weekend, and so many fun holidays right around the corner, I figured what better time to finalize this idea on paper! (Er, I mean on screen.)

So here’s what I ended up discovering in my in-depth research of the perfect tropical fruit and cheese pairings: Any of the mild, soft ricotta-like cheeses are a DREAM pairing for allll the tropical fruits. Especially if you add a little honey! I took some creamy mascarpone I had sitting in the refrigerator and sweetened it up a little, and let me just say you’re lucky I saved some to photograph because I could have very easily sat there and eaten the whole bowl with my pineapple and papaya spears.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sticking with the creamy theme, I also found that a good, simple goat cheese is a great pairing for most tropical fruits. It adds a simple tang (much like unsweetened or Greek yogurt would) without overwhelming the fruit with too much funk or contrasting flavors.

The only hard cheese that made the cut in my taste test was a basque cheese I picked up from Trader Joe’s. It has just a touch of funk, but not so much that it fights with the other flavors on the platter. It’s fairly mild compared to some other hard cheeses, and the slight saltiness is a great contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some other small touches that I found make a big difference that you may not think of:

Papaya is an interesting fruit, and can be fairly one-dimensional and almost a bit musty tasting at times. I find that a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top really transforms the flavor palate so be sure to serve some lime wedges on your platter for people to add as needed.

Of course another typical component you see on most traditional fruit and cheese platters is some sort of nut. This adds a crunchy and often salty element to the mix to contrast all of the sweet- and savory-ness. In sticking with the tropical theme, I added some macadamia nuts to the platter which added the perfect finishing touch.

And that’s it, folks! Really, the only “cooking” involved in this super easy party dish is stirring some honey into the mascarpone and plopping it into a bowl. Easy as that! Now, as I mentioned, we’ve got Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and a whole summer of entertaining ahead of us, so start scoping out the best tropical fruit you can find and get to making this to-die-for Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Tropical fruits are paired with a delicious selection of cheeses, honey and macadamia nuts - perfect for your next warm weather get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
Assorted tropical fruits, such as:
  • Pineapple spears
  • Papaya spears
  • Sliced kiwis
  • Mango slices
  • Lime wedges
Honeyed Mascarpone:
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Other ingredients:
  • Creamy goat cheese
  • Basque cheese
  • Macadamia nuts
Instructions
  1. Make the honeyed mascarpone by combining the two ingredients in a small serving bowl.

  2. Arrange all ingredients on a large platter and serve!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Blueberry Pie-tini

Happy Blueberry Pie Day!

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Should we have a cocktail to celebrate? A Blueberry Pie-tini to be exact? I think so.


I have to admit, when I decided to make a blueberry pie flavored cocktail, I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out. I’m not usually one for the sweeter cocktails, I’d rather have a big ol’ piece of chocolate cake than a chocolate martini any day. But you know what, I’m not one bit upset about how this Blueberry Pie-tini turned out. In fact, I’m pretty dang excited about it.

I’m just starting to come out of the massive jet lag fog from our trip, and let me tell you, I am sooo glad we only had two days of work to get through before the weekend. No doubt we’ll still be recovering a bit for the next couple of days, and we’ll be enjoying some of these Blueberry Pie-tini’s while we’re doing it! Our big plans for the weekend include going to my niece and nephew’s annual silent auction at their school, visiting with my mom who will be down here for the auction, and soaking up the beautiful weather we’re supposed to be having. (Even though we didn’t hit any rain, the weather in Italy was a bit chilly for this California gang!)

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, but back to these cocktails. One of the reasons I think these passed my taste test of not being too “dessert-y” is because of all of the bright fruit flavors they get from both fresh blueberries and zesty lemon juice. I also once again made my own vanilla vodka, like I did for these Orange Creamsicle Martinis just a few weeks ago, which helps the mix not taste overly sweet. After all, we all know fresher is better!

Now, of course I had to go and add something a little more dessert-ish to really cement this whole “blueberry pie” idea, so I decided to use some honey-sweetened graham cracker crumbs and a little more lemon juice to rim the glasses. This step lends a pretty touch to the Blueberry Pie-tini’s, but if you’re more of a non-dessert cocktail lover, you could easily skip them and still have a delicious drink just the same.

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

So what do you think? Have I convinced you to make some Blueberry Pie-tini’s this weekend? If not this weekend, how about as a special treat for Mother’s Day in two weeks?

Regardless of whether you make these cocktails or not (although I highly suggest that you do) I hope that you have a wonderful weekend full of fun, food, drinks and friends! Xo

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Blueberry Pie-tini
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This refreshing martini has all of the amazing flavors of blueberry pie wrapped up into one little drink. The perfect springtime treat!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  • 2 finely crushed graham crackers
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon plus 1 1/2 ounces, chilled
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries, chilled
  • 1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
  • Splash club soda
  • Lemon wheels, for garnish
Instructions
  1. The night (or up to three nights) before you want to make your cocktails, make the vanilla vodka. Place the vodka and vanilla bean in a small mason jar or sealable container and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

  2. When making the cocktails, you’ll first need to prep the rims of your glasses. Pour the graham cracker crumbs onto one small round plate and squeeze the juice of ½ of a lemon onto another small round plate. Taking your martini glasses one at a time, dip the rims into the lemon juice first and then the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside while you make the martinis. 

  3. In a blender, combine the blueberries, 1 ½ ounces lemon juice, vanilla vodka and simple syrup. Pour evenly into the two martini glasses you’ve rimmed and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

Blueberry Pie-tini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas

The grand finale to my Easter recipes!

Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course we had to end it all with a cocktail 😉 Let me tell you, these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas do NOT disappoint.


Just to provide a quick recap: I started off the week with this savory Herbed Carrot Galette that would be equally as good served as a main dish at Easter brunch or a side dish for dinner. On Wednesday, I kept it uber-traditional and posted my family’s perfect recipe for Hot Cross Buns. And today we’re celebrating with mimosas!

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of Carrot Mimosa since last Easter, but to be honest I was a little intimidated. First of all, I don’t own a juicer (saving that appliance for when I have the kitchen of my dreams and all the space a food blogging gal can ask for) and I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d find straight-up carrot juice. I’m also not the biggest fan of vegetable juices, and although I loved the concept of turning one of my favorite brunch cocktails into a super-festive version, I was a little unsure of how “vegetable-y” it would taste.

But I’m happy to say that if there’s one thing that posting weekly cocktail recipes for the past year or so has taught me, it’s that there’s a way to spin everything to your liking if you just find the perfect combination. In fact, fun side story, one of my friends here in SB used to work at a local “juicery” and would often bring by the day’s leftover juices at the end of their shift. Seeing as by that time it would be 5pm or so, we’d be itching much more for a cocktail than a healthy juice (aren’t those reserved for breakfast or lunch?) and so we’d turn the juices into some pretty darn delicious cocktails to celebrate the end of another long day.

So I dipped back into those memories to figure out how to really make these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas the most delicious things ever, and I’m proud to say I succeeded! After trying out a few different combos, I found that a dash of Cointreau in addition to the sparkling wine and carrot juice (which I ended up finding in pure form at Trader Joe’s) was the perfect answer to taking the drink from overly-carrot-like to fresh and festive. And because Cointreau is orange-flavored, you still get a hint of traditional mimosa taste.

Can we also talk about how fun it is to garnish with those bright green carrot tops? Too cute.

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Anyhow, the simplicity of these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas is completely up to you. If you want to really get down and dirty (and you own a juicer,) you can go ahead and make your own carrot juice. But if you’re bogged down with all of the other Easter menu prep you have going on, simply head out to TJ’s or your favorite local juicery and pick up some of their fresh-squeezed carrot juice.

Aside from the carrot juice, the only other ingredients you’ll need for these Sparkling Carrot Mimosas are items you likely already have stocked in your bar (at least, I hope you do!) We’re talking sparkling wine (our house favorite that’s very reasonably priced is Segura Viudas Brut Cava, but any dry sparkling wine will do) and the afore-mentioned Cointreau. That’s it!

Simply combine all three in the ratios I’ve provided for you below (being careful as you pour so as not to have a massive bubble-over) and you’ll have the perfect festive cocktail for your Easter breakfast or brunch. What more do you really need?

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Sparkling Carrot Mimosas
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The popular brunch cocktail gets a spring twist with fresh carrot juice and a splash of Cointreau. The perfect drink for Easter!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 5 ounces sparkling wine
  • 1 ounce carrot juice
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • Carrot tops for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Combine all three ingredients in a champagne flute, pouring each one in slowly and steadily so as not to have a bubble-over (can’t waste any of that booze!) Garnish with green carrot tops, if desired. Enjoy!

Sparkling Carrot Mimosas | CaliGirlCooking.com

Hot Cross Buns

Buns for dayzzzzzz.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I told you this week was going to be all about the Easter prep, and today I’m definitely not going to disappoint with these Hot Cross Buns. This is yet another family recipe that I’ve successfully transcribed from my Dad’s improvisational ways, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I’ll now have this recipe in my back pocket whenever springtime rolls around.


I’m not really an expert on Hot Cross Buns, except for the fact that they’re incredibly hard to find good store- or bakery-bought versions of. When I lived at home (or would come home to visit for Easter when I lived away) we went through way too many years wasting our time trying to find “just the right” version at one of our local bakeries or grocery stores. Problem was, they were never as good as we imagined, or as we imagined we could make them. Leave it to my Dad to solve that problem, and solve it he did.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about Hot Cross Buns is that there are so many iterations of them. You can spice the dough (as I do in this recipe) or leave it really basic and buttery. You can add in the classic fruit cake mix to liven things up a bit, or you can leave it simpler with raisins studding the dough, or nothing at all. For the icing, you can tint it the classic yellow hue with food coloring or simply allow the sweet topping to take on whatever natural color it gets from your icing ingredients. Long story short, just about any person out there can find a Hot Cross Bun recipe that they want to make over and over again, year after year.

For my own sake, I hope you find this recipe for Hot Cross Buns so enjoyable that they become an annual tradition in your household. After all, there’s nothing like a warm, buttery, icing-topped carb-bomb to start your Easter morning off right 😉

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

In fact, I may need to pack a few of these in Ziplocs for our ride to the airport on Sunday. If we can’t have our usual Easter meals and festivities due to travel, we might as well get our Easter treats in wherever we can!

I’m not going to sugar-coat it (haha, you see what I did there?) but these buns do take a little bit of time to make, definitely not for their difficulty level, but simply because they go through the standard double rise you do with most yeast breads. That being said, a little bit of planning goes a long way, and I can guarantee that once you practice the recipe one time through, it will get easier and easier every time.

I speak from experience since I had a little blonde moment the first time I made these and forgot to add the butter to the dough. Good news was, the Hot Cross Buns turned out to be gorgeous-looking. Bad news was, they were suuuuppper dry and didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. And because I hate wasting any food, I simply proceeded to load up that first batch of Hot Cross Buns with butter every time I wanted to eat one, and I probably ended up consuming way more butter than I would have if I had just included in the recipe in the first place. Hey, we all learn from our silly mistakes!

I’m happy to report that no silly mistakes were made the second time I gave this recipe a whirl, and I was able to whip up perfectly composed Hot Cross Buns in almost no time flat.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about these Hot Cross Buns is that, once you get through the whole double rise process, you bake them off and they’re ready to devour in just 15 minutes (well, 25 minutes if you allow time to cool and frost them.) That means that you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy after their magnificent smell starts wafting through the house!

Although I personally didn’t try it, I’d bet you could easily adapt this recipe to make the second rise an overnight one. That way, all you need to do in the morning before breakfast is pull the buns out of the refrigerator, give them their little crosses and egg wash, and pop them in the oven. I may try this the next time I give these a whirl (undoubtedly in the very near future) but if you try it in the meantime, let me know how it goes!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m signing off to go get myself a bit more organized for our trip, but Happy Humpday! You deserve to celebrate with some Hot Cross Buns 🙂

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time
2 hr 10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hr 25 mins
 

A family recipe for this classic springtime baked good - a buttery dough studded with plump raisins, topped with the perfect touch of icing.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the buns:
  • 1 packet active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to "bathtub temperature" (I heated mine up for 30 seconds in the microwave and it turned out perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or fruit cake mix, if you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

  2. Add sugar, eggs, butter and salt to the yeast mixture and beat to combine. You may want to use a whisk for a few seconds to break up the egg yolks since the dough hook doesn’t do a great job of it.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour and the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add this to the mixture in the stand mixer along with the raisins and beat on medium-low until flour is well-incorporated.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer and add additional 1 1/3 cups flour. Once again turn the mixer on medium-low and mix until a sticky dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp hand towel, and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 

  5. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. You may also need to coat your hands with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. Cover the dough once it’s turned out and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise for another hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross in the center of each bun, then brush with egg white. Place in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the tops of the buns have turned golden and bread sounds fairly hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool.

  8. While buns are cooling, prepare the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients. Transfer to a piping bag (or Ziploc) and then snip off the tip. Using the crosses you cut into your buns before baking as a guide, make a cross on each bun. Enjoy as soon as possible!

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Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com