Tag Archive | "lychee"

Scare Up Some Fun With These Halloween Cocktails


Wicked Witch Apple Punch

Halloween is fast approaching. If you’re looking to treat your adult friends to something with a little extra kick this year, try one of these cocktails, which are frighteningly good.

Wicked Witch Apple Punch

1 (750-milliliter) bottle SKYY Infusions Passion Fruit
1 (750-milliliter) bottle sparkling apple cider
1 (64-ounce) bottle cranberry juice cocktail
1 liter ginger ale
2 cups pineapple juice
Red apple slices

Combine vodka, cider, cranberry juice cocktail, ginger ale and pineapple juice in a large black witch’s cauldron punch bowl with ice and stir. Dry ice will create the steam floating off the top. Garnish with large slices of red apple floating on top.

Makes 24-28 servings.

From SKYY Vodka

The Great Pumpkin Martini

Splash of Cointreau or other good orange liqueur
Pumpkin pie spices
2 ounces pumpkin-infused vodka

Swirl Cointreau in a chilled martini glass, then pour out. Rim the glass with a mixture of pumpkin pie spices and sugar.

Pour vodka in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously, the pour into martini glass.

Makes 1 cocktail.


Red Devil

[amazon-product]1572840722[/amazon-product]1/2 ounce sloe gin
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Southern Comfort
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 /2 ounce banana liqueur
1 tablespoon Rose’s Lime Juice
2 ounces orange juice

Fill a Tom Collins glass with ice. Shake sloe gin, vodka, Southern Comfort, triple sec, banana liqueur, Rose’s and orange juice in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From “Pink Panther Cocktail Party” by Adam Rocke

Black Widow

Raspberry Syrup
1 1/2 ounces SKYY Infusions Raspberry
1/2 ounce triple sec
2 ounces pomegranate juice
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Draw a spider web on the inside of a chilled martini glass with raspberry syrup.  Combine vodka, triple sec, pomegranate juice and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into chilled martini glass.  Garnish with plastic spider.

Makes 1 cocktail.


Red Zombie

Red Zombie

Red Zombie

1 1/2 ounces vodka
3 ounces tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated horseradish
1 teaspoon barbecue sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chipotle en adobo
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Generous squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch of celery seeds
1 celery stick
2 large green olives
2 lychee fruits, peeled if using fresh

Combine vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, chipotle, salt, pepper, lemon juice and celery seeds in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass.  Garnish with green eye balls (see below), laid across the rim of the glass.

For eye balls: Cut the end of a stalk of celery so it measures 5-6 inches long and split the stick in half lengthwise.  Slide the green olives into two lychee fruits to make eye balls and push the thin celery stick through both as garnish.

Makes 1 cocktail.


Posted in Featured, RecipesComments Off on Scare Up Some Fun With These Halloween Cocktails

Griffin to Go: A Nut for Lychees



Despite common usage, the lychee is not a nut. It is a fruit that grows well in warm, tropical climates.

It is also an addiction for those of us with a sweet tooth. For the lychee — or litchi, as it is often spelled — is truly sweet.

You wouldn’t think it to look at. In the market or on the tree, the rough, knobby exterior looks more like a hard strawberry. According to research on the subject, lychees are often referred to as alligator strawberries in some cultures — the deep South or India, depending on whom you believe — though it’s a term I’ve never heard. The skin feels like an alligator’s or a file you’d use to sand a 2-by-4.

Until I moved to Florida, I was only familiar with the canned variety of lychee, sometimes served as a dessert in Asian restaurants along with its cousins, rambutan and longan. But the evergreen trees thrive in the eternal sun and the humidity, far better than some of the humans. When a colleague brought a box of the red fruit with the milky white center into work, I had to be shown how to peel them, how to pick the best ones and how to determine which ones to avoid.

Now that they are in season and you can find them in neighborhood groceries (I found them in a box in the produce section of my nearby H-E-B; they were even on sale), I thought I’d share a couple of tips I learned:

  • Pick lychees that are firm yet have a little give at the top. These are likely to be the juiciest.
  • If the fruit is too firm, it may not be ripe. If it is hard and looks more shrunken than the others, it may have dried out.
  • Lychees bruise relatively easily, despite the tough skin. So, look for blemishes or discoloration around a soft spot.
  • To peel, pull the stem off or dig a fingernail into the skin near the top until it breaks. You can use a knife, if you’re one of those who doesn’t like to touch his or her food.
  • A membrane lines the skin. Peel it back, should it stick with the meat of the fruit.
  • At the center of the lychee is a large nut-like seed that you discard.

The rest is all about enjoying the highly sweet fruit and its juices. I’m getting a sugar rush typing this.

I generally eat just one or two straight from the skin. But there are numerous ways to incorporate lychees into your cooking, whether you are using fresh or canned.

One is the Watermelon Salad you’ll find in another post on this site (click here). Toss them in salads, especially fruit salads. Add to your sweet-and-sour stir-fries; their limpid texture is a nice contrast to the crunch of water chestnuts. Or you can place halves on a ham instead of pineapple.

If you are looking to add more sparkle to a brut Champagne, place half a lychee at the bottom of your flute.

The following recipe is adapted from a Web site devoted to lychees:

Tropical Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1/2 pineapple, cored and diced
1 mango, pitted and diced
1 pound strawberries, stemmed and cut into bite sizes
1 cup lychees
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons lychee jam or apricot jam
10 (10-inch) flour tortillas
Butter-flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar (see Note)
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, pineapple, mango, strawberries, lychees, white sugar, brown sugar and jam. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter-flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

Note: To make cinnamon sugar, mix sugar and cinnamon in the desired proportion, which generally ranges from 3-1 to 12-1, according to Wikipedia.

Recipe adapted from

Posted in Blogs, In SeasonComments (5)

Watermelon Salad

WatermelonSummer may not begin officially for a couple of weeks, yet the rising thermometer has sent many of us in search of refreshing ways to cool off.

After all, no one wants to turn the oven on any more than is absolutely necessary. And no one wants to exert any extra effort, either.

To search for spectacular yet simple ways of fixing dishes for warm-weather meals, I often turn to one of the half-dozen or so raw food cookbooks (un-cookbooks?) I have collected.

That’s where I found an old-favorite, Watermelon Salad.

Yes, you can do things with watermelon beyond eating it with your choice of salt or sugar sprinkled on it.

To make this dish, found in Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein’s “Raw” (10 Speed Press), you combine it with lychees, which are now in the market along with watermelon. Balancing the sweetness of the fruit is a touch of freshly grated horseradish, a touch of savory microgreens, olive oil and pepper.

It is as beautiful on the plate as it is to eat.

For those not familiar with the raw food movement, it refers to those people who don’t eat foods heated over 118 degrees. That’s the temperature at which the natural enzymes in foods break down. It’s also the point at which food loses its healing powers, the followers of this diet attest.

There’s a growing raw food movement in San Antonio. For more information, click here.

Watermelon Salad

2 cups chopped red watermelon
4 slabs red watermelon, each 3-inches square and 1/2-inch thick
12 fresh lychees, peeled, pitted and cut into eighths
1 cup assorted microgreens, such as shiso, basil and chervil
4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Using a high-speed blender, process the chopped watermelon until it is a medium-bodied liquid. Allow the juice to settle, about 10 minutes; a thick layer of froth will form at the top.

Place the watermelon squares on each of four plates with a single layer of lychee pieces, covering each square completely.

Arrange 1/4 of the microgreens on each slice. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the horseradish over the microgreens. Drizzle the olive oil around the plate and spoon some of the watermelon froth around the plate and over the greens. Sprinkle the remaining horseradish over the watermelon froth. Top with a little salt and pepper.

Wine notes: At first thought it would seem that the spicy horseradish would require a lot of attention, but in fact it is a delicate background flavor that melts into the rest of the dish. This wonderfully refreshing preparation must have a wine partner that has the same cleansing characteristics. Laurent-Perrier’s Brut Rosé Champagne has scents of fresh berries and yeastiness and an invigorating sparkle that enlivens the watermelon and lychees on the palate.

Serves 4.

Adapted from “Raw” by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein.

Posted in Featured, In Season, RecipesComments Off on Watermelon Salad