Oh, hi there everyone! It’s amazing to me that another summer has been survived and we are quickly moving our way to fall. Certainly doesn’t feel like it here though- still sweating away at my dining room table in Brooklyn, neglecting any sort of cleaning that the apartment so desperately needs and contemplating bloody mary cocktail recipes…
I actually start fall classes this Friday, in fact. I’m kind of shocked and astounded that I’ve somehow (finally) made it to the last of my prerequisites. I have to take organic chemistry in the fall and then I’m all set to apply for graduate schools in the spring. Dear lordy! I’ve spent so much time over the years getting to this point, but now that I’m finally almost there, it makes me crazy nervous to think about it.
I had looked at schools way back when I started this whole process but now that it’s several years later, I need to do my research again to figure out where I want to apply. I also have to study for the GRE’s…I’m really not so keen on that part. Gotta get those math scores up to snuff though!
The recipe that I’m sharing with you is one that’s been in my head for months now- actually since I got back from the Dominican Republic. When I when there, I made sure to get my usual “souvenirs”- lots of different culinary spices and foods. In this case, I came back with tons of oregano, cloves, vanilla beans, cocoa, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and Brugal rum.
Now mind you, we have most of these things over here, but I have never found such fresh ingredients as I did there (not to mention it was a fraction of the cost here). I did find that while the oregano used over there is similar, it is a slightly different variety from what is sold here. Being Dominican, Mr. C uses oregano frequently in his cooking but since we brought it back from the DR, he’s been using it in abundance.
Recently, I’ve been very interested in trying out different ways to infuse vodka using different foods. With it’s savory flavor, I thought that infusing vodka with oregano might work out really well for cocktails and seeing as it goes so well with different nightshade plants- specifically tomatoes- thought hey, maybe it’s time to try making a Bloody Mary!
Way back when, I had a brief moment of working as a bartender and I remember the day I was taught how to make a Bloody Mary. Mind you, tomato juice has never really been my thing, but this baby was good. This recipe is a nice balance of flavors and just what the doctor ordered for brunch (aka, that time that you use as an excuse to drink and eat heartily to recover from the events from the night before).
With Labor Day coming up and all, I wanted to make a delicious Bloody Mary cocktail (no- you don’t just need to have these for brunch!) and make it heartier, and a little more grill party friendly by making these into cocktails and appetizers with delicious grilled shrimp!
Please note, the vodka must be prepared in advance to allow it to infuse properly.
Oregano Infused Bloody Mary & Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp
Makes 6 Skewers
1 lb Raw Shrimp, deveined
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Chopped Garlic (2-3 Cloves)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp Chili Flakes
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper
6 Wooden Skewers
Oregano Infused Bloody Mary
Makes 2 Cocktails
4 oz (1/2 Cup) Oregano Infused Vodka (recipe follows)
12 oz (1 1/2 Cup) Tomato Juice
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Horseradish
6 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
6-8 dashes Hot Sauce, such as Tabasco
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Celery Sticks (to garnish)
Oregano Infused Vodka
2 TBSP Dried Oregano
2 Cups Vodka
Oregano Infused Vodka
Combine dried oregano and vodka in a glass container and seal. Set aside out of direct sunlight for a week. Strain out dried oregano and store infused vodka in a sealed container until you are ready to use.
Soak the skewers in cool water for 30 minutes.
Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, oregano, lemon pepper and chili flakes. Pour the mixture over the shrimp and mix to combine.
Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds. Chop the bell pepper into 1 inch pieces.
Divide the shrimp and bell pepper pieces amongst the six skewers, alternating between shrimp and bell pepper as desired. Try not to stuff them on too closely together- you want a little space between each item so it has room to cook properly and isn’t too crowded.
Place the skewers on the grill, away from direct heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the shrimp are fully cooked and have a slight char to them. Remove from the grill and set aside.
Oregano Infused Bloody Mary
Add vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper and ice to a shaker glass. Shake thoroughly and pour into two glasses.
Garnish with shrimp, freshly ground pepper and celery stalks.
Note: You can either use 3 shrimp skewers per drink for a super jumbo appetizer, or triple the the cocktail recipe and put one shrimp skewer per cocktail