Fennel Whiskey Manhattan

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Things got a little crazy over the past few months, with our move to Manhattan taking up much of the space in my head. I am alright with that. We're now settled into our new building, the picture frames are hung on the walls, and every morning, I walk through the city with a "pinch me" sensation.

So, it seems quite fitting that my first recipe posted from our new apartment in Manhattan should be a twist on the drink whose name pays homage to this city. 

To be entirely forthright, this is not exactly a Manhattan. It is, however, quite similar, minus the vermouth and subbing the fennel bulb for fruit. If I had to compare the two, I would say this version has a more earthy flavor, which is perfect for me. Also, if you're like my husband and have a distaste for vermouth, this might be your new favorite cocktail.

Plus, we made it - and drank it - in Manhattan. 

If you find yourself cooking with fennel and removing the top portion of the bulb, save it for this cocktail. It's the perfect garnish while also adding just enough earthy flavor to the drink to make it pop without being overwhelming.

Fennel Whiskey Manhattan
Ingredients (makes one):
  • large ice cubes
  • 1 oz water
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 2 dashes Angostora bitters (or another anise-flavor)
  • 1 tsp sugar or sugar substitute (I used Stevia powder)
  • 1 top of a fennel bulb, rinsed and cleaned
  1. Combine all ingredients except for fennel bulb and either shake in a cocktail shaker or stir well in a rocks glass.
  2. Add fennel bulb to the glass. 
  3. Serve! Encourage guests to use the fennel to stir their drink.
  • To make this cocktail more like a true Manhattan, add 1 oz of dry vermouth
  • This is a great cocktail to serve with a meal in which you use the rest of the fennel - the flavors will play well together, and it allows you to use the leftover bits of the vegetable and therefore waste less.

Looking for more cocktail recipes?


Bacon-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Cayenne Peanut Butter

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For my first recipe post-hiatus, I've created something amazing. These taste like peanut butter and jelly, with bacon. All that's missing is bananas and Elvis would be turning in his grave.

I hear he never died, you know. 

Next time I bring an appetizer to an event, this is it. The ratio of required prep time to flavor is rather favorable, so your dish can be the star of the show without too much work. Between the slight kick from the cayenne in the peanut butter, the sweetness of the fig, and the salty flavor of the bacon, this appetizer has just about everything you could ever want... all wrapped up into a bite size piece.

These are for my sister and inspired by my friend Diane.

Bacon-wrapped Figs stuffed with Cayenne Peanut Butter
Servings: 8-12 food items
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 8-12 dried figs
  • 4-6 strips of bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine peanut butter and cayenne pepper and mix well.  
  3. Remove fig stems and cut figs in half. Stuff with peanut butter mixture and then place back together.
  4. Cut bacon strips in half so that you have two strips of the same length but now half as long as they were before.
  5. Wrap reconstructed figs with bacon strips. 
  6. Bake until bacon is golden brown, about 20 minutes. As it gets hot, the peanut butter mixture will liquefy a bit more and some of it may seep out.
  7. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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