It’s not as impressive as 10 hours of extra features on the Lord of the Rings DVD set, but this recipe is our version of “behind the scenes.” When we shot our Spring/Summer 2020 collection in Joshua Tree last fall, our awesome creative team set up basecamp at Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs – a funky mid-century oasis with a stellar in-house gastro pub.
After hours in the desert sun, we’d wrap each day by chowing down on pastrami sandos and slurping fruity cocktails. We’d be lying if we said we got the recipes (we didn’t), but we did walk away with a renewed appreciation for tiki umbrellas and dark rum. So here’s our best attempt at a recreation…
• 2 oz. dark rum • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice • Pineapple slice, lime wedge, umbrella for garnish
Fill a tall glass with crushed ice (if you don’t have crushed ice, put ice in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin — save and reuse the bag!). Combine rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with some ice cubes. Do a little dance and shake until the shaker is cold n’ frosty. Pour into the glass. Garnish with pineapple slice, lime, umbrella… whatever feels tropical!
This recipe comes from Daisy, copywriter extraordinaire and cocktail Queen.
I’ll be frank: I buy in bulk. Not toilet paper, but tequila. It’s a staple in my kitchen (right up there with garbanzo beans and Top Ramen), and it’s been the cornerstone of my “What’s in the pantry?” margaritas of late.
With the shelter-in-place order in full effect in our Central CA town, I’ve had to get creative. I’ve started infusing simple syrups with anything I can scrounge (Rosemary? Yep. Lavender? Sure thing); I’ve made friends with neighbors with overflowing citrus trees; and I’ve resolved to use up all those random liqueurs that I bought for that one cocktail, that one time…
So this cocktail – the Quarantinarita – is a product of the times: Costco tequila, big batch simple syrup, Aperol from last Summer’s “Spritz Blitz,” and oranges straight from my neighbor’s trees. It’s whatever’s in the pantry, shaken, poured over ice, and best consumed during a sunset neighborhood stroll. Yeah, I could get used to this.
QUARANTINARITA – MAKES 1:
1oz (standard shot glass) simple syrup
1 cap-full of Aperol (about 1.5 tbsp)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 blood orange
Bubbly water (club soda, La Croix, soda stream – whatever you’ve got)
Blood orange slices for garnish
To Make Basic Simple Syrup:
1 cup water, 1 cup granulated white sugar. Combine and bring to a boil; simmer for 3 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool immediately. Store in the fridge for a month or freeze forever.
To Make the Drink:
Fill a shaker with ice and combine simple syrup, tequila, Aperol, orange juice, and blood orange juice. Shake the living daylights out of it. Pour over ice and fill to the brim with bubbly water. Garnish with a slice of blood orange for fancy pants points. Enjoy responsibly and “air cheers” your neighbors.
Since the dawn of time (okay, since 2012), we have gathered for our annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown – a gourmand competition where teams throw down their cheesiest masterpieces for a chance to win the coveted Golden Spatula Award. This year marked our 8th annual Smackdown… and the first time we went totally virtual.
Instead of a panel of esteemed judges sampling each sammie, we gave that task to you – THE PEOPLE! – to vote on the best recipes in our first ever Smackdown-meets-Instagram competition.
The winner? The Dracula Slayer, made by our newest Toad, SJ and her beau, Tommy. This recipe is equal parts Van Helsing (absurd amounts of garlic) and Martha Stewart (homemade bread baked by Tommy). So we recommend enjoying with a someone who will put up with your garlic breath.
THE DRACULA SLAYER – Makes 2 servings
4 slices rustic bread (we used homemade rosemary bread)
1 head roasted garlic
2 slices aged cheddar
2 slices Havarti
2 slices aged swiss
⅓ stick of butter
a little bit of fresh cracked pepper
optional (but so good) spicy brown mustard
Roast your garlic (chop off the head, drizzle with S&P and olive oil, roast at 400º for 45 mins). With your butter at room temperature, mash your roasted garlic cloves into the butter. Heat a griddle (or grill pan) to medium. Slather the outside of your bread in your garlic butter, spread a healthy dose of mustard on the inside, and stack up the cheese! Add a few turns of cracked pepper to the inside (very important), and close ‘er up. Grill each side until golden brown and crispy.
Tip: Cover your sandwich to up the steam effect while cooking each side. And E N J O Y with a tasty beverage. Serve with a Bloody Mary if you need more garlic.
Anyone else feel like we’re in a month full of Sundays? Well you know what they say: when life hands you Sundays, make brunch. Start with this Hibiscus Gin Spritz. It’s refreshing, citrusy, sweet, and has a healthy dose of DIY (because you’ve got the time). Toss on someGarden Party tunes and step into the sunshine.
*Bonus: Make extra and and deliver to a friend’s doorstep. Nothing says “we’re in this together” like a cocktail delivery.
Hibiscus Simple Syrup:
2 cups cane sugar
1 cup dried hibiscus leaves (get at certain grocery stores or online)
2 cups water
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in hibiscus leaves and bring to a simmer. Keep stirring until you get a syrupy consistency that coats the spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain hibiscus leaves and store syrup in a jar the fridge. Syrup will last for a week+ in the fridge and can be used in iced teas, over ice cream, in other cocktails, or anything else that calls for a sweet pick-me-up.
Hibiscus Gin Spritz – makes 1:
1oz (standard shot glass) hibiscus simple syrup
2oz gin (full disclosure: we ran out of gin, so tequila works too!)
1oz lemon juice (typically the juice of 1/2 lemon)
Fill a glass with ice (12oz glass or bigger is best). Add gin, lemon juice and hibiscus syrup. Give it a quick mix with a spoon. Top it off with tonic water and a few slices of lemon. Top with a flower from your garden if you’re feeling fancy.
April 7th is National Beer Day, so here’s what you should be drinking based on our very scientific, totally accurate, Beer Personality Test. It’s like a horoscope, but hoppier. You should drink…
… LAGERS if you’re the human embodiment of an Eagles song: easy going, likable, great at parties. Your motto: “This calls for a pizza.” Nothing pairs with the Meat Lover’s Special like an extra cold lager.
… PILSNERS if you’re well-liked, well-traveled, and generally a people-pleaser. You also have a fantastic head of hair, even at the beach. You may or may not be a Golden Retriever. No matter – bottom’s up!
… STOUTS if you have many leather bound books and slay at Tuesday night trivia. You love sunrises, deep conversations, and bagpipes. You are dense and layered, but in a good way. Go ahead, make it a Guinness.
… PORTERS if you love cold-weather, fish n’ chips, and the Queen Mother. You have a Willy Wonka-sized sweet tooth and also happen to work in a factory. God save the queen – and the corner seat at the pub.
… IPAs if you’re bold, adventurous, and loyal. You’ve broken at least 3 bones and your college nickname was “The Tank.” You love Led Zeppelin. You are the extreme version of the jack-of-all-trades. There’s a special aisle at the liquor store for you – and it’s got a billion types of IPAs to choose from.
… WHEAT BEERS if you love WWII history, mustaches, and sauerkraut (#guthealth). You’re a no-nonsense kind of person, but you’ve also won the local lederhosen contest 8 years in a row. You and Wheat Beers – just a coupl’a classics.
… SOURS if you’re eccentric, daring, and once ran a 10k… barefoot. You can recite the periodic table and every word of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You’re not afraid to try something funky, so get a growler from your local craft brewery and pucker up.
… SAISONS if you like to read Marcel Proust, have a thriving garden, and wear chic overalls without shoes. You remind people of springtime and can toss together a stunning brunch in 20 minutes (seriously, how do you do that?). You probably brewed your own saison in an art shed in a field of wildflowers.
By: Lucinda, Sr. Product Development Manager and Queen of Waste-Free Living
Lucinda knows how to enjoy the finer things in life, so we trust her when it comes to all things food, drink, travel, and sustainability.
I must have been about four years old when I remember spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents, Nana and Dada. My Nana was an amazing cook and there were a ton of leftovers. We ate turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and even turkey enchiladas. By Sunday evening, I was utterly tired of turkey.
When Nana served me a steaming bowl of soup, I surveyed it mutinously, with bits of what looked like turkey swirling around my spoon. “This had better not be turkey soup.”
“Oh no,” she replied. “It’s not turkey soup. It’s Kukuruku soup!”
Well, that was an entirely different matter altogether. We watched a TV show that featured astronauts time traveling back to the Stone Age, where the cavemen dined on some strange dinosaur soup called “Kukuruku.” I couldn’t believe that Nana had the recipe or the ingredients!
Since then, my family has always called the soup we make after Thanksgiving Kukuruku Soup. Because salvaging leftovers is one of my favorite ways to reduce waste in my everyday life, I’m passing along our Kukuruku tradition.
Kukuruku Soup Recipe
1. Roast the turkey carcass. I usually roast it at 375° for 45 minutes to 1 hour. But I recommend going off of how it looks—I take it out of the oven when it looks browned and you know, “roasty.”
2. Put the carcass into a stock pot and fill with water. Add salt, onion or garlic trimmings, dried herbs like oregano and thyme, and simmer for an hour.
3. Strain the solids from the stock pot and compost them. Let the stock cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off the fat that has congealed on the top.
4. Next, take the last little bits of turkey meat, and the carrots and celery left over from the crudité platter, and mix them with the stock you’ve made in a Dutch oven or stock pot over low medium heat.
5. I like to add a cup of barley and any leftover gravy to make it even heartier.
6. Cook for 30-40 minutes, adding in seasonings like dried oregano or chopped garlic (or whatever you’re feeling, really).
7. Freeze any leftovers and enjoy for a quick, but filling, meal during the busy holiday season.
Hoppy, light, sour, malty…Whatever your style, there’s no denying that it’s beer season. Munich’s Oktoberfest is in full swing, and cities all over the country (and world) are hosting their own celebrations where the spirit’s high and beer will be flowin’. So we asked a few of our retailers to share their favorite local breweries with us.
“Choosing a favorite brewery in Vermont is pretty challenging, but Zero Gravity definitely stands out…constant rotating selection of IPAs and a solid mix of pilsners, goses, sours, and porters…Best of all it’s walking distance from my home.”
“Zilker Brewing Company has got to be on your list of Austin breweries. Not only is a pint of Parks and Rec my favorite pour in the whole city, but they also donate a portion of those sales to the Austin Parks Foundation!”
We drink a lot of coffee at Toad HQ (changing the status quo takes energy!), so we’ve become somewhat of an expert on what to look for in a good cup of Joe. Sure, a great roast is essential, but coffee made from conscious companies just tastes better. Here are some of our favorite sustainable coffee companies and fellow 1% for the Planet members (ie: at least 1% of their revenue is donated to environmentally friendly non-profits). Start your day with a cupful of good.
Bivouac coffee is all about letting nature take its course. Specializing in “natural coffee,” the method allows the sun and heat to dry the coffee beans versus the more water-intensive process of washing the coffee beans. All of their packaging is 100% compostable and their work benefits non-profits like the American Alpine Club and Big City Mountaineers.
A favorite of the Toad weekend warriors, High Brew’s canned coffee is about as packable a punch as they come. The real bonus is that they give a portion of sales to support the delosAndes Cooperativa in Columbia. The co-op has invested over $2 million dollars in education, sent 1,069 people to university, and constructed three Micro-Wet Central Mills to promote environmental sustainability in the community. Farmers only use 3 liters of water to produce each pound of coffee (vs. the traditional 30L) and save over 20 million liters annually. High Brew gets high quality coffee beans while farmers achieve greater profitability with less environmental impact. Win, win, win.
If this coffee doesn’t warm you from the inside out, then we don’t know what will: They give back 10% of annual profits to programs for children who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. And 25% of sales from special blends go to local schools to help raise funds for student programs. And they source organic and fair trade ingredients for their coffees and cold brews. AND it happens to be delicious. We really can’t say enough about HMC’s awesome coffee.
“It is the responsibility of life in the present to preserve for life in the future. That is why we choose Kind, because a business should share no less in that responsibility than the people who support it.” Can we get an Amen? Based in Estes Park, CO, Kind Coffee strikes the perfect balance between living well and doing good with their chemical free, fairly traded, and certified organic beans. And if you’re a decaf drinker, they use the Swiss Water decaffeination process, the ONLY decaf process achieved without the use of chemicals.
When CEO Jim Cole wanted to make a difference in local land preservation, he set out to make a company in which he could give away most of the profits. Started as a joint venture business partner of the Sonoma Land Trust, the sales of all Freezeout Coffee directly benefit the preservation of land and water in Northern California. Change starts on a local level – and is best served with cream and sugar.
They’re a B-Corp, they’re carbon-free, they source organic and fair trade beans, they give back 1% to organizations like Rainforest Trust and Save Our Wild Salmon… the name “Grounds for Change” certainly seems fitting. With an awesome commitment to sustainability and a strong cup of brew (we like their Coffee of the Month to try new blends), we tend to stand a little taller after a cup of this stuff.
Ah, beer. That nectar of the gods, that hops scotch, that oh-so-potent potable…today on International Beer Day, we cheers to YOU. Now we’re not here to claim cicerone status, but the Toads have been known to enjoy mighty good beer and yes, we have a kegerator in the office (which definitely gets used more than our fax machine). We’ve also been on the road as part of our national Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour, so we’ve had the pleasure of stopping into some of America’s best breweries. We checked in with Drew, Rob, and Rachel (our trusty captains and volunteer beer tasters) for their favorite beers across the states:
ALABAMA – Good People Brewing in Birmingham; according to them, the first micro-brewery in the state. They host Birmingham Mountain radio in the brewery, so check them out while you’re drinking. Say hey to the owner, Mike—he’s a good dude.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Birds Fly South Project in Greenville (Pronounced “Green-vull” by the locals); tons of beers on tap and a great grass field to chill with your dog. Bonus: Epic food trucks, like Golden, Brown and Delicious.
NORTH CAROLINA – Vecino Brewing in Carrboro; Vecino means “neighbor” in Spanish, so they’re staying true to the name by supporting local non-profits and hosting lots of fundraisers. Dave, the owner, is an awesome guy.
PENNSYLVANIA – Victory Brewing (a few locations). I went to the one in Kennett Square; great food (pretzels on point!), wash it down with a Golden Monkey, a spiced Belgian-style ale.
Rachel and Rob’s picks:
MAINE – Maine Beer Company in Freeport; “A Tiny Beautiful Something” is their signature pale ale for a reason.
VERMONT – Foam Brewers and Zero Gravity Craft Brewery in Burlington, VT ( the Little Birdy is delish), and Fiddlehead Brewing in Shelburne, VT (Awesome hazy NEIPAs and according to Rachel, “the Ghost Hits is hands down best beer I’ve had on the tour so far”).
OHIO – In Cleveland, Platform Beer Co. is great (go there after hitting up the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame!). In Columbus you’ve got lots of options: Antiques on High, North High Brewing, and Seventh Son are all great and in the super cool Short North Neighborhood.
Basically, we love beer almost as much as we love sustainability. If you’re like us, you’ll want to wear your heart on your sleeve. This 100% organic cotton tee can help.
And we’re still on the road, headed west through the Midwest and into the Pacific Northwest. So where should we grab a beer?? Follow along on Instagram and send us your favorite beer recs by messaging or tagging us @toadandcoclothing.
So you’ve got your organic cotton apron and your bamboo utensils and you stopped buying plastic-bottled beverages a decade ago. You’re off to a stellar start! Here are a few more ways to turn your BBQ/cookout/tailgate/meet-and-eat into a sustainable Iron Chef spectacular.
Gas vs. Charcoal – We’ll stay out of the flavor debate, but we’ll pass on the facts about these fuel sources: Charcoal briquettes are typically made from a combination of lighter fluid, sawdust, and other chemical additives; when burned, charcoal briquettes can produce 105 times more carbon than propane and nasty little air pollutants called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Propane, on the other hand, does come from non-renewable fossil fuels but produces fewer and cleaner emissions. So propane is the way to go, BUT here’s the catch: if you can find true charcoal (generally called lump or chunk charcoal), this fuel is made from a non-additive hardwood material and burning it is carbon neutral.
Cookin’ With the Sun – If you’re in the market for a zero emissions option, go for a solar grill or oven. Solar grills are a renewable take on the traditional “electric” grill, while solar ovens magnify and maximize sunlight to do the actual cooking. Science is so cool.
FOOD & DRINK
Get Local – There are about a million and one reasons to buy local food. To name just a few, buying local: reduces your carbon footprint thanks to short-distance transportation, supports local farmers, stimulates biodiversity in your ecosystem, and generally sidesteps all that plastic packaging you find in chain grocery stores. Co-ops, farmer’s markets, farm carts, community gardens, local grocery stores… we’d bet there are tons of great options near you.
DIY Dips – Do you know how easy it is to make hummus? REALLY easy. Say buh-bye to single-use plastic tubs and hello to your new party trick. Google your favorite dip recipes (we like these for hummus, salsa, and green goddess dip) and put that food processor to work. Twice as much dip for half the cost and 0% the amount of plastic. Wins all around.
DIY Chips – Potato chips, pita chips, tortilla chips, bagel chips, kale chips…there is literally no end to what you can slice and bake. Pick your base, toss with olive oil and salt (or other spices if you’re feeling, well, spicy) and bake low n’ slow. (Addendum: If you’re like our copywriter, Daisy, and “just loooove Doritos,” just make sure to repurpose that empty Doritos bag and reuse it as a trash bag. But also, the internet even has a DIY Doritos recipe… so no excuses).
Chill Properly – This one is tricky, but we understand ice is useful (hello, margaritas). When buying ice, opt for one big bag instead of multiple smaller ones. Reuse the bag as a trash bag or dry out before recycling (BTW, here’s a quick rundown on what’s recyclable and what’s not). If you have a bucket or a cooler to keep cold, fill it with cold water and ice packs.
The Bottle and The Can – We know you know, but it’s a good reminder: Cans and bottles are the best materials to recycle, with clean plastic next, but avoid juice boxes or things that come in cartons – they’re coated with a thin film on the inside that renders them unrecyclable.
SUPPLIES & MATERIALS
Plate & Wipe Responsibly – Skip single use plastic or styrofoam and look for paper plates and napkins that are made from recycled materials. When you’re done, toss in the compost or the fire. Don’t have a compost? Make one.
Get Real (With Real Utensils) – We challenge you to avoid single-use materials (even if they’re compostable and made out of corn oil…). Use the utensils you’ve got and ask a friend to bring all their utensils, too. If you host often, hit up a local thrift store and get a bunch of cheap utensils as a backup BBQ set.
Bees Have Your Back – Ditch plastic wrap if you know what’s good for ya! We’re big fans of reusable beeswax wraps that come in all different sizes and keep your leftovers just as fresh. You can find them in lots of stores now (even in Trader Joe’s), or you can make them yourself – just be sure to the get beeswax beads from a local store, not delivered via the interwebs!
Raise a Cup to Mother Nature – Say it with us, “No more plastic cups!” Grab a 12-pack of mason jars (about $8 at the grocery store). Or just ask your friends to BYOC – tell them it’s just like camping.