23 Skiddoo: A Holiday Cocktail

Mmmm crisp air, boots, snow, holiday parties, cookies, sweater weather, & scarves. I love winter. And winter cocktails.

It’s November which means, by law, I can start thinking about the holidays, holiday parties, and which drinks I will be serving at those parties…

Roy (the boyfriend) and I.

I love gin. It is my drink of choice. I’ve noticed that people either love it or hate it. All too often I order a gin drink and the person I’m with makes a gross face and says something like “You like like gin? Blah. It tastes like Christmas.” Quite a few people have told me they don’t like gin because “it tastes like Christmas.” It must be something about the juniper berries that reminds people of the holidays. Well, what better time is there to drink a liquor that smells like Christmas than at a holiday party?

In college it was rare to find a fellow gin drinker. I can count them all on one hand (I’m talking to you, Tyler, Danielle, and Melissa). I recently got in touch with them to ask if they knew of any good gin-based holiday cocktails. Tyler got back to me with an enticing thyme flavored drink called 23 Skiddoo. I was sold. Thanks for the recipe Tyler!

Ingredients for the Thyme Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Ingrediens for the Cocktail

  • Ice
  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1/2 ounce St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce thyme syrup
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces chilled sparkling wine (or sparkling water if you don’t like the sweetness of the wine)
  • Garnish: thyme sprig

Directions for Thyme Syrup

  1.  Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat, add thyme leaves, cover and let stand 1 hour.
  3. Strain and refrigerate.

Directions for the Cocktail

  1. Fill mixing glass with ice, add gin, St Germain, thyme syrup, and lemon juice. Stir until cold.
  2. Strain into flute, top with sparkling wine and garnish with thyme sprig.

I want to point out that not all gins are created equal. I believe that when it comes to gin it is worthwhile to spend a little bit of extra money on the good stuff. Hendricks Gin and Brooklyn Gin are my favorites. If you are ever in Brooklyn you should go on a tour of Brooklyn Gin’s distillery. You get to taste their flavors at the end of the tour. It’s good fun. =)

Till next time! xo

mad men cocktails | Jelly ToastJelly Toast - [...]  Love Potion  The Vesper Here are some more very Mad Men-ish cocktails from around the web: 23 Skiddoo from V.K. Rees Photography Blood Orange Martini from A Healthy Life For Me Classic Manhattan from [...]

mad men cocktails | - [...] 23 Skiddoo from V.K. Rees Photography Blood Orange Martini from A Healthy Life For Me Classic Manhattan from She Knows St. Dill Martini from Saveur Whiskey Sour from My Recipes The Corduroy Jacket from Southern Living The Derby Cocktail from Leite’s Culinaria [...]

Value of Dinar or Iraqi Dinar and Its History - Some really excellent content on this site, thankyou for contribution.

Heather - Hi – I made these last night at a small gathering and they were a total hit. Thanks for the recipe.

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com - Cutest couple, ever.

And the cocktail?! Oh my. It’s too beautiful to drink!

Silvia-La gelida anolina - OMG!!!!!!!I really really really love your blog ^_^

Kankana - I like gin too and with the flavor of thyme, it must be one amazing drink!

Ashley - I love gin. I love thyme. I’m thinking I’d love this recipe. Also, your photos – amazing.

Karen A. - I’m the only person I know that loves gin. I will definitly have to try this recipe out!

Melissa! - Oh yum oh my. Making this immediately! Also, can I come visit sometime and help you out with one of your shoots? Looks like so much fun…we could make savory pies!

Mandy Jean - Yum! I absolutely love gin. I hear people say that it tastes “like a bunch of pine trees.” The Christmas comparison makes it sound better (lol). I love Hendricks as well. My favorite bar makes the best Scottish Mule with it!

Stevie - Have you seen the Made by Hand documentaries? They’re beautiful and all set in Brooklyn. Their first video in the series is about Breuckelen Distilling Company, the first gin distiller in Brooklyn since prohibition. http://thisismadebyhand.com/film/the_distiller

Ashlae - Yes, yes, yes to gin! It’s the only thing I’ll ever drink. Cannot wait to try this, lady!

Jes - I love all the glittery shots–you got the light perfect for the cocktail! And gin is so great–I’m a Hendricks or Bombay fan (I’m not really into the strong “Christmasy” ones)–and I’m definitely going to try out this cocktail soon!

FoodFeud - I love gin! I wouldn’t say it’s my drink of choice but I really do like it, though it doesn’t remind me of Christmas so much as summer, when I drink a lot of G&Ts. Ooh and gin martinis are good too. I like this drink recipe though, maybe I’ll try it. There’s only so much bourbon I can drink.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust

Hey there! I hope everyone here with me on the east coast of the US is doing okay after hurricane Sandy. Roy (the boyfriend), Marshall (the cat), and I were lucky enough to get through it with no damage. I’m thinking of those of you who were not as lucky as Roy and I. =(

Sandy brought some cold weather. Soup weather! I’m normally not the biggest soup fan. It’s too one-note for me. I like some variety in each bite of my dishes. I think I came up with a solution. A biscuit baked on top of thick tomato soup with cashew cream and oregano pesto. So tasty!

Ingredients for Biscuts

  • 2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plain soymilk
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoons baking soda
  • .5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegan margarine (earth balance)

Directions for Biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread a little bit of olive oil on the parchment paper.
  3. Combine the soy milk and apple cider. Let is sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor with an S blade, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Drop the margarine into the food processor and combine.
  6. Add the soy milk mixture to the processor and pulse unti it becomes dough-like.
  7. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  8. Roll the dough until it is about 1″ thick.
  9. Pick which bowl you will be serving your soup in. Use the top of the bowl as a cookie cutter and cut the dough up.
  10. Put the dough onto the cookie sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Ingredients for Cashew Cream

  1. 1/2 cup raw cashews
  2. Just enough unsweetened, plain soy milk to cover the cashews.
  3. A small pinch of salt

Directions for Cashew Cream

  • Soak the cashews in water for a few hours.
  • Strain the cashews.
  • Combine the cashews, salt, and soy milk in a VitaMix. Blend until smooth.

Ingredients for Oregano Pesto

  • 1.5 cups torn spinach
  • 1 cups fresh oregano leaves
  • 0.5 cup parsley
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1.5-4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions for Oregano Pesto

  1. Process everything but the olive oil in a food processor.
  2. Continue processing and slowly pour the olive oil in until it is the right consistency.
Ingredients for Soup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole, fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 4 tbs red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet
  2. Simmer onion and garlic until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes and sauté until warm.
  4. Add the tofu, red wine, salt, basil, and pepper.
  5. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Or pour the soup into a blender to puree.
  6. Pour the into the previously decided upon bowl.
  7. Top with the biscuit, cashew cream, and pesto.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust | Ghee is Good - […] Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust […]

(via Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust »… « We Live Social - […] (via Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust » V.K.Rees Photography) […]

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Ginny - Dear Vanessa, I voted for your photography blog, and I’m so glad you won the BEST. My new daughter-in-law was a finalist in the New Blog category, fortheloveofthesouth.com, which was a huge honor for her. I really am in love with your work. Today I searched online and could not find those adorable, labeled spice tins which were featured on your entry page. Would you possibly know where I could find some like them? Thanks and CONGRATULATIONS!

Dianne @ Veggiegirl - Beautiful! This looks almost too good to eat. Almost.

Jes - So glad to hear that you all weathered the storm ok!! And that soup looks like it’d be the best for cooler weather. Can’t beat biscuits, right?

Caitlin - this soup looks like such a comfort during sandy. i hope you weren’t too devastated by the hurricane. ny looks like a warzone. we were lucky in philly. just lots of rain and wind, trees and limbs down, and lots of power outages.

Reem | Simply Reem - Beautiful as always!!!
I’m glad that you all are fine…

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust » V.K.Rees …: Vege Bun ~ Vege Food on Vege Bun, Vegetarian Bun, Veggie Bun, Vegan Bun, Vege Life Products, Vege Baking Buns, Vege Pastry Buns - [...] post:  Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup with a Bread Crust » V.K.Rees … Tags: cashew-cream, creamy-roasted, directions, dough, food-photographer, new-york-city, [...]

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Mmmm such a tasty soup!!

Colynn - Looks delicious! The pictures are so pretty too! Glad you made it through Sandy okay.

Mandee - You are a genius! What could make soup better than a carby topping? And roast tom soup is my fave :) Stunning photos, as always!

Vegetable Buns

So today’s post is not a recipe. I just want to share one of my favorite foods with you: vegetable buns from Hunan Delight. Hunan Delight is in the middle of Park Slope, Brooklyn and has some of the best vegetarian Chinese food I’ve ever had. It’s not the first thing to pop into most people’s minds when thinking of vegetarian food in Park Slope, but the veg selection on their menu is outstanding. I’m picky about the level of greasiness in my Chinese food and Hunan Delight has the perfect amount.

These veggies buns are warm, fluffy, and light. I’m eager to try and make them at home. What makes these so amazing is the bread is not doughy, it’s light and, well, bread-y. I’ve yet to find a recipe that promises a bread-like texture instead of a dumpling-like texture. Please share if you know of one!

Two things I want to mention real quick:

  1. I put up a new portfolio page! I’m still tweaking it but this is the core of it. If you have a moment, check it out and let me know your thoughts. =)
  2. I won’t be posting for about a week. I’ll be out of town for awhile to be a bridesmaid in my dear friend Lauren’s wedding. I’m so excited to be part of her day! The dresses we are wearing are adorable. Lauren is an amazingly talented polaroid photographer and jewelry maker. You should totally check her out on etsy.

Vegetable Buns - […] Photo: vkreesphotography.com (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); View the recipe: http://vkreesphotography.com/vegetable-buns/ […]

batya - I just discovered you through Pinterest and decided to check out your site. I’m a native NYer who just left Brooklyn to be near the mountains (!), but I used to eat at Hunan Delight whenever I got a Chinese-food craving. They used to have a vegetarian “Birds Nest”– that was pretty addictive. Next time I’m visiting my folks, I’ll check out their vegetable buns. Your photographs are GORGEOUS. And the buns look so good! I never realized how nice Hunan Delight’s food could look until now :) Any chance you can get their recipe :)

Veronique Perrot - Oh they look beautiful. I wish I could make them myself :)

V.K.Rees Photography - Vegan Yack Attack Hah! Let me know if you find a good one. =)

vkrees - Thanks Mandee! =)

Mandee - Ohhh, they look so good! It’s been so long since I’ve had dumplings.

Love your new portfolio page, too! And those bridesmaids dresses are lovely – have a great time!

Vegetable Buns » V.K.Rees Photography: Vege Bun ~ Vege Food on Vege Bun, Vegetarian Bun, Veggie Bun, Vegan Bun, Vege Life Products, Vege Baking Buns, Vege Pastry Buns - [...] more here:  Vegetable Buns » V.K.Rees Photography Tags: chinese, food, food-photographer, food-photography, hunan-delight, park-slope, photography, [...]

Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! - Damn, you got my hopes up! But, now, I’m sitting here drooling over these beautiful pictures. I’ll need to find a good recipe, too!

Tuesday Roundup: vegan blogs make me happy | VeganMoFo - [...] says love like being wrapped up like a dumpling and these beauties from V.K. Rees were like a culinary [...]

lazysmurf - I have this great book called “Dumplings from around the world” it is really thorough and wonderful, I bet you’d love it. I remember the recipe from the chinese buns being very bready.

Jes - I’ve never been able to find a vegetable bun (all are pork filled)–those look incredible! Also, your portfolio page is great (definitely need to get on mine soon)!!

Jojo - Those look so good!

mel - I have a bao recipe on my old blog. http://veglicious.blogspot.com/2007/06/bao-fest.html Steaming is magical! They seem sad and boring while rising, but just a few seconds inside the steamer and they puff up like clouds!

Caitlin - in all the years that i enjoyed chinese food before going vegan or gluten-free, i never had a bun! they look so bready and delicious, it makes me sad i never tried one. i love all of your props for this shoot!

have fun at the wedding! the dresses are adorable!

Kaycee - I was hoping for a recipe, they look amazing! I am definitely stopping by there when I am in New York next! YUM!

Ashley - LOVE the creativity in this post. You are so very talented. I’m loving your portfolio. Simple and very easy to navigate. It focuses on the photos, as it should! ;) The “light food” section is killing me!!! Delicious.