Tag Archives: whiskey

Cass’s Italian Chicken Soup & Hot Toddies (aka the cure for what ails ya)

I’ve been sick recently.  You’ve probably been sick recently.  And if you haven’t, you probably will get sick before winter is over.  It’s science.  Sorry for ya.

However, over the course of last week, I consumed two things that really seemed to help with my plague: Wheat’s grandmother Cass’s Italian Chicken Soup, and hot toddies.

Italian Chicken Soup | Oysters & Pearls

I’m calling this “Italian” chicken soup because 1) Cass is Italian, and 2) it’s catchy.  And I have been reprimanded for calling it “chicken noodle soup” by Wheat.  So there ya have it.

Not only is chicken soup comforting (and delicious) on a cold, blustery winter day, but there is scientific evidence that it helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.  So get in the kitchen (or have your nurse get in the kitchen) and make this soup.

Cass’s Italian Chicken Soup Recipe
serves six with plenty of leftovers


– 1 whole chicken (innards removed)
– 2 cups orzo pasta
– six to eight celery sticks, broken in half
– 8 to 10 carrots (or a small package), cut into coins
– grated Romano cheese for garnishing
– Salt & Pepper to taste


Boil chicken and celery sticks together until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the celery sticks and chicken from the pot.  Pick the meat from the chicken and return to the pot.  (Don’t add the celery back – just toss it or compost it).   Add water if necessary.  Add the carrots and orzo and cook until the orzo is done.  Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with grated Romano cheese.

Italian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

I prefer to “grate” my Romano cheese using a microplane.  I’ve mentioned it before, but it makes the prettiest little curls that melt really easily into whatever food you’re serving.

Cass's Italian Chicken Soup Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

I swear, a week’s worth of chicken soup (plus a Z-pack) is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Italian Chicken Noodle Soup | Oysters & Pearls

And even if you aren’t the least little bit sick, I promise you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.  I’ll never go back to regular old chicken noodle soup again!

Cass's Italian Chicken Soup Recipe  | Oysters & Pearls

In addition to consuming massive quantities of chicken soup, I also have been imbibing quite a few hot toddies.  With a non-stop cough, my throat is hurting something fierce, and these hot cocktails really soothe a sore and scratchy throat.


Hot Toddy Recipe


– 1 miniature bottle (50 mL) good bourbon
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus a fresh squeeze
– 6 ounces hot water


Pour your mini bottle of bourbon into a mug.  I thoroughly enjoyed using Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, as well as Wild Turkey American Honey whiskey.  Heat the water up in a measuring cup in the microwave.  Add the honey to the bourbon, then pour the hot water over the spoon to remove all the honey and stir until the honey dissolves completely.  Add the lemon juice, stir again, and garnish with a lemon wedge.  Then heat the entire mug up for 30 seconds or so to make sure it’s especially hot and steamy.  Sip and enjoy.

I swear, this saved my voice last week.  And made me feel far less lame sitting at home on NYE, because hey, at least I was drinking bourbon?

I hope that if you are indeed ill, that these two common cures for the common cold help you muddle through it.

Happy Cold & Flu Season, y’all!

Until Next Time

Southern Pepper Sauce

I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve blogged… I guess it has been a few days!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend.  As I’m sure you could tell by my Instagram, we had a fantastic time in Charleston.  I’m ready to go back again!  If you were following along, I’ll be popping back in later in the week to share a how-to on the special/hilarious/ridiculous cake I baked for the bride’s bachelorette party. ;)

But alas, it’s back to the grind today.  So to spice up all of our first days back to work, I’m sharing a hot pepper sauce recipe.

Pepper sauce is as ubiquitous in the South as sweet tea, and I challenge you to find a Southern cook who serves collards without it.

Southern HOT Pepper Sauce  | Oysters & Pearls

I have saved up bourbon and whiskey bottles all year in preparation for pepper sauce making.  The time finally came, and I only had three saved up.  There’s only two of us here, and we only drink whiskey/bourbon in the fall and winter (usually), so cut me some slack.  On that note, we should probably stock up for football season…

Anyway, I had a ton of tabasco peppers thanks to my coworker, Donna.  She asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted some peppers.  Her mother grows them and had a whole lot of extra.  I obviously said I’d love to have some.  She came to work a week later with 3 grocery bags full!  Two bags were chock full of tabasco peppers. The other bag was full of another type, but that’s another story and another recipe for another day.  :)

Tabasco Peppers | Oysters & Pearls

I spent a whole day with these peppers two weekends ago.  First I washed them, and while I had them in the sink and in the colander I de-stemmed them.  I didn’t wear gloves for this but you might want to, just in case.  Just hold the pepper in one hand, and quickly twist off the stem with your other hand.  They should pop right off.

Stemmed Tabasco Peppers | Oysters & Pearls

Once you’ve got them all clean and stemless, you’re ready to stuff bottles.  Fill a clean bottle (of any kind) about half-way or 3/4 of the way full of peppers.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of white or apple cider vinegar (your choice – I used apple cider vinegar, 5% acidity) to a boil.  Once you have your bottles stuffed and the vinegar is boiling, pour the vinegar into the bottles over the peppers.  Fill to the top, and add a drop or two of olive oil.  That’s it!

Whiskey Bottle Full of Tabasco Peppers for Southern Pepper Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

These are shelf stable, and can even be “refilled” once or twice with more boiling vinegar and a couple more drops of olive oil.

How to Make Southern Pepper Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

I use a flask funnel to make filling the jars a little easier, but it would be much easier with a bigger funnel.  They sell them all over the place.  I’m just too cheap to buy another one to make my life easier.

Blanton's Whiskey Bottle of Pepper Sauce  Oysters & Pearls

You can use any kind of peppers for pepper sauce, and you can mix up different types of peppers.  I will warn you: pepper sauce made with tabasco peppers is HOT.  Like, really hot.  So use it sparingly.

Speaking of using it, I use it on all the usual suspects: collards, mustards, turnips, and peas, but it’s especially delicious on South in a Bowl! {click here for recipe}

Pepper sauce is found on tables from home kitchens to the finest of dining establishments around the South, and no true Southern meal is really complete without it.  At least, in my  book.

Southern Hot Pepper Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

What’s your favorite pepper to use in pepper sauce?  Do you use it in any unusual ways?