My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.
As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:
- isn’t bright pink
- uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
- doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.
And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.
While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.
The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.
2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish
- Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
- Combine all ingredients and chill.
I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.
Well it’s been a while since this blog was used for actual recipes, and I think it’s time we get it back on track.
This recipe is super simple, thus the “classic” title. The Chef and I produced boatloads of this stuff on New Year’s Eve to top the 100 oysters he so kindly shucked. And no matter how fun it is to spice things up with something like an Asian mignonette, there is something unbeatable about a really great cocktail.
So much so that If you’ve got good oysters, I’d suggest going cracker-less. And if you’re looking for more of a kick, grate some extra fresh horseradish on top. That will light you up and clear your sinuses in the most delightful way.
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup prepared horseradish (or 3/4 cup freshly grated)
1 cup of ketchup (NO Hunt’s. It is The Worst.)
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire
- Mix and chill.
Filed under Sauces, Toppings
When I told Dot that The Chef and I would be making Hollandaise for (the third) “Christmas morning” (in a row), she did not look convinced. And I’ll admit, I had some reservations.
Any time a cookbook directs me to a double-boiler, I have flashbacks of making those damn cake balls that everyone loves that are 100% NOT worth it. Trying to squish cake and icing into balls so you can dip them in rapidly hardening “melted” chocolate does not bring holiday joy; it brings profanity.
Anyway, The Chef directed me through the cheater technique for sauces (i.e. the blender), and I have no idea why anyone would go old school ever again. The consistency came out perfect, and the lemon juice provided just the right amount of acidity to cut through all the glorious buttah.
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
Add egg yolks to blender with salt and lemon juice. Blend.
- Blend on low, slowly adding melted butter. Sloooooowly. That’s the key.
- Serve immediately. Or if you have to wait a few minutes, keep in a warm – but not hot – spot in your kitchen until you’re ready.
I’d bet you can put this on top of anything from ham to cardboard, but we used it on the Honeycomb Breakfast Casserole, and I can verify that goodness first-hand.
For those of you who aren’t glued to your TV’s on Wednesday nights geeking out culinary-style, I must apologize for hijacking this blog for our Top Chef purposes. As a peace offering, I’m going to share a recipe that is one of the easiest and best I’ve found in a long time.
This recipe surfaced as I was researching sauces to top Pork Tenderloin a la Grosshans for the Lowery-Long engagement shindig. Sidenote: That tenderloin requires NO topping. The marinade makes an amazing sauce, and it is a hugely refreshing twist from the usual tenderloin marinade.
Anyway, if you’ve ever met Emily, you know everything she eats is accompanied by Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and covered in Honey Mustard. (“Not that stuff from a bottle. Ew! It’s just not right.”)
So I tried my hand at some homemade HM, and it is stupid easy and delish. The secret here is that most of it is neither honey nor mustard; it’s mayonnaise. Yup. All you mayo-haters out there can stick it because that is what makes this creamy, tangy perfectness. Get right with it.
1/2 cup mayo (Duke’s!)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Whisk together, chill and drizzle/dip your heart out. Simple as that.
It is no secret that I love beets. I once did a beta carotene only diet with my roommate. We lasted about 48 hours until we read that your skin can turn orange. Prune restaurant in NYC is one of the best and definitely in my top 5 restaurants in NYC. If you live there or are visiting you must go for dinner or brunch. The bone marrow will amaze you. It is also located on my favorite intersection in NYC (aka nexus of the universe) 1st and 1st. Anyways back to the beets, I think beets simply roasted with olive oil add cheese and nuts is always a tasty treat. However, Prune serves their beets with this amazing aioli sauce and the beet greens. I finally got my hands on the recipe. ENJOY! – ts
16–20 small (not baby) beets with greens attached
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup mild olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cut greens off beets, leaving 2″ of the stalks attached to beets. Wash greens and beets and set aside separately.
- Roast beets in oven (using method at right) until soft, about 1 hour. Unwrap beets and set aside to cool, then peel.
- Meanwhile, cook beet greens in a medium pot of boiling salted water over high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, squeezing out excess water, and put into a bowl. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- To serve, spoon some of the aïoli (recipe below) onto 4 small plates, then divide greens and beets between plates, putting greens on top of aïoli and beets on top of greens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Put garlic, mustard, and 1 tsp. salt into a medium bowl and use the back of a wooden spoon to crush them into a paste.
- Add egg yolk and whisk until pale.
- Add lemon juice and whisk until frothy.
- Gradually add vegetable oil, and olive oil, in slow steady streams, whisking constantly, until oils are incorporated and mixture is emulsified. Adjust seasonings.
It’s Monday, and due to the fact that I spent the better part of my Sunday sitting in traffic on I-40, all I want to do today is watch Netflix and play on Facebook as I normally would on Sunday. Unfortunately I have this stupid job thingy that’s totally ruining my plans.
So I’m giving my brain a break and posting something simple and fresh that I wish I’d had for lunch instead of the cold chicken fingers I actually ate. The Chef served this vinaigrette over roasted shrooms and carrots, and I must say between this and the baby carrot recipe, he’s actively proving that they aren’t just lame ranch-covered OM-related snacks from my childhood.
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 sesame oil
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
- Whisk together.
- Dress your veggies.
The Chef says this also works well as a marinade for lamb or beef. I cannot, however, vouch for lamb yet as that is one of the foods he has yet to make for me in an attempt to prove that it doesn’t, in fact, taste like dirt and barnyard like I think it does. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
As many of you know, I started a new job this week, and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing. And as it turns out, I’m not good at being clueless. At work, that is. I’m great at it on the weekends (See: the black eye I gave myself from tripping over Emily’s computer last Friday).
Photo from kissmyspatula.com
Anyway, my confusion over words and acronyms I don’t understand stops now, which is why I chose to dumb-down The Chef’s title of this post from “crudo” to “salad.” That is the speed I’m running on, people, so shift back a gear.
This salad reminds me of a simpler time when my biggest worry was what kind of wine I was going to drink alongside my Chef-prepared farm fresh MFM veggies… also known as last week. Seems like a year.
Anywho, this salad was fresh and fantastic, and it was the perfect side to the Seared Scallops with Mango Vinaigrette. The adorable baby carrots we had with it didn’t hurt either (recipe coming soon).
Lemon thyme vinaigrette:
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme
- Combine all ingredients except oil.
- Slowly add oil while whisking.
2 lbs zucchini, sliced as thin as possible (a mandoline or the slicer on your food processor is perfect for this)
2 tbsp crushed walnuts
shaved parmesan cheese, about 6 thin slices
salt to taste
- Place zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Toss zucchini with dressing and add walnuts. Top with parmesan cheese. Serve cold. With lots of white wine.