Monthly Archives: January 2015

Surviving the Blizzard…

Blizzard 2015 a

(PS – A week later, the snow completely covers the patio furniture and is up to the window.)

(PSS – Three weeks later, my back has about had enough of the daily shoveling.  The driveway get longer and longer.  I’m pretty sure it stretches for at least 3 blocks, now.  Running out of places to put the snow…)

(PSSS – Six weeks later, the snow is still there.  Why, yes, I do think I’ll have another Toddy.  We’ve probably added at least another foot or two.  However, spring is just around the corner.  I can feel it in the air.  We had some melting yesterday: our first 40F degree day since mid-December.  Although, last night dropped below zero again, I think hope the deep freeze temperatures are mostly behind us.)

Warming

A Winter Remedy

2 oz Whiskey

1/4 oz Lemon Juice

2 tsp Demerara Sugar

Boiling Water

Lemon Peel studded with 4-6 Cloves

Add the sugar to a mug.  Fill half way with the boiling water.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the studded lemon peel garnish and stir it around a bit.  Next pour in the lemon juice and whiskey.  Stir a final time.  Enjoy.

Pour

Warding off the cold one toddy at a time.

Pour 2

Whiskey

Toddy

Simple and delicious.

Blizzard…What blizzard?


Blue In Green: MxMo XCIII

Blue like the January sky.

Blue ghosts cross a white field

Ice blossoms dance in cold sunlight

Blue is the memory of color.

Chilling the Coup

Anyhoo, Blue is the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Ginhound!  The blue cocktail trend is supposed to become a thing, so this seems very a la mode.   I’m not really one to add food coloring to my drinks just in order to turn a perfectly good martini blue, or a beer green.  However, it is near impossible to walk a hard line on food coloring.  I’m pretty sure that Campari contributes a fair amount of it, as does Angostura and a host of other common occupants of my bar, for that matter.  But as for just adding a few drops of blue… well, that would be too easy anyway.

So, I originally set out thinking about how I could turn a drink blue more naturally.  (I also didn’t have any Blue Curacao or other blue liqueur.)  Ginhound had plenty of good ideas of using red cabbage, blueberries and the like, which could totally work, but I wasn’t feeling it.  Then I thought about ingredients that have blue in the name, then cocktails that have blue in the name…  But that’s when things got more interesting.  I started thinking about blue outside the food context and things/feelings associated with that color/word.  The challenge to create something around an abstract theme is exciting!

Enter Miles Davis

A smoky, blue lit club swirling sounds about the atmosphere.  Jazz always has had this hazy blue vibe to me.  Not all jazz recordings of course, but rather the general idea of it.

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

“Why does Kind of Blue possess such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius…. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality….”  – AllMusic senior editor Stephen Erlewine

Let’s create a cocktail inspired by Kind of Blue!

Establishing 1

After listening to the record, I knew right away that the rounded sophistication of the sound called out for cognac.  Naturally, my thoughts turned to the Vieux Carré, hailing from the land of jazz with a solid base of cognac.  But I didn’t want to just make a classic cocktail.  I wanted something that spoke to the source material more specifically.

Lemon

The finer details of the drink, therefore, needed more boundaries.  So, I narrowed the album down to one track in particular, Blue in Green.  The soft piano and bass undertones would be played nicely by the cognac.  An accent of scotch for my smoky haze.  The brassy inflections that pop above those undertones add complexity and high notes to the sound and really make the music interesting.  Bitters and a twist of lemon.  A little sweet vermouth to echo the Vieux Carré, add mouth-feel and round it all out.

Let’s swirl some green chartreuse into a chilled coup for the improvisation and a subtle shout out to another New Orleans classic.  Then, we’ll pour our Blue into the Green!

Chartreuse

The Stir

The Pour

From Above

Blue in Green

1 oz  Cognac

1 oz  Scotch

1/2 oz  Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes  Angostura Bitters

2 Dashes  Peychaud Bitters

2 Dashes  Orange Bitters (Fee Bros.)

1 Bar Spoon Green Chartreuse

Lemon Peel for Garnish

Set a cocktail glass to chill.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixing glass/tin.  Add ice and stir.

In the chilled glass, add a bar spoonful of green chartreuse and swirl it around the glass.

Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the coup, twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils and garnish.

Profile

Blue in Green – a “subtly shifting” cocktail.

Check out the Mixology Monday round up here.


Kind of like Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake

But not quite.

I love thyme

I am not really that familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi’s work, but he is apparently pretty buzz worthy these days.  Especially if you are a vegetarian and/or a follower of the British culinary scene.

We, however, were introduced to him via the gift of a cookbook.  Specifically, Plenty More.  It is a fascinating book.  Fun combinations of ingredients often with interesting preparations and presentations.  Not too mention some really mouthwatering photos, which are laid out in the food paradise manner.  Mine, in contrast, are photographed in the little-kitchen-that-could.

We pretty much want to make (or at least eat) everything in the book, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.  So, after talking about making the cauliflower cake for weeks, I decided, rather randomly, to make it after work.

Cauliflower Cake 3

Turns out, I did not have basil, the rosemary I thought I had was a sad sight and there was only a small chunk of Parmesan… (oddly enough, I did have Nigella seeds…)

Rather than scrap the whole idea, I decided to take the base concept and just use what I did have.  Here’s what I did.

Ingredients 1

Cauliflower Cake

1 Smallish Cauliflower, broken up into bite size florets (I also chopped up and used the stem bits)

1 Medium Red Onion

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

5 T Olive Oil

1 Bunch Chard, rinsed and stems removed (we’re going to use the stems)

8 Sprigs Thyme

7 Eggs

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Turmeric

1 Cup Cheddar, grated

1/2 Cup Parmesan, grated

2 T White Sesame Seeds

2 tsp Nigella Seeds (Poppy Seeds or Black Sesame Seeds will also work)

2 tsp Mustard Seeds

Salt and Black Pepper

A bit of Butter

You’ll also need parchment paper and a 9 1/2 inch spring form pan

Alright preheat your oven to 400 F.

Cauliflower

Take the cauliflower pieces and place them in a pot.  Sprinkle over them 1 tsp or so of salt then add enough water to cover.  Simmer for about 15 minutes until they are quite soft, but not disintegrating. Strain and leave them in the colander to air dry while you prepare the rest.

Red Onion

With the red onion, we want to slice off some nice rings about a quarter inch thick.  Set those aside.  We’ll be using them for decorative effect later on.  Deeply colored rings are going to look best here, no harm in being selective.  The red onion I had was a lighter purple color and the end look was a bit washed out.  Give the rest of the onion, along with the garlic and chard stems, a rough chop.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium until it shimmers.  Then add the onion, garlic, chard stems, bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Saute for about 10 minutes until soft.  The remove from the heat to cool and discard the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.

Eggs with Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add the roughly chopped chard leaves, and the onion mixture.  Remove the thyme leaves from their stems and add the leaves to the bowl as well.  Whisk it all around again.  Add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, a tsp of salt, and a tsp of black pepper.  Whisk it until smooth.  Add in the cheese, reserving about 1/4 cup cheddar.  Whisk to incorporate.  Gently stir in the cauliflower.

Seeds

Now let’s prep the spring form pan.  Cut a parchment circle to fit the bottom of the pan.  Then cut a strip of parchment long enough to run the circumference of the pan and overlap itself by a couple of inches.  This overlap will help stick the parchment ends together and keep the strip in place.  Lay out this strip and rub with liberally with butter like your buttering a pan.  Fit that strip around the sides of the pan with the buttered side facing inward.  In a small bowl, mix the sesame, nigella, and mustard seeds together.  Toss the seeds around evenly on the buttered side-strip of parchment, we want them to stick.

Seeds on the Side

Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan.  Spread it out evenly and sprinkle around the reserved cheddar.  Then arrange the red onion rings on the top.

Ready to Bake

Pop it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cauliflower Cake 2


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