Month: May 2008
Something more exciting
I have a bad case of Book Brain. Oh, people, is it ever bad. It doesn’t matter what I appear to be doing – eating, sleeping, bathing, talking, writing this sentence – because I am not really doing it. I am thinking about how to revise my manuscript. I am useless. Also, I am boring. Last week, Brandon and I had an argument over vanilla extract. When you argue with your husband over baking ingredients, you are a very boring person. This week, if we argue, I hope it’s over something more exciting, like bank robbery, or politics, or lace underwear, or who gets the last drop of gin from the cocktail shaker.
On Saturday, in an effort to combat Book Brain and feel less boring, I decided that we should have a dinner party. So I called our friends John and Olaiya, who kindly acquiesced, and we threw together a menu. John and Olaiya brought olives and beer, and Brandon and I made this old salad, which never really gets old, and this old pasta, which also never gets old, and I baked the chocolate bundt cake from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, which got old very quickly, because it wasn’t that great. But the best part, aside from distracting myself for a few hours with some of my favorite people, was the aforementioned cocktail shaker and the cocktail it contained.
I am not ordinarily much of a mixed-drinks person. I am mainly a wine, beer, and occasional gin-and-tonic kind of girl. But I have found my Summer Drink of 2008, and it is called a Gordon’s Cup. It starts with lime and cucumber, which are muddled together into a pale green pulpy mess that smells like Mexico and the beach and a hammock in the shade, and then you add gin, a smidge of simple syrup, and some ice, and you shake the whole thing until it’s nice and cold. And then, blessed be, you get to drink it. I found the recipe a couple of months ago, in the April issue of Bon Appétit, but until this past weekend, the weather didn’t feel quite warm enough to warrant bringing the gin out of the cabinet. However, now that it has come out, I don’t think it is ever going back in, because I need more Gordon’s Cups. But only after my revisions are done. Because I am boring.
Adapted from Bon Appétit, April 2008
We used Tanqueray gin for this drink – it’s our usual brand – but Plymouth would also be very nice. We served it in wide-mouth champagne glasses, but you could also use a rocks glass, which is what the original recipe recommends. Oh, and before you start, note that the quantities listed below make only one serving. You can scale them up easily, though.
To make the simple syrup called for below, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat, and boil for 1 minute. Cool the syrup to room temperature; then store it in the fridge indefinitely. (Or, if you cannot be bothered to make simple syrup, you can use superfine sugar to taste.)
2/3 of a small lime, cut into 6 wedges
2 (½-inch-thick) rounds of peeled cucumber
¼ cup gin
1 to 1 ½ Tbsp. simple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Place the lime and the cucumber in a cocktail shaker, and mash them with a muddler or wooden spoon until the lime is juiced and the cucumber is pulpy. Add the gin, 1 Tbsp. simple syrup, and 1 cup ice. Cover, and shake vigorously three times. (At this point, I recommend tasting a little bit: you might want a splash more gin, or a bit more simple syrup.) Pour the contents of the shaker into a glass – with or without some ice, as you see fit. Sprinkle with salt.
Note: To garnish this, you could use a wedge of lime or a thin sliver of cucumber. Brandon, however, wants to try a sprig of mint or cilantro next time.
Yield: 1 serving
Happy to report
Alright, guys. Do you remember that chickpea salad? The one that makes such a good lunch? The one that has five ingredients and takes five seconds to make, and that tastes ten times better than you expect it to? Well, I’ve just met its Italian cousin, and I can’t wait to introduce you. There are no chickpeas involved, but the feeling is the same, and I think you two are going to really hit it off. I love matchmaking. Especially when it involves wild mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. (I also enjoy it when it involves our friends Sam and Meredith, but that’s a whole other story.) I know it’s a little hard to tell what is happening in the photograph…Read more
Well. I know it’s May, and mid-May at that, and technically spring and all, so I probably shouldn’t be writing about something so wintry as braised onions. But today it was a cool 56 degrees outside, and anyway, Braised onions. With butter. And Madeira. On pasta. It’s never the wrong season for that, is it? I hope not. Plus, I hear the weather has been iffy on the East Coast too, and heck, in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s autumn, so it must be chilly. Right? Right. I feel entirely justified. Last week we had a house guest. His name is Ben, and he is an opera director, and his wife is one of Brandon’s old friends from college. The two…Read more
A starting place
I got some very exciting news on Saturday, and before I do anything else, I can’t help but share it: namely, that my book is available for pre-order on Amazon! A very kind reader of this site wrote to tell me (Thank you, Emily!), and apparently she’d heard because Amazon sent her a notification e-mail. Maybe this happened to others among you? Either way, I promised to let you know when you could pre-order it, so here I am. Somebody asked me the other day about this pre-order thing, and why anyone would want to pre-order something, so in case you wonder, here’s the lowdown: Amazon gives a 5% discount on all pre-ordered books. So you save a bit of…Read more