Friends Without Kids

We had friends without kids over for drinks on Sunday night.  While I love my kids, there are times when even I struggle to find them perfectly adorable (give me a break, they are four and two years old), so I didn’t want to subject our childless friends to an evening with Kathy Lee Gifford, talking incessantly about my kids and pointing out their cuteness.

My solution was to have our friends over for cocktails and appetizers and ask them to come over just a half hour shy of the girls bedtime.  That way, they got to experience just how adorable #1 and #2 are, but didn’t have to overdo it.

I made a pitcher of whiskey sours,

Rosemary Cashews,

Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry,

and put out a couple of bowls of store-bought olives, an Herbs de Provence blend and one stuffed with blue cheese.

It was perfect, except for my oldest daughter whining that she only got snacks for dinner and saying that she wanted a “real dinner” and taking an extra half hour to get to bed.  Seriously, you’re killing me.

It was nice to have our coffee table re-live the days before kids.

But, even our coffee table only needs a little reminding from time to time.  It likes having kids too.

– Catherine

Early Mother’s Day

My husband has to work on Mother’s Day this weekend, so he decided that we’d celebrate Mother’s Day last weekend.  As in two days ago.  I would have written about it earlier, I’ve just been so full.

We started with Derby Mint Juleps on Saturday and then had a dinner of Panko-Crusted Salmon with Warm French Lentils:

Delicious.  But wait, there’s more.  On Sunday morning, we woke up to Blueberry and Lemon Crepes with Vanilla Custard and Strawberry and Ginger Mimosas.

Infusing the simple syrup with fresh ginger for the mimosas:

Finished mimosa, shaken in a cocktail shaker and strained, so it had a uniform consistency and no pulp:

The amount of work he put into Mother’s Day was sweet, but now I just feel dread about Father’s Day.

On Sunday night, I made beef short rib ragu, using a pork ragu recipe.

I hope you have a great Mother’s Day this weekend and your husband makes you something delicious.  If not, you could always show him our menu.  Just sayin.

– Catherine

Quatro de Mayo

I was in the car yesterday listening to an interview with Gustavo Arellano on NPR.  He wrote “How Mexican Food Conquered America” and he talked about how his opinion of mass-produced Mexican food has changed dramatically over the course of his professional career.  He used to feel that Americans were wasting their time on food that was bastardized from its roots, but he’s mellowed and now sees its as a “gateway food”.  His theory:  if we explore better, more authentic Mexican food as a result of eating the stuff we can find in strip malls, then the cheap, ubiquitous Mexican food (TexMex or otherwise) has served its delicious, melty purpose.

What he doesn’t know is that I’ve been ruined by globalization.  I’m pretty sure Gustavo didn’t mean that we should start a meal with the best margarita recipe ever and then have an Asian beef salad.

We started dinner with this cocktail, Bon Appetit’s Agave Margarita.  I will never make margaritas any other way.  It was so delicious and not too sweet, which recipes using Triple Sec tend to be.

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin, made  a salad with THE BEST ginger vinaigrette ever (which I got from Andra) and a pot of sticky rice in the rice cooker and let everyone assemble their own plates.

Almost Andra’s Ginger Vinaigrette (she doesn’t use measurements)

1 part, about 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

2 parts, about 1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (using a small Microplane grater)

Splash of Mirin

Splash of soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Pepper to taste (there’s already enough salt in the soy sauce)

Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.

Enjoy with any cocktail or dessert you want.  Themes that span from cocktails to dessert are so 2011.

– Catherine

Pork, Cocktails and Zooby Zooby Zoo (Zou Bisou Bisou)

How many times do you think the song that Megan Draper sang to Don for his birthday has been downloaded today?  I probably would have been watching it through my hands if I hadn’t steeled myself for the premiere with a pitcher of Whiskey Sours.

Awkward, but she really pulled it off, didn’t she?

The Whiskey Sours were dessert.  Dinner was our favorite pork, braised with a combination of spices and onion and garlic and then served in tortillas with cilantro, lime, salsa verde, avocado, lettuce, jalapeno and refried black beans.  So good.

All that pork and those Whiskey Sours and the birthday singing and dancing (and the ruined white carpet) has definitely made us ready for Meatless Monday.

– Catherine

When Life Gives You Whiskey…

Ina Garten does everything better than the rest of us.  Her food, her house, her barn that is a giant kitchen and guest house in her backyard.  In the Hamptons.  Even her Whiskey Sours.  She calls for more lime juice than some recipes (some don’t even use lime).  I’ve improved her recipe further by adding more whiskey, because we like to live by the motto that “More is More”.   Especially when it comes to Zombies and whiskey.

My Whiskey Sours (same as Ina’s with an additional 1/4 cup of whiskey)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup whiskey (I use Jack Daniels but bourbon is also delicious)

2/3 cup simple syrup

I cannot say enough about this juicer.  It was my grandparents, which probably sums it up perfectly.  I’ve always fantasized about one of those very architectural press juicers that looks stylish on your countertop and is eco-friendly, but why would I take the extra time to juice limes and lemons when Happy Hour is looming like a hungry mouth-breathing Zombie?

– Catherine

%d bloggers like this: