I wish I could say I was
So what was on the menu for this anticipated event? SOUP! Of course! Soup can be reheated on a gas stove that works with the touch of a match when there is no power to spark the electronic ignition. Baking isn't possible, so that had to be done in advance. Friday night was a vegetarian shepherd's pie that I learned from Ginny Callan's old Horn of the Moon Cookbook. Last gasp for the oven, is what I was thinking~ I also baked teff oat bran muffins, which are a protein whole grain powerhouse. And then I tried something from the King Arthur cookie cookbook: Tea & Spice Squares.
The choreography of a pre-snowstorm cooking frenzy involves getting the baked goods done early in the day when the snow is first accumulating. Beginning by roasting the beef shanks, the oven is rocking and rolling by the time the muffins are ready to go in. The spice bars went last. In between, the beef stock gets going on the back burner. By the end of the day, the casserole is baking for supper and the stock is ready to be strained and set out on the screened porch to chill. It's time for a cocktail (The Boulevardier because that bit of snow shoveling the Big Kitty attempted aggravated the upper body muscles that had already been insulted by schlepping heavy electrical cables for the generators at the UPS hub. He needed good booze.)
Here ya go:
Start by burying the cocktail glass in the ice bin in the freezer.
1.5 ounces bourbon (don't be cheap, use the good stuff)
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (if you score a bottle of Carpano Antica, now is the time to use it)
Combine the above in a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Stir, stir and keep stirring until you have mixed those ingredients extremely well and gotten them extremely cold.
Strain this into that very cold cocktail glass and plunk a cherry into it. Cheers!
If you are thinking this is an awful lot like a Negroni, you wouldn't be far off. But we think this one is a grand variation on that theme, and the addition of the Carpano Antica to our bar simply elevated this drink to a whole different level. Instead of cheap bourbon, I used Woodford's Reserve. A tip of my ski cap to Dr. Cocktail for this recipe.
Those Tea & Spice Squares were glazed with confectioners' sugar and Bailey's Irish Cream. Perfect!
So yesterday, I learned that roasting the shanks eliminated a lot of the fat that would be solidified on the top of my beef stock. When I brought the pot in from the porch (Listen, don't be dumb - there are critters that will smell food so tie down the lid!) I discovered this wonderful fact and I also felt my stock was a lot richer. I finally used up the last of the spuds and carrots from our summer veggie share. Between the pie and the soup, that was all she wrote. The soup got a fistful of barley to enrich it, and everything from the aforementioned spuds 'n carrots to leftover green beans, peas and a couple of cans of diced tomatoes. As usual, it was a great cold weather supper to warm the cockles post-snow shoveling.
A cocktail for vegetable soup is kind of a weird thing, but we settled on the French 75. It's not exactly our favorite, but it provided a nice tart counterpoint to the so-normal-it-stinks soup. The twist this time was that we used a little bottle of Lamarca prosecco instead of champagne.
Chill a flute in the ice bin while you put together the following in your shaker:
2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon (or so) simple syrup
Shake with ice until it's good and cold. Strain into the chilled flute and top with the prosecco (about an ounce). Garnish with a cherry and a long twist of lemon rind.
Word to the wise: give the mixture a taste before you strain. The lemon might be super tart and you may need to buffer it with a bit more simple syrup. You don't want to get the Calvin Coolidge look when drinking...
So, here we are on Saturday - more shoveling. The car has been cleaned off (yesterday) and the sun today made the sidewalk passable. BK cleared more space around his van so he can slide in and out with ease. Leftover casserole is on the menu and because it's Sunday, we're back to our evening glass of cheap white wine. Cin-cin!
[Sidebar: in the interest of keeping our cocktail experiments special, we do those only on Friday and/or Saturday evenings. It's healthier, and we like to observe the old-fashioned custom of smaller, but tastier, cocktails. Also, I am giving you the recipe for one cocktail. Increase the amounts as needed.
The three martini lunch of the 50s and 60s was possible because those were barely 2 ounces each, as compared with the vat of gin you get these days. It was a far better custom because the drink arrived icy cold and was consumed in that fashion. Today's large (7 ounces and up) cocktails get warm before you can consume them. Bond never nursed a martini, did he? Well, then... ]