In Old Havana, Cuba, there is a bar called El Floridita. In 1917, a Catalan bartender named Constantino Ribalaigua Vert began working there and was soon known for the quality of his cocktails. Even if he was an expert mixologist with rum and various fruit juices, he will always be known for his invention of La Floridita Daiquiri.
If you subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) each summer, you know the secret thrill that comes from opening your box each week and seeing your farm fresh treasures. Unfortunately, there is often the “what tha’…” moment when you get a vegetable that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, let alone know how to cook. This week’s WTH vegetable was the kohlrabi. I’ve cooked kohlrabi before, mostly in a stir fries, but it’s not ever on my shopping list. I got a text from one of my friends who got the same thing in her box asking “how do I cook this?”. This became another CSA box challenge. I decided to do some research on how to use kohlrabi.
Happy Summer Solstice! Today is the first day of summer and it calls for a cocktail that will be great for those hot days spent with friends by the pool. A Watermelon Vodka cooler, perhaps?
Maybe when you were younger, in college say, did you ever take a watermelon, cut a hole in the top, then proceed to upturn a whole bottle of vodka into that hole? Once that bottle of vodka had emptied itself into the watermelon, you plugged it back up then put it in the fridge for a couple of days. When your 20 or 30 friends showed up at your pool a few day later, everyone got to enjoy slices of boozy, cold fruit. Because it was so fruity and refreshing, those slices went down fast and lethal. Now that I’m a grown woman, I like to think that I have moved beyond those years and can drink with a little bit more sophistication. Now, I blend the watermelon and vodka and put it in a glass. See the difference?
Last month, my sister-in-laws came for a visit and brought with them 5 pounds of beautiful, jumbo shrimp, fresh off the boat in Ocean Springs, Mississippi that morning. Squeee! What a treat! To do justice to that treat, we decided to get out the turkey fryer and do a little cooking outside – a Carolina-style Low Country Shrimp Boil!
I don’t know how it came up in conversation, but my good friend Carolyn was telling me about drinking tomato beer during her summers in Savannah. My first thought about combining beer with tomato juice was “Yuck. That cannot be good”. The idea of it stuck in my head, though. After our first week of sweltering heat, I was ready for a summer cocktail that was thirst quenching and different. A beer cocktail started to sound like it might hit the spot. A quick internet search showed, to my surprise, that beer and tomato juice is a pretty common combination. It also turns out, that beer and tomato juice cocktails aren’t just found in pockets of the Southern U.S., they have been around a long time in Mexico, where they are known as Micheladas.
I made a couple for me and the hubby and they were good. REALLY good! So good, that I think they might be my new favorite summer drink.
The daughter and I went on a food adventure last week and so, as we always do, we headed to Buford Highway. Among the many, many immigrant populations that you will find represented along Atlanta’s melting pot is Korean. Up and down Buford Highway, you can find many places that have typical Korean cuisine – bbq, noodle dishes, soups and rice bowls. So many to choose from but we ended up at Woo Nam Jeong Stone Bowl House, a Korean restaurant that is known for its version of bibimbap.
The Maximilian Affair cocktail salutes Mexico and France by combining the tastes of smoky Mexican mezcal with the sweet floral French elderflower liqueur. It’s a surprising combination that works great together. Which is odd, considering that it was named for an historic event that took place in Mexico in the 1860’s which wasn’t so sweet. The Maximilian Affair involved an Austrian Archduke and an attempt by those meddling French to rule Mexico.
Grilled fish is one of our favorite summer dinners, but not all fish do well cooked over a dry heat. Some fish do better poached or steamed. One way to prepare them is by cooking fish in parchment paper, or “en papillote” which is French for “in paper”. En Papillote is a simple technique where you put a fish fillet, some vegetables, some aromatics (such as herbs or garlic) and a bit of liquid & oil into a pouch made of parchment paper, then roast it quickly at a high temperature, steaming the fish in it’s own juice. This method seals in the flavors of the fish and veggies, while keeping them very moist. And the best part is when you bring the parchment pouches to the table and everyone gets a peek inside. It’s like opening a present… a delicious present.