How much worrying, hand wringing and sobbing can one do before giving it a rest? Turns out, only so much before one has to have drinks. T, C, R & R came over Saturday for food, drinks and merriment fueled by C's cooking and my cocktail shaking.
I will start with my inspiration. Last week I attended a blogger dinner at STK, where mixologist/genius/devil Pablo Moix mixed some of the best drinks I have ever tasted. I was very taken by the uniqueness of the Green Intensity. Made originally from Aviation gin, with lime, serrano peppers and basil, it stunned me into silence. My mouth was full, naturally.
I tweaked the recipe at the behest of my company. They wanted a vodka evening. Also, not having his recipe, I had to use some of my own magic tricks. Instead of fresh squeezed lime, I used limeade. I only partially dilute the limeade, maybe 75% of the dilution called for. This does away with the need for simple syrup, but I always have agave nectar on hand if need be. The first round I simply added some sliced strands of basil and one slice of serrrano to the shaker. They turned out great, but not quite enough heat and definitely not enough basil. I had perfected them by the third round. I put four slices of a smaller, slightly darker serrano and more hand torn basil. Hand tearing the basil released far more of the herbaceous oils. Fantastic. Next time they will be this good the first time around. With regard to vodka and limeade, I used 125% of an unfully diluted limeade to 100% vodka. If you want me to come up with more exact measurements, use the email button up above to your right. I would love to share my interpretation of the Green Intensity with you. If you are ever near STK, stop in for one of Pablo's drinks. If we are ever there together, it will be my treat.
I also constructed an amuse-bouche for the evening before my cooking skills/competance/patience went south. I cooked from a cookbook, Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites that Delight Before the Meal Begins by Rick Tramonto. This recipe was so simple and really delightful. Asparagus terrine in aspic with goat cheese sauce.
I started with gelatin sheets from Surfas, the most orgasmic cooking store in our solar system. You plunge the weird dry sheets into a bowl of cold water an wait for them to soften.
Next, you squeeze the water out of them, add to broth and dissolve. I used an organic veggie broth from a shelf bought at Whole Foods (not boullion this time). Did you hear that, commentator? I am all that is wrong with culinary arts in this country. Broth from a shelf! I degraded amazing ingredients by using something non-homemade! (Psst: it tasted good!)
I blanched the asparagus. For once I did not overcook. I actually tried to undercook and they came out perfect. Strive for mediocrity and achieve perfection. Ta effing da.
Layer the stalks in the plastic wrapped terrine, and spoon liquid aspic over each layer. When placing the terrine in the fridge to set, I put a can of corn over the covered asparagus, to mold the stalks closely together.
Right before serving, I simply mixed 5 oz of goat cheese with a couple tablespoons of water. I lay this simple sauce across the bottom of the plate, placed the asparagus gently in the sauce, and sprinkled a few micro greens on top.
It was incredibly springy. Hope springs eternal in my house. Each day.