drinks, quickie style

Believe it or not, I have cooked things and eaten them in the last month, but first, what I’ve been drinking lately.

Tonight, it’s margaritas, unsurprisingly enough. We’re grilling up our own grilled stuffed burritos, along with Spanish rice and Spanish potatoes. And by “Spanish”, I mean, assuredly like nothing you’d find in Spain, but I’m throwing in lots of onion and garlic and oregano and cumin tomatoes and saying “hola” a lot. Also, after I cooked up the onions and garlic and poblano pepper for the rice, I deglazed the pan with tequila. Surely that counts for something.

Speaking of margaritas, we were at the liquor store yesterday and we noticed that our favorite tequila (El Tesoro anejo) was marked “close out”. We asked the cashier: close out? Surely that doesn’t mean you’re not going to carry it anymore. He told us yes, that once it was gone, it was gone. I turned to P. “We should buy more. The rest they have. I’m not even kidding.” I wasn’t even kidding. I’m still thinking of going back. Not tonight, obviously, as our state-run liquor is not available for purchase on Sundays. I wonder how many I can find…

Yesterday, we were helping a friend work on his house, so obviously, we were drinking beer. Later, he made us “vampire kisses”, which were 2 parts vodka, 1 part chambord, and a splash of cranberry juice. I highly recommend them. For dessert, we had Godiva chocolate liqueur and cream. And also vanilla ice cream topped with both the Godiva liqueur and Bailey’s. Also highly recommended. (Also, we ate Chinese food, in case you were thinking we just drank our dinner. Which we only did sort of.)

Friday, I was at my work’s corporate office and of course there was beer as it was Friday afternoon. When I’m sitting out on the patio, drinking a beer, soaking up the sun, I wonder why I don’t head over to work more often.

Thursday night, also at work, I spent the evening on another patio, this time with Clos du Bois Merlot. By the time we got to the two buck chuck Chardonnay, I thought it tasted OK. I mean, not good or anything. I wasn’t that drunk

Wednesday night was also Merlot. Francis Coppola. My hotel room had a gift basket with a half bottle in it. I don’t normally drink Merlot, but I thought both of these were pretty tasty. Not super complex and intriguing and the best wines ever. But tasty and drinkable

I probably wouldn’t drink that two buck chuck again. Well, not if it was my first glass anyway.

the search for the ultimate margarita (and a pretty good potato salad)

P. and I aren’t good with planning. But it generally works out OK because our days are full of good surprises. Saturday, we had this vague notion that we wanted to barbecue burgers. Seattle was just about tied with the surface of the sun for ambient temperature and the oven was an arch-enemy, to be avoided at all costs.

We stopped by Exotic Meats, planning to pick up some Kobe beef burgers. While we were there, I remembered the poetic waxings about wild boar bacon over at I Heart Bacon, so we picked up some of that also. And we hadn’t had ostrich burgers in a while, so we grabbed some of that too. And then we found out that on Saturdays, you get a dollar off a pound. We also learned that there are tastings every other Saturday. We came on the wrong Saturday, but I think we’ll have to check that out next time.

We stopped by Larry’s to get some avocado and buns and sundry other stuff. Larry’s was having some big lobster sale. They had live lobsters in ice out front — $8.97 a pound. As we were walking through the produce section, I asked P., “what do you want with your burger?” He looked at me, guilty (but cute) look on his face. “Lobster.”

So, lobster it was.

When we got home, we made margaritas. We’ve been on a quest for the ultimate margarita, and I have a huge barrage of thoughts about different kinds of tequilas and citrus choices and liqueurs and sugar and salt, but that’s an entry for another day. Our current favorite is this:

4 parts citrus juice (we’ve been using three limes and a half lemon)
2 parts simple syrup (easily made by heating equal parts sugar and water until dissolved)
3 parts El Tesoro anejo tequila
3 parts Grand Marnier

Put in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Do a bit of shakin and pour, straight up, into martini glasses.

Then, we saw Rachel Ray making this potato salad on some block party special. No, it’s not that we were watching Rachel Ray, but the Food Network was on. She was just there. That inspired us to make our own potato salad, loosely based on that one. It was entirely based on what we had on hand, as opposed to what we thought would taste best, but it turned out wonderfully.

Potato Salad
3 russets, peeled and cubed
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 Tbl champagne vinegar
3 Tbl sweet potato mustard
1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 Tbl honey
3 Tbl olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
salt and pepper
chiffande fresh basil leaves (1/2 a bunch of so)

I wrapped the potatoes in foil and sprinkled them with a little olive oil and rosemary. I let them cook on the grill until they were soft (30 minutes or so). In the meantime, I whisked everything else together (except the basil). When the potatoes were done, I put them in a bowl, tossed them with the dressing, then gently tossed in the basil. I then let it all cool while we grilled the burgers and boiled the lobster.

Sometimes, dinner works without a plan.

Blue Margaritas

The first time P. and I had blue margaritas, we were sitting on the patio of a restaurant in Long Beach, looking out at the water and the Queen Mary. When we got home, we looked up how to make them, and found out about Tarantula tequila. I think it’s some basic tequila with Blue Curacao blended in. Anyway, it makes for a fine blue margarita, as long as you don’t use the blue margarita mix it generally comes packaged with. Rather, if you mix it up like a regular margarita: add some lime juice, a little lemon, a splash of triple sec, shake it all together and serve it straight up, it’s a tasty drink.

However, last night, we headed over to a friend’s house for poker, and juggling limes and lemons and things seemed a bit much, so we just grabbed the tequila and the mix hiding out in the back of cabinet (present only because it came free and attached to the tequila bottle). Said friend didn’t have a cocktail shaker, so we improvised with a plastic jug and lid. You don’t get the same freezing ability from plastic as you do from metal as it turns out. But still, not bad for a quick thrown-together drink. Whoever folded got mixing duty. It seemed only logical.

Crown Royal and Chinese Food

Sometimes WW recipes work out really great, and other times, not so much. But generally even the not so much times give you a nice low-calorie base to start from the next time, or at least tips for making another recipe more healthful.

And so it was last night. I made a WW version of General Tsao’s Chicken (6 points including rice!) that got rave reviews, as well as some vegetable wontons. I made them basically according to recipe, since I wanted to see how it all turned out before I messed with it. My clever addition was cream cheese wontons, which I made without the crab (you can’t make them without crab, said P. that’s what adds the flavor!). But I don’t like crab even though I love crab rangoon, which I call cheese wontons to trick myself. And then I used the technique in the vegetable version to cook them. Eh, it all turned out just OK. P. said, “this isn’t general tsao’s chicken! it’s not deep fried!” Which was true. Next time, I’ll add more vegetables and spices. And the wontons baked for 15 minutes at 350, but they could have used more time. And maybe a minute or two under the broiler at the end.

We also had shots of Crown Royal. P.’s parents gave it to us for Christmas. (Merry Christmas! Have some liquor!) I’m not a big whiskey fan, but we did note hints of butter and caramel. Mostly the whiskey though.