Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Food Bites: On Summer Drinks and Bbq

Punch Drunk
After days and days of planning, shopping, cleaning and cooking, our first cocktail party went quite well. No one ended up throwing up out the second floor window, but it was good. And you all know me…I had to make some of my tasty dishes like my mushrooms with duck confit stuffing topped with pomegranate molasses.
I couldn’t find p. molasses at the stores so I just had to make it. As it always is, I preferred homemade to storebought.

Back to the point- besides the usual whistle-wetters of wine, whiskey and beer, we featured two homemade drinks: Caribbean rum punch and a Catalan inspired punch made with Cava (Spain’s version of champagne).
For those who don’t know, Cubans with their mojitos aren’t the only ones who make a tasty mint drink with cheap booze to help you forget that you hate where you work. All of them are easy recipies: simple syrup or sugar with crushed mint and lime juice, ice, and your choice of cheap white rum. I prefer a little spice to my drink so I substituted dark rum for white.

Good rum punch is a drink to savor slowly, just like the knowledge that your boss’ wife has been cheating on his arrogant but ignorant ass for years and he doesn’t know it…yet.
Most islands have a similar version. When one lives in hot, humid climates, it’s the drinks with mint, ice, sugar and rum does the perfect job of refreshing you, while cooling you down and mellowing you out.

The Spanish punch was inspired by a tapas dinner we had at a Spanish restaurant in Glasgow some weeks ago. Our version incorporated Cava, apple juice and cassis liqueur (since we couldn’t find the Basque cherry liqueur, Pacheran as the original recipe required). The punch was topped off with floating raspberry and blueberries.

Bbq and the Brits

It’s June. Temps are rising just a little every day. The smell of bug spray and sunblock lotion is everywhere. It’s barbecue season-- but not just stateside! In the last 10-15 years, bbq has not only become quite trendy in Britain but it’s a little controversial. Everyone with even a swath of yard space has a grill. But apparently, they do more burning then barbecuing. In general, the British have a culinary history of bad food and some are trying to change that. However, the attempt to mimic the US and their Aussie cousins without truly paying attention to the art of barbecue has brought on the fury of cranky Scottish chef Gordon Ramsey.
This man is as famous for his blunt, outspoken rants against bad culinary endeavors as he is for his cantankerous look and manner. In this month’s issue of British gastronomic magazine, “Olive”, Ramsey’s article on men and barbecues quietly begins with “What is it with men and barbecues? It so frustrates me. Why do men feel they have to be the one in charge For god’s sake all you men, leave the barbecue to the ladies and go and sort out the drinks instead. You are pretty much all useless.”

Well, at least he’s to the point. Now, I think we can still jump around, dressed in our best video-hoe outfit and sing “My bbq brings all the boys to the yard. And they’re like ‘it’s better than yours.’ Damn right, it’s better than yours. I could teach you but I’ll have to charge”. But there are some interesting new ideas on barbecue dishes that we Americans could find fun and different for a summer party.

“Olive” provides American, Australian and British favorites that sound delicious!
For example: bbq leg of lamb (in a butterfly cut), tandoori-style lamb cutlets with minted potato salad; soy-glazed tuna steaks, and prawn skewers with peanut dipping sauce.


At Jun 18, 2006, 3:33:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Brandon said...

TJ & I are big Ramsey fans (via BBC America)....and I admitt, I have no grill skills....I'm good in the Kitchen, but TJ is the queen of grilled meat....

At Jun 19, 2006, 8:47:00 PM, Anonymous Alisa said...

Its good to catch up with your blog. Pictures are great, especially the one taken out of your window. Can't wait to see what comes next.

At Jul 2, 2006, 3:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those darn mojitos are gonna be the death of me. I have been drinking them like black folks drink grape soda since I returned from the SAA in Puerto Rico.



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