Friday, April 29, 2011

British Friday, Crystallized

Congratulations, William and Kate. Your wedding was absolutely beautiful. In honor of you and your country, which I so love, I'm bringing back a favorite post. It's a humble gesture, but heartfelt. I'm so happy for you both! Cheers.

Two of my favorite people in the world, who I'll call D and B, introduced me to the fabulously British Pimm's Cup cocktail several years ago. Pimm's is an English gin-based liquor that has been popular over there since the mid-1800s. It's recently caught on a bit in America, and a decent bartender here should know exactly what it is. The flavor profile is mostly herbaceous and somewhat citrusy, and since the alcohol level is relatively low, it's really quite refreshing. A Pimm's Cup would be lovely after a polo or tennis match, but to enjoy this drink you needn't play or care about sports. I certainly don't.

Classic Pimm's Cup

Pour one part Pimm's Cup No. 1 and two parts of lemonade into a tall, ice-filled glass. Stir to mix well, and top off with a splash of club soda or 7Up. Garnish with a long slice of cucumber.

Friday, June 25, 2010

May I Suggest Ceviche?

My dad gave me lots of advice. "Go play in the road!" was a classic (he was kidding). Then there was, "Never go to bed mad," and--my personal favorite--"Never complain, never explain." I can hear him cautioning me with these sage words right this very moment, because all I want to do is apologize for my long absence and tell you that yes, sadly, it's because I've been drinking the bride kool-aid and spending most of my free time trying on dresses, talking to vendors, and having the time of my life.

Oops, there I go again. Dad, I'll work on it.

Anyway, how is everybody doing? Here in DC we're sweltering. It was around 100 degrees yesterday and will be in the upper 90s all weekend. Factor in about a thousand percent humidity, bugs and big hair, and I'm primed for a meltdown. Fortunately, I can save myself--gustatorily, at least.

When the weather becomes unbearably hot, I almost always crave seafood. I like it grilled, or poached and mixed with crunchy vegetables, light vinaigrettes and lots of fresh herbs. This scallop ceviche includes all of those things. My betrothed (I've got to come up with a better name for him) suggested we make it the other evening and I was hooked after one bite. It's a variation of a Mario Batali recipe, so you know it's delicious. The crisp fennel and soft shellfish are texture contrast heaven; the lemony dressing brings everything together. It's sharp, bright and fantastically refreshing.

Incidentally, my dad loved scallops but hated "raw" fish. My advice to him? Don't think of it as raw. Think of it as marinated. Please give it a try. And the same goes for all of you. No heat wave required.

Scallop Ceviche with Fennel
Serves 2

4 large scallops
1 lemon
1 small fennel bulb
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Slice each scallop horizontally into three or four coin-shaped pieces, depending on how big your scallops are. Finely shave fennel using a mandoline or very sharp knife and reserve fronds. Mix olive oil and juice of one lemon in medium-size bowl with parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add scallops and fennel and toss to coat. Let stand about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve garnished with fennel fronds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Forget The Green(s) Today!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everybody! I've got the Irish blood, and I've always felt compelled to acknowledge this day with something green. When I was a little girl and had to wear a blue uniform, that meant wearing green ribbons in my hair. When I was a bit older and in public middle school, I made the possibly unfortunate choice of wearing a green mock turtleneck with my stonewashed Guess jeans. Oops.

Today I'll most likely wear black (because I pretty much always wear black), and the green will instead appear on my plate--in the form of kale chips. If you've never tried these, I hope you'll give them a shot, perhaps this afternoon or evening. They're not exactly the brightest of greens (as you can see in my photo here) but they taste fantastic. These chips are a super-healthy yet surprisingly addictive alternative to the potato kind. Not that I don't appreciate the mighty spud, mind you.

Saint Patrick's Day Kale Chips
serves two

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread one layer of cleaned, chopped kale on a baking sheet. Drizzle with several tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Roast kale for roughly 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it because you don't want it to burn, which will make it taste bitter. Once crispy and ever-so-slightly browned, remove from oven and toss with kosher salt. Serve immediately.