Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Best Mojitos or what I've been cooking all week but not blogging about

Its not that I haven't been cooking. In fact, as the thronging mass of fall harvest comes flowing into my kitchen, I've been cooking like crazy. The trouble is, turns out, taking photos of food is HARD.  Also: remembering to take photos of food isn't such a cakewalk either.  So, every night when I sit down to blog, I think, "well, crap, I forgot to finish taking photos of that".  So, with that in mind, here's the reader's digest version of My Week in Food:

Baby-sized cabbage from Horse & Buggy
Apple-Cabbage Slaw & Mushroom-Cabbage Galette: This cabbage showed  up in my produce share from Horse & Buggy Produce.  Have I talked enough about these folks yet? Also, have I fessed up that I'm a longtime subscriber and now I WORK for them? True story.  Anyhow, their food is grown by Mennonite farmers in the Shenandoah valley, and although I am admittedly biased, the veg from H&BP is incredible: consistently fresh, gorgeous, and oh-so-tasty.  It drives my cooking experience on a day to day basis. (Mostly because we get a "family" share for just me and my husband, so I have to keep cooking to keep the produce avalanche at bay.)

So, this cabbage was literally the size of a 2 month old child.  (BTW: when I say literally, I literally mean the word "literally". As opposed to the metaphoric way most folks are using the word literally nowadays.  Pet peeve much? I think so.) I used half for an Apple-Cabbage slaw, and the other half for a variation on Deb's mushroom-cabbage galette. Mine included some ground beef and crazy curry spice. A quick note about this galette: I'll make variations of this over and over again this winter, but I've got some serious pastry opinions and am constantly tweaking. More pastry pontification laterz...

Butternut Squash with Green Lentils & Mint: evidently, this was a SmittenKitchen kind of week, and I found myself turning to Deb's fantabulous cooking blog almost every day.  This week, I was catering an office luncheon to feature Horse & Buggy's produce, and I had the following to work with:

Butternut, pre-dismantling
The recipe was tweaked from the original, omitting the goat cheese and roasting the squash for considerably longer.  The winter squash salad is totally a revelation.  The basic recipe is: roast a cubed up winter squash, toss with some sort of legume (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc), a fresh herb like parsley, cilantro, or mint, and a light dressing, like walnut oil and red wine vinegar. I promise, in the depths of February where you can't stomach the thought of another squash soup, this salad will save you.  Also, will you please take a look at the size of this butternut? That is a 10 inch chef's knife, people! That means the BLADE is 10 inches. So that means, this squash is as long as my thigh and nearly as rotund. The Mennonites are NOT FOOLING AROUND when it comes to vegetables.

Other recipes I couldn't help myself from this week:

  • Roasted Sweet Potato rounds with Thanksgiving on Top: I told you it was a SmittenKitchen-fest here in the Night Kitchen.  I swapped walnuts for pecans, cherries for cranberries, and used fancy-pants walnut oil instead of olive. Uh, yum.
  • The Best Deep Dish Apple Pie: look forward to a post on this, complete with pictures and a new, mind boggling-ly easy pastry technique. Promise.
  • Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: they were piling up in my fridge and I just WANTED them.
  • Roasted Tomato & Green Bean salad: this was a last-minute brainstorm that was inspired and savory. Expect a post on this sweet-patootie too, once I get more green beans and find the damn camera.

Finally: last night? Mojitos.  I made them. I drank them. They are inexplicably intoxicating, (and not just because they're alcoholic).  And they aren't always, this is not a cocktail where you can just "wing it". I know they seem simple: mint, sugar, lime, rum.  Except if you do it wrong? Mint-flavored cough syrup. For real.  Its not pretty (personal experience perhaps?). Though to be fair, that's what happens when you let clowns mix your drinks (ask me later)....

Once I started the mint in my porch planter, I knew I'd have a lot of drinking to do.  So, finally, after all that culinary de-briefing, here's the mojito recipe you've all been waiting for. You'll never curse your mint plant's precocious growth ever again.

The Best Mojitos - from All Recipes

These are portioned for 1 serving, so it ain't no thang to fix yourself an evening cocktail on a Tuesday. What?! Its fine, folks, just put your feet up, forget about the dishes and watch another episode of Mad Men.


10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda or seltzer

Place mint leaves and 2 lime wedges into a sturdy glass.  Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. 

Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle
again to release the lime juice. Do not strain. 

Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice. If you have a kitchen scale here, its really helpful.  Otherwise, measure your 1.5 oz. of rum carefully, otherwise risk the dreaded cough-syrup cocktail effect!  Fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with another lime wedge and a mint sprig.

Just like Cuba in my kitchen. You know, without the communism.

Ahh! Can't you hear the steel drums in the distance? Wait, that's Jamaica. Whatever, put on your swimsuit, crank some beach tunes, and finish doing your dishes. Seriously, don't leave that mess for the morning, no one likes to make coffee in a dirty kitchen. Go on, I'll wait..... 
Now, don't you feel better? I know I do.

1 comment:

  1. Love the Apple-Cabbage Slaw! I ended up making something similar a couple weeks back by accident, but is was darn tasty! Happy Saturday!