Happy Freakin Friyay.
A week ago I looked out to this scene,
and lookie now.
Last August, during the dog days of summer, I posted my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, noting it’s always a good time for Chicken Noodle Soup. Now in the dead of winter guess what I’m drinking alongside this soup? Besides the Boulevardier, of course.
You’ll never figure it out, because I’ve probably used it once as a base alcohol on Apéritif Friday.
Not the hugest fan of the Caribbean favorite, I recently decided that it might be tasty if infused with some fresh pineapple. So off to Binny’s I went, looking for a cheap to mid-range white rum to play around with. Guess what I found lining the rum aisle? Scads of pineapple infused options! White rum, dark rum, high end, scallywag bottom of the barrel – you name it. Turns out my idea was sound.
I had a pineapple on my counter for about four days waiting to be stripped, sliced, and doused, but it turned gnarly so I bought another. Enter my personal forty-something science fair – let’s see which infusion tastes better.
Old, tired pineapple? Or fresh, new pineapple with a pretty green top?
Guess what I just did?
Shoveled the driveway. And I’m gearing up for that same full body workout all weekend long, as there’s nine more inches of the white stuff on its way.
We have a snowblower presently sitting in the back of the garage with no gas in the tank. And despite the fact that we’re in the height of winter, it’s also halfway in the rear view mirror with springtime flowers lurking right around the corner. Now is the time of year to play double negative, positive spin games like, “Pfft. We don’t need no blasted snowblower. Let’s get through this winter the old fashioned way! Let’s shovel and shovel some more! It’s good for us! Screw Old Man Winter!”
So while my arms get svelte I dream up dinner plans with every scoop and fling. Scoop and fling. Scoop and fling.
I. LOVE. THIS. DISH!…
Greetings, faithful readers!
A few weeks ago we had the privilege of attending a vertical wine tasting at the home of some good friends. The experience is even better than it sounds. Several years ago they purchased V Madrone’s 2006, 2007, and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and they cellared it for a special occasion to share with good friends.
Well. Lucky us.
At the risk of sounding incredibly pretentious, let me set the record straight. These are Mr. Musky’s college friends, and they’ve seen one another at their worst. Their very worst. Their wives attend my girl’s weekend trips. And let’s just say…
…we’ve seen one another at our best. Our very best….
Once upon a time, I pretended to be a world traveler. In my mind’s eye I lounged at a cobblestone cafe off the beaten path in Florence, Italy, in a white eyelet cotton dress, straw fedora, Jackie O sunglasses, and gladiator sandals. I ordered the classic Italian apéritif, the Negroni, named after Count Camillo Negroni. With a “Sì” and a satisfied nod of his head, my waiter trounced off to the bar to put my order in. Minutes later he reappeared and with a flourish placed the classic Italian apéritif in front of me. I took a sip, and promptly spit it out.
Confession time: I actually once tried the Negroni to share my experience with you all here. However, I sat at my basement bar and didn’t don an airy dress; rather, I slugged it out in my typical weekend comfy clothes, and I poured that drink into the drain after one failed sip. I love me some bitter in my cocktails, but I simply could not gag it down.
The allure of the Negroni not lost on me, I recently created a list of classic cocktails to try, and lo and behold – the Negroni made the list for a re-try. But while researching the classics I came across the Negroni’s cousin – the Boulevardier. Also composed with Campari and sweet vermouth, the Boulevardier uses rye whiskey as the base alcohol, and it’s not far from a Manhattan – a cocktail that I really enjoy.
Happy Apéritif Friday, friends! Come along with me today and sip on an Apricot Martini. And yes – you may stay in your jammies all day. I am!
Confession time: Nearly every day I scrounge for a little snack at about 2:00 p.m. I don’t need anything substantial, but I usually find myself staring into the depths of the pantry looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ in the mid afternoon.
Time and again I reach for the shelf on the pantry’s right where I keep all the nuts and dried fruits. They’re great for snacking – way better than processed snacks – and when consumed in moderation, they fix my sweet cravings immediately. A small handful of almonds or pecans, a couple of dried apricots or dates, maybe a good cup of tea, and I’m good to go until dinnertime.
My affinity for these little nuggets got me wondering. What if I make a simple syrup with them, then dump it into a martini?
Are you crazed? Without a decorated tree? Or a single card addressed? No presents purchased?
I feel your pain. Maybe not today, but at one point in my life, I sure did. Today Mr. Musky and I reveled in the fact that our children are no longer elementary aged, requiring school musical attendance, church pageant participation, or the hiding of the gifts in addition to their general daily neediness.
And that blasted Elf nonsense? Thank the heavens above we dodged that stress-laden, blood-pressure spiking, feel-like-a-crappy-parent, guilt-inducing commercialized ridiculousness. To all the moms and dads out there barely keeping your heads above water, I feel you. And so do all the other parents who are in it with you or already paid their dues. This too shall pass.
But until it does, resist that urge to eat fast food for the next 1o days. Your January self will thank you if you slow down just one night and eat something comfort-y. This Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff will do just that, starting with a bed of egg noodles.
If you want to go even healthier, then skip the noodles and opt for a bed of raw spinach, spaghetti squash noodles, or some zucchini noodles. Whatever floats your boat!
Top it with succulent, fork tender stew beef tangled together with mushrooms and onions in a bath of brandy, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and beef broth.
There’s a story behind the title for this dish involving many years, a highly respected officer at AT&T, my two rugrats, and a philosophy I try to maintain but definitely abandon when consuming apéritifs. Check out Genuinely Speaking for more on that.
In the meantime, meet heaven in a casserole dish.