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?
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?
Finally, it’s here.
I’m talking about FALL! Many thrilled in the never ending summer, but I gotta say, drinking Mai Tais in late September just really isn’t my thang.
But cozying up fireside in a candlelit family room with a blanket wrapped around me, watching Stranger Things 2, and sipping on this gem?
Now that’s my fall jam….
Here in the Midwest where mercurial weather routinely torments us, we find ourselves debating and discussing heat waves, cold snaps, monsoons and droughts on a daily basis. If I were to look back on Apéritif Friday posts, I probably call out Mother Nature on every other post, if not more. So when the temperature rises to hellish degrees for multiple days on end past September 15th, what do we do?
Drink The Never Ending Summer Mai Tai.
My kids just cringed. Their dad’s new habit of greeting any suspected person of Latino heritage with a hearty HOLA! even if they are possibly Greek or Italian drives them crazy. They mentally will the ground to open up and swallow them whole thanks to unbearable embarrassment.
“What’s wrong with that? Why can’t I greet someone in Spanish?” he continually retorts.
When we drive through an Indian reservation, he starts looking up the Ojibwe word for hello. They die slowly, those kids.
But back to Spanish…I think he’s a little obsessed because we’re all caught up on Narcos on Netflix, and the dude actually rooted for Pablo Escobar to come out ok, despite the terror he wreaked on millions of people in both the United States and in Columbia leading to his ultimate rooftop demise. Kudos to the producers of that show for casting a sympathetic character, at least in the eyes of one middle aged man in the midwest. So while he practices Spanish, I make Pico de Gallo with the 15 pounds of tomatoes I bought.
Well hello, my friends.
My apologies for the significant radio silence over the past few weeks. I’ve been busy getting the Princess back to Badgerland for her second year of college.
Ever the multitasker, I also assisted the second-born in preparation for his senior year of high school complete with a significant image change. We went from this…
…to this in the matter of a trip to the salon for a mop-whacking, a spending spree at Kohl’s for some hipster attire, and a lengthy date with razors. Plural, thanks to the massive facial hair my little camp counselor grew over nine weeks at summer camp.
Speaking of which, the summer of 2017 is now officially in the books thanks to the arrival of September. We relaxed and soaked in every blissful moment, and look forward to the day when nobody ever returns to Illinois in August…EVER! Yep – Mr. Musky’s preparing the IL home for the market, so if anyone’s interested in privacy in Chicagoland just seconds from the interstate (a hard combo to come by around here!) then please keep us in mind.
Given all the happenings, I buried myself in a shallow cooking and cocktailing grave. Don’t get me wrong – of course I still appear in the kitchen from time to time, but just not with my normal amount of creative gusto. A quick trip to Trader Joe’s in Madison and my life is saved with his pre-marinated meat and prepared vegetable selections, and wine lands in my glass most often, second only to water. It’s a little sad given we’re at the height of harvest season in the Midwest, with all those ripe vegetables just begging to be toyed with. But don’t fear – good things are on the way.
While perusing the bounty this week at the local health food store, I noticed “Pico de Gallo Juice” for sale. I kid you not, and I almost picked up a bottle just for fun. But at $7 for 10 ounces, I decided I can make my own for about eighty-seven cents.
It’s simple. Throw a tomato, 1/8th of an onion, 1/4 of a jalapeño, a garlic clove, the juice of a lime, and some salt and pepper into a high powered blender or juicer.
And because my head still isn’t on completely straight, don’t forget the cilantro. Like I almost did.
Add 3/4 cup water and whirr it up on the juice cycle, making sure your lid is securely fastened. Like I didn’t. EEK! Then pour it into a ball jar and have even more fun with it.