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Monday, July 23, 2012

A Couple of Summer Drinkies

Miss Mikki is a great bartender and her drinks are legendary.  But I like to concoct a few of my own every once in a while too.  Here's a couple that I made that were excellent with the 108 degree summer weather:

California Collins:

8 Fresh Lemon Verbena leaves (I grow it in my herb garden.)

2 oz of Gin (I'm a Gin connoisseur and have no less than 10 different ones on hand, but I used Beefeaters London Dry for this one.)

2 oz of Apple Juice

1 oz of Seagrams Club Soda Water

In a collins glass, muddle the verbena leaves with a tiny bit of ice in the bottom.  Top up with crushed ice, gin and apple juice. Stir well, then stir in the Club Soda.  Ahhhhh! Surpassingly refreshing!

Porch Crawler:

I laughed when I saw the name of this one....a deja vu? Oui? Pas? This one is savory spicy!

2 oz of chilled Seagrams Club Soda

1 oz of Lemon juice

1 oz of simple syrup

1 Serrano Chile halved and seeded

5 cherries seeded and chopped

3 mint leaves plus a couple for garnish (I have a ton of frekin mint.)

2 oz of white rum

In a cocktail shaker muddle the chile, mint and cherries.  Add crushed ice, rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup.  Shake well and drain into a ice filled collins glass.  Stir in the soda and garnish with mint and a cherry.  Trust worth it!

Brined Broiled Shrimp? Yeah Baby!

Everybody love's shrimp, and lord knows how many ways we've cooked em over the years. My favorites: Maryland steamed, grilled, boiled.  But I saw one way of cooking them that made me say I HAVE to try this......Brined and Broiled?.....who would have thunk that?  It's how the LoosyAnna shrimpers cook em.  I was totally surprised how succulent they were.  I made a big batch the other day for shrimp cocktails, and shrimp Po-Boy's.  I don't get many compliments about my cookin from Miss Mikki, but she said the shrimp  and Po-Boys were the best shrimp she ever ate, and she lived in Pascagoula MissSippi for a while. YIKES! I have a guy that brings the shrimp direct from the gulf, never frozen.  I did hear that if you can't get fresh, then buy them frozen, never from the fish case at the store....stinky.

1 pound of shell-on raw shrimp
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Old Bay Seasoning (I didn't use my Slap Yo Momma Cajun Spice on this one.)

For the Brine:

1/4 cup of Kosher salt
1/4 cup of water
2 cups of ice

Clean the Shrimp! Take your time folks; have a big glass of cold white wine and savor life.  I have a shrimp cleaner thingy, but if you don't, run a small knife tip down their  backs starting from right in front under the shell. Open and pull out the do-doo string under gentle cold running water.  Leave the shells on.

Place the shrimp in the bowl of brine and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. (Stir the brine up as you add the shrimp.)  Remove from brine and dry them well. (I use a kitchen towel.) Put em in a big mixing bowl and add the EVOO and sprinkle Old Bay on em. Mix em up well.  Let em sit, and start your broiler on high. Cover a cookie sheet pan with aluminum foil and put in the broiler to heat up well.  Take out of oven and place your shrimp on.  Spread em out evenly and put back in the broiler for 2 MINUETS! Yes 2 minuets!  Pull out the pan, turn the shrimps over with tongs and then broil for 1 MORE MINUET!  Yep, one minute!  Pull from broiler and put shrimp on a cold sheet pan for Shrimp Cocktail.  (I put one in the fridge.) Or, eat em hot with more Old Bay; melted butter with LoosyAnna hot sauce n Worcestershire sauce. For the Po-Boy I made my own fresh remoulade sauce and a special garlic butter for the toasted Po-Boy bread. Grated Iceberg lettuce, and succulent fresh backyard tomatoes. Mmm Mmmm Good!  Put on some good Zydeco music and as usual, wash it down with some more of that cold crisp white wine. Yee Haaa!  Then take a lil nappy.

Summery Lemony-Basil Orzotto

Gordon Ramsey has totally intimidated my Mushroom Risotto to a big ugly blob, and I love risotto.  I came across this recipe from Cooking Channel's Kelsey.  It's easy, pretty quick and, we love it with the fresh aromas of summer.  I've made it several times now without failure.  It's a great summery side starch instead of potatoes and goes with any main course.  It goes like this:

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup of diced onions
1 1/2 cups of Orzotto or Orzo(Kroger has it.  The kinda tiny ones.)
1/2 cup of white wine
3 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of frozen petite peas
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, heat the oil over med-high heat.  Add onions and sauté until fragrant and translucent.  Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and cook until absorbed, but not dry, keep it moist.

Gradually add in the chicken stock, stirring frequently.  Bring to a simmer, lower heat and cover.  Cook for 8-10 minuets until the liquid is is almost absorbed and orzo is tender.  Remove from the heat and stir in peas, Parmesan, basil, lemon zest, heavy cream and lemon juice.  Season with salt n pepper to fast and VOILA!  

I've been experimenting with the addition of toasted pine nuts and marinated artichokes with great success.  And in fact I'm thinking of the addition mushrooms.  In short, all the types of risotto that I CAN'T make.  As always, I love a glass of crisp white wine.  Just found a really good one that's inexpensive: A-Z's Pino Gris.