What Youth Drinks: the Bloody Mary

A drink for What Youth:

The Bloody Mary has gotten a little out of control, hasn’t it? It’s a race for bigger, taller, crazier, and more more more. They’ve now got bacon, fish, kebabs, full lettuce leaves, ribs, sashimi, elk… it’s getting ridiculous.

A week ago I went out for breakfast at a fancier-than-I’m-used-to place. I dished out $16 for a bloody dressed up with seaweed, artisanal sea salt, ahi, and a huge purple orchid (it was the only bloody offered, and I really needed something to help the hangover). Two problems here. One, the $16, as I firmly believe there are better ways to spend your money. Two, the abundance of what I’ll call “the extras,” — meaning the seaweed, flowers, fish, etc. It’s too much stuff for a drink that’s meant to be a hangover pick-me-up.

It’s time to ground things, without all the frivolity.

First, clearly, tomato juice and vodka are the base. Though, you can sub vegetable juice or Clamato for tomato juice, and tequila for vodka (making it a Bloody Maria). Despite all the aforementioned criticism of bloody mary add-ins, there are no rules here so feel free to add anything you want from your fridge. I don’t have a go-to recipe, because it really depends on what’s in the fridge and I’m definitely not going grocery shopping with a hangover just for Bloody Mary supplies. To your tomato and booze, I suggest some combination of these:

Something salty: salt (mandatory), anchovies, clams, clam juice, olive juice, pickle juice

Something with bite: Tabasco, horseradish, pepper, Worcestershire sauce

Something acidic: Lemon juice, lime juice

Something to garnish: olives, lemon and/or lime wedge, pickles, onion, celery (though we insist all garnishes be eaten, not just for looks).

To finish this hangover cure of a drink, we suggest drinking it in the morning sun and follow it immediately with a nap. And maybe follow that with a few days off the sauce.

 

From the Mountains: Scallop Ceviche

After a bit of travel and finding out how many types of ceviche there are in the world, our whole perspective on it really changed. Before, it was just spicy white fish from mexico with the saltines, etc. But the revelation that it's really just fish that's been "cooked" with acid usually from citrus, the experimentation opened. We had some leftover scallops, so experimented and tried this one. 

In a bowl, we mixed the ingredients seen in the photo. That's scallops, swiss chard stem, onion, almonds, and lemon juice. Left overnight for the scallops to cook. Made the day before, we had it for lunch after a big hike in the morning. Perfect.  

From the Mountains: No Work Bread

After always being intimidated by the process of making bread (it's too hard, too technical, too slow too make), we finally tried one we thought may just be easy enough. It's a no-kneed bread, which is as easy as it sounds. Our friend from Israel told us about it, and I can say we're not going back to buying standard bread anymore. First, the taste is great, and the texture is firm and dense, the way bread should be. Then there's the sheer economics of bread at home: our standard size flour bag will make about 6 loafs... at $6 a bag for the good organic flour, that's $1 per loaf. Way better the $4 or $5 or whatever paid at the store especially with how easy this is. 

FIRST: mix the following in a bowl (that's been wiped with olive oil until you get a wet sort of batter/dough.

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 Cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Let it rise covered with a towel on the counter overnight, until the yeast makes it rise to about twice the original size. 

Remove from bowl and form it to your final bread shape, but don't over-handle or over-work the bread--that will make it tough. 

Bake it in the oven at 450 for 30 minutes, on a pizza stone if you have one. Done. We used the bread pictured to make sandwiches, the crostini seen here, and croutons with the leftovers. 

From the Mountains: The French 75

With a love of gin and plenty of lemons at the moment, a little research into what to do with these goods lead to the French 75. It's potent, and gets its name from a potent little rapid fire 75 mm gun the French used in WWI. Good background, but we dig this cocktail because it's really refreshing, bright, and yes, strong. 

  • .5 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz Simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
  • 2 oz Gin
  • 2-3 oz Champagne float.

Shake the first 3 ingredients with ice, and strain into a glass. Float the sparkling wine on top. 

This might be nicer if a martini glass, collins glass, or better yet a coup were used, but we're in the mountains and this little tumbler was the best we could wrestle up. 

From the Mountains: Toast with Salmon and Creme Fraiche

Morning! We've borrowed a cabin in the mountains and we're totally alone and the silence is deafening. Let's eat! And drink! Thankfully I'm prepared with loads of ingredients to consume. This morning I'm trying to re-think the lox and bagel. Here, instead of bagel, I've done a toast done with butter in the pan, and skipped the cream cheese and used creme fraiche instead. And though Creme Fraiche may sound fancy, it's easy to make if you've got a day! Google it. Also, the capers have been fried. It's a nice light breakfast and way more impressive than your ordinary lox set-up. 

FIRST: fry the capers. In olive oil, put a handful of capers and fry until crispy and brown. The texture totally changes and gets nice and smoky and earthy. If oil splashes everywhere, try a lid on the pan, duh.

SECOND: In the same pan, melt some butter and toss in two slices of tough bread per person. Try a baguette sliced to your liking. Let it get good and hard. 

THIRD: Assemble it all. On the toast, do a spoon of the creme, then the sliced salmon, then some super super thinly sliced lemon and onion. To finish sprinkle the crispy fried capers. 

(As a final note, toasts like these are very overlooked for breakfast. They're just the right amount of food and won't make you feel like a lardy pile after you eat 'em. Try eggs, meats, veggies, etc... but keep it to two toasts. You'll feel like a winner afterwards, I'm sure.) 

Tuna Crudo in a Wonton Cup with Avocado

Go ahead and make this. There are four parts to this amazing thing, so here's the recipe broken down in four parts, then combined at the end.



1. Wasabi mayo
mix wasabi and mayo in a bowl. if you want more spicy, add more wasabi. it you want more fat, add more mayo.

2. fried wonton crisp
this takes a little finesse. buy some wonton sheets from the store. get a fry pan hot. then add some vegetable oil. once the oil is hot, test one wonton sheet: drop it in the oil. it shouldn't burn outright (if it is turn down the heat), and also shouldn't be greasy upon removal (if it is turn up the heat). when you pull a good fried wonton out, it will be a little pliable at first then set to a nice golden crisp. so get a little bowl and use it as a form to make your wonton into a little cup to hold the tuna as you pull each fried wonton out. make sense? make about 4 per person and set aside on a towel to drain and cool.

3. tuna filling
in a bowl, mix chopped raw ahi tuna (1/3 lb per person), chopped chives, sesame seeds, two garlic cloves mashed to a paste, a squirt of rooster sauce (siracha or something?), a couple leaves of cilantro, a touch of sesame oil, a touch of soy sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lime right at the end (right at the end or else it will cook the fish and make it gray, not brilliant red).

4. avocado
chunked.

on a plate, put a dollop (a lame word, but the best i can think of) of wasabi mayo for each wonton. put the cup on top of each dollop (the dollop is like glue keeping the wonton from tipping). spoon in fresh chunked avocado, a couple chunks per cup. on top of that, the tuna mixture. see photo.

CARBONARA with peas, bacon, mint. a three-step deal

This is insane. a quick dinner. and it doesn't get chunky or curdled like some carbonaras. 

First, fry bacon. set aside, and crumble. 

second, make carbonara. in a bowl, beat 1 egg, then whisk in 7 tablespoons cream. season with salt and pepper. set aside.

third, cook pasta. for the last minute of cooking, throw a handful of frozen peas in the cooking water. fresh if you have them. they will get nice. drain the pasta and peas, keeping a cup of the cooking water.
in a serving bowl put pasta and peas. while the pasta is still hot, mix in carbonara sauce, then stir in the pasta water... the result should be a smooth, creamy sauce (with no cream). if it ends up chunky, the pasta was too hot. try again. stir in crumbled bacon, and rip the mint leaves over the top.

Mac and Cheese with Bacon, Chard, and Breadcrumbs

Mac and cheese go together like bacon and swiss chard.

Preheat oven to 350°F. cook pasta and leave a bit firm since it will cook more after you put mac and cheese in the oven. for toasted breadcrumb topping:
- stale bread, about the size of two fists
- a few springs of thyme, leaves picked
- a couple garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (leave whole)
- olive oil

in a food processor make the bread breadcrumbs. in a fry pay hot with a glug of olive oil, toast the breadcrumbs, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper until the bread is crunchy. remove and put aside.

for mac and cheese: - 1 lb pasta. it doesn't have to be macaroni but should be short and not noodly. - 1 cup milk - 2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread- 2 tablespoons butter, divided - 8 ounce cheese shredded/chunked--like brie or white cheddar? Experiment - 1/2 cup gruyere shredded for melting - olive oil - 2 garlic cloves, minced - 4 strips bacon - like 5 leaves of chard, very roughly chopped  cook the pasta. drain and set aside. cook the bacon. drain and set aside and crumble. while it's cooking, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. 

whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. add milk, and whisk the mixture until the flour has dissolved and the liquid begins to thicken. remove from heat and mix in cheese, stirring until melted. 

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture and stir in the bacon and chard. put in a oven disk and top with breadcrumb mixture. place on a cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.

Quick Artichoke Fry with Buffalo Mozzarella

This one comes together really easy and comes off really impressive. Try it extra spicy with some beer or a chilly white wine. 

Marinated Artichokes in a jar... the marinated ones
Fresh Buffalla Mozzarella
2 Shallots, sliced and carmelized
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, chopped.
Olive Oil
Lemon
Chilli Flakes
Parsley
Salt and Pepper

Caramelize some sliced shallots. Pan fry the artichokes with oil, garlic, chilli flakes and parsley just to soften and infuse flavors. Squeeze over a lemon Arrange artichokes on platter and drop on the mozzarella. Spoon the garlic/oil/chilli liquid over the platter and then finish with carmelized shallots and freshly chopped parsley.

Brussel Sprout Hash

As far as veggie dishes go, this is tops. Tops, we say. 

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided 
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced 
Coarse kosher salt 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
4 teaspoons sugar 
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1 cup water 

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes. 

Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Kale Chips

Take raw kale leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and put in the oven at 350 until crispy. Sprinkle with salt. The result is earthy and fresh and salty and delicious with beer.

Grilled Octopus with White beans

We've been trying to do cheaper cuts of fish and try different stuff to keep the summer dining exciting. With such long days, we've been filling the afterwork time trying things we've never tried before. 
We had octopus the first time at a fancy LA italian place, on a night we were feeling adventurous. It was grilled and had tones of lemon on it, all over a white bean base. Here, we recreate:

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First, par cook the octopus. We had a 5 lb one. You're going to boil it to make it tender. either do it in water, or even better add in some celery, carrots, etc to make more of a broth to cook it in. You'll get way better flavor. Do that for maybe an hour and a half at a gentle boil (not hot water, not rolling bubbles). 
Let it cool, then peep the purple skin off it. It'll come right off. 


Above is the final product. For the beans, just soften a few shallots with olive oil in a pan, then add beans, a glassful of white wine, and let that liquid wine cook off. Then, season with salt, pepper, and lemon. 
Do the final bits on the grill. Brush the following with olive oil and put on a really hot grill: bread, halved-tomatoes, and and the octopus. Get some good char marks, remove the legs from the body, and serve as seen above. 

Breakfast Salad

Yep, that's all. Greens dressed with lemon and olive oil, a tomato put under the broiler until blistered, and some basted eggs. A clean start to the day.

salad3.jpg

first off, make yourself a salad. include lettuces, some tomatoes. keep it lite and simple. then, take your crusty bread and rip it up. little rough bite sized pieces. drizzle with olive oil and put in a hot oven for a few until they get a little golden and crispy. as you do that, poach two eggs. if you don't know how, learn how. 

ok, that's it. toss your toasty bread chunks and salad and squeeze over some lemon and olive oil. add salt and pepper. maybe layer on some prosciutto. finally slide over the poached eggs and let them sit on top. served.

 

Sunday Morning French Toast with Mount Gay Rum Bananas Foster

If it is indeed Sunday morning and you wanna live life, coat the whole thing in maple syrup and drink some champagne with it. Follow with a nap.

For the french toast:
- 3 sliced of thick bread per person. Try danish bread or Hawaiian King Bread.
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a shallow mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Quickly dip slices in mixture and cook in a hot skillet with a little butter until golden brown on both sides. 

For the banana foster topping:
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 bananas peeled and halved, cut lengthwise
- 1/4 cup dark rum, preferably Mount Gay from Barbados

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add brown sugar and stir together. Add the bananas and cook until caramelized over medium-high heat. Pour in the rum and catch a flame off of the gas stove or a BBQ lighter. Stand back when ignited and flambe. Be careful; a flame will shoot up above the pan. Let flame die down. 

Vanilla Bourbon

I'm a fan of whiskey and of that persuasion I'm a fan of scotch whiskey. because of that, sadly, there's been some bourbon that's sat lonely and undranken (undrunk? undrunken?) on our bar. So nicki, the little legend, had the idea to put some vanilla beans in the bottle, let it sit for another week, and drink the result. We no longer have any bourbon sitting on the shelf. You must try it. It's divine. Then tell the Gatsbys of your luxurious drink discovery.

Orecchiete with Chanterelle, Sage, Walnuts, & Brown Butter

A pasta with shrooms! of course it's good, there's butter.


Ingredients
2 cups of orecchiete
1 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, finely minced
2 cups fresh chanterelle mushrooms, chopped in small dices
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 cup raw walnuts, shelled and halved
4 to 6 tbsp brown butter (look up how to make this)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to directions, drain and set aside. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter and cook the shallots until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the fresh sage, walnuts, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and add the brown butter, and mix well over medium heat until everything is blended. If it's too dry, add a some cooking water from the pasta.

Seared Scallops with Braised Chard, Arugula Pesto, and White Beans

This is something that's really easy, but looks really fancy and presents amazing. The trick with scallops is a smoking hot pan and not to touch the scallops until a nice sear is achieved and it's time to flip. 

photo 4.JPG

FIRST: MAKE THE WHITE BEAN BASE
Saute some chopped shallots until soft, then dump in a can or large cooked batch of white beans. Bring up the temp, then cover the beans with white wine or broth, or both. Cover halfway and let the liquid cook down and absorb into the beans... mash half the beans with the back of a spoon. Squeeze in half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

SECOND: MAKE THE ARGULA PESTO
Put the following in a blender or processor and press "on": handful of arugula, small handful of park cheese, small handful of raw almonds, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil slowly until a nice consistency is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste. 

THIRD: MAKE THE CHARD
Rip up some chard, including the stems if you like, and sauté in a bit of olive oil. Once they cook down a little, add a wine-glassful of white white and simmer until the wine is nearly all evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

FOURTH: SEAR THE SCALLOPS.
Do about 4-5 scallops per person. Wash them, then pat them REALLY dry, if they are not dry they will not sear well. Season with salt and pepper, then place on a screaming hot oiled pan. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side until golden, remove and... 

Arrange all as seen in the photo. Enjoy. 

What Youth Drinks: The Old Fashioned

Another article for What Youth, The Old Fashioned. The old fashioned is our standard. The foundation. The bottom turn of cocktails.

Allow us to illustrate: sure, you can drink without knowing the old fashioned, just like you can surf without a proper bottom turn. You just won’t do either very well. You may fumble down the line, powerless slices and banks off the foam, wasting away life with post-lackluster-surf Keystones and Red Bull vodkas. Let’s agree that’s no way to surf, drink or live.

Point being, learn the bottom turn and learn how to make a proper old fashioned. A firm grasp on its technique and an appreciation of its ingredients will set you up for success with other cocktails.

For those who appreciate roots as much as us, it’s called an old fashioned because it’s the old fashioned way of making mixed cocktails. Naturally. Back when, “cocktail” (adding mixers to liquor) was a term for a morning drink. Your alcoholic ancestors only diluted spirits in a hair of the dog, hangover situation. They added some sugar and some water to lessen the strength, help ‘em get over their pounding heads, and get back to that serious drinking. That’s the essence of the old fashioned: a little booze, a little water, a little sugar.

To make it, there are many techniques. Here’s our preferred:

-First, in a glass, dissolve a bit of sugar (or a cube of it) in a few drops of water by stirring (use water, sugar doesn’t dissolve in booze).

-Then stir in 2 oz of rye whisky and a few dashes of bitters.

-Now, smell it. Taste it. Like it? Drink it. Or, from here, ice is totally optional, as is a splash water (we like both in ours). Never club soda, and for God’s sake no orange slices, cherries, or fruit. A twist of orange peel is best. Shave it off with a peeler, then give it a squeeze over the top… that’s called “expressing” the peel.

As a drink, it’s basic enough to not be a full ordeal to make and strong enough to feel like you’re doing the night right. Three ingredients, damn good.—Paul Brewer

Brown Derby Cocktail

This cocktail was named after the famous spot in LA... we love the mix of sweet and sour. This was our first experience of bourbon in a martini glass. What cocktail.  

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2 oz Makers Mark Bourbon
1 oz grapefruit juice
.75 oz honey or honey syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled glass.