Friday Happy Hour: Jitters Cocktail

Last year for my birthday my brother gave me a copy of Famous New Orleans Drinks & How to Mix ‘Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur. The history of cocktails is inextricably linked to New Orleans, and by most accounts, the very origin of the word “cocktail” comes from the city where A.A. Peychaud first started serving drinks in a double-ended egg-cup called a coquetier.  Cocktails like the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Vieux Carré (to name a few) were all invented in NOLA.

The book was first published in 1937, and this tiny time-machine is packed with recipes, their histories, lots of random anecdotes, and few silly poems about the merits of drinking. There are also several references to Prohibition as “the Great Mistake.”

Looking for inspiration, I stumbled upon Arthur’s recipe for a Jitters Cocktail. Recounting it will not do it justice, so here is a photo of the page:

I couldn’t help but laugh at the description of Anis del Mono since it is made just outside of Barcelona and is simply a brand name of a type of anis, much like Ojen. (Side note: Ojen was originally made in a Southern Spain town by the same name. They shut down production in the 1990s, which apparently made people in New Orleans freak out. The Sazerac Company resurrected the liquor, and it’s now made in Kentucky. More on that here).

Not sure what monkeyshines means? Me neither. I had to look it up, apparently it is “mischievous or playful activity : prank —usually used in plural.”

This cocktail was a pleasant surprise because we’re not generally fans of anis. Its typical anise/licorice flavor is less intense because of the gin and the vermouth, yet its herbal notes complement the botanicals in the gin. Nothing fancy, but super easy and quick to make. Like the Negroni and the Boulevardier, it is a three-ingredient cocktail with equal parts of everything.

Cheers and enjoy, monkeys!

Friday Happy Hour: Jitters Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Corpen Gin
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Anis del Mono (Dulce)
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Vermouth (White)

Instructions

  1. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass full of ice.
  2. Stir vigorously with barspoon until cold.
  3. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Let the monkeyshines begin.
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2017/08/11/friday-happy-hour-jitters-cocktail/

 

 

 

Gumbo-Filled Arancini (Rice Balls)

We made a big pot of chicken-sausage gumbo last weekend and had just enough leftovers to make this wondrous dish.

Gumbo-filled arancini. Life-changing, y’all. I’m obsessed.

We fell in love with arancini – Sicilian fried rice balls – when we lived in Naples (the ones filled with meat sauce are my favorite) and have been dying to try this New Orleans variation for some time.

Do yourself a favor, and take the following steps immediately:

  1. Make a huge pot of gumbo – we played around with a combination of recipes (one from our friend Kathleen and one from The New Orleans Cookbook) – and invite people you like to come share it with you. This is an excellent idea for, say, a football game. Bonus points if it’s the Saints game.
  2. The next day, make these gumbo-filled arancini, and prepare to be amazed.
arancini-preparation
Prepping the gumbo and rice balls
rice-balls
Starting to look more like arancini
arancini-before-frying
Breaded arancini, ready for frying
gumbo-arancini
Gumbo arancini with extra gumbo

Gumbo-Filled Arancini

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Gumbo-Filled Arancini

Ingredients

  • Leftover rice
  • Leftover gumbo
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Take the rice out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you start cooking so it has time to warm up a bit. Take the gumbo out of the refrigerator just before you are ready to use it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend leftover rice with 2 beaten eggs until it is slightly sticky and holds together.
  3. Beat remaining egg(s) in a small bowl and set aside. Pour breadcrumbs into a separate bowl and set next to the egg mixture.
  4. For each rice ball, make two small patties out of the rice. Add a dollop of gumbo to the center of one patty, then place the second patty on top. Form the two patties into a round shape.
  5. Dip each rice ball in egg mixture, then roll in breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a pan until it is hot but not smoking. Fry arancini in the oil, turning so that each side turns golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
  7. Serve with a small bowl of gumbo and extra hot sauce.
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2014/11/03/gumbo-filled-arancini-rice-balls/

Grits & Grillades: New Orleans Brunch in Barcelona

One thing Americans – and New Orleanians in particular – do exceptionally well is brunch. Long, leisurely, mimosa/cocktail-fueled, this-is-my-only-plan-for-the-day brunch.

Say what you will about our excess and indulgence… in this case, I support it.

sazerac

We have recently started hosting meals through EatWith – a website that allows you to share meals in people’s homes all over the world. It’s basically Airbnb for dining, and when we first moved to Barcelona, being a guest was a wonderful way to meet new people and eat delicious food. And since we pretty much already do this kind of thing on our own (two extroverts who really love food and parties), it made perfect sense for us to become EatWith hosts.

Last weekend, we hosted our first New Orleans brunch and made one of my all-time favorites: grits and grillades. I had never had grillades (or grits for that matter) until I moved to NOLA. It’s a slow-cooked meat dish – made with beef, veal or pork – in a thick, flavorful gravy, served over creamy, buttery grits. So a light, healthy breakfast.

It’s easy to make, but it does take a long time to cook, so I advise making it the day before. The flavors are even better the next day, and all you have to do is reheat it and make the grits before people come over (you’re going to want to have people over: it makes a ton). We made our own chicken and beef stock, but you can also use store-bought.

Get the recipe below!

chicken stock veggies
The building blocks of a good stock
Chicken and beef stock
This is not at all excessive.
wine bottle meat mallet
We don’t have a mallet.
judgy cow
I’m sorry, disapproving cow!
steak
Trimming the steak
holy trinity
The Holy Trinity
mimosas
Mimosas?
brunch
Lovely guests

We used these recipes as references:

Grits & Grillades

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Serving Size: 10

Grits & Grillades

Grillades is a slow-cooked meat dish served over creamy grits, perfect for a New Orleans-style brunch.

Ingredients

  • Grillades
  • 4 pounds boneless beef steak (round steak or stew meat)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, diced
  • 5 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 5 fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cored (optional)
  • Creole seasoning mix (We used some of Emeril's Essence and Tony Chachere's)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Dried tarragon and basil
  • Salt and pepper

  • Creamy Grits
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Trim the fat off the beef. On a floured surface, use a mallet or blunt utensil to pound to about 1/2 inch thickness.
  2. Cut beef into long strips or small squares. Salt generously and set aside on a plate.
  3. In a large, heavy pot, heat a generous layer of vegetable oil to medium-high. Season meat with Creole seasoning mix and pepper, then brown it in batches on all sides (a few minutes per side).
  4. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions, bell peppers and celery to the drippings and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, beef stock and red wine, and bring to a boil.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in bay leaves, tarragon and basil.
  7. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and falling apart (at least 2 hours).
  8. In the last 40 minutes of cook time, prepare the grits. Bring milk and water and salt to a boil over medium heat.
  9. Slowly pour in the cornmeal to the boiling liquid, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat down to low and whisk continuously for the first 5 minutes.
  10. Cover the grits and whisk every few minutes. Turn off the heat after about 25-30 minutes and stir in butter and cream cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Pour a ladle of grillades over the grits, and serve with hot sauce.
http://www.travelingtotaste.com/2014/09/24/grits-grillades-new-orleans-brunch-in-barcelona/