Sunday, August 28, 2011


In case anyone has missed the trouble that is Hurricane Irene, well...she's here.  Heavy rains (over an inch so far) and wind gusts up to 40 mph and sustained winds up to 20 mph, it's not as bad as we thought it would be...but I'm sure glad I'm not outside in the nearly-horizontal blustery downpour.

This weekend was supposed to be my first weekend ever on the Cape - sun, beach, picnic, sand, all that is good and wonderful about the end of summer here in New England.  But Irene intervened, so instead of a beach weekend, my friend and I made the best of our situation.  We had wanted to attend afternoon tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel, but it was booked!  So instead, we went to the lovely hipster haven of Jamaica Plain for some thrifting and the best Cuban sandwiches in Boston (with friend plantains and mango/papaya shakes, of course).  Then, back to my place for movies, drinks, and food.  We started off with caipirinhas with lots of lime, then made a hurricane sorbet based on the classic hurricane drink:

Classic Hurricane

2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
juice of a half a lime
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1 tablespoon grenadine

Squeeze juice from half a lime into shaker over ice. Pour the remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker. Strain into a hurricane glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Hurricane Sorbet

¼ cup light rum
¼ cup gin
¼ cup vodka
¼ cup amaretto
¼ cup triple sec
½ cup grenadine syrup or 100% pomegranate juice
2 1/2 cups juice (could be 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup passionfruit juice, ½ cup pineapple juice; I used 2 cups of Trader Joe's Mango/Orange/Peach juice with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice)

Mix together and process in your ice cream maker.

Next was making the best gazpacho in the world (not kidding).  I've made it twice since Thursday, and it changed my life.

Andalusian Gazpacho (adapted from Serious Eats)

3 pounds (about 4 large) very ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound (about 1 small) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks 
1/3 pound (about 1 small) small red onion, peeled and cut into rough 1-inch chunks1/3 pound (about 1 medium) 
green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 ounces (about 2 slices) white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving 
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more for serving 
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain juices into a large bowl and add the bread. Transfer the drained vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until vegetables are frozen, about 30 minutes.  Remove vegetables from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature until mostly thawed, about 30 minutes. Transfer vegetables and all their juices from the pan to largest stock pot you own with soaked bread.  Using stick blender, blend vegetables, juice, and bread at high speed, slowly drizzling olive oil and sherry vinegar into blender as it blends. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.  This will take awhile, but it is worth it. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve, drizzling each bowl with olive oil, a few spirnkles of sherry vinegar, extra cracked black pepper, and chives. Gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  You do end up having a bit of leftover tomato goo, but I'm trying to figure out something to do with it...maybe food process it to get in even finer pieces and then use as a pizza sauce?  I'm not sure yet.

With gazpacho was fresh bread, serrano ham, fresh figs, and manchego cheese.  Dinner of champions, I tell you. 

After dinner was a gin tasting; as I am quite new to gin (three months?)  I really haven't had a chance to taste different varieties.  We ended up doing a test gin-and-tonic for Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick's, Citadelle, and Tanqueray 10.  Tanqueray 10 is by far the most expensive, but by far the best.

Last but not least for the evening was dark and stormy ice cream, also based on the cocktail:

Dark and Stormy

1.5 ounces dark rum
Ginger beer

Fill highball with ice, and add rum.  Fill to top with ginger beer.

Dark and Stormy Ice Cream  (adapted from Gosling's)

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
½ cup dark rum
½ cup ginger brandy
1 ½ cups ginger syrup

In a saucepan combine the milk and cream and scald the mixture over moderate heat, stirring.   In a large bowl beat the egg yolks until they are light and thick.  Temper with a few spoonfuls of the hot cream/milk mixture and then add to the saucepan, continuing to cook over moderate heat, stirring, until it coats the spoon.  Pour through a sieve into a large bowl and chill in the fridge.  Add rum and ginger syrup, and freeze in an ice cream maker.

In case anyone is keeping count, we had 11 different liquors last night, which is awesome.  We also watched The French Lieutenant's Woman with Meryl Streep, which was missing the final fifteen minutes on Netflix, leaving us in great suspense.  Irene is obviously to blame.

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