Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vegetarianism, Stout Floats, and Shooters

The title pretty much sums up a recent night I passed with Valerie and Jessica at my apartment. I cooked us up a vegetarian meal driven mainly by fresh vegetables purchased from The West Side market and Branzini’s, two organic specialty grocers on the Upper West Side. We drank a number of interesting drinks throughout the night, which needless to say ended in a deep food and alcohol induced coma. Whenever Jessica and I hang out we experiment with drinks, especially if good food is involved. Whether creating strange drinks, discovering cocktail and food pairings, or comparing small batch bourbons, Jessica and I have a way with the sauce. I felt that a meal consisting of well cooked vegetables dressed with flavorful sauces would supplement the damage we were doing to our livers. The first course was a beet carpaccio, a chance to test my new fancy mandoline (see “Jamming On My Mandoline.”) I sliced roasted red beets super thin and arranged them on a huge circular platter with yogurt-balsamic dressing and dill. It was an earthy and creamy dish that went amazingly with the white wine we were drinking courtesy of Jessica.

The second dish was a French classic that I have probably eaten a thousand times in my life, boiled new potatoes with sweet butter and chopped herbs. In this case I steamed the potatoes and added a generous pad of sweet butter, chopped tarragon, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and black pepper. These potatoes are the ideal counterpart to virtually any main course whether meat, poultry, seafood, or wild game. Try it and I guarantee you will be making them again and again.

The third vegetarian dish of the night was an endive, radicchio, and mixed green salad with blue cheese. I love to combine different types of greens and fresh herbs in my salads and this was no exception. I tossed the greens with some crumbled Gorgonzola and a Dijon mustard, jerez sherry vinegar, and olive oil vinaigrette. Endive and blue cheese is a match made in heaven and the bitterness of the radicchio cut through the creaminess nicely. After the three dishes were eaten and we relaxed for a few minutes finishing our wine, we passed onto dessert or after dinner cocktail.

Valerie and I have seen stout floats on a couple of menus around the city and have wanted to try one though we never seem to have the courage. Valerie suggested that we try to whip them up at home and I was thrilled by the idea. She bought bottled Guinness and vanilla ice cream and set to work with an ice cream scoop and three chilled pint glasses. The stout float is really as simple as it sounds; pour stout beer over two scoops of ice cream and enjoy. The digestif or nightcap if you will was tequila shots with lemon and salt. This Mexican delight, of Cuervo gold unfortunately, turned into three or four and the rest is history. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

No comments: