I've been posting recipes on this blog for three years now. There are more than 300 posts and at least 200 recipes. Is there anything out there I haven't cooked? Of course, of course. In cooking and baking the possibilities are trully endless. But the last few days, right when all the summer produce is at its best, all I want to make are the old standbys. Pine nut and basil pesto, caprese salads with heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, pickles, tea cake. While my vegeteable-starch-protein class stretched me creatively, at home I am seeking the creature comforts.
Amanda and I had another potluck last night. It's her last before she moves to Portland, Ore., next weekend, and it was a great way to send her out--with great friends and great food. I didn't cook anything. Too hot. To keep cool, I thought cocktails would be a nice change from the typical beer and wine we usually serve.
I bought some fresh mint at the Old Market farmer's market, along with some dill for the pickles and some zinnias for the kitchen table. The only logical drink to go with was a mojito, fresh and cold, but also not very strong on the alcohol, which for this party, wasn't exactly what I was looking for. My friends Sarah and Matthew have shared their interest in what I would deem sophisticated cocktails. No daquiris or margaritas flavored with sweet and sour mix here. They and my friend Lindsey are partial to champagne cocktails, where the champagne adds the fizz instead of tonic water or club soda, along with a bit more depth of flavor. I first tried a salty dog topped with champagne (it's grapefruit juice and gin) at Sarah and Matthew's, and Lindsey is a big fan of the French 75, which is made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne. I settled on an Old Cuban, I guess you could call it a variation on a mojito. It's recipe is two ounces rum, two dashes bitters, 1 ounce simple syrup made with mint leaves, one ounce lime juice and topped off with two ounces of champagne. Plus loads of ice, especially if it's more than 100 degrees where you live.