Shaken vs. Stirred

April 9, 2007

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Does it really matter how you mix it when you’re serving the martini in a Riedel Grape Martini glass? Look at the curves on this thing, David. When you hold it, you’ll understand how a glass can be zipper grease. The weight in your hand gives you a sense of comfort and the crystal caresses your lips like mother’s nipple.

Personally, I prefer a good shake. The stirring purists’ issue is a valid issue. No one wants a cloudy martini. But, you don’t need to shake it to death. Just a few firm, steady shakes and you’ve got a martini that has released its flavors, but hasn’t been bruised.

Classic Dry Martini (Makes 2)
Your spirit should be chilled to begin. You definitely don’t want a watery, flat cocktail. It doesn’t have to be frozen, but at least cool. If you prefer a lemon garnish with your martini, try Juniper Green. Jennifer prefers olives, so we tapped the magnum of Belvedere.

8 oz. chilled vodka
An ice bucket filled with cracked ice
A bottle of vermouth
6 Picholine olives
Olive picks

Fill the glasses with ice and add water to the brim. Set aside to chill. Engage in witty conversation with your lady friend.

Fill a glass shaker with ice half full. Open the bottle of vermouth and waft the aroma towards the shaker. Cap the vermouth. Pour the gin over the ice in the shaker. Gently shake up and down 2 or 3 times.

Drain the glasses and strain the chilled elixir into the delicious curves. Garnish with 3 olives. Serve this before the Warm Fingerling Potato Salad or go Todo Liquido.

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What woman wouldn’t swoon over pretty flower petals and the cutest little poached egg, David? Nicole Bass, maybe, but the feminine beauties with which you surround yourself won’t stop talking about you for weeks. The pea shoots are sweet with the flavor of spring, the sorrel bursts with lemon which is balanced nicely by the peppery nasturtiums. That’s right, David, these little flowers aren’t just salad trophy, they have substance. Don’t worry about how it looks when she walks in and you’re plucking brightly colored petals. Do it with confidence. You’re all man.

8 1.5″ fingerling potatoes
2 pheasant eggs
A hand full of sorrel
A hand full of pea shoots
A delicate hand full of nasturtiums

Vinagrette
Juice of half a blood orange
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup French olive oil
Salt

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut the potatoes in half on an angle, add them to the boiling water and cook for 12 – 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, whisk up the vinaigrette. Combine blood orange juice, mustard, vinegar and shallot. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until emulsified.

Drain the potatoes, toss with the vinagrette and set on the shelf above your red Aga stove to keep warm.

Fill a shallow pan with water and bring to a boil. Add a tsp of red wine vinegar to the pan. Turn off the flame, create a whirlpool with your manspoon and crack the eggs into the center of the whirlpool. Turn the flame back on and cook for 60 seconds.

Toss the greens with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Plate the greens, nest the fingerling salad and top with a poached egg. Dust the egg with Hungarian hot paprika. Serve with Prosecco or if she’s a trophy with substance, serve with Champagne.

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Mas Tapas

April 1, 2007

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If you don’t have a grill in your playboy mansion, I suggest you have one installed. This little bite is worth the trouble. If you want to try the recipe before you call the contractor, you can bake the rounds of polenta at 400 for 20 minutes. The dish will still be delicious, but, you’ll look more like the sexy beast you are, turning them on the grill with your bare hands.

Grilled Polenta, Cilantro Pesto, Red Onion Marmelade

The Caramelized Onions
3 Tbs butter
3 large red onions
1 cup red wine
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt

Saute the sliced onions in butter until transluscent. Add the wine, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 5 minutes reducing the wine by a 1/3. Cover, reduce the flame to a low flicker and cook for 45 mins – 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The onions should be broken down to a marmelade consistency with solid pieces. Set aside.

The Polenta

3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup course ground cornmeal
1 Tbs butter
Pinch of salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Locatelli or Parmiggiano

Bring the stock to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot. Turn the heat off and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn the heat on the lowest and cover. Every 5 minutes, remove the lid, stir constantly for one full minute and cover. Continue this for about 40 – 45 minutes until the polenta is thick and creamy. Pour the polenta onto a clean work surface and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into 2″ rounds with a cookie cutter or food ring.

The Pesto
1 packed cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt

In your large sexy beast mortar (I use a mexican molcajete because it looks extra rugged), place the pine nuts, cilantro, garlic, salt and grind with the pestle until it forms a paste. You can also use a food processor for this step, but never admit to it.

Transfer to a bowl and drizzle in the olive oil, beating the mixture all the while with a wooden spoon.

The Plating
Grill the polenta rounds for 5 minutes per side. Spoon a little cilantro pesto on the plate. Place the polenta on the pesto and top with the marmelade. Ganish with pea shoots and finish with black sea salt. Serve immediately with Nero d’Avola.

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