Taking a break from the series about Java Joe, I picked up something I believe Joe would approve of. Because, of course, it involves coffee!
The following story is being picked up and is popularly seen all over the Internet and the media, but neither sourced nor credited as to its authorship, the original author. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I do believe the credit is due to:
ABHISHEK KUMAR SINGH,. CEO
TAJ PHARMA INDIA (MUMBAI)
The Carrot, The Egg, and The Coffee Bean
By Abhishek Kumar Singh
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
Summer is drawing to a close, but it is NOT over just yet! One of the great things about summer is real socializing when people get together and enjoy one another’s company. If together for any length of time, this usually leads to the engagement of conversation more than just the weather, sale day finds and the results of some sporting event. We are after all, social creatures. We like to get together and have a good time. And we like to converse with others especially if we agree with them, but even more importantly, if, they agree with us! 😂
It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere 🙂
There is both a science and an art to civility, to agree to even disagree, to discuss. I call this, ‘civil discourse.’ To discourse is much more than to just converse and discuss. It is an elevation of intellect or simply put, putting our best foot (our best selves), forward, out there, for the mutual benefit of all involved.
What more of an enhancement to this end than to frame it around food 🥘 and drink! 🍹We like to eat and drink 🍹 and to be together, to hang out together and talk about things of most importance to us, things and people who really and truly matter in this life, in this wonderful, but albeit, truly short lifespan. Moments are precious and we do try or should aspire to, getting the most out of it, “milking the moment,” deeply breathing in every breath available and sucking the marrow out of every piece of meat this life has to offer; second and every moment of life we have!
There is a reason for the phrase, “Happy Hour.” As many are familiar, Happy Hour is often thought of as, starting somewhere around 5 PM. Another saying that may be familiar to you is, “That it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” 😂 I even have a photograph taken of an old clock that used to set inside a bar. All other numbers were removed and replaced with only 5’s so yes, it does show that no matter what time it is where you are, it is, 5 o’clock somewhere, meaning, it’s always time, for Happy Hour! 😊
Along with getting together, conversing, having food 🥘 and drink 🍹 and well, just having a good time, a Happy Time socially, there is also something “social” about, making and serving drinks! 🍹
I like mixing drinks 🍹and trying new things and yes, even making them up! My brother-in-law, Kevin, recently sent me a link to a website offering many different new foods 🥘 and drinks, to explore and try.
Now I am not a professional (I am neither employed or tipped as a), bartender or mixologist, but I profess, I am certainly (if an amateur), highly enthusiastic!
In searching the aforementioned website that Kevin provided me with, there was one particular drink 🍹 which caught my attention. I knew I wanted to try it, but also, I did not have all the ingredients it called for. So, I improvised. Now, I figure that if not following their recipe, then I am making it up and I should be able to, can and I did make it up, make it my own?! So I did. In so doing, I should be allowed to name it and I did name it! I call it-— ‘Civil Discourse’ 😊
Now, before I share with you the recipe, I want to first share with you what’s in it (the ingredients), and WHY.
‘Civil Discourse’– (Why)
Bergamot 🍊- similar to combining lemon, 🍋 lime,🍋 orange, 🍊 and grapefruit, all in one fruit. It has calming and uplifting effects (it induces one to just “feel good” 😊) Cucumber 🥒 – soothing and cooling, good for joints and the heart (a good heart ❤️) Mint 🍃- refreshing (the herb of hospitality) Earl Grey Tea ☕️ – considered as “posh” or upper class, but I like to think of its effects and affects, resulting in the art of civility. Black tea ☕️ a little caffeine to ‘keep you and your ‘Civil Discourse’ going’ 😂 Lime 🍋 – citrus 🍊 vitamin C refreshing and ‘sunny’ 🌞 Tito’s Vodka – smooth while not adding to or taking from the overall taste and it lessons the distinct flavor of Gin Bombay’s Sapphire Gin – very smooth and distinct with botanical and aromatics, but it is mixed with vodka (Tito’s made in the USA 🇺🇸), to retain its characteristics and alcohol % while not overpowering the drink 🍹
It should be noted, the main ingredient to ‘Civil Discourse’ implied, recommended, and absolutely necessary is, You and I!! 🙂
‘Civil Discourse’ – (How)
Tito’s Vodka – 2 1/2 ounces
Bombay Sapphire Gin – 1 1/2 ounces
Fresh squeezed Lime juice – about a whole small lime or 1/2 of a large one
8-10 fresh rinsed mint leaves + 2 for garnish
3-4 slices of cucumber + 2 for garnish
3/4 ounce of fluid sugar (simple syrup)
3/4 fluid ounce of Earl Grey Tea
Note: It’s nice to have some simple syrup always on hand. 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Heat to dissolve. Store in refrigerator to have on hand when needed. Stores for a long time.
1. Boil about 1 ounce of water and pour into a heat-resistant container. Place 1 bag of Earl Grey tea into container and let seep for about 3 minutes. By the time it is ready, the boiling of the water, evaporation and the bag will have taken about 1/4 ounce of the water leaving, about 3/4 of an ounce of fluid tea. Remove tea bag
2. Muddle all but 2 leaves of mint and all but 2 cucumber slices with a mortar and pestle or some other means to get the most possible juice from these two items.
3. Juice from about 1 small lime or 1/2 of a large lime
4. Measure out 2 1/2 ounces of vodka
5. Measure out 1 1/2 ounces of gin
6. Pour vodka, gin, 3/4 ounce of fluid Earl Grey tea, 3/4 ounce of simple syrup, lime juice (=about 4 tablespoons), into muddled cucumber and mint
7. Add ice to a shaker
8. Pour drink mixture into shaker and shake
9. Strain mixture TWICE
10. Pour strained mixture into a highball glass, half filled with cubed ice
11. Add 1 slice of cucumber and one mint leaf to garnish
Note: This recipe yields 2 drinks. Multiply for more drinks 👍 bon appétit & Salute La Familia (salute my family) which includes: all those I get to choose as family 🙂 and strangers, folks I haven’t met yet! 🙂
And on this day, August 28, 2017, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, on August 28th, 1963, delivered from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, in our nation’s capitol, in the presence of 200,000 + peaceful protesters and the world looking on, which led to- ‘The Civil Rights Act’, being signed into law…
‘Civil Discourse’! 😃
Cheers🍹 from: The Gathering Place,
Amateur Bar Tender and Mixologist, but a Professional Enthusiast! 😂
Coming Soon: The Grilled Veggies’ we had with ‘Civil Discourse’
As the end word (a suffix actually), in the title suggests, this is all about a Martini.
I call it, The Mano a Mano Martini.or The Mano-tini for Short. I am a curios fellow in that when I become interested in something, I dig or dig into the details. Perhaps this in part due to my training in journalism in that the very first paragraph should contain— WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW. It is my intention to fulfill this by paragraph’s end. I am a gregarious fellow in that I like to share my discoveries with others (YOU)! I would like to think that even if you do not drink alcohol or like martinis, you might find the following interesting and maybe even humorous, for your time spent here. This perhaps ‘long in the tooth’ piece will conclude for you that do like martinis, would like to try one and try a new recipe for one IF, you keep reading until the end. You could, skip or scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to. 🙂
Like a bartender’s or mixologist’s list of ingredients and preparation, here, there are some parts of fact, parts of fiction and some history in our list of ingredients, for preparing this alcoholic libation.
Often ingredients are mixtures of other ingredients combined or infused in certain ways, like our word “libation,” for example. Libation has its roots in Greek and Latin and its simple definition was an offering, a liquid poured out. Well, this is certainly how we may think of it today and with this liquid being offered and it being most likely an alcoholic liquid or beverage with its effects, bringing up the ideas of ‘Happy Hour,” “getting a buzz” or “high,” it’s a drink most likely shared at least between two lovers, two friends, two people or two associates, for a good time, to celebrate or just for a happy time among people, even if the two are the bartender and the bar-sitter. 🙂
That’s great, but not so fast. Libation was originally a beverage offered to some deity (god or goddess), as a form of sacrifice, seeking favor of the gods?
OK, just suppose there were no gods or goddesses, but the root word of mythology is, myth. 🙂
Alright, maybe they were made up, but people did and may still believe in them (the gods). How easy would it be to pour out some liquid as an offering for some god or goddess and when others weren’t looking, get yourself a nice, free drink! “WOW,” so they might think, “Not only did the gods take the drinks, they must have accepted them (liked them),” especially if, the beverages constantly just seemed to disappear. 🙂
Cue the myth reel for our next word, ‘Ambrosia.’
“In the ancient Greek myths, ambrosia (pronounced am-bro-ze-yah Greek: ἀμβροσία, “immortality”) is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods, often depicted as conferring longevity or immortality upon whoever consumed it. It was brought to the gods in Olympus by doves. Ambrosia is sometimes depicted in ancient art as distributed by a nymph labeled with that name. In the myth of Lycurgus, an opponent to the wine god Dionysus, violence committed against Ambrosia turns her into a grapevine.”
Also, at the above link, there is an image of a plate (a majolica plate), thought to have been made in 1530 by Nicola da Urbino. It’s title is, ‘The Foods of the Gods on Mount Olympus’. Oh, that sounds familiar, like the 19th Century USA invention, most of us know as, ‘Ambrosia Salad.’ Well, if this fruit, whipped topping concoction was or is the modern-day equivalent of, “Food for the gods,” what about Mead, originally a fermented beverage of honey, water and yeast some called, ‘Ambrosia’ or, “nectar of the gods?”
Forget the fact that in an area where grapes were not grown too well, but they had to have something alcoholic to drink. And forget the idea that real mead does not taste much more than like just watered down honey water. But like a bartender’s or mixologist’s special add-ins, add some folklore and a little bit of well, whad-di-yah-know’ there is something to be said about all those B vitamins that do increase as the stuff ages. Could they actually help a hangover from too much drinking the night before with drinking some more of the ‘tail of the dog that bit you?’ Supposedly, the word ‘honeymoon’ (honey + moon), came from the celebratory wedding drinking of Mead. The couple was to wed when she was close to being able to conceive. They were to wed during a lunar cycle and drink Mead for a month. WOW, how about that, a month long honeymoon, for you that may have never had one? Mead was supposed to make him more virile and the lady more fertile. Hmmm, is there something more to those B Vitamins in Mead, the ‘Nectar of the gods?’ I don’t know, but people believed it. So what’s my point? Drinking is supposed to be associated with special times and happy and high’ times. Get some gods and goddesses involved and the traditions continue. 🙂
So what? So what does this have to do with Martinis? We’re going there next? 🙂
According to all the sources I checked, a martini may in fact, be a ‘Made in America thing, what it is, but not its name. You ‘re gonna’ love this!
In 1863, an Italian vermouth maker started marketing their product under the brand name of Martini, after its director, Alessandro Martini and the brand name may be the source of the cocktail’s name?
Then another theory is, ‘The Martini’ evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez, served sometime in the early 1860’s at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. People hung out there before taking an evening ferry ride to the nearby town of Martinez. And of course, the people of Martinez say, the drink was first created by a bartender in their town? But a, “Martinez Cocktail,” was first described in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 edition, of his “Bartender’s Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks”
Are you ready for the following? 🙂
“By 1922 the Martini (the vermouth), reached its most recognizable form in which London dry gin and dry vermouth are combined at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice cubes, with the optional addition of orange or aromatic bitters, then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Over time the generally expected garnish became the drinker’s choice of a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.
A dry Martini is made with dry, white vermouth. By the Roaring Twenties, it became common to ask for them. Over the course of the century, the amount of vermouth steadily dropped. During the 1930s the ratio was 3:1, and during the 1940s the ratio was 4:1. During the latter part of the 20th century, 6:1, 8:1, 12:1, 15:1 (the “Montgomery”, after British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s supposed penchant for attacking only when in possession of great numerical superiority), or even 50:1 or 100:1 Martinis became considered the norm.
My father-in-law thought just passing the cork over the martini made it dry enough! 🙂
“A dirty Martini contains a splash of olive brine or olive juice and is typically garnished with an olive.
A perfect Martini uses equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth.”
“Some Martinis were prepared by filling a cocktail glass with gin, then rubbing a finger of vermouth along the rim. There are those who advocated the elimination of vermouth altogether. According to Noël Coward, “A perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy,” Italy being a major producer of vermouth. Luis Buñuelused the dry Martini as part of his creative process, regularly using it to sustain “a reverie in a bar”. He offers his own recipe, involving Angostura bitters, in his memoir.”
“In 1966, the American Standards Association (ASA) released K100.1-1966, “Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis,” a tongue-in-cheek account of how to make a “standard” dry martini. The latest revision of this document, K100.1-1974, was published by American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the successor to ASA, though it is no longer an active standard.”
“There are a number of variations on the traditional Martini. The fictional spy James Bond sometimes asked for his vodka Martinis to be “shaken, not stirred,” following Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which prescribes shaking for all its Martini recipes. The proper name for a shaken Martini is a Bradford. However, Somerset Maugham is often quoted as saying that “a Martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another.”A Martini may also be served on the rocks, that is, with the ingredients poured over ice cubes and served in an Old-Fashioned glass.”
WOW, does all that not sound factious, factitious, facetious or something with a superfluity of facts?! 🙂 I suppose one could start a religion over a martini, not to mention heated arguments as to its authenticity and origin. But there is, still more.
I have long been fond of James Bond, 007, the fictional character created by Ian Fleming. There is no cocktail served up better to “Bond, James Bond,” than the ‘Vesper Martini. This was from Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Vesper Lynd was one of the few ‘Bond girls’ that he truly loved. She is the reason Bond’s drinks are always, “shaken not stirred.”
According to the author, the ‘Vesper’ is “strong and cold and very well made” —much like 007 himself. That’s all fine and dandy, but neither you nor I will ever get to try it!!! Its ingredients and preparation is specific with Gordon’s Gin, and vodka. The type of vodka was not specific, but the accepted gin was Gordon’s. Gordon’s Gin is thought to be the gin of gin with its strong start and finish of juniper.
But there was also, one unique ingredient that is no longer available, Kina Lillet, the aromatised wine that gives the Vesper its distinct, bitter edge. Kina Lillet was a proprietary blend of sweet wines and macerated fruits with the unique addition of quinine, its signature ingredient.
In the 1700’s, a French scientist named Charles Marie de la Condamine discovered that quinine, a compound found in cinchona bark, is an excellent treatment for malaria. Cinchona is a genus of flowering plants. It is native to the tropical Andean forests of western South America. Cinchona bark is used in powered or distilled from, of the bark of the shrub, to make quinine.
Having some remedy for mosquito-infested territories, where the British and the French Foreign Legion were expanding into, like India and Africa in the 1800’s, this was great news! But quinine is very, very bitter. What to do? Mix it with something else like today, in Tonic water or as in yester-years, Kina Lillet. These drinks were called qinquinas (kɛ̃kinas), or wines flavored with quinine. So, the idea worked successfully. The soldiers got the quinine they needed in a drink they enjoyed. It worked so well, the soldiers developed a taste for qinquinas and kept drinking them after they came home. France’s most popular one was, Kina Lillet. So popular in fact, it spread oversea to even post-prohibition America.
Oh, and if you sit at the bar too long or develop leg cramps, quinine just might help? 🙂
Gin has long been a favorite clear alcoholic drink in the United States. People even made ‘bathtub gin’ during prohibition. Vodka was not favored for a long time. It was thought to be mostly a drink of Russia and there was a time in this country where WE were on an anti-communist kick and WE the People, certainly were not about to drink vodka. A man by the name of Smirnoff (a Russian), sold his livelihood for cheap to an American and with some ‘creative’ marketing, some ginger beer, lime and special copper mugs, with Smirnoff vodka, the Moscow Mule was born in America, with Vodka made right here. 🙂
Now, some prefer their martinis to be solely based on vodka where others prefer gin. Adding vermouth or olive juice to make a dirty martini came later. But that Vesper, the Vesper used both gin and vodka and Kina Lillet.
About 1986, tastes changed and Kina Lillet fell out of favor and Lillet dropped the name Kina, along with the quinine. Today, they offer Lillet Blanc which is supposed to contain quinine, but it’s not the same. Calling this a Vesper today, is just not the same either. In Rochester, NY, there is a pub and grill named,‘The Vesper.’
The Vesper (pub and grill), have of course, what they call, The Vesper Martini. Just remember, Kina Lilliet has not been made since 1986. The Rochester pub relies on Lillet Blanc, which is labeled to contain quinine. But it’s not the same as Kina Lillet. If you scroll down the page of the website to their signature drink offerings, you will find what they call, ‘The Vesper’ and how it is made.
“A twist on the classic martini. James Bond made it famous, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you. You’ll feel classier immediately. Shaken, not stirred, with Zamir Vodka, Plymouth Gin, Lillet Blanc & lemon twist.”
The description according to their website at rocthevesper.com
There are two main problems with this. For one thing, missing is Gordon’s Gin. I’m not so concerned about their choice of vodka, but Lillet Blanc is NOT, the same thing as, Kina Lillet. So how could this be good enough for you, when it would NOT be good enough for 007?
The original drink was 3 parts Gordon’s gin, 1 part Vodka and ½ part of Kina Lillet, shaken (“not stirred”), with lemon peel. Despite that Lillet lists quinine on the label of its Lillet Blanc, it’s not the same and no mater what The Vesper of Rochester calls itself or its drink, it is not The Vesper Martini!
This entire post all began with my trying to discover and make for my brother-in-law Kevin, a Vesper Martini. Before continuing, this is a good spot for some back story.
I have painted a lot of houses inside and out in my past. I used a lot of oil-based or alkyd paint. To clean my brushes, I often used turpentine. Turpentine smelled like gin and gin like turpentine to me. I was danged if I was going to paint all day then drink anything that smelled like what I cleaned my brushes with! I did not like gin to put it mildly! Then in 2014, my wife and I were in Australia.
After a local fair one evening, son Jonathan and I stopped for a nightcap on the way home. He ordered a gin and tonic. I was in a curious mood and I asked if I could try it. I did and thereafter, it has become a favorite drink. Even it has certain ingredients I like. The gin is Bombay Sapphire. I like its blend of botanicals. Recently, I have once again confirmed my mother’s description of my personality which is, I have, “Champagne tastes with a beer pocketbook. “ 🙂
I have an acute sense of smell so what can I say, if I don’t like how something smells, I will not like how it tastes. I discovered Fever Tree brand of Tonic. A four pack of 12 ounce bottles can cost around $5.00. One can buy other tonics for a lot less, but to me, there is nothing better than Fever Tree tonic which has, real quinine in it!
I was never fond of vodka. To me, vodka was mostly a clear alcohol with little taste that blends well with other ingredients like fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup, for my beloved Vodka gimlet over ice. Believe it or not, I also use vodka in my pie dough to retard the gluten process when making pie. Maybe you can make pie? I could not. My recipe is about the same as any other, but I use half as much chilled water and replace it with chilled vodka. Science allows me to make a flaky, tasty crust every single time. The alcohol cooks out and there is no taste of vodka left behind, just delicious crust which really is, maybe 90% of what makes great pie! By the way, my taste buds have evolved. Not all vodkas are equal!!! I use and prefer Tito’s. And it’s made in the USA.
Martinis? Gin? Vodka? Some of both? Me? No way, until discovering…
…micro brewed beers (micro-breweries), are no longer a niche market. They have become the standard for excellence and quality, our tastes demand. Local wines? The same has become true. Local hard ciders are becoming hugely popular. Local distillers are producing gins and vodkas (and other spirits), which worry the big-name-brands. They should be worried! Often the locals are far superior in quality, purity and most importantly, taste, but also, they are often less expensive! Why? Put your money into the end product and less on marketing, transport overseas and hype!
These small independent breweries, wineries and distilleries may not have the volume of the big ones, but they certainly make up for it in quality and imagination and incredible innovations and taste explosions. Why in fact, the US government hold them to greater standards than the big established brands. Pretty much, you do get what you pay for from the little ones and a whole lot more!! And on the economic side, these small drink makers probably contribute greatly to the employment market. Small breweries, wineries and distilleries are everywhere nowadays, state by state. And all those that work in them that I have met, all seem to love their work where they see themselves as personally invested crafters of quality, rather than mere unknown workers of volume, for BIG-corp’s profit and bottom line. Hey, I believe there is much to be said about putting love in what you do. I believe love can actually improve the quality and taste of what is made!
We recently returned from a trip and visited two small distilleries in Tennessee. One makes a true, 100%, excellent bourbon and a gin (more about the gin later), and the other had excellent and to my surprise, both a clear whiskey not oaked (not aged in oak barrels for that distinct taste and color of traditional whiskey), and a clear Rye (also not oaked). We bought some of all mentioned. That good? Oh, YES, that good!!! Oh, and one more thing about that little distillery (maybe a few thousands of gallons made per year as opposed to the big boys that produce tens-of-thousands of gallons an hour, day after day. H Clark Distillery is the first distillery in 106 years that can accurately and legally call its product, bourbon. Not even Jack Daniels, Dickel or Pritchards can call their offerings Bourbon! To do so, certain ingredients must be used and in certain ways. They all do this. The big three mentioned have another step they use, which is an organic process, but it disqualifies them from calling their product, bourbon. H Clark Distillery in TN, only uses the standard practice and ages their bourbon in brand-new oak barrels, for the taste, smoothness and amber color of true Tennessee, 100%, pure American Made Bourbon! And they make an incredible gin to rival say, Gordon’s gin! Again, more about this later.
So, what have we seen and learned and where have we been up to this point? Taking all the best points, our libation should be poured liquids to share with one another; to celebrate life, toast each other to-the-day and share some moments together. Should these beverages include alcohol, they should be finely crafted to produce the best taste possible and should be consumed responsibly. Now to be true, to drink responsibly, would NOT include alcohol or any drug or substance which can diminish our ability to act in an emergency, in the best and fastest way possible. But if we do drink or will drink, let us do so as the old adage says, with—“All things in moderation!”
One last thing to do here before giving my recipe for the Mano a Mano-tini or in short, the Mano-tini. What is in a name or what’s in a name? For one thing, I for one, am not about to try to make a Vesper, when ALL of the exact ingredients are not used (Kina Lillet is NOT available)! And I am NOT going to try to replicate it, while using alternatives and call it a Vesper. I will not even use the words Vesper Martini. But I will do two things. First, I will make, name and claim my own drink. Secondly, I will shorten Martini to just ‘tini,’ which will still suggest the type of drink it may be listed under, in the world of bar guides and mixology.
Have you ever heard or seen the words “mano a mano?” For a long time, I thought they were Latin words. They are not, they are originally, Spanish. I and many people thought and many still do think that they mean, man to man. That’s an easy stretch when the first three letters of mano is man. Is that sexist? Could not “man” be an all-inclusive noun, to describe all men, women and children as in mankind or humanity? I think yes, yes it could. But what is its meaning?
The god of words since 1823, Meriam Webster, defines “mano a mano” as: “in direct competition or conflict especially between twopeople.” Please note the words “two people” as I have underscored them.
OK, I can sort of understand how these words have and are still being used today. Perhaps images of hand to hand combat come to mind? And the original meaning of these Spanish words are pretty close to that (minus the combat part). 🙂
“Mano a Mano” just means, “hand to hand.” I like that, especially when talking about making a drink by hand, making it by hand and hand-ing’ it off to another to enjoy! From the hand of the bartender to the hand of the bar-sitter, from one lover’s hand to another’s hand, from one hand of a friend or an associate (even a stranger), to another’s hand, let us celebrate life and each other!
So without further adieu, I give you, ‘The Mano a Mano- (from my hand to yours) tini! 🙂
Most of its ingredients are made in America, and fitting and proper since most likely the “tini,” began in the USA!
Mano a Mano-Tini or Mano-Tini
3 Parts H Clark Distillery Tennessee Gin (prevalent juniper notes at the start and finish)
Note: Previously, I was using Tito’s Vodka, but they have gotten “too big for the britches” in my opinion or for sure, they have priced themselves out of my pocketbook! I now use New Amsterdam Vodka. Just as good as Tito’s (that was compared to Absolute), if not better, is made and bottled in Modesto, CA USA, and is moderately priced.
1 Part New Amsterdam Vodka (made in California and comparable to Absolute and less expensive)
½ part of Lillet Blanc (French)
3-4 drops Cinchona (quinine distillate from South America)
3 parts H Clark Distillery Gin (made in Tennessee, USA)
1 part New Amsterdam vodka (made in California, USA)
1/2 part Lillet Blanc (made in France)
3-4 Drops of Quinnine Distillate (made with cinchona bark from South America)
Lime peel twist
Add gin, vodka, Lillet, and the cinchona (quinine) drops to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with lime peel (I like lime better than lemon peel, but use either to your liking.
If you use lemon peel, maybe you can call it, ‘The American 007’ and when “Bond, James Bond,” is in the USA, he will like it. 🙂 But mine is made with lime peel. I am for short just calling it, ‘The Mano-tini’
Tequila as a friend? Yes! A friend not only will say what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you NEED to hear.
Ahh Tequila, You are a Friend of Mine 🙂
Nothing quite says summer like margaritas, freestyle, flavored, frozen or on the rocks! Tequila is my friend because, a regular margarita requires it and is part of its unique taste.
You live your life with the love of your life and you find out things about her after many years that you never knew. Tequila is my friend because, I just found out that it is my wife’s favorite drink. She had been asking me to make these for a while and the other night I made us a couple and posted on my Facebook page that it was, “Margarita 30.”
“Margarita:30,” like “Beer:30, is just a hypothetical time of day uttered in response to the question of “what time is it.” when consumption of said beverage becomes an event that is either inevitable or required to proceed with life as we know it in modern society. 🙂
Well, anyway, as I was saying, it was indeed, “Margarita:30” the other night at, The Gathering Place. I made my wife and I a couple, just as usual. A regular Margarita is pretty simple to make. It has just three ingredients: Tequila (of course), some type of orange liquor as Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. I have used all three and Triple Sec is the least expensive followed by Cointreau and then Grand Marnier. The last two are French in origin and I do personally, prefer Grand Marnier. The kind of Tequila is a personal choice and range in complexity and cost. Whatever works for you, works. I started making these with the once most popular and nearly the only tequila (good tequila) that was available around 40 years ago, Jose Cuervo. Although not the oldest or the best by many standards, it remains the best-selling tequila in the world.
Now the purists, the old-time tequila drinkers licked some salt, bit into a lime and swallowed the tequila. A version of this was the “body shot” and required preferably three attractive women and one male. One female placed the salt at her cleavage. Another lady would have the lime in her mouth. And the last woman had the tequila in hers. If you were the guy that was the recipient of this libation, well? 🙂
Some had tequila drinking parties and contests, most likely inspired by the male-manly-silly-ego of, ‘who can drink the most?’ I was a bouncer or a stabilizer-stand-em-up guy of such a contest where the floors were completely lined with thick painter’s drop cloths. Hmmmmm? The contest had obvious ‘ringers’ of Mexican descent. No, that is not a slur, just a probability that if you were born and raised in Mexico, you just might be able to drink more tequila, than someone that is not. But, ‘The Flying Burritos Brothers Tequila Drinking Team,’ each consumed, a fifth and a half of tequila and were still on their feet. 🙂
Many were intrigued by and dared to get to and swallow the preserved worm, at the bottom of the bottle of some tequila? It was and may well still be, as if there is something magical, spiritual or that the supposed pure tequila in that worm’s guts, would make you special or something. 🙂
Too much tequila has been known to cause temporary (hopefully) nut-ness’ and there was even a song written that was quite popular. Many may still hear it played today or recall it, all too realistically. 🙂
Jose Cuervo, Shelly West, 1983, Vinyl 45 RPM
But getting back to ‘Margaritaville,’ after the proper mixing of the 3 required ingredients, for ‘The Regular,’ usually the rim of the glass is rubbed with lime and the glass is then turned upside down and pressed into a bed of coarse salt. The lime oil holds the salt onto the glass, for the ‘salted rim,’ which many find to be absolutely, a requirement for a real, true, authentic margarita. Prior to serving, the beverage is mixed with ice and pulverized in a blender or ice crusher, to make frozen margaritas. Otherwise, you would place ice cubes (as much as you like) or crushed ice in the glass, then pour the fresh margarita over the ice and Walla — instant summertime (beach not included). 🙂
I had not been able to drink even a 1/3 of my drink, when I suddenly had a horrible headache. I thought maybe it was that the Triple Sec was old so, I left my happy wife to drink hers and the rest of mine, while I tried to make another with Grand Marnier. Ooops, ran out of lime so, I had to use Rose’s lime juice and some of that lime juice concentrate from you know, that lime-looking, plastic squeeze bottle. It did not taste the same as a regular margarita without the fresh lime juice and after a swallow, my headache continued to get worse. Pffft. It is one of my favorite drinks too. But my poor happy honey was soon wasted away, in Margaritaville. 🙂
Just so it is perfectly clear, we only drink moderately and modestly. We don’t NOT wear clothes, don’t shoot out lights, dance on bar tops, start fights or wake up with partners we have no idea who they are and we’re NOT wearing their shirts. To be clear, clear, we just wake up with each other, NO other bodies next to us, known or unknown! 🙂
Back to tequila.
I remembered that this tequila was newly tried last year and last year, it did the same thing to me. Last year it gave me a horrible headache too. Hmmm, I wondered, perhaps I can just no longer tolerate tequila? OH HOW SAD THAT WOULD BE! 😦
But then again, maybe it’s this PARTICULAR brand of tequila? HOPING SO!
The next day, I went to the liquor store to buy another bottle of tequila, the same brand we had used, for several years previously. But before I made my purchase, I just happened to ask the owner if he had ever heard of anyone else having a reaction to tequila or from the brand I had last purchased from him a year ago that he had personally recommended? “No,” was his quick answer, but it was followed with a “But.” But before I get to that, let’s go back in time.
My first introduction to wine was red wine and it was from France, a Beaujolais. I am told, this is still an excellent ‘first wine’ to introduce people to red wine, due to it’s low tannins and its light body. I loved it and went on to drink many different red wines, which I prefer over white. But something happened to me years ago. Red wines I loved, did not seem to like me anymore. I never even spent much time on WHY, I just tried to find some white wines that we would each other get along with. 🙂
Oh, I could still drink my red, but only a glass if with food for dinner, just NOT sadly, for ‘Happy Hour.’ When I moved to NY, where we live now, near the Finger Lakes Region of Western NY, yes, there is much more to NY than just New York City, NY, I started to wonder again. I decided my lack of tolerating red wine was due to the added sulfites to the wines, for commercial sale. All wines have some sulfites by nature and reds have more, but there seems even more are added, when mass distribution exists? I was excited to test this out, on one of our wine tour trips to a winery in particular that was, small-batch and organic. To my chagrin, the wine was horrible, so I was not able to see if my theory could “hold water” or wine. 🙂
Around three years ago, we moved to the country. We can now almost roll down the hill to a winery, owned by folks that have become dear friends. They have a wine produced and bottled by them, which is not only wonderful and red, but the first red wine, I have been able to drink just for Happy Hour, in over 30 years I’m guessing! WOW, was I happy to be able to drink a red wine again! My only problem is, if they ever run out, which is the situation currently. I could be in trouble. They probably will not have this ready for several more months. I do still have a few left in our basement, so I am not concerned, at least not yet. But, for the most part, I have, for three years, just thought that their red does not have as many sulfites, so I am able to drink it. I think now, I may be wrong about this.
I have consumed scotch in some form for over 40 years. It is not an alcoholic beverage that seems to have a middle ground. People either like it or they don’t, both with perhaps equal passion for or against. I personally had to learn to like it. It started with a beverage that someone I greatly admired enjoyed, called, Drambuie. It is Scottish in its origin and is a sweet liquor with a Scotch base. The name means, “the drink that satisfies.” I liked it. From there, I started drinking, ‘Rusty Nails’ which was, Drambuie with some scotch added. Then I moved to Chivas Regal which is, a blended scotch and this was a particular drink of choice of mine, for many years. I wrote “particular” because, for me, I discovered that if I was going to be out all night drinking (in my youth), I could drink just scotch all night long and never get drunk/inebriated/intoxicated and NEVER have a hangover. My only side-effect if you will, seemed like my skin smelled like an oak barrel, for quite some time until, all the remnants were no longing coming out my pores. 🙂
It was only when I met my wife that she introduced me to single malt scotch. Yes, my wife is a scotch drinker and I have never met another woman in my life that likes scotch. So, this is pretty cool to me! My first single malt is, still her favorite, Glenlivet. Mine later became, Macallan. We keep both as well as, a pretty good assortment of scotches, at The Gathering Place. I used to drink scotch on the rocks. It was my wife’s brother Kevin that taught me the ways of drinking scotch more perfectly. 🙂
Most scotch is bottled and sold at around the four-year old mark. The longer the aging, the higher the demand and price, but less water is left. 8-year-old and older scotch is like drinking finely aged wine with its complex nose, bouquet, start, finish and its subtle tastes. Adding a drop or a few drops ONLY of water, completely transforms the experience and ice just totally waters this down and robs me of the experience. So, for several years now, this is the only way I would drink scotch.
Now if you think I’m a long way away from what the liquor store owner said to me about tequila, and even further from Margaritaville (margaritas) and tequila being my friend, hold on, I’m getting there, it’s all important!
For years, my wife and I would occasionally share a scotch together and the same scotch, her Glenlivet, UNTIL I discovered Macallan. We would still have our scotches together (she her’s and I mine), once in a while. After her bother Kevin, showed me how to properly drink it, I have learned to love drinking it this way. My wife still prefers hers on the rocks and I, with just a drop or a few drops of water. And this does NOT matter what time of the year it is either. Perhaps by this time, you may have discovered what I discovered is, a taste for more expensive single malt scotches. I have had 18-year-old which were from drinks purchased for me by a friend. But my cut-off is, 12-year-old. It’s expensive enough and I really don’t want to get use to anything that might be better and even more expensive. But I also discovered something else. Since I do not drink scotch, I SIP IT and slowly, to maximize the experience and to make it take as long as is possible, we could actually afford more expensive scotch, since we do not drink it like water or need to buy it as often.
Something else happened to me years ago. I learned to enjoy fine cigars. But something was missing— other people. Yes, I was a conversation only, social cigar smoker. I would really never smoke alone. In my mind, a good quality cigar was a social thing, for conversation. I even started having what I called, Cigar-tys. I would have people over and most of the time, I provided the cigars and the beverages. I loved these! And since they were not frequent, I could afford better cigars. It was a win-win for me. Then, I started associating sipping 12-year-old single malt scotch, with fine cigars and conversation. Then, religion interfered. It wasn’t disagreeable politics, but religion. Rather than just agree to disagree, one stormed off and did not speak with me again for a long time. Thankfully, it was not permanent, but this ended my beloved cigar-tys! I would still have a scotch now and then with my wife, but rarely smoked another cigar, for some time.
I knew my brother smoked cigars, but found out he too, not only liked scotch, but my favorite as well. Then he and I got together with our wives, for a week at a cabin in the Ozarks. As far as he and I were concerned, we could have just stayed on the screened-in porch, had conversation, listened to the creek that ran just underneath, watched nature, smoked cigars and drank scotch all week-long! But our ladies had other things in mind so, we did do other things. 🙂
But ever since that time, just a few years ago, I can no longer drink scotch without a cigar and someone to share good conversation with.
Thankfully, I made a new friend a few years ago, that stops by every-now-and-again and we share a scotch and a cigar and good conversation. But last year I noticed, I was not tolerating scotch too well when he was here. I didn’t think too much of it until a few weeks ago, when he was last here. I poured him a scotch, but not one for myself. I just did not want to take a chance. We shared a cigar and great conversation, but I noticed, I wasn’t handling the cigar too well. Then, I got a little angry about that and after he left and to soothe myself somewhat, I poured myself a scotch. Same as last year, I just didn’t feel right. What was going on was soon forgotten. I would not have to think about it again until my friend or someone came by that liked conversation, a good cigar and some great scotch.
So, now finally, we get back to the liquor store owner. This just happened yesterday or one day before I wrote this post. Remember, I went to buy some tequila, like we used to have on hand, before last year.
Two different Tequila brands— amber and clear
The amber-colored tequila on the left in the picture above is the one I have reacted to, twice now. The silver or clear one on the right is the one we used to use, for several years previously and the one I purchased yesterday. Remember, before I made my purchase, I asked the owner if he ever heard of anyone reacting to one or both types of tequila? After he said, “No,” he went on to say, “…but what you are describing to me sounds like you might have celiac disease.” He informed me that the only reason he knew anything about this was because his wife was having some issues with cancer and was referred to a gastrointestinal specialist. After proper testing, his diagnosis was that she did indeed, have celiac disease.
I have never heard of this disease before. Now, before you or I freak out with that dreaded word “cancer,” let’s not jump to conclusions. Celiac disease can happen at a young age or at any age and can vary with symptoms per individual and/or be gradual over the years. There is a test, for this and rest assured, I will be bringing this up with my doctor at a regular scheduled visit, in the next couple of weeks. But most often the disease is usually associated with the body developing antigens, for things it believes do not belong in the body of the individual as, me perhaps? It is usually associated with not tolerating gluten from wheat, rye and barley.
To my knowledge, I don’t seem to have any issue with rye or barley. I often feel uncomfortable after eating granola and sandwiches etc from whole wheat or gluten rich foods. There is a nine grain bread we have been buying for some time, which I love and gives me no problems. Pizza does not. But too much of anything would bother anyone eventually, but I try not to do that. Ice cream does not (especially Ben & Jerry’s). Yes, some ice cream contains gluten.Pie crust does not bother me. So, over the years, I have become aware of these things and have limited or weaned myself from those things which do bother me.
OK, so what has this to do with wine, scotch, cigars and at least one brand of tequila? In a word, wood. To be more specific, oak. All of these things can be aged, cured or stored in oak and as cigars, in a humidor made with oak. So yes, celiac disease can be triggered by oak and even some plastics (not that I eat plastic). The skin can absorb plastic and it can be inhaled in sufficient amounts to irritate those with celiac disease. OK, do I have this? I don’t know and won’t, before I am tested and properly diagnosed by my physician, within the next couple of weeks. But do I have any possible proof?
The liquor store owner told me that both tequilas are fermented in stainless steel tanks. But the amber-colored one is then aged to produce what some believe is a smoother tequila with the characteristic amber color. Would you like to know how it gets that color and whatever else becomes a part of the finished product? Well, it’s OAK! OK, now what?
I bought the new silver tequila untouched by OAK. I made us another pitcher of margaritas with it and slowly tasted and waited. Nothing happened. I had no reaction at all. I drank two and still, nothing. Nothing but pure delight that I could drink one of my favorite drinks again! So, tequila is my friend!
A friend tells you what you want to hear. Yay, I can still drink tequila (un-oaked) and continue to enjoy margaritas.
A friend tells you what you may not like, but need to know. I may or may not have Celiac disease. But now, I know it’s a possibility and what to do about it – check with my Doctor and take the test for this and just avoid things that may cause me discomfort.
And you Dear reader, tequila may be your friend too? If you have similar experiences as I have, check with your doctor. But rest assured, if you’ve no issue with any of these things, we will keep the stuff you like, for whenever you stop by, The Gathering Place! 🙂
Well, today at The Gathering Place, we’re cooking. Yes, this post is abut the ‘thrill of the first grill,’ of the season.
Fresh from sleep ( I think the jet lag is over) and fresh with inspiration from our recent travels to Japan and Australia, we’re cooking up a storm!
Let me first explain the word ‘”storm.” It has been literally “storming” here recently. We have had quite a bit of rain and the temperature dropped dramatically. I’m not complaining, just explaining, for up here on the hill, we have fared better than some that have gone through a lot of flooding and damage. “Storm,” “Stormy” and “bad weather,” can be used and are used here, figuratively.
About a week before we left Australia (OZ-tralia), my wife Susan, was suffering from pain in her right leg. We thought it was just muscular or something like that from the much walking we have done these last couple of months. The day after we got home, I drove her to the doctor. A ultrasound revealed that she has a blood clot in her leg. Rather than go into details, let me just say that she is doing better, but has to take it easy. Now “easy” to you might be easy to you, but not to Susan. She has plenty to do that she both wants to do and needs to do. So, it’s not “easy,” it is scary, different, frustrating and kind of stormy here, at the Gathering Place.
There were things, important things we missed while gone. For one, our only granddaughter has a mouthful of teeth, is walking and is keeping up with and will be soon the boss of her two older, fraternal twin brothers. There’s graduations, birthdays and even a wedding coming up. I’ve painting to do, grass to grow, a yard sale to plan and implement so, we can get rid of this huge pod in our driveway and have a full driveway again. And there has been the loss of a dear family member and the daughter of two of our other dear friends.
We’ve gone through all the mail and junk mail. We’ve a lot of catch-up to catch-up on, about many things. You leave for a couple of months and when you get back, everything you left is still here and more and less. Susan is retired. Me? I only know that we were tired while traveling; tired from traveling and when we got home as we still are, we’re re-tired! 🙂
Sometimes, we just don’t realize how good people are at what they do until, we have to step in and try to do, what they do. Susan is the shopper, the meal planner, daily cook and specialty cook too. I could go on and on about what she does, but the point is, for the present and for an indeterminate period of time, I have to step in and step up. Not complaining just explaining.
Me? Oh, I am a trained gourmet chef. I know how to shop for the best and how to prepare the best. Blah, blah, blah, you want to know what I really am, I ‘m just a show-off chef. I’m the guy you want to have prepare feasts, special occasions, holiday meals and fancy dinners for 100’s of guests! I’m not boasting, that’s a fact Jack (or Jill or whatever pray tell, your name is. 🙂
But there is a whole bunch of differences between what I do and what a daily good cook, like my wife Susan, has done for years. Like what, like feeding a family on a budget, coupon collecting, best-deal detective-ing, and with grace under pressure, adding variety and all, with delicious and nutritious food, day in and day out, 450 days a year (extra days for extra people that often show up extra-ordinarily).
Oh sure, I used to know grams and milliliters. I’ve had a lot of experience with healthy food and shopping on a budget. But that was then and this is now. Like the saying goes, “use it or lose it.”
Well, if I am such an experienced chef with all this training, why have you never heard of me? Why am I not a successful chef and restaurateur with a whole bunch of the famed culinary and prestigious, Michelin Stars, associated with my work? The short answer is, I can’t handle the pressure! But also, I cannot stand to cook the same stuff over and over again, day in and day out! Food is either just something I HAVE to eat, when I’m doing something else that I deem more important, but my stomach won’t shut up until I cram something down my throat. Thank God I married Susan because, at least her food is delicious, balanced, and nutritious! If I just had to feed me, I’d either sort-of-starve, which really means, I gain weight or just eat junk which means, I gain weight. PROVE THIS TO YOURSELVES FOLKS! If you, would just eat three balanced meals a day at the same times and you do NOTHING else, I guarantee you will lose weight! You can even eat my food, BUT NOT A LOT OF IT, ALL THE TIME; EVERY DAY!
I love to cook. I love to cook for others. But in the kitchen, I AM INTENSE! I would NOT want to work for me or with me in the kitchen! I don’t know many chefs that I would want to be like. Many of them are just jerks, bossy-expletive-flinging dictators. And this is another reason I do not cook professionally. Not cooking professionally just means, I am not paid. I am a professional in all other senses of the word. I clean as I go. I cannot stand a messy kitchen!!! Besides, in a restaurant, the person that cleans the dishes is called a dishwasher, not the kitchen-washer or the kitchen cleaner. That’s my job and especially here recently. We have a mechanical/digital dishwasher and we have me, the hand dishwasher, while Susan rests, takes it easy and keeps her feet elevated.
My new roles are: nurse, caregiver, cooking, cleaning, shopping and many other things of which Susan, used to do a lot of these and much, much more.
Me shopping? By myself? Even with a list? Whew, what else do I bring home? How much more do I spend? To be fair to me, from my recent shopping trip, I did think in terms of extra stuff to prepare ahead of time, meals were planned and I purchased extra stuff to have on hand (in the refrigerator and freezer, on the shelves and in the pantry), just for you, when you stop by say on a moment’s notice or just to have extra if you stop by unannounced and we were just sitting down to eat. You are always welcome here though, by the way!
But OMG (Oh my God), we are going to eat well, I’m just not sure how well we will be eating or how well we’ll stay. 🙂 Here’s some clues – French, Italian, cream, butter, sugar, and salt and etc.. Am I communicating? Well, have you ever noticed that many of the people from France and Italy are not overweight, seem fit, firm, frisky, and fabulously, full of fun from food? They eat this way and probably, most of the time. Their secrets are balance, variety, the contrasts, lots of food, but smaller portions. As the saying goes, “a little bit goes a long way.” And there are three other secrets. A little wine with your meal is good for the digestion. I do apologize to those that do not partake of alcohol, but this is a proven fact. Wine aide in digestion, has antioxidants and some stuff in it (red wine has more) that has been shown to prolong life at healthier levels.
Many of the French and Italians take their time to prepare and to enjoy their food. This also aides in digestions and if you are really and truly satisfied, you will actually eat less. The last secret is the quality of the food, the fresher the better. In Japan and in Australia, many people shop, every day. In the USA, we often just buy stuff on sale and cram it all in our huge refrigerators, freezers and if we have them, the extra fridges and freezers. In the USA, we have a lot of OVER-processed, over-sugared, fat-stuff that has a lot of empty calories, chemicals and stuff our bodies can’t use much of, get rid of and promote cravings and get stored as fat. If you think about it, it is very simple to understand. Every calorie gets used, it’s burnt up through exercise or it gets stored as fat. And this is still true, no matter how old I’m getting or how slow my metabolism is becoming. Eat what you love and love what you eat, just so long as what you love to eat does NOT, end up eating up, your life!
I do not like sleeping and I don’t like eating. But when I have to sleep and it’s needed and restful, I sometimes love it and I love eating exciting food! I love to cook. It’s fun! I love to cook for people. But I’m not real good at hosting, or keeping good conversation going, if I’m cooking. Oh, I’m OK if there is just one, two or a few people present. But more than a few, I can be really shy. I’d rather be behind the scenes watching you have a good time, watching and listening to what you have to say. I keep busy in the kitchen and even though I really do want you here, this is the only way I can handle crowds. It’s OK, go see Susan, she’ll talk to you and make you always feel, right at home!
Hey, wait a minute. I thought this post was supposed to be about the, ‘Thrill of the First Grill?’ It is, I’m getting to it! I have written all of this in the hope that you can relate and or find it helpful, if not now, perhaps sometime in the future. And it is all in keeping with the vision of, The Gathering Place, our home, this post, and this blog, YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME! We gather together to share. I’m about to share some more and it’s about food; about the ‘Thrill of the First Grill,’ of the season.
Food is like art to me and well, I am a food artist. Food has to smell incredible, taste fantastic and be presented beautifully. Besides the joy this gives to our palette and how it excites our taste buds, all of this actually, aides in digestion. Why settle for something ordinary when just a little extra, can make it extra-ordinary!
Today, I made some heart shaped ginger sugar cubes, for what I call, Gingepagne (Ginger + Champagne). About three little mini heart sugar cubes into each glass of champagne. Made these to have on hand. Tasted delicious, but no champagne on hand to try, but I’ve had something similar (a taste) while we were in Australia (OZ-tralia) and it is wonderful. While making this, I also made fresh ginger syrup or ginger beer. Stored it in the refrigerator to have on hand for my ginger drinks. I have been working on my recipes for ‘Dark & Stormy’ (with rum), Moscow Mule (with vodka), Gin Gin Mule (with gin), Kentucky Mule (with Bourbon) and Scotch Mule (with Scotch). These all use pretty much the same ingredients (ginger syrup, ginger beer, and lime. The only thing different is pretty much the type of alcohol (spirits), the type of glass they are served in and the way they are garnished. Today, I made Gin Gin Mules for the Mrs. and me. They were incredible, especially since I used the fresh ginger syrup. Tomorrow, I’ll try the Scotch Mule.
Got everything together to make fresh, raw beets and horseradish mix. This is great on kielbasa, sandwiches and salads. You can’t get this any better or fresher than making it yourself. Just remember to peel the root and beets, use a food processor, but especially don’t forget to wear rubber gloves (no purple fingers from the beet juice) and a face mask so you don’t fall over and cry like a baby from the horseradish fumes! Hmm, could I possibly know what I’m talking about?! 🙂
Got everything to make my smoked fish dip. Will finish this tomorrow.
Well, you certainly can’t live off of sugar cubes, ginger juice and drinks! No you can’t, but you can LIVE with them when they are a part of your whole Gathering Together! I’m getting to the meal. Actually, I’ll be closing this out with four pictures. As we’ve heard many times, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Surely I must be over halfway of that in words? So maybe my pictures are only worth around 500 words. Sorry, but I won’t try harder, just to try your patience more. 🙂
With the pictures, I will give you some idea how to make what they show. But for more information, details, ingredients and recipes, you will just have to wait until I finish the cookbook I have been working on for some time. It’s title is:
The Gathering Place
Holidays & Special Occasions Entertaining
When finished, this will be loaded with pictures, recipes cards for handy reference and everything necessary to plan, prepare and present incredible and exciting food for all your special occasions. This will include breakfast, lunch, dinner, deserts, beverages, entrees, soups, sauces, salads, bread, rolls and a fool-proof flaky-tasty every time, yummy pie crust.
it also will include plating, garnish and decorating and anything else I may not have thought of yet. All of the food and everything in it has been tried and trued, tested and proved by many, to be all and more I say it is. Why settle for or take your family, friends and guests to a five star restaurant, when they can experience the intimacy and the personal touch of a ten star restaurant at your home, where the food is all made by you! You know, “there’s no place like home!” Well why not add to this, the best feast that can be had anywhere!!
OK, along with everything else done today, we had to eat. Today it was fish. The name of the fish is simply, Cobia. It was farm raised in Panama. Around $12 dollar for two fresh and more than ample size fillets.
Cobia is also called – black kingfish, black salmon, ling, lemonfish, crabeater, prodigal son and aruan tasek. I like the ‘prodigal son.’ The bible story, from where this comes from in part is, about a man that leaves home with all his inheritance and blows it all. He has no choice, but to come home and even beg to be a servant, just so he can survive. But his father sees him approaching from a distance and prepare a huge feast because, he is so happy that his son has come home. The corbia fish I prepared was so delicious, I have decided to call this meal, ‘The Prodigal Son.’ Why you might ask, because, if you prepare this for those that love fish, they will “return.”
“Cobia is a relatively high priced fish and is sought after, for its firm texture and excellent flavor. The flesh is usually sold fresh. It is typically served in the form of grilled or poached fillets. Chefs Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali each cooked several dishes made with cobia in the “Battle Cobia” episode of the Food Network program Iron Chef America, which first aired in January, 2008. Thomas Keller’s restaurant, The French Laundry, has offered cobia on its tasting menu.”
I cleaned our propane gas grill and set the temperature to around medium to low. Garlic and herb basting oil was brushed on top, bottom and all sides of both fillets. Lay fish horizontally on the grill. Cook around 2 minutes, then flip over with a spatula, for another 2 minutes. Recoat fish with the basting oil, each time you turn it over. After both sides have cooked each for two minutes, flip again only this time, turn the fillets vertically so grill marks will show up as a square or diamond pattern when finished. It looks nice! Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, the last two times you grill the fillets. Remember to keep basting. Total cook time is around 8 minutes. We were having rice and if you have a rice cooker, it takes about 15 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly so everything is done at the same time. And while you are waiting…
Thrill of the First Grill
…hey, what’s in that glass to the left of the grill by the spatula? By the way, the plate to the right with a fork and the yellow basting brush, started with around 3-4 tablespoons of garlic & herb basting oil. Get from any store or make your own! Anyway, what’s in that glass?
Gin Gin Mule
Gin, fresh made ginger syrup, ginger beer, lime, and crushed ice in a pretty glass with a lime garnish. It was supposed to have a little muddled fresh mint, garnish of a sprig of fresh mint and a chip of crystallized ginger. OK, I like ginger, alright? Well. I forgot to get the mint at the store and I almost forgot the piece of crystallized ginger for garnish, but it got in there! 🙂
Close up of grill marked fish fillets turned once. Repeat second time, turning fillets, the opposite direction.
Prepared a fresh salad with veggies and fresh ripe avocado. Sprinkled with feta cheese. I used light sesame seed and ginger salad dressing because, OK I like ginger. I’m not sure what Susan used?
Rice was just plain white rice. Just Plain white rice can be quite boring. I sprinkled ours with a little Japanese rice seasoning, to really make it pop or as chef Emeril Lagasse says, to make it, “BAM!” Find some seasoning you really like and with even just plain O’ white rice, it will NEVER be, “plain O,” again!
Arrange a couple of fresh raspberries for tartness and color, along with a nice piece of honeydew melon. I cut off about 1/4 of a ripe banana and removed it’s peel. I stuck a chopstick up into the center of the banana (side that was cut from the rest of the banana). I used the chopstick to hold the banana piece in one hand. With my other hand and with a butane, long fire starter, I torched (lightly blackened) the banana to add smokiness and a nice color. By the way, you can grill a whole banana in its peel and these are wonderful. I Removed the chopstick and cut the banana piece lengthwise and put one per plate by the honeydew melon. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on all of the fruit. Next, I squeezed some fresh lime over the fruit. By the way, just honeydew melon with lime juice alone, is like a marriage made in heaven! If you have not tried this, do your ‘buds’ (taste buds) a favor and try it! Last, I squeezed lime over the fish and twisted the peel and laid it over each fillet. Dinner was DELICIOUS!!!
We had some leftover rice so for desert, I made some fresh rice pudding. I added a little bit of coconut milk to the rice, a little cinnamon and maple syrup to taste. I whisked about 3 table spoons of heavy cream with a pinch of Xanthan gum to thicken. Using two small ceramic custard dishes, I spooned the pudding into them and placed two red raspberries for contrast, tartness and color. Last, I added a little dollop of whipped cream, and we added our lips and gums and then delicious, here it comes! 🙂
Leftover pudding was placed into a covered plastic container in the refrigerator to have again and again until we run out or I make more. Try this meal.You and all that like fish will say, WOW!
Completed Meal – The Prodigal Son (or Daughter) 🙂
Tomorrow (Today), we’re doing: grass seed, taxes, steak au poivre, spaghetti carbonara, grilling ‘white hots’ and corn on the BBQ, making more sugar cubes, making fresh beets and horseradish mix, Scotch Mules, smoked fish dip or whatever my boss Susan, tells me! 🙂
Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie beverage guide
In a previous post, we tasted some wonderful Australian food and their butter. See Butter from this blog here.
While out and about on our Saturday here, we came upon a store called the Epicure which means, “one that enjoys fine food and drink” or simply, “the good life.” This is the same store where we enjoyed that marvelous butter from two posts back. After going on and on and drooling from the memory of this, the lady asked if we would like to taste the milk that is used to make this butter? Would I, would we? There was no hesitation, of course we would and did.
When I was a young boy, we had an Aunt Gladys & an Uncle Al. We loved to visit them! Right across the road from them was a dairy farm. One dog would round up all the cows and bring them to the barn for milking. They had mechanical milking machines even 50 years ago or so. But the milk went into this stainless steel tank that was somehow cooled instantly it seemed to just above freezing or 32° F. (Fahrenheit). I don’t to this day know how they did it, but when I say “ice cold,” it was ICE COLD!
A side note: 100’s of cats all seemed to show up out of nowhere at milking time! 🙂
Anyway, since those times, I could never drink milk unless it had ice in it, but I drank this milk from Australia that was the same milk used to make the awesome butter we had and it WAS DELICIOUS!!! 🙂
Well, this post really is about beverages from Australia or that I have tried here. You have already seen the following picture in another post, but here it is again. After the milk, it’s GINger time. In a bit you will understand why, I capitalized GIN in GINger. 🙂
Ginger Beer, Ginger Ade, Dark & Stormy (Ginger beer, lime and rum) and Ginger Wine
Then there was this ginger suprize that you have also seen before.
Champagne with a ginger sugar cube
Next, what was the capitals of GIN in the GINger for?
On the last night of the Camden Show, Jonathan and I popped in to a local pub, for a night cap or two. 🙂
I ordered an Australian beer with Jonathan’s recommendation and he ordered a GIN and tonic. I have never liked gin because it smells if not like a pine tree which I do like the smell, but it reminds me of mineral spirits which I used to use for many years, in cleaning out my paint brushes used for, oil-based or alkyd paint. I’ve sometimes wondered why so many older painters drank a lot? Was it to cut the taste of the mineral spirits out of their nostrils? Well anyway, something came over me and I asked Jonathan if I could try his drink? I think I was thinking that I used to not like tonic water until it was put together with rum, fresh lime and fresh ground nutmeg that our friend and former neighbors (still friends) made for many-a-happy-hour. We affectionately refer to this as, ‘Lou’s Pirate Punch!’ So I perhaps thought, maybe GIN, with fresh lime and tonic water might be OK? Jonathan said, “Sure you can taste it!” I did. I loved it and ordered myself one. This experience set the stage for what was to come later, when we stopped in to ‘The Custom’s House’ reaturant and bar in Sydney for a drink after our return from the Toranga Zoo. The Zoo post is coming, hang on! 🙂
The Customs House is or was indeed that, for Customs. But on one of the upper floors was the Customs House Bar & Restaurant. It was a fancy beautiful place with a great view of Darling Harbor and the Harbor Bridge.
From the rear of The Customs House
Lighted table for our drinks. Very Cool! 🙂
Anyway, on their drink menu was a ‘Gin Gin Mule.’ I was curious. It sounded like a Moscow Mule which is ginger beer, fresh lime and vodka that I already like, so I tried this and? I loved it! 🙂
A Gin Gin Mule is served in a tall glass with ginger beer, a spicy ginger syrup, fresh lime, GIN and a sprig of mint and ice.
A Moscow Mule is basically the same, but with vodka, and traditionally served in a copper mug (lined of course, with stainless steel).
A Dark & Stormy is also, basically the same only it uses, a dark (more molasses flavored) rum and served in whatever kind of glass you desire.
All of these drinks made with ginger beer are fantastic. Thank you Australia for introducing me to Gin, Gin & Tonic, and the Gin Gin Mule!
Now for something regular, only from Australia, beer (actually it’s pale ale)! How does the name Fat Yak grab you? Well this is its name and it is made in Matilda Bay in Australia. Sure it will give your Matilda something to waltz about! 🙂
Fat Yak starts with hops and they finish it with hops. Normally, I don’t care for hoppy beer and ales etc., but this has a wonderful blend, a bit of fruit in its flavor and it just has a nice and lovely taste!
Fat Yak pale ale
Are you ready for something really unusual? Here it comes. While we were in the Blue Mountains, the girls popped in to a little liquor store to pick up a nice bottle of Riesling wine for our night’s meal. Just outside the shop was a little sandwich board with the following message:
“Try Our Hot Chilly Wine”
This is exactly what the sign said and it is spelled exactly as I saw it. But I wondered what that meant, So I went into the store and asked. Now I don’t know if whoever wrote the sign cannot spell or it was intentional. If it was the latter, well it worked because, I wanted to know what it meant! 🙂
But I suppose the wine was chilly and it was hot and it was wine and it was made out of chili! So welcome one and all to world of Hot Chilly Chili Wine!
Hot Chili Wine (front)
Hot Chili Wine (rear)
Hot Chili Wine (close up of rear label)
Disaster Bay Chillies produce this sweet hot wine without grapes whatsoever! It is made from 100% chili peppers.
The proprietor gave me a sample and there are just no words to describe what was beyond anything I could imagine!
Disaster Bay Chillies is a partnership between Stuart Meagher and John Wentworth. John has been an organic market gardener for more than a decade and Stuart has been a chilli fanatic for at least as long.
Stuart and John combined their passions in 1999 to grow chillies on the Far South Coast of NSW to produce what they believe is the world’s first commercially available wine made from chillies. They used a recipe from a mate of Stuarts, known as Old Didler, as a starting point. Then, after much experimentation – and a little luck – they struck upon a workable method to produce the wine.
Disaster Bay Chillies is from Eden, a coastal town in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. The town is 478 kilometres (or about 297 miles) south of the state capital Sydney and is the most southerly town in New South Wales.
This sweet and hot (spicy hot) wine was absolutely incredible and unlike anything we four had ever tried. It is great with cheese and crackers which is what we had it with. I think it would be awesome with fresh oysters too! What ever you serve it with, do yourself , your guests, friends and families a favor and TRY IT!!!
We intended to bring this home, but we opened it up and drank most of it that night! We finished it off the next night when we returned home to Camden. Oh NO, what to do???? “No worries mates, you can order it online!”