"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Mark Bittman takes on the cocktail in his Minimalist way in the Times today.

Also tasty article about frozen blended cocktails and some intriguing recipes.

I enjoyed a drink I made the other night, based on my spotty recollection of a recipe I saw in Real Simple. What I did: cut up about a third of a lime, squeezed the juice into a pint glass, and dropped the lime pieces in. Cut up a big strawberry and tossed it in. Filled the glass with ice. Poured in a healthy amount of berry-flavored vodka, and topped with club soda. I later re-read the recipe and discovered that it calls for a mixture of berries (blackberries and raspberries would be nice) and wants you to add sugar. It was very refreshing and more adult than you might think (given the fruity vodka) without the sugar, but when I make this on Sunday for a lunch we're having, I think I may add just a touch of simple syrup. Plus I think sprigs of mint will be a nice addition.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Midsummer supplies

Just got back from the store with:

6 bottles rose (3 different types)
1 large bottle Grey Goose
1 bottle raspberry vodka (I want to try a recipe I read in a magazine, which mixes it in a pitcher with club soda, lime juice, and mixed fresh berries)
1 large bottle sake

Picnic with friends tomorrow, where the rose should come in handy. Will also pack the large wicker hamper (wedding present, heavy as hell) with various dips, cheeses, olives, and breads from the local grocery with the good prepared foods.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dining for Dads

We had a nutty weekend of numerous celebrations (a fantastic surprise party for Meg, glad we can let the cat out of the bag about that one, finally; a sweet first birthday for my nephew; brunch with the dads for Father's Day) but before we all collapsed from all the partying (and driving) the little gateaux and I took Mr. Gateau out for a special dinner. We went to Besito in Roslyn NY, which not only offers excellent high-end Mexican cuisine, but does it in a sophisticated environment that isn't so easy to find in our area of Long Island. I was a little apprehensive about bringing the kids to someplace so nice, and that is impossible to get into on the weekends, but we went early enough to make it tolerable and were accomodated beautifully. Lots of other people clearly had the same thought, and many tables had kids getting a kick out of the tableside guacamole preparation and other fun touches.

We started with the guacamole, made medium spicy in case Baby Gateau wanted some (he did, though we need not have worried--this kid has started eating Andy Capp Hot Fries, god help us all). With that I had a La Casa Margarita which was fantastic--frozen with premium tequila, fresh lime juice, and fresh pomegranate and tangerine juices as well. It was so good that Mr. Gateau, who rarely drinks hard liquor any more, had one as well. We were pleased to learn they offer a nice children's menu, so the kids shared a platter of plain chicken enchiladas with a light tomato-based sauce. Mr. Gateau had the fish of the day, Mahi-Mahi, prepared Veracruzana style, and I found myself going for the vegetarian option on the menu, fantastically tasty Chiles Rellenos stuffed with wild mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts, and raisins, in a tangy sauce. We shared a plate of crispy yuca fries, served with a spicy creamy dip and lime. These were truly fantastic. We skipped dessert, but each table is served a to-go bag of piping hot churros, as well as given tiny Mexican worry dolls to take home. In all, a great evening.

Of course, it will be even greater when we go back sans children and sit at the bar, where I expect we'll have more guacamole, more yuca fries, maybe a few fish tacos or ceviche platters, and of course more La Casa Margaritas.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer shows up early again

Just as it did 8 years ago, when Mr. Gateau and I got married, summer has showed up a bit earlier than expected with several steamer trunks and indicated its intention to stick around. This weekend ushered in a 90 degree-plus heatwave, complete with humidity and evening thunder and lightning. It's sticky and dehydrating, but it's also deliciously relaxing to slow down to a crawl, throw some stuff on the grill, and marvel at how the garden is already getting overgrown and lush.

We kicked off the season with an invitation to join our friends for a little cookout. They did hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet Italian sausage, and shrimp skewers rubbed with spicy Cajun seasoning (perfect). I made my Greek-ish pasta salad, which is really the only kind of pasta salad I can stand. It's tricolor rotini (I used whole wheat here, this is a good recipe for that) tossed with pitted kalamata olives, feta, thinly-sliced red onions, sundried tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, and a big handful of chopped mixed garden herbs, plus olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Other additions that would be good depending on who you're serving it to would be capers, anchovies, or roasted red peppers.

This evening we're expecting other friends for grilling, and I'll be serving roasted red pepper and feta dip with pita chips, lemon-marinated green olives, and marinated mushrooms to start, then grilled flank steak (in my mother's trademark marinade of ketchup, mustard, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, salt, and a little soy sauce), leftover pasta salad, corn with lime-chili sauce or butter and salt, and a salad of stuff from the farmer's market -- roasted beets, baguette slices with herbed goat cheese, lettuce, and arugula, with raspberry vinaigrette. Then we'll have some fruit and ice cream for dessert. My friends are bringing a summer cocktail, can't wait.