There have been lots of things happening here on my end, but none of it is remotely related to these recipes. So, I’ve been a little late in sharing. The big news of the moment is that I’m an uncle… again. Bryn Scarlett arrived on the first day of spring, though it was a snowy one and not very spring-like. Hopefully her arrival means that warmer and sunnier days are on their way. What it definitely means is that I will have another little child to run around with, to tickle and hug, to feed junk food, and to teach how to cook. I can’t wait to snuggle with her and soothe her when she cries. I’ll sing to her as she falls asleep in my arms. And when she poops, I will pass her off to her mother or father. Oh, I just love being an uncle!
And now on to the collards. Yeah… I’m not sure where to go with this. There’s not really a good way to transition. This came out of desperation… we were either going to cook with them or they were just going to wilt away in our produce bin. Collard greens often get neglected in our house. I don’t know what it is about them, but I’ve never really been a fan. I do know what the problem is actually… I haven’t cooked them properly. In the past, I’ve thrown them into dishes without much thought. They come out tough and tasteless. But I went in wanting to give my all.
Here’s a great example of how when you put a little thought and care in how you treat an ingredient, you can come out with a pretty stellar dish. The mixture of garlic and spice make for a lively side. And, hey, I’ve learned that if you blanch the greens, they come out tender. Sadly, I’m just figuring that out now. After all this time. Better late than never, right?
A few weeks ago, Eric and I took my dad to Drink, a very trendy Boston bar where the mixologists create libations based on your desired flavor profile. There’s no menu available, so they ask what kind of liquor you like or if there’s a specific cocktail you’re fond of. It’s also common for patrons to tell the bartender what mood they’re in… or what mood they’d like to be in. See… totally trendy. But, you know what, they always nail the drinks. Like, spot on. You end up leaving with a new respect for the craft of mixing cocktails.
I think it was a fun experience for my father, who enjoys scotch and beer and wine, but hasn’t really dabbled with cocktails. With a little guidance from us during our visits home, he’s starting to learn a bit more about creating them. He especially likes drinks with citrus and bourbon. On our night out, we had the bartenders whip up versions of the Brown Derby (bourbon, grapefruit, honey syrup) and with each sip, his eyes lit up. We sent him home with a few recipes… now he has to try them on his own.
Eric and I have been working on a lot of grapefruit cocktails (we’re a little obsessed actually). I’ve done bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila… all of them work in their own way. This is my take on the Greyhound. I’ve made a few modifications from the original recipe. I’ve seen many that call for vodka over gin and I just prefer the herbaceousness gin lends to a citrus cocktail. To create depth, I’ve added in a few dashes of bitters, which brings in some spice, and a squeeze of lime to give it a zip. These go down rather easily, which is never a bad thing for a cocktail. Just beware.
My recent eating habits haven’t been great. We’ve been going out for dinner a lot more than usual and it hasn’t helped that a number of projects that I’m working on involve desserts or bread… which means that I come home from shoots with scrumptious pastries. And you can’t just throw them out! That would be wasteful! So we’ve been gorging ourselves with these treats these last few weeks. It’s not good.
But here I’ve brought you all a salad. A kale salad… which, I know, is soooooooo three years ago. I don’t care, though. I love it and find that it makes for a perfect weeknight dinner. Sometimes, when I’m not sure what to make, I’ll roast our CSA veggies, dress up some kale, and toss it altogether. It turns out to be a surprisingly satisfying dish.
Tonight marks the start of Passover. I know how heavy the foods can be, how all that matzo and brisket and gefilte fish just sit with you. At some point, you’re going to get tired of it and when you do, I think this kale salad will be a nice break.
More Passover-friendly recipes:
Asparagus Caesar Salad | Baked Rutabaga Chips | Beet and Quinoa Tabouli | Cauliflower “Couscous” | Carrots with Caramelized Ginger | Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons | Marinated Eggplant with Mint and Capers | Meringue-Topped Baked Grapefruit | Moroccan Carrot Dip | Parsnip Fries | Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccine | Pickled Beets with Feta | Quinoa with Squash | Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad | Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts | Spinach Matzo Balls | Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Creme Fraiche
Typically, when I’m drinking a Bloody Mary I’m not in the best physical or mental state. Therefore, how it tastes is less important than how it’s going to make me feel. But, when it comes down to it, there is a huge difference between a Bloody Mary that’s shown some love and one that’s been thrown together without any thought. As I discuss in this post over at The Boys Club, everyone has their own spin, but one that’s well made, like any libation, is going to be balanced. A little kick, a bit of acidity, and some garnishes to nibble on at the end.
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit how nervous I was to make macaroons. Like, I was petrified. There’s no rational reason for it. I just was. I’ve been a coconut lover my whole life and have always had a strong affinity for these treats. My first were devoured as a child, attending pre-school at the synagogue. Over Passover, our Oreos were replaced with macaroons. A canister bearing the Manischewitz logo made its way around the room, our little fingers groping inside. I immediately fell in love with the chewy cookie and how little specks of coconut hid in my mouth for me to snack on throughout the afternoon.
I got it in my head that making macaroons had to be complicated. There was no way that you could whip something like this up quickly and have it actually turn out ok. But it’s true… they’re ridiculously easy and just as wonderful as I remember.