We drank a lot that Monday night. More than we normally do. More than we should have on any weekday, but, hell, we were doing it as a part of our mixology education. The class was with Domingo-martin Barreres, the head bartender at Market by Jean-Georges and he had provided a number of recipes to try that night. Besides the six cocktails we were also given free reign to play with the ingredients purchased for the class. That led to another four or five beverages. Oh, and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.
Two things I took away from that evening were 1) that cocktails incorporating egg whites are da bomb and 2) that shrubs are going to be used in every one of our cocktails this summer. Shrubs, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, are vinegar based syrups. These shrubs are made by mashing fresh fruit with sugar and then soaking the fruit in vinegar for a week. The result is a slightly acidic, sweet, and fruity liquid that can be added to a cocktail to give it a little zip. There are basic shrubs (mango, strawberry, apple), but you can also play around with them to create some fun pairings (mango sriracha, strawberry basil, apple ginger). Here, though, I wanted to go seasonal, so I went straight for the classic strawberry-rhubarb combo.
It’s hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that I met Gaby for the first time. The introduction occurred at the Big Summer Potluck last July but it was in the car ride there that Lisa first mentioned her name.
“Who are you rooming with?” I asked her.
“Her name is Gaby, pronounced GOB-ee not GAB-ee. She’s a blogger from LA.”
“Do you know anything else about her?”
“Well, hopefully she’s not a weirdo!”
Ok… I may have made up that last line. If I didn’t say it out loud, I was definitely thinking it. But as I got acquainted with Gaby, I quickly learned that she wasn’t a wacko. In fact, she was immediately welcoming and completely open and honest (even going so far as to express her love for colonics. Sorry Gaby, I had to say it). We spent hours drinking wine together in the hotel room that night. Instant bonding.
I also got to hear about the book she was working on about avocados. Now, I must admit that I rarely purchase cookbooks that focus on a single ingredient. But, hell, who doesn’t like avocados? They’re damn expensive here in the Northeast and this makes me even more jealous of the plentiful supply of beautiful (and cheap!!!) avocados that West Coasters get to enjoy. Then again we do have $4 lobsters here, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
Back to Gaby. Well, what else is there to say except that I adore her. She’s kind-hearted and incredibly talented and I’m honored to call her my friend. We spent this last weekend together… she picked me up at LAX when I was there for The Big Traveling Potluck and rushed us off to her favorite restaurant for lunch, followed by a fun-filled car ride to the event. Let’s just say that I almost peed myself because I was laughing so hard.
Anyway, the book is out and I recommend that everyone orders it right away… especially if they want to get it in time for Cinco de Mayo. With that being said, Gaby and the publishers of Absolutely Avocados have graciously offered to do a giveaway of the book here! Details on how to enter follow, but if you’re anxious to get your hands on it, head on over to Amazon and buy a copy. Here are the details:
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us how you like to eat avocados (on their own, in a dish)?
Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Giveaway will end on May 6th 2013 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
Opening the Cape house involves very little work. We take the furniture outside, we wipe away some cobwebs and air out the rooms, which can get a bit musty during the six months we’re away. Since the house isn’t insulated very well, we utilize the fireplace as much as possible. Eric and his brother Andy went out to chop some firewood. They were so proud of themselves and had a nice bonding moment.
I stepped into the kitchen after spending hours in front of the television. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a break. From the fridge I pulled ingredients for dinner. I hovered over the stove and stirred, staring into a pot of stew. My thoughts brought me back to where I was when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center occurred and the years it took before it felt normal to go into the City again. I wondered if it’d be that way here in Boston; if I’d do all I could to avoid Copley Square so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of what happened. And would we see a change in people? Maybe a bit more camaraderie and compassion? Is it possible for us to take something out of this that will make our lives a little brighter?