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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts from the Summer Category

It’s Friday, and I’m going out. Although I don’t suffer from hangovers (knock on wood), I’m always thirsty for a Bloody on the weekends (with gin, please).

There are quite a few ingredients in this drink, so I suggest making it today or tomorrow, before your headache strikes in the wee, too-sunshine-y, why-don’t-I-have-blackout-curtains? hours of the morning after your parranda. You won’t even have to get it together to go out to brunch.

(Ice + premade Bloody + straw) + 10 (water + Advil) = Good morning

CLASSIC BLOODY MARY
A special sneak peek from our upcoming book, Summer Cocktails

Serves 1

Hangovers happen, and cures for them have been peddled and promoted for as long as the perpetrator has existed. Magic cures, potions, rituals, whatever the antidote is purported to be, the Bloody Mary has withstood the test of time as the companion to that morning misery. This Bloody is a stepping stone: add and subtract condiments to suit your palate.

 

For the Salt Rim
2 tablespoons coarse salt, such as kosher or Maldon salt, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt, optional
Finely grated zest of half a lime, lime half reserved

For the Cocktail
¾ cup V8, chilled
2 tablespoons clam juice, chilled
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 ounces gin or vodka
Ice cubes
Celery stalk, for garnish
Pimento-stuffed olives or Picholine olives for garnish
Beer chaser, optional

In a small saucer, combine salt, pepper, celery salt, and lime zest, rubbing zest into mixture with fingertips. Cut the lime half in two to make wedges, and run one along the rim of a chilled highball glass to dampen. Dip rim into salt mixture and reserve.

In a shaker, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust flavor with condiments to taste. Serve in an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with celery stalks and olives.

QUIT HORSING AROUND:
Freshly grated horseradish will be much sharper than prepared. If you’re unfamiliar with horseradish in general, think about eating wasabi or strong mustard. The nasal passage clearing effects are the same. The prepared version that you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket will do in a pinch, but it will require a significant amount more to reach the heat level of the fresh root. Also, horseradish oxidizes quickly; don’t let it sit out once it’s grated.

AN INTERESTING THING:
There is some debate as to whether the original Bloody Mary was made with gin or with vodka. Allegedly, a Bloody made with gin is called a Red Snapper, but the famous King Cole Bar a the swank St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan claims the fishy moniker was the original name for the Bloody Mary, made with the usual vodka. Use and call it whatever you like — it won’t matter after a couple.

I always feel like I need to bring something to a party, aside from my sparkling personality. I’m a cook and a stylist, and it just wouldn’t do for me to show up empty-handed, or worse yet, with a store-bought dessert. Sometimes, I bring booze. When I do, I start stuttering through a series of excuses, “Oh! It’s been madness! All of this travel! I’m never home anymore! I…etc.etc.etc.” Ultimately, I’m sure no one cares, but I feel dreadful.

Enter this dessert. It’s one of those Key lime pie recipes that you can find in the Wild West that is the Internet, or even on the side panel of a box of Grahams or a tin of sweetened condensed milk. You can make this thing blindfolded, even those of you who proclaim themselves non-bakers. AND! While there is a crust recipe here, go ahead, get one of those ready-made things if you want.

Top this tart with the most seasonal fruits you can find, like raspberries and plums, and not only will this be a refreshing and delicious dessert, it’ll look very “wow!”

KEY LIME FRUIT TART

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart, serving 8

IF YOU’RE MAKING YOUR OWN CRUST:
1 ¾ cups Graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, then scrape into a 9-inch round pie plate. Press crumbs into bottom and up sides of plate.

- Bake until golden, 7 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and reserve.

WHILE THE CRUST IS COOLING, MAKE THE FILLING and TOPPING
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened*
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
Pinch salt
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 12 limes
3 cups assorted fruits, such as berries and sliced peaches, plums, and nectarines

- With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until light and fluffy. With machine running, gradually beat in condensed milk, lime zest, and salt. Slowly add the lime juice and beat just until mixture is combined.

- With a rubber spatula, scrape mixture into prepared pie shell. Top with fruits and refrigerate until chilled and set, about 2 hours. Serve.

*SOFT AND SUPPLE: Don’t try to beat this cream cheese when it’s cold: you’ll wind up with a filling that’s lumpy, like cottage cheese. If you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait for the cheese to come to room temperature, buy cream cheese in the carton with the foil wrapper on the cheese. Massage the cheese while still wrapped.

LobsterJust because we were working 16-hour days in the hot sun shooting our book for a week…Just because we were in a house full of insomniac women who slept on average 4 hours a night…Just because there was no amount of Tiger Balm and groaning that would relieve our sciatic torture and tingling appendages…Just because we didn’t wash our hair or shave our legs for a week…Just because we looked like Medusa’s less-attractive sister after a binge and a street fight…DOES NOT MEAN WE DID NOT EAT LIKE CIVILIZED LADIES EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That’s right. We may not have looked beautiful, but our food did, and oh! just wait until you see Summer Cocktails.

We ate most of the set food, and took advantage of the grill, breezy evenings, and as much of the fresh produce, local seafood, wine, and spirits from the North Fork’s farms, vineyards, and distilleries as we could.

This is one of the recipes we made (twice!). Note that while lengthy, there are several tips for preparing components a day in advance.

Happy summer!

Lobster

 

LobsterGRILLED LOBSTER with CREAMY GRILLED CORN AND POTATO SALAD
Makes 4 generous portions

FOR THE SALAD

MAKE THE DRESSING: You can do it a day ahead
You’ll need
12 fresh curry leaves
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons masala powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Cholula, Valentina, or Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup cilantro leaves and thin stems, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Cook curry leaves in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and crush with fingers.

- Melt 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add masala and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into bowl with curry leaves.

- Whisk in remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste with condiments, salt, and pepper.

INGREDIENT NOTES: Fresh curry leaves taste nothing like curry powder. They are smoky and fragrant, adding a unique backbone of flavor to numerous Indian dishes as well as this salad. Find them online, or at a store carrying Indian goods. If unavailable, proceed with recipe, but do try them at some point. Masal powder should be easy to find in the spice aisle of the supermarket. Try the international aisles if you’re having trouble, or go to http://www.Kalustyans.com

PREP THE POTATOES: Get them grill-ready up to 24 hours in advance
24 ounces small new potatoes (red or yellow jackets), scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices, or halved if very small
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Place potatoes in medium microwave-proof bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss with hands to combine.

- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes, stopping halfway through to toss and redistribute potatoes. Be sure to do this with a dish rag or oven mitts as bowl will be hot.

- Carefully remove plastic from bowl, keeping face away to prevent any steam burns.  Reserve until ready for grilling.

NOTE: If boiling potatoes, scrub them but don’t slice them. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, adding ¼ cup salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and, when cool enough to handle, slice into ½-inch-thick slices, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Proceed with recipe.

FOR THE CORN
4 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt

- Heat grill to high and with grill scraper and brush, clean grates.  Brush corn with oil and season with salt. Grill corn until charred in spots, rotating with grill tongs every 2 minutes. Transfer to wide bowl.

BRING OUT THE POTATOES: Once corn is off grill, carefully transfer potatoes with a slotted metal spatula or spoon in a single layer on the grill. There might be a few flare-ups when the oil drips onto the heat source, so do use grill-appropriate tools with long handles. Grill potatoes until marked, about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

GRILL SAFETY TIP: Always open the grill while standing beside, rather than in front of it. Grill temperatures can soar beyond 500°F when closed and, especially with gas grills, when opened, heat rages out, just like infernal breath from a dragon’s mouth.

When cool enough to handle, hold corn by pointy end in a wide bowl or pie plate and, with a sharp chef’s knife, scrape off kernels by running blade firmly against the cob. Discard cob and repeat with remaining ears.

CLICK FOR A HOW-TO ON COOKING CRUSTACEANS
For this recipe you’ll need:
3 (1 ½- to 2-pound) lobsters
We were at the beach, and, if you are too, cook them in a pot of ocean water for impossibly tender, well-seasoned meat! Otherwise:
Cook lobster in a large pot of water and
½ cup salt

- Cook lobsters for 8 minutes and allow to sit for 5 minutes before you get cracking. Rinse them under cold water as some scum will inevitably have collected.

- Once the lobsters are cooked and you’ve picked out all the meat (it doesn’t matter if you have irregular bits here and there), brush it with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and grill them until bright red and marked, about 2 minutes per side. While grilling, if you like, add 6 scallions, scrubbed and brushed with oil,  and 4 jalapeño peppers, scrubbed and brushed with oil, to the fire. Cook them until well charred, chop, and add to salad.

IT’S TIME TO EAT
You’ll need:
1 head Boston/Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and sliced
1 cup cilantro
Lime wedges

- Whisk salad dressing to recombine. Combine potatoes, corn, scallions, and jalapeños (if using) in a large bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over mixture a bit at a time, stirring gently with a rubber spatula to evenly coat. Add more dressing as needed. Stir in radishes.

- Use lettuce leaves as wraps and fill with potato salad and lobster. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges. And remember, always have Maldon or other flaky salt at the table for your guests!

Lemonade

Lemonade

Lemonade

Lemonade

BREAKING NEWS: We’re working on our second book!  Even as “Winter Cocktails” was enjoying its moment in the sun (or snow, rather), its summer mate was already being thought about. And drunk about.

Expect boozed up iced teas, milkshakes, and granitas, as well as classic cocktails and antidotes for those raucous summer nights we all indulge in.

Have a taste! This is one of the recipes in progress (much better than what that kid down the block is peddling).

AND! If you have any suggestions for the name, do tell. We’ll send you an autographed copy of the book when it’s out.

AS YET NAMELESS COCKTAIL
Makes 4 (about 4-ounce drinks)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 6 lemons
4 ounces (1/2 cup) demerara simple syrup*
6 tablespoons hibiscus tea*
4 ounces (1/2 cup) pisco
2 ounces (1/4 cup) Lillet blanc
2 ounces (1/4 cup) St. Germain elederflower liqueur
Ice cubes

- Combine all ingredients in a shaker (we sometimes use a mason jar) and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.

- Cheers!

Be sure to follow the “Summer” girls on Instagram for behind-the-scenes #summercocktailsbook and for our usual shenanigans and wacky hijinks!
@tstriano @sacasastylist @misspaloma @emilyrickardstylist

Expect “Summer Cocktails” (Quirk Books) next year.

*For the demerara simple syrup: Combine 1 cup demerara sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved entirely. Remove saucepan from heat and cool syrup completely. Syrup may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Yield: About 2 cups.
*Dried hibiscus flowers (or flor de jamaica) can be found in many specialty stores and also in the Latin American aisle of many supermarkets. Alternatively, order online or substitute with sachets of hibiscus tea. I like to use a 2-to-1 ratio of water to flowers. Bring the mixture to a boil, allow to steep off the heat for 30 minutes, then strain through a sieve and discard solids. Whatever amount you decide to make, store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

 

Guest Chef: Dean Sheremet

We spend a lot of time thinking of recipes and images to share with you on this blog, and sharing food, even if just virtually, is in effect the backbone not only of this blog, but the notion of food in general.

With that in mind, Cookin’ and Shootin’ will start introducing you to the chefs, creatives, and food lovers that inspire us (and sometimes, feed us!).

We start what will hopefully begin a delicious series with Dean Sheremet, fellow FCI graduate (ahem, we both graduated top of the class – just saying), Nobu and Jean-Georges alum, culinary TV presenter, and pal. This end-of-summer biyaldi, layered with vegetables, is a warm, deeply flavored, and robust dish that will bridge the gap between the seasons.

The recipe follows, as do details on where you can find Dean on social media, so be sure to add him to your list of people to follow. Lastly, a little Q&A, based on the ever-entertaining Proust questionnaire.

Cooking background: French Culinary Institute class of 2010, Nobu, Jean-Georges

Currently: TV projects, writing, recipe developing

What is your idea of perfect happiness, were it food? Any meal shared with friends.
And wine.

What is your greatest food fear? (Insert flashback) Not having mise ready at service.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself as a chef?  In the heat of service, I can be very stringent.

What is the trait you most deplore in fellow cooks? Laziness and lack of accountability.

What is your greatest food extravagance? The time I went to the French Laundry, and I wanted to experience everything. I couldn’t turn down the bread, and 21 courses later, I literally felt like I was going to throw up.

What is your favorite food journey? I’m still on it.

On what occasion do you lie in the kitchen?  I sometimes gloss over ingredients that I put in food that they may not eat. (Apologies to my vegetarian friends – read: duck fat).

What do you dislike most in a food’s appearance? I hate dead herbs on a plate. Or herbs on the rim of a plate. Actually, just any misguided herbs.

Which living chef do you despise the most? It’s more a quality than a person: Egotism.

What is your greatest food regret? Sending out overcooked salmon. Sorry, table 56.

What or who is the greatest culinary love of your life? Doing prep – it’s when I feel at peace.

When and where were you happiest cooking? Cooking on the line at JG, at a really high level, and cooking without fear.

What is the cooking talent you would most like to have? Patience.

What is your current state of mind? Restless.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I have a hard time letting go.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? I’d have my grandmother back on this earth.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Work ethic.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Working brunch.

What is the quality you most like in a man? Trustworthiness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Wit.

What do you most  value in your friends? Knowing they  have my back no matter what.

Favorite hero of fiction? Sherlock Holmes.

Who are your heroes in real life?  My grandmother.

What is it that you most dislike? Ignorance.

How would you like to die? Happy.

What is your motto?  Memento mori.

Ingredients

Mixing and Tasting

Assembly Time

Baked & Ready to Eat

END-OF-SUMMER BIYALDI

Serves 6 to 8

For the Orange Braised Fennel

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½  yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small fennel head, core removed and
Sliced thin
Finely grated zest plus 1/3 cup juice (from 1 orange)
¼ cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup ricotta cheese (your choice of skim or full-fat)

Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the orange zest and juice and white wine and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the ricotta.

For Eggplant Purée

3 Japanese eggplant, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
½  yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
Pinch of Aleppo or cayenne pepper
1/3 cup store-bought tomato sauce of your choice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant, onion, and a bit of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is golden brown and onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Set aside to cool slightly, then stir in the vinegar and Aleppo pepper and pulse it in a food processor just until chunky. Season with salt and set aside.

For the Biyaldi and Assembly

2 small Japanese eggplant, sliced thinly lengthwise (ideally on a mandolin)
Olive oil
2 Gold Bar yellow squash, sliced thinly lengthwise (ideally on a mandolin)
Salt
1 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup plain panko
1 rosemary sprig, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
½ cup store-bought tomato sauce

- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

- Toss the eggplant with just enough oil to coat, and arrange the slices in a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Roast the eggplant until golden and soft, about 10 minutes.

- While the eggplant is roasting, arrange the squash in a single layer over a few clean kitchen towels and season liberally with salt, after about 10 minutes, wipe them dry of any moisture and excess salt.

- Grease a 13- by 9-inch casserole with olive oil. Spread the bottom of the dish with tomato sauce. Arrange half of the sliced eggplant to the bottom of the dish, gently overlapping the slices. Dollop and gently spread, first, with some of the braised fennel, then with some of the eggplant purée. Top with a layer of squash slices, then repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Combine the cheese and panko in a small bowl; drizzle enough olive oil to moisten the mixture. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt and the breadcrumbs gently brown

- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Find Dean’s recipes at www.deansheremet.com and follow him on Twitter (@deansheremet.com) and Instagram deansheremet

And of course, you can find us cavorting on Instagram as well @tstriano and @sacasastylist

Sandia

 

Sandia Drinks

 

It’s begun to sizzle and we’re starting to feel a trickle of salty sweat pooling in the nest of our lower backs. It sounds risqué, but it’s just plain hot and sticky, and all we can think of is: Cabana boy!!! Where’s my cocktail?

During the summer, watermelon and cucumbers are some of the coolest and most quenching of snacks. I usually keep big bowl chilling in the fridge, eating them plain, or adding salt, lime juice, and dried chile powder to the cucumbers. The combination is a great salad base, too – try them with a light lemon-lime-cilantro vinaigrette and cubes of seared haloumi.

And, naturally, the temptation to turn the duo into a cocktail proved irresistible. This refresher starts with muddled cilantro, mint, jalapeño, and sugar for a vibrant, herbal base with a sharp prick of heat. Watermelon and cucumber are pureed with ice into a slushy-like juice, and finally, fiery, floral pisco is stirred in. One sip and you’ll beat the heat.

WATERMELON-CUCUMBER REFRESHER
Serves 2

Note: If you prefer a cocktail with less heat, scrape out and discard the seeds and ribs from the pepper.

I always like a hit of salt to balance out sweetness; if using cucumber spears as garnish, lightly season them prior to serving.

Pisco is a potent grape brandy popular in Perú and Chile. I love it for its fiery burn and floral notes, but, this cocktail can also be made with your choice of spirit. I recommend tequila blanco, light rum, Hendrick’s gin, or vodka. Or, leave the booze out altogether and enjoy this as a summery smoothie.

¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus leaves for garnish
½ jalapeño pepper, chopped, plus rings for garnish
3 tablespoons granulated or raw cane sugar
Salt
2 cups (½-inch) dice watermelon (about 12 ounces)
¼ English cucumber, cut into ½-inch dice, remainder cut into spears for garnish
3 to 4 ounces pisco
Crushed ice, to taste

- Chill 2 (12-ounce) glasses by filling them with ice water and swirling them around for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and discard the ice water and dry the glasses.

- Muddle the cilantro, mint, jalapeño, sugar, and pinch of salt in a shaker (use either a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon). The leaves should only be bruised, not completely smashed.  Divide the mixture between the two glasses.

- In a blender, pulse the watermelon, cucumber, and pisco until completely puréed. Add crushed ice and pulse once again to combine. Divide mixture between glasses and stir to gently combine. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, mint leaves, cucumber spears, and/or jalapeño rings. Serve immediately.

Fennel 101

Fennel 101

Working on photo sets is often a battle of the bulge: catering and craft services sometimes don’t offer enough healthy choices, or, tempt you with enough treats and goodies that you ignore the more healthful options. Opting for the iceberg salad (hold the dressing) over the gravy-smothered mashed potatoes requires an iron will, and sometimes ours is more feathery in composition.

On evenings at home and during the weekends, we try to go back to our smart eating ways and make food that is both good for our bodies and our palates. We’re both firm believers that eating a salad doesn’t have to be a punishment or a “diet” menu item, but rather an opportunity to take advantage of great fresh produce and put something in our bellies that won’t  make them expand.

This salad has quinoa, a grain that will satisfy your complex carb craving and deliver protein. It’s lightly toasted to enhance its naturally nutty flavor, then cooled down and tossed with crisp fennel, tart Granny smith apple, buttery avocado, fiery serranos, and a simple vinaigrette that ties it all together.

FENNEL, APPLE, QUINOA, AND AVOCADO SALAD

Serves 4

For the Quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup red or white quinoa, or a combination of both
1 teaspoon salt
Water

- Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl.

- Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the quinoa, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes. Return the shallot and garlic to the pot, add the salt, and add enough water to cover the quinoa by about 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa, return it to the pot, cover it, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Cool completely. (To speed up the cooling process, spread the quinoa out onto a rimmed baking sheet.)

- The quinoa may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container, refrigerated.

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from about 2 lemons
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

- Whisk the mustard, lemon juice, honey, and garlic together in medium bowl. While constantly whisking, drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow dressing to sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to meld. Whisk dressing to recombine prior to using.

For the Salad
Juice of 1 lemon
1 fennel bulb
1 Granny Smith apple
1 firm but ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 serrano peppers (to taste), ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced

- Fill a medium bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice. Trim off and reserve the fennel fronds, thinly slice the stems, trim and discard the bottom of the bulb then cut it in half and thinly slice it. Place the fennel pieces and slices in the acidulated water to prevent it from oxidizing.

- Cut the apple in half, remove the cores (use a 1 teaspoon measure for easy coring) and thinly slice. Drain the fennel thoroughly, add the apple and avocado, and drizzle with come of the vinaigrette, gently tossing to combine. Add the peppers and quinoa and additional vinaigrette to taste. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Fennel 101

We’re no strangers to stiff drinks and bubbly, and admittedly, once in a while, the party goes on longer than expected and the next morning finds us with pillow-creased faces, raccoon eyes, and The Dreaded Hangover.

Usually, a greasy diner breakfast egg on a roll with extra bacon and half-bottle of ketchup plus a full pot of coffee (Mexican Coca-Cola on ice is my go-to) helps smooth us out, but a stronger antidote is sometimes absolutely necessary: enter the michelada, a spiced and seasoned Mexican beer cocktail.

The drink’s base is always a chilled pale lager, like Corona, Pacícifo, Sol, or Modelo Especial – you want something refreshing and light, save the hoppy dark stuff for the pub. The bracing backbone is provided by umami-dense Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce (Cholula and Valentina are our favorites), and a good amount of freshly-squeezed lime juice. A “cubito Maggi,” a bouillon cube made by Maggi (pronounced Ma-ghi) is a common addition and adds extra seasoning. You can skip the cubito, but do rub a lime around the lip of your glass and rim it with coarse salt, pepper, and if available, powdered red chili. And always, always, always pack your glass with crushed ice.

And, while we’re talking about getting pickled, I recently made Paula Deen’s pickled shrimp and thought they’d make a great side to the michelada. Our version has hotter-than-hell Serrano peppers, impossibly fragrant kaffir lime leaves, toasty fresh curry leaves, spices, and a hit of tequila.

Note: Of course, the michelada is also perfect for any sweltering day, not just a fuzzy morning. Try it this summer, and, for the condiment-phobic, mix up a chelada: salt rim, lime juice, ice, and beer.
¡Salud! And ¡Happy cinco de mayo!

MICHELADA

Serves 1

Note: For an extra frosty drink, chill your glass prior to assembling. For a quick cool-down, fill a glass with ice and water, swirl for 1 minute, then drain.

¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Hot sauce, such as Cholula or Valentina, to taste
½ Maggi bouillon cube (optional)
Crushed ice
1 (12-ounce) bottle of pale lager such as Corona, Pacífico, Sol, or Modelo Especial, chilled

- Rub a lime around the rim of a pint glass or equal capacity glass. Combine 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in small plate and dip rim in mixture, turning glass until rim is coated.

- Add lime juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and (optional) bouillon cube to glass and stir to combine. Add crushed ice, pour in beer, gently stir, and drink. Refill glass with beer as needed.
PICKLED SHRIMP

Makes 2 pints

Note: Kaffir lime leaves and fresh curry leaves can be found at specialty Middle Eastern markets or online. They keep well frozen, so stock up and store them in zipper-lock bags.

You will need 2 (1-pint) mason jars for this recipe.

24 – 30 large cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp (tails on)
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
8 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white tequila
4 serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
12 kaffir lime leaves
4 sprigs fresh curry leaves

- In small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, peppercorns, coriander, salt, and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in lime juice and tequila.

- Pack the shrimp, serranos, kaffir lime leaves, and curry leaves into 2 (1-pint) mason jars. Pour in the vinegar mixture, adding water if needed to fully submerge the shrimp. Seal the jars and chill for at least 8 hours and up to overnight prior to serving.

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