Suzi’s Blog

TBT Recipe: The Side Truck Cocktail from Pitt Cue Company

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When I blogged a general overview of Pitt Cue Co: The Cookbook, I did mention this cocktail. It’s accompanied by a full page picture with two hands holding a very big glass. I took that to be a warning: this drink is full flavored, full bodied and perhaps best consumed on a day when you are not traveling to and from work.

So, I am posting this on a Saturday, with the proviso that you do not attempt this beverage until all Saturday trips for soccer, baseball, football, swimming, dance, judo and ballet are over.

I sometimes wonder who is more exhausted after a weekend: parents or kids. It used to be you left for work on Monday morning rested. Now you leave the house to recover.

Well, I suggest this beverage for an early recovery. I made this drink, served it to my bourbon loving wife, and received a kiss. That’s success.

The only change I made to the recipe below, was to use a niche Orancello instead of Cointreau. I traded sweetness for intensity. Of course, to recover sweetness, my “dash” of sugar syrup was ½ ounce in terms of the proportions below — 1 ounce when I made the actual drink.

To get that full glass in the picture, I did double the recipe you see below. I’m not sure why, cookbook recipes for individual cocktails have the liquor ingredients coming in a ½ to under 2 ounces. Never 2 or more. I find myself doubling down for one drink and multiplying by 4 if Suzen and I are both drinking.

Our calculator sits right next to our digital scale.


The Side Truck

Yield: 1 small cocktail [double to simulate the picture]

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ ounces bourbon [good bourbon, no plastic bottles]
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash orange bitters [1 dash = 4 drops in my world]
  • Dash sugar syrup
  • Orange slice [optional garnish]

Preparation:

Shake all the ingredients in a Boston shaker with ice, and strain over ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of orange if you like.


Sources: Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook Photo

Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/20th second at ISO-3200

TBT Cookbook Review: Salt and Pepper by Michele Anna Jordan

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Salt is the “in thing” now. Salt blocks at Whole Foods. Salt stores. Salt books. It’s a new path in our culinary lives.

Or, maybe not so new. In 1999 Michele Anna Jordan wrote this tight little book Salt and Pepper, 135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes. There are two spices here, salt and pepper. And there are two books here, histories/stories of salt and pepper. And then the recipes, the 135 perfectly seasoned recipes.

Salt, of course, comes from mines or from the sea. Getting it ready for us is a matter of processing. And processing can be as much “art” as “industry.”

Pepper comes from plants, so the entire cycle of production is different. There are concerns for purity, flavor and avoiding contamination. Pepper was central to the spice trade that was the inspiration for men like Christopher Columbus. Entire empires, Venetian and Spanish and Portuguese and Dutch, have had pepper as a central element in their creation and expansion. And their crash.

To the recipes. They encompass the full chain of our meals:

Appetizers: Fresh Soybeans in Sea Salt, Pineapple Slices with Black Pepper, Shrimp Roasted on Rock Salt

Soups: Black Pepper Soup, Ginger Beef Noodle Soup

Pasta and Rice: Dried Gnocchi with Lemon, Pepper, Basil, and Ricotta; Risotto with Zucchini, Green Peppercorns, and Basil

Mains: Snapper Fillets Bake in Salt, Lamb Loin Baked in Salt Crust

Sides: Green Beans with Salt Pork, Black Pepper Zucchini

Salads: Spicy Banana Raita, Citrus Salad with Black Pepper

Desserts: Chilled Pear Soup with Black and White Peppercorns, Pineapple Granita with Black Pepper, Dulce de Leche with Whole Black Peppercorns

Beverages: Black Pepper Vodka, Spicy Mulled Cider with Crush Sichuan Peppercorns

There are other spices and herbs in the recipes of course. Cinnamon and nutmeg and lavender do appear, but the recipes are definitely salt and pepper driven. It’s interesting to see how an “entire” dish can be fashioned so markedly from those two ingredients, ingredients we take for granted. This book reminds us of the power of salt and pepper. That power will never decay and will always be part of our culinary portfolio.

Yes, Michele is still very active. Visit her website.

Suzi’s Caramelized Onion Tart

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If you are reading this blog on our website, Cookingbythebook.com, then you’ve discovered the site for my wife’s cooking school. Several times a week, 20 to 50 people come to our Tribeca loft and cook a meal together in our kitchen. The large group is divided up into smaller teams with each team preparing one dish of the complete meal. It’s culinary team building.

With tested recipes, with great ingredients, and with our staff of chefs on the side to help, these teams can crank out a perfect meal in an hour. They don’t believe it at first, but Suzi gets them motivated. Soon they are laughing, chopping and mixing away in the kitchen. And then they find themselves in our dining room positively thrilled. Everyone has an “I made this” smile on their face.

Now, you put 20 to 50 people to work, and you produce a lot of food. And a lot of leftovers. What’s the best leftover you can have? Ice cream, of course. Second best? Caramelized onions.

Suzi had cups and cups of onions left over last weekend. Leftovers are never wasted. She made a thick tart crust, filled it with the onions, and baked to perfection.

When you thoroughly caramelize onions, you create a filling that has substance. This tart can be the main dish for your meal. Just offer a side salad of greens with pungent balsamic dressing, a chilled glass of white, and you have a grand meal. A grand one.


Suzi’s Caramelized Onion Tart

Yield: serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 thick tart shell, blind baked
  • 3-4 cups of caramelized onions, at room temperature if originally refrigerated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

In a 350°F oven, blind bake the tart shell for 15-20 minutes until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven. Let cool for five minutes so it is easier, and safer, to fill.

Fill the tart shell with the onions so that the onion are barely level with the top of the shell. Do not over fill.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes. You want the onions hot, but you do not want to blacken the tart shell.

Remove, slice, eat, and enjoy.


Source: Suzen O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/30th second at ISO‑2500