Friendsgiving

 
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Friendsgiving is easily my favorite time of year. This is the third time I've hosted the event full of traditional food, oaky red wines, mulled apple cider, and multiple desserts. As always, Anthony goes out to the garden in the morning to gather bunches of sticky rosemary, thyme, and sage for the herbed butter he massages in between the skin and the meat of the turkey. The kitchen smells heavenly as our friends arrive early to help set the table. Everyone knows to go to my hutch for a wine glass to start sampling all of the best wines each of us picked out while we wait for the others to arrive. We crowd around the kitchen table, marveling at each other's dishes getting tipsy and hungry. For sides, we have stuffing made with regular bread and cornbread, a sweet potato and marshmallow dish, truffle mac and cheese, two types of green bean casserole, cranberry salsa, two types of gravy, Hawaiian rolls, pecan pie, buttermilk pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and flan. The turkey finally finishes and everyone fills their plates a little to full. Each person says what they're grateful for this year and we celebrate friendships, old and new, with our hearts and stomachs full of beautiful conversations and amazing food.

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Fig foam cocktail

 
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Working with egg whites can be tricky, but they can also provide the thickest foam for a creamy mouthfeel if done correctly. In this cocktail, I've accomplished making a sweet foam with crunchy fig seeds spread evenly throughout and it is definitely addictive.

There are multiple factors that contribute to making a nice thick foam, but the most important of them all is the dry shake. Shaking egg whites with ice tends to break down the proteins that create the foam structure, so it's important to leave out the ice in the beginning. For previous cocktails, I've tried dry shaking with all of the ingredients except for ice, and then shaking again with ice, but this resulted in only the slightest bit of foam. Today I decided to dry shake the egg white with just simple syrup and muddled fig to see if I could infuse more of the sweetness into the foam, and surprisingly the consistency turned out creamier and richer. Perhaps the low liquid to egg ratio worked in our favor, not sure. But this consistency held up even after the second round of shaking with the rest of the ingredients. 

One more thing. If you have a Boston shaker, strain the cocktail into a coupe without using a real strainer. You want to keep the crunchy bits of the fig as much as possible, not strain it out. I like to open the shaker and make a thin slit with the two openings and slowly empty out the contents if you know what I mean.

 

Fig foam cocktail

  • 2 oz Rittenhouse rye or any type of rye whiskey
  • 1 fig
  • 1 egg white (fresh and cold)
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

In a shaker, muddle the fig. Add the egg white and the simple syrup and shake. Here you need to shake as hard as you can for as long as you can (about 2 minutes). Add ice, rye, and lemon juice and shake again. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a fig slice.

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blood orange and rum cocktail

 
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Fall is here and blood oranges are in season! Which means I can make anything pink and bloody with these juicy fruits. I actually have a special place in my heart for these oranges because about this time last year, Anthony whipped up a cocktail for me using these and amaretto. Cocktail recipe making had been a scary task that I shied away from until that moment. I realized that if Anthony (who only drinks beer) can make a cocktail, than so can I. So thank you, blood orange, for exposing me to more ways in which I can create and explore.

 

Blood orange and rum cocktail

  • 2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1/2 oz yellow chartreuse
  • lime for garnish

Combine the rum, blood orange juice, and yellow chartreuse in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a lime slice.

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shiso mushroom tacos with a miso yuzu marinade (vegetarian)

 
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Meet one of our favorite appetizers to serve during our dinner parties. It's vegetarian, refreshing, and creamy. The leafy thing you see here is shiso, an herb that tastes kind of like a cross between a very mild mint and basil... honestly it's difficult to describe but you've probably encountered them at a sushi restaurant. You can most likely find it at your local Japanese store. It takes 10 minutes to make and is simple yet it has a delicate flavor that anyone will enjoy!

 

shiso mushroom tacos

  • 2 trumpet mushrooms
  • 10 leaves shiso
  • 5 tsp yuzu juice
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Mince the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms with the butter. Combine the yuzu, miso, and water until smooth. Add the miso yuzu mixture to the cooked mushrooms and mix well. Plate on shiso leaves and serve.

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Yuzu mignonette with fresh shucked oysters

 
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Yuzu in my mind is this romanticized citrus fruit that is interwoven in many traditions in Japan. Kind of like how cherry blossoms appear in traditional haikus, yuzu is a symbol of Japanese cuisine and traditional ways of life. Making a yuzu bath during the winter solstice was said to ward off the common cold. A sliver of the rind appears as a garnish in chawanmushi, a curated savory egg custard that is eaten around the New Year which includes a little bit of everything seasonal and is beautifully constructed. The peel and fruit itself is so aromatic, not even comparable to lemons or limes. Oh how I wish I can get a hold of them year round, I bet I could make the most delicate cocktail with them. But alas, these are rare and seasonal... and that may be the reason why I sentimentalize about them.

So if you are lucky enough to find them, go make this mignonette I developed and pair it with seafood. I slurped down oysters on the half shell with it. The flavors of the ocean and refreshing aroma of the yuzu are heavenly. And don't skip on the zest, that's where all of the fragrance comes from. 

 

yuzu mignonette

  • zest from one yuzu (can substitute lemon zest)
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed yuzu juice (can substitute bottled yuzu juice)
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 tsp freshly minced shallots

combine and serve with freshly shucked oysters

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