Category Archives: vodka

S&C test kitchen–bloody mary tomato mousse

This past weekend, friends LC and CA invited us over for a round of Texas hold ’em. Given they appreciate a good cocktail as much as we do, it was a perfect opportunity for me to test the Bloody Mary Tomato Mousse cocktail recently featured in “Summer in a cup.”

There are many things to like about this drink: the colors are impressive, its innovative, and I love the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. I thought the flavor of the multiple, ripe tomatoes would make my mouth explode, but that didn’t quite happen. While I would make this cocktail again, I would continue to experiment with the ingredients, the portions (notice how I had a lot more of the red mixture), and the layering technique (not quite as beautiful as the original picture).

The original recipe comes from Washington Post Food Section Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad. I didn’t alter the recipe much – I added fesh basil, more Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. I recommend when making, you taste each batch of puree and alter spices accordingly. The S&C modified recipe is the one below.

Ingredients:

· 3 small yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
· Freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 5 medium red tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· Several dashes hot pepper sauce (to taste)
· 5 to 6 tablespoons vodka, plus more to taste (preferably from the freezer)
· 3 small green tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
· 2 ribs celery, washed, trimmed and cut into chunks
· Handful of fresh basil
· Celery salt (kosher salt mixed with celery seed)

Directions:

I made the pureed tomato batches several hours before serving, so I stored each in separate plastic containers.

Original recipe calls for pureeing in a blender for 5 minutes. Fearing my blender couldn’t handle it, I opted for a food processor, and didn’t need the full 5 minutes. The tomatoes were ripe and juicy, so my tomato purees were very liquidy. I put the containers in the freezer, rather than the refrigerator, hoping to thicken the mixture.

1. Place the yellow tomato pieces in a food processor and puree for 3-5 minutes until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar as needed. Add lemon zest and lemon juice to taste. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken.

2. Rinse out the food processor and place the red tomato pieces inside; puree for 3-5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the jar as needed. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and vodka to taste; puree for a few seconds just to combine. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken.

3. Rinse out the food processor, then add the green tomato pieces, chunks of celery, and basil. Puree for 3-5 minutes, or until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the jar as needed. Pour mixture in plastic container and store in freezer for a few hours to thicken. (For next time: I will try adding a roasted poblano pepper to the green mixture.)

4. Remove puree mixtures about a half-hour before serving. The mixtures should not be frozen (only slightly crystalized along the edge of the containers). In the meantime, make the celery salt.

5. When ready to serve – I had a lot more of the red mixture, so I placed the red layer on the bottom of the glass. Then, carefully pour the yellow mixture on top (pouring it over the back of a spoon will cause less agitation). Add a splash of well-chilled vodka. Then, pour the green mixture on top of the yellow mixture. Sprinkle with celery salt.

Overall rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Summer in a cup

Stop what you are doing and immediately check out today’s Washington Post Food Section – the Tomato Issue. They have unveiled the winners of their annual Top Tomato Contest, and made my heart swoon. While the recipe for Bloody Mary Tomato Mousse! was not an entry in the contest (appears in The Gastronomer column), I just know it is a winner.

This beautiful layered concoction has made my heart skip a beat. I can’t think straight. I’m at a loss for words, and I have no idea what shoes I would wear with it.

Summary, recipe ingredients, and directions are here. Fresh ripe tomatoes, lemon, hot pepper sauce, vodka — all my faves. I may even add the basil oil that appears in a separate recipe. While it seems a little time intensive, I am certain it is worth it. I was going to make white wine sangria this weekend, but plans may have very well changed.

Song of the summer

The Drink: Watermelon Lemonade

No self-respecting cocktail enthusiast can go through the summer season without using watermelon in a delicious beverage. The bright color and watery texture are ideal components for drinks. Martinis, margaritas, sangria – you can’t go wrong with this ingredient!

 

 

 

The Ingredients/Recipe:

This version of Watermelon Lemonade is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive! And, it is actually quite good minus the booze, if you want to go that route.

(Recipe makes 3-4 drinks)

  • Cut ½ of a small watermelon into large chunks (do yourself a favor and get a seedless melon)
  • Puree in a blender, then strain into a pitcher (you should have enough liquid for a 3 to 1 alcohol ratio)
  • Add juice of two lemons
  • Add 3 or 4 shots vodka, preferably Absolut Citron
  • Mix well, then pour over ice
  • Garnish with fresh basil

Modifications: I generally prefer things tart rather than sweet. If this recipe is too tart for your liking, I recommend adding more watermelon, or 1 to 2 ounces of triple sec, Cointreau, or some other form of simple syrup. You can also garnish with mint, and/or lemon or watermelon wedges. I prefer basil because it is growing outside my backdoor, and nothing beats that smell in the summer!

Bonus tip: Here’s another perfect opportunity for using flavored ice cubes. Pour watermelon puree into your ice tray and freeze.

The Occasion:

Summer is a very important time for one’s social agenda. Picnics, backyard barbeques, trips to the lake, the beach – there are endless opportunities for enjoying cocktails with friends. I say, download these summer hits to your IPod, fire up the grill, slip on any number of yellow shoes because they will perfectly accessorize the watermelon cocktail in your hand.

The Shoes: Yellow Shoes

Yellow shoes are this season’s hot item for your warm weather wardrobe. Practically every brand has its own version; there are so many choices and so many styles. I personally like my friend LC’s shown below because (a) the quilting texture is unique, (b) they are wedges (and we all know the benefits of wearing wedges for those summer outdoor activities), and (c) check out the super-cool clear wedge heel. Great find!

 

posted by Ms. S&C

The beach bum

The Drink: Sea Breeze

Erase any preconceived notions you have about fruity cocktails. Fruity drinks are not just for girls, or those with undeveloped palates, and they are definitely not just for drinking out of cheap plastic cups at the beach.

The Sea Breeze, like its sister cocktails the Bay Breeze and Cape Cod, is an often overlooked drink. You’re thinking vodka, juice – been there, done that, like when I was sixteen. Well, I say you should give this super refreshing and deliciously tart cocktail another chance. The mixture of fresh citrus and happy color make it a perfect companion on a summer day, beach or no beach. And, the balance of fruit juice to vodka means that you won’t wipe you out after you’ve had just one. So, don’t feel bad about two. Okay, three.

The Occasion:

Whether you are seaside, poolside, lakeside, or yardside, pull out your white linen skirt, grab your straw hat, and infuse some color by slipping on a pair of super cute sandals like the ones below.

The Shoes: Sandals

Nothing says summer footware like sandals. And, there’s so much variety: T-straps, ankle-straps, gladiators, or slides. I picked up these pretty little things in black over at Endless.com. Now, I’m so regretting I didn’t get them in green. The patent-like sheen on the straps and the cork-like insole means a little comfort, but a lot of fancy.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

We all know that the fresher the ingredients, the better the taste. Consider buying fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, or juice them yourself.

  • Fill cocktail glass with ice
  • Mix 2 parts vodka, 3 parts cranberry juice, 2 parts grapefruit juice, and squeeze half a lime (my addition for extra tartness)
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or grapefruit slice

Here’s a bonus tip: add color and fun into your drink by using flavored ice cubes. The ones below are made with lemon and lime zest. All you do is zest citrus fruit (orange works too), add to your ice tray, add water and freeze.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: what’s your summer favorite? Shoes or cocktails. Make a comment below.

posted by Ms. S&C