• The Farm At The Beach

    Breathe. Relax. Read a book.

    Well, we are back. Or at least settled. We are now at our “home-away-from-home” on the east end of Long Island. One of our favorite places in the world. I guess you can call it a “home” because we have plenty of friends and family here, and we pretty much know where everything is. That may seem simplistic, but part of being comfortable is familiarity. We cooked in three different kitchens in the last thee days but pretty much knew where everything was. Other people’s kitchens are a tough place to cook, but we know our way around. We can get back to business. But before we cooked, the first business was meeting the two newest members of our extended family. Beautiful babies and happy, if somewhat tired, parents. We can almost field a football team with all the cousins- which is very, very cool. We are so blessed and lucky, and the babies give us a reminder of just how good life is. And they are cute, too.

    Radishes are in season here, and very tasty.

    And we did get back to cooking. In many of our posts, we mention that certain dishes and drinks are good for a crowd. Well, we put a few to the test already. Most meals over the weekend fed groups of 15-20. So far, so good- but we do have a few notes and revisions. And, happily, mostly to the good. As for the actual food, we tend to have simply prepared fish and shellfish as our main courses. Seared ahi tuna, roasted striped bass, sea scallops and steamed clams made it to the table over the weekend, and will be part of almost every dinner this week. Most were caught within the last day or so. The fish is so fresh you don’t need to do much (just don’t screw them up), so we focused on sides that highlight the seafood or feature the local produce.

    The coconut rice goes well with the local fish. A big hit- we will make this throughout the trip.

    Firstly, we had fresh local radishes and served them with butter and salt. Always easy, always good. (My Dad also makes kick-ass guacamole every day, but that is another post). The biggest hit so far is the coconut rice. The rice went very well with the seared, rare ahi tuna (steaks almost 2 inches thick and sooo good). Served with a dash of soy and some cilantro chutney (working on that recipe), it was a perfect fit. A table of 16 were all very happy. One note here, we made the coconut rice with “Light” coconut milk, as the store was out of regular coconut milk. If anything, the light coconut milk gave the dish plenty of flavor, but perhaps a slightly lighter texture. Good to know that we can make a lower-calorie version of the original.

    We added fresh corn kernels to the Red Cat zucchini- it was great.

    Another surprise was how well the coconut rice went with the Red Cat zucchini. The dish comes from here, so everyone enjoyed it (the zucchini was right from the CSA), but as the dish is more Mediterranean, we are surprised how well the flavors meshed. Another note here- we added some fresh corn kernels to the zucchini and they added lovely texture and sweetness. If you have corn, give this a try. The next day we took the leftover coconut rice and combined it with the zucchini and corn. It made a delightful cold summer salad.

    As for the cocktails, we made fresh Tommy’s-style margaritas every day (2 oz. blanco tequila, 1 oz. gave nectar, 1 oz. lime juice). But the big hit was the Lani Honi. As predicted, everyone thought of it as a lemony summer punch with a little extra depth. We served a pitcher alongside the margaritas and the Lani Honi held its own. We had requests for more the next day. Very good.

    As expected, a perfect drink to make for a crowd.

    Lastly we made a punch-sized batch of the Nouvelle Fleur. The drink was a success, but did need some tweaking. In the original recipe we used ruby-red grapefruit and the flavors meshed very well. Out here, we used white grapefruit and the drink was way too sour. Happily, a little extra St. Germain and some agave nectar did the trick and the Nouvelle Fleur was a success, particularly with grapefruit fans. But a quick reminder that it pays to taste your drinks and adjust as necessary.

    A great punch, but we needed to adjust for more sour white greapefruit.

    Today we are off to the CSA garden and then looking for corn and stone fruits. And just wait until we start talking about the pies…oh my. We have new photos and recipes coming all week! It’s good to be back.

  • Weekly Cocktail #15: The Nouvelle Fleur

    Nouvelle Fleur Cocktail.

    We generally try to make our weekly cocktails out of readily available ingredients (we have the bonus posts for the crazy stuff), but this week we need to make an exception. The Nouvelle Fleur is a drink that will send many of you to the liquor store, but it really is worth the trip. The reason is that the Nouvelle Fleur is not only a good cocktail, but a recipe that easily becomes a great summer punch. So we think a punch that pleases a dozen guests is worth the extra effort.

    The extra effort comes from a somewhat long list of ingredients. The Nouvelle Fleur combines St. Germain, blanco tequila, Aperol, lime juice, grapefruit juice, a pinch of salt and is topped by sparking wine. Now many people will not have St. Germain or Aperol in their bar, but both are worthy additions. St. Germain is a low-proof elderflower liqueur that is sweet with floral and pear notes. St. Germain is a popular ingredient with mixologists and is often used as a more floral substitute for Cointreau or triple-sec in cocktails. Aperol is an Italian apéritif that is similar to Campari, but much less bitter and with lower alcohol. Aperol has pleasant citrus, bitter and herbal notes (maybe even rhubarb) that add depth to many cocktails without the outright dominance of Campari. Aperol plays very well with tequila, as we noted earlier with the Chica Facil.

    The overall combination of aromas and flavors in the Nouvelle Fleur truly stand out. The aroma is mostly, and pleasantly, grapefruit with a bit of floral from the St. Germain. As for the flavor, the sweetness of the St. Germain is matched by the citrus of the lime and grapefruit juice. The Aperol and grapefruit lend bitter and herbal notes and the champagne keeps the drink light and refreshing. The salt provides a subtle kick that keeps you coming back. Everyone who tries this drink loves it, particularly for summer.

    Nouvelle Fleur and ingredients.

    And there is another summer bonus. The Nouvelle Fleur isn’t a boozy drink, only the tequila is a high-proof spirit and there’s only 1/2 ounce in the recipe. Otherwise all the ingredients are under 20% alcohol. This lends really well to making a light summer punch. Simply add the same proportion of ingredients to a punch bowl, top with champagne or sparking wine and add a big block of ice. Now you have a tasty punch for a crowd that packs plenty of flavor, but won’t have them falling in the pool….

    As for the actual recipe, it comes from the Eastern Standard, a restaurant in Boston. We are far from Boston, but since we are avid readers of Cocktail Virgin Slut, we get the scoops, and this recipe, from one of the best cocktail towns in the country. Sometimes you just have to love the internet. But the Nouvelle Fleur is such a good drink, we may need to visit Eastern Standard in person and sample the rest of their cocktails….Maybe we will catch a game at Fenway as well.

    The Nouvelle Fleur:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 oz. St. Germain
    • 1/2 oz. blanco tequila
    • 1/2 oz. Aperol
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 oz. fresh pink grapefruit juice
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 2 oz. Champagne or sparking wine

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the ingredients, except the Champagne, in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a cocktail glass, flute or coupé.
    2. Top with the Champagne and serve. No garnish.