Smokey Rosemary Citrus Flip

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I first designed this cocktail on a whim for Christmas Eve. I wanted to make a balanced816c5b3864fe11e28dba22000a1f97e5_6 cocktail that was warming for winter while still being fresh. I had rosemary, oranges and limes so those seemed like a perfect backdrop for a mixture of tequila and mezcal (I didn’t want too much smoke to overpower the delicacy of orange and rosemary). Lastly, I was in the mood for something that felt decadent. The silky and frothy texture of egg white was enough to add body and just a little more festivity to the drink, plus then we get to call it a flip! Garnished with an orange peel, it was the perfect cocktail for a cold winter’s night.

A couple nights ago, Molly and I decided to make the drink for our post-work girls night watching White Collar. I didn’t have rosemary so we left it out but added a dash of mole bitters to the top.Again, the drink was delicious, dangerously so! I hope you find it as enjoyable as we did.

Side note about mezcal: Not all mezcals are created equal! Some are infinitely more smokey than others. Use your own judgement about the smoke balance. For example, I have also used the Trader Joe’s Mezcal. The smoke is light enough that cutting it with tequila would mean there is no smoke flavor in the final drink so use 4 oz in that case and no tequila. Others are so smokey that Mary Gibson would describe them as water from the inside of a cedar chest that caught fire (perhaps the same water that you used to put out the fire that has now been infused with cedar and smoke). In that case, go down to a 1:3 ratio of mezcal to tequila if you are dealing with one of those.

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Smokey Rosemary Citrus Flip Materials and Methods

Materials for 2 cocktails

  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 rosemary sprig (optional)
  • 1 oz. lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 1/4 oz. orange juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 oz. gold tequila (I used Gran Centenario Anejo)
  • 2 oz. mezcal (I used Del Maguey)
  • 1 egg white
  • Lots of ice
  • Xocolatl mole bitters (optional; made by Bittermens)
  • Orange peel or rosemary sprig for garnish

Methods

  1. If using rosemary, muddle rosemary and sugar in the bottom of a shaker. Then, add remaining ingredients except for the bitters, if using. If not using rosemary just add all ingredients to the shaker except for the bitters.
  2. Wrap a towel around your shaker and shake hard for one minute…the whole minute. Your arms will be tired by the end but keep it up; this is the only way to make good foam from your egg whites!
  3. Strain into two martini glasses and add the dash of bitters to the top if using. Garnish with orange peel, rosemary or what ever you feel like garnishing with. Enjoy!
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Posted in Drink, FODMAPs friendly, Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Thirsty Thursday | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Miso and sesame glazed shrimp stirfry

Monday9I think this meal is the definition of Manic Monday cooking. It literally took as long as it took Roger to walk the dog from start to finish and I made it entirely with the random things left in the fridge (you know the point when you are sure you have nothing to eat in the house).

When I am tired after work, the last thing I want to do is go to a grocery store. For this reason I try to keep my pantry stocked with things that I can turn into meals with a moments notice. Before I began the low FODMAPs diet, cans of beans and broth, plus pasta, cheese, etc. were my go to pantry items. Since many of those are no longer on the okay-to-eat list, I’ve had to change it up and make a lot more of the items. That said, here are some staple items that I always try to have on hand now that my diet is limited:

  • eggs
  • garlic oil
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • gluten free pasta
  • red bell peppers
  • canned tomatoes
  • spinach or arugula
  • green onions
  • ginger
  • carrots
  • miso paste (soy beans aren’t ok but, since fermentation is the problem, miso paste is fine)
  • lemons and limes
  • sesame oil
  • chili oil (since sriracha and sambal are out due to garlic content)
  • frozen shrimp, frozen salmon filets (basically things that thaw quickly)
  • homemade broth

I plan to go more into FODMAP pantry preparedness in a later blog entry (especially with broth recipes that don’t include onions and garlic) but those are the basics off the top of my head. Those things pretty much allowed me to make this meal in 10-15 minutes (plus the time it took to make the rice). I used veggies I had on hand so this could easily be modified to use whatever ingredients you found in your vegetable drawer.

So, back to the meal. The carrots and peppers provided sweetness and crunch. The shrimp had that perfect amount of bite. Miso paste provides the umami factor that makes you want to go back for more rice to soak up the sauce. Sesame oil and brown rice provide a rich nutty quality. The chili oil provides for a generous amount of heat. The sauce is nicely rounded out and brightened by the addition of rice vinegar. Thus, the ingredients light up your mouth with a symphony of different tastes and textures. Truly a satisfying and delicious weeknight meal! The sauce would also be a beautiful glaze for any number of white fish or even scallops.

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Miso and Sesame Glazed Shrimp Materials and Methods

Materials

      • 2 T. vegetable oil (any neutral oil would work)
      • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed gently and peeled but whole
      • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
      • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
      • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
      • 2 T. white miso paste
      • 1/2 T. (equivalent to 1 1/2 t.) chili oil (can increase or decrease depending on taste)
      • 1/2 T. sesame oil
      • 1/2 T. rice vinegar
      • 2 T. warm water
      • chives for garnish
      • brown rice

Methods

    1. Heat oil in large wok over medium high heat. Add whole garlic cloves to infuse the oil turning approximately every couple minutes until the garlic is light brown–be careful not to burn the garlic. Discard garlic when done. Alternatively if you have prepared garlic oil ahead of time use that.
    2. Meanwhile, add the miso paste, chili oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar and water to a small jar. Shake well to mix.
    3. Add the sliced carrots to the infused oil and stirfry for four minutes (if you are not low FODMAPs this would be the time to add sliced onion as well). Next add in the bell peppers (and any other vegetables you may want to use–broccoli, snap peas, green beans, whatever you have in the pantry) and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    4. Add in the shrimp and the miso sauce (give it another quick shake before dumping it in) and keep sauteing until the shrimp are just barely cooked through and the sauce has reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve over brown rice and garnish with chives. Enjoy!

 

Posted in Entree, FODMAPs friendly, Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Manic Monday | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Return of Figgy Piggy

Today, an incredibly cold but beautifully clear and sunny Friday, I find myself wanting to blog about food again, although in a slightly different format perhaps than before. “Why?” you might ask. I feel like there are many reasons, perhaps most of which are things I cannot articulate but there are two or perhaps three that I would say I have clear thoughts about.

The first is that I have recently realized that I am intolerant to what may end up being a large number of foods. I have suffered from a myriad of functional digestive symptoms for as long as I can remember with no real benefit. Recently, when I was doing my family medicine rotation, I met a phenomenal dietitian, Carrie, who recommended an elimination diet to figure out if I was intolerant to certain foods. Thus, I have embarked on a low FODMAPs diet–FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. FODMAPs include items like fructans, galactans, fructose and sugar alcohols (polyols). So I find myself facing the challenge of cooking and eating foods that do not contain wheat, rye, onions, garlic, beans and pulses, asparagus, stone fruit, watermelon, apples and pears, mushrooms, avocados, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Obviously this poses somewhat of a challenge and many prepared foods are out, including store-bought chicken broth. So, I’ve been pleasantly challenging myself to come up with tasty recipes and feel that those should be shared with other people who have dietary restrictions. I plan to tag all the recipes with gluten-free, lactose-free, FODMAPs friendly so that it is clear for each recipe.

The second reason is that I have begun reading Terry Theise’s book Reading Between the Wines and find myself envious. He writes about wine in a way that is beautiful, reverent and full of passion without an ounce of pretention. I find his prose reminding me of the way Abraham Verghese speaks about medicine. His words get inside you and change the way you think just a little, one well-composed sentence at a time. Verghese makes you want to be a better physician, a more empathetic person, more conscious about every action you take. Theise makes you feel the same way about wine. His description of wines and the flavors in them don’t describe what they do to your taste buds or your olfactory receptors but how the sensation affects your brain, your experience, how it interacts with a memory. A flavor can be graceful, dancing across your tongue, figuratively sparkling and dazzling your senses. Food is the same way. We know that taste and smell are strongly linked to memory–how else does a good tomato soup can make us feel safe and loved? Tangent aside, what these writers have in common is a passion for their craft and an ability to inspire others to feel the same way. I am envious of that skill and would like to be more like that in all aspects of my life. Step one is to be conscious, not just knowing that I love the way something tastes or that I’m delighted by a combination of ingredients, but really tapping into the why and writing about the discoveries along the way. In short, I miss writing this blog.

The last reason that is somewhat easy to articulate is that I suppose I need to accept the fact that next year Molly, my partner in crime and best friend, will be embarking on the next phase of her life–tons more school and training–in a different city. Since we are co-conspirators on this blog, starting it again will provide us with another excuse to talk all the time, another excuse to share food ideas, another excuse to vent about our days through the cathartic cooking, wining and dining we usually get to do together.

So Figgy Piggy is back. I don’t plan to write everyday or be as regimented as we tried to be before but I will share my creations and experiences with food and drink as much as I can. I look forward to the next phase of this blog and my food journey. Enjoy!

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Warm Arugula and Chickpea Salad

It is finally Friday, and this grey, rainy week is almost over with promises of warm sunshine next week! When it is cold and drippy, I know it is hard to want to eat fresh crisp food. All I want is soup or pizza. But last night I didn’t give in to the temptation! I figured a salad would be healthier than pizza, but I thought I would try something a little different.

I saw a Mark Bittman recipe for a warm chickpea and arugula salad that seemed to fit the bill. It feels fresh and clean, but is also cozy and comforting. I adapted his recipe a little based on what I could find in Laura’s kitchen, and was very pleased with the outcome. I hope it will bring you warmth and comfort until the sunshine comes back to New England!

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Warm Arugula and Chickpea Salad Materials and Methods

Materials

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 t. Red pepper flakes
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 1 T. Minced ginger
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T. Rice vinegar
  • 1 t. Maple syrup
  • 4 c. Arugula

Methods

  1. In a deep skillet warm oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger until fragrant.
  2. Add chickpeas and stir to coat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until quite warm.
  4. Remove from heat and add vinegar and maple syrup and mix until blended.
  5. Add arugula to skillet and quickly toss until well distributed and slightly wilted.
  6. Enjoy with fresh olives or a fried egg on top!

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Posted in Entree, Fresh Friday, Salad, Sides | 1 Comment

Child at Heart

When I was a kid there was nothing better than dinner out with the family. No matter where we went, the first thing on my mind was a Shirley Temple! With the weather we have been having in Boston lately, I have found myself craving comfort foods, and for some reason a Shirley Temple popped into my head yesterday and I couldn’t shake it. Of course, now I know how fake and scary most Grenadines are, and I was far too lazy last night to try to make my own. So I turned to Larua’s trusty liquor cabinet to see what I could find.

Campari, a clear choice for the color and some herbal bitterness; Skyy Blood Orange Vodka, for sweetness and a touch of adult to my childish drink; and ginger beer for fizzy. This drink was starting to take shape. Now all it needs is a name: “Child at Heart!” I challenge you to enjoy this drink without wiggling your toes or swinging your legs like a kid at the adult’s table!

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Child at Heart Materials and Methods

Materials

  • 2 oz. Blood Orange Skyy vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Campari
  • Ginger beer

Methods

  1. Combine vodka and Campari in a high ball with ice. Stir and top with ginger beer.
  2. Add a straw and it is like childhood and adulthood all in one!
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Fresh Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto

It is official; I am on Puppy Duty and Laura and Roger are off to Taiwan! I am sure we will be hearing a lot about their adventures and seeing pictures of all the delicious food they are having, so I am going to forgo our Wednesday Mid-Week Review.

Last night after settling in and giving Olive the spoiling she deserves, I decided to raid Laura’s cabinets in search of dinner. I found some grape tomatoes, and frozen corn. At first this didn’t seem like much of a meal, but when I added in some spinach pesto that had been sitting in my fridge, a lovely pasta salad started to take shape.

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It was just what I was looking for last night, and it left me plenty of time to play and cuddle!

Fresh Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto Materials and Methods

Materials

  • 4 c. fresh spinach
  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 c. Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. Corn
  • Salt to taste

Methods

  1. Boil water and make pasta
  2. While waiting for the pasta to be finished, use a food processor to pulse walnuts until they reach the desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky).
  3. Add spinach, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese and pulse until well combined. Add salt to taste.
  4. When pasta is finished, drain and immediately toss with pesto to coat. Add grape tomatoes, and corn and toss to distribute.
  5. Enjoy slightly warm, or throw it in the fridge for a cold pasta salad lunch!
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Farro Casarecci with Broccoli Rabe

This is a quick meal that turned out deliciously. I have been trying to make this pasta with broccoli rabe in a way that conquers the bitterness while making the pieces of vegetable small enough to not overwhelm the pasta which has been easier said than done. I decided that I needed a salty, umami element that wasn’t sausage. (I’ve been trying to cut back on my meat consumption since watching “Forks Over Knives.”) I decided anchovies would be the perfect element.

To handle the bitterness of the more finely chopped broccoli rabe, I dropped it into the pasta water and blanched it for a quick minute before throwing it into the saute pan with the onions, garlic and anchovy filets. A generous tablespoon of red pepper flakes finished it off for a flavorful and quick weekday meal.

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Materials

      • 2 T. olive oil
      • 1/2 a red onion, diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
      • 6 anchovy filets
      • 1 T. red pepper flakes
      • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1 inc pieces
      • 3/4 lb. farro casarecci or other whole grain pasta
      • Parmesan cheese to taste

Methods

      1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
      1. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
      1. Add anchovies and red pepper flakes and sauté until anchovies have dissolved.
      1. Blanch broccoli rabe in boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately transfer to sauté pan with anchovy mixture. Toss to combine and lower heat to low.
      1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Remove cooked pasta with a slotted spoon and add to broccoli rabe sauce.
      1. Toss and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste letting the favors continue to meld in the pan for about a minute.

Serve with more cheese and enjoy!

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