As soon as we have a few warm, sunny days, everyone in Seattle begins to believe it’s summer, even though it’s only April, and we still have at least 2.5 months before we can expect consistent nice weather (the prevailing joke around here is that summer starts on July 5th.) I admit to falling into that trap, so when we had a run of 3-4 nice days, I decided that it was imperative that I spend all day smoking a pork shoulder. But because I am also kind of a realist who understands that the sun won’t last forever, I decided to smoke two of them, so I’d have enough leftovers stashed away in the freezer to last until summer actually graces us with its presence. Also, Costco sells them in 2 packs. I’m not going to give a tutorial on smoking stuff in a Weber kettle grill, but it can be fairly easily boiled down to: start some coals on one side of the grill, keep the temp between 225 and 275 degrees, and keep enough wet wood on it (use apple, hickory, etc) to keep a decent enough amount of smoke pouring out of the grill. I was able to use some wood from my brother in law’s apple tree that he cut down. Keeping a foil pan full of water under the pork helps regulate the temp and collect drippings. These 2 pork butts took me about 9 hours. In the past, a single one has generally taken me about 7 hours.
Spices – potentially including but not limited to:
Yellow Mustard (like for hot dogs)
This is the first cocktail that I’ve come up with to utilize some of the 2 cups of rhubarb infused gin that I recently made. It’s simple, easy to put together, pretty (who doesn’t love a pink cocktail) and most importantly, delicious.
3 oz rhubarb infused gin
.25 oz maraschino liqueur
.5 oz simple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
A few weeks ago, while I was trying to clear out extraneous leftover pie fillings from my freezer, I came across a bag of frozen rhubarb. And in my love of infusing liquors (especially gin – I find that with the right botanicals, gin can really sing), I decided that infusion was going to be the fate of the frozen rhubarb (all of the fresh stuff is nearly ready to harvest in my garden) and the remains of the 1.75 liter bottle of beefeater that’s been in the pantry waiting for summer cocktail season.
1 bag frozen rhubarb
~2 cups beefeater gin
These are delicious! After a making a bunch of pies for a friend’s wedding, I learned that I overbought most of the ingredients. One of the leftovers was a bag of dark tart cherries. Neither Craig nor I are great lovers of cherry pie, cobbler, crisp, etc. Coming up with a use for these wasn’t as easy as tossing them with some sugar, tapioca, almond extract, and topping them with a doughy crust. One thing that Craig and I do love is cocktails! And what better to do with these cherries than turn them into a cocktail garnish!? Luxardo cherries are the “classic” of fancy cocktail garnish cherries. But they’re crazy expensive, so I decided to make my own. There is a visual difference between ours. Theirs are super high in sugar and are dyed, so the color is darker. I assume if you were into adding artificial color to your cherries, you could make them look similar to the Luxardo ones. Anyway, this was all experimental, but after 2 weeks of “marinating,” we tasted them. And they’re delicious. Boozy, but delicious.
Bourbon Cherries (makes about 3 cups)
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups frozen, pitted tart cherries (mine came from Costco)
Bourbon, enough to fill the remainder of the jar
I don’t know much about daiquiris, other than one of the contenders for my favorite Baskin Robbins ice cream flavor was Daiquiri Ice. I suppose I should have known by then that we were fated to be together. A classic daiquiri is a combination of white rum, lime juice and sugar. That’s all well and good, but the Hemingway daiquiri is special. It’s less sweet (apparently Ernest Hemingway’s father had diabetes, so he wasn’t one to add sugar to things), uses grapefruit juice as a large volume, and swaps out the sugar in favor of just a drizzle of maraschino liqueur.
Papa Doble (Makes 2)
4oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
4 oz White Rum
.5oz Fresh Lime Juice
Tiny Drizzle Maraschino Liqueur
This is what came off of him. When we(I) decided to add a second dog to our family, I was under the impression that a fluffier malamute would have similar shedding patterns to Boris. I was entirely incorrect. Since mid-February, we have been experience what I have begun referring to as The Furpocalypse, wherein Helo loses every last bit of his undercoat, looks extra creepy and scraggly, and blankets our house, sofa, tables, clothing, and food with his fur. Nothing is exempt from this. Entire outfits are stored in dog free rooms and still somehow get a thin coating of fur on them. There is no single-sheet lint rolling job. We’re talking minimum of 3, usually closer to 7.
Helo hates getting brushed, so I pick my battles. I wait until there’s enough truly loose fur to make an appreciable difference in the amount of fur that’s coming off of him on an hourly basis. This was that time. I’ll go back in maybe 3-4 days from now and see if I can expand upon the dent that I made last night, but this was all he’d put up with. And before you suggest the furminator, we have one, and it works great on Boris. It gets hung up in Helo’s fine guard hairs and breaks/rips them out and clogs immediately. I have a ridiculous fur rake that is the hotness in malamute fur removal.
Bonus footage, here’s a video that I took of myself pulling loose tufts of fur out of Helo’s shoulder. He hates it when I take them and tries to eat my hand. I assure you that it is not malicious or painful, it’s more of his way of grabbing me and trying to get me to “quit it.”
I gotta be honest guys – homemade puff pastry is one of those things that I thought only crazy people did. It seemed so fussy and in general not-worth-it that it wasn’t on my radar of things that I thought I may one day want to try making. But then I made 16 pies for a friend’s wedding (more on that later) and as a result of totally overlooking an entire Costco pack (4lbs) of butter, had some extra that needed a cause. By happenstance, I stumbled across a tutorial on making your own puff pastry, and it looked so easy. That, combined with the preposterous cost of all-butter puff pastry at the grocery store (our normal store doesn’t even carry it, it has to be purchased for like $18 at a specialty market) convinced me to give it a shot. The worst that could happen? I’d be out $10 in butter and $1 in flour, and I’d have gotten it out of my system. So I went for it. I dug through my cookbooks. Nobody has recipes for puff pastry, because people don’t usually make it from scratch. Nobody but Nick Malgieri! It’s in the book Perfect Pastry. The book came to me in a cache of hand-me-downs from Craig’s aunt, and I am SO pleased to have it. I did a lot of web searching to see if I could located the recipe online, and have thus far been entirely unsuccessful. He has a “quick” puff pastry recipe, which is not the same thing. Don’t be fooled. Anyway, I’ll just give you the rundown.
For each “batch,” cut the ugly edges off, and then cut it in half. Wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap, and chill, then if you made way more than sane people should be using at once, like I did (if I’m going to the effort of making puff pastry from scratch, I’m going to make a LOT of it) either pack in freezer paper, stick in a freezer bag, or vacuum seal, and freeze for 3-9 months (you be the judge of how much you trust your freezer burn prevention skills). When you’re ready to make croissants, pull a block out and allow to defrost (totally flat, and preferably without being smushed by other stuff) in the refrigerator for a few days.
Chocolate Croissants (makes 6-7)
.5 batch of Nick Malgieri’s Puff Pastry
.5-.75 cup chopped quality dark chocolate
1 egg, beaten