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I do like flowers

20 Apr

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It’s spring! Sunshine! Rebirth! Daffodils! Matzo!

Etc.

Time for new stuff, I say. Time for a trip to visit Faith & Flower. It has been open less than a month, but I wanted to visit. I’m trying to be a more intrepid reporter here. I can’t be totally intrepid. Maybe more in-tepid, since I do know one of the folks behind this restaurant, and therefore am not visiting undercover. I’ll save disguises for my glory days.

So, Faith and Flower. IT IS BEAUTIFUL.
And things are big.

It all started with a business card. Would you look at the weight of this thing?!

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They say it all starts with first impressions and my first impression was that Faith and Flower wants to impress. The heavy card stick connotes a certain luxury and opulence. Fortunately the actual restaurant follows suit.

It is Luxe with a capital L. A big chandelier (please pronounce French-ishly) welcomes you. There are longgggggg mustard couches for the banquette style seating, that are plush an ridiculously comfortable. I am one of the most persnickety people about comfort of couches and restaurant seating and I loved me some mustard couch.

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Sit down and a rather weighty tome or so are put into your hands. There is a wine list. There is a menu. There is a table of contents for handy navigation. Beyond the menu pages there seems to be a book in…latin? When I go back to Faith and Flower I’m getting the scoop on that one. But seeing as I am The Book Cook I like it.

Also very important? The things you put in your mouth and don’t swallow.
I REALLY did not mean to make it sound like that. I’m talking about the cutlery and stemware. Get your mind out of the trash. This is a place where you drink your water out of chunky rather medieval goblets. I enjoy a glass with some serious weight to it. It feels encouraging to grasp that sort of cup, like it is full of the elixir of life. Actually it kind of is. Hydration is key. Your wine, if you are drinking a red like I was, was out of glasses that are Texas-sized. The better to let the wine breathe, my dear.

Service is also super-duper important to me. Based on our server’s and sommelier’s knowledge and enthusiasm you would not guess Faith and Flower had barely opened. This joint is driving like a well oiled machine: smoothly. No mistakes.

On to the food and drink. They had fantastic salad. You know me. I judge restaurants on salad (please also pronounce French-ishly-sal-AD) and stemware. My friend thoroughly loved her branzino with a blood orange reduction. Induction? Sauce? It was liquid ok? And it was pretty and according to her tasty.

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I really do apologize for that shot. It was dark in there. I know. Slap on the back of the hand.
Sommelier Jared Hooper recommended a wine to challenge our palates, an RPM Gamay. Normally you think of Gamay as a Beaujolais grape but this wine tasted like anything but. It was robust and had a pleasant bite. Later he brought a French gamay to the table so we could compare and contrast. The whole wine list is like this: full of wine to challenge and surprise your taste buds. Do the work and you are well rewarded. Later in the evening I sipped a glass of Roederer and upon learning that vodka was her calling, my friend was recommended the Vaudeville, which is the concoction you see at the top of the post.

I honestly need to go back to try more of the food and cocktails. And wine. And to lounge on those couches. I will report back, but if Faith and Flower keeps up the performance I saw it give, it is in excellent shape to be a downtown staple. Not to be confused with the downtown Staples center because that is hell on earth.

Oh, and lastly, goth me wants to smuggle the candelabra home.
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Oh, and incidentally I do LOVE flowers.

Faith & Flower
705 W. 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA
90015
213-239-0643

Pie parties, horchata cocktails, and what the hell am I doing?

8 Apr

Goth-chata

Goth-chata

Firstly, I devised the horchata cocktail. Me. Moi. Then literally a few weeks after I came up with it the recipe I’m going to share, a new trendy restaurant called Gracias Madre opened and everyone is talking about their horchata cocktail. But mine is better. And…goth-er. Which is to say I made my own horchata OUT OF BLACK RICE.

I devised the horchata cocktail for a pie party. Details to follow the following brain hemorrhage:

In between planning amazing pie parties like the one I shall regale you with tales of, I am pretty busy as an actor. I’ve been having a boatload of improv shows every
week, but in between all the performing I see the rest of the world, the people with real jobs wondering what the heck I do all day. And when asked on the spot I stammer and can’t quite remember it all because it’s a lot and so I come off as…I dunno. A not-busy person. God forbid. So I’m gonna tell you today’s activities (which now was a week ago). First off, I open up my laptop and email like a madwoman. Then I check the breakdowns to submit myself for roles that if I’m lucky I get called in to audition for. After fielding my email the breakdowns are my first stop. I go back to email and breakdowns a dozen times a day. Then I had an audition. This one was not too far, and it was in the golden hour when traffic is less horrible, so it didn’t take long. But between traffic and depending on how behind the casting office is running, an audition will bite several hours out of your day. Not counting all the prep time for it. After my audition I worked on scripts for another couple of upcoming auditions. What’s my motivation? No, really. What is it? Then I researched agents (I’m trying to find a new one) and wrote the perfect cover letter to send to one particular agent. This took a while. More work on scripts. What are my obstacles? Then I worked on the column I write for Hello Giggles. Then I updated my website with info on upcoming shows I’m doing and who my manager is because it just changed. Then I got in touch with a headshot photographer because I need new shots. Next I need to put the finishing touches on a pilot script I want to enter in a contest. And then I get to have late night coffee or who-am-I-kidding wine with a friend I want to collaborate with on a project. Because in LA your friends and the people you work are often one and the same. Which is both good and bad. Many evenings I’d be headed off to a class or a workshop or a practice or to do a show (after which there may or may not be wine) but tonight I get to skip to the wine.
And that, folks, is how I have “no job”.

And of course, there are the pie parties.

The last one was “Dark Side of the Pie” and took place right after Valentine’s Day as a palate cleanser. I made horchata with black rice, and designed a cocktail using it. I made a dark chocolate tart (recipe to come at a later date). Because I am still trying to perfect a southwest potato pie I made that but used purple potatoes to add some darkness. Guests were instructed to try to where black and red. Not all my friends came through on the attire, but many did bring red wines with delightfully goth labels.

It was pretty swell. Really, I am not sure where I’d be without my friends. Either slightly crazier or saner?

This cocktail had two variations for the party, but my friend Joel brought me a bottle of cinnamon liqueur that I later plan to use to create a third variation. Cinnamon liqueur was probably invented for the purpose of boozifying horchata.

Cocktails from the Dark Side: Amaretto and Chocolate
For horchata (adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe here)
2/3 cups black rice, ground in the blender
3 cups warm water
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups almond milk (chocolate almond milk for the Kahlua version)
Soak the rice and cinnamon in water for a minimum of eight hours in the fridge. Remove cinnamon. Stick an immersion blender in there and blend more. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth twice. Add sugar and milk. Refrigerate.
For cocktail:
1 oz. black rice horchata
1 oz. rum (light or spiced, take your pick)
3/4 oz. amaretto (or 1/2 oz. Kahlua if you made the horchata with chocolate almond milk)
a few dashes of chocolate chili bitters
cinnamon to garnish
Shake all except the cinnamon up. Strain over one giant cube. Garnish with cinnamon. Sigh in delight. Then sigh with great melodramatic tones. Nowwwwwww you’re doing goth right.

Vegetable Crepes Say Oui

8 Feb

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Last Sunday was a long day and a good one. I watched no football. I went to an audition. I worked on lines for another upcoming audition. I made it to the tail end of improv practice. Then we had a show. Then went out with the group afterwards for a drink. Then I came home and worked more.

Then I poured a glass of red, got on hulu and queued up The Mindy Project and Super Fun Night to keep the laughs coming and ward off the cold. It was LA cold by which I mean I needed a sweater and a scarf if outdoors. Then I got cookin’. If I was Anna Thomas I probably would have gotten stoned.

And I barely heard that the Seahawks won. But congrats to my Seattle chums and aunt and uncle.

I am honestly not sure where Anna Thomas gets off calling these crepes, as they are quite thick.Even after I adapted the recipe, pureeing a bit after stirring the veggies in, this batter was still unruly and hard to deal with. Maybe it was the pot she cites smoking convivially in The Vegetarian Epicure that impaired her judgement? I’m not against her enjoying a nice smoke, I’m just speculating. Or maybe her thinking they qualified as crepes was due to the era in which the book was written? I guess she didn’t have Siri around to quiz on what made a crepe different from a pancake from a griddle cake. Good thing she didn’t include Mexican and/or Tex-Mex fare in her book. The Chillaquiles/Migas debate could go on for days. Delicious days.

As I rewarded my day of hard work with these crepes, so will the hard work you put into these reward you, regardless of how much beer and football made your day easy. Kapeesh? Ok.

I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Vegetable Crepes adapted from The Vegetarian Epicue by Anna Thomas
A glass of robust red wine to sip whilst cooking
a dark and gloomy cold night out
olive oil spray
6 Tbsp. chopped onion
6 Tbsp. chopped scallions
1/4 tsp. chopped garlic (I used jarred)
1 jarred roasted red pepper, chopped
1 cup diced tomato (I used from a can. Convenience night, baby.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 heaping tsp. dried parsley
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 T. + 2 tsp. flour
2 T. + 2 tsp. almond milk
1 egg
2 tsp. applesauce
grated Swiss cheese.
Heat a pan with olive oil spray, add onions, scallions, garlic and pepper and sauté until onions are good and soft. Add tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until excess of liquid is evaporated. Use a blender to combine the flour, milk, egg and applesauce. Allow to sit about an hour or more. Stir in veggies when they are cool. Blend roughly with an immersion blender, you do want some chunk. If you need to add a dash of water to thin out the batter.
Heat a nonstick skillet with a wee bit of butter. Cook crepes using 1/4 cup batter for each until done on each side. Heat oven until 350 degrees. Put the crepes on a baking pan and sprinkle with a heaped up Tbsp. of cheese. Bake until melty and good. Sip wine. Revel Etc.

Hakka-lujah

20 Jan

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Oh, Hakkasan. Birthplace of the hakki-sack. I jest. Hacky-sack players are pretty much next to last on the list of people I’d think would eat at Hakkasan. Last would be the guy who is always outside my local Von’s asking for money. I offered him an orange once, which he took, then said “I’d take a banana”. Which I did not have and I doubt Hakkasan does either (except maybe mixed into a dessert?). I wanted to say “I’d take a thank you”, but decided his day had probably been worse than mine so I’d let it go. Not that I’d tell a dude off late at night outside of Von’s. Although I once got in some frat-type guys’ faces in the street late at night. They had kicked a cat. I should have kicked them.

Oh, right. Food.

I told you I was going to write about my LA dining experiences from time to time, so! For your consideration:
Hakkasan.
This is one snazzy Beverly Hills joint. It deems itself as modern Cantonese cuisine. I confess I am somewhat unequipped to really judge Chinese food. I never eat it outside the home. I rarely even cook food that requires chopsticks or qualifies as faux asian-ish.

So let’s start with the visuals. The of interior of Hakkasan is sleek. Dark but not too dark, expansive but somehow our table felt cozy. Really gorgeous wood interior. Tables are divided with the carved oak and Chinese screens. The music was a wee loud but not so much so as to really bug me.

As for the eats, that picture at the top is of the sautéed mushroom lettuce wraps. We didn’t order them, they were apology wraps. Unfortunately, there was a wee bit of a snafu with our vegetarian dumplings which turned out not to be vegetarian.
Oh, obviously but anyway, dumplings are by their cuddly nature adorable:

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A warning to vegetarians: there is a bit of cultural misunderstanding between us Los Angelenos and the rest of the world when it comes to what being a vegetarian is. At Hakkasan some of the items marked as vegetarian do in fact have seafood in them, so (nicely) grill your server accordingly. Also unfortunately, the very nice French guy who took our order-who I think might have been the manager as our official waitress was somebody else else-misunderstood that I wanted the lotus dish and brought me the stir-fried mushrooms with yam bean, sugar snap peas and macadamia nuts. It was excellent, but I’d been looking forward to the lotus. I didn’t bother bringing this to their attention though. After dealing with the dumpling ado I was not feeling like bringing up more problems, and well, I do love macadamia nuts.

Despite all the veggie confusion, they did get it right that I wanted my salad dressing on the side. This is Beverly Hills, I imagine that is their default. Next to requests to replace the dressing with something not in the menu, or air. I shouldn’t stereotype. East-siders are probably even more particular as to how they want their food.
Onward. My friend’s sea bass was rather gorgeous:

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And according to her and her empty plate, it was also delectable.

In full disclosure, another reason I did not argue for my lotus was because at that point I had pleasantly been plied with wine and saké recommended by their sommelier, Jared Hooper. Knowing Jared was also the reason I ended up venturing to Hakkasan.

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The saké was an unfiltered one. My friend had requested sweeter saké, and this was what Jared recommended. I found it quite tasty, and light in texture despite the milky appearance. The white stuff is rice…particles? “Fines” is the word maybe? I could practically have had it for dessert, but for my friend’s sweet-craving taste buds, it was perfect for dinner.

The wine list alone is really reason enough to visit Hakkasan. What I drank for dinner was a Sancerre, because when I see a Sancerre on the menu it’s a Pavlovian dog-like response of mine to start salivating and order it. Later, Jared popped by with a pour of another white he would not disclose the identity of. It was sweeter, more viscous than my Sancerre with a pleasant honeyed taste to it. After making that comparison he disclosed that it was, like the completely different Sancerre I was drinking, also a Sauvignon Blanc, but from New Zealand, as opposed to the Loire valley my Sancerre Sauvignon came from. I love doing blind tastings, especially when they surprise me. Jared is a fountain of wine knowledge, and is obviously passionate about what he does. Trust in his guidance and you will be very happy.
So to sum up. I liked it. I had a good time. A 90210 sip code restaurant is unlikely to become a regular go-to for me, but I’d go back.
After all, I DO need to try the lotus.
Hakkasan
233 N Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Everyone Else is Doin’ It

14 Jan

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I might jump off the bridge, I dunno. Particularly if it was a bikini bridge. I’m pretty much repulsed by that whole thing. The fact that it started as a hoax should say something about how dumb it is. Has anyone noticed that the latest body goals of women don’t have anything to do with the body, but rather with the absence of body? The thigh gap. The bikini bridge is the empty space between the swimsuit and your body as the bikini stretches across your sharp pointy hipbones. Gross. Okay, that is enough venting.

I have far too much to do to be jumping off Thinspiration Bridge, and I have enough practice with falling from high high heights. Maybe I’d do the real bridge jump, but I would have a nice bouncy trampoline arranged to catch me. That could be fun. Kidding, Mom. Just kidding. I wouldn’t put my head at risk, never fear.

In this post, we are going to look at chocolate as a metaphor for the trampoline under the bridge. And the jumping part I am partaking of is a green smoothie, which EVERYONE else is blogging up these post-holidays days.

My lack of spare time is actually part of why I make so many friggin’ smoothies. The other part is my deep love of wielding my immersion blender aka my kitchen paramour (I fit him in between the sexy beast and my boyfriend). A male friend of mine saw the base of it sitting out and briefly thought that it attached to something that would help me deeply love myself. I showed him the bladed attachment and assured him I am not that much of a masochist.

According to every other single blog in the entire universe, the green smoothie is what will save you, not kill you. Oh yes, it is “cleansing season” which is ridiculous, if you ask me. In theory it sounds lovely but in reality it is just a bunch of vegetables and juicers and blenders and overly enlightened people. Sorry if you are one of them. It’s ok. Different strokes for different folks. You’ve got your bridge and I have my trellis. This smoothie will neither cleanse you nor do your laundry, but it is tasty and healthy-ish.

All this being said, the fact that everyone was making these things called “Green Monsters” was intriguing. A well-named recipe can really lure a girl in. I do enjoy a good smoothie, so I gave a few recipes a try. After recovering from the various taste-bud wounds inflicted from jumping off overly banana-y tasting bridges, I decided to devise my own protein-filled, smooth, tasty, almost-ice-cream-sort-of smoothie that yah, yah, had some green in it, but in the form of fresh mint, yah? Yah. If you don’t have the fresh mint you can use some peppermint extract but then you only have a green-in-theory Chocolate Monster.

This Green Monster is rather pretty, to be called a monster, what with the fresh mint. But then, in real life monsters are neither green nor monstrous. Nor chocolate-y. Discuss.

Mint Chocolate Monster
1/2 cup cottage cheese
6 Tbsp. Chocolate protein powder (this recipe hinges on good-tasting protein, I use the MRM Veggie Protein)
big, big ol’ handful of fresh mint
handful of spinach if you feel it
1/2 a frozen banana, also optional
1 1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
sweetener of any ilk to taste
pinch of xanthum gum, if you like a super-thick drink
Blend like your life depends on it. You needs must blend this until you think it cannot get smoother and then a minute longer to get the aerated smooth texture. Unless you own a vita-mix in which case you probably just have to pulse it a second and you’ll have hot smoothie soup. If you have a vita-mix, good on ya. I’m jealous.

Best hits and what may come for the Gruel: Opinions wanted

31 Dec

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Happy happy! It is a new year. Yayza. In this delightful little post I am going to recap part of vacay, make a proposal, and then recap a few favorites on this lil’ blog of mine.

I went to St. Louis for Christmas. Whilst there, with my lovely fwife Eleanor I went to the MOST awesome of places, Blood and Sand. The MOST friendly of people work there. They can deduce exactly what you MOST want to drink, even if you do not know.

I drank the two MOST fantastical drinks, along with eating some MOST delightful truffled tater tots. One of the drinks had the MOST awesome of names: “Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives”. It was so much the MOST of the most-ousitous of times. The drink consisted of Rittenhouse rye, brown sugar simple, Punt e Mes, lemon juice, allspice dram and rosé sparkling. If rye and apple pie had an alcoholic child, this would be it. I am contemplating if the different elements of the name stand for different ingredients of the drink, and if so, which. I intend to recreate this come heck or high water. Clearly high standards I have for 2014.

I want to get y’all’s opinion on something. What if I did little restaurant/bar/food reviews from time to time? I do like to get out of the house to dine, shockingly enough. Between trying new recipes for the Gruel and also for my Hello Giggles column The Book Cook, I am getting a bit stressed. And much as I love writing and food-oriented opportunities I want to keep my mind on the acting game and not get too distracted. I still would still do mostly recipes, and I have some exciting theme weeks like a “Carrot Caked” week planned, but I’d like to have the options. I’d like to try new things, maybe even recommend a wine or two from time to time. Could be fun. Why am I nervous about this? I feel like I am asking you to go on a date or something.

It’s my blog and I can do what I want, obviously, but I want to know if there are any major objections out there to the review thing. Ooh, I may not be asking you on a date but maybe I could even go on some blogger dates and tell you about them. There are some LA bloggers I’d like to meet. That would be fun for all. I think.

Okay, now a little bit of year end wrap-up. Because I can. I am going to link you up with some of your most favorite-est recipes. I’m basing popularity, or at least reader interest, on the stats of what was clicked on the most. I’d also like to round up some of MY favorite things, especially from the early days of the blog when my photography sucked even more and not many folks were reading. I could revisit the less viewed recipes and get some better shots of them. Maybe next week. The blog may be a bit more sporadic in January and February, so don’t freak out or anything. I’m still here.

Oddly enough, the recipe that got THE MOST hits this year was this one for a clear chocolate martini. Quite frankly I am a wee bit distressed by y’all’s standards. Is a clear chocolate martini really what you want? With a photo like this?:
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I am disturbed. But my hope was renewed when I saw the second most clicked upon recipe was for Mark Bittman’s Creamed Bulgur and entitled Bulgur Not Vulgar which of course means it was NOT a chaste entry. But delicious:
20131009-210958.jpgNext up was a Pumpkin Polenta Pizza I would deem to be worthy, taste-wise if not aesthetically, of a few more clicks:
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Next-most clicked upon this year, and the most clicked upon of all time is this pumpkin soup:
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It helps that the photo was pretty, I imagine. But I was proud of my recipe too.
The least popular recipe, at least as I write this, was from the long-ago waffle week. I waffled a bran cracker. Enough said.
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This is a process

19 Dec

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Life is a process. And it is worth it.

As is this cocktail.

And other deep thoughts.

Let us infuse some shit.

But first a shameless plug for my positively adorable in every way improv group:
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This is our sexy face.
Improv is a process. It takes a long long long time to not suck all the time. I have recently been trying to really FOCUS and put the time into doing what I do. I am aiming for quality of activities over quantity.

And that was my segue into saying that this cocktail is a process. I saw it posted on The Table Set podcast and I knew I wanted it. It takes about a week of patience. The creator, Nathan Hazard (great name), calls it the December Dilemma and I am calling my minor adaptation December Do. As in “just do it”. Do. DO.

Normally the minute I see a cocktail that requires an infusion, or making a big batch of some alcohol I can only fathom using in one or two instances, I eschew the idea of making it. But I could not run away from this. It was too perfect for the season.

I adore wine. I adore cranberries. And bourbon. And I am madly, madly in love with Campari. You can run off down darkened alleys with Aperol and claim it is preferable all you want, but Aperol will take your money and run.

Campari will be there. Ready to amuse you with it’s bitter wit and dazzle you with it’s colorful personality.

So even though this recipe involves handmade wine-sugar-infused cranberries in lieu of my adored Luxardo cherries, and cranberry-infused-Campari, I could not resist because I began to imagine the many delights I could make with what I decided to call Lux-erries and Cran-pari.

I had to adapt a bit. I wanted to get cracking the night I saw this and it felt too late to be running to the store so I did not use the Manischewitz wine. Instead I used a lovely Ravenswood Zin. I also did not feel like laying out the funds for the Punt e Mes so I used a slightly smaller amount of Martini and Rossi Rosso vermouth plus a bit of regular Campari.

Heaven can be yours if you wait.

December Do barely adapted from this recipe on The Table Set
Starting a week ahead make your:
Cran-pari:
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
3 cups Campari
Heat the cranberries, sugar, and water over medium until the berries start to pop. Let them cool then add to a jar with the Campari. Store in a cool and dark dungeon like your refrigerator and shake daily for a week. Then strain two times. I strained from the jar into a wide-mouthed glass measuring cup with a spout, then placed the strainer over a funnel and funneled into the original Campari bottle.
Also make:
Lux-erries
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups red wine, I used Zinfandel
Heat the red wine until it is reduced by half. Add sugar and heat and stir until it is well dissolved and you have a lovely syrup-y wine. Add cranberries and allow to cool. Allow about a week in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally if the cranberries are rising way over the wine.
For The Drink:
1 1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz. Cran-Pari
3/4 oz. Martini & Rossi Rosso
1/4 oz. Campari
Lux-erries
orange zest
Stir the rye, cran-pari, vermouth, and campari in a chilled mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a Lux-erry or so. Run the orange peel around the rim, squeeze it over the drink and discard. Or don’t. Do what ya feel.

Gratitude

29 Nov

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This week’s picture and recipe both courtesy of my deep need to pimp my latest column for Hello Giggles. You can get the recipe for Death by Chocolate Until You’re Blue-berry in the Face, and my musings on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here. So to kick off this week’s list of giving thanks in honor of Thanksgiving, I’ll say thank you Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi for founding a stellar website and letting me spew silly stuff about books and food on it. And now because I am sitting here biding my time on a bus back from LAX to home, I shall regale you with all that I am thankful for.
1) first and foremost my family. They are the best. Everyone should have such great parents. I really don’t have enough room to tell you how wonderful they are.
2) acting work. In this last year I’ve gotten to work with an awful lot of talented people. I’ve been in a movie on the Chiller Network. I’ve met some great casting directors and finally gotten into some casting offices I’d dreamed of getting a shot at. I finally felt like a part of pilot season. Now to keep it up!
3) improv/comedy: I am on an improv team I LOVE. We get the opportunity to perform every single week (Every Sunday unless there are 5 in a month-then we don’t do the 5th- 7pm! The Neon Venus). I also have a practice group from UCB classes I adore who hopefully will start doing shows soon. And I’ve done some scaryscaryscary stand- up.
4) auditions-still going out all the dang time and have a buddy who is always there to help me prep, and who I help get ready too. It’s good having an acting teammate.
5) writing. Up to episode ten on the episodic I’ve been writing. Blackboard Eats still sends me to some snazzy places, and I got the gig to write for Hello Giggles-so now I can claim that all my reading and cooking is in the name of my work writing The Book Cook.
6) You guys! Thank you for reading this. I’m sending y’all love, love love. Cause love is all you need.
7) friends. Hot dang I have some good ones, near and far. Now is a good time to thank Skype for keeping me closer with the far ones. As for the near ones, hot dang they’ve got my back. And they are into having pie parties. What more does a girl need?
8) baseball. A girl needs baseball. Finally got to a game. Granted I’d be even more grateful if the Cardinals had won the World Series but I’m proud of my hometown team all the same.
9) Patti Smith and Trent Reznor. My two biggest musical idols and I got to see them both.
10) Los Angeles. City I love you.

It hasn’t been ALL amazing, sure. There have been arm surgeries and jobs I didn’t get and traffic jams and foiled plans but all in all, I’m awfully happy.
I’m going to go hug the world now. Lies. I’m going to go home and do work worky work work just as soon as I get there.
Love,
Ellen

Limoncello, Cynar, Thyme, Ginger: using what you have

21 Nov

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I wanted to invent some drinks that were all my own. I wanted to use up some herbs and bottles of alcohol that had little left. And I wanted to put my bottle of Cynar to the task.

So I came up with two new drinks, to be debuted at the pie and cocktails party Alice and I were hosting.

I gave these cocktails the names of Using What You Got and The Big Red Cat.

The Big Red Cat is in reference to the kids’ books about the big red dog, who is named Clifford. As am I. But puppy I am not. Actually I am part cat. I want to be petted and loved but only when I want to be. And I like to snooze all day. Insomniac here.
Is it just me or is snooze a kitty word? Speaking of kittens:

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That was early in the day last Saturday. The kitten rescue has actual kittens (as opposed to adult cats) right now. I tried to take better pictures but they were not keen on staying still.

Later that night Alice and I partayed with pie, friends, and very, very potent drinks. It did not occur to me that a lot of my friends were mostly beer and wine people and not used to my potent beverages.

I handed Alice a The Big Red Cat and her first analysis was that it tasted like a drink she’d get at a bespoke bar like No Vacancy. Well, it was.

Some were particularly pleased with the limoncello and ginger liqueur additions.

My friend Maurice just said the same thing he says any time I hand him a drink involving bourbon which is “tastes like cough syrup”. The man pours Tabasco on everything and and approximately zero taste buds left. We gave him a glass of mulled wine that Alice made instead.

My English Farmhouse Cheddar Pie, taken from Savory Pies by Greg Henry was demolished in about ten minutes. A friend showed up with apples and I crafted them into a pie, schooling all who were interested in how to form lattice.

This is my social life of choice.
Let’s drink to that.

The Using What You Got
2 oz. Bourbon
1/2 oz. Limoncello
3/4 oz. Cynar
2-3 dashes chocolate Aztec bitters
3 sprigs of thyme plus one to garnish.
Muddle thyme, limoncello, bitters, and Cynar. Add ice and bourbon. Stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a thyme sprig.

The Big Red Cat
1/2 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. Cynar
1 oz. Rye
1 oz. Dry vermouth
2-3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
1 tsp. ginger liqueur
Stir it all over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add one giant ice cube.

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