I have been having so much fun cooking and taking pictures of it, and writing this blog that little else has been getting done around here lately. Add to that the fact that my husband was out of town (having a little retreat from our usual chaos), which prevented me from doing any serious reading, which then led me to conclude that my time would be best spent cooking, and the net result is that I have a TON of work to do now. But not to worry, I made some delicious things over the weekend that I’ll now be able to share with you this week, like winter vegetable cassoulet, poached eggs with chevre polenta, and the next up–salted butter caramels. The other result of my kitchen wizardry is a fridge full of leftovers, so tonight my dinner was rewarmed scrambled eggs (they were better than it sounds), and two reheated waffles drizzled with the buttered rum sauce that I made last night to accompany some caramelized bananas. I ate it standing up in the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to wash any dinner plates. The highlight of the meal, however, was the crisp Hendricks gin over ice that I drank out of a jam jar with a cucumber tongue rolled up like a fiddle-head and skewered with a toothpick.
The gin was the best kind of leftover–the kind that you make fresh, but that reminds you of something good you already had. Last night after Eli came home I wanted to make him a martini with the new gin I bought but had yet to try out. The problem was that we don’t have any martini glasses. Alas, they live in the basement of my parent’s house beside our skis, camping gear, and other miscellanea that was not fit to transport the 2200 miles from Salt Lake City to lovely New Haven. I listed our alternatives–wine glass? juice glass? sippy cup? when Eli suggested a jam jar. The 6 oz. quilt-textured jar was just the thing, although it quite dwarfed our modest cocktails. Glassware aside, it was the best martini I have ever had –not that I’m a big martini fan to begin with, but my favored Bombay Sapphire, which I happily sipped with tonic water and a lemon, has now been usurped by Hendrick’s Gon. Its botanical crispness is shamelessly exploited with the cucumber accent, an absolute necessity, if you ask me. Judging by the comments on my Facebook page when I posted about my new discovery, I’m a little late to the game, but am glad to be here all the same. If I’m going to explore this gin’s full potential I’m going to need some Lillet, grapefruit bitters, and probably a real martini glass. I think I’m up to the challenge. Any more suggestions for enjoying Hendrick’s Gin are welcome and encouraged.
Sunday night’s martini was made as follows:
2 oz cold Hendrick’s Gin
1 1/2 teaspoons of cold dry Vermouth
1 cucumber accent (the rolled up cucumber can’t be beat)
Add the gin and the Vermouth to a cocktail shaker with several cubes of ice. Shake just enough to mix together and chill the ingredients to within an inch of icing over. Pour into a chilled jam jar along with the cucumber accent. If you don’t have a jam jar, I guess a martini glass will do.
Eli and I enjoyed our martinis with some roasted almonds, still warm from the oven, from The Food52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. I modified the cooking time and made a smaller batch, but otherwise stayed fairly close to their recipe.
For the almonds:
1/2 pound of raw almonds, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Coat the almonds in the olive oil, draining any excess in a colander. Place the drained almonds in a medium bowl. Mix the salt and sugar together and sprinkle over the almonds. Stir the almonds to cover them with the salt and sugar mixture. Roast in a 325° oven for 15-18 minutes, checking after 10 and then again every 2 or 3. You’ll know they’re done when the skins darken and some of them are just starting to split open a bit. I like mine roasted, but not brown in the middle. Wait until they cool slightly and enjoy with your jam jar gin martini.