So on Saturday
Submitted by CalamityJon on October 20, 2009 - 21:42
So, on Saturday, Justin Ison and his girl Erin, and Mark DeJoy and his girl Missy came by our place for a cloudy day of Eastside Yuppie famland fun, which primarily consisted of petting pygmy goats and alpacas, a little bit of thrift store shopping and then a huge holy buttload of Mediterranean food and pumpkin banana bread. I also prepared some cocktails, two of which I'm slightly embarrassed to admit out loud that I got from the latest Martha Stewart Halloween issue, one I'm definitely embarrassed to admit I got from Emeril Lagasse, and a hot toddy of my own invention which I thought would be a nice thing to drink if the day got cold, but it didn't really, so I have quite a bit of bourbon whiskey in the house (or, since the party was four days ago, nowhere near as much bourbon whiskey left in the house as I had four days ago).
We sort of haphazardly arranged a theme around Mediterranean food, although our starter was actually a pumpkin-banana bread which I'd seen in an online recipe and had a hankering to try. We served it in, er, dippin' sticks with a small dish of apple butter (courtesy of our friends Josh and Tiff Kassel). The recipe comes directly from that invaluable resource, Allrecipes.com:
Banana Pumpkin Bread
# 2 ripe bananas, mashed
# 2 eggs
# 1/3 cup vegetable oil
# 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
# 1/2 cup honey
# 1/2 cup white sugar
# 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
# 1 teaspoon baking powder
# 1 teaspoon baking soda
# 1/2 teaspoon salt
# 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
# 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
You do the mandatory mixing until you've got a decent batter and then bake it at 350 degrees - I did a double batch, and it took half an hour to bake six large cupcakes and about fifty minutes to bake a full sized loaf pan.
For our actual eats, we - on the spur of the moment - picked up six gyros from our nearest Gyro shop, which provides fantastic eats super-cheap - their lamb is very peppery, it's delicious. This was to go with the spanokopita which Kate made (I don't have the recipe) and some hummus and baba ganouj I made.
I use cookbook recipes for both of those things, with a couple of exceptions, particularly in regards to the hummus.
- First off, a lot more olive oil than suggested. Every recipe I've ever tried uses only enough olive oil that the hummus ends up crumbly and dry, so I often double it if not more
- Speaking of "not enough", I do not traffic with garlic measurements in recipe books; it's always "one clove" this and "two cloves" that. I understand the idea of having the gentle touch of flavor, but for god's sake this is a dip, let's go nuts. Whenever a recipe tells me "one clove of garlic", I translate that as "half a bulb".
- Lastly, for the hummus, I make it a point to roast not only the garlic but the chickpeas. This probably lends a lot of reasons as to why mine comes out dry without enough olive oil in it, but the resulting smoky flavor is aces.
A Hot Toddy which I'd planned on making and had made in the past with 1 ounce of bourbon whiskey, eight ounces of strong chai tea, a teaspoon of honey, a dash of nutmeg and steeped with a cinnamon stick. I'm sad we didn't get to this, but Winter is on its way ...
An Emeril Lagrasse Bloody Mary, which involved a premade mix of 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp horseradish, 2 tbsp ginger, 2 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp Worchestshire sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 pepper, then the usual mix of tomato juice and a small salad. In this case, it was hot pickled carrots and pickled okra, plus some white cucumber I'd pickled myself (with scotch bonnet peppers, and which I just remembered I have so as soon as I'm done typing this I'm gonna go get some for dinner).
Then the Martha Stewart recipes:
I hate to use this name, because it's so twee, but The Halloween Sunset, which was 3 oz tangerine juice, 1.5 ounces white rum and 3/4 ounces grenadine. This layered really beautifully and had a nice color as well as flavor.
Then The Black Lagoon. This one was two ounces of vodka, a cup of soda water and a teaspoon of lemon mixed with unnecessarily complex other ingredients. First off, I had to make a syrup out of two sprigs of rosemary, a lemon rind, and a cup each of water and sugar, strained to remove the solids. Then I had to make anise flavored ice cubes with black food coloring which, frankly, got everywhere. It looked pretty and tasted delicious, but it was a hassle and a goddamn half.
I'm going to make it a point to keep this syrup handy, but from here on out I'm just going to consolidate the process: Make the syrup with the rind of a large lemon, two sprigs rosemary, two cups of water, one cup of sugar, about a quarter cup of anise flavored extract. WHY DO THE WHOLE THING? It was insane and just made it take forever to make drinks and also it made a huge mess.