Saturday, July 21, 2012

Linger Longer

It was a pretty crappy week overall, but now that the sun is finally shining and it's such a gorgeous day, I think it's about time to enjoy a refreshing summer beverage. It's 5:00 somewhere right? Or maybe that doesn't count when you can just go out for brunch...

Anyway, Aperol, an Italian bitter orange aperitif, has for years been the darling of bartenders and food bloggers alike and I've finally gotten on board. When I was in Denver this past spring, my sister and I paid a visit to a restaurant called Linger for a leisurely lunch. (Makes sense right? And Erin had the day off.) The menu was delish, filled with lots of international small bites (for lack of a better description). I was on vacation and it was after noon, so I ordered a drink called La Rosa, a mix of St. Germain, Aperol, lemon juice and Prosecco. Since we were sitting on the roof deck of the restaurant (formerly a mortuary called Olinger), much to my chagrin they served it in a plastic cup. Ugh. I hate that. But it was a really fantastic bevie in spite of the vessel in which it arrived. I've done a pretty good job recreating it here over ice (if I do say so myself) but my memory of it is somehow better. Maybe it was the vacation mentality. Or mortuary.

Erin, quizzing the waitress about why my drink is so much better than hers and can she please have what I am having. What? No, don't worry. We are not going to drive. First we are going to walk to REI, then over the highway, then to Patagucci, then up the pedestrian mall and then we will be so tired that we will take the free shuttle back almost all the way to the car so, by that time, we will have completely sweat out any alcohol that we might have imbibed. Or maybe she was just asking about the sesame bbq kobe short rib tacos.

Lovely To Olinger

2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
Lemon peel

1. Add the Aperol, St. Germain and fresh lemon juice to a cocktail shaker along with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously. 
2. Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice and strain the Aperol drink over it. Top with Prosecco and a lemon peel. Makes one drink.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pasta, Beaches and Vampires. Oh My.

I hope that everyone had a very happy Fourth of July! I decided not to create a recipe for the occasion because, taking place on a Wednesday and having to wake up for work the next morning, it didn't really inspire me to do much. Oh well.

Luckily I did make it to the beach last week and thoroughly enjoyed a fantastic lobster roll at Banzai Burger. Get thee to that restaurant stat. Everything that I had was super delish, including a wild striped bass fish taco. Obviously I had to have an appetizer before my lobster roll. Duh.

Since my beach excursion I haven't gotten around to doing any shopping so the contents of my fridge and cupboards are at a minumum. This pasta recipe has minimal ingredients and since I happen to always have walnuts and garlic on hand  (random I know), it was perfect for me. And the extra added garlic will keep vampires at bay.

Speaking of which, is anyone else as not into True Blood this season as me? I am starting to get a little bit bored (even with the addition of Chris Meloni) and when I thought I had missed an episode with this weird work week, I didn't really care. And that made me sad. C'mon True Blood. Get it together!

Pasta with Ricotta, Garlic and Walnuts
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried pasta
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
2 heaping tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 large lemons)
4 ounces walnuts, toasted well and roughly chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, very thinly slice the garlic. Add to the oil, and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is pale golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the garlic chips in a sieve set over a large bowl. Reserve the oil. Spread the garlic chips on paper towels; season with salt.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just barely al dente. Drain. Add the pasta to the oil, and toss. Partially cover, and let cool at least 20 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours.

3. Roughly chop 3/4 cup parsley leaves, and add them with the lemon zest and walnuts to the pasta. Toss to combine. Dot with the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine, being careful not to fully incorporate cheese. Garnish with remaining parsley leaves, and serve with garlic chips. Serves 6.