Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What I lack in knowledge, I make up for with enthusiasm...

This weekend, the universe saw fit to reward us Minnesotans for putting up with yet another craptacular winter filled with snotcicles, butt-breaking ice slicks, temperatures so low that our thoughts froze, and near 24-hour indoor isolation by throwing a little nice weather our way. Knowing that the winter has crushed our souls and lowered our expectations considerably, the fact that it was 60-ish degrees the past few days was enough to inspire things like "outdoor activities" and "good moods". We realized that sometimes the sun is warm- who knew?

Saturday was so lovely that we (by "we", I mean "the Mr.") decided to wade through the 5 foot-high pile of styrofoam and cardboard in the garage and attempt to find the grill. We needed to celebrate the day properly with charred meat and fruity alcohol concoctions. A few friends were invited, we half-assed cleaned the house, and I donned my finest halter top and hot pants like any good hostess would (kidding. Everyone knows that BBQ = thong.)

First I made white sangria. I love red/traditional sangria, but it doesn't love me back, unless you call pounding headaches and the feeling that angry ferrets were battling it out for the title of "ferret king" in your belly the next day "love". If that's the case, I think I know a few people I could set you up with- just say the word.
Basically, my sangria goes like this- I cut up a bunch of citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit), put it in a big container, add about 1/2-2/3c. sugar and a 1/2t. vanilla. Then I pound on it with a wooden spoon to extract some of the juice and some of the citrus oils from the rinds. I then let this sit for a few minutes so the sugar dissolves.

Then I add about a 1/2 can of frozen lemonade concentrate (for this size batch) and about 1/2 to 2/3c. brandy. I usually use cheap apricot brandy, but as I didn't have that on hand, I used the only version of brandy we had in the house. Oh well, if I must:

Then I added one of the big (1.5 liters) bottles of some sort of light, dry white wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc or a dry riesling will work fine- if you use regular riesling, cut back on the sugar or you'll give everyone diabetes). Right before I serve it I add a can or two of plain sparkling water. You can adjust any of the ingredients to suit your taste, and this is best if it has a few hours to sit and develop the flavors.
Make sure you taste it often so that you are 100% sure it is delicious enough to serve to your friends. In fact, I recommend making one batch to serve, and one for "quality control" purposes:

We grilled flank steak, and I forgot an "after"picture, so I guess you have to use your imagination. I rubbed it with lots of garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, a bit of lemon, olive oil and S&P. I let it sit at room temp for an hour so that the flavors could penetrate and it wouldn't be so cold when it hit the grill. I served it sliced thin with a roasted red pepper/jalapeno salsa (loosely based on this recipe) and it was tender and delicious, much like I imagine making love to Richard Marx in 1987 would have been like.

I served it with grilled asparagus and this potato salad. It has baby reds, corn, tomato, tons of fresh herbs, bacon and feta cheese on it (very loosely based on this recipe- I added parsley, chives, mustard & lemon to the vinaigrette and substituted feta for blue cheese). It was so freaking delicious I wanted to be alone with it in a dark room with barry White playing softly in the background.
Nothing fancy for dessert- just my fucking awesome chocolate chip cookies (recipe here), which we all know are THE BEST FREAKING COOKIES ON THE PLANET.

Proof that it was, indeed, sunny this weekend. I went for a walk Sunday and the sky was perfectly blue and it was 66 degrees. Shortly after this I started sweating profusely from both my face and misc. crevices and had to take my coat off. I haven't been outside without a coat since June of '97, I think.
This morning it was gray and cool, so I threw on an ugly nylon water-repellent tarp and went for a walk along the Mississippi.
I ran into a monkey and we had a chat.
"You from around here?" I asked.
"Nope. I'm lost. I live in Baltimore with a sexy barfly and I was kidnapped many months ago by a crazy drunk lady who looks a lot like you but usually smells like Doritos. Can you help me get home?", he replied.
"Sure, silly monkey. I can do that. I'll mail you out tomorrow and you'll be home before you know it."
"Thank you, kind lady", he managed through his tears of joy. "If I had to spend another day with that broad I surely would have gone mad. She's always trying to make out with me and she sings songs to me that I probably should recognize, but mostly it sounds like someone is strangling a flock of geese. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Here he is with some river boats in the background. The one on the left is where I had my first cooking job- an old tugboat that was converted into a B&b/restaurant. We cooked in an actual galley- it was the best job ever. Though, cooking on a boat was a wierd feeling- it moved very subtly, and I usually didn't notice how that affected me until after work when I would step on the dock on the way to my car and start wobbling like every day was St. Patrick's day.

Oops! I looked away for a second and Mr. Monkey was almost swallowed whole by a giant bird! After much wrasslin' and disposing of the bird's body in the river (shhh...you can keep that secret, right?), monkey was fine.

On the way back, I looped through downtown and accidentally fell into the St. Paul St. Patrick's day parade. Should I feel bad that in the 10 years we have lived here that I have not once witnessed this?
So. Much. Green.

I've never seen such a large concentration of people who were completely schnockered before noon. I wandered through the undulating mass- many, many blocks of it- I was particularly confused by the large numbers of kilts in the audience. I guess what we lack in actual knowledge, we make up for in enthusiasm. One guy had spray-painted his whole body green, hair & all, which was impressive. He ran off before I could get a picture, sorry.

I'm not Irish at all, so I don't really get into the whole concept, but this video could make even someone like me feel a little "Irish" for a day:

Now I'm off to drink some Jameson and Baileys (maybe together, maybe not) in honor of the day, I guess.

Happy Tuesday, my drunken little leprechaun monkeys. Happy Tuesday.


P.S- Your requested posts are coming- no real excuse, I've just been lazy and devoting much of my week so far to quality "magazine" time. I do that sometimes.


Catherinette Singleton said...

That sangria sounds SOOOOOOOO good! Screw green beer when you can be drinking that instead.

kirby said...

The last time I had sangria I woke up in a strange tent next to a German. Your sangria looks good, but no way, I'm not doing that again.

Anonymous said...

Ha!! You make me laugh!! seriously though, I'd take you over Rachel Ray any day!! And don't feel alone for the fact that you've lived in Minnesota forever and a day and have never participated in the annual festivities - I know many of us natives who haven't, myself included!! ~Renata1967

Kate said...

Thanks for the sangria recipe - I can't wait to make it... and holy hell, Animal singing "Oh Danny oh Danny" is effing hilarity.

CDP said...

Oh good, I get to be the first to trot out this ancient joke:

What's 10 miles long with an asshole every five feet?

The St. Patrick's Day Parade!

ba ha ha ha ha!

wafelenbak said...

I am definitely going to try that sangria on the next reasonably pleasant Midwestern day. Which will probably be...oh, about 3 more weeks or so.
Thanks for sharing!

EmBee said...


I'm sorry dear but I beg to differ... It is I who makes the BEST FREAKING COOKIES ON THE PLANET... Nay, THE UNIVERSE!

Sorry to burst your bubble.

However, I'll concede to you being able to cook EVERYTHING else better than I... But not the cookies, nope, never the cookies!

TheHermanator said...

Another Great WM post !
The recipes looked and sounded excellent, and the tour and monkey adventure up to your usual high standards !
We've had some great weather here in Indiana too, and now we can believe that there really is a spring Virginia.

Fran said...

Holy Jeebus on a waffle - wow. I have not been around for awhile and you have totally switched up and moved things around and kind of classed the joint up.

And you've been scaring me since only 2007!

Nice look Whiskey. I really wish I could have been there for that cookout and yummy drink session.

boredmando said...

Oooh the Muppets! I'll have to show this one to my mom when she gets back from getting her sober on at the Tavern. Man I love Animal.

Dr. Monkey said...

Richard Marx was a lousy lover in the 1980's. Don't ask me how I know that. For the love of god don't ask me.

Kim said...

I think I'm becoming obsessed with your eyebrows. I tried copying your brow look a few nights ago and haven't been able to take my sunglasses off since.
Maybe it's just you in general I'm trying to emulate. Because at this point I'd trade three of my regular friends just for the honor of hanging out with you. For an hour. But no; an hour would not be nearly long enough.
I'll stop before this gets any more Single White Female.

diatribes and dish said...

Oooooh, that settles it; next weekend I'm going to grill flank steak. Even uncooked, it still looks good to me.

Sornie said...

You celebrated the first weekend where venturing outside didn't mean instant frostbite the proper way - with booze. I knew something was missing from my weekend.

Bubs said...

Happy St Patrick's Day! That food looks wonderful, and the sangria was a welcome taste of warm weather to come.

The Grand ChaHee said...

Ok,Whiskey, I make a mean chocolate chip myself-and I challenge you to a bake off-it should give you EXTRA pleasure to know that your missouri super fan is at this moment sitting in a bar called Big Whiskey-i think of you every time I come here!!! (And, no, I'm not really lying when I say that)

Perfectly Shelly said...

WM---I,too, ADORE sangria.

Only, I cheat. I like bubbly wine drinks, therefore, rather than add seltzer water (which I hate, BTW)to the sangria, I make my sangria and leave it in the fridge. I add my bubbly (in the form of diet 7up) per serving---

Anonymous said...

I just cut and pasted your super delicious weekend menu. I will pass it off as my own in a few weeks. Hope you don't mind. The sangria speaks to me as I too feel terrible after partaking of the red wine. Maybe it's the fact that it's red. Maybe it's the fact that I always drink too much of it. I don't know. Never had just one glass, ya know? By the by, love them Muppets.
Enjoy your time off.

Anonymous said...

Hi WM,

Sounds like a fabulous meal this weekend! Anything on a grill os good to me. I love, love, love potato salad! Will try your recipe. Another good one I have is from Bobby Flay. I couldn't find plain whole grain mustard but did find some with chipotles' that I used instead. It was soooo good. I've served it warm or cold and it's good either way. If you're interested here it is:


When I was looking for Flay's came across this one from Michael Chiarello. Also sounds good.



Chiada said...

Okay. First off: I rarely laugh at blogs. Even at ones where 50 comments say how much they laughed and cried and people at their work must think they are crazy for laughing at their computer. I'm not one of those people.

But. This video? Had my chuckling so much I actually pig snorted when they started crying.

Thank you for making me laugh. You've earned yourself a medal.

LegalMist said...

EmBee and Whiskey -- looks like we have the makings of a contest, here. I'll tell you what I'll do for you both, out of the kindness of my heart. You can each bake a batch of your cookies and send them to me, and then I will report back as to which of you in fact makes the "best freaking cookies on the planet and/or in the universe." You don't even have to pay me for my time. Nope. I'm THAT nice. Just send the cookies! Email me for an address. :)

LegalMist said...

Oh, and the Grand ChaHee, you are welcome to participate in the bake-off, too! I didn't mean to leave you out.

JenKneeBee said...

Omg, it's been shorts and tshirt weather out there. I've been opening my windows and bbqing.

Siana said...

Thank you so much for saving Monkey and making sure he gets home OK, but I hope you checked him for the Avian Flu before you sent him back to me. He's coming with me to England and I don't want the CDC to apprehend us at customs before I can even get on the plane.

That reminds me...I better get rid of all the Doritos before he gets here.

gorillabuns said...

oh, man. I'm so glad you gave us the white version of Sangria. I truly hate having to try to explain why my arm is red from festivities.

Gwen said...

Interestingly, I had already made a plan to make MY white sangria for your visit. I hope you can drink it multiple times in a week.

T minus two days until we break the Internet!

BadWims said...

Thanks for posting the clip of my three favorite Muppets singing "Danny Boy." I laughed so hard my spleen hurt.

Melissavina said...

Yum on the sangria!!
And barf on the Richard Marx comment. (confession: Back in 1991 I did call the local soft rock station and request "I will be right here waiting for you" dedicating it to the object of my unrequited love. I now realize how pathetic and scary that is.)

Your friend,

John said...

You are an artiste, WM. : )

180|360 said...

I'm dying to have a Whiskeymarie meal one day.

180|360 said...

PS. That video is awesome.

Cornelius Aesop said...

I'm more interested about what happened next to Mr. Lucky, did he get home safe?