Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's National Aviation Day

August 19th is National Aviation Day. I'll be honest. The only reason I really know this is because I work on a travel web site. I was assigned to write a blog post today about National Aviation Day and I swear all I could think about was the Aviation cocktail. I even managed to sneak in a link to the recipe.

I already had plans to meet my friend Robin for happy hour today, and as I wrote about Aviation Day, we IM'd about Aviation cocktails. You may remember Robin - she's the one who I got schooled with about cocktails and who generally has pretty awesome taste when it comes to food and everything else. We both LOVE the Aviation cocktail.

So tonight, we planned to meet at the restaurant that will live in infamy as "the booze cruise." That's another story, but what we DO remember from that night is that it began with cocktails. The restaurant has since opened a wine bar next door and we just assumed they would serve cocktails too and the Aviation would be readily available. Sadly, it was not. We had a nice evening and some very tasty food and sparkling wine, but alas, no cocktails.

Thankfully, my home bar is stocked! Since I've been experimenting with cocktails and studying the art of cocktail making, I had all the ingredients on hand to make the Aviation when I returned home.

The Aviation
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
1/4 ounce Crème de Violette
Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Drizzle the Crème de Violette into the glass and garnish with a lemon twist or a maraschino cherry.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Simplicity Itself

There is something comforting about a piping hot bowl of soup and lately, I've been in need of comfort. Even though it's August, the weather has been much cooler in the mornings and evenings. Since it already feels like autumn is in the air, it felt right to make soup.

Last week I saw the movie Julie and Julia. I have to say I loved it. I actually enjoyed the Julie side of the story as much as the Julia side. This is probably because I can relate to Julie more than Julia. When I read Julie Powell's book, I started reading more and more food blogs and it helped inspire me to start this blog. It also inspired me to steal my own mother's copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Since yesterday was Julia Child's birthday, I pulled MtAoFC off the shelf.

Potage Parmentier is the French name for a simple potato leek soup that can be served hot or cold. Julia calls it "simplicity itself," and I have to agree.

Simplicity Itself (potato leek soup)
2 quarts of water
4 cups diced, peeled russet potatoes
4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1-2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
4-5 Tbsp unsalted butter

Place water, potatoes, leeks and one Tbsp of salt in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Simmer on medium low, partially covered for 30-40 miniutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or puree in a blender in batches). Add the butter and continue to puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice and more salt to taste.

Serve with fresh chopped chives, topped with sour cream or croutons.

I would like to dedicate this entry to Julie Forward Demay - dedicated mother, devoted wife and fierce warrior against a disease that claims the lives of too many, too soon.