Monday, June 26, 2017

The Väänänin Martini Recipe

I thought that I didn't like like martinis until Eeva made her twist on her brother Jukka's version of the classic recipe. It was delicious and changed my opinion when it came to martinis. I am pasting the recipe Eeva sent to me.

 Always use Noilly Prat vermouth. Accept no substitutes (well, perhaps in this hipster era of ours there are acceptable substitutes out there, but guilty until proven innocent, I say). I'm pretty sure we got Noilly Prat at Trader Joe's, but your Aptos liquor store is bound to have it, as it's the standard bearer, not niche. 

I favor stirred martinis. If you don't have a stirrer, you can use a large pint glass. Put enough ice cubes in it that they will be higher than the gin. Stir quickly to chill the glass (you don't want the ice to melt, and if any water collects on the bottom of the glass throw it out before adding the gin). Add the gin (just shy of 1/4 of a cup per person) and no more than a Noilly Prat cap full of vermouth, stir rigorously for a few seconds and pour into martini glasses. The idea is to ensure as little dilution of the drink, so no extra time in contact with the ice. Take your lemon peel piece, give it a quick twist above the glass to release the aromas and drop it in. You're all set. 

My martini is based on the stirrer I use, so the amount may vary but it looks like about 1/4 cup. No need to fill up the vermouth cap entirely either, it's really just meant to be a hint. Some folks even rinse their martini glasses with vermouth first then chuck it out before adding the chilled gin.

Some people also store the gin in the freezer or place martini glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before making the drink. I sometimes do the former, but never the latter, as I don't like drinking from a wet glass and having precipitation all over my hands.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oven Spareribs

This is a recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen which was adapted from a recipe by Harold McGee. I decided that I had to put it in my blog because I was afraid that the next time I wanted to cook ribs in the oven I wouldn't remember what recipe I had used and it would be lost to me in the fog of my brain. It is very easy and when I made it with the outstanding ribs from Fogline Farms in Soquel, the ribs were delicious.

Oven Spareribs
5 lbs of ribs should serve 4 people

1 cup dark brown sugar (may be reduced by 1/4 cup for a less sweet version)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon mild or hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
5 pounds spareribs, cut into 4 slabs, patted dry
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200º F. Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil large enough to wrap it. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub each slab with 1/4 of the dry rub. Tightly wrap the ribs in the foil and place them on a rack that has been placed on a sheet pan. You will need two racks and 2 sheet pans for the 4 packets of ribs. Bake the ribs for 4 hours at 200º, switching the ribs rack position after 2 hours. After the 4 hours reduce the oven temperature to 175ºF and roast for another 2 hours or until a fork easily pierces the meat. Open the packets and pour the juices into a small saucepan. Boil the juices down until they are syrupy and then add the vinegar. The ribs can be put under the broiler for a bit for extra caramelization if you like. Serve the ribs with the sauce poured over them.