Pirate Kitchen

Pimm’s Cup & the Perfect Burger

Beverages, General, Grilling, summer | August 21, 2010 | By

I’ve been on this kick recently. I’ve discovered the unbelievable greatness of a grilled burger on…toast. Right now this consists of one perfectly grilled burger. I like mine medium well please.

With provolone cheese

and arugula from my garden which we are enjoying for a second time. We grew it at the beginning of the season, saved the seeds and planted them about 3 weeks ago. Amazing.

And, of course, toast. Oh, and a Pimm’s Cup on the side.

This is sooo good that no condiments are required. I may sprinkle a little salt if I can wait that long. Take note of the bread used for toast on this particular occasion. I’ve been enjoying my burgers on mostly a bakery multi-grain toast that is quite good, BUT… an angel from heaven dropped off what is possibly the BEST rye bread ever from Dortoni’s on Long Island (Levittown to be exact), NY. This rare delivery is to be cherished and I try hard to keep it a secret, but guilt wins out and I do share. Oh I would so love to keep this bread to myself. It has substance and is moist, chewy and the flavor is out-of-this-world ryelicious. If rye bread is just ok for you, I guarantee you would worship at the altar of Dortoni Rye Bread after one bite. I’m happy to see I’m not the only one getting into the whole toast thing. See, “It Is Called Toast” and “Toast & A Summer Break”. Fantastic.

And then there’s the Pimm’s Cup. I love having a new adult beverage that isn’t beer or wine or the lastest cosmotini-thing. It’s sophisticated and utterly yummy with its not-too-sweet-spicy-amber-ginger flavor. Basically, it’s a collins glass filled with ice, a shot of Pimm’s, fill the rest of the glass with ginger beer, a splash of fresh lemon juice, stir and enjoy. Lovely and refreshing. Tally ho, in we go Molly! Thanks to Orangette for turning me on to this. I don’t think I would have ever tried it if I didn’t read her blog about it. It definitely is my kind of drink in that it’s not too sweet and has that little spice kick from the ginger beer. I too prefer the zing of ginger beer (in my case Gosling’s) to the traditional “English-stlye” lemonade. I have to thank my local wine and spirits purveyor, Dagostini’s for the Gosling’s Ginger Beer. I wasn’t able to find ginger beer anywhere and she totally came through then proceeded to order a case for me! Next on my list: a Pimm’s Royal Cup mixed with champagne. I might like that.

Luck and Love on Friday the 13th

Adventures, General | August 15, 2010 | By

This is how the day started on Friday, August 13th. We watched a glorious sunrise and it was mere minutes (if that) between these photos.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia and I’m definitely more afraid of that word than the actual supposed impending doom of the day. I felt lucky and in love. The LoveOfMyLife,referred to hereafter as the LOML, and I just dropped one of the sons off at the airport for his 5:30 am flight and headed to the nearest shore point to watch the sunrise. The other son-type  is on vacation with his dad so we are positively giddy: 3 whole days – KID FREE!!  I love you guys, but let’s keep it real here.

And so it begins with a sunrise and the LOML:

And toes in the sand:

We were up at 3:00 am for that drive to the airport. So, after a stop at Geets’ Diner where my wish was granted for a breakfast of epic proportions and lingering, we headed home for SLEEP.

After sleep and more wishes granted, a drive to our favorite city was in order. Philadelphia here we come! Our first date was in Philly and it’s our city.

Rittenhouse Square Park for chit-chat, smooches, people watching and more smooching:

Across from the park for dinner at Parc, sitting outside (78 degrees in the middle of August!) and continuing all of the above plus more:

This was quite possibly, the best dinner I’ve ever eaten. It was definitely the best bouillabaisse, ever. The LOML mentioned that Marc Summers was walking by and (slurpchewslurp) I did (slurpchewslurp) see him (slurpchewslurp) and note that (slurpchewslurp) he did take a seat further down (slurpchewslurp) from where we (slurpchewslurp) were sitting. But just barely. I was definitely in my own version of blissed out. Friday the 13th you say?

Our waiter Eric was very accomodating:

Off to the Parkway and Logan Square (which is really a circle) with sunset beginning:

This is so beautiful and sits on the grand (Benjamin Franklin) Parkway amidst museums (remember those steps from Rocky?), a basilica, library, City Hall and so much more . History and the wow factor especially on a night like this.

On this particular night, the LOML got down on bended knee and asked me to marry him.  I said YES.

Strawberry Romance

Strawberry Extravaganza

Strawberry Extravaganza

I started to think about and remember, strawberry wine. A few years ago, I was given a bottle of homemade strawberry wine. I never really thought about it before and had no idea what to expect. Given the talents of its maker, I had no doubts, but never dreamed it could be so good. It looked pale in color like a beaujolais, and tasted like a light, strawberry merlot. I was really surprised and loved every last drop. I would like to make it someday and give it to a select few individuals in my life to make them feel extraordinarily special.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries are a very beautiful, earthy, sexy and romantic fruit. They are the stuff of myth and legend. I love the Italian legend that states when Venus wept for Adonis, her tears fell to earth and turned into heart-shaped strawberries. The French believed they were an aphrodisiac and made sure they were served to newlyweds. What do you believe?

I happily settled for making butter, preserves and compote instead of the wine. The butter has a slightly curdled look to it (it should) and is sweet and the little jewels of strawberry burst on your tongue while you’re eating it. Wow. The preserves are quick and easy and of course there’s nothing like homemade. And the compote can be poured on just about anything. I decided to pour it on store-bought pound cake, but try pancakes or angel food cake. For the truly fearless strawberry lover and romantic:  bread with the preserves, butter AND compote! Just make sure you’re not planning to drive anywhere for a while and the love of your life is close by.

For all you fearless romantics out there…
Strawberry Butter
Makes about one cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 pound very soft unsalted  butter

Puree the berries in a food processor. Add the sugar. With the machine on, gradually add the butter in bits. Whiz until well blended – about 30 seconds. The mixture looks curdled at first, but will pull together. Pack into a crock or jar and chill until ready to serve. If you’re feeling fancy-shmancy, put it into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe rosettes (or blobs) onto a large plate covered with plastic wrap and chill.
Strawberry Preserves
Before you do anything, you need sterilized jars. Use either jars straight from the dishwasher while still warm or fill them 1/4 full with water and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Drain and use while still warm.

Makes 3, 8 ounce jars

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups whole strawberries, hulled
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Stick a saucer into the freezer. Put all the ingredients into a wide saucepan, over low heat, and stir with a wooden spoon to make sure all the fruit is coated. Continue stirring occasionally and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5-8 minutes and start testing by taking the pan off the heat and dropping a teaspoon onto the saucer from the freezer. Let it cool a bit and if the preserves wrinkle when you push it with your finger, it’s ready. When you’ve reached this point, leave it in the pan to cool for 20 minutes before pouring into cleaned, prepared jars.
Strawberry Compote
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 pints strawberries rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strained orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (grand marnier or triple sec)

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool then refrigerate, covered, until needed.

And let’s not forget Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: dip whole, perfect ripe strawberries into melted bittersweet chocolate. Set on waxed paper to dry.

Credits: The Frog Commissary Cookbook, Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nick Malgieri’s How to Bake and Susan Branch’s The Summer Book.