Friday, May 6, 2016

Last Alpha Cook Post, Drinkapotamus Up Next!

Greetings readers, new and old. This bittersweet post is to announce the retirement of this long neglected blog. Apparently, people don't even blog any more! Have you heard? Which of course is why I'd like to redirect you to my new project, still in its infancy, Drinkapotamus. It's a blog about cocktails.

I just want to leave you with a a few things I've learned from having a food blog:

1. It's hard to take pictures of food when all you really want to do is just eat it.
2. It's hard to take pictures of food when you've had a long day and you had to make dinner when you really wanted to order pizza, and you really just want to eat your f*@king dinner and not document it.
3. It's really time consuming. I don't like to measure when I cook. Recipes are hard.
4. Hangry.

Speaking of creative outlets. with cocktails being both a professional and private interest, and because waiting to drink a cocktail while I take photos does not test my patience (as much) or put my marriage in jeopardy, please enjoy your time on my new site. With a snack.

www.drinkapotamus.com

Best,
Alpha Cook, Drinkapotamus



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Perfect Turkey Cocktail


 The Perfect Turkey Cocktail

This classic little riff on the perfect Manhattan is one of my favorite holiday inspired cocktails, and I’ve run it on the Revival Bar + Kitchen menu for the past few years during the week of Thanksgiving. It’s seasonal, warms you right up, and most importantly, gets you hella drunk when your family is visiting.

The Perfect Turkey

adapted from Epicurious.com

2 oz Wild Turkey 101 rye or bourbon
.5 oz Vya sweet vermouth
.5 oz Noilly Prat dry vermouth

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice for 20-30 seconds, or until you’re happy with the temperature and dilution. Strain into a chilled cocktail vessel of your choice. Garnish with an orange twist.

If you’re feeling fancy...


For a sweeter version you can stick with the Epicurious-recommended garnish of a spiced sugar rim. I like to add a little dried orange peel into the mix. It’s fairly simple to prepare and keeps well up to about a year after you’ve made it in an airtight container.

orange peels from one medium orange, dehydrated
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ tsp freshly grated cinnamon
pinch of allspice

In a small food processor or spice mill, zap until fully integrated and the orange pieces are as small as you like.  Then pour onto a saucer. Use a piece of orange to wet the rim of the cocktail glass, then dip the glass into the sugar mixture.

I chose to keep my peels on the chunky side for texture, but most like them as a finer powder.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


This is plain and simple, good-for-you homemade soup that’s perfect for cold weather, and just thing when you’re fighting off a cold. You will never want that canned stuff with the weird little chicken bits again. I prefer a nice thick noodle with some “chew” to it, but feel free to use whatever kind of pasta makes you happy.

INGREDIENTS


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 large carrots, chopped in rounds
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
6 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4-5 nests of dried Tagliatelle or Pappardelle

PREPARATION


1. Heat the oil in a large/medium heavy pot over medium heat and saute the leek and celery until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes.  Add carrots and then cook a minute or two more.  
2. Add the chicken and broth, seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the breast.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate & shred into bite-size pieces.
4. Meanwhile, add noodles and cook according to package instructions.
5. Return chicken to the soup when noodles are a few minutes from being cooked. Serve immediately.  

Ps. this cold, rainy fall weather thing that’s happening right now is good excuse to try it this week! And you might just swear off canned soups forever after reading this Slate article!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


You know what’s totally changing my life right now? Spaghetti squash. That sh*t is amazing. It’s like eating pasta, but it’s not pasta at all! Your mouth gets all the guilty pleasure of eating carbs without all the side effects, because you’re really eating lots of delicious veg and fiber. My new favorite way to enjoy it is in this “lasagna” dish that has all the trappings of a traditional lasagna. It’s a great option for those of you tired of the zucchini slivers subbed in for noodles, bonus points for being gluten free and it’s damn near paleo (gotta have cheese on lasagna, that part is non-negotiable).


Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

one (approx. 4lb) spaghetti squash
¾  lbs lean ground beef
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I like the Muir Glen fire roasted)
enough olive oil to saute the onion and garlic (a little less than a tablespoon should do)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
.5 tsp crushed red pepper
.5 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
¾ cup shredded parmesan, Parrano, asiago or similar
1 cup thinly sliced mozzarella, preferably water packed (e.g., Belfiore)*

1. Pre-heat oven to 375º, wash the squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for about 45 minutes or until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pot, saute the onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook about 2 more minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and red wine vinegar. You can add a pinch of sugar if you like a little sweetness. 

3. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stir well and cover, reduce heat. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. For a more reduced sauce, cook an extra 10 minutes on a low simmer without the lid.

4. When squash is ready, let it cool for about 10 minutes or until it’s cool enough to touch. Leave the oven at 375º. Scoop out about ¾ of the squash filling and set aside. Place the squash shells in a casserole or baking dish (coated with cooking spray, in case they overflow while cooking) before filling them. 

5. Begin the layering process in this order: For each half, spoon in a layer of sauce, then mozzarella slices, then the scooped squash, then meat sauce, then grated parmesan. 

6. Place the lasagna in the oven at 375º for about 30 minutes--cheese should be brown and sauce bubbly. Each half-squash can be divided into two servings.

*For the mozzarella, I think that this fresh, water packed style of cheese gives some nice texture to the lasagna layers (think cheese curds, but softer and meltier); if you can't find that, a regular mozzarella would work just fine, although you might want to grate it instead of slice it.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Gift Basket

One of our popular winter cocktails is leaving the menu at Revival Bar + Kitchen to make room for lighter, more summery drinks. I thought I'd post it here in case someone decides they can't live without it and they need to recreate it at home. It's a simple stirred cocktail that Manhattan lovers will enjoy, with just a hint of smokiness from the blended scotch (I have some recommendations below). It also makes a great after-dinner cocktail.


The Gift Basket

1.75 oz blended scotch (I used Bank Note)
.75 oz 5 year Madeira (I used Broadbent)
.5 oz Amaro Nonino
Small dash each of Angostura bitters, and Ango. orange bitters

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe, and garnish with a wide orange peel, squeezing the oils onto the top of the drink.

As for scotch, I've tried it with Famous Grouse achieving decent results, but lacking the depth I really wanted. Bank Note has been my go-to for this one, but I can also highly recommend Monkey Shoulder, which is a blend of Speyside single malts that also makes a good sipping whiskey.  If you want to bump up the smoke (but in a controlled way), try adding just a tablespoon of a peaty single malt such as Ardbeg or Ledaig.