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January 12, 2014

Food Thread: The Daiquiri -- The Original, Not The Frozen Abomination (CBD)

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It's a deceptively simple drink, and in these Global Climate Change® times, when the concept of summer is a confusing and hazy memory, the warm, tropical flavors of this drink are perfect.

My apologies to the Horde, because the Daiquiri is named after a beach in Cuba, and was made famous in a bar in Havana called La Floridita.

In its defense, both drink and the bar predate the murderous communist government of the Castros, so in a way, drinking a Daiquiri is a small gesture in defiance of the communist regime.

2 oz rum

1/2 oz lime juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with lime wheel.

Notice that the bartender uses Demerara sugar in his simple syrup. An excellent and much less expensive replacement is plain old light brown sugar, which adds a complexity to most drinks that is superior to granulated sugar.

One odd thing about this video is that he is clearly making a child's portion. Two ounces of rum is a nice amount when you are tasting many cocktails in one sitting, but most people would prefer a larger drink.

An alternate serving method is on the rocks in a large low-ball glass. It changes the drink a bit, and I wouldn't use expensive rum, but the ice keeps it nice and cold, which helps this drink immeasurably.

And, because it says "Food Thread" in the title of this post:

Linguini With Eggplant

Tomato Sauce:
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½-1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28-ounce) chopped tomatoes (try to use good quality. It does make a difference)
½ teaspoon dried thyme*
½ teaspoon dried basil*
½ teaspoon dried oregano*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 ounces ½ & ½

1 pound dried linguine

Heat on medium a pot large enough to hold the sauce, spaghetti and eggplant. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the onions.
Sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions soften.
Add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium-low. Burned garlic is bitter and not very pleasant. Stir every few minutes until the garlic has softened.
Add the thyme, basil and oregano. Stir a bit to hydrate the herbs and then add the wine and turn up the heat to medium-high, stirring to deglaze whatever may be stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes. Stir again to mix everything together, then reduce the heat to medium-low, just enough for a simmer.
Cook for about five minutes, then cover and turn off the heat.

Start heating the pasta water!

Meanwhile, heat your biggest non-stick pan as hot as you can get it.
Add a bit of olive oil and then the diced eggplant and a teaspoon or so of salt.
Toss it occasionally while adding more olive oil until the eggplant is lightly coated. Be careful; eggplant is a sponge! The goal is to evaporate some of the water from the eggplant while browning it in the oil. Yes, it is messy, and it will take some time, but the results are worthwhile.
Now is also a good time to start cooking the linguine. Keep tossing the eggplant as it browns. You will probably have to reduce the heat to medium as the eggplant gives up moisture and begins to brown in the oil. It will get softer as it cooks. Don’t worry, it’s going to get thrown into the tomato sauce anyway.
When the eggplant is nicely browned and almost falling apart, dump everything into the tomato sauce (If you didn’t use a non-stick pan, just dump the sauce into the eggplant and deglaze the pan with the sauce).
Stir to combine, add the grated cheese, the ½ & ½ and allow to rest until the pasta is done.

Drain the linguine, reserving a bit of the pasta water in case the sauce is too thick. Add the pasta to the sauce pot and toss until nicely coated.

Serve with a bit of extra grated cheese for garnish. It doesn’t need it for flavor, but it does look good. And there is never anything wrong with extra cheese.

* fresh herbs are great (especially basil) if you have them, but dried works well.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:00 PM

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