Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NFL Sunday Ticket without the dish for Manhattan!

Walking home from work today I saw an ad for DirecTV indicating I can now get NFL Sunday Ticket streamed over the Internet. What wonderful magic!

Now I can watch my beloved Bucs play every week in much better quality, as well as whatever other game my fantasy victory hinges on. This resolves the biggest deficit I found in our place, ie no southern exposure from which to point the dish at the sky.
I previously used a Slingbox that lives at my mom's house in Florida, which was pretty cool and got the job done, but it was temperamental and the quality was crap.
It's apparently filtered by zip so only works if you are in Manhattan, but outside here you are likely to be able to get the dish already.

I think it will work on the iPhone too.

Go Bucs!

Dogs enjoying their camp

We were out of town part of last week, and this was the first time we've tried this new boarding service where the dogs get to run and play outside at a farm in NJ where they used to keep horses. The girls seemed to very much enjoy their sleep away camp. Maybe there is something worthwhile about Jersey after all.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finally got our plants in!

Well, it took us over a year, but we finally got our terraces landscaped. We are quite thrilled with the results, even more so than we thought we'd be.

I'll try to remember to take some pics when the lights go on later tonight.


Rick at Kaiser Penguin asks who has the most bitters. While I certainly don't have the most, with the addition of the shipment from Bitter Truth I literally came home to last night and just opened, my collection is at least respectable. Now I've got to try some of the new guys out. Perhaps I'll start with the drink in his post, the Mole bitters were the ones that inspired my order, and I do like Fernet.

Here are my Fee's:

And my list...
  • Angostura
  • Angostura Orange
  • Bitter Truth Aromatic
  • Bitter Truth Celery
  • Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Decanter
  • Bitter Truth Lemon
  • Bitter Truth Orange
  • Bittermens Grapefruit
  • Bittermens Xocolatl Mole
  • Fee’s Cherry
  • Fee’s Grapefruit
  • Fee’s Lemon
  • Fee’s Old Fashioned
  • Fee’s Orange
  • Fee’s Peach
  • Fee’s Rhubarb
  • Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-aged
  • Fee's Mint
  • Peychaud’s
  • Regan’s Orange #5
  • Stirring’s Blood Orange

Ruhlman agrees on burgers

Ruhlman agrees with me on burger technique! Two grinds with coarse die and salt before grinding. I knew I was on to something. He also talks about the importance of keeping everything cold which is good info I think I forgot to mention in my post.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'd been working on this for a while and just finalized it so I threw it out for TDN as well.

  • 1 oz jalapeno infused blanco tequila
  • 1 oz green chartreuse
  • ½ oz mezcal
  • ½ oz fresh grapefruit
  • ½ oz fresh lime
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 dashes Angostura orange
shake and strain into salt rimmed coupe, garnish with orange twist

Punto Rojo

Here's something I whipped up for the Beat the Heat Thursday Drink Night. Getting inspiration from the Cuzco, which I recently tried and enjoyed, I came up with the Punto Rojo. The floater I added in honor of my friend Joel.

Punto Rojo
  • 2 oz Pisco
  • ½ oz Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ½ oz fresh OJ
  • ½ oz fresh lemon
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • Strega rinse
  • float Blackstrap rum
Shake all but last two, rinse chilled rocks glass with strega, add fresh ice, strain, garnish with lemon spiral, float blackstrap

The name has a couple meanings; it translates to red point, but it is also an alternate name of Peruvian native fish the bleeding-heart tetra. I was reminded of blood in the water, and Pisco is from Peru, so there you go. Also Punto Rojo is apparently slang for a joint, referring to the cherry on the red tip, so that can tie to the Cherry Heering as well.

Vilnius Nastavnic (and Surrender Monkey)

It's once again time for Mixology Monday, the impetus for starting this blog thing. This month is hosted by Amelia at Felicia’s Speakeasy, and the theme is "Vodka is Your Friend."

I touched on my feelings about vodka in my last MxMo entry, when I used a Ginger infused (random) vodka in one of my submissions, and those feelings remain mostly unchanged. I am generally scornful of vodka as an ingredient, but was recently made aware of its ability to tame otherwise aggressive ingredients such as Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur when I was told of the Black Negue. I had always sensed the potential of the liqueur of the alps but never quite figured out how to use it properly. So I decided to try to pair vodka with another notoriously alpha but delicious spirit, Fernet Branca. To give him someone to tangle with I had the also formidable Cynar step in for vermouth, and let the vodka keep the peace as the schoolmaster. For this I actually did use Russian Standard vodka I generously received as a gift from an attendee at our party Saturday, so I think the name appropriate, plus it harkens back to one of my favorite movies. Yes I know Vilnius is in Lithuania. Not quite sure where Lithuania is though.

Vilnius Nastavnic
  • ¾ oz Fernet Branca
  • ¾ oz Cynar
  • 1½ oz Vodka
stir and strain into chilled cocktail glass

I was originally going to submit only this more playful drink before coming up with the one above, but I'll still include him. In yet another example of devising a drink to match a name, I give you the Surrender Monkey. I started with the classic Monkey Gland and swapped in French ingredients for everything. Instead of gin, I use a combo of cognac and vodka. For the sake of the theme, pretend I use the French Ciroc, but I actually used Ketel One because that's what I had at hand. But we all know no one could taste the difference in this. And for the absinthe I used the french Le Tourment Vert, which, while far from my favorite absinthe, I find sometimes works well for mixing due to it's less aggressive nature. Note, I have no problem with French ingredients, I just enjoy being coarse.

Surrender Monkey
  • ¾ oz Vodka
  • ¾ oz Cognac
  • 1 oz fresh OJ (I used blood orange because that's what I had handy)
  • splash Le Tourment Vert Absinthe
  • ¼ oz grenadine (homemade of course)
  • orange twist for garnish
Shake and strain into chilled coupe glass.

This is by no means better than the classic recipe, but I amused myself enough to include it, and it may have occasion to be mixed up now and again.

(My wife had those napkins made up for when we host cocktail parties. We've got pink ones with pigs and green ones with dragons too.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meet Halley and Tesla

Ok, I promised some puppy pics earlier, but I've been remiss in posting, but here are a few. Tesla's the puppy on the left, Halley is the 2 year old black one, both mutts we adopted. When I get around to wading through and uploading the videos, I'll post some of them.

Pat LaFrieda burgers at Freshdirect

In addition to the soft shelled crabs, we had burgers at the BBQ for the main course. I was too lazy this time to grind my own, but I had wanted to try out the new Pat LaFrieda burger patties Freshdirect just started offering. They are supposed to be great, and obviously quite convenient. Plus, they are sealed in such a manner that they keep for weeks without freezing. They also offer three blends, one with short rib and brisket, same as I used for my own. This is not coincidental of course, since I researched what they use when picking cuts for my blend. The verdict was that they are indeed great burgers. Certainly better than any pre-formed burger I've previously tried. But the jury also mostly decided that my house groud ones were still far better. I even pulled from the freezer a few leftover patties I had formed from a recent meat grinding session and grilled them up for comparison, and they stood up remarkably well to their stint in the freezer, besting the other burgers in flavor and juiciness. So my advice is to still grind your own if you have the time, but I'll still probably use these from time to time when I'm not up to the grinding. They should prove especially useful to keep a package in the fridge for a surprise nice day or otherwise when a burger hankering sneaks up on me.

Grilled Soft Shell Crabs

I was going to try my hand at grilling lobsters for the first time with this recipe from Batali I saw on his show a while back, but apparently you have to order two days in advance for Freshdirect to deliver the live lobsters and I had delayed so we were out of luck. I also walked over to Whole Foods but the hippies there seem to be afraid of selling live things, perhaps out of a not unreasonable fear they'd be picketed by their hippie customers, so that avenue did not pan out either. (Do hippies live in Tribeca?) But fortunately, Freshdirect did have the in-season soft shell crabs, so I figured I'd use the same recipe and substitute these critters. (note this was a couple weeks ago, prob no longer in season, sorry)

It's hard to screw up the naturally tasty crabs, so these were good, but I think next time I'll try to add some more seasoning and spice to the crabs.

I had a couple crabs leftover so I fried 'em up indoors for dinner the next night: