I Been Drinkin' - Updated 2/1/08

Caipi' Corretto:

I saw a television program of eating and drinking in Sao Paulo, Brazil recently that put me in the mood to drink a caipirinha (the national drink of Brazil, a lovely, simple and potent cooler made of muddled limes and sugar, ice and cachaca - Brazil's native distillate of fermented sugar cane). I love the caipirinha, as I love most all drinks that only involve limes, sugar, ice and booze - the true daquiri, a lovingly-made margarita, a gimlet - a pisco sour is getting out there, but still in the parking lot. The other thing I really like about the caipirinha is that it more appropriately describes a style of drink, and active interpretation is encouraged, as witnessed by the many different fruit caip's to be found. Only one problem, no cachaca in the house. So looking through my clear boozes, I settled on grappa. Like cachaca, grappa has a less neutral flavor than say vodka, so it gives the drink a little touch extra. After making one, I made two more. Enjoy!

The Caipi' Corretto (Caipirinha w/ grappa):

1/2 lime, further cut into quarters
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 oz grappa (low-medium price - don't get 'tazy)

Muddle limes and sugars in a glass. Add ice. Top with grappa. Stir lightly. One of the joys of the caipirinha is the boozy jolt at the start, mellowing into the sweet, limey bottom.

Holla Holla Walla Walla - Sept 4

Howdy y'all - just wanted to do some lines in reference to the rockin' Labor Day weekend Megan and I spent in Walla Walla, WA with semi-recent transplant and HuskyBoy enthusiast Karl. Walla Walla (emphaisize the first "Walla" for authenticity) is a lovely little town in the southeast corner of Washington known for onions, travelling salesmen, Seventh Day Adventists, a booming wine biz and the State Pen. I do not know if these things are natural bedfellows - I will leave such conclusions to yourselves.

We rolled into town Friday night after an uneventful drive from the Emerald City and wound up at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, or "The Marc" as the locals know it (http://www.marcuswhitmanhotel.com) . Had I been less mannish in my driving style, we would have stopped at Karl's first, but not remembering the exact exit, I took the one which I believed to be correct and instead took us indirectly to Downtown Walla Walla. The Marc is a large, well-appointed hotel with a nice bar, and as a general rule, folks who know what they're doing behind the stick. A few drinks later, it was off to Karl's for beddie-bye.

The real throwdown started on Saturday. (Karl and I have a pathologically co-dependent and enabling relationship whose antidote usually arrives in about 48-60 hours in the form of our livers audibly screaming for mercy. It is a relationship that was forged in the boozy and smokey kiln of a single night many years ago in Lawrence, KS, was rejoined and steeled for a seven month stint in Minneapolis, MN, periodically rekindled in Kansas City, KS and now regularly revisited in Sea-town or Walla Walla - thank heavens for the temperance-inducing four-hour drive). Suffice it to say, we like Bloody Mary's- that's no epiphanal revelation, so whatever. After a bloody and brekkie at the house, we three busted downtown for a whirlwind tour of the Walla Walla Farmers Market, specifically for cheese from a local producer, Monteillet Fromagerie (http://cheesebyhand.com/?cat=38). We had hoped to go out to the Monteillet farm, but it's a heavy production time, so no tours or caprine fun in the petting pen for us. We grabbed a small round of a young sheep's milk cheese and were outta there to perform my usual border run to Milton-Freewater, Oregon to procure Everclear for the making of limoncello and other sundry liqueurs. (It was a success although our border run for hooch sadly lacked any appearances by Jerry Reed or Paul Williams). Afterward, we headed toward the airport appellation and hung out with Steve and Tim from Trio Vintners. We sampled everything in a bottle plus some Mouvedere outta the barrel, which was the best. (We also ate our local cheese, which I will report was so-so; probably needs a bit more ageing for my taste. Though as the addage goes, I'm mostly in the camp that, along with pizza and the lovin', for cheese, there's only good and better.) Trio's reisling is very nice and eminently drinkable, and the sangiovese and syrah hold their own. They're new-ish, so go buy some wine from these wonderful people. Buy a mixed case - drink half ASAP, then sit on the rest - trust me. By the way, Meg and I had met Steve in serendipitous fashion at a party in Seattle a few months before, but more on that later.

Saturday afternoon we headed down to the culinary NKOTB, Saffron, for a late afternoon snack and drink. Saffron is Mediterranean-influenced with both small and big plates. We had: braised Wagyu beef cheeks - awesome; some forgettable but inoffensive spreads; and some flatbread with finely crumbled Merguez sausage on it - I give it a "good". But they did have a vinho verdi (one of Meg's faves) by the glass, and Karl and I had giant tumblers of red sangria, noting white sangria was also an option. It was a lovely repast for an afternoon, one we'll be sure to revisit in the future. After Karl and Megan indulged me in a bit of one of my other vices (record shopping), we enjoyed a few hours of leisure time and record listening before the dinner hour of 8PM approached.

At 7-ish, we sallied forth on the fifteen mile or so drive to Waitsburg, WA to hit two different destinations. We would bookend the evening at the jimgermanbar and saunter over to The Whoopemup Hollow Cafe (www.whoopemuphollowcafe.com) in betwixt for vittles. It is hard to believe that two damn fine places exist in this tiny town of a population only just north of 1000. It is some serious Green Acres-type stuff as most of the folks out there are Seattle escapees, a freakish number of which had done their time at Campagne (www.campagnerestaurant.com - which Meg and I love, along with Cafe Campagne downstairs) in the Pike Place Market. Jingermanbar is just a nice little slice of a bar and bistro with a good booze selection and a rotating menu written on the roll of butcher's paper tumbling down the wall. I spied a serrano ham in the fridge which is enough endorsement for me. Frankly we were there for the drinks before we sauntered 'cross the way. I spoke briefly with Jim who said they'd be doing monthly specialty dinners, the first of which is wild boar. (Goddamn why don't we live in WW, WA???) Either way, Whoopemup was in our future.

The Whoopemup is all about Southern comfy food. Now granted, we had been imbibing most of the day, but the first thing outta the waiter's (and I believe owner's) mouth was "Oregon crayfish, blah-blah per pound," to which my natural reply is always "bring us blah-blah pounds and bring me a PBR/ Dixie / Olympia (depending on locale, naturally)." It is late in the Pacific NW crayfish season, no doubt, but there is no way that I'm am eating in Waitsburg, WA, being offered peel-and-eat crustaceans, and turning them down. The shells were hard, but there was butter and the late-season makes the claws edibly and deliciously large. The memories begin to get slightly fuzzy around this time, maybe not even from the booze, but from the high of Waitsburg, and frankly, the entire day. I remember having fried catfish (totally edible), and Karl and Meg had some things too, but mostly I remeber being in a small town in SE Washington and enjoying time with my wife, a dear friend, and eats and drinks I had no right to expect I should be having - and that, my friends, is the magic of unexpected dining pleasures. After dinner, we bookended at the jimgermanbar for a nightcap, and headed back to WW, WA - sated and truly delighted.

Sunday - Are there any people in the world who do not enjoy a county fair? (As a youth, I stayed in 4-H just long enough to win a single purple ribbon for making a bat-and-ball rack in wordworking, then beat it out for the greener pastures of pee-wee baseball.) I love me a fair. The rides and food at the Walla Walla county fair were, sadly, standard fair fare - wierdly no awesome Walla Walla Sweet Onion Ring stands....? Anyhow, what they did have was honest-to-goodness para-mutual low-rent horse racing. I love the ponies, and there was no possible better way to cure a groggy start to the day than a Coors or Coors Lite red beer and the thrill of losing $2 on the first bet. This is one of the many reasons I love horse racing: A) You can only lose money every 24 minutes, B) It encourages a modicum of skill in the ability to read a racing form, C) Ignore B and bet on the horse(s) with good names, and D) I don't believe there's a "dry" horsetrack in the US, especially as evidenced this friggin' SUNDAY in Adventist-rich Walla Walla. Hey, I only won a single bet, but it did pay out the equivalent of two more beers.

We spent Sunday night at the home of our new friends Denise and Steve (along with their boys Riley and Finn) from Trio Vintners (www.triovintners.com) - that is to say we met Denise and the boys that evening, but as mentioned, we had met Steve at a party in Sea-town a month or so in the past. Let me cut to the chase - Steve was the bass player for one of the best bands of the mid-to-late 80's, Big Dipper, a fact he very modestly let slide out in cocktail conversation at said Sea-town party amongst a handful of music-crazy Kansans. In the musical tree of Kansas (the state) there is, well, Kansas (the band) and The Emabarrassment. We don't listen to Kansas, but we do listen to the Embarrassment, and thereafter the lovely Bostonian offspring, Big Dipper. Kansans LUUUVVE them some Big Dipper. Suffice it to say, I was floored. I knew Karl and Steve would get along great (verified in the Trio shop on Saturday), and solidified Sunday night over some lovely thrown-together dinner, six (or seven?) bottles of wine and a bottle of my homemade limoncello. We saw a family of seven or eight deer run across the hill behind the house, and if the setting were any more idyllic, I could probably write some really crappy poetry, and then mention the babbling creek that also runs through their yard. After many hours, drinks, and parting drunken hugs and goodbyes, we made our way back to Casa Karlito.

Monday - hangover and drive home, obviously...

Sunshine Superman Saucier - Last Update 6/28

Hey y'all - I love me a good sauce (who don't?), and like Chef said going up the Mekong, "I was born to be a saucier". Well maybe I t'were and maybe I t'weren't, but as sure as shit on Sunday I like to make me a sauce. So every now and again I'll post one here. Lemme know if there are any you wanna know how to make. Seriously, make your own damn Hollandaise once in your life. XOXO, THB

28 June 2007 - Simple Pan Sauce

Howdy y'all - are you someone who bemoans the scraping of the sticky gunk off of the cooking pans after the dinner is served and dishes are being done? If so, blame yourself for you have committed two sins: 1. Denial of the creation of sauce, and 2. Creation of extra dish-scrubbin' labor by lack of sauce-creation. Everyone, and I mean everyone, who stands next to a stove at any time should know how to make a pan sauce. Simply put, a pan sauce is any sauce made in the selfsame pan used for previous cooking of an item (usually protein) which then imparts a bit of itself unto the sauce. This is the proper technique for biscuits with sausage gravy or probably any awesome gravy your granny ever made. There are 4 basic steps to the making of a pan sauce:

1. Establishment of "Fond" - fond is the brown crispy bits that stick in the pan after the cooking is done. Fond is often a product of sauteeing a floured protein. Even without the flour, oftentimes fond exists.
2. Deglazing - use of a tasty liquid to loosen the fond and get it working in the sauce (i.e. stock, wine, booze, beer, lemon juice, milk, etc. You can use water, but Jesus, live a little...)
3. Concentration - evaporation of the deglazing liquid to a more condensed volume for flavor enhancement
4. Enrichment - addition of butter, cream, demi glace or the like for luxurious final product - some people will consider this step optional. Feel free to guess where I stand.

So for example, let's make, I dunno, Pork Chops with Calvados Pan Sauce

2 Pork Chops - your choice of cut and size
Flour for dusting
Olive oil for Sauteeing
1 small shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
1-2 Tbs **cold** butter (If you happen to have demi-glace around, that's good too)
Salt / pepper to taste

1. For later, heat oven to 200 F to keep chops warm
2. Heat oil in sautee pan large enough to hold chops
3. Lightly flour chops, knocking off excess flour
4. Cook chops to brownness on both sides, hoping for a medium-rare to medium chop (**rough** rule of thumb - 4-5 minutes per side per inch thickness, i.e. 4-5 minutes on each side for a 1" chop. Buy a thermometer already...)
5. Remove chops from pan to another plate and keep in the oven
6. Reduce heat to medium and add shallot - sautee a few minutes
7. Increase heat to high and immediately add chicken stock and Calvados
8. Scrape fond off bottom of pan. You will notice how amazingly easy it comes up.
9. Reduce liquid to about 4-5 Tbs
10. ***Off heat***, add cold butter and whisk until incorporated
11. Adjust seasoning with salt / pepper and pour the luxuriant nectar over the chops and serve (Some folks in the fancy joints will strain the sauce through a fine sieve before pouring over the chops, but that ain't me. Suit yourself, candy pants)


1. Never let the fond in any step of cooking get much past a light mahogany brown. Doing otherwise creates a nasty, bitter sauce.
2. It is sometimes necessary to pump up the thickenin' power of the fond. This is easily done by the addition of about a teaspoon of extra flour after the chops are removed from the pan. Cook the flour with the fond and cooking oil into a light roux over medium heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Then add tasty liquid and proceed.
3. Another nice touch is to add some aromatic herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary or the like) along with the shallot around step 6. No need to chop it all up, add the stems and all, then simply remove from sauce before serving, or don't. Herb twigs don't bother me none.

Deglazed and amazed, THB

18 June 2007

Simple Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

I started making this sauce about 8 years ago when I used to do a lot of lonely man home-cooking and eating in MPLS. Turns out, the Megsta' liked it a lot too. It's super-easy and versatile as all-git-out.

1 red pepper, whole
Oil for sauteeeing
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine
Juice 1/2 lemon
1-2 Tbs cold butter to finish (Optional, but not really)
Salt / pepper to taste

Char red pepper over open flame of gas range or under broiler in oven, rotating often until all skin is black and blistered. Toss in a bowl and cover with Saran or toss in a Ziploc for 10-20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a saucepan, add oil and sautee shallot on med-low heat 5-10 minutes until translucent. Increase heat to med-high, add wine and reduce to about 1 Tbs of liquid. Remove from heat.

Back to the pepper - peel off all the black part best you can. I say don't run it under water - opinions vary. Slice out the stem and remove any of the white inner ribs and seeds. Blend pepper in blender or food processor.

Bring shallot/wine back to heat, add pepper puree and lemon juice. When just heated, add cold butter, stirring constantly until incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt / pepper...and, done!

I mostly use this with seafood, but it's mighty fine with chicken or pork as well.

Cheers to ya', Jeremy THB

I Been Drinkin' - Last Update 6/28

28 June 2007 - Summer Beers Make Me Feel Fine...

Hey all - this treat is no stranger to the PacNW crew, but if the Summer Brew is new to you, rejoice in your new-found glory. As with so much boozy miscellany, I was introduced to Summer Beer a few summers ago by good pals AJ and Nat. We have enjoyed many since then; I encourage y'all to play catch-up.

Summer Beer:

1-2 oz vodka
7-8oz light-ish lager/pilsener-ish beer ( I like Pacifico for this application, but whatever you like is just fine)
3 oz lemonade
Lemon slice to garnish
Ice - optional

1. To Pilsener glass add vodka, then beer, then lemonade
2. Add ice, if using, and garnish
3. Drink
4. Repeat

Good summer fun, especially if you're playing hooky from work, when all drinks taste at least 15% better...

Prost, THB

15 June 2007 - Limoncello / Rhubarbaro

Howdy fine folks! Today let's talk about homemade booze. Sadly, I'm not talking about moonshining (although if you are doing some home-distilling WHICH IS HIGHLY ILLEGAL, send me a story under an untraceable alias to thehuskyboy@gmail.com) but rather the infusion of pure grain spirits with some form of aromatic botanical to then be diluted to a more drinkable 80 or 90 proof. Editor AJ and myself have been doing a fair bit of this of recent with good results. In fact AJ will have a book out in the next while with quite a few classic and original liqueur recipes. (More on AJ and Publishing-empire Rathbun soon to come.)

Making the homemade booze is relatively easy, especially if you are going for only a single flavor profile in the booze. All one really needs is a ready supply of Everclear (190 proof neutral grain spirit), a supply of your desired botanical, e.g. lemon zest, a clean bottle, and a final diluent to bring down the proof, i.e water or simple syrup.

Limoncello is by far one of the best, most popular, and most commercially available of all Italian liqueurs, and with good reason. Throw it in the freezer and dole out the shots. Who doesn't like lemon anyhoo? Here's a nice little history on the story of limoncello:


You will perhaps notice that they soak the zest for 3 months. I'm far too impatient for that, so I (and AJ) usually get the production over with in 4 weeks.

For Limoncello (750ml):

Zest of 5-6 large lemons - avoid white pith at all costs
Juice of 1-2 lemons
375ml Everclear
375ml Simple Syrup (water / sugar in a 1:1 ratio)
Cheesecloth for straining

1. Put zests and Everclear in clean glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark space for 2 weeks.
2. Juice zested lemons and retain juice by freezing in ice cube trays. A standard freezer tray ice cube is probably about 1 lemon's worth of juice.
3. After 2 weeks, add simple syrup and lemon juice. Let sit another 2 weeks.
4. Strain to your personal level of anal retention. A nice clear, sediment-free liqueur is a thing of beauty, though.
5. Freeze and enjoy.

Beware! This is still highly intoxicating booze, God bless it so. All you have done is taken something that a car could run on and diluted it down to scotch-proof - so when was the last time you were belting down scotch like so many little shots of lemony goodness? (I said you, not me...) There, you've been warned.

AJ's been doing a ton of experimenting for the book, which has inspired me to do a bit of my own. The best one I've come up with by far is a rhubarb liqueur. With the addition of lemon juice and simple syrup, it is a tart hooch treat, not to mention it is a gorgeous pink color. Hurry up and make some before the rhubarb is all gone for the year. Frozen rhubarb may be an option, but I'll probably not give it a whirl until this winter when my current supply is gone and the jones sets in.

Rhubarbaro (750ml):

5-6 large stalks of thoroughly cleaned and trimmed rhubarb
375ml Everclear
Juice of 1-2 lemons
375ml Simple Syrup
Cheesecloth for straining

1. Slice or chop rhubarb into pieces that will fit in to (and subsequently out of) your bottle. The larger the pieces, the less surface area there is for flavor extraction, but the use of larger pieces generally leads to a clearer product. Do whutcha like...
2. Add Everclear and steep for 2 weeks.
3. Add lemon juice and simple syrup. Sit on it for another 2 weeks.
4. Strain, chill and enjoy!

Cheers, Jeremy, The HuskyBoy

Eat This! - Last Update 6/16

16 June 2007 - Easy KC-style BBQ Sauce

Hey all - no need to buy bbq sauce when it's easily made at home. For me, bbq's more about the meat anyhoo, but the following is a pretty good example of a decent KC-style bbq sauce (Closer to Gates' the Bryant's, miles away from crappy KC Craptsterpiece)

1 Large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 head garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp Paprika
3 Tbsp Chili powder of your choice
1 Tbsp Ginger powder
2 tsp Celery seed
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 28oz can tomatoes (whole, stewed, diced, whatever)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking

1. Sautee onions and garlic over low-medium heat, about 10 minutes
2. Reduce heat to low and add all powdered spices. Sweat spices, stirring often, another 10 minutes
3. Add tomatoes and unstick any spice goo from the bottom of the pan
4. Blend with hand blender until smooth
5. Add honey, molasses and vinegar - stir
6. Cook on low-med heat 2-3 hours.
7. Add salt if desired / necessary
8. Strain if desired / necessary

Happy 'cue-ing! Off to a pork party at Ame and Ron's........!!!!!!!!!!!!

15 June 2007 - "Elotes" aka Mexican Mayo Corn

Hey all - Summer is just about here, and I assume most folks I know have already busted out the BBQ. We at THB West Coast HQ certainly have, and one of my favorite sides is corn-on-the-cob that has been parboiled, dressed with a spicy mayo and grilled to deliciousness. I first heard of the idea from editor and pal AJ who recounts the wondrous post-closing time strolls to the "eloteros" of Chicago for a little nibble of the niblets. The classic elote would involve first grilling the corn to doneness, then a slathering of the mayo, followed by a sprinke of cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime and perhaps a sprinke of chili. If you are a huge fan of the mayo, this would be your preferred preparation. For me, not so much. I like to make a spicy chili mayo and apply to the corn before it goes on the grill. This way most of the fat from the mayo goes away, leaving behind a nice sheen of tasty chili goodness. Besides, not all of the fat goes away anyhoo. So here's my recipe for THB elotes:

6 ears corn, still in the husk
2-3 oz mayo
1 Tbsp med-hot chili powder - (Meg and I received some great chili powder from friends and Albuquerque denizens Rich and Jill for our wedding. Both the medium and the hot we received are awesome. The source is The Fruit Basket Market, and as I understand it, they'd be happy to do some mail orders for y'all. (505) 345-3942 or 898-7367 or 344-0885)
1 Tbsp paprika (for extra color)
Cotija or Parmesan cheese to sprinkle (optional)
Lime wedges for squeezing
Salt to taste

1. Get grill rockin'
2. Prepare corn by shucking and parboiling in salted water for 8-10 minutes.
3. Mix together mayo, chili and paprika. You may want to add a little salt in here too, but it is probably unnecessary.
4. When corn is done parboiling, let cool 5 minutes
5. Slather corn with spicy chili mayo
6. Grill corn on all sides until nicely browned, if not even a bit charred in places
7. At this point you could re-slather with a bit of the mayo, sprinkle with cheese and squeeze limes over the ears - or any combo thereof.

Hope your summer is as corny as Kansas in August!

Cheers! Jeremy, The HuskyBoy