Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two New Discoveries

I love gin.

In the summer it tastes like linen.

In the winter, pine needles.

Hand me a gin & tonic or a French 75 at any party or happy hour, and you'll find a very happy girl.

Determined to find a GF gin, I went on a woman-hunt and found Watershed Distillery's Gin made from corn. Of course, I found it at the end of the month when I couldn't justify paying for booze over food. And when we got paid, I didn't see it again for at least three months.

On a recent shopping trip to Rossford, I stopped in my favorite liquor store Corks, hoping I might find it again. And there it was, saying, "Manda, you just got paid and I'm perfect for French 75's." As my friend G would say, "Sign me up!"

Seriously, if you are a gin lover, other gins are untouchable. Watershed's Gin is perfectly tart and zesty. Perfect for mixing or for a straight martini. And even better it's distilled with corn. Score for GF! And even better better? It's made in Columbus, Ohio. Score for locavore!

The juniper berries are so pronounced and lovely, I keep imaging what it would taste like with venison. Jamie Oliver's venison tenderloin with juniper berries. Maybe overkill to some, but a match made in heaven to me.


The only other person I know who loves gin as much as me is my good friend and Spatula co-star Sarah.

Which leads me to my other new obsession: Chicken Pate with Cashews and Basil.

This weekend I lent a helping hand to prep for Sarah's hubby's bday celebration. Part of tradition is to homemake pretzels dipped in lye (sp?). (That all whole situation is for a different blog post, which I had every intention of blogging about that until I tasted the pate.)

For one of the spreads for the pretzels or an app, Sarah asked if I would take charge of the chicken pate. Sure, easy, whatever.

Little did I know I was getting my first taste of a whole new food addiction. (Seriously, are Candy and Jeff coming for me?)

Sarah put me in charge of the pate. I began by browning chicken breasts in butter. And by brown, I meant brown. Each piece was crisp, after a full 1/2 hour and 1/4 gin and soda. Then I added the cashews and garlic and let them cook until the garlic was just about brown. We were worried about time, so we stuck the browned chicken chunks, cooked garlic, and cashews in a freezer-safe bowl for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, I put the mixture into Sarah's awesome food processor, gave it a whiz, added the mayo, cheese, and hot pepper sauce, and then processed it again. It was a little thick, so we added about a teaspoon of chicken stock and gave it a whiz again. At last I sprinkled in the basil and stirred it.

Let's stop talking about it. I'm hungry.

I will say, though, give me a French 75 and Chicken Pate on Nut Thins and I'm golden. So much umami equals so much happiness. If only there were three more meals in a day...

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