Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Happy Hour!

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Happy Hour!
Who could be sad at happy hour? Happy is part of the name.
To suit this theme, I made Moscow Mules and The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts. Such a delicious combination that will have you coming back for more.
We found that the nuts served double duty as a great accent to a tossed salad - the bowl of them happened to be near by and hubby tossed a few on his dinner. Delicious!
And the Moscow Mule is so refreshing... and with fresh lime and ginger.. practically health food!
I love that this got me mixing drinks. I have a bar in my basement but get lazy and end up drinking wine or beer when parched. I really want to get more creative in the bar this year.

The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts
Nigella Lawson
Show: Nigella Bites Episode: Party Girl

Yield: 2 1/4 cups mixed nuts

2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds (I used what I had - cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and pepitas)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. And once you eat these, you will never want to stop.

I ended up adding a touch more Maldon salt and cayenne - because I love them.

*a note on salt. Kosher salt and specialty salts like Maldon are not nearly as salty as table salt. They are not interchangeable.

Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. Ok, lime-squeezy.

This simple drink is big on flavour. The most important thing is to get real ginger beer. The strong stuff, preferably Jamaican. It is a soda, and can be found in some mainstream markets in small bottles. I keep it around for snuffles and sore throats - it is great medicine!

Moscow Mule - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer

Build the drink in a rocks, or double old fashioned, glass:
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 tbsp vodka
freshly grated ginger
top with real ginger beer.

Stir and enjoy!

Care for a drink?