Mango Mezcal Margarita

Mango Mezcal Margarita

Last night, preparing for #JUNO2015 (aka the Snowpocalypse to end all snowpocali), I got home from work early, excited to spend the night in. I envisioned an entire night and next day of baking projects, board games, (backyard!!) snow angels, and wearing oversized clothing.

As I got off the train, I got a series of texts from Daniel:
“I’m at the coffee shop, wanna join?”
“The guys are going to the bar, let’s go there after”
“I think John and I are going to go take pictures at the bridge”

Mango Mezcal Margarita

Excuse me, what? Who makes PLANS on a snowday? Not this lady, whose mother refused to drive her to friends’ houses in elementary school and would be forced to play board games and watch old family movies and play in the backyard with her sister (ya…tough life, I know). We glared at each other for about 10 minutes, me inching towards the couch, him trying out his new flash in anticipation of the photo excursion.

Mango Mezcal Margarita

We ended up finding a happy middle: trying out Cook’s Illustrated’s crispiest potato recipe (ps did someone send me this?? It just appeared in the mail…) (it was only meh), watching a street photography documentary that’s been on the agenda for a while, and eventually getting inspired and going on a late night walk in our neighborhood. All while imbibing responsibly. These mezcal mango margaritas could totally make you forget the false blizzard fuss, or could inspire you to wander into the quiet, snowy beauty of abandoned Brooklyn. I stood for a full minute at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush. Come on, real blizzard or not, pretty cool. Fueled by margaritas or not, pretty cool.

Mango Mezcal MargaritaMango Mezcal Margarita

adapted from Geeks with Drinks
makes 2 full drinks, with half-sized refills (aka 3 but who needs 3 drinks?!)

3 oz mezcal
1 oz tequila
1 fresh mango, cut into cubes (about 1 cup if you want to use frozen)
2 oz jalapeno simple syrup (recipe below)
2 oz Triple Sec, or other orange-flavored liquor
1.5 cups crushed ice

BLEND all ingredients together except ice until smooth. Add ice and continue blending for about a minute, or until you reach desired smoothie-y consistency.

Jalapeño Syrup

Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a small pot. Stir until sugar melts. Add one jalapeño, sliced lengthwise. Simmer for 12 minutes. Take off heat and cover for 10 minutes. Strain. Let cool until room temperature. Keep in the fridge for a spicy kick to any cocktail!

Mango Mezcal Margarita

The Ice Blocks

Daniel’s “neat ice” kit. It theoretically makes a perfect cube on one side and a crushable cube on the other. This is why we cannot put vegetables in our freezer.

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Butternut-Tahini Mash

Butternut Tahini Mash Dip Paste Butternut Tahini Mash Dip Paste

Some recent favorites:

  • Rokia Traore, an incredible Malian musician, on Spotify while cleaning the kitchen. It’s love.
  • The (surprisingly!) flavorful veggie Ramen at Tabata II (and the fact that it exists on 8th Ave and 35th St…)
  • Heattech layers from Uniqlo. I think I’ve worn my “warmest shirt ever” every day since purchasing it last month.
  • AirBNB, because it led us to this YURT(!!!) as a destination for our upcoming California trip!
  • The amazing Instagram feed The_Pho_Project for its never-ending use of “pho” wordplay and punnery
  • and this dip. Or, more exactly, this excuse to eat tahini-drenched, smoked paprika-covered smashed roasted squash on everything!

This was my favorite take away from the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. A simple but amazingly tasty dip/mash/spread/puree to enhance any and all foodstuffs. The cleanse called for you to eat with roast chicken, which I’m sure was delectable. I substituted fried tofu cubes which was equally tasty (but if we’re being technical a bit too much of the same texture). I snacked on it for days with pita, celery sticks, carrots, or even a quick stolen as-is spoonful. Treat it like hummus and you’ll find dip elation phoever and ever.

Butternut Tahini Mash Dip Paste

Butternut-Tahini Mash

From Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse

1 butternut squash, cut in half length-wise
3 big garlic cloves, unpeeled
olive oil
¼ cup well-stirred tahini paste
¼ t smoked paprika
½ t ground cumin
2 T lemon juice
s&p
zaatar

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 T olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on squash halves and then place onto baking sheet, cut side down. Add garlic cloves to baking sheet. Cook for about 45-50 minutes, or until squash is very tender.

Let cool for about 5 minutes. Then, spoon squash flesh into a big bowl (discard skin). Peel garlic cloves and add them, along with tahini, cumin, paprika, and lemon juice. Mash everything together roughly with a fork. Add s&p to taste. Sprinkle with zaatar to serve.

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Bengali Egg Curry (Dimer Jhol)

wpid598-DimurJhol-21.jpgwpid594-DimurJhol-19.jpgThis meal came about, as some of the best ones do, by a neutral reminiscence about an ex. Unfortunately for Daniel, my vegetarian Jewish New England upbringing does not hold a candle cuisine-wise to a particular carnivorous Bengali, shall we say, companion of the past.

But tradition, schtradition, I say (or, as my fiddling ancestors say, tradition, TRADITION!)! This lady can make dimer jhol as well as the next Brooklyn transplant!

And away we went!

wpid558-DimurJhol-1.jpgwpid562-DimurJhol-3.jpgIt turned out…good. Delicious, even! Sneak-out-of-the-fridge before breakfast delicious! Tasty enough to share with you, vast blog readership, and to implore you to attempt!

wpid566-DimurJhol-5.jpgwpid588-DimurJhol-16.jpgwpid582-DimurJhol-13.jpgBut, alas, it wasn’t the egg curry of his past. Wrong consistency, slightly different flavors, not as spicy. I’ll blame the peppers but I won’t be defeated! To a future of delicious and inauthentic egg curries! Hurrah!

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Bengali Egg Curry (Dimer Jhol)

from Foodolicious Pictured

canola oil
4 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
2 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
½ an eggplant, cut into big chunks (an unnecessary but delicious and addition)
1 onion, sliced
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 green cardamom pods
¼ t whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 inches cinnamon stick
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tomatoes, food processed to a paste
1 t chili powder
½ t cumin powder
¼ t turmeric powder
cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat ½-inch of canola oil in a medium pot. Fry potatoes for about 15 minutes, until beginning to turn golden but not totally cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider onto paper towels. Add eggplant to oil and fry for about 6 minutes. Remove to paper towels. Cut slits on hard boiled eggs and fry for 5ish minutes, until blistered all over and turning colors. Remove to paper towels.

Meanwhile, saute onion in a big pot for 7-8 minutes on medium low heat. When slightly browned, take off heat. Put in food processor with garlic and ginger. Process until it forms a smooth paste.

Then, heat 2 t oil in that same big pot over medium high heat and add cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Toast for about 30 seconds. When fragrant, add the chopped jalapeno and onion/garlic/ginger paste from blender. Cook for about a minute, then add tomato puree. Cook for 3 minutes, or until oil starts to separate.

Next, add chili powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir to coat. Add 1 cup of water, a healthy sprinkle of salt, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add eggs, eggplant, potatoes, and garam masala. Turn heat to low, and cook for 10-12 minutes more. Top with cilantro and serve with rice (this recipe was amazing!).

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On Cooking Resolutions and the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse

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The past week and a half has been a major departure for me, “a ridiculous attempt to outwit our human limits.” (Quote from, uh, me, in the Amelia Earhart play I co-wrote and am preparing for a children’s theater festival in February!)

I’m following, to a certain degree, the Bon Appetit “Food Lover’s Cleanse”. I’m not sure if I’d totally call this a “cleanse”–that word for me conjures images of green juice, hungry bedtimes, and a plethora of quinoa. What this experience has been is a challenge–a personal challenge to cook three meals a day, do the dishes after each one, and constantly rearrange tupperware in our tiny fridge to maximize shelf space. Also a challenge to eat whole, real foods–lots of veggies and lean proteins and seeds and chia (which is delicious in coconut milk). It’s also been a way to develop good habits: making something for dinner and using the leftovers in tomorrow’s lunch salad, or buying a jar of kimchi and then using it in three different ways. Hopefully I can take these habits into the upcoming year. You will soon cease to exist, half full jars of harissa and tamarind paste and rose jam that we’ve accumulated. Life is too short; the fridge is just too dang small.

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Daniel has also, on his accord, joined me in this endeavor, so at least we have each other to lean on. We’ve taken certain liberties to make things pescatarian-friendly and also not induce a tree-nut-related allergy episode. (And we also had challah and cheese and chips at a pot luck last night and then said blast it, let’s just get nachos…) SO, we’ve strayed a bit, but now we’re back, baby! My favorite breakfast this morning (steel cut oatmeals with dried figs and cocoa nibs) and I’m looking forward to tonight’s swordfish and fennel.

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These are a photographical highlighted summary. All recipes available at on the Bon Appetit website.  I highly recommend that oatmeal, the brussel sprout and tofu stir fry, and that unassuming “bistro salad”. I’m glad to have discovered gojuchang.  And um, I Love smoked paprika. #smokedpaprika4lyfe

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