Goombay Smash

When I was thinking about a Mixology Monday drink a while ago, it reminded me of my parents, and specifically my Dad. My parents took their honeymoon in the Bahamas. It was there that my Father discovered both the wonder and pain of strong drink. I don’t know the details; but, for him, whatever cocktail he had there confirmed what he had been taught. That what was too tasty and too fun, was also bad. While, later in life he would occasionally have a glass of wine with dinner, to my knowledge, he didn’t drink hard liquor again in his life.

A quick read through Jeff Berry’s Intoxica and Grog Log, revealed only a glancing reference to the “Queen’s Park Swizzle” as a drink which might have been served in the Carribean in the 50s. Worried that I might have to make a Bahama Mama, I asked a couple people what cocktails might have been likely served during that era in the Bahamas. Martin Cate of Forbidden Island suggested the “Goombay Smash” and Ted Haigh agreed the Goombay Smash or a Planter’s Punch might be a good choice. Both Mr. Cate and the Doctor dismissed the Queen’s Park Swizzle as far too strongly tasting of liquor, to appeal to young midwestern tourists.

The Goombay Smash is a specialty of Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar in the Bahamas. While the exact formulation of the Goombay Smash remains a secret of that establishment, Mr. Cate suggested the following from the UK sauceguide publication.

Goombay Smash

Goombay Smash

1.5 oz Pusser’s Navy Rum
.75 oz coconut rum (Cruzan)
3 oz pineapple juice
.25 oz fresh lime juice
.25 oz Cointreau
.25 oz simple syrup
(dash drinkboy house bitters)

Shake and pour over (crushed) rocks.

Fine and tasty it is. My only embellishment was to add a generous dash of homemade drinkboy house bitters, whose ginger-spice kick I thought would nicely complement the tropical flavors. For an extra touch of exotica, I garnished it with a couple sprigs of lemon balm and a cup and saucer vine flower.

While I don’t know if the Goombay is truly that “exotic”, it certainly is quaffable. Just the sort of thing that goes down easy during the afternoon on a hot Carribean island. And the Pusser’s certainly packs enough of a punch to make you regret having one too many.

Dad

Dad, this one’s for you.

BOTW — Rogue Dead Guy Ale

The Rogue Dead Guy Ale is a good Halloween beer of the week for obvious reasons. According to the Rogue website it was originally created to celebrate the Day of the Dead and is a German-style Maibock. In practice it is a fairly sweet, malt forward strong ale. Very drinkable, though, I have to admit, after a few it gets a bit cloying for my taste.

I had planned a “Squash Fiesta” for tonight’s dinner. Unfortunately, an afternoon page had me working much of the early evening. Dinner ended up a bit disjointed and very late.

Roasting Beets.

Par roasting delicata squash.

Mmmmmm… Ribeye.

Delicata squash stuffed with Shitake mushrooms, onions, parsnips, celery, sheep milk feta, pumpkin seeds, and breadcrumbs. This was the most successful dish of the evening.

Searing the steak along with chanterelle mushrooms.

Marinated roasted beets and honey tangerines tossed with baby greens. Steak with chanterelle mushrooms. Forgot to take a picture of the finished squash dish.

Owen Roe “Sinister Hand” 2006. Another spooky offering! Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre, with the Grenache over 50%. The lighter nature of this Rhone-style blend worked very well with the meal.

Light’s Out

Mrs. Underhill came back from her trip to New York with a nasty cold.

The best thing it seemed I could do would be to make her a nice Chicken Stew.

Boiled the chicken.

Various root vegetables.

Cooked chicken removed from bones.

Mmmm… Chicken parts boiling.

Mirepoix.

I really should save that schmaltz…

Roux.

Properly cooked roux.

Diced root vegetables.

Stock goes into the roux.

Boiling Away.

Turnips, parsnips, and potatoes go in to the thickened stock.

Fresh sage.

Fresh thyme.

Diced Chicken.

Bread.

Bonny Doon Pinot.

Dinner!

Whew! Just in time for the Light’s Out!

Whip It Out

The other day I was whinging over Instant Message to Mrs. Underhill.

I’d had lunch at a restaurant near work, and they’d made a pasta with Sicilian Cous Cous, Asparagus, Fava Beans, Fennel, Spring Onions and Pancetta.

I was kind of disappointed that the vegetable mix was pre-cooked.

Here you have ingredients that could be served in a 3 star restaurant and they are ruining them by pre-cooking them. To make matters worse, they weren’t really saving any time.

I thought I could do better, and told Mrs. Underhill so.

She said, “Oh, yeah, Mr. Cheffy Chef, let’s see it. Whip it out.” Or words to that effect.

Weeknight dinners don’t lend themselves to fava beans, so I subbed in Edamame.

Spring Vegetable Pasta

1/2 bunch Asparagus, in sliced on the bias, about 1″
1/4 Pound Pancetta, thick sliced, roughly chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bag frozen Edamame
crushed chile flakes
1/2 cup Chicken Stock, water, or vegetable stock
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh marjoram
Olive Oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Goat Milk Feta Cheese

8 oz Linguine

Heat water for pasta.

Heat pan, add olive oil, and saute asparagus until fragrant and bright green, seasoning with salt. Remove from pan.

Heat pan again, and add olive oil. Add Pancetta and saute until it begins to give up oil. Add fennel and onion. Season with salt and crushed chili flakes cook until tender. Add Edamame, thyme, marjoram, and chicken stock, cover and saute until beans are tender.

Drop pasta in rapidly boiling water.

With a spoon or mashed potato masher, mash a portion of the beans. Pull linguini from water and drop into veggies adding some pasta water if it seems dry. Add reserved asparagus and toss. Briefly cook to allow pasta to absorb flavors, and stir in most of the feta, reserving some to top the dishes.

Serve in warm pasta bowls and top with a little more crumbled feta and black pepper. A loaf of crusty bread, a light red wine, and dinner is done.

Not bad, if I don’t say so myself. I didn’t even mind having almost the same thing twice in one day.

Grinderman

I resisted blogging about the new Wilco recording for a couple months. Figuring cocktail or food people might not want to hear about music. But, well, I give up.

Aside from cocktails, food, and gardening, the other “vice” in the Underhill Lounge family is music.

One of the first things my wife and I bonded over was music.

After our first date, I gave her a free jazz CD I absolutely knew she had to hear (Cecil Taylor, “Live in Bologna”) and on my birthday she gave me a CD with a candle on it.

It has been downhill from there.

I suspect when we first moved to California and discovered Amoeba Music we may have spent more money on records there, than on food.

Lately, I’ve gotten out of the jazz mode and more into popular music. My wife has been absolutely instrumental in helping me form my tastes in popular music, introducing me to more amazing artists than I can really keep track of.

One of those artists was Wilco, and their excellent album, “Sky Blue Sky” has been my soundtrack for the last couple months. I actually suspect Mrs. Underhill was starting to get a bit tired of the CD, as it would be on every time she came home from work and she would sigh and say, “Oh, Wilco, again?”

So it is with excitement that I announce my new favorite recording, perhaps not coincidentally, the latest music gift from my wife, “Grinderman” by Grinderman.

It seems a new more group oriented personality for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds came out of making their last record, so they decided to commemorate this by releasing Grinderman, and, frankly, my friends, it rocks.

Now, I’ve been listening to Nick Cave for a long time. I think “The Firstborn Is Dead” may have been the first time he caught my ear, forcing me to go back and listen to those amazing Birthday Party recordings, and then hang with him up through his recent chamber rock escapades.

The new CD is a hilarious garage band style jaunt through jaded excess, accompanied by distorted guitars, catchy bass lines, and punchy rhythms. From “Get it On” all the way to “Love Bomb”, Grinderman will have you tapping your toes, laughing out loud, and singing along with their vulgar enthusiasms.

Charleston Cocktail

When I was growing up, my Mother would tell me stories of her parents when they were younger.

She thought my grandfather was the best dressed and most handsome man she knew. Apparently he was quite the snappy dresser, as she always remembered his spotless spats.

My grandmother, I’m told, was a bit of a flapper.

They apparently did well enough and had a lot of fun until the depression caught up with them.

By that time, they had three kids and no real prospects.

For them, the only help they got, came from a very conservative church.

No dancing, no cards, no drinking.

They took this very seriously and chose to live their life in accordance with that church.

By the time us grandkids hit the scene, that was how we all grew up.

Some of us have drifted away, and some of us have stayed with the flock.

This Savoy Cocktail Book cocktail, I assume named after dance of the same name, reminds me a bit of the colorful, carefree stories of my grandparents’ early days of marriage.

Charleston Cocktail

1/6 Dry Gin (1/2 oz Boodles Gin)
1/6 Kirsch (1/2 oz Trimbach Kirsch)
1/6 Maraschino (1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
1/6 Curacao (1/2 oz Senior Curacao of Curacao)
1/6 Italian Vermouth (1/2 oz Cinzano Vermouth)
1/6 French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)

Shake (stir, please – erik) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Regarding the video, I seldom count time or mixing strokes when I am stirring a cocktail, I just look for the consistency of the drink. I was a bit shocked, upon viewing the video, that I stirred for nearly a full minute. Cocktail was very cold and didn’t seem over-diluted to me; but, then, as I am using a mixing glass chilled in the freezer and cracked ice at approximately 5 below zero. I probably need to stir for a full minute to get any water into the cocktail at all! Also, forgot to turn off the music, so you have the pleasure of listening to a portion of Louis Sclavis’ 2005 recording, “L’imparfait des langues”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Bachelor Dinner

Whenever Mrs. Underhill Lounge is away or out for the evening, it is traditional for me to make a big pot of Jambalaya.

I’m not quite sure how I decided Jambalaya would be my bachelor dinner of choice.

In any case, I’ve been making versions of this Jambalaya for almost as long as I’ve been cooking.

The recipe originally came from New Orleans Take Out in Madison, Wisconsin.

It’s since been tweaked and modified a bit, as I can never leave well enough alone. This is pretty spicy, so if you are a wimp, you might want to reduce the cayenne pepper a bit.

Current version:

Bachelor Jambalaya

Salt 1 tsp.
Cayenne Pepper 1 tsp.
White Pepper 1 tsp.
Black Pepper 1 tsp.
Bay Leaves 2
Dried Thyme 1 tsp.
Sage ¼ tsp.
Butter 2 TBSP
Andouille Sausage, Medium dice ½ lb.
Chicken, Medium dice ½ lb.
Celery, Medium dice 1 cup
Onion, Medium dice 1 cup
Green pepper, Medium dice 1 cup
Garlic, minced 1 TBSP
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, liquid reserved
Chicken Stock combined with reserved tomato liquid to make 2 1/2 cups
Long Grain Rice 1 ½ cup

Suggested cooking pot: 5 quart cast iron dutch oven

Method: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine seasonings; reserve. Heat pan slowly. Add butter; melt.

Turn heat to high; add Sausage. Stir frequently until brown. Add chicken; cook for 5 minutes. Stir often scraping pan bottom as needed. Remove chicken and ham with slotted spoon. To pot add celery, onion, and green peppers and saute briefly. Add garlic and spices. Stir constantly until vegetables are clear, for 6-8 minutes. Add tomatoes, chicken, and sausage. Stir in tomato juice and chicken stock and rice. Bring to a simmer. Check salt level. Cover and place dutch oven or pan in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and Serve with sweet crusty french bread and cold beer.

Serves 4 with leftovers.

Hint: If using a cast iron dutch oven, do not leave the jambalaya in the pot, as this will eat away at your painstakingly built up coating. Remove the food as soon it is done cooking and wash out your pot. Then dry the pot, put it on the stove, lightly oil it, and heat until the oil smokes.