Thursday, September 20, 2007

Food and drink

The other day a social worker asked me what I did for stress relief, and running was the first thing off my lips. Then I had to pause, and I came up with time with my family, and spending time outdoors, and I felt like crap the other day and called in sick, then ended up sleeping most of the morning and afternoon. I felt better when I got up, and without even really thinking about it started baking cookies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and MizBubs ended up making a delicious pork stew and Irish brown bread. The house smelled great.

While drinking should not be tops on anyone's list of stress relief strategies, I have no doubt that the quiet, slow enjoyment of a tasty cocktail, glass of wine, fine whiskey or cold beer contributes greatly to a sense of well-being.

Sitting down and eating a dozen donuts or a pound of bacon at once might provide some satisfaction in the short run, it's probably not a good idea to lean on food as stress relief. That being said, the enjoyment of the right food at the right time goes a long way to restoring your spirit.
Take, for example, this lovely box:

See, at one time this box was full of 5.5 pounds of delicious handmade pastries. But, by the time I could find my camera, this was all that was left. Me and MizBubs came home at the end of a shitty day last week and found this box on our front stoop. Seems that the lovely Jin, of Uniquely Yours Pastry Shoppe, sensed my distress at the loss of my friend and did what she does best--she baked. Here's what we got:
  • Lemon slices
  • Cappuccino brownies
  • Molasses cookies
  • Apple crumble squares (these were like the top of my mom's apple crumb pie)
  • Apricot scones
  • Fruit muffins
Jin thoughtfully included storage instructions for items that had to be kept longer than 2 days. Trust me, we didn't need them. I can say I've never in my life ever had a better selection of baked goods.

Sunday afternoon I marinated some chicken breasts in garlic, rosemary and olive oil. We ended up harvesting about 2 pounds of red chard from our garden, and we sauteed the chard in olive oil and garlic. When it was done we tossed the chard/oil/garlic mixture with roasted pecans, chopped crispy bacon and feta cheese, and mixed it all with some pasta. Then we cut the grilled chicken into strips and served it with the pasta. YOW. Good stuff.

So, what drink went with this Sunday feast? We returned to an old favorite, the Sazerac. While the best Sazerac around, in my opinion, is served up at the Napoleon House in New Orleans, the recipe we use is from the Gumbo Shop cook book. Bourbon (or rye whiskey), sugar syrup, Peychaud's Bitters, and absinthe with a twist of lemon peel.


On Wednesday we continued with the New Orleans-themed drinks. MizBubs reached into her seemingly endless bag o' tricks and dug out a drink called a Brandy Crusta:
  • 2 shots of cognac
  • 1/2 shot of triple sec or Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot of maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 shot of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 shot of cold water
  • 4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass rimmed with sugar, with a lemon peel twist. When you're done it looks like this:

We followed up the cocktails by picking some Thai basil from our garden, and then tossing it with some ground beef from the freezer, along with garlic, chili paste, sugar and fish sauce. We served the whole affair over basmati rice.

And this carries us into the end of the work week.

Eat, drink and be merry.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

From one fat shiftless hillbilly to another, that shit looks mighty tasty and highly drinkable.

jin said...

Haaahahaha!!!! Love the labels, as always! :-D

I'd be lying if I said I didn't use food as stress relief... eating AND cooking! I get in this zone where nothing in the outside world matters... it's just me and the ingredients (and lots of fantastic aromas!!!).

I am soooo glad they were enjoyed by all. It was the least I could do after all that free entertainment you give us here!!!

Bubs said...

Jin, again, thank you. I almost cried when I got that box--the comment you made a few days earlier hadn't registered with me, so I was totally surprised and humbled. No kidding, that was incredible. Each treat more tasty than the last.

Fortunately I had 4 teenage girls spending the night with my youngest that night (school holiday the next day) so it got gobbled up pretty quick!

Dr MVM, I thought the same thing about the stuff you were posting. Tasty.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I literally JUST finished eating lunch when I clicked over and now I am hungry all over again.

Anybody who can (and does) make lemon slices is a hero in my books. Same goes for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It's getting to be that domestic time of year, I may make some cookies myself.

Dino aka Katy said...

Jins Sweetbox's ROCK and her timing is always impeccable. The rest of the food didn't look so bad either

Johnny Yen said...

I'm with you on cooking. I find it extremely stress-reducing. I also love having a bunch of containers of healthy, tasty food waiting for me to eat.

Dale said...

I'm willing to be a fat shiftless hillbilly now, more than ever and I'm thirsty, it's 11 o'clock somewhere right?

That Jin!