Friday, August 31, 2012

Cocktail of the Week: Tequila Cucumber Mint Cooler

I more and more am drawn to cocktails that are salads in a glass.  I love the trend that includes cucumber in the glass.  Here it partners with the heat of mint, the smoothness of elderflower liqueur and the bite of ginger beer for a drink that is sippable all the day long during your Labor Day weekend festivities.

Tequila Cucumber Mint Cooler
Makes one cocktail.

1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
1/4 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
5 very thin slices cucumber
2 mint sprigs
3 ounces ginger beer
Angostura bitters

Place tequila, St. Germain, lime juice, cucumber and mint in a shaker.  Add ice and shake briefly.  Pour into a collins glass and top with the ginger beer.  Add a dash of Angostura bitters to top things off.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

This is one of those great pantry/farmers market throw-togethers that is quite the appropriate salute to the last days of summer.  You can still get great tomatoes and. hopefully, your basil plants are still producing.  With a little garlic and Parmesan, here's a dinner that would make an Italian happy.

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan
Makes 4-6 servings.

2 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes (I use an assortment of cherry tomatoes, Roma-types and big beefsteaks, preferably several different colors.)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti or angel-hair pasta
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Finely chop tomatoes, basil and garlic.  Stir together with olive oil.  (You can take the easy way out like I did and pulse it all in a food'll just lose a little texture that way.)

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.  Drain the pasta and toss with the tomato sauce.  Season with salt and black and red pepper.  Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Coctail of the Week: Pegu Club Cocktail

After a long break, I'm back blogging on this August Saturday evening.  I think that calls for a cocktail, and a semi-tropical one like this fits the bill perfectly.  Try it and see what you think...cheers!

Pegu Club Cocktail
Makes one cocktail.

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce orange curacao
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August is the Quietest Month...

Since I've heard from a couple of you faithful readers out there (who knew?), I thought I'd post a quick update and assure you that all is well in Life Should Be Beautiful Land.  This blog has always been a labor of love so when between unbearable heat, technology problems at home and too many other things on the to-do list, it becomes a chore, I give myself a forced time out.  Besides, I always thought the Spaniards had the best idea of all...basically shut down for the month of August.  (Don't believe me? Try and get something done with someone in Madrid these days.)

But, never fear, I've still been cooking and cocktailing, and gardening and shopping.  And also thinking...I have an idea for a series or two on things (gadgets, ingredients, techniques) that make life much more beautiful.  So stay tuned.  I'll be back soon...