Cocktail Week – Day Two: The Daiquiri

Writing about the virtues of the Daiquiri didn’t seem appropriate yesterday, so I’m resuming cocktail week a day late (on the plus side, this means cocktail week will run for an extra day!). As a sometime-resident of both New York and DC, I know something about how it feels when the city you love is attacked, and my heart goes out to the city of Boston.


As much as I’m reveling in the delights of Spring, I’m already looking ahead to Summer. The only thing I enjoy more than experiencing something delightful is planning to experience something delightful. I am fairly successful, I think, at living in the moment. Being flooded with wonder at the joy of being. But, boy, ask me to plan an itinerary and I’m on cloud nine. Planning combines my surefooted belief in the virtues of efficiency with the delightful blank slate that is the future. Sitting here in April, it is entirely possible that I could be floating on a dolphin-surrounded boat come July. Or staying in an Ice Hotel in Iceland. Or riding a sleeper train through the Rockies. And planning any one of those trips would be delicious.

July will mark the fifth anniversary of my and Dan’s first date. So we’re planning a trip. In true Lucy and Dan fashion, food is a top priority. Our first vacation together, days before I left for Ghana, we canoed down the Connecticut river. We camped out at night, drinking brandy out of an old seltzer bottle and eating canned tuna. For out next trip, we took the train up to Portland, Maine, and gorged ourselves on lobsters and Maine-brewed beer. This summer, we’re planning to fly down to Key West. There’s nothing I like to look at more than the ocean and nothing Dan likes to drink more than rum, so we’ve got our sights set on staying in a hotel with an ocean view balcony, drinking daiquiris as the sun sets.

In the meantime, while I’m settling the details, join us in a cocktail?


Tuesday: The Daiquiri*


Ingredients (Makes 1)

Simple syrup

Light rum (but if you only have dark, I won’t tell)

1 lime

1. Place a cocktail glass in your freezer at least 15 minutes before you want your cocktail.

2. Make the simple syrup: heat 1 part sugar with 1 part water (you only need ½ an ounce of the syrup for this recipe, but it’s nice to have extra on hand, so a cup of each wouldn’t be unreasonable). Bring the sugar and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.


3. Cut the lime in half to juice, width wise. Before juicing, cut a round of the lime off for garnish. Juice the lime – you should have about 1 ounce of lime juice.


4. Combine ½ an ounce of the cooled simple syrup with 1 ounce of lime juice and 2 ounces of rum with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, pour into the chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the lime slice.


*Adapted from the divine Ultimate Bar Book

Cocktail Week – Day 1: The Sazerac

Welcome to cocktail week on One Kitchen Knife! Every day for the next week, I’ll be posting a new cocktail.

JPEG Coctail

It is finally, blissfully, spring here in DC. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, Dan finished his senior thesis, and we’ve just moved into an enormous (multi-room) apartment. Farmers markets are becoming tempting again (ramps, people!) and one of these days Whole Foods might reluctantly admit to the change in season by carrying some rhubarb.

I am unapologetically fond of winter – don’t even get me started on snow – but even Christmastime’s got nothing on the joy of spring. New parents air their babies, cats curl up on sunny window ledges, and students spend long, lazy Sundays studying on the grass. The courtyard of our apartment complex stays busy late into the evening. Neighbors linger outside, letting their dogs play in the long grass while they catch up. Summertime in DC is different—too hot and humid to linger outside any longer than necessary, neighbors exchange no more than a nod before plunging back into air-conditioning. Spring is our lazy.

2013-04-12 18.55.45

After four months of hurrying to catch the bus, head down against the wind, I’ve been luxuriating in my morning commute. The trees in northern Virginia are almost obscene – flowers cascading down, silently suggesting I take the morning off to play hooky (grass soft and warm under my feet, 50 pages until Grant finds the murderer). I haven’t given into the trees’ subversive recommendations yet, but we’ve been celebrating the season in other ways: radishes with exorbitantly expensive Irish butter at least twice a week, a spring frittata with more than a cup of cheese, a bottle of absinthe for Sazeracs. Cocktail week.

Maudlin as it may sound (forgive me, I grew up with Irish ballads in my blood), we each only get so many Springs. It’s worth it, I think, to give in to the joy, the Fragonard-esque silliness, of the season. And so, to cocktail week.


Monday: The Sazerac 

Every field has its Connoisseur’s Choice. For British Invasion bands, it’s the Kinks. For sunglasses, it’s Ray-Ban Wayfarers. For Renaissance epic poetry, it’s Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. And so on . . . In the world of mixed drinks, this role is performed by the Sazerac, a venerable New Orleans specialty that possesses three things near and dear to the cocktail geek’s heart: It uses rare, strongly flavored ingredients (including an obscure brand of bitters and absinthe); there’s a special, unique procedure involved in making it (see recipe); and it’s got a cool history.

–       David Wondrich, The Sazerac, Esquire



2 old-fashioned glasses, 1 placed in the freezer for at least 15 minutes

2.5 ou rye whisky

Peychaud’s bitters

Angostura bitters


1 sugar cube



1. Muddle your sugar cube with about 3 drops of water in the first (room-temperature) old-fashioned glass.


2. Add 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and 2.5 ounces of rye whisky to the glass. Throw in a few smallish ice cubes. Stir thoroughly.

3. Peel a nice long strip of lemon peel. Smack it, to release its lemony essence, and twist it, to make it look pretty.


4. Working quickly now: remove your second, well-chilled, old-fashioned glass from the freezer. Pour in a small splash of absinthe, and rotate the glass to coat its sides. Discard any extra.


5. Strain the rye mixture into the cold, absinthe-coated glass. Garnish with the lemon peel.


Please come back tomorrow for day two of cocktail week!

Gemütlichkeit – Coziness & Braised Pork Shoulder

I was sick for much of last week, living on bowls of chicken broth and cups of ginger tea. For a few days straight, just the thought of real, solid food would make me cringe. I knew I was on the road to recovery one night when a new issue of Bon Appetit made me sit up, eager with anticipation. Late in the week, on a trip to the grocery store to buy my first solid meal in days (plain pasta with butter – still not feeling any too fancy around here), I grabbed a bag of Meyer lemons on impulse. I wasn’t feeling well enough to make anything, either from the magazine or with the lemons, but the idea of the food was enough to propel me towards health.

Though many would dispute it (Christopher Kimball jumps to mind), food – especially home-cooked food – is intrinsically linked to emotion. During a cold winter spell, I want nothing as much as a steaming mug and baked goods. Homemade pizza is a family activity, promising a night of boardgames and giggles. Usually, sickness makes me think of broths, extracting every ounce of richness from an animal’s bones, but one March day two years ago it meant triple cream cheese and velvety prosciutto.

In the winter, I am struck by a longing for what Wikipedia tells me is gemütlichkeit – “a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry.” Though I’ve lived in DC for nearly five years now, I still get achingly homesick for New York, a city where so many neighborhoods call to mind the smiling faces of the friends that live there.

This feeling, I would imagine, is the opposite of gemütlichkeit. Certainly there is no connotation of belonging and acceptance. Because I am no good at summoning this gemütlichkeit the old fashioned way, too shy to invite sometime strangers over for an evening of coziness and unhurry, I usually wind up conjuring gemütlichkeit in the kitchen.

What could induce more of a cheerful mood and feeling of unhurry than a braise? Specifically, for those of us without large Dutch ovens but with slow cookers (a distinctive breed), a slow-cooker braised pork shoulder.

The original recipe comes from the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook, adapted here for the slow cooker. Invite your oldest and dearest friends over for an evening of pork, wine and coziness, or cook it up for two in a tiny apartment kitchen and rejoice in the leftovers the next day.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Pappardelle
DSC_1124 Ingredients

2 – 2.5 lb pork shoulder, boneless
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs olive oil
.5 tbs butter
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, with half the juice discarded
½ cu. red wine
5 sprigs fresh thyme
Dried oregano
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs hot sauce
1 lb pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
Salt & pepper (always)

1. Add the olive oil and butter to a large heavy frying pan over medium high heat, and let melt. In the meantime, dry your pork shoulder and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Once the butter has melted, but before (heaven forbid) it burns, add the pork shoulder to the pan. The pan should be hot enough that it sizzles when the meat goes in.

2. Brown the meat on all sides. This means you’ve got to leave it alone for a few minutes before you try to turn it over. I know how challenging this can be, so remove yourself from temptation and go sit in another room for at least 4 minutes. Then you can flip it. Brown, repeat.
3. Once the meat has browned, place it in your waiting slow cooker. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sautee until the onions are translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Next, add the can of whole tomatoes, wine, oregano, fennel seeds and hot sauce. Break up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon, and bring the mixture to a boil.

DSC_1116 4. Once the mixture has boiled, remove it from the heat and add it to the slow cooker, along with the thyme. Cover, and cook on low for eight to ten hours, until the meat is falling apart and fork tender.

DSC_1119 5. About half an hour before you’re ready to eat, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook your parpardelle or tagliatelle according to package instructions.
6. Serve the pork over the pasta (only a little bit of pasta for diabetic boyfriends! Gleefully serve yourself twice as much!) with a fresh green side salad.


Carbs per serving: Really, this depends almost entirely on the pasta you use and how much of it you eat. When we made this, Dan had just a taste of pasta, while I had . . .  more than a taste. Check the pasta you’re using for a carb count, and dole it out accordingly.