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February 2010

recipe: the spicy bloody mary

Into a shaker filled with ice, add the following:


6 oz (3/4 cup) tomato juice

3 oz (2 jiggers) vodka or gin (I always prefer high quality gin (usually Hendrick's) and agree with those who refer to vodka as the training wheels of mixed drinks. But you use what makes you happy.)

1 fresh lime's worth of juice (although, lemon is nice with Effen vodka.)

1 tbs prepared horseradish

1-2 tsp hot sauce (this is to taste)

1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (also to taste)


Shake it until ice forms on the sides. Fill a large goblet or other interesting glass with ice, and sprinkle a pinch each of pepper and celery salt over it. Okay, actually, this makes two drinks; I'm just greedy. Just add a pinch of pepper and celery salt over the ice in each glass, then strain the liquid into them. Garnish with a stalk of celery if you like; personally, I prefer a wedge of lime.


But you know what's really fun to do? Hang a couple of cocktail shrimp from each glass. Better yet, thread them onto a skewer with a strip of bacon. 


Here is what your Bloody Mary may look like: if you want the rim to look like that, squinch a wedge of lime around the top and then dip the glass into a saucer containing the seasoning of your choice.



another purpose, plus, a birthday cake recipe

Okay, seriously, the writing practice has waned for too long. I'll just write about food here, since I'm never bored with that. When I get around to it, I'll post the scans from my old cookbooks and magazines, as well, and comment on those. Annoyingly, that became a sort of "thing to do," over the past few years. I got the idea from James Lileks some years ago, realizing I had my own collection to share. But I never made it into a very consistent project, because I was always having computer problems or moving. So I'm starting over, yet again, but I still won't be consistent. Now it will seem like a lame copy of what others are doing, but it's just me enjoying myself as I have all along.

First, a few posts already written for a group recipe blog that is no longer updated. There are no pictures for these, but there might be later. 

CJ's Pistachio Birthday Cake

This isn't exactly a homemade recipe, but it's what I used to make for my mom for her birthday. Sometimes I still make it on her birthday, to share with my family. 

Make two layers of a good, moist, white cake. If you use a cake mix, replace two tablespoons of the water with a favorite liqueur such as Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or Frangelico--even my kids bake with liqueurs; they think of them the same as vanilla extract, and know better than to taste them uncooked. If you make the cake from scratch, don't change the milk volume, but add a tablespoon of liqueur. Split each layer in two, and when they are cool, spread the inside of two of them with prepared instant pistachio pudding. Assemble one set of the layers carefully on your serving plate, and frost the top and sides with this recipe, then assemble the second set of layers on top of that, and repeat:

6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled

1 pound powdered sugar sifted with

6 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon liqueur (if you just use a flavoring extract, use 1 tsp, and slightly increase milk volume)

3-5 tablespoons milk (put some in a cup and measure from that)

Sift powdered sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl, add cooled melted butter and blend; add liqueur, then milk, one tablespoon at a time until you reach a spreading consistency; beat until smooth and creamy. Spread this carefully over the cake, and then garnish it with some crushed pistachios, or sifted powdered sugar.

If you cut it in half, it would look something like this:

Unlike most cakes, this one should be stored in the refrigerator, but wrap it very carefully. Breads dry out quickly when refrigerated.