More Amusing Than Mangoes: A Tequila Cocktail For Your Solo Fun Times

I invented a cocktail! When we get to storytime I’ll explain where it’s name came from, but let’s go, first through, let’s go through how to make it.

Ingredients

2 Shots of Tequila
1 Shot Triple Sec
2 Shots Mango Puree
1 Shot Lime Juice
1 Shot Pineapple Juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredient and shake. Strain into a glass over ice.

Storytime

So last week I ordered online some mango puree to make Vegan Richa’s Mango Chickpea Curry.(Very good, recommend the recipe and Richa’s recipes in general.) But I ordered wayyy too much of it. I do not intend to make a full catering portion of Mango Chickpea curry.

I immediately thought, “Let’s make a cocktail!”

So, wrapping up my work last Wednesday reasonably early (around 2 PM) I got right to experimenting.

I landed on the above recipe, which I realized I couldn’t quite call a margarita, so I went to facebook to ask for help naming it. There were a few really good ones, but it was Katie who called it a “More Amusing Than Mangoes” which is a line from Once On This Island which is my favorite musical that isn’t Les Mis, and that we produced together 10 years ago. (EWWWW)

When the gods are mocking our heroine, Timoune about her dreams of racing off in a car with a rich boy, they sing a whole song about hitting her on the head with a mango, and um, yeah, it makes sense with context, I promise, anyway, Katie suggested it and I immediately latched on to the idea.

So that’s what we’ve named the cocktail. I recommend them for when you’re feeling the socially distant blues and also just want to get so tequila drunk that you keep forgetting to eat the dinner you’ve been preparing for hours. (It was shrimp tacos!) (They were yummy!)

Weirdest Summer Ever Heatwave Rum Punch

My nearly six month long quest to teach myself to bartend recreationally, (I’m not good enough at customer service to be a pro bartender. And I’m pretty good you guys.) is coming to a head in teaching myself to make stuff I can scale up.

Sure I probably won’t actually be entertaining for a while, but when I do, I want to be able to give my guests fun cocktails. If there’s more than ten people, which given the size of my social circle is possible, I want to be able to handle it.

Hence, realizing I need to learn a rum punch.

Here’s what, after a few test runs, I’ve come up with. The NJ/NY/CT tri-state area is currently in a serious heatwave, and if you can think of a better time to play around with rum than that, I can’t! (Maybe literally living on an island?)

Weirdest Summer Heatwave Ever Rum Punch

Ingredients

1 Shot Dark Rum
1 Shot Gold Rum
1 Shot Malibu
2 Shots Pineapple Juice
2 Shots Orange Juice
2 Shots Cranberry Juice
1 lime Juiced

For serving:

Pint Glasses Chilled
Ice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add all ingredients and shake

Pour into a chilled Pint Glass over ice

Drink and pretend you’re at the beach. (Or be at the beach. I don’t know your life.)

Story Time!

The first thing I do when I look for a vacation spot is make sure the hotel has a bar, especially when I’m travelling alone. There’s something about spending the weird space between wrapping up your day of activities and dinner at a bar chatting with the bartender that I really love.

And, my mom taught me an excellent trick for starting that conversation. Ask, “Hey, do you have a rum punch?”

If there’s one on the menu it’s probably pre mixed, and well tested and delicious. If there isn’t, the bartender probably has one in their back pocket and will happily make it while chatting. Also, rum makes me friendly. (Sometimes too friendly as many men in Brooklyn bars ten years ago will likely tell you)

Some of my beloved people have them too, that are excellent for parties, as they make them in huge batches, enough to libate large groups of people at a house party. Juli, my cousin Suzie, and my brother Mike have my favorites, in that order. Though Juli and Mike would be offended at not using their preferred names of “Juli Buckets” and “Boat Drinks”. Juli Buckets go great with drinking games, and Boat Drinks will kill you. Suzie’s Rum Punch is more refined and belongs at the kind of yacht club party described in Taylor Swift’s “Starlight.”

But those big batch rum punches do me no good when I’m stuck by myself in my apartment and it’s 90 degrees out and I want to pretend I’m on vacation.

So, I started playing around, with the expressed purpose of creating a rum punch that I could both enjoy on my own and scale up when I’m around people.

The portions here are easily scaled up for a pitcher or larger, this recipe yields two pint glasses full.

Mostly though, I was glad to come up with my own rum punch. I’m looking forward to a dinner party next summer where I get to make a pitcher to go with like, fried rice and some grilled fish. Which I think this would go perfectly with.

It’s Movie Season Shrimp Rolls & Moscow Mules

Movie season was one of my favorite traditions that I was happy to also say a complete goodbye to this year. It’s not that I didn’t love and don’t love going to the movies. I absolutely adore it, it was just the routine and way I was doing it for six summers was starting to feel stale.

Also it’s a pandemic and movie theaters are closed ya dope.

Anyway, last Thursday I settled in to watch The Old Guard and decided to make an approximation of what I’d have eaten before seeing the movie if it had been released in theaters and I’d met up with Kristi and Aless before.

That meant, basic sea food, fries and a simple vodka cocktails.

Shrimp Rolls

1/2 lb Easy Peal Shrimp

1 Cup Vegetable Broth

1 Tbl Mayonaise

1/4 Cup Cole Slaw Mix

Salt, Pepper & Old Bay to Taste

Brioche Hot Dog Roll

1 table spoon butter

Garlic Powder to Taste

Heat the broth to steam the shrimp, I use the instant pot steam setting for 3 minutes, but you can also boil the broth and steam for about 5.

Place the shrimp in the ice bucket to cool down and then peel.

Chop the shrimp into smaller pieces and combine with mayo, slaw mix and spices.

Melt the butter with the garlic and brush onto the roll, toast in toaster oven to medium.

Place shrimp salad on the toasted bun.

Enjoy!

Moscow Mule

1 Shot Vodka

Juice of 1 Lime

1 can or Bottle Ginger Beer

Take a large glass (or a copper mug if you’ve got one, I do not own one…oddly enough) and fill with ice.

Squeeze lime directly into the glass

Add Vodka

Add Ginger beer

The fries on this plate where frozen and baked in the toaster oven for 30 mintues.

Story Time

I mentioned back in Marvel and Margaritas that after we outgrew Lucy’s, Aless and I moved our movie night hangs to PJ Clark’s at Lincoln Center. When Kristi started joining us it made even more sense for us to stay there, Aless heading uptown, Kristi back to Connecticut and me to Jersey.

It shifted the way we ordered too. Seafood sandwiches, and steaks and vodka cocktails replaced the margaritas and tacos and tortas. I actually usually get a martini, and the Moscow Mule is Aless’s go to. But I wasn’t quite feeling up to the martini, which I’m still struggling with (I CANNOT get my vermouth balanced. I’m getting better.)

So on Thursday, I settled in to watch The Old Guard with this very nostalgic meal, and missed my friends but managed to feel normal for a little while, which was nice.

Reenie’s I’m Drunk In My House Disco Fries and Chocolate Milkshake

If you’re anything like me, social distancing has lead to a couple of nights where you drank too much and you had to throw together drunk food because the places you get it from are closed. Hence, I had to teach myself my favorite late night diner food:

DISCO FRIES

IMG_1922

Disco Fries are on any half decent tri-state area diner menu. They are the Jersey approximation of Poutine, French Fries, drenched in gravy and topped with mozzarella cheese. (Proper poutine is steak fries and cheese curds)

I started eating Disco Fries before I even started drinking when I was 15. (I didn’t really start party drinking beyond a snuck beer with my cousins until I was 17).

ANYWAY it wasn’t until alcohol that I learned how good they are with a chocolate milkshake, hence this relationship.

Fries

I don’t make my own french fries because I’m not insane, also this recipe was meant for when I’m drunk alone in my house, so frying is a no-no. I keep frozen fries in my freezer AT ALL TIMES.

I toss them in oil (Olive or Vegetable, whatever you’ve got around) and black pepper and kosher salt. Then I stick them in a toaster oven for 45 minutes. About 1 table spoon of oil and two shakes of salt per cup of fries will do you.

Cheese

Much like the fries, I have store brand shredded mozzarella in my freezer at all times (also taco cheese). Use as much as you’d like for this recipe, I use about a quarter cup. 

Gravy

The real key. 

Do you keep stock or broth in your pantry? If you don’t this whole recipe will do you no good. I keep beef stock, chicken broth and veggie broth around all the time. If you don’t, and you do keep bouillon around you can take another few minutes to MAKE some broth. The point is, you need about 2/3 a cup of stock or broth, and then 1.5 Tablespoons of flour.

Bring the stock or broth to a boil, then add the flour and whisk until it thickens.

Combine

Once the fries are brown, transfer them to an oven safe bowl. Pour the gravy over the fries and then add the cheese on top. Set the toaster oven to broil, and then stick the bowl in for 5 minutes. 

Chocolate Shake

Do you not know how to make a shake? Two scoops of ice cream, a quarter cup of whatever milk, into a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a chocolate based ice cream, add either syrup or cocoa powder and you get chocolate. Or do whatever flavor you want. I’m not your mom.

Story

There’s no specific story here. If I’m out with friends and we hit a diner, this is what I order. I got drunk at home and am feeling sad and hungry a couple of times so I figured out how to make it. If you want to REALLY replicate the experience you require an older Greek man winking at you as you order and at least one friend who is belligerently drunk and arguing with you about something pointless. (Or if you’re alone in your house, just put Legends of Tomorrow on, it mirrors that dynamic. It is the diner food of Superhero TV) (Also I might sometimes be that friend. I will neither confirm nor deny)

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Our founders set some lofty principles for us to live up to that they themselves did not even live up to. Let’s do better and get closer. Sign a petition, join a protest, donate to an anti racist charity today! 

Reenie & Meg’s Shore House Improvised Margaritas

Yet another Fangirl Recipe!

This one is very straighforward. I mentioned that while I was stuck at home in quarantine I decide to teach myself to make cocktails and that I’m particularly proud of my margaritas.

Well, here’s a variation on that, story to follow the recipe

This was not the ones Meg and I Drank. This was me recreating the drink at home on Tuesday

Serves 2

2 Shots Gold Tequila
4 Limes
1 Shot Simple Syrup
1 Clementine
Ice

Add Ice to a cocktail shaker. (If you don’t have one, I’ve found travel coffee cups work in a pinch)

Add all ingredients to shaker and shake until chilled.

Strain into glasses over ice

Enjoy cirtusy sunshiney goodness!

Storytime!

So, this Sunday, I was at my family’s shore house. (Previously my grandmother’s but when she passed this winter, well, you know, it’s the family’s now) We were celebrating father’s day so in addition to my parents, my brother Mike and his girlfriend Meg and my sister Mary and my brother in law Joe were there.

As we were leaving the beach I told Meg that I’d make margaritas. I hadn’t made them in a while and they’re her favorite, plus it was 85 degrees out and we’d spent all day at the beach. That is PRIME margarita drinking conditions.

After we got back to the house and showered and got appetizers out, I went to work. I juiced 4 limes, I pulled out the tequila I had purposely asked my parents to bring for these margaritas. And then I sighed.

“There’s no triple sec!” I explained. “So I guess these are just going to be tequila and lime.”

Quick with improvised solutions, Mike suggested we use the electric tea kettle to make a quick simple syrup so we did that, and I knew that would solve part of the problem. I asked if we had any orange juice and got a sad head shake, but Mom, in her infinite wisdom said, “We have clementines!”

So I juiced a clementine, why the hell not.

I strained them into wine glasses. My parents and aunts and uncles are not cocktail people, so I can’t blame them for not having the proper glassware here. Except for my dad who drinks gin martinis (SO MANY MARTINI GLASSES) they mostly just drink spirits either on the rocks or with soda. Or just drink wine and beer.

Mostly the second one.

Anyway, I brought them back out onto the patio and explained to Meg what I’d done. I’m not a good culinary improviser. I learned cooking from baking, where if you deviate it winds up tasting terrible. This does not always work in regular cooking and ESPECIALLY in mixology, there are lots of chances to fix something, ways to get around a missing ingredient. Anyway, we cheers’d and took sips.

I am extremely proud of this concoction. It’s a little more light and tart than a traditional margarita, the sweetness is nicely balanced, and you don’t get the burn of the tequila, which is the main danger of an improvised tequila drink.

Happy Summer Y’all!

REENIE’S RAINY SATURDAY I’VE BEEN DRINKING SINCE 11 AM PANDEMIC RAMEN!

Introducing “Fangirl Recipes” In Which I Publish What I’ve Been Eating these days.

I’m working on learning how to write recipes in an entertaining and useful fashion. I’m not a great cook, but I’ve come really far from three years ago when I could basically only make Ortega tacos and a halfway decent Chicken Parmesan.

I do know I hate a whole story BEFORE a receipe so I’ll get the recipe in and THEN there’ll be the story at the bottom:

Recipe Assumes It Is a Lazy weekend. Hence the title. (Also maybe you’re social distancing and working from home, as I currently am, so you can make it whenever)

Ramen

For Egg:

1 Egg – Room Temp
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
Ground Ginger, Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt and Onion Powder to taste

For Protein (I used Shrimp):

1/2 lb Protein
Same marinade as egg
1/2 Shallot 
1 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger
Olive Oil 

For Broth & Noodles

1 Package Dried Ramen (Any flavor, I used chicken)
1/2 Bell Pepper
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Shallot
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 inch ginger grated
2 Cups Chicken Stock (Veggie or Seafood would probably also work)
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 lime, juiced

Ramen Egg:

Soft boil egg for 6.5 minutes

After peeling sit in marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, ground ginger, garlic & onion powder, until you’re ready to eat. (If you have Sake people recommend throwing that in as well, I don’t keep Sake in the house, and I wanted to create this recipe with just stuff I had around)

Protein

Pick a protein, I went with shrimp this time, but I’ll probably try with chicken and tofu at others, and use the same marinade as the egg, let sit for about an hour

When you’re ready to eat pull out pepper, carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic 

In a frying pan Sauté half shallot, half inch of ginger and one clove garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute before adding shrimp sauté for a minute or so and cover to keep warm

Broth And Noodles

In a medium sauce pan sauté veggies, other half of shallot another half inch of ginger and a clove of garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock, Ramen flavor Packet, 1/2 tbls of brown sugar, 1 tbls of sriracha sauce and the juice of 1 lime to sauce pan, bring to boil and add noodles.

Once noodles are cooked add shrimp and aromatics from frying pan to broth and noodles. 

Transfer to whatever bowl you’re eating out of. Slice egg in half and place on top of bowl. 

Slurp the noodles down with chopsticks, picking your protein out at it hits. Drink the bottom of the broth. It will have been sitting for about a half hour by then and be absolute heaven.

OK, so here’s the obligatory, Food Blog Recipe Story.

Like I said, I hate nothing more than having to scroll to get to the recipe through the story, but also, I wanted to write one and they can be useful for figuring out if the recipe is right for you. (I once avoided disaster when looking for a bolognese recipe by reading the story and seeing the blogger recommended putting the sauce over zoodles or steamed veggies. YES I AM GOING TO WASTE A SAUCE THAT TAKES ALL DAY TO MAKE AND HAS SOME OF THE MOST INDULGENT SHIT ON THE PLANET IN IT ON STEAMED FUCKING VEGGIES. I kept searching and found another)

Anyway, Saturday was really gross, so my initial plan of order a pastry and coffee someplace downtown, pick it up and walk around went down the tubes, so I instead decide to approximate some restaurant food and watch romantic comedies all day, and made breakfast tacos. (That recipe coming soon too!) And then, after two couch bound, still in my nightgown mimosas, remembered a conversation with my friend Jon a few weeks ago where we discussed missing Ramen. 

Not instant ramen, the kind you ate out of the microwave in college, but real, bowl as big as your head, packed with spice and umami and veggies and meat ramen, usually eaten after waiting for a table at least 20 minutes in a restaurant not much bigger than my apartment.

We also both miss bars with live music and karaoke and vowed to do all three in one night as soon as we’re allowed. (I’m holding you to this one Jon!)

So, I read a few Pinterest recipes to get the gist of the order I should do things. I really didn’t know whether to cook the protein and veggies separately (protein yes, veggies no), what to use to add spice to the broth. (Next time I might scale back on the Sriracha. It was HOT.) And specifically how to do the egg. 

Every version of the egg marinade called for Sake, but I didn’t have any so I skipped it. It was still delicious. 

But my general plan of “eat brunch at 11 and then eat whenever I got hungry” was a little iterrupted by the inaugaral meeting of The Nerd Girl Book Club (You’ll hear about them tomorrow) and also I drank all of the Cava I was using for Mimosas and switched to Rose. 

Hence the name of the recipe. By the time I was actually cooking (except the eggs) I was good and sauced.

Also, I maybe put too much Sricacha in the broth, because I had to go grab a sleeve of crackers to cool my mouth down. But otherwise I was thrilled with the whole dish. Or bowl in this case. I’m going to try it with both chicken and tofu instead of just shrimp but the shrimp was EXACTLY the right amount of protein. 

Also, I cooked and ate this ramen while watching Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral which are great movies for cooking to, if you’re wondering.