For the moment, let’s ignore the title of this post shall we? I will get to that a little later when I share today’s new recipe.
In the meanwhile, hasn’t summer been flying by? It’s the end of July already – wow – that went so quickly my head is spinning. Maybe time seems even more precious because this summer’s weather hasn’t exactly been stellar. But c’est la vie, non? If the past year and a half hasn’t taught us to be as flexible as that childhood toy, Gumby, then we have learned nothing!
What are some of your favorite things about summer? My list is long, but one of the things I realize that I love is falling asleep with the Red Sox playing on my husband’s phone. It really isn’t about the game, although I am a fan. I think it’s one of two things, or maybe both, that makes it a favorite. The sound of the announcers, believe it or not, because of the cadence of their voices I find relaxing! There are pauses too so it’s not as if they are talking all the time. We have been listening to the Red Sox like this for maybe our whole marriage, with the exception of a brief period when we lived in a condo while renovating our house. For some reason, we had absolutely no reception at this condo (it was more than 20 years ago) and my poor husband would drive home from work listening to a game only to get home and the game would go to all static. He was so mad!
But honestly, I think why I find it so comforting is that it takes me to a really safe place, the house that I grew up in. My Dad was a super sports fan. We had season tickets to a few teams, but for the away games, my Dad was so happy to be in his den, in his special chair with his version of a trifecta. The television was tuned to the game, he had the newspaper in his hands, and his transistor radio was in his ear. I’m not sure how he multi-tasked as he did, but that was his routine. I think the sound of the game just takes me back to those lazy summer weekends and my Dad happy as a clam in his den.
So, what have you been cooking in your kitchen this summer? I thought I’d share a few snaps of food from my summer, and then will share with you my recipe for a Woop Woop, that is also known as a St. Germain Martini.
A few weeks ago, my friend Chris prepared a Lobster Risotto feast for a group of us. He got the recipe from a famous Boston chef years ago and has made it his own. This is an enormous amount of work and the end result is so delicious. Here is a shot of part of his prep…
This is the finished dish, lovingly served in a risotto pot his mom gave him. Chris is a tremendous cook who loves sharing his skills with his delighted friends and I am lucky to be one of them! Look at all that lobster – yum. I want to dig in all over again…
The other dishes brought to dinner are pot luck, and I prepared a tuna tartare that was pretty darn good. Fresh tuna is diced and then tossed with a dressing made in the food processor that consisted of garlic, ginger, soy, rice vinegar, sesame oil and a few scallions. I added some diced mango for a little color and some black sesame seeds…
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen some of the next photos but here they are again. First, my Israeli Couscous salad that was modeled off an Ina recipe. In my version, it became a pantry pull using roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, capers, some pearl sized mozzarella balls, super thinly sliced raw zucchini, scallions and basil that I tossed in a lemon viniaigrette. So easy and the leftovers were even more tasty…
I recently took Eric Ripert’s newest book, Vegetable Simple out of the library and there were several recipes I wanted to try. The first was this dish, a Caesar Romaine Gratin. Hearts of romaine are quartered, a simple caesar dressing is prepared and brushed on the leaves and then topped with some parmesan cheese. The hearts are broiled just until the cheese has melted a bit and the leaves start to char. It’s a fun and different side dish and a twist to salad that I really enjoyed. My husband and daughter thought it was good but weren’t begging me to make it again ha ha. Here’s the recipe if you like mixing up your salad prep!
Another evening, I had a few friends here for some Greek inspired food which partly consisted of this Spinach and Kalamata Olive tart from Diane Kochilis. Leeks, onions, spinach, olives, eggs and ricotta cheese are enclosed in a sheet of puff pastry. Really delicious. I added some extra olives, fresh dill and some feta cheese to provide more dimension, and the recipe produced twice as much filling so I would cut it in half if you search for it and only want to make one pie…
On to the main event, today’s recipe is for a cocktail affectionately called a Woop Woop but that might be more eloquently described as a St. Germain Martini. So, let’s start at the beginning. My daughters and I went to lunch in Boston back in the Spring. We purused the cocktail menu for fun, and there was a drink called #Hot Girl Summer on it that was a combination of 888 Blueberry vodka, St. Germain (Elderflower Liqueur), Lemonade and POM that looked interesting. We opted for a sparkling rose instead, along with some delicious warm donut holes as a starter…
But, we decided we would try to come up with our own version of a #hotgirlsummer sometime later at home.
Now, if you are not familiar with St. Germain, first of all it is the prettiest bottle in the bar so you should buy it just for that reason alone!
St. Germain is a French liqueur made from a combination of elderflowers and eau de vie. The liqueur has both floral and fruity notes. It pairs really well with citrus as a result and lends itself to lots of applications. It is not sweet at all, but when combined with a neutral alcohol like a vodka here, and then amplified with lemon and grapefruit it really creates a smooth drink that is great for sipping.
We combined vodka with the St. Germain and some freshly squeeze lemon juice. I felt it needed something a little bit more to offset the floral notes so added a squeeze of fresh pink grapefruit juice and it was just the ticket.
I served the cocktail to some friends who came over to celebrate a birthday last Spring. They all loved it, especially served in a chilled martini glass! But alas, there was no name attached to the drink so we were all joking about what to call it. No way was I calling it #hotgirlsummer.
Long story short, someone, when referring to both our newly vaccinated statuses and the temporary feeling that Covid was behind us, said “can I get a woop-woop” and everyone just burst into laughter saying that should be the name of the drink.
Coincidentally, I had picked up some napkins at one of my favorite stores in town that had the same message, but were not on the table that evening. Was it a sign?
So, the drink is called the Woop Woop, but among more sophisticated drinkers you are welcome to call it a St. Germain Martini and that will be just fine. I’ve served it a few times since and it has been really well received so I do hope if you like this kind of drink you will give it a try soon!
If you make the Woop Woop, take a photo and tag me! I’d love to see it.
Until next time…
One Year Ago: Curried Chicken Salad
Two Years Ago: Hearts of Palm Ceviche
Three Years Ago: Ottolenghi and Goh’s Coconut, Almond and Blueberry Cake
Four Years Ago: Branch Line in Watertown, Massachusetts
Five Years Ago: New Rivers in Providence, Rhode Island
Six Years Ago: Roasted Carrot Tapenade
Seven Years Ago: Seared Scallops with Corn and Bacon
This recipe was developed in conjunction with my daughter after we were inspired by something we saw (but didn't taste) on a cocktail menu. A delicious cocktail, it is meant to be sipped slowly! You can make a large batch and chill in the fridge if serving to a larger group. Enjoy!
- 2 ounces Grey Goose Vodka (or your favorite)
- 1 ounce St. Germain
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
- Mix ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh lemon or grapefruit wedge. Sip (slowly) and enjoy!