Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dirty Lemon Martini and Spinach Garlic Cream Sauce

Gypsy Slow Down

One of the perks of the little brick house is the weekends and the spring evenings when we pull out the wooden table and chairs and set up dinner outside. I love this part of spring. In the winter, when I get off work its dark. Even though it's only 6pm, I feel like I'm already running late on dinner and so I hurry through the cooking and we often we end up eating in front of Wheel of Fortune (I don't know why I love Wheel of Fortune so much. I really can't help it). The evenings are just so short. But when the days are longer I feel fine taking my time getting dinner together and eating late. Witt has started taking on two dinners during the week which is really helpful for me since I get home later than he does. The first evening he made dinner he set the table outside, with flowers! and silverware and actual napkins under the forks. I was impressed, and since I can't be outdone, now when it's my turn during the rest of the week I try to set the table as well. Epecially since we're in the outdoor phase, the best phase.

This weekend was so beautiful and sunny. We spent Saturday at an outdoor flea market and then went to the Company Shops, our local health food store, for their annual wine tasting. The sun was warm but the wind was so strong I set my wine glass on the table and it blew right off and crashed to the pavement. I felt bad, until two more glasses came crashing down at another table and then I felt better. That night Witt grilled steaks and I worked on the rest of dinner.

Gypsy Slow Down

While some cauliflower and turnips were roasting in the oven, I made us a martini. I like all kinds of cocktails, Strawberry Mint and Berry Basil to name a few that I have concocted. Witt is not a big mixed drink guy, he prefers his scotch on the rocks, but he does like martinis. This one was really springy and fresh. I put it together myself, but I'm sure it exists somewhere and since I don't know the real name I'm calling it a Dirty Lemon Martini. If you want to be frou frou you could call it a Dirty Lemontini! It consists of equal parts Vodka and Dry Vermouth (I think sweet Vermouth would be good in this as well) and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Add a splash of tonic water and shake it up in a shaker with ice. Strain into glasses and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Gypsy Slow Down

I am not big on sweet drinks but I was just thinking that if you are, instead of lemon juice you could add lemonade. Or add a lemon simple syrup. With a cherry thrown in. Or an olive for a more savory drink. A splash of olive juice even. If I don't stop pretty soon we'll have a whole other recipe.

 For dinner I sauteed brussel sprout halves and then squeezed lemon over them. I also made a spinach cream sauce for our steaks to use up some of the spinach in the garden. It was really good and very simple and would be yummy over brussel sprouts or chicken or pasta.

Spinach and Garlic Cream Sauce

1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water
salt and pepper

Saute the spinach and butter and garlic until wilted. Add half and half and bring to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch in water and add to the cream mixture and stir until thick. Salt and pepper generously.

Gypsy Slow Down

Happy Outdoor Eating!

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