Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Penguin Olive Dirty Martini

Happy Holidays.
I'll keep this short and sweet. It's only fitting that I end the year with a vegetable-centric festive cocktail—and a stiff one at that. After seeing a segment featuring this Penguin Olive Dirty Martini on the Today Show this morning, I knew I had to make it, despite the fact that it was only 11am. (I only had a few sips, but I did eat the turnip— probably the only person in the history of imbibing to do so. The penguin is fully edible, but it was just too cute; I couldn't bear to consume it.) Whether you're celebrating in Antartic temperatures or mild humid rain (hello, New York), here's something to keep you warm, at least on the inside, during our traditionally chilly holiday season.

Seriously, how adorable are these little guys?! They're just straight chillin' (that was so bad, but I couldn't resist.) This will be my last post in 2014; I'll see you again in the New Year. What do you have in store come January 1st? I am moving, and finally achieving my dream of an island kitchen! I think 2015 is going to be a good year :)


Penguin Olive Dirty Martini (from Jeanne Benedict)

For the dirty martini:
3 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. dry vermouth
Splash Martini green olive brine

For the penguin olives:
Small and jumbo black olives

1 – 2 large carrots, peeled

Cocktail onions

Sliced turnip, peeled, brushed with lemon juice

Rosemary stems


1. Make the martini: Add vodka, vermouth, and olive brine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
2. Make the penguin olives: cut a slit into the side of pitted jumbo olive and stuff with a small cocktail onion. (It may be necessary to pull a layer off the onion so it fits snugly inside the olive.)
3. Place a pitted small olive on its side on top of the body for the penguin’s head. Stick a toothpick down into the head and through the body to keep him together.
4. Slice a peeled carrot into ¼-inch thick rounds and cut a wedge out of the rounds for the penguin’s feet. Place the penguin body on the feet and push the toothpick down to keep it all together.
5. Cut carrot slivers for his beak. Insert the beak into the X on the olive head, (as opposed to the wider hole in the olive).
6. Insert penguin and rosemary into turnip slice. Place penguin olives in empty martini glasses and fill with Martini.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Smoked Trout Salad Sandwich

Smoked fish is my chicken soup for the [hungry] soul. Sheepishly i'll admit to taking detours in Fairway just to gaze at the corner lox and sable display, and I firmly believe that any problem can be temporarily solved in three steps: Brining some fish, dousing it in mayo, and slathering it on a bagel along with sliced tomato and onion. Upon receiving said problem-solver with contentment I will purr, my heartstrings thoroughly warmed via my belly. Then, I will bloat like a blowfish.

Because, #WhatJewEating? That would be fat, salt, salt, salt, and salt. But isn't the fish healthy? On it's own, absolutely. But shrouded in sodium, mayonnaise, and sour cream? Not so much. Usually, I happily accept this nutritious-naught fate as I dive into my open bagel sandwich topped with a meticulous crafted mosaic of egg, tuna, white fish, and salmon salad. I mean, as a high holy day Jew,  I'm only blessed with a Zabar's spread a few times a year—one must take advantage! But sometimes on days that aren't Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, like yesterday, I want to nourish my old Jewish soul, my truest comfort place. Ergo, I want me some smoked fish. Leave the bloat on the side?

Call me Rosie the Riverter, because we can do it! My pupils transfigured into hearts when I discovered canned smoked trout in canola oil at Trader Joe's (woot woot Omega-3's) for a budget-friendly $3.29 each. Using plain, non-fat Greek yogurt and reduced-fat sour cream instead of mayo, ample herbs to season, and fresh horseradish and lemon juice for bite and tang, I succeeded in making a pretty healthful—and certainly delicious—version of my beloved bagel topper. Then, I took it a step further and forfeited the bagel for whole wheat sourdough, adding as many cucumber and tomato slices atop my open-faced creation as I could. And guess what? It hit the spot. I felt heartened yet healthy; soothed yet svelte. I had finally married Jewish food and nutrition—a union I had deemed incapable of fruition long long ago.

You can substitute any canned fish in this salad that you wish. Though trout is my personal favorite, I imagine canned salmon would work very well here too. Whole grain rye and pumpernickel make great bread alternatives. Serve with a quick salad of arugula tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, or red pepper slices and carrot sticks.

Smoked Trout Salad Sandwich
Makes 1 Sandwich

1 3.0 oz can smoked trout in canola oil
2 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp freshly grated horseradish
2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt or canola oil/reduced fat mayo
2 tbsp light sour cream
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 pieces hearty whole-grain bread, such as sourdough, rye or pumpernickel
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1 small tomato, thinly sliced

Drain trout to remove excess oil. Transfer trout to a small bowl, mash with a fork to break up fillets. Add rest of ingredients, mix thoroughly. Toast bread and serve sandwiches open-faced style, piled high with tomato and cucumber slices.