Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cucumber Mint Lime Soda

What season is it where you are? It's been waffling recently, but here in Utah it's decidedly spring; the mountains are melting, I'm sneezing non-stop and the mint has returned to take over everyone's yard.

See that stuff in the bottom right threatening my neighbor's flowers? Mint.

I used to think of mint as an expensive ingredient- I made mojitos a couple times in college, and between the tiny packages and the three-minute shelf life I always felt slightly cheated. Shows what I know though, because around here it's considered a weed: my neighbors actually thank me when I steal it from their yards.

I stopped drinking when I moved to Utah, which is a little confusing because I'm not at all Mormon. A couple of times, when eating at a restaurant, I have seriously considered ordering a glass of wine and just leaving it in front of me... you know, as a signal? "I'm not drinking, but I believe in gay rights! " Utah culture shock can be a bit much. 

These days I'm used to it, and this soda was inspired by a thoroughly addictive one I had while visiting my sister in Brooklyn a few weeks back. I demanded they tell me what was in it, and voila! I'm celebrating spring in style. Since it's basically a virgin mojito, I'm sure it'd be great with light rum, or even tequila, but I can tell you for sure that it's delicious as is.



Cucumber Mint Lime Soda

Note: I made my own mint simple syrup, but I'm pretty sure they sell this stuff in stores nowadays. If you don't live in a hippie commune full of mint and lovely neighbors, I highly recommend buying it.

2 Tbsp (1oz) Mint Simple Syrup
2 Tbsp (1oz) lime juice (aka ~one lime)
1-inch chunk of cucumber, cut into pieces
seltzer water / club soda

Fill a pint glass with ice. Thoroughly muddle cucumber, mint syrup and lime juice together- I did this in a mason jar with the back of a spoon, but if you have a cocktail shaker you should use it. Strain the contents and pour over ice; fill with about a cup of seltzer and stir well. If you're feeling fancy, garnish with mint and cucumber slices.

Cucumber Mint Syrup:

Chop ~3/4 cup packed mint leaves, and add to a saucepan with 1/2 a cup each water and sugar. (As long as you stick to a 1.5:1:1 ratio, the exact amounts don't matter). Bring to a boil, then take off the heat and cover. When the syrup is cooled, strain thoroughly and enjoy.




Sunday, April 16, 2017

The sum of its parts


Hello world, I'm back! I'm feeling juiced. I've got a new job, I've got new chickens... I could learn my lesson and just give up like a sane person, but instead I'm going to keep running into a brick wall. Is that a real saying? What with this being, like, the eighth time I've attempted this particular project, I'm starting small with some easy white-girl tacos I probably could have made in my dorm kitchen. 


But enough about that because LOOK AT THE CHICKEN BABIES!

Chicken babies 󠀽= not excited about being photographed.

I've finally committed to spending the foreseeable future in Utah, which has enabled me to check one chicken-related item off my life list: the yellow ones are named Click and Clack! They live under a heat lamp with some other chicken babies, where they practice the arts of huddling in a corner and not paying attention to me... even though I let them poop in a box in my living room for 24 hours. Ungrateful chickens. They don't even make eggs yet!


Luckily for me, my hippie commune also has 17 adult chickens, who are celebrating this warmer weather by laying eggs as fast as we can eat them. They're gorgeous- deep orange yolks, shells that are almost comically difficult to crack, and that distinctly emphasized taste of egginess that's hard to find in store bought eggs. 


They also make some bang-up tacos, which can be made in about 8 minutes and have been my dinner three times this week. The idea came from Food52, and is the kind of loose-form, easy recipe that seems almost silly to write about, but is often exactly what I want: inspiration for when I'm hungry, lazy, and haven't gone to the grocery store. Somehow the stupid-simple combination- egg, avocado, cheese, tortilla, hot sauce- makes something so much better than the sum of it's parts, and is effortless enough (did I mention it takes like 10 minutes) for an exhausted graduate student, overworked millennial or, in my case, a lazy-ass Utahn.


Scrambled Egg Tacos
Adapted slightly from Food52

3 small corn tortillas
2 eggs
1/2 an avocado
cheese
hot sauce (my favorite with eggs will always be Cholula)

Char the tortillas over an open flame. You really do want it to get blackened in places, which is great because I like burning things. I do this by turning on one of my burners and just dropping a tortilla on top of it, but if you're more responsible I suppose you could hold it with tongs. Cut the avocado half in thirds, and put one third on each tortilla. You could be all fancy and make slices, or be a normal person and just smash it with a fork. Scramble your eggs however you like- I do mine with salt and pepper in a little butter- and divide them between the three tacos. Sprinkle with cheese, douse in hot sauce, and enjoy.