Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Aug 16, 2011

Bloody Mary Bar

It's tomato cocktail time for the Lush Chef this week!  Not only am I stuffing my face with heirloom tomatoes every day, but I'm having them in my cocktails too.  One of my dear friends, and fellow blogger for Get Me Out of LA, was having her birthday brunch a couple of weekends ago at her new sun-drenched house in Venice, and one of the last things you want to do as the birthday girl is make drinks for your guests all afternoon.  That's why she and her boyfriend put together this fabulous build your own Bloody Mary bar.  It's so easy to prep and it gives your guests the opportunity to get creative with their concoctions.  She already had a pitcher of fresh Bloody Mary mix sitting on the bar, and a giant bottle of vodka nearby with a shot glass so that our drinks would be foolproof (not everyone is a natural home bartender).  Now putting together this kind of set-up for a party may save you time, but let's also not be lazy lushes here.  I'm not talking about tossing some plain olives and celery sticks in a bowl and calling it a day.  Here's what my friend set out for her bar, besides the requisite celery:

- Jalapeño-stuffed olives
- Garlic-stuffed olives (there's also feta, blue cheese, almond, orange/lime zest stuffed olives you can buy)
- Pearl cocktail onions
- Cornichons
- Pickled green beans
- Celery salt
- Limes
- Green Habañero Sauce
- Tapatío
- Horseradish & Worcestershire Sauce - even though these were already in the Bloody Mary mix, it's nice to have extra for those who want an extra kick
- Black Pepper & Sea Salt
- Wood skewers - buy a pack of these so your guests can load up on all the goodies

If you've never made a Bloody Mary before, here's the recipe.  Feel free to adjust the amounts of Worcestershire, horseradish and hot sauce to complement your palate.  For serving multiple guests, I recommend not making it too spicy—they can always kick the heat up a level when they're building their drink.  Just multiply this recipe enough times to fill a pitcher, and you're set!

Bloody Mary - serves 1
  • 2 oz tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka (or 2, if you're a lush like me)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp horseradish
  • 3 dashes of hot pepper sauce (I'm a Tapatío fan)
  • A pinch of salt & a dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice 
- Combine tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, horseradish, hot sauce, salt & pepper in a mixing glass and stir to your heart's content.
- In an ice-filled glass, pour the mixture over it and stir, stir, stir.
- Sprinkle the lemon juice on top and then go crazy with the garnishes.