Europe, magical mushrooms, and a menu for January 26

Yes, we’ve been MIA for a few months. But we’ve put our hiatus to good use. Check it out!

We planted a garden:

We went on a fabulous trip to Europe:

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We made some really good food discoveries:

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We also got mildly obsessed with mushroom hunting, and we went on a Christmas Eve hike where we found a whole bunch of stuff you can’t eat—plus one thing you can:

So now it’s 2013 and we’re re-energized to get back into the kitchen. We’ve got tons of new ideas and incredible ingredients and super fun kitchen toys that we can’t wait to play with. We’re ready to get back into the groove of our monthly dinners—we’ve missed sharing a table with all of you! Continue reading

Foraging for the bar: Douglas fir martinis

If you’ve ever stopped by the loft for drinks or dinner, you already know that there are very few ingredients I won’t try to put in a cocktail. But until this week, I never made a cocktail out of… tree.

Infusing vodka with Douglas fir tips

The chain of events that led me to tonight’s lovely beverage:

1. Rene Redzepi wrote this op-ed piece for the New York Times about how we should eat our Christmas trees (“because evergreens are delicious”).

2. Daniel Patterson tweeted about his deliberations over which type of Christmas tree would taste best.

3. Daniel Patterson wrote this piece for San Francisco magazine about foraging Douglas fir tips.

4. We hiked one of my favorite trails last weekend and encountered a fir tree with low-hanging, brand-new tips. We pilfered a few.

5. Said tips went into a jar of Ciroc vodka to infuse.

6. Today (eight days later), we deemed the mixture fully cooked and built a cocktail around it. Et voila! The result is a very clean, lightly citrusy drink with just a hint of floral flavor to enhance the herbal notes from the fir tips.

Tree martini (serves 2)
6 ounces Douglas fir-infused vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur

Shake, strain, and serve up. Garnish by floating a fir tip in the glass.