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Superbowl Sunday.

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Barleywine and bourbon stout for Superbowl Sunday, sold to me by the most clueless, bored employee ever. Look, I’d work in a liquor store just to wax poetic about beer, gin and champagne cocktails to every poor bastard that comes to my register. If you work in a high-end liquor store, you should not only know the barleywine in my hand, but at least three others. You’d better own that sh*t!

(clears throat) Superbowl Menu: Tapas. Cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates, miniature spicy sausage omelet medallions, pan-fried oyster mushrooms, seared scallops, and of course, the obligate nachos.

TV Dinners.

Living off TV dinners and take-out for 3 days, I’m reminded of things I regularly forget:

1) Commercial food photography is amazing. The savory pictures on these TV dinner boxes are such a flaunt of truth in advertising laws that it’s breathtaking. Please come take my picture, too – if I look half as good as that picture of pot roast, I’ll be the talk of the town.

2) Home cooking is awesome, even if it is exhausting. When “I’ll just pour some gin into my leftover lemonade” becomes a better dinner option, you know you’ve been consuming some seriously shady shit.

Garlic Crusted Beef Cross Rib Roast.

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Garlic Crusted Roast Beast.

Roast beast, roast duck, gin cocktail… it’s working. Glad to be done cooking! Recipe: Beef roast, small or medium. Chop thyme and rosemary and add to 4 large cloves of crushed garlic. Mix with 4 tablespoons of fine sea salt and add olive oil to cover the mixture. Spread the whole goopy mess over your raw roast, all sides and bottom. Put in oven uncovered in a pan and roast on 425F for about 30 minutes, or until only the thickest part of the center is still tender (if you want some nice medium rare). I’d give you a thermometer reading, but I broke mine a long time ago.

A Cassoulet for All Occasions.

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Cassoulet

Finishing hours of my little 2-day cassoulet: lovely browned hen from a night of low heat baking, homemade cognac Toulouse sausage cakes, essence of lamb and duck, and a refresh of herbs, covering the essential beans. A good, reliable cassoulet recipe can be found in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but just know that the essentials are a nice white bean like great northern beans, first cooked to tender by themselves, before meats such as your choice of sausage, poultry (traditionally goose, but duck, chicken, and here a cornish hen will do) are layered in with fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and salt to suit.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Martini Glass.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Martini Glass.
 
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Martinis. This is a good glass – short, soft, not birdbath sized. It was hell finding a decent glass, that wasn’t too tall or with razor sharp edges (Bormioli), etched with tacky frosted patterns (Mikasa – really??), painted and nearly unwashable (Etsy), painted with lips or encrusted with jewels (I’m looking at you, Lolita), crazy overpriced (Riedel), or with zigzag stems or in packs of 15 (Libby). I found this glass AT THE DOLLAR STORE. There you go.

Now, Nik’s Retro Dirty as Hell Perfect Martini: Wash interior of glass with sweet vermouth, dump out. 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth stirred with ice and strained into glass, 2 olives, a dash of orange bitters (from vintage recipe) and a nice healthy splash of the olive juice. I know, I have no olive picks yet. Those come Friday. Stainless steel, baby.