Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Perfect Friday Night Martini

I'm not a particularly ritualistic person but over the past couple of years I have developed a most enjoyable ritual, which is making and consuming the Perfect Friday Night Martini to signify the start of another glorious weekend. Work is over, let the fun and relaxation begin.
My recipe is a simple but effective one and goes like this:
The Perfect Friday Night Martini
4 ounces of Gin or Vodka (you pick your poison)
1 tsp dry vermouth
8 ice cubes
garnishment of choice
(I prefer 3 large martini olives for gin or 1 long lemon peel twist for vodka)
Put ice cubes in shaker. Add vermouth and liquor of choice. Put top of shaker in place and vigorously shake 60 times. Not 59, not 61 but 60 times. Pour into a classic martini glass. Add garnish. Carefully walk into living room so as not to spill a drop, sit down and enjoy!!
This recipe makes one very generous martini.

Friday, May 2, 2008


A bake sale was beckoning at the Fire Dept. for a good cause - the local food bank. The always daunting question lay before me; what to cook? Should I go for the usual suspects, cookies, banana bread, cupcakes? Or think "outside the box" and challenge my creativity.

Going for the latter, I decided on candy making at which I am a virtual novice. I went for a simple no cook recipe of butter mints, a much beloved treat my mother has made over the years for special occasions such as wedding receptions. Well, I guess that's the only time she made them really! But they left an impression.
Off to the Candy Making Store I went and purchased the required silicone molds in the shapes of a rose and leaf, peppermint extract and food colors. I also obtained there a copy of a corresponding recipe for said butter mints that I thought I would try since I didn't have my mom's recipe.

My experiment started Saturday and ended (thankfully and none too soon) Sunday. The recipe below has been adjusted considerably from the original I started with which called for only 1/4 cup of melted butter. In fact, it took 1/2 cup plus approximately 1 Tbsp. extra melted butter to make the candy dough malleable enough to work with. Utilizing the amount called for in the recipe only created a crumbly sticky mess.
The end results turned out most acceptable and despite my audience of primarily firefighters, my dozen bags of mints proceeded to sell out quite quickly and made $12.00 for a good cause.

Butter Mints
1 box minus 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick plus 1 tbsp melted butter
7 drops peppermint extract (more or less to get desired strength)
7 drops food color (more or less to get desired color)
granulated sugar for rolling

Put sugar in medium mixing bowl.
Add food color and extract to melted butter and pour into sugar.
Mix with fork (or hands) until mixture is consistency of play dough.
Roll mixture into size of small marble and roll one side into granulated sugar
Press sugar side down into mold, then immediately release onto wax paper.
Let mints sit uncovered overnight until they are slightly dried out.
Store in refrigerator or freeze until ready to use.