February 1, 2011

breakfasting, and a Nordic Snapper

I had big plans for this weekend. And yet the most exciting thing that happened was a traumatizing meeting between my ring finger and our biggest knife. Otherwise, I felt under the weather, Mark worked, and I spent Saturday night with my laptop and the Great Romantic Movie of Our Time, aka Twilight: Eclipse, during which I groaned so loudly and laughed so often that Mark came in to check on me. Also, for the first time in maybe a month, we woke up to cold rain on Sunday. Boo that.

One thing that makes cold, rainy weekend mornings bearable, though? Breakfast. Weekend breakfasts at home are the best! I understand why most people love going out for brunch -- sometimes you want waffles but don't feel like digging out the waffle iron and dirtying any bowls, right? But I like those quiet moments in the early morning, sipping coffee while contemplating the best way to start the day. Besides, I'm married to someone who has sworn off going out for brunch. (Dim sum excluded, though even then I force myself to eat something beforehand or I'm apt to cause a scene at the cheong fun cart.) The last time we went out for brunch -- 2009, Washington, D.C. -- was possibly The Last Time we went out for brunch Ever, and it is all because the waiter left Mark coffee-less for more than 30 minutes.

However, there is one brunch tradition that Mark the self-avowed brunch hater has adapted: cocktails. He hates tomato juice but will drink it happily once it is doctored with all sorts of spices and spiked with alcohol. Enter his recent favorite, the Nordic Snapper, a recipe from Jason Wilson's book Boozehound: On the trail of the rare, the obscure and the overrated in spirits. No surprise that my vodka-eschewing/aquavit-loving husband went wild eyed after one sip; using aquavit (essentially vodka infused with herbs, primarily caraway) instead of plain vodka makes for a seriously complex, savory drink. I love the flavor of caraway, but a little aquavit goes a long way for me -- I actually prefer doubling the tomato juice, leaving out the alcohol and drinking my spicy, tangy, salty tomato juice with a side of good rye toast and some smoked salmon. Our differences, they make the world go round.

P.S. My candy thermometer exploded on me recently, recommendations for a replacement?

Nordic Snapper
via Jason Wilson

An aside on the name: management at the St. Regis hotel thought the name Bloody Mary was inappropriate and rechristened it with a more "civilized" name, the Red Snapper. The Nordic snapper replaces vodka with Danish akvavit, the caraway infused spirit from Scandinavia, and eschews the celery stalk for a few dash of celery bitters. About brands, you should use whatever you like, but if you need any recommendations Mark likes Aalborg aquavit, Knudsen's tomato juice, and the celery bitters made by The Bitter Truth for this drink.

2 ounces aquavit
2 ounces tomato juice
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes celery bitters
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Lemon peel twist, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add all of the ingredients except the lemon peel. Shake well, then taste and add additional salt if necessary; a low-salt tomato juice like Knudsen's may require additional salt. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.


Amy said...

I have a stainless steel Taylor candy/deep fry thermometer. It is calibrated correctly, but some of the numerical markings have rubbed off after prolonged contact with 240 degree sugar. That makes me mad, so I'm thinking about a Thermapen, but the downside to those is that you can't leave it in your pot. Also, the cost.

The Nordic Snapper sounds good, I love an excuse to drink in the morning and I also like aquavit. But what else do you use celery bitters for? Seems pretty specific.

Amy said...

I almost forgot to add that I'm with you on Twilight watching while feeling under the weather! Those movies are so bad. By which I mean, they're utterly awesome.

Lauren said...

Er, is that an IKEA dishtowel in that first picture? Because I just bought some today.

Anita said...

I found your blog linked on ffoodd, I love your pictures especially the picture of your egg breakfast and all the cheery reds, oranges and yellows on the granita post. I will be back!

Jess said...

I'm usually a lurker but I had to jump in and say I share similar priorities! Ironic enjoyment of Twilight makes for an enjoyable way to recover from sickness, and I hate brunch and all the frigging bottomless mimosas and flabby bacon that invariably come with it. Your greens eggs and toast look looooovely.

LJ said...

celery bitters changed my life.

Kim said...

Hi everyone!

Amy - Yes, I want one that will stay in the pot while I'm mixing, and I'm outraged for you that heat caused the markings to disappear. Aaaah... I just don't know about spending $100 on a Thermapen, though. Re: celery bitters, they are surprisingly versatile -- good with gin (like martinis) and maybe tequila too. Oh, and for your first drink with celery bitters, make a Stephan's sour. That drink is astonishingly good, I think. I'm a big fan of bitters, in general. I drink a lot of sparkling water, and a few drops of bitters in sparkling water is great.

Lauren - Yes, Ikea Tekla! They are my favorite thing from Ikea, ever. We have at least a dozen; I use them as napkins, especially when my nicer cotton napkins are in the wash or badly wrinkled (which is all the time). And to dry dishes too, of course. I also recently bought the Elly because I'm a sucker for blue stripes. You have to pick and choose but Ikea has good stuff.

Anita - Welcome and thank you!

Jess - Thanks for de-lurking to share your opinion on flabby bacon and Twilight :)

Lynh - Yes! Lynh is the one who introduced us to celery bitters, everybody. We are grateful.

robin said...

I love brunch! I love making it at home and I love going out for it (even if I get the same things when I go out, it's a different experience). I recently had that conversation with people at work about whether it makes sense to go out for pancakes when you have a great & reliable pancake recipe at home. BUT. I love going out to eat, especially for luxury meals like brunch. And maybe a little bit of me wants to recapture the loveliness that was Saturdays at Brasil in Houston...

Kim said...

Robin, the last time we went out brunch was when we were in DC for your wedding! Also, I appreciate the appeal of Brasil-type weekend rituals; that is a great argument in favor of brunch.