Friday, July 13, 2012

I only drink gin in the summertime

Back when I worked for an evil insurance company, I became friends with a coworker who introduced me to a beautiful concept -  "Martini Friday".  And trust me, when you worked there, you needed a few martinis by Friday.  Actually, you really needed them everyday, but I digress..  She and her husband would mix some fun drinks and make some delicious appetizers to start the weekend off right.  I fell in love with the idea of a mini celebration every week, and so have adopted the idea for myself.  Last Friday I decided to start our own Friday Happy hour.  The drink of the week was the Lavender Collins, which I adapted from Fratelli in Portland.  The apps are some of my favorite, easiest appetizers in my repertoire. Fig and Chevre Crostini and Bacon Wrapped Dates.

Lavender Collins (adapted from Fratelli, Portland, OR)

1/2 oz Lavender Syrup
1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin (Or whatever gin you prefer, I'm not the gin police)
Juice of half a lime
Club Soda

Combine the lavender syrup, gin and lime juice in a martini shaker with ice.  Shake it up like a pro.  Pour into a low ball glass over ice. Top it off with club soda, give it a gentle stir and garnish with a slice of lime. (Click here to see my post on making your own lavender syrup, or if you don't want to make it you can buy some - Monin makes a good one)

Lavender Collins

Fig and Chevre Crostini

I love this appetizer, it's great for summer when figs are in season!

Half of a French Baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
5 oz Creamy Herbed Chevre
5-6 Fresh Black Mission Figs, sliced crosswise
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Slice your figs crosswise into about 4 slices, discarding the top and end piece. Arrange your bread slices on a cookie sheet covered in foil.  Spread chevre on each slice of bread, and then top with one slice of fig.  Drizzle honey over all of the crostini and finish off with a dash of black pepper.  Place under the broiler in your oven until the edges are nice and brown and cheese and honey starts to get bubbly ( It only takes a few minutes, watch it carefully so they don't burn!).

Bacon Wrapped Dates

As K says, wrapping anything in bacon is the easiest trick in the book.  These are super simple and will have everyone thinking you're a genius. 

12 pitted dates
4 slices of bacon, cut into thirds

Wrap each date in a third slice of bacon ( I've found that is the length that fits perfectly around a date, but your results may vary).  Secure with a toothpick ( I didn't have toothpicks last week, so I threaded 4 of them onto a wooden skewer and made bacon date kebabs).  Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.    Allow these to cool for a few minutes or you and your guests will burn their mouths in your haste to eat as many as possible.

These are the kind of apps I want for a causal happy hour - easy but still a little impressive.  Have a good weekend!

Our Friday Happy Hour

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