The Weather’s Fine

One of my favorite things about what I do, is making new friends and experimenting with them. Today, I got a chance to stop into a really great place that has been on my list to try for ages. Damn the Weather is a precious hole in the wall, with an ever changing menu of locally sourced deliciousness.

While we’re not partners yet, we did come up with an amazing cocktail. It continues my tiki vibe post Mixology Monday, with shrub of course, but has an early fall sensibility I can really get into. It’s a Rhum Agricol cocktail, which makes me really happy as it’s not a spirit I reach for often. Growth can be beautiful. And tasty.

The Weather’s Fine starts sweet and fruity, with rum overtones. The middle is funky and herbaceous, with a spicy finish. Cardamom bitters act as an element to tie everything together, while the vinegar and lime keep your palette refreshed and ready for another sip.

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The Weather's Fine by Matthew Collette @ Damn the Weather

The Weather’s Fine

1 oz Apricot Rosemary shrub
1.5 oz Rhum Agricol
.5 oz Lime juice
2 drops Scrapy’s Cardomom Bitters
3 oz Goslings ginger beer or your favorite

Blend Rhum, shrub, lime juice and bitters in a collins glass. Mix well. Topp with chilled ginger beer and cubed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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What’s for dinner?

Apricot Rosemary chicken with patty pan squash and mashed sweet potatoes
Apricot Rosemary chicken with patty pan squash and mashed sweet potatoes

Here in Seattle summer has been holding on, with 70 degree weather and sunny skies. But all I’ve been wanting are grey skies, and rain, and proper fall weather. Today the sky cooperated, just in time for my birthday! So I turned on the oven and roasted some sweet potatoes and chicken. Patty pan squash put in an appearance at the farmers market this weekend (they’re like zucchini but with a fun shape) so those came home with me.

But what made this so tasty was the sauce I made for the chicken. Apricot Rosemary shrub, juices from the chicken, white wine and a little chicken stock. Sweet and chickeny and tangy and rich. This is a wonderful way to use shrubs in new ways. It’s especially fun because you can mix up the protein and the shrub to make tasty combinations.

Apricot Rosemary chicken

1 chicken skin on but no bones. You can have your butcher take a whole chicken and cut it into parts (breast, thigh, legs) and take out the bones from the thigh and breast. Save the bones and the wings to make stock.

Boneless skin-on chicken
Boneless skin-on chicken

1/3 cup Apricot Rosemary shrub
1/4 chicken stock
Salt
Pepper

Heat the oven to 400.
Salt both sides of the chicken.
In an oven safe pan, heat a tablespoon or two of oil on medium heat until it’s shimmering and starting to smoke.
Put the chicken in the pan skin side down and cook it until golden. About 5 minutes.

Golden brown skin is delicious
Golden brown skin is delicious

Flip the chicken over and bake until the breasts are done (internal temp of 160).
Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside to rest. This lets the juices redistribute in the meat, and is important.
Put the pan on medium heat and add the shrub, stock, and wine to the pan. Scrape up any brown bits, because they’re full of flavor.
Let that simmer and reduce down until it coats the back of the spoon. Taste for salt and add a few grinds of black pepper.

This is how you know it's done
This is how you know it’s done

Slice the chicken breast and serve with a generous amount of sauce.

Vanilla scented season

Today was the kind of early fall day I love! The morning was chilly and misty but not really cold. That burned off for a crystal clear afternoon of brilliant blue sky. Just warm enough to shed the morning’s sweater, but cool enough to be really comfortable in tall socks and boots.

I’ve been sad about the end of berry season. Perfect sun-ripened berries are amongst my favorite foods, and this season was both fleeting and spectacular. But the markets have turned to pears and apples, which I haven’t been quite ready for. Until today.

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Today, fall was calling so I pulled out some pears and brought back our Vanilla Pear shrub. This is like a vanilla poached pear, but better. All those black speckles are vanilla beans. I even include the pods. This cozies up with lush pears to make a shrub that’s sweet and perfumed, but not cloying.

Welcome back fall!