Join me in welcoming Christa DeMercurio and her blog and column, Culinarily Yours, to aNewsCafe.com. Many of you may recognize the name of Cal DeMercurio, her husband, as a well-known, award-winning north state chef. Now’s a chance to meet the woman behind the chef, someone who’s embarking upon her own culinary journey.
In January, Christa created Culinarily Yours as a way to share with novice and expert cooks alike what she’s learned from her research, as well as tips she’s picked from her husband, about everything related to food and cooking, and even, as she does today, about cocktails.
We will run her columns on Wednesdays. By way of introduction, there’s an excerpt below that’s from Christa’s blog, to let you know a bit more about her and her delicious project.
I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do, and that you will give her the delightful feedback aNewsCafe.com is known for in the comments section. Enjoy! Bon Appetit! – Doni Chamberlain
Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I asked my chef husband to be my tutor/mentor/sage (not the herb) for the 2018 year, teaching me his tips, tricks and wisdom in the culinary department. I figured that after over a decade together, our bakers dozen year should be a fun journey of cooking.
My husband has been in the food service business since, well, forever (40-ish years). When it comes to the restaurant life, I’ve been more comfortable in the Back Office and sometimes Front of the House, but never really ventured into the professional kitchen. I’ve obtained a few skills by observing my husband over the years and then experimenting here and there at home. Now I’m ready to take my apprenticeship to the next level.
This is our journey, one of chef and wife. It may end up being more than a Hundred-Foot Journey, or possibly an adventure that rivals Julie & Julia, but in the end we pray it’s one that teaches us the joy of cooking………….together. – Christa DeMecurio
Lemon Drop Martini
Some months back Chef Husband brought home a beautiful pile of Meyer lemons from a friend’s tree. Meyers are very distinct with their sweeter flavor and softer flesh, a bit more like an orange, unlike the firm bright yellow standards found in the produce section.
We try to always have a lemon readily available for cooking. Kind of like onions and garlic, they are a basic ingredient to have around, as is a lime.
My next culinary mission was actually a little mixology. Fresh lemons plus vodka equals a Lemon Drop Martini.
First step, make a simple syrup. I asked Chef Husband, “What’s in a simple syrup?” It’s simple. One part sugar, one part water, bring to a boil, dissolve the sugar and cool. And yes, it’s that simple.
Next, mis en place. Shaker, jigger, ice, fresh squeezed lemon juice, vodka (and simple syrup).
I couldn’t just toss the beautiful rind of the lemons after squeezing the juice, so I zested them beforehand, to save for another endeavor.
First attempt, I measured the ingredients into the shaker, added some ice and gave it a few shakes. Feedback, too much flavor of the rind (because I had used the leftover lemon pieces, after juicing, to rim the glass with sugar), and not cold enough (I was impatient and the syrup wasn’t completely cool, plus the only cold ingredients were the ice and the vodka).
Take 2, everything was chilled in the fridge, including the glasses and shaker. For rimming the glasses, I used the fresh squeezed juice before twisting them in the sugar. I also added way more ice to the shaker.
2 parts vodka, chilled in the freezer, 1 part fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup, lots of ice, and a lot of shaking…a dangerously yummy cocktail with a beautiful shimmer of crystals across the top. This one is a keeper.
Until next time…
Mrs. Chef Christa DeMercurio