Eat This, Drink That: Rosemary Shortbread and Salty Dogs

This month for Eat This, Drink That, we are switching things up! Scout was hankering to make a cocktail, and Zelda was ready to get back to her love of baking, so we decided to pull a blog Freaky Friday and go back to our comfort zones for a post. Scout picked up the shaker, Zelda put on her apron, and we settled on a rosemary-themed combo. Then, this past Saturday, on a positively Arctic Galentine’s Day evening, we turned on What’s Inside and got to cooking.

Zelda fell for rosemary shortbread cookies when her boss brought them in a few weeks ago. One bite of the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, herbal goodness, and she was hooked. Luckily for her, her editor informed her that the recipe was not only super easy but also available on her employer’s very own web site. Weekend plans, made.

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This recipe comes to us courtesy of NYT Cooking and Melissa Clark, and really is absurdly simple, provided you own a food processor (which Zelda does! Like 99% of her kitchen equipment, it’s a hand-me-down from her mama). Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (while not a conventionally recommended method of temperature control, this does also help keep your kitchen from turning into an igloo). In your handy-dandy food processor, put two cups of all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup of sugar, one tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary (stems and all), and one heaping teaspoon of salt (this is how Zelda interpreted Clark’s vague “one teaspoon and a pinch”). Pulse to combine. Add one cup (two sticks) of cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1-inch chunks (that cold part is important, and will be key to the flakiness-level of your final product), and one to two teaspoons of honey. Pulse to fine crumbs, and then continue pulsing until the mixture starts to come together. You don’t need a smooth dough, and it is important not to overmix, so don’t put off if the whole thing is still a bit sandy.

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Take your dough and press it into an ungreased 8- or 9-inch cake pan (a pie tin will also do). Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you’re Zelda, this translates into happily drinking wine and watching The West Wing, suddenly crying out “Shit! Oh shit!” and rushing over to your oven to rescue your shortbread from ruin just in the nick of time. As it is, the cookies were a tad over-baked for her taste, just a hair too brown and tough around the edges. Scout and her roomie declared them perfectly done, however, and all three gals dug into the cookies with gusto, declaring them an oh-so-savory, oh-so-buttery, perfect-for-tea-time Galentine’s Day treat.

While the shortbread was a-baking, Scout got down to business with the cocktails! We’re big believers in simplicity when it comes to crafting drinks, so we went with Food & Wine’s easy twist on the Salty Dog — basically gin, grapefruit juice, and a salted rim (or, a Greyhound but with salt). This version adds a little rosemary for a fun kick (and a tie-in to the baking portion of the evening).

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To make your delicious Salty Dog, muddle a one-inch sprig of rosemary and a half teaspoon of sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add two ounces of grapefruit juice and an ounce and a half of gin, throw in some ice, and shake well. Strain over into martini glasses with salted rims (if you have martini glasses — we didn’t, and improvised with what we had, namely wine glass and rocks one for good measure).

The verdict? While not all of us are grapefruit enthusiasts, we did all agreed that the salt and the rosemary really added a good kick. An herby garnish is always a good way to make a simple drink look fancier. Plus, it was pink! So it was on theme for Galentine’s/Valentine’s weekend.

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So while Scout normally ventures into the fearsome kitchen to try and conquer another dish on her list and Zelda goes behind the bar to attempt a new fancy cocktail, this was a fun switch-up of our normal protocol.! We’re both more comfortable in our respective eating/drinking, baking/shaking zones. It was, overall, a less stressful situation than our normal ETDT ventures, in which Scout is running around the kitchen like a headless chicken and looking to Zelda for guidance (Zelda is better composed behind the bar, but she really shines when it comes to baking). So while we love (and plan to continue) learning new things, it was nice, for a spell, to go back to our roots. Plus, we accomplished a tasty treat for ourselves and friends on a cold Saturday — just the right thing to warm us up.

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