Thursday, August 11, 2011

Egg Noodles with Shittake, Napa Cabbage, and Szechuan Sauce

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

1 22-oz. bottle Abita Andygator

1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup mirin
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup Szechuan sauce (any brand--I used House of Tsang)
1 tsp. preserved Szechuan peppercorn (this is available in Chinatown--toasted Szechuan pepper in oil with bits of peanut and spice)
dash of white pepper
6 oz. shittake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
3 cups thinly shredded Napa cabbage
1 8-oz. can of water chestnuts, sliced
8 oz. Chinese-style cooked egg noodles
3 scallions, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

1) Heat oil and saute the onion until well sweated, about 8 minutes.
2) Add minced garlic and stir to toast, 1 minute.
3) Add to your pan the mirin, soy sauce, Szechuan sauce, preserved peppercorn, and white pepper. Allow to reduce slightly, 3 minutes or less.
4) Stir mushrooms, cabbage, and water chestnuts into your pan; cover and reduce heat for four to five minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and mushrooms are cooked.
5) Uncover and adjust your seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced scallions.
6) Open Abita Andygator.
7) Enjoy together.


So, we were in New Orleans.

I can't even. I just. WOW.

You know when everyone tells you you're going to love something, and I mean actually every person to whom you speak, and you're like, "That's cool. Yes, I'm excited to see this movie/city/play/concert/mime/cricket match. Yes, I bet I'll love it too. No, sure, I get it, I'll love it more than that." And then it's so talked up that you almost think we'll see, suckaaaaas, and you start thinking nothing could possibly be that much fun?

Yeah, New Orleans is that much fun.


I can't even. I just. WOW.

Tales is an event for bartenders, industry, liquor and mixer companies, and "enthusiasts" (me). It showcases every year the best of American bartending--new techniques, old techniques revisited, high standards, new products--by encouraging everybody there to taste the best of American bartending.

And taste it.

And taste it. Over and over and over again.

(A Note from the Liver: Hi! *waves* This is Lyndsay's liver. Lyndsay seemed really to enjoy Tales, and since it was her birthday and all, I wasn't going to begrudge it to her. She's been working hard of late and reasonably well-behaved, not drinking much while she's writing and all. But...I would like to lodge the complaint that I was waving the white flag by the end of this trip, and Lyndsay carried on with the cocktailing like Sherman marching to Atlanta. It got ugly in here, scorched earth and salted fields and scenes of chaos and destruction, and anyway look at that picture up there--that beer is the size of her effing HEAD, who in their right--)

*loud sounds of scuffle*

Sorry about that, I told my liver we weren't interested in her drama.

So, Andygator is an actual big beer from Abita Brewing Company. The best Abita, I think, and done in a Helles Doppelbock style. It's super drinkable, malty but with a very dry, crisp edge to it. I think that it'll pair nicely with Szechuan peppercorn, as the spice from--

(HA! You think a liver who goes through as much as I do would go down without a fight?! Look at this! Look at this picture! THIS is what I am talking about! This sort of behavior! They were pouring amazing liquors and Krug champagne into punch trash bags with single giant ice cubes! How can one behave oneself when surrounded by such debauchery, such utterly hedo--)

*louder sounds of scuffle, followed by muffled thump*


Yeah. The Abita Andygator was good. You should try it. It might be a local thing (I can't source it in NYC yet), but then again, maybe they just don't distribute the big bottles to the Northeast. Fingers crossed for you.

And if you ever go to Tales of the Cocktail, it might be a good idea to give your liver a solid pep talk first. As Niccolo Machiavelli was at pains to remind us all those years ago, it works to be feared. And it works to be loved. But to be feared and loved is best, and that's the relationship I urge you to have with your own liver.