Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Easy Appetizers (p.12) & The Drink of Tomorrow (p.10)

And so it begins. I wanted to start with something easy, and I thought it made sense, thematically, to begin with an appetizer. What recipe might fit that bill? How about Easy Appetizers by Philippe? Sounds about right. As I introduce recipes, it helps if you know about the characters of Acheworld. Philippe is 5 years old. He is also an otter. He is a breath of sweetness and innocence in a crude, debauched world. He has a winning spirit and a love for hugs, not to mention an uncanny knack for excelling at things a person (or otter) of his age has no business being good at (existential poetry, standup comedy, running for president, etc.). His appetizer recipe fits his personality perfectly- it's simple, sweet, and surprisingly sophisticated. The description of the recipe in the book sounds like it was written by a worldly, experienced chef (and is honestly as sad and touching as it is funny).

It's not really fair to call this recipe "cooking," as I didn't have to turn on the oven or stove at all. The most complicated maneuvers were slicing the baguette and tomato. Everything else was a matter of opening, spreading, and stacking (which sounds more like a naughty weekend than appetizer preparation). Here's how it turned out:

It was really quite pleasant. The brie and ham paired nicely and made for a very pleasant, eatable dish. I could certainly see myself making this for a larger group of people. The basil leaf could feel like it was overpowering at times, and I may have been better served using chopped (or at the very least, smaller leaves). It helped to have one of the larger tomato slices to balance the flavor. It was kind of like a French bruschetta, and that's a good thing.

Now, appetizers are nice, and we had enough of them that Melissa and I could consider it a full meal, but that didn't stop it from feeling like cocktail night. And what better way to celebrate the start of Selzer & Smuckles than to have a drink? Thankfully, the Achewood Cookbook had me covered. I had my choice of several alcoholic drink recipes. I chose the "Drink of Tomorrow"!
The recipe called for red toothpicks, but I didn't have any and didn't want to risk lead poisoning by painting them. I figured my "Elegance Toothpicks" would be good enough. Seriously, that's what they say- "Elegance Toothpicks." Not "elegant," "elegance." Elegance is not an adjective. As such, I can only assume that these toothpicks exude such an air of elegance that it had to be included on the label. With that kind of arrogance, I choose to believe that the little ridges on the ends were hand routed by industrious gnomes. I dare you to prove me wrong.

How was the drink? I wrote down some notes at the time, to make sure I captured my real impressions:
9:00pm-"Interesting. The marshmallow satellite is a fun and attractive garnish. I'm pretty sure this is going to stain my tongue. Let me check a mirror...yep. Overall, it tastes a little alcoholy. Maybe it's just because it's blue, but I expected something sweeter. Maybe a little sugar. Or a higher quality vodka. Yeah, that would probably do it. Still, it's drinkable. I guess I'll pour another."
9:25pm-"Man, I was being too uptight. This is pretty damn good! Yeah, it has a kick, but it's supposed to. I feel like I should be wearing a shiny jumpsuit when I drink this. Disneyland should serve them in Tomorrowland. Just fantastic. One more, please!"
9:35pm-"Wow, this is...I can't even...You know what you should do? Buy a boat. Everyone should have a boat. That way you can...sail and stuff. Can I Out. Aw man, that can't be right...."
9:37pm-"Hey I could eat the marshmallows! They've probably got some...tomorrow in them. Yes! They're fanttastic [sic], magiccally delicisou [sic]! I think I need...adsf;;lasdffjjfsa" (note- I did not actually write out those letters at the end, but I couldn't think of a better way to indicate handwriting trailing off).

So, that's it for night one! Two recipes off the board. This is fun! See you tomorrow when I get really daring and make rice!



  1. That is a classically attractive cocktail - we should have served them at your wedding!

  2. Philippe is FIVE.

  3. Corrected. I don't really proofread or fact-check these things. I'm embarrassed that this slipped through.