Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Range Friday with a View

Because I'm planning a picnic in a few days and because I'm getting emails from friends about cold weather in places far away, a picnic meal sounded like a good Free Range Friday meal. Add in that what I'm really doing is baking bread and the heat is rising around here, the idea of sitting on the beach eating and drinking takes me right out of the heat into the breeze.

The other evening at Zaco's Taco's, Shey made some incredibly good mojitos. I'm not a big rum drinker (which might be against the law in the islands) but this drink is more about yum than rum. That works for me.

Mojitos require a little work to make, but nothing daunting except maybe the word muddle. Muddling, in my opinion, is the secret of a great mojito and who doesn't want to be a muddler? What is muddling? From the site:

Muddler - Bar Tools
Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham
Definition: To muddle is to combine ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the majority of the liquid ingredients.
A muddler is a long pestle shaped often shaped like a baseball bat that is commonly made of wood, but modern designs can be found in stainless steel or plastic with teeth on the bottom. One end of this essential bar tool is large and rounded and is used to mash the ingredients,
while the other end is skinnier and flat and is used to mix ingredients.

Cool tool, yes? If you have a regular mortar and pestle, you can cheat! Here's a video that shows how really easy it is to make a mojito. Of course, you'll need more than one for a picnic!

Picnics at the beach can be elaborate or simple as you like. I'm all for elaborate, but usually end up with simple. A Spanish tortilla, which isn't really quite a tortilla as Americans interpret the word, is a great beach picnic food. In Spanish, it's called a tortilla de patata. I like it because it's got everything in one dish, you can eat it with a fork or with your hands, hot or cold. If you want it hot, after you pack it up in a dish, wrap that with newspapers and a towel and it should stay warm enough to get you to the beach. Or to your living room floor, if it's snowing out.

I first ate this dish in Spain at Cal Pep, an awesome tapas bar in Barcelona. The chef made it right in front of us and it was a great show for a very simple dish. The video here is less flashy, but definitely the real deal. You can add salt and pepper to taste. He suggests some extra ingredients, including chorizo, which would be a great addition, but if that's too strong a taste for you, go with well drained, crumbled bacon, my personal favorite. You can also add cheese - if you have access to manchego, it really works well with this.

Some grapes, some bread, you've got your picnic! And I've got the third round of bread in the oven. Buen provecho!

Have a frugally delicious Friday! Do something fundamental.


  1. I think one should only drink Mojitos while in Cuba, or pretending to be, or when one wants to be.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Why pretend to be in Cuba when we can be here? Viva la Culebra Mojito revolution!

    Have a great weekend too!

  3. Muddling orange peel, marachino cherry, a sugar cube and angostura bitters is the start of an old fashioned. Most of the time when I have cocktails like this, the muddle refers to brain function the next morning.

  4. I can relate to the muddled-ness of it all...the old fashioned sounds good!