Instead of the usual cocktail mixology video for Friday, I have instead for this week a special cocktail recipe from my Uncle Stephen Ackley: master mixologist. I do have a brand new cocktail video for next week from Friday for next week however – and it contains rhubarb! And it’s from Firebox!
But this week, my sister, Amy, visited me from San Francisco/the Bay area – which prompted a family get together in upstate New York with many delicious foods and libations: so this is a special post to honor that visit. And yes, there is a cocktail recipe copied at the end of this post.
With my sister and Penelope the day before we went to NY. Note that baby Orlando looks like Yoda here. Which is so adorable.
The Lost Acres Apple Wine that we enjoyed al fresco on Saturday and also on Sunday
Here is the entire ‘gang’ who was at the party on Sunday – all from my father’s (Ortiz) side of the family – and all contributing delicious Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes from our heritage to dinner that day!
I love you guys so much
Ok, back to the food. It’s a bit of a family tradition to marathon eat, and as everyone is a foodie, the ingredients have to be top notch. Therefore, we started with lobster tacos, with fresh soft shell lobster which my Uncle Greg, who was hosting the dinner, sourced from Maine the previous week
Lobster with home made chipotle mayo, cilantro, radishes, and slaw on corn tortilla
My Uncle Greg rendering pork fat from the pulled pork (spoiler alert) to heat up the tortillas
Look at this beautiful, fresh lobster!
Following the tacos, Amy and I decided we needed a breather before course #2 (chowder) and we also, naturally, needed more cheese to go with the Sweet Pea chevre we had brought with us (naturally). As it was a beautiful day, we walked to the local The Big Cheese in Rosendale.
I was too excited about the mix of cheese and vintage clothes (I bought a blazer!) to remember to take a picture of the cheese shop (dang). But here’s another local shop that I put on my list for our next visit to Rosendale!
Orlando being worn by his mommy and looking ridiculous hip in his baby sunglasses. I can’t take it.
The finished cheese plate – featuring from left to right: manchengo, a marvelous ‘grilling cheese,’ jerk cheese, smoked gouda, a creme brie, and the aforementioned chevre. Oh and olives. Always olives.
The grilling cheese was a truly marvelous discovery which I will be repeating as soon as possible on our grill this summer. It was so good and so easy to prepare!
Naturally, it wouldn’t be a proper dinner without a soup course. My Uncle Greg prepared a light and tasty seafood chowder, with, among other things, clams, bits of the lobster, and swordfish.
Don’t worry – we did take a bit of a breather before the main course. There was pulled pork to heat up after its long sous vide bath
Ah yes. This is what every Cuban wants, always
Plus Ropa Vieja, brought by my Uncle Chris, to reheat
Pastelon de amarillo to warm up (for the uninitiated: sweet plaintains mixed with a glorious medley of meats and olives, topped with cheese. A riff on a traditional mofongo, if you will) Courtesy of Uncle Stephen
It wouldn’t be Cuban dinner without the rice…
And the beans. Blurry action shot because, again, I was excited
The combined plate of gloriousness with avocado garnish, paired with Lost Acres Apple Wine
After dinner, the focus switched to the adorable baby cousins
I mean, really, really adorable you guys
There were presents
A smartphone for P! of her very own! How naice
Maracas and a tiny fedora for Orlando! According to P, also hers
Ah yes, P, it looks great on you too
There are giraffes on the maracas you guys. I can’t even
And of course, there was chocolate (curry and toffee flavored) and many, many after dinner libations from my Uncle Stephen, who had also been mixing throughout dinner. He showed up with about five boxes of liquor and at least ten types of bitters, so we were pretty spoiled. My favorite cocktail of the evening was a replication of the ‘4th and Rye’ from 116 Crown in New Haven (rye, gin, St. Germaine, simple syrup, and heat). The recipe shared below was from a close second favorite cocktail of the evening – one of my Uncle Stephen’s own creation
Picture here immersed in his craft
Now that Amy and Orlando have continued their family tour (next stop for them – Florida! lucky) I am a bit sad
Ok, really sad
But overall I feel extremely blessed to have such a wonderful and culinary focused family! Would love to hear some of your family’s traditional dinners in the comments below, and please request any recipes you’d like to try out for yourselves! Don’t forget to try out mixing Uncle Stephen’s cocktail too:
Earl of Plymouth Cocktail
2 oz Plymouth Gin
1.5 oz Earl Grey Infused Vodka
1 oz Lillet Blanc
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
Dash Lavender Bitter
Shake, strain, and pour into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with curled lemon zest