Friends, just wanted to give a shout out to those who have been so deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy. We know many are without power and some losses are severe. For those of you who will be enjoying Halloween tonight, may I suggest a great Bloody Mary recipe to fit with the evening…reflecting the hurricane-defiant culture of New Orleans! If you are one of the lucky ones who already has my new Ghost Chile Pepper Extract in-house, then crack that bottle open and get ready. For the rest of you, order some here, and you’ll be sharing in the fun next week. My good friends over at Mouth Foods and the Food Film Festival have put together a discount code for 20% off all products. Use code NYCFFF12.
Ghost Chile Extract Bloody Mary with Pickled Vegetables
You’ll note that this recipe is fairly low in vodka content. That’s because, to my taste, the harsh taste of distilled alcohol, if too much is used, turns the whole Bloody Mary harsh. So I prefer to low-ball it, vodka-wise. Now, if your guests want to add more vodka…you’ve got it on the bar, and they’re welcome to doctor their glasses. If, on the other hand, you’re expecting guests who don’t want any alcohol—you might consider making an extra batch of the following recipe for them (¼ the recipe? ½ the recipe?) that omits the vodka. It still tastes great! Then, on the self-service Bloody Mary bar, point out that you’ve got “rowdy” pitchers of Bloody Marys, and “polite” ones too.
makes at least 3-dozen four-ounce Ghost Chile Bloody Marys
(4) 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes in thick tomato purée, chilled
6 cups tomato juice, chilled
2 tablespoons celery salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons cayenne (or to taste)
1½ teaspoons Ghost Chile Pepper Extract (or to taste)
1½ cups chilled vodka
salt to taste
pickled vegetable garnishes (see Vegetable Garnish Note)
1. Working in batches, purée the canned tomatoes and their thick purée in a food processor. You will have a rich liquid, with no lumps.
2. In a large bowl, or pot, combine the purée with the tomato juice, and blend well.
3. Add the celery salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, Chile Pepper Extract, and vodka. Season to taste with salt; you may need more than you expect to bring up the flavor of the mix (canned tomatoes have less salt than tomato juice). Keep mixture cold.
4. When ready to serve, fill up an 8-ounce tumbler with ice cubes. Pour about 4 ounces of Bloody Mary mixture over the ice, which should almost fill the glass. Garnish with pickled vegetables, at least 3 pieces per glass.
Vegetable Garnish Note
Arrange at least 4 or 5 different kinds of pickled vegetables on 4 or 5 dishes; your guests will help themselves to the garnishes for their Bloody Marys. Generally speaking, “long ” vegetables work best as stirrers. But “short” vegetables can work too, as long as you thread several of each one on a toothpick. Here are a few specific ideas:
Pickled Okra. This, of course, is the perfect garnish for a Cajun Bloody Mary. Strive to find it! Luckily, a company called Talk o’ Texas makes pickled okra in two varieties (I prefer the “hot”), and distributes the product to supermarkets across the country,
Pickled String Beans. This is another pickled veg you often see in Louisiana Bloodies. A Washington State company called Hogue Farms makes a pickled string bean that is widely distributed.
Pickled Asparagus Spears. Hogue Farms makes this as well.
Pepperoncini. Also called “Tuscan peppers,” and available in most supermarkets across the U.S.
Pickled Cocktail Onions. Available everywhere. I like to thread 3 of them on a fancy toothpick, then assemble dozens of these picks on a plate.
Pimiento-Stuffed Olives. Choose smaller olives, and arrange on toothpicks like the cocktail onions.