Celebrate the Bounty | Eat & Drink Local

I’m the first gal who’ll admit to buying the occasional Costco rotisserie chicken. Hell, I’m getting my dog food and industrial bag of string cheese for my guys anyway and they’re RIGHT THERE. However, when I’ve got the chance, opportunity, and ability to shop at/from locally-owned producers, restaurants, and booze mongers you bet your ass I’ll pick a locally-owned or independent place first. According to Local First Utah, “Studies show that for every dollar spent in a locally owned Utah business, four times more of that dollar stays in our economy than would be the case with a national retailer.”

Photo courtesy of Local First Utah

Photo courtesy of Local First Utah

I’m all behind any campaign celebrating the Beehive State’s bodacious bounty, and am pleased as punch that the fine folks over at Local First Utah have made it their priority since 2006. I recently wrote for my other gig at cityhomeCOLLECTIVE about the awesome annual fundraiser for Local First Utah, “Celebrate the Bounty” 

Supporting locally-owned businesses, artisans, farms, creators, and independent operators, Local First Utah provides tools and resources to keep Utah businesses thriving. They also create buzz to get consumers out of big box stores and into independent shops, making the choice to “Buy Local First” an attractive economic and social imperative. Now that’s a damn fine message. Local First’s annual fundraiser Celebrate the Bounty is coming up October 15th at the rustic Rico’s Warehouse, and the fest will feature nosh from some of our fave local food talents: Avenues Bistro, Frida Bistro, From Scratch, Handle Park City, Pallet, Red Iguana, SLC Pop, and Zest, among a few fabulous others. Dranks will be flowing from the glorious shaker of Bar-X boozeman Jake Hall, vino from IG Winery, and Wasatch Brewery’s got the beer options covered. Sips ‘n’ eats: handled. Your tickets? Go get ‘em.

Purchase tickets HERE!

Local First presents Celebrate the Bounty

Thursday, October 15th, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Rico’s Warehouse, 545 W 700 S, SLC


Green Envy

A vibrant cocktail made with herbal gin, dry vermouth, zucchini juice, and celery bitters. These bright, elegant flavors eek out the last of summer’s bounty with a boozy kick. AND, it’s yet another way to use up that wheelbarrow full of zucchini!

Green Envy Gin, Ransom dry vermouth, celery bitters, zucchini juice, tarragon, and a bigass ice cube

Green Envy
Gin, Ransom dry vermouth, celery bitters, zucchini juice, tarragon, and a bigass ice cube

Green Envy

2.5 oz strained zucchini juice

3-4 dashes celery bitters

1 oz Ransom dry vermouth

2 oz Beehive Jackrabbit Gin

tarragon sprig

To a bar glass, add zucchini juice, bitters, vermouth and gin. Stir well with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over a bigass ice cube. Garnish with a tarragon sprig.

The story behind the drink….

This is NOT the side of the fence she's supposed to inhabit.

This is NOT the side of the fence she’s supposed to inhabit.

Every year I get requests from friends on how to use up zucchini, so this is a general H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) response to add one more recipe to the arsenal, y’all. With a boozy cocktail!

This year’s garden situation has been hit-and-miss. My man The Macallan graciously built garden fence version 9.2 to keep the dogs and chickens out (this’d be an annual endeavor that has been unsuccessful every damn year). Sure enough, we get everything up and thriving, then BAM, come some dark August night I go out to investigate rustling in the tomatoes and find one or both of our chocolate Labradors gleefully gobbling down veggies left and right, waging destruction on the tender fruits in their 80 pound wake.

Zucchinipalooza! Fried, casserole-d, and in dense bread that's more like dessert than bread.

Zucchinipalooza! Fried, casserole-d, and in dense bread that’s more like dessert than bread.

We’ve been able to salvage a few baseball bat zucchini that the canine horde missed in their grazing, and I’ve been doing the usual harvest blitz of convincing my family that one of my favorite vegetables should be theirs, too. Zucchini bread’s always a winner, and who doesn’t love anything stuffed with cheese and then tempura battered and deep fried (that’d go for the zucchini blossoms). They are beyond tired of grilled zucchini already, and gave a “meh” vote to the buttery casserole. Whatevs. I will persevere.

Persevere with booze in my glass, anyway. After squeezing the shredded zucchini to release much of the liquid before it goes into the bread batter, I’m left with a few cups of gorgeous vibrant green juice. Sure, I could be all healthy and put it in a smoothie, but I’d rather toss it in a cocktail. The Macallan and I drank a couple of these sitting in the garden while trying to figure out Fence Version 9.3, and finally decided that we’d give up this season and go for full electric badassery next year. And those dogs’d better get their asses in gear for duck season to redeem themselves or they’re gonna be on my shit list for a while. Who am I kidding? They’re adorable and sweet as can be. It’s a good thing they’re so damn cute. And at least they don’t eat the lettuce.

Plum Loco

This week’s H.O.A.G.Y. (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) comes from my new best girlfriend who has several 30+ year old fruit trees in the backyard of her Avenues home in our Salty City. Plums, pears, apples, and other fruity goodness for days, people. The boys and I went over a few days ago and harvested buckets full of her late-season plums, and she’s still swimmin’ in ’em.  I’m sending her some of my Plum Ginger Pink Peppercorn syrup–which is dead easy to make with even the squishiest of fruit you’ve got on hand– in thanks for sharing her bounty, and hope she’ll make this fab tequila cocktail with it, or perhaps an equally delish Plum Lucky (with gin) or Plum Crazy (with bourbon). It’s ALL good.

Plum Loco A tequila, plum & ginger glass of YUM

Plum Loco
A tequila, plum & ginger glass of YUM

 Plum Loco

1.5 oz (okay, more like 2) oz. tequila blanco

0.5 oz. Cointreau or triple sec

2 oz. Plum Ginger pink peppercorn syrup

splash of club soda

generous pinch of smoked sea salt

Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. To a bar glass filled with ice, add the tequila, Cointreau, and plum syrup. Stir with a bar spoon for a minute. Strain into the Collins glass. Add a splash of club soda floater. As with many sweet drinks, a good pinch of salt does wonders right on top; use plain kosher salt, or some wacky smoked sea salt you’ve been saving up. Get yourself a straw to slurp down all of that sweet, sweet goodness.



A Sassy Orange Julep

Bourbon-Campari Sassy Orange Julep

Bourbon-Campari Sassy Orange Julep

It’s been one of those days.  I ruined a whole batch of strawberry-rhubarb compote by leaving it on the back burner for too long unattended and it totally burnt to the bottom of the pan and splattered all over the stove.  The kids are in meltdown because it’s way past pajama time on a school night “but it’s still light outside mooooooommm.”  The dogs have defeated garden fence version 8.0 and trampled another generation of heirloom tomato plants, and have the baby pullets so freaked out by their barking that the chicks are huddled in a corner of the coop.  (You’d think our dogs would be used to chickens after all this time, but as Sprite said, “they can’t help it, Mom.  Those chicks are, like, bite-sized.”)

This is the cocktail I made tonight.   To remind me that Spring means mint straight from the un-molested corner of the garden.  And frothy Campari cocktails.  And that compared to the truly horrific things that can and do happen to very good people, my slice of frustration is pretty damned small.  I can sit in my lovely chair by the chicken coop and enjoy my view of the portion of the garden that wasn’t pummeled by Labradors.   Most likely the tomatoes will recover, there will be more than enough rhubarb in my future, and our pullets will grow up to be feisty and productive egg layers.  And school will be out of session soon and we’ll all get to enjoy late nights playing outside until it gets dark.

Cheers, y’all.  Here’s to Spring.

Sassy Orange Julep

4-5 fresh mint leaves (plus more for garnish)

1.5 oz. bourbon

0.5 oz. Campari

The juice of ½ orange

1 oz. simple syrup (if y’all have some of that minted simple syrup left, now’s the time to use it!)

Enough ice to cover ingredients

Place all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until frothy and chilled through.  Pour into a tall glass and add another 1-2 oz. of club soda if it’s a particularly warm day.  Garnish with mint & and orange slice.