Porch Recipes: Drinks and Small Plates to Enjoy Outdoors

There is no in between with us here in Saratoga Springs. Once it's warm enough to get outside we want out and you can't force us back in until frostbite is a real concern. That also goes for outdoor eating. Restaurant patios open on Broadway and dining al fresco becomes a must do (sometimes with a scarf and jacket, but so what? WE'RE OUTSIDE!). Today we have some spring recipes that are perfect for people watching on the porch. One drink and one small plate, pair them accordingly with your entree or just have more of each.

First up, the cocktail. Rosemary and mint are the perfect cold weather to warm(er) weather couple, and everything goes with vodka, right? (recipe adapted from stripe design group)

ROSEMARY & MINT VODKA MULE

3 Shots Vodka (may we suggest Tito's?)
1 Shot Fresh Lime Juice
8 Mint Leaves (plus 2 for garnish)
2 Small Sprigs of Rosemary (plus 2 for garnish)
4 Cane Sugar Cubes
Sparkling Saratoga water
 
Add the ginger, mint, rosemary, lime juice and cane sugar to the a cocktail shaker and muddle the ingredients in the bottom of the shaker until thoroughly crushed. Add your vodka and ice to above the level of liquid (or more if you've had one of those days). Cap and shake for 10 seconds while waving to neighbors passing by on the sidewalk. Invite those that you like up for a Mule. Strain into some beautiful tumblers from Silverwood Home & Gallery full of ice cubes, fill with sparkling Saratoga water and garnish with remaining mint and rosemary. Delight in how fresh and herby and just downright springy your cocktail is while you chat with friends about the upcoming Derby.

GRILLED ASPARAGUS SUBS WITH SMOKY FRENCH DRESSING (aka "Oh these? I just threw these together!") recipe from food & wine

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
Salt, preferably smoked salt
2 pounds medium asparagus, peeled and trimmed
Olive oil, for drizzling
Four 7-inch sub or hoagie rolls, split and lightly toasted
1/4 cup raisins
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a blender, combine the ketchup with the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, garlic and chipotle and puree until smooth. Season the French dressing with salt. (You can make this dressing ahead of time and whip out like you just have homemade dressings in your fridge at all times like a hostess extraordinaire, it keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days for maximum spontaneity.)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until bright green, around 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and spread on a large baking sheet to cool. Preheat a large grill pan and drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt. Grill over moderately high heat, turning, until tender and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Alternate the grilling with mixing up more mules.

Spread the cut sides of each roll with 3 tablespoons of the smoky French dressing. Arrange the grilled asparagus on the subs and top with the raisins, scallions and crumbled feta. Close the sandwiches and serve. Et voila!

 

Posted on April 15, 2015 .