Hot Mami – a Mother’s Day Cocktail

A couple of years ago I made a mess of a cocktail with Rooh Afza, a rose-flavored syrup used to make yummy (non-alcoholic) summer drinks. It was a few of days after the end of Ramadan, during which we had been abstaining from alcohol, but drinking lots of Rooh Afza. We had a few friends over, and I mixed up some concoction with the syrup and vodka – you know, just to be funny in an inappropriate way – but I was rightfully smote.

Luckily, I got the chance to redeem myself this year at a BBQ we were having on Mother’s Day. We had made up a pitcher of Rooh Afza for the nondrinkers, so I decided to try again. This drink features Absolut Mandarin, with Rooh Afza already made up (mixed with sugar, water, and lemon juice), and is topped off with Sprite. The ratio is about 1 to 2 to 2. The result was sparkly and sweet, and I made up a cute name for it as I was carrying one over to my mother.

Shan also liked it, and as unofficial bartender began mixing them to distribute to the rest of our guests. It was delish, but to tell the truth maybe a little too sweet. Instead of Sprite I’d like to try it with orange seltzer. Happy Mother’s Day!

Braised Squash Salad

Or, Ensalada de Calabacín Estofado (Cinco de Mayo edition)

Note: this salad is good, but this Summer Squash with Roasted Tomatillo Vinaigrette is better!

I had no intention of posting this, but this salad turned out to be so quick and tasty I thought why not make a quick and tasty post? The salad itself came about because:
a) it’s Cinco de Mayo and although this isn’t exactly Mexican, there’s an inspiration in the cheese and the dressing.
b) my daughter has lately decided she has a green aversion so, instead of tirelessly pushing the broccoli and bok choy I took a break tonight, and
c) margaritas alone do not make a meal. Well, a family meal anyway.

Squash Salad

Like every good recipe this begins with a few cloves of garlic sauteed in olive oil. I tossed in two sliced summer squash with salt and pepper and a splash of chicken broth and let this cook until the squash was soft and most of the liquid had evaporated. Then comes spinach dressed with a tomatillo vinaigrette made with tomatillo salsa, sherry vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper . I finished it up by crumbling a little queso fresco over the greens and spooning the warm squash over the top. (For Zoeya, I sliced up a couple of the pieces of squash and served it alongside rice and cheese).

This was a lovely, colorful salad and would make a perfect side to any dish this summer. I’ll make this again when we barbecue and instead of braising the squash I’ll just toss it on the grill. 3