The Great Improvers

July 4th, 2013 § 0 comments

At the urging (very vigorous urging) of BSK, obedient HG has given up vodka as a pre-dinner cocktail. A sobering move. Instead, creative HG fills a wine glass with ice. In goes some cheap, indifferent white wine plus some Campari and generous squeezes of lime. A refreshing, lightly alcoholic drink. Perfect for summer. While sipping, HG thought how Campari is one of the Great Improvers — it enlivens sparkling water, tonic water and, when living dangerously, it can make even the most pedestrian vodka sing; an even better pairing is vodka, Campari, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and lots of ice. Strained into a chilled martini glass — delicious. Other members of the Great Improvers Club are Sriracha, Parmesan cheese and sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Few things are not made better by a judicious squirt of tongue tingling sriracha. It first made its appearance on the tables of Vietnamese restaurants in the United States. Now,it can be found in every supermarket and in every professional kichen — a Sriracha flavored Dorito chip cannot be far behind. Parmesan is the savior of indifferent Italian cooking (and salad making). Sour cream and/or thick Greek yogurt rescues many Jewish/Russian/Eastern European dishes. Borscht, schav (chilled sorrel soup) and pelmeny (Siberian ravioli) should always be served with abundant dollops of sour cream. Karnezelach (beef-onion-garlic-parsley burgers formed into fat cigar shapes and pan broiled) are attractive with Greek yogurt enhanced by garlic, olive oil and some sliced radish. Latkes (potato pancakes) become poetic with good sour cream. As for blintzes, pierogi, etc. All are simply excuses to eat lots of sour cream.


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