Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Change is in the Air

It saddens me to report that the weather is starting to turn here in New York. Today, as I drove into town, I saw hints of orange and gold on leaves at the very edges of tree branches along my route, and I sighed a long, deep sigh, knowing that the party is almost over. July was hot and steamy, but August is suddenly much cooler and drier, and you can actually feel and smell fall in the air. What a bittersweet time of year, when summer begins to fade away, the days get shorter, the mornings and evenings chillier. For me, this Autumn will be even more melancholy, as I will be moving out of my home in a few short weeks. I can't tell you how sad it makes me to have just typed those words onto my keyboard, friends, for I have more memories from my past seven years in this house than I can ever pack into a moving box, carry away with me. I've cooked so many great meals here, and some, not so great! I've celebrated, and I've cried. I started a business, wrote a book, got married, made friends, built fires, laughed, and mourned. But mostly, I've lived just like each of you do--doing the everyday, boring things that make up a life.

I will be leaving this home to live on my own in a tiny little cottage not far from here. The road ahead of me is a tad daunting, but I was raised to not wring my hands, or wilt away when one of life's curve balls comes hurling my way, and I'm not about to start now at 44 years old (see Whistling Away from March 30th). Instead, I am looking forward to writing about my adventures as I try to live in a space not much larger than a Smart Car, and cook in a kitchen approximately the size of a Triscuit. Of course this is an emotional time for me, but I have the boundless love and support of my absolutely amazing family (an understatement), my incredible friends, and you fabulous blogoholics out there!, to help get me through it with dignity, grace, and head-shaking, eye-rolling humor. And, when all else fails, there is always a good, dry martini at the end of the day to help make a scary life change seem not quite so scary, chase away the damp chill the change of season will surely bring.

6 oz. vodka (I like Grey Goose) or gin
A splash of dry vermouth (I use Martini & Rossi)
3 olives (or, a twist of lemon if you prefer)
Crushed ice

Few things compare to an icy, cold martini, so I keep my vodka and vermouth in the freezer at all times. However, if you don't happen to have the same martini addiction that I do, just put both bottles in the freezer for about an hour prior to making your cocktail. You might also want to throw (not literally) your martini glass in the freezer for about ten minutes before mixing the ingredients as it will help keep your drink nice and frosty as you sip it.

When your ingredients are cold, pour a tiny bit of vermouth into a martini glass, swirl it around the inside of the glass, then empty it out. Place a good amount of crushed ice to a cocktail shaker, add your vodka and shake the living daylights out of it. Not ten seconds, not fifteen seconds, but twenty to thirty seconds worth of shaking. Finally, strain the martini into your glass. Add the olives (you can skewer them on a toothpick if you'd like), sit back, enjoy your perfect martini.

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