This bi-partisan effort back in August involved drinking something I read about in the right-leaning Wall Street Journal and eating something I found on the leftish website NPR.org.
The Michelada recipe that appeared in the WSJ on August 8 described this drink as the Bloody Mary's Spanish-speaking cousin. The article billed this drink as a refreshing way to beat the heat. It didn't take much more to sell me. There were a few recipes for this spicy tomato beer cocktail. I tried the following. But I made a key substitution, which may earn me some ridicule.
1 oz. sangrita (see below)
3/4 oz. lime juice
1 bottle Negra Modelo
32 ounces tomato juice
8 oz. celery juice
6 oz. lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon celery salt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
mix ingredients and refrigerate
So I read all that about mixing up 32 oz of tomato juice to try one beer drink and thought, "Hey that Sangrita sounds a lot like Spicy V8!" So I goofed around with it (a little more V8? A dash of Worcestershire . . . A bit more lime . . .). At the end of it all I decided that either I had screwed it all up or it was only ok. I drank it all. It wasn't terrible. But it was the only one I made all summer.
What sounded so good from NPR's website? This article on grilled clams! Littlenecks on the grill with garlic butter sauce sounded like fun.
I'd never done clams on the grill before. It was a total breeze--and my wife grew up eating littleneck clams so she was excited for this project (while just a sip of the Michelada was plenty for her). I got a bag of about 2 dozen littlenecks from the seafood counter. My wife scrubbed them up while I got the coals going at a nice medium heat.
All you do is stand over the clams until they pop open. It was cool. They hissed and spluttered. Then they would crack open just a bit and then they opened wide. I used tongs to transfer them all into a big bowl. The recipe says to spoon the sauce over all the clams, but we used it as a dipping sauce instead. The recipe for the butter sauce is below. Can I be honest? It all smelled awesome and seemed very fancy. It tasted like sour cream and chives potato chips. I like sour cream and chives potato chips. But not all that much. I'm glad we reserved it as a dipping sauce.
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) cut into small pieces
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat until it is foamy. Add the garlic and saute, stirring, until it is fragrant but has not colored, about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and heavy cream, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer to reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons butter one piece at a time, whisking constantly until the sauce is shiny, emulsified and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the chives and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm until ready to serve.