Thursday Answers, Part Deuxsie

Answers to Tuesday Trivia, Part Deuxsie are here!

Well, well, well.  Someone swooped in late this time and got Every.  Single.  Answer.  Correct.  Who, you ask?  The answer, after the answers:

  1. The egg came first, of course!  The egg as a form of sexual reproduction is at least one billion years old, much older than the first birds, which arrived on the scene about 100 million years ago (the chicken as we know it, for example, has only been around for four to five thousand years).  Reptiles, on the other hand, have been laying eggs for over 250 million years.  Ridiculous, age-old question solved!
  2. Champagne was invented by a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon.  Because champagne doesn’t sound all that fancy when you simply call it “Pierre” (let’s open a bottle of Pierre to celebrate!), the famous champagne-maker Moët et Chandon adopted the monk’s title and last name when they began selling this brand as Dom Pérignon in 1936.
  3. They traditionally belong to the lily family, Liliaceae.  A bone of contention over the years in scientific circls, most botanists have now moved the onion and the leek into the Alliaceae family, while moving the asparagus into the Asparagaceae family.  However you slice them, though, they’re all still in the Liliopsida (lily) class and still one big, happy, delicious family.
  4. Castor beans don’t belong in that equation.  While useful for a good number of other things, they are not a legume, as were the others.
  5. The sauces are hollandaise, béarnaise and mayonnaise.  The complex science behind emulsified sauces makes it hard to imagine that anyone ever managed to make a hollandaise in the first place, and involves such Scrabulous words as “flocculation” and “colloidal system.”  It will certainly make you appreciate Hellman’s in a whole new light.
  6. BONUS:  Speaking of Hellman’s, mayonnaise is the only emulsified sauce that must be made at room temperature.  Hollandaise and béarnaise must be cooked, since they are both made with butter (which is, of course, solid at room temp.  Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is made with oil and egg yolks.

Deciding the winner this time was extremely difficult, and let’s discuss why.

The Grumpy Chef came in fast and strong, beating everyone else to the punch with his answers.  However, his answers to numbers 5 and 6 used “aioli” in place of “mayonnaise.”  Now, knowing that The Grumpy Chef is European (although he, like my husband, would probably argue that he is “English” and not “European”), I understand his tendency to use “aioli” instead of “mayonnaise.”  It’s very common across the pond to use those two words interchangably.

However…  Aioli and mayonnaise aren’t quite the same thing.  Traditional aioli is made without egg yolks, and uses garlic as the emulsifying agent instead.  I know, I know — I’m nitpicking, especially for a contest where the prize is NOTHING.

That said, I have awarded the prize for this week’s contest to Pooh! and her late, but correct, answers.  And a very honorable mention goes to my adored Grumpy Chef (seriously, if chefs could have groupies, I’d be one of his).

Pooh! runs a blog with all manner of humorous observations about life, Houston and life in Houston.  Go pay her a visit!

The Grumpy Chef runs a blog called “Who Dares Cook” about being a chef in the UK.  It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the kitchen and what the chef really thinks of you:  “I am a Chef. A good Chef living on the edge of insanity within an Industry full of morons and aristocrats! Everyday, customers rain down on my establishment to cause chaos, mayhem and anarchy with their ill-conceived ideals of what is right in an environment like mine. Believe me, the customer ain’t always right. I also have blue eyes and a temper Satan would be proud of.”  He does not mince words.  And he is hilarious.  Go pay him a visit!

Stay tuned for the next round of Tuesday Trivia next week.  Til then, happy eating!

Green Drinks

Initial thoughts from the Green Drinks happy hour last night (to support the Caroline Collective) at Beaver’s:

The cocktails. Were. Awesome. If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know that I’m a beer connoisseur and drink liquor very, very rarely, if ever. But I couldn’t go to Green Drinks and not try one of the Green Drinks themselves. Oh, what a slippery slope… Before I knew it, I had sucked it down and was onto the next cocktail, a Summer’s Delight, which Jeff shoved into my hand despite my protestations. I’m going solely off memory here for the drinks, so if I don’t have them quite right, well…tough.

The eponymous Green Drink is a twist on the traditional Lime Rickey. It was a highly-refreshing mixture of vodka, gin, lime juice and rosemary, with a fragrant sprig of rosemary as a garnish. True to its name, all of the ingredients are organic or environmentally-friendly, right down to the supposedly recycled glass tumbler in which it’s served. Being a non-cocktail kind of person, it had never occurred to me to put a savory herb into a drink like this (I think of lime juice, I think of mint…that’s how my thought process works). But the results are fantastic. The drink is cool, slightly spicy, slightly tart and extremely invigorating.

The next drink was the special of the night: Summer’s Delight. Almost the polar opposite of the Green Drink, the Summer’s Delight was nevertheless equally refreshing and an excellent option for a hot summer’s night. Composed of rum, ginger syrup and Crenshaw melon, with a juicy chunk of said melon as a garnish, this drink was unabashedly sweet and peppery with musky undertones from the rum and the melon. It was an outgoing, fun, sultry cocktail that I could have easily drunk all night.

But the evening wasn’t all about cocktails. There was also food, of course.

The evening’s appetizer special was a redfish ceviche topped with creamy guacamole. I tried very hard to make out all of the ingredients in the ceviche, but it was dark inside and –frankly — I was too busy shoveling it into my mouth at warp speed to make out every nuance of the dish. If they filled a trough with this ceviche, I would eat until my stomach burst. It was that good.

The chunks of redfish really stood out, a welcome change from most ceviches where the fish is overpowered by lime juice or bits of mango or whatever other crap the kitchen has thrown in. With Beaver’s ceviche, the fish truly is the star and is subtly enhanced by the other ingredients. I truly believe that I saw and tasted octopus in there as well, but I could be wrong. If so, bravo. Octopus is my favorite seafood and is criminally underused. There were also fat pieces of carrot and other veggies scattered throughout, making the dish almost a full meal in itself. The chips it was served with were heavenly: flour tortillas cut into pieces and fried until stiff but crumbly. You know the ones…so good.

Great pictures from the night can be seen here. However, if you also want to see really crappy-looking pictures from the night, you’re in luck! Read on…

Inside Beaver's
Inside Beaver’s. Very cozy.

Bar at Beaver's
Home of some very friendly, very professional and very talented bartenders. Also, I love the glass lanterns above the bar…

Green Drink
I totally butchered this photo of my Green Drink, but look at that fantastic table! No, really! Those are environmentally-friendly tabletops from the guys at New Living, a green home and building supply company here in Houston.

One down, one to go
Green Drink down; Summer’s Delight, go! See that delicious scoop of melon?

And, of course, the divine redfish ceviche.

Remember, Green Drinks will be on all summer, so head over to Beaver’s next Wednesday if you want to try some fun, inventive and delicious cocktails and food for yourself.

UPDATE:  Jeff (a different Jeff from the one above) posts his thoughts on the night along with a few menu “suggestions” for the fine folks at Beaver’s.