Monday, April 11, 2011

Magic Little Pink Peppercorns

Spicy desserts, herbal cocktails, and floral notes in savory dishes always enchant me. These combinations are seemingly paradoxical, but so deliciously complex when perfected. Lavender shortbread, aromatic gin (like Aviation or Ransom’s Old Tom), fiery sauces filled with Szechuan pepper… My roommate just told me about an olive oil chocolate bar that Xocolatl de David is making while I was typing this; that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

My current passion is for pink peppercorns. If their scent were bottled, I’d wear it as perfume. I first had this revelation when I tried the Pink Pepper cocktail at Yakuza, which, coincidently is made with Aviation Gin. That’s shaken with fresh grapefruit juice, bitters, lime, and pink peppercorns that float on top, perfuming your nostrils with every lively sip. It’s fantastic.

At Aviary, a new restaurant on Alberta Street where three chefs collaborate every night to turn out an inventive and thoughtful menu, smoked pork ribs are served with a tamarind glaze, green papaya slaw, and a dusting of pink peppercorns that brighten the entire dish.

A friend recently pulled me into Sizzle Pie on East Burnside to try their pizza, but I was completely enthralled by the salad. The Word Salad as it’s called, is a simple combination of good local red leaf lettuce (the silky yet crunchy texture is critical), pepperoncinis, red onions, and pepitas. But it’s the dressing, this super-light, magic dressing that I cannot stop thinking about and would probably put on every vegetable that came across my kitchen counter if I had the recipe, is what really makes it. They call it their Vegan Pink Peppercorn White Wine Vinaigrette, I call it amazing, and I can’t wait to figure out how to make a version of it myself.

I’ll leave you with a heavenly photo by blogger Aran Goyaga from her gorgeous website, Canelle et Vanille, of raspberry macarons with pink peppercorn buttercream. Here. See what I mean?

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