Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brussels Sprout Salad

Sometimes, a dish is so stinkin' simple you don't know how you didn't think of it yourself. For me, vegetable slaws and simple salads are where it's at. Broccoli slaw, coleslaw, and asparagus salad are all variations on the same delicious theme. Slice a crunchy vegetable thin, dress it with something salty and acidic, and you've got a delicious, easy, healthy, side. So why then, was I unable to think of a shaved brussels sprout salad?

Homemade Grenadine

Grenadine. The ubiquitous red syrup in bars everywhere. Originally made from pomegranate juice, most grenadines in the store today are made up of high fructose corn syrup and red food coloring. When I started making cocktails at home I figured, why not make my own?

You simply take equal parts 100% pomegranate juice and sugar and bring to a boil to make a simple syrup. I did 1 cup of each. Once the syrup has thickened a bit, I added a tsp of pomegranate molasses and a few dashes of angostura bitters. Put it in an airtight container, pop it in your fridge and voila, grenadine. I hear it'll last up to a month in the fridge, but I didn't make a huge quantity so I haven't tested that theory.

This recipe makes a very tasty grenadine, but unfortunately, you lose that brilliant red color of the commercial stuff. I'll take the sacrifice on color for flavor, but it does bum me out a bit. I've seen this recipe by Jeffrey Morganthaler which seems to make a more vibrant grenadine. The next time I see some nice pomegranates in the grocery store, I'll definitely give it a try.

Have you made grenadine? What's your favorite cocktail that uses it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mimosa Pops

Oh no, leftover Champagne! That totally sounds like a made-up problem, but in a household of two, can happen. Unlike still wine, sparkling does not hold up. Once the bubbles are gone, it just isn't appealing.

So what do you do when you've got half a bottle of leftover bubbly?

Make Mimosa Pops! Fill your popsicle molds with 50% sparkling wine (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, anything will do) and 50% orange juice, freeze it, and you've got a super delicious, refreshing summertime treat. The only trick is making sure you don't fill the molds all the way to the top since these babies will definitely expand when they freeze. The alcohol content and air bubbles keep the pops from freezing into hard bricks, they are just shy of a snow cone in texture, and because it is only 50% juice they aren't too sweet. And it doesn't end with orange juice. Any juice will work, you just can't call them mimosa pops.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Bazaar by José Andrés

Embutidos Platter: Pan Con Tomate, Iberico Ham, Iberico Loin, Chorizo
I've seen José Andrés on tv, in magazines, and all over the internet. His food not only looks delicious, but a sincere attempt to capture the essence of Spanish cuisine. So when I spent a mini-vacation in Miami, I absolutely had to eat at the Bazaar.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Caorunn Martini

I've only recently become a serious gin drinker. For years I was turned off by the artificial Christmas tree odor that I associated with gin and wouldn't even touch the stuff.

But over the past year, as I've fallen down the rabbit hole of cocktails, I knew that I'd need to give gin another try. The variation in styles and flavors was intriguing and the more I tried, the more I saw how very different each gin was, and I fell in love.

More than just about any other spirit, I find specific gins are made for certain drinks. My general go-to gin at home is Hendricks. It is mild, aromatic, and has a lovely base flavor that I like in many drinks, but not a Martini.

The Martini is somehow the ubiquitous cocktail, but in my experience, it isn't one cocktail. With so few ingredients, one change in spirit or proportions seems to make a very different drink. I make and drink Martinis using several different gin/vermouth combinations (no vodka martinis for me) but each one is different.

So this is not my Martini recipe. I have no singular recipe for all Martinis. This is simply my Caorunn Martini recipe.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Easy Roasted Cauliflower

I was watching tv last week and saw a show extolling the virtues of cauliflower. It's an anti-inflammatory, it's high in anti-oxidants, it increases blood flow. All that is well and good. I am a huge proponent of eating healthily, and I am certain that vegetables are good for me, but honestly, I eat cauliflower because it's freakin' delicious.

Friday, July 04, 2014

2003 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

I had never heard of Emidio Pepe when I bought this bottle of wine. I was talking to a shop owner, asking questions and looking for something "interesting" and he pulled out this bottle.

I was confused. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from 2003? My general rule was to drink Montepulciano nice and young, usually within 2 or 3 years. This wine had more than a decade on it.

He assured me it was special, and yet didn't seem eager to sell the bottle as much as show it off. He made a comment about it being the type of wine he buys for himself and if customers don't buy it, he happily will drink it.

By this point, I was intrigued. I looked up Emidio Pepe and found the producer had a cult following for creating very complex and age-worthy wines, both red and white, in the Abruzzi Region.

I took a gamble, bought this wine as well as a 2009 Emidio Pepe Trebbiano (which I haven't tried yet) and went about my business.

This Montepulciano was a game changer for me.

I drank this bottle over a period of several hours, watching it transform, slowly, from mushroomy, earthy, barnyard funk, to bright red fruit, cherries, cranberries, flowers, olives, spice, minerality, constantly evolving from sip to sip. It was amazingly fresh for its age, with medium body, integrated tannins and a silky, long finish. What really blew my mind though, was that in all this complexity, there was such focus and balance. While I discovered something new with every sniff or sip, the wine always seemed so perfectly harmonious, each element in perfect proportion to the whole. It's powerful and elegant, funky and fruity, old and young, all in the same wine. If I had had the willpower, I would've loved to see how it would have transformed in day 2, but I never got there. My husband and I fought over the last pour, sharing it, sip by sip and savoring the most "interesting" wine I've had, perhaps, ever.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Rye-Pastry Pop-Tarts with Cherry Amaretto Filling and Almond Glaze

How to make Rye-Pastry Pop-Tarts with Cherry Amaretto Filling and Almond Glaze

Experimenting in the kitchen today. I've been contemplating homemade pop-tarts/hand pies for a while now and I came across a fellow blogger who was doing just that, only she was using a rye pastry that really tickled my fancy...

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Cheeky Negroni

How to make a Cheeky Negroni
I remember the first time I tried a negroni. I was so excited. I like medicinal flavored cocktails so I thought I was going to love it.

Then I tasted it.

And I just... couldn't.

It was too strong.

I know when I'm beat, and I have no interest in forcing down a drink just because I "want" to like it.

So I made my husband drink it.

I didn't try a negroni again for a couple of years. This time, I figured I was a much more developed connoisseur, of course I'd love it.

And I still... couldn't.

So I chalked up the negroni as  not my kind of cocktail.

Then I made a discovery in the aperitif world... Aperol.