Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
The inspiration for the spiced wine is thanks to Il Spazio and Krista. The restaurant/brewery opened up in Kirksville, Mo., sometime around my junior year of college. And on several occasions, my roommate Krista would come home raving about "fuerte" beer, but the best by far was the seasonal hot spiced wine. Kirksville was in a part of Missouri that is the recipient of a lot of wind and our apartment that year was effing freezing (we paid $500 one month for gas and we weren't even warm), so hot spiced wine seemed like the only respite in a long, dark and very cold winter.
This past December seems like ages ago now that it's 70 degrees outside, but dang it was cold and I was determined to make this hot mulled wine. I borrowed my mom's giant crockpot and blew like $150 on food an accoutrements--even though I bought the cheapest wine that Wohlner's stocks. That was a mistake first of all because the wine was (obviously) not that great, and secondly because as I was bringing the groceries up to my apartment I bumped the sack on the stairs and one of the wine bottles crunched into a million pieces with red wine dripping all down the stairs. Thankfully this happened outside.
Things turned out all right in the end. I was right in thinking even bad wine could be improved with sugar, amaretto and apple cider. And even though the counter was covered in sticky grime from spilled "punch," the wine was gone and someone asked for the recipe. So here it is. The only thing I would change would be buying nicer wine--but not too nice. (Jesse, perhaps you can make a recommendation here?)
Hot Spiced Wine: 2 750-milliliter bottles of red wine (Burgundy is usually recommended) 1 cup amaretto liqueur (brandy would be a good choice here, I just happen to be the sort of person that has amaretto hanging around the house) a lot of apple cider (if you're actually measuring I would guess it to be about 5 cups) 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon mulling spices (these include black peppercorns, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, star anise and allspice--I saved about $100 by buying them in a container labled "mulling spices") In a crockpot on high heat, pour wine, amaretto and cider. Dump in the sugar. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Place whole mulling spices into a cheesecloth or one of those metal tea balls. Allow 30 minutes for wine to heat up. Turn crockpot down to medium and serve. If you're fancy, garnish with whole cinnamon sticks.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (4 or 5 bananas)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Some really great things have been happening lately. And I mean really great. So great I can't even handle it. In one day my name was drawn out of a hat to go on a trip to Africa for work. (Let's contemplate the ridiculousness/awesomeness of that in subsequent postings.) And then I got home and had a package sitting on top of my mailbox that signalled my acceptance into a graduate school for creative writing. I did the dance, running up the stairs, calling my mom completely out of breath, lusting after fabulous life in Boston ... and then I freaked out. I thought about my entire future (or at least two years of it) and it was like in tetris when you advance so far and allthetilesstartfallingdownatonceandyoucan'tstopitandit'soutofcontrolandthen game over.
But I got a grip, which I subsequently lost again. Thanks to some coaching by Lindsey, I've got a plan that does not involve an existential crisis.
This will probably come as no surprise, but I use food as a coping mechanism. And last night, what I needed was to cope. And chop things into tiny pieces. And I'm getting a cold, so soup.
Chicken Noodle Soup: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 large onion, chopped 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (or one or two whole carrots) 1 garlic clove, chopped 4 cups chicken stock 2 pounds chicken (this is approximate, I used one leg and it wasn't enough) 1/2 cup orzo pasta (or 1 cup egg noodles) 1 teapsoon dried parsley 1 teapsoon dried basil
Heat oil in medium skillet on medium heat, saute carrots and onion for a few minutes until onion is a bit translucent. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add chicken stock, bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Add chicken. I added a chicken leg, boiled it for about 15 minutes until it was cooked through, removed it from the stock and chopped it separately to throw back into the soup. You could probably just use chicken breast or any other meat and chop it beforehand and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
On a heavy simmer, toss in the pasta--I added 1 whole cup of orzo (which is rice-shaped pasta) and it took over, so don't do that. Continue to simmer until pasta is cooked through according to directions. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with parsley and basil (I'm Italian, this is how we roll).
Thursday, March 5, 2009
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
handful of asparagus
pepper To cut asparagus, take one stalk and bend it until it breaks. Use this as a guide when chopping off the ends of the rest of the stalks. You don't really want to eat the bottom of the asparagus because it's pretty starchy. To pick good asparagus at the store make sure they are firm and nicely colored like the ones in the top photo. I prefer thinner asparagus.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce cans of garbanzo beans or chickpeas
In a medium skillet, bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in spinach and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until wilted, stirring. Drain spinach in colander and use a paper towel to squeeze out some of the water. Coarsley chop.
Fudge Brownie Supreme: taken from the All-American Cookie Book that my mom found at a thrift store 1 stick butter plus 2 tablespoons 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup light brown sugar 3 eggs 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2/3 cup flour 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa 1/4 teaspoon salt Microwave and nearly melt butter and chocolate. Mix in sugars and eggs/vanilla. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Pour into greased 8x8 pan. Bake 350 for 28 minutes. It has a great gooey center and an outer crust for texture.