Tag Archives: cranberries

This is a process

19 Dec

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Life is a process. And it is worth it.

As is this cocktail.

And other deep thoughts.

Let us infuse some shit.

But first a shameless plug for my positively adorable in every way improv group:
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This is our sexy face.
Improv is a process. It takes a long long long time to not suck all the time. I have recently been trying to really FOCUS and put the time into doing what I do. I am aiming for quality of activities over quantity.

And that was my segue into saying that this cocktail is a process. I saw it posted on The Table Set podcast and I knew I wanted it. It takes about a week of patience. The creator, Nathan Hazard (great name), calls it the December Dilemma and I am calling my minor adaptation December Do. As in “just do it”. Do. DO.

Normally the minute I see a cocktail that requires an infusion, or making a big batch of some alcohol I can only fathom using in one or two instances, I eschew the idea of making it. But I could not run away from this. It was too perfect for the season.

I adore wine. I adore cranberries. And bourbon. And I am madly, madly in love with Campari. You can run off down darkened alleys with Aperol and claim it is preferable all you want, but Aperol will take your money and run.

Campari will be there. Ready to amuse you with it’s bitter wit and dazzle you with it’s colorful personality.

So even though this recipe involves handmade wine-sugar-infused cranberries in lieu of my adored Luxardo cherries, and cranberry-infused-Campari, I could not resist because I began to imagine the many delights I could make with what I decided to call Lux-erries and Cran-pari.

I had to adapt a bit. I wanted to get cracking the night I saw this and it felt too late to be running to the store so I did not use the Manischewitz wine. Instead I used a lovely Ravenswood Zin. I also did not feel like laying out the funds for the Punt e Mes so I used a slightly smaller amount of Martini and Rossi Rosso vermouth plus a bit of regular Campari.

Heaven can be yours if you wait.

December Do barely adapted from this recipe on The Table Set
Starting a week ahead make your:
Cran-pari:
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
3 cups Campari
Heat the cranberries, sugar, and water over medium until the berries start to pop. Let them cool then add to a jar with the Campari. Store in a cool and dark dungeon like your refrigerator and shake daily for a week. Then strain two times. I strained from the jar into a wide-mouthed glass measuring cup with a spout, then placed the strainer over a funnel and funneled into the original Campari bottle.
Also make:
Lux-erries
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups red wine, I used Zinfandel
Heat the red wine until it is reduced by half. Add sugar and heat and stir until it is well dissolved and you have a lovely syrup-y wine. Add cranberries and allow to cool. Allow about a week in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally if the cranberries are rising way over the wine.
For The Drink:
1 1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz. Cran-Pari
3/4 oz. Martini & Rossi Rosso
1/4 oz. Campari
Lux-erries
orange zest
Stir the rye, cran-pari, vermouth, and campari in a chilled mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a Lux-erry or so. Run the orange peel around the rim, squeeze it over the drink and discard. Or don’t. Do what ya feel.

Mad Man’s Brilliance

20 Dec

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I introduced you to the culinary stylings of my brother’s mad scientist compadre (whom we are calling MM) with this purple pie.

Twas’ unfair, really, as I should have started with his AMAZING cranberry concoctions. He made both sweet and savory cranberry sauces, the former saving my not-sweet-enough-and-underspiced-because-my-brother-doesn’t-properly-stock-his-kitchen pumpkin pie when I got the brilliant idea to use it as a pie topping, the latter receiving raves from all carnivores on hand.

I’m thinking a New Year’s resolution will be to not use so many run-on sentences.

And to not resort to terse monosyllabic sarcasm instead.

Elegantly crafted sentences of the proper coherent length!

Someday.

The sauces! MM gave me his estimation of what he did. A mad scientist never make notes while cooking, they just maniacally stir cauldrons and cackle. Or so I like to imagine MM doing in chilly Chicago where the cold seeps into the brains of its residents and leads them to such kitchen shenanigans.

Back in LA I made scaled down renditions of the sauces, even the bacon one! Litelife makes surprisingly tasty smoky tempeh strips called Fakin’ Bacon. MM is a renegade chef so I figured I should follow in his spirit and not be tied down to what he had done.
Here be my tempeh-bacon version:

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Sip a Sazerac while making these.
I did.

Actually I made two different Sazerac recipes, from which I plan to concoct my ideal Saz and post it later. But you see the first two versions hanging out behind the bacon sauce.

Never thought “bacon sauce” would be words blogged here.

And good golly!

Apparently I like not only absinthe, but bourbon. Trouble’s a brewing!

Bourbon, berries, and bacon, baby.

MM’s Orange-Whiskey Cranberries, my adaptations (because I didn’t have enough cranberries and booze) in parenthesis

1 1/2 bags of cranberries (I had only two cups)
Juice of two oranges (I used one)
Zest of one orange (1/2 an orange)
About 4 shots of bourbon (4 Tbsp. of Jameson)
1 1/2 c. Brown sugar (1/2 c. Brown, 1/4 of white)
1 tsp. cinnamon (1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
Put everything in a pan, add H2O to a bit below the cranberry line. Bring to boil then reduce and thicken to taste. Add salt to taste. Gets thicker as it cools so leave it a wee bit soupy, says me. If you made a pumpkin pie that wasn’t sweet enough too, use this as a topping!

MM’s Bacon Cranberries

8 slices of bacon (3 slices “Fakin’ Bacon-LiteLife’s smoky tempeh bacon strips)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped (1/3 c. Chopped yellow onion)
Garlic (I used 1/2 tsp. chopped)
1 chopped Granny Smith apple (1/3 c. Chopped Fuji apple)
1.5 bags cranberries (2 c.)
Water to come up 1 inch below cranberries
1 1/2 c. Sugar (1/2 cup)
Chili powder (1 tsp.)
Sriracha (2 tsp.)
A bouquet garni of black peppercorn, rosemary and bay leaf (A grind or so of black pepper, a pinch of dried rosemary, bay leaf)
Salt to taste
If using bacon, render the fat, chop bacon and set bacon aside. Use the fat to cook onion, garlic and apple. If not using bacon, chop the Fakin’ and set it aside. Spray pot with a nonstick spray before sautéing onion, garlic and apple. Add cranberries, water, sugar, Sriracha, chili powder, bouquet garni or black pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf (and if you are using the Fakin’ add it now) and reduce. If using regular bacon add once it cools, add salt if you like. Don’t forget to take out the bouquet garni, or bay leaf if using the dried herbs.

Curiouser and curiouser

18 Feb

This recipe made me hella curious as to whether it would be any good:

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I really love reading Eden.
She doesn’t always post recipes but she almost always makes me laugh.
Like actually LOL.
I was going to wait until I’d tried a few more variations in this recipe to post it. But I decided to post it today because although I don’t know her personally, I’ve been keeping up with reading her blog and she’s dealing with an illness in her family and could probably use all the good thoughts she can get sent in her direction.
I’m a big believer in the power of positive thought, so check out her blog and send some love to Eden.

Now to those curious beans.

Cranberry Chili Fries? Say what? I love beans, ketchup is good, and cranberries are cool but I was not sure sure if these kids could get along.

Eden made this with pinto beans put it over sweet potato fries. I only had garbanzos, and I hate sweet potatoes(unless they are this kind which are totally different). I had butternut squash though so I cut it into logs, roasted at about Fahrenheit 425 for about a half hour, flipping once. Oh, yeah. Spray your roasting pan first. Add salt if you are so inclined. And these re “fries” so I say do it).
Top with the chili you created using this recipe and eat it up. Be happy. Do a little dance. Make a little love. Or at least tell someone you love them. Tell yourself you love you.

Wow, maybe I should have published this on Valentine’s day, but hopefully all that love stuff happened then too…