I’m Cold Bring On the Hooch

November 30th, 2011

It’s winter, kids! Now let’s get mauled. Wait mulled I said mulled!

Autumn is usually a micro-season in Rochester, but this year it extended til late November which was fantastic. Love me some crisp air and big sweaters.  Alas this morning  I checked the ten-day forecast and it is officially time to take the mulled drinks and winter booties off the backburner.

The line-up:

  

Before we get to drinking, let’s go over mulling spices:

Mulling spice mixes generally contain cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Above I have two different spice bags. The one on the left has whole cloves and needs to be steeped like a tea bag. This can be done using a tea infuser or cheesecloth OR a tea infuser shaped like a yellow submarine. The one on the right is finer and crystalized so it dissolves like sugar into your pot. The two are interchangeable otherwise.

Mulled Wine:

1 bottle of red wine (I use malbec or pinot noir)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Amaretto
1 tbsp mulling spices

Combine ingredients in a pan over medium heat stirring every few minutes. Once warm, steep mulling spices in pan. Much like tea, the longer you steep, the stronger the spice.  Let sit for a few minutes and remove. Stir and serve!

Mulled Apple Cider:

1 quart (4 cups) of apple cider
1/2 cup whiskey (rum, bourbon, whatever you prefer)
2 tsp mulling spices
Combine cider and whiskey in a pan over medium-low heat. Once warm, stir in mulling spices until dissolved. Let heat for 5-10 minutes stirring every few minutes. Serve!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2011

Nananana nananana BAT DOG!  The last post was about “little ears”. What’s Italian for “big ears”? The answer is Crosby.

Happiest Thanksgiving to all! The day of warmth, laughter, overdrinking, overeating, and silly squabbles. It is my favorite holiday by far. It’s hedonistic and gluttonous but simultaneously good-humored and pleasant.

Have a lovely holiday everyone!

 

 

 

I’ve been having difficulty pronouncing orrechiette. oh-reck-ee-ET-tay. My friend Julia sat me down for a ”repeat after me” it went a lot like this:

Orrechiette is Italian for “little ears”.  How adorably creepy is that?

Next is the sauce. I got my hurrcut last weekend by  super awesome stylist Jordan. She described her sister’s vodka sauce to me and I drooled a tiny bit on the plastic bib/haircut robe.

The drool-y reaction was not in vain. Homemade vodka sauce is a magical thing.  For those of you new to ragamuffin recipes, know this: the primary objective is deliciousness.  The secondary objective is finding a balance between the self-satisfaction of making said deliciousness and recognizing your shortcomings (sloth, raging ADD, etc). You are creating a sauce to be proud of with minimal effort. I mean, it involves one pan and 5 ingredients. Two of which are always a-plenty in my kitchen:  butter and vodka. Like a Ruskie Paula Dean.

Ingredients:

1 lb orrechiette pasta

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup vodka
1 (28 oz.) can of San Marzano tomatoes
1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
salt, pepper, dried oregano (optional)

1/4 lb of sliced honey ham (torn/shredded)
fresh basil leaves
shredded parmesan/romano cheese

Directions:

1. In a large pot over high heat boil water, pour in pasta, and let cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion in butter until slightly brown and soft. Pour in vodka and let cook for 10 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Pour in heavy cream and cook for another 30 minutes.

3. When sauce is finished, add salt, pepper, and oregano to your taste.  Pour over pasta and stir. Once mixed, add ham, tear a few basil leaves and stir once more.

The other day I went out to lunch with my exceptionally chic and smart grandmother Momo, and we split a toasted ham and gouda sandwich on sunflower seed bread. Man that was good.  I forgot how much I loved ham! It’s also fun to say it like this:

HAM. I wish the Ham Council was a real thing.. is it?

One thing I love about fritters is that you can eat them anytime of day.  They’re warm and filling and you can make them with a variety of ingredients. I’ll catch myself sporting a perma-smile while eating one because it’s just so damn delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 zucchini cut into long, thin strips

1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of grated pepper jack cheese

1/4 pound of honey ham, torn in pieces

2 tablespoons of butter melted

1/4 cup of torn basil leaves

salt and pepper

I’ve made this once before and just discovered a game-changer:

Cut the zucchini in half, then using a grater with large holes, shred the zucchini length-wise into long, cylindrical slices.  Just dozens of leetle zucchini worms. It blends with the other ingredients more uniformly and personally I think it just tastes better.

Method:

The zucchini mound looks like a plate of spaghetti in this sketch, but no matter.

Onto the directions:

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until blended, but leave enough pepperjack cheese to sprinkle on top after fritters are cooked.  Put out two pans (or one and do one fritter at a time) and coat with cooking spray/olive oil/olive oil spray.  Put on medium-high heat and pour out the contents of the bowl.  Let cook for 3 minutes on each side, flip over a few times until fritters are golden brown.  Sprinkle pepper jack and serve.

Original recipe from SmittenKitchen

Favs:

Naan Pizza

November 4th, 2011

Patrick and I made these the other night and I’m fairly confident that these were the best pizzas ever made by anyone. Ever. On Earth. I’ve never had outer space pizza so I can’t rightly challenge that.

Naan bread is an Indian flatbread that happens to be perfect for making personal pizzas.  My friend Sarah introduced it to me two years ago (along with naan pizza #2) and it’s one of my favorite things to make.

Directions:

For both pizzas, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake on sheet with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. Add each ingredient in the order they are listed below:

Naan Pizza #1:

naan bread

tomato sauce

fresh mozzarella

prosciutto

*fresh basil leaves

pepper

*put fresh basil on AFTER you take it out of the oven, otherwise it shrinks and loses its flavor. You may notice a few unfortunate looking leaves mixed with fresh ones in first picture.


before


after

Naan Pizza #2:

naan bread

*olive oil and dried oregano

fresh spinach

fresh mozzarella

roasted red pepper bruschetta

kalamata olives cut in halves lengthwise

*brush thin layer of oil on top of pizza and sprinkle oregano seasoning


before


after

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

November 2nd, 2011

I made this last night using an actual whole pumpkin.  Still not sure what I was thinking…

The Positives:

-Sculpting my surely awesome muscles by lugging the pumpkin upstairs
-The smell of the inside of a pumpkin immediately took me to when I was little and would watch my dad make his skillful and imaginative jack-o-lanterns. But as an expert critiquer/three year-old, I informed him that his HAPPY pumpkin looks like a SAD pumpkin
-The brittle itself was so good.  Perfect heath caramel consistency.
-Didn’t cut or burn myself. Woop!

The Negatives:

-Actually lugging the stupid, bulky pumpkin upstairs
-Scooping out seed clumps from the goopy, glorpy pumpkin innards
-Washing the seeds for 20 minutes because they did not want to separate from their pumpkin mother.
-Even though seeds were roasted to perfection, the texture of the seed shells was still way too rough and tough for the brittle.


eewww….

Never again. This was way too much work.  Next time I’m buying de-shelled pumpkin seeds and making this.  This recipe is incredibly easy if you just buy the seeds.

Here’s how you should do it:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking sheet
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup de-shelled (important!) pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Butter an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is medium amber about 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin seeds. Cook for another 2 minutes stirring a few times in between. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Break into pieces.
Original recipe by Martha Stuart