Archive | April, 2011

Cocktail of the Week: Fizz the Lyon

26 Apr

My love for Green Chartreuse is no secret here.  I found this recipe in Bon Apetit and thought it sounded interesting and tasty, and lo and behold, it was both of those things.  I made it for a friend who tends to drink PBR and vodka sodas and generally regards my love for cocktails as a little trifling, but even she enjoyed this one.  It definitely requires a few ingredients for which you’ll have to pony up a few bills, but it’s a great fancy fizzy special occasion drink that isn’t champagne.

Fizz the Lyon

This Cognac-based fizzy cocktail gives a nod to one of bartender Vincenzo Marianella’s favorite chefs: Lyon native Daniel Boulud. (makes 2)

1/2 cup Cognac (I used Courvoisier.  I learned from the Ladies Man.)
3 tbsp St Germain
3 tbsp egg whites
1 tbsp green Chartreuse
2 dashes orange bitters
Ice cubes
1/2 cup chilled ginger beer

Combine first 5 ingredients in cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice cubes. Cover; shake vigorously Strain cocktail into 2 glasses and top each with 1/4 cup ginger beer.

For more recipes like this one,  check out the Domesticity page.


Ginger Sconelettes

22 Apr

I’m a big fan of ginger, pears and scones so when I happened upon ReadyMade’s recipe for Spiced Pear Sconelettes with Ginger Butter, I clearly had to make these little buddies.  They’re spicy and rich, but not overly sweet.  I didn’t have a tiny square cutter, so I used a larger circular cookie cutter and they turned out just fine.

Ginger Sconelettes

  • 2½ c all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c granulated sugar
  • ¼ c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c cold butter
  • 1 c chopped, cored unpeeled Bosc pear
  • ⅔ c buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp coarse decorating sugar or granulated sugar
  • 8 oz crystallized ginger (for ginger butter)

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.With pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pear. Stir in buttermilk just until dough holds together.

Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll dough out to ½-inch thickness. Using a 1- to 1½-inch square cutter, cut sconelettes (or use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1¼- to 1½-inch squares), and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet allowing ½ inch between each sconelette. With a pastry brush, brush tops of each sconelette with whipping cream. Sprinkle with coarse decorating sugar.

Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve warm with Ginger Butter.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Radish Sandwiches

20 Apr

This week I had a bunch of radishes leftover from pickling radishes and needed something to do with them.  I remembered reading a recipe for radish and butter sandwiches, so I decided to try making one of my own.  I spread butter on wheat bread, added thinly sliced radishes, thyme, sesame seeds and a sprinkling of salt and it was delicious.  The creaminess of the butter, the spiciness and crunch of the radishes, all of it comes together for something really really tasty.

I started wondering the origins of the radish sandwich and happened upon “Relishing the Radish” on NPR’s website.  Producer Kara Newman says its roots are french.

“Of course, leave it to the French to perfect the art of the simple pleasure. For years, they have eaten whole radishes dipped in butter, as a homey snack meant for countryside picnics. Often, the radish is scored with an X at the bottom (the better for adhering slippery butter), then dipped into one of the luxurious, extra-high-butterfat unsalted butters, and finished with a sprinkling of rough fleur de sel. I’ve heard tales of thrifty Eastern European cultures with a fetish for radish-and-butter combos too, yet as usual, the French make it seem more like luxury than necessity.”

A countryside picnic with radish sandwiches sounds just about perfect right now.

For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Make Radish Pickles

19 Apr

Heartened by the success of our first canning date, Lila and I dove right into our second canning adventure this week- pickle radishes!  Not only are these little guys pretty, they’re sweet and spicy and a little reminiscent of kimchee.  It was fun putting them in jars one night and waking up the next morning to see they’d turned the vinegar mixture completely pink!

radishes, just jarred

pink radishes!

Radish Pickles (makes 6 pint jars)
The recipe was a little vague, so I’ve modified it based on what we did.  

2.5 lbs radishes, washed and cut into coins
4 Cup of white vinegar
4 Cup of water
2 Cup of sugar ( If you want sweeter you can make it 1 cup sugar)
4 Teaspoon salt
2 Hot peppers of choice, cut into 6 pieces
6 Cloves chopped or dried garlic
4 Bay leaf
6 Tablespoons dill (or herb of choice)
  •  Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, pepper, garlic, bay, dill, and salt and stir until sugar is complete dissolved in a large glass container where you will store the radishes (we stored them in the pint jars we were canning them in, leaving 1/2 inch head space).
  •  Add to the vinegar mixture. Store for 4 days until the red from the outside of the radishes has completely bled out and dyed everything a beautiful pink.
  •  Wipe jar then adjust two piece caps.
  •  Process jars in boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Cocktail of the Week: Ginger Sparkles (and Stuffed Dates)

18 Apr

I was in Chicago a couple weekends ago to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of my oldest friends. I wanted to make a special cocktail for her during the visit, so I asked her what kind of cocktails she liked.  She said: sweet, gingery and citrusy, and based on this I came up with this little cocktail, which we heartily enjoyed.  She brought along goat cheese stuffed dates with walnuts, the recipe for which I’ve tried to approximate.

Ginger Sparkles (makes 4)

  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • prosecco
  • spicy ginger beer (we used Bleinhem’s)
add sugar, water and ginger to a small pot and heat until boiling.  reduce heat and simmer for at least 1/2 hour.
meanwhile, take a small strip of ginger and rub it around the rims of 4 cocktail glasses.  do the same with a slice of lemon.  push rim-down into a plate of sugar to create a sugar rim.
after the syrup has cooled, add 1/4 oz to each of the glasses.  Squeeze 1/4 lemon into each glass as well.  top with prosecco and a splash of ginger beer.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh goat cheese (about 2 ounces), softened
  • 12 walnut halves
  • 12 large Medjool dates
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat goat cheese by hand until smooth.

Make a slit lengthwise in each date, and remove the pit if necessary. Fill each date with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese mixture.  Add a walnut half to top of each date.

Bake for 7 minutes or until just browned.

Sprinkle with salt just before serving.

Dye Easter Eggs

17 Apr

Growing up in a secular household, Easter for me meant a basket of little gifts, a huge brunch and colorful hard boiled eggs. I still have a fondness for all of these things, and thus carry with me a special fondness for Easter’s accouterments.  I haven’t died Easter eggs in years, but decided to try my hand again this year– but this time with dyes made from things I already had on hand.  I tried making dies with curry, paprika, black walnuts from the back yard, a purple sweet potato and red onion skins.  The eggs I ended up with were a far cry from your standard jewel-tone Easter eggs, but I personally like the muted, earthy tones.

Curry Dye

  • 1 tables spoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon curry
Bring vinegar and water to a boil.  Add curry and simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg while still warm and let sit at least 1 hour.

Paprika Dye

  • 1 tables spoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
Bring vinegar and water to a boil.  Add paprika and simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg while still warm and let sit at least 1 hour.

Black Walnut Dye

  • 1 tables spoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 black walnuts, cracked open (I put them in a plastic bag and pounded them with a hammer
Bring vinegar and water to a boil.  Add walnuts and simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg while still warm and let sit at least 1 hour.

Purple Potato Dye

  • 1 tables spoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 1/2 inch slices purple sweet potato
Bring vinegar and water to a boil.  Add sweet potato and simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg while still warm and let sit at least 1 hour.

Red Onions Dye

  • 1 tables spoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • skins of 2 red onions
Bring vinegar and water to a boil.  Add onion skins and simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg while still warm and let sit at least 1 hour.
For more recipes like this one, check out the Domesticity page.

Make Shrimp Stock

17 Apr

As soon as it was finally nice enough to sit outside last week, I got the sudden urge to throw some shrimp on the barbie.  They only had shell-on shrimp at the grocery store, so I ended up with a big ol’ pile of raw shrimp shells my hands. Rather than let them go to waste, I decided to make some shrimp stock, and with the shrimp stock I decided to to make some corn and shrimp soup, which I just so happen to be eating AS I WRITE THIS VERY POST.  It’s creamy and delicious and substituting shrimp stock for vegetable broth makes it even more rich and tasty.

Shrimp Stock
uncooked shrimp shells
place shrimp shells in a pot and fill with water until it just covers the shells.  add a few chunks of onion and bring to a boil, then let it simmer with a lid on for an hour.  store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Shrimp Mushroom Soup (adapted from epicurious)

For broth

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup mixed mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups chicken stock (substitute as much shrimp stock as you can)
  • 3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 2 bay leaves

For mushrooms and shrimp

  • 1/2 pound mixed fresh wild mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp in shell, peeled, leaving tail fan attached, and deveined (save shells for more stock)

Cook corn and make soup:
Cook onion in butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring, until softened. Add corn, heavy cream, and 6 cups stock and bring to a boil.

Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves and mushrooms to pot with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, covered, 45 minutes.

Discard thyme and bay leaves, then purée mixture in batches in a blender or with immersion blender.

Return soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and keep warm over low heat. Thin with additional stock if necessary.

Cook mushrooms and shrimp:
Trim mushrooms, discarding any dark gills and tough stems, then slice or tear into bite-size pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook mushrooms, stirring, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook shrimp in butter, turning occasionally, until barely cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Return mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add to soup and Enjoy!

For more recipes like this, check out the Domesticity Page.