December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:44 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I use my Swiss army knife for...
How many years did you have to spend in the Swiss Army to earn a knife? :shock:
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Larry Greenly » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:44 pm

Howie Hart wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:I use my Swiss army knife for...
How many years did you have to spend in the Swiss Army to earn a knife? :shock:


I remember we were in the Swiss army (surrounded, actually) when we traveling by train in Switzerland on our honeymoon many decades ago (the big 4-0 in Feb). Yes, Virginia, they had trains back then.

Now I even own a Swiss army wristwatch. And I like it.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Peter May » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:37 am

Larry Greenly wrote:I use my Swiss army knife for cleaning my fingernails, opening beer bottles and cutting out coupons (or slicing off entire pages). And I always have a toothpick handy.

On the other hand, I have repaired a number of things with it, including my car.


Is it one of these ?

Image

The new Swiss Army knife contains 85 devices, weighs 2lb and costs nearly £500. See http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/con ... 50,00.html
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Peter May » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:39 am

Only time I use spirits -- brandy -- is

1) flaming meat for use in casseroles
2) feeding the Christmas cake (mmmmm)
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Larry Greenly » Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:23 pm

Peter May wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:I use my Swiss army knife for cleaning my fingernails, opening beer bottles and cutting out coupons (or slicing off entire pages). And I always have a toothpick handy.

On the other hand, I have repaired a number of things with it, including my car.


Is it one of these ?

Image

The new Swiss Army knife contains 85 devices, weighs 2lb and costs nearly £500. See http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/con ... 50,00.html[/url]


It's the next larger size because size really does matter.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Peter May » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:15 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:
It's the next larger size because size really does matter.


Well, that explains the bulge in your trousers, :)
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Robert J. » Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:53 pm

Peter May wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:
It's the next larger size because size really does matter.


Well, that explains the bulge in your trousers, :)


Bada - BING!! :lol:
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:13 pm

I cooked some prawns in Pernod the other night. About 20 unshelled prawns (about 2 inches long) were sautéed in a little butter then about a tablespoon of Pernod was splashed in and the prawns continued sizzling basically until the liquid had evaporated. Quite an interesting combination the prawn and the Pernod, and I would do this again, but the exercise was initially done to match some finger foods to bubbles, and in this respect was a dismal failure.

The only other spirit I really use in cooking in brandy.

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Larry Greenly » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:25 pm

There's a restaurant in Albuquerque that uses Pernod in its escargot. Yum!
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:20 pm

Not sure this exactly counts, but I went next door on Sunday afternoon to get caught up with my domestic associates since I had been away most of the weekend.

Susan had made some really delicious homemade hot chocolate, and Steve was serving it up with brandy and Kahlua added almost at the last second of heating, and festively adorned with a candy cane. Oh. My. 2 cups of that and I was ready for a nap! :?
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:55 pm

This is also posted in Robin's "So what are you cooking for the holidays" and I just realized it belongs here too, as it contains rum. I watched her make it one night last week in between periods of the Hockey game.

I'm going to make this for dessert, from Rachael Ray's Holiday Entertaining in 60
Eggnog-Panettone Bread Pudding
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: Food Network Specials
Episode: Rachael Ray's Holiday Entertaining in 60

1 loaf panettone, available in Italian specialty stores, cut in half (enough for about 5 cups, diced)
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Vegetable cooking spray
Optional accompaniments: Vanilla ice cream, Whipped cream


Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Place a tea-kettle of water on to boil for a water bath. With a serrated knife, remove the side crusts from the half piece of the panettone. Cut into 3/4 to 1-inch dice. You should have 5 cups. Reserve the cubed panettone in a large mixing bowl.

For the eggnog custard, in another bowl thoroughly whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, half and half, rum, vanilla extract, and a healthy grating of fresh nutmeg. Pour this over the bread cubes.

Spray a 12 hole muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray. Ladle the bread/eggnog mixture gently and evenly into the muffin tins. The big cubes sticking up look nice. Place the filled muffin tin in a tall sided cookie sheet or roasting pan. Transfer to the preheated oven and carefully pour the hot water from kettle onto sheet pan, creating a water bath for the muffin tin to sit in.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the tops are nicely browned, and a toothpick comes clean from the center.

Bread pudding may be served warm or cold. Vanilla Ice cream or whipped cream would be great accompaniments.

Alternately place the muffin tin in a roasting pan on the stove. Pour in up to 1-inch of boiling water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. The puddings will puff and a toothpick will come out clean from the center. The tops won't brown with this method. Perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar at serving time would be nice.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:42 pm

I'm very disappointed I haven't seen a single plum pudding with hard sauce recipe!
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:26 pm

Here's our Christmas duck/goose sauce from Balthazar; repost, but there are spirits in the mix; they add an elusive delicate taste. In general we like using spirits in sauces so that guests can add what they want -- the amount of alcohol remaining if the spirits are added to the food during cooking is quite unpredictable.


RC: Duck a l’Orange [The Balthazar Cookbook].

This classic dish displays all the talents of the saucier, a position normally reserved for the most qualified cook in the kitchen. Duck a l’Orange brings out his talents to combine three distinctly different flavors.

Duck Sauce.

Ingredients
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
2 sprigs thyme
¼ tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
¼ cup honey
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ tsp orange zest
1 cup Veal Stock or Roast Chicken Jus [recipes in cookbook]

Technique
1. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a sauté pan over medium heat, swirling the pan until the foam subsides and the butter becomes brown and frothy, about one minute.
2. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme, pepper and cloves; stir to combine, then sauté until the shallots begin to brown, about two minutes.
3. Add the honey and continue to cook for three to five minutes, during which time the contents of the pan will take on a rich caramel color.
4. Carefully add the vinegar to stop further caramelization (the pan will spatter a bit).
5. Add the Grand Marnier or Cointreau, orange juice and zest.
6. Raise the heat to high and reduce the contents of the pan by about two thirds to a syrupy glaze, about ten minutes.
7. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Skim off any fat or impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the contents of the pan, this time by a third, or until the sauce is rich in consistency, about 10 to 12 minutes.
8. Strain and reserve until ready to use; cool and refrigerate if making in advance. (I recommend making a day ahead and skimming the fat from the refrigerated sauce.)
9. Just before serving, heat sauce to a simmer and whisk in the remaining two tbsp of butter just before serving.

Confit Orange Zest

Ingredients
3 oranges
½ cup sugar

Technique
1. Zest the three whole oranges by slicing off the zest in thin strips, being careful to leave the bitter pith behind. Then chop the strips into long, thin matchsticks. Take the fruits of your labor and blanch in a pot of boiling water for five minutes.
2.Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
3. Combine the sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan.
4. Add the blanched orange zest, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
5.Strain and reserve the confit.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Robert J. » Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:29 pm

James Roscoe wrote:I'm very disappointed I haven't seen a single plum pudding with hard sauce recipe!


Sit tight. I am going to post my fruitcake recipe this week. It is very similar to a plum pudding. I serve it with hard sauce, too.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:15 pm

Robert J. wrote:
James Roscoe wrote:I'm very disappointed I haven't seen a single plum pudding with hard sauce recipe!


Sit tight. I am going to post my fruitcake recipe this week. It is very similar to a plum pudding. I serve it with hard sauce, too.


But you don't burn the fruit cake in brandy. One of my fondest childhood memories is being at my grandparents house on Christmas day and watching my grandfather burn the plum pudding. We would turn the lights out and it was magical to watch the blue flames flicker in the darkness of the still winter's night. All the grandchildren would quietly sit entranced by the magic of the plum pudding. I don't know why I don't keep up the tradition. I'm just too busy. I always loved that moment though.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Hoke » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:46 pm

Here's one from Appleton Jamaican Rum that is great. More summertime grilling, but tasty as hell [Disclaimer: my company imports Appleton Rum for the US. Sorry to be mercantile, but natch I cook with what I've got. It just happens to be excellent rum though.]

The dark Jamaican rum is perfect for this Jerk Recipe. I like it way better with pork than beef. Works okay with chicken too, of course.

http://www.appletonrumus.com/rec_jerkBBQKebabs.asp
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Robert J. » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:34 pm

James Roscoe wrote:But you don't burn the fruit cake in brandy. One of my fondest childhood memories is being at my grandparents house on Christmas day and watching my grandfather burn the plum pudding. We would turn the lights out and it was magical to watch the blue flames flicker in the darkness of the still winter's night. All the grandchildren would quietly sit entranced by the magic of the plum pudding. I don't know why I don't keep up the tradition. I'm just too busy. I always loved that moment though.


I am actually going to do that this year. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:23 pm

Randy R wrote:The oddest recipe I've experienced was pears poached in Château Haut-Brion.


I didn't know Chateau Haut-Brion had a pear orchard. I thought they only grew vines.

And shame on you for stealing them.

-Paul W.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Sue Courtney » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:39 pm

Sauteed scallops flamed with brandy and doused with cream - this is what we had for one of our fish courses on Xmas Day. I had a Thai theme in mind with coconut cream and fresh coriander (cilantro for you North American types) but my sister wanted to do the scallops this way and it was a resounding success.

For sixteen fresh scallops, complete with the scrummy coral, saute in a little butter until just cooked, pour over about a tablespoon of brandy and ignite. When flames die down stir in about a tablespoon of fresh runny cream (perhaps also known as double cream?). Serve four on each plate garnished with a little parsley.

Matched to a New Zealand chardonnay - the Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2000 - the wine on its own had become quite buttery and fat, perhaps even a little aldehydic, but with the scallops cooked this way, it was the perfect match.

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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Jeff Yeast » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:32 pm

How about some good ol' fashoned bourbon balls?

Take some walnuts and whack them to a small grainy texture with a few larger pieces left. Place into a bowl and add a good high-proof bourbon until the nuts are 3/4 covered. I use George T Stagg 140 proof, but Wild Turkey 101 works quite nicely. Cover and soak overnight or longer. Add to this enough confectioner's sugar until you can roll the mixture into a ball. Refrigerate until the balls are firm. Melt your favorite dark chocalate in a double boiler with a small bit of paraffin wax (for shine), and, using a toothpick or a spoon, dip the balls to cover. Remove from chocolate, place on wax paper to dry, and top with an pecan half.

These get better after a few days.
Last edited by Jeff Yeast on Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IOTM: Oysters in a spinach sauce on conchiglie with flavored vodkas

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:13 am

Funny, at the start of the month I thought I'd do a lot of spirits cooking with the IOTM as inspiration, but then we hit the road, things got busy, and ... you know the rest! I also figured, since Bourbon is our primary (and occasional) bar drink in this Old Kentucky Home, I'd probably create a dish using bourbon as the flavor ingredient, akin to the older bourbon-pecan chicken recipe that I posted at the start of the month.

But noooo ... feeling guilty about my limited participation, I decided to whomp up a spirits recipe the other day, but the main dish ingredient at hand was a ration of very fresh shucked oysters, and bourbon just didn't seem right here. So I checked our bar supply, found a couple of very old, rarely used bottles of interesting flavored vodkas, and came up with a simple but delicious Italian-style dish of fresh, barely cooked oysters in a thick, creamy spinach sauce laced with lemon and hot-pepper Stolichnaya. Yes, I used only a dash of the vodkas - about one tablespoon each - but put them in at the very end of cooking so the flavors would be fresh.

I won't go through a formal listing of ingredients and procedures - it's really too simple for that - but here's how it went:

Steam lightly salted fresh spinach leaves over high heat, using only the water that clings to the leaves from washing, just until they wilt. Drain them, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Chop the spinach coarsely with a knife, then use a stick (or stand) blender to puree it with the juice of 1/2 of a meyer lemon and just enough of the cooking liquid to make the result a thick puree. Set aside.

Start 4 to 6 ounces of conchiglie (mini-shell) pasta for two cooking.

Mince a good quantity of garlic (2 or 3 cloves, enough to make at least a heaping tablespoon) and cook it very briefly with a discreet shake of dried red-pepper flakes in 2 tablespoons good olive oil. When the garlic is translucent but before it starts to brown, turn heat down to medium-low and put in the spinach puree, stirring once or twice to mix in the garlic and oil well. Hold over very low heat until the pasta finishes, if it's not already.

Put in a half dozen to a dozen shucked fresh oysters (cut into smaller pieces if they're large), stir, and leave them just long enough to warm through. Stir in 1 tablespoon each of lemon vodka and hot-pepper vodka.

Drain the cooked pasta shells and stir them into the sauce. Check seasoning and serve immediately in warm bowls with a richer-style white wine ... they were very good indeed with a bold Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2005 "La Pente de Chavigny" from Mikaël Bouges.
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:24 pm

Last ditch effort for New Year's Eve pre dinner nibbles

Caught up my a few friends for New Years Eve - the same crowd we do New Year's Eve with every year. Was asked to bring some nibbles for pre dinner drinks and had a few things in mind - but ended up with ricotta cheese in delicate little filo (phyllo) pastry shells topped with strawberries and sprinkled with cracked pepper (delicious with bubbles); a smoked salmon spread on crostini (chopped up smoked salmon stirred into a mixture of 'light' cream cheese and sour cream with a little lemon juice and fennel fern in place of dill) and topped with a chunk of smoked salmon; and lastly crostini topped with a mushroom spread. And the last item was where the booze came in. Originally I was going to use brandy but at the last minute decided on marsala instead. It was the unknown ingredient to everyone and created an x-factor to the taste.

So I sauteed about half a chopped spring onion (a long thin green onion - do you call it scallion?) using the half closest to the roots, and about 1/4 clove of crushed garlic in a little butter, then added about 3/4 cup of finely sliced and chopped white button mushrooms and left them to sweat a couple of minutes, then sloshed in about half a capful of marsala wine (so about a teaspoon and a half, I guess) as they continued to sweat. About a minute later I added about 2 tablespoons of runny cream and half a handful of parsley. When I thought the mushrooms were cooked enough, I thickened the mixture up with cornflour dissolved in water. It became very thick very quickly so turned the heat off as I continue to cook the flour. It kind of came together like a ball. Then I transferred the mixture into a dish to cool. It made about a cup in total.

Before leaving for the party, the cooled mushroom mixture was spread into little crostini toasts. My sister, who has done a Cordon Bleu course, said it was similar to duxelles, only my chopped up mushrooms were a little chunkier. Anyway, they were quite yummo and worked with bubbles as well as pinot gris.

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: December IOTM: Cooking with Spirit(s)

Postby Bob Henrick » Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:38 pm

Sue, you can cook for me anytime! HAppy New Years, and many more!
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