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Dec 14, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Holiday Hacks: Batch the booze and head to Austria

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Avoid playing bartender all night and choose one great cocktail or punch to serve alongside beer and wine. No time to batch? Planter’s House offers bottled Manhattans, Negronis and more, mixed and ready to go.

For the perfect bottle of wine, look to Austria, which is turning out some amazing medium-bodied, food-friendly reds perfect for the holidays. Sommelier Patricia Wamhoff of Lile Wines recommended Straka Blaufränkisch, available at Reeds American Table. 

“It has bright fruit flavors with good acidity and medium body. The tannins are moderate, and therefore it works well with a number of items from stuffing to the candied yams,” she said. “It’s a great crowd pleaser.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Marianne Moore is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and Dierbergs culinary creative director. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to the Holidays 2017

• 3 quick and easy holiday starters to keep your guests at bay

• 7 recipes to help you host the holidays with the most

4 recipes to step up your holiday side game

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Whether you want to take your meal to the next level or need to win the it’s-not-a-competition potluck, sides like spiced carrots, roast broccoli and slow-cooker mashed potatoes have you covered.

1. Recipe: Slow-Cooker Mashed Potatoes

2. Recipe: Vegan Creamed Spinach

3. Roast Broccoli with Kalamata Olives

4. Spiced Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Marianne Moore is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and Dierbergs culinary creative director. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to the Holidays 2017

• 3 quick and easy holiday starters to keep your guests at bay

• Holiday Hacks: Outsource the dessert

7 recipes to help you host the holidays with the most

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Rocking the kitchen choreography is only one part of great hospitality. Having something for everyone can be effortless with recipes like decadent kosher short ribs, vegetarian wild mushroom lasagna and vegan creamed spinach (the secret is silken tofu – no one needs to know). Bonus: all can be made up to two days ahead.

But even when you’re cooking all week, finding the time and space to make your dream menu can be a big problem. For a stress-free holiday, free up your stovetop and save that premium oven space with recipes like slow-cooker mashed potatoes and by using your grill (set to low) to keep dishes warm. You’ve got this.

1. Recipe: Hot and Fast Roast Turkey

2. Recipe: Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish 

3. Recipe: Wild Mushroom Lasagna 

4. Recipe: Slow-Cooker Mashed Potatoes

5. Recipe: Vegan Creamed Spinach

6. Recipe: Roast Broccoli with Kalamata Olives

7. Recipe: Spiced Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Marianne Moore is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and Dierbergs culinary creative director. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to the Holidays 2017

• 3 quick and easy holiday starters to keep your guests at bay

• Holiday Hacks: Outsource the dessert

Holiday Hacks: Outsource the dessert

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Host smarter, not harder. Dessert is one of the easiest things to outsource for the holidays.

Pick up favorites like pecan pie from Sugaree Baking Co., or opt for classics reimagined by the elaborate French pastry wizards at Nathaniel Reid Bakery (like the ones pictured here).

If you’re on the fence of the great pie-cake debate, have it all with the Pake from La Patisserie Chouquette, a cake/pie hybrid that layers toasted buttercream between eggnog cheesecake, spice cake, pumpkin pie and bourbon-pecan pie.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Marianne Moore is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and Dierbergs culinary creative director. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to the Holidays 2017

• 3 quick and easy holiday starters to keep your guests at bay

• 7 recipes to help you host the holidays with the most

3 quick and easy holiday starters to keep your guests at bay

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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First impressions matter, but they don’t have to be painful. Pick just a couple show-stopping, low-effort appetizers and fill in the gaps with easy cocktail party fare like bruschetta and a charcuterie board so you can start big and still focus on killing it with the rest of the meal. These fast, simple snacks take minimal effort for maximum flavor.

Scatter your snacks in more than one place and dish them out in batches throughout the evening. Snack-designated gathering spots prevent bottlenecks in a crowded kitchen, and timing is everything if you want to keep your drinking guests from donning a lampshade because you ran out of food.

1. Recipe: Spiced Mixed Nuts

2. Recipe: Roasted Artichokes with Garlic Aioli

3. Recipe: Spicy Bacon Caramel Corn

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Marianne Moore is a contributor to Sauce Magazine and Dierbergs culinary creative director.

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: Guide to the Holidays 2017

• Holiday Hacks: Outsource the dessert

• 7 recipes to help you host the holidays with the most

Just Five: Gougères

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

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Gougères (otherwise known as fancy French cheese puffs) are about the most retro, classic hors d’oeuvres you can name. Think Mad Men season three. Because this recipe involve making a pâte à choux, the intimidation factor is high. Trust me, it’s no biggie. The trick is to have all of your ingredients and tools assembled and ready to go; no scrambling around for a wooden spoon or getting out the mixer after the water starts boiling.

These are not “pretty,” but they are airy, eggy, cheesy bites of wonder. This recipe can easily be doubled, and if you are serving more than six people you should definitely double it. Mix me a martini and pass the olives: It’s Christmas Eve!

 

Gougères
30 puffs

½ cup water
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. chile powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp. minced fresh chives
¾ cup grated dry, aged cheese like a sharp cheddar or Parmesan

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter, chile powder and salt and heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest 1 minute.
• Scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed until the batter is smooth. Add the chives and all but 2 tablespoons cheese and mix until combined.
• Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag with a wide plain tip (or a freezer bag with a corner cut off) and pipe the dough onto the baking sheet into mounds just bit smaller than a golf ball, leaving a bit of space between each. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese on top of the dough balls
• Bake 8 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve warm.

The Weekend Project: Figgy Pudding

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

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“Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/And a cup of good cheer!” Most everyone knows that verse from the classic carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” but few of us have actually eaten the heralded figgy pudding.

This dish started as a savory first-course pudding in medieval times, but by the Victorian era, it had evolved into the fruit-centered, brandy-driven dessert that was commonly brought to the table en flambé, decked with holly berries and served with whipped cream or a boozy hard sauce.

 

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This basic steamed pudding consists of breadcrumbs, flour, butter, sugar and eggs. It is then left to the cook to spike the dessert with alcohol, spices and dried or candied fruits like dried figs, raisins or currants. While cooking times can range from two to six hours, less time will produce a moister, less cakey pudding.

 

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Figgy pudding can be served immediately, but it shines best when the fruit has had a chance to soak up all the booze for at least a week or two. In fact, Anglican families in Britain know the last Sunday of Advent as Stir-it Up Sunday, when the traditional Christmas pudding was prepared for the holiday in a week’s time. Each family member gets a chance to stir the pudding from East to West in honor of the Three Wise Men and make a wish before it is steamed and left to rest for Christmas Eve.

This is a great weekend project because with a little preparation, this dish can simmer away on your stove all afternoon while you decorate or wrap presents. It also produces a lovely spiced holiday aroma while you enjoy a nip of brandy and a carol or two. Best of all, dessert is done and ready to enjoy all 12 days of Christmas.

 

The Shopping List*
12 dried figs
½ cup raisins or currants
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried dates
1 cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1½ cup brown sugar
12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) butter
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
4 Tbsp. brandy

*This list assumes you have all-purpose flour and salt at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those, too.

The Gameplan**
Active Day 1:
Prepare the Figgy Pudding.
Active Day 2: Resteam the Figgy Pudding. Prepare the Brandy Hard Sauce.

**This recipe is best after at least 1 week in the refrigerator, but it requires just two active cooking days.

 

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Figgy Pudding
12 servings

12 dried figs, roughly chopped
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup dried dates, pitted, roughly chopped
½ cup raisins or currants
½ cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
Brandy Hard Sauce for serving (Recipe follows.)

Active Day 1: Coat a large bundt pan, pudding mold or bowl with nonstick spray and set aside. Fold 2 paper towels into a thick rectangular pad about 4-by-6-inches and place it in the bottom of a large stockpot. Pour 1 quart water into the pan.
● In a saucepan, combine the figs, apricots, dates and figs with the cream and ½ cup brandy over medium heat. Let the fruit absorb most of liquid, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
● Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until a thick, creamy froth forms, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the butter and rum until combined. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a stiff batter forms. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
● Gently place the bundt pan in the stockpot, making sure the paper towel stays between the bottom of the pot and the pan to prevent burning. Add more water until it reaches two-thirds up the side of the pan.
● Place the stockpot over medium-high heat until reaches a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and steam 2 to 2½ hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Add more water as needed.
● Carefully remove the pudding from the pot and let cool. Refrigerate 1 to 4 weeks.
Active Day 2: To serve the pudding, place the pudding back in a stockpot lined with paper towels. Fill the stockpot with enough water to reach two-thirds up the side of the pan. Place the pot over medium heat and steam 1 hour, until warmed through. Invert the mold onto a wide serving platter with a lip.
● Optional: To serve en flambé, warm the remaining 1 cup brandy in a saucepot over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully use a long-handled match to light the brandy, then remove from heat. Carefully pour the flaming liquid over the pudding in view of your guests, then wait for the flames to die before slicing.
● Serve with whipped cream and brandy hard sauce.

 

Brandy Hard Sauce
1 cup

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cream
¼ cup butter
4 Tbsp. brandy
1 egg

Active Day 2: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, cream and butter until melted and combined. Add the brandy and stir about 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy, then add it to the saucepan and stir until combined.
• Return the saucepan to the stove over medium-low heat and continue stirring until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon and starts to set, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Figgy Pudding.

 

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Just Five: One-Week Allspice Dram

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

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A bottle of this delicious allspice dram is the perfect host gift for the cocktail connoisseur. I was introduced to this at the home of a friend with a killer liquor cabinet. One should cultivate and sustain these friendships – there is much to learn! Adding just ¼ to ½ ounce of this DIY liqueur elevates the flavor of Manhattans, warm apple or cranberry cider and eggnog. It’s truly an ideal accessory to the bar this winter. While not difficult to make, it does take a week to infuse, so start now and you’ll have plenty just in time for a Christmas Eve get together.
One-Week All Spice Dram
2½ cups

1½ oz. whole allspice (about ¼ cup)
1 cup light rum such as Bacardi
1 cinnamon stick
1 2-inch piece lime peel
1½ water
⅔ cup brown sugar

● Coarsely crush the allspice, but do not grind to a powder. Place it in a pint-sized mason jar and add the rum. Screw on the lid and shake well. Let sit 2 days, swirling the jar once a day.
● Remove the lid. Break the cinnamon stick into a few pieces and add the lime peel to the jar. Seal again and shake daily 4 more days.
● Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the mixture into a small bowl. Discard the solids, then strain again through a coffee filter and set aside.
● In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine the water and brown sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely.
● Combine the sugar syrup and the allspice-infused rum, then pour in a clean bottles or jars. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

 

The Scoop: Ices Plain & Fancy to take nitro ice on the road

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Fans of Ices Plain & Fancy’s made-to-order ice creams will soon see that telltale cloud of liquid nitrogen rising from a bright pink and blue truck. Troika Brodsky confirmed that he and fellow co-owners Matt Deutschmann, Max Crask and Darla Crask have purchased a 1964 Divco milk truck, affectionately dubbed “Agnes.” Brodsky said they will retrieve the truck from its Texas home in the next few weeks and begin rehabbing it to accommodate liquid nitrogen tanks, used to flash-chill cream to make the shop’s signature Nitro Ice dessert.

“It will be a food truck, but it won’t function in the same exact traditional way,” Brodsky said, explaining that the truck will primarily be used for private parties and events. However, he added that the public can expect occasional appearances on the street.

Until he and the other owners assess how much work must be done on the truck, Brodsky could not say when Agnes would make her debut, even conceding the possibility that the Ices crew might need to seek out a different vehicle if Agnes doesn’t prove road-worthy. Yet he affirmed that a mobile Ices is not far on the horizon. “We have been looking for a vehicle since we opened,” he said.

-ice cream photo by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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Red velvet is hands-down my favorite cake. As much as I love a classic, fudgy chocolate cake, there’s no denying that a tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to a velvety, lighter chocolate cake.

But as much as I love red velvet, I’m sick to death of standard layer cakes and cupcakes, so I opted to roll this one up instead. While some of the cake fell apart, any mishaps were smothered under a layer of peppermint-tinged frosting. This recipe is also a great way to use up any leftover candy canes still lingering after the holidays. Crush them up and store them in a jar for recipes like these. The result is a delicious and stunning cake with a lovely minty aftertaste that would make for a lovely Valentine’s treat.

 

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll
Adapted from a recipe on The Kitchn
6 to 8 servings

1 cup cake flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
⅔ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. red food coloring
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. vinegar
2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 Tbsp. milk
Crushed peppermint candy for garnish

● Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan or a sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. and salt in a bowl.
● In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar on medium speed until well blended, then beat in the egg. With machine on low speed, slowly add red food coloring and vanilla until mixed.
● Add half the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk until mixed thoroughly. Add the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, scraping down the bowl until combined. Turn off machine.
● Place the baking soda in a small dish and stir in the vinegar. Add the mixture to the batter with the machine running on low until combined.
● Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed. The cake should bounce back when you lightly press the top.
● Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and dust with powdered sugar. Flip the hot pan over to turn the cake out onto the towel. Remove the parchment paper. Dust the cake with more powdered sugar, then use the towel to carefully roll the hot cake into a spiral starting from the short side. Let cool wrapped in the towel, about 1 hour.
● Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract until combined. Set frosting aside.
● Carefully unroll the cake and spread with a ½-inch thick layer of frosting. Carefully roll the cake up again and gently move to a serving plate. Spread the remainder of the frosting all over the top of the cake, covering any cracks that may appear. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy.

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