I need to thank you for such kind words on my list of 35 things to accomplish this year! It seems as though others are creating their own lists as well…yes, Yes, YES!! I have started to work on this massive list…whoa. Meanwhile, I have some treats for you. I have two choices with this post. I can focus on one singular recipe or I can give you a few….because I have been cooking these last few weeks! My mind is all over the map – so you will be getting a few recipes! Lets start with a cocktail, shall we?
This cocktail just screams of a winter warm up!! Blood oranges are squeezed (and they are very tasty on their own, by the way), mixed with a clove & cinnamon simply syrup (mmhmm, you heard me), and a little bourbon. I am fairly certain this is the way we are supposed to get our vitamin C intake. You could substitute vodka as well if you are not a fan of bourbon. This recipe is from Serious Eats. And I highly recommend you head over there and check out that fabulous site!
Winter Warmer Blood Orange Cocktail
adapted from Serious Eats
For the Clove and Cinnamon Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
For the Cocktail:
1 1/2 ounces vodka (I used bourbon)
1 ounce blood orange juice (about 1 orange)
1/2 ounce clove and cinnamon syrup
Dash of orange bitters (I forgot this part)
Blood orange slice to garnish (I remembered this part!)
This cocktail was absolutely delicious! It had a great warmth from the bourbon and syrup. The blood orange juice provided a fresh burst of citrus goodness…slightly tart on its own..but, added into this great mixture, it is a fabulous cocktail. Make this as you are all cozied up, watching the snow fall, or the needle of the thermometer dropping steadily (-14*)…yes…hellloooo winter! It is nice to see you!!
Along with a cocktail you should have some soup to warm you up. I will suggest the soup that Sweet Z, my Mom, and I threw together on New Year’s Eve. There were fennel, chickpeas, tomatoes, toasted bread, onions, fresh herbs involved. This is a kicked up version of a Italian Ribolitta soup. The creator of this recipe, Yotam Ottolenghi, from his cookbook Plenty certainly did not disappoint! I am not going to divulge this recipe to you. You must get this book! The pictures are absolute works of art! So..here is a peek at his soup with my fennel fronds and chickpeas in the background:
And here is our version…with an arugula cashew pesto on top. I was feeling fancy pants, ok?
It was good that night…and the next 5 nights!!
Entree number 2 is a braised chicken dish. Braising sounds like such an art and I was scared to death I would screw it up. Remember when I was in charge of cooking the rib roast? Or the mussels? Well turns out braising is fairly easy. I took some chicken legs and thighs, brought them to room temperature, salt and peppered them up: (Note: chicken is naked in this next visual aid…you have been warned)
Sear this until nicely brown and remove from the pan. Add in the vegetables (in this case carrots, fennel, leeks, and a bay leaf):
Soften/ caramelize these a bit. Add in figs..what, figs you say? Yes! I had dried figs that I reconstituted in boiling water:
I added in some garlic, the chicken and the liquids – 1 cup of stock (I had some turkey stock in the freezer), 1 cup white wine. That is it! Let it cook away. The longer the better. This was the dish after a few hours of cooking.
The next night I took the leftovers, simmered them even more… to the ‘falling off the bone’ point…which was the absolute best thing to do!! The sauce became rich, hearty and decadent! It is a great dish to have on a cold winters night!!
And dessert. Yes, dessert. I remembered my (great) Aunt Betty’s molasses cookies. She always had a cookie jar full of delicious, homemade cookies at all times. The chocolate crinkle cookies were a close second! I grew up with these cookies. My grandmother always had her strawberry cookie jar filled with these too. So I wanted to try a molasses cookie recipe out. Spicy molasses cookies? Hmm…I was intrigued! Cookie and Kate had the perfect recipe!
Her technique is simmering the spices in the melted butter mixture on the stove. Add in a few twists of freshly cracked pepper (do this…amazing!). I also used raw sugar, wheat flour, dark brown sugar as well. Wow!! The sugary, jeweled crust gave way to the soft billowy inside and deep molasses, fall tones came through with a very subtle kick of spice…there were flavor explosions happening all over the place. This is going in my little recipe book for sure! A keeper!
Now…I must go. I have to check in on Emma…
Thanks for reading!! Have a great week!