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The Food Life

Cooking At Home

Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini

Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini

Sparkle On – So many holiday cocktails get an added lift from a topping of sparkling wine. The good thing is you don’t need to deploy expensive champagne since a mid-price sparkler will work nicely to bring the fizz. The inexpensive Cava Freixenet or Martini and Rossi Prosecco are both good, consistent, picks. On trend for 2020, Martini & Rossi have introduced a sparkling rosé – both using the Charmat method of secondary fermentation in sealed tanks where the yeast and sugar are added. It’s a larger scale than the Méthode Champenoise where secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle – and this is what keeps the price low. 

Ingredients:

• 2 oz Stoli Vodka Orhanj – Or any plain vodka

• 0.5 oz Cointreau – Or Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or even orange juice

• 0.5 oz Godiva or creme de cacao liqueur – In a pinch, stir hot water & chocolate powder to a syrup. You only need a small amount.

• 0.5 oz coffee liqueur Kahlua

• 1 oz espresso

• Optional: Orange bitters – I like Regan’s Orange Bitters No.6.

Steps:

1. Pour ingredients into your shaker or mason jar half filled with ice.

2. Shake 20-30 secs. (Sugar & coffee frothy)

3. Strain into martini glass and garnish with orange peel.

Cranberry-Brie Puff Pastry Bites

Cranberry-Brie Puff Pastry Bites

These quick Cranberry-Brie Puff Pastry Bites are ready in 20-minutes. Keep a pack of puff pastry in your freezer to make these any time. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 4 oz cubed Brie
  • ¼ cup cranberry jelly or jam
  • 1 stick of fresh rosemary
  • Flaky salt & black pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F & mini muffin tray, oiled or sprayed with cooking spray
  2. Cut your frozen puff pastry into 24 equal squares and place in the muffin tray
  3. Drop a ½ tsp of cranberry jam into the middle
  4. Top with a cube of Brie & sprig of rosemary
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
Bite This

Bite This

Cauliflower doesn’t always want to be blitzed into faux rice or packed into a carb-free pizza base. Sometimes it just wants to be loved whole, roasted and gorgeous. Rub a whole, washed cauliflower (leaves removed) with olive oil, salt, and dried turmeric, and bake for 60 to 75 minutes on 350F for an easy dinner. Drizzle with a tahini, almond milk and maple syrup dressing, top with torn herbs, crushed pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Full recipe is below. 

Rosemary Old Fashioneds for a Crowd

Rosemary Old Fashioneds for a Crowd

The Friendsgiving Handbook by Emily Stephens

INGREDIENTS

• Rosemary simple syrup (½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, 2 sprigs rosemary simmered until sugar dissolves. Let rosemary steep off the heat for a further 20 minutes. Cool.)

• 1 – 750-ml bottle bourbon

• 5 sprigs rosemary

• 20 dashes Angostura bitters

• 1 orange

STEPS

1. Make the rosemary simple syrup ahead.

2. Pour the bottle of bourbon into a large pitcher, add the bitters, 4-oz of water and 5-oz of rosemary simple syrup.

3. Adjust to taste.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

TO SERVE

Cut orange crosswise into thin slices and quarter the slices. Cut the 5 rosemary sprigs into 1-inch pieces. Add ice cubes to each glass; pour in 2-oz of the pre-made cocktail and garnish with the rosemary and orange slices. Serve immediately.

My Favorite Un-recipes - Gemelli with Sweet Corn

My Favorite Un-recipes - Gemelli with Sweet Corn

One of my favorite un-recipes, fold avocado into gemelli pasta with swirls of emerald green young virgin olive oil and sea salt for a creamy coating. Toss fresh farmstand corn sliced off the cob, snapped green beans, Tropea onions and salty crisp bacon fried, cooled and diced, and top the lot with a cloudfall of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Each time I pulled it from the fridge I’d give it another swirl of olive oil and more grated Parmesan so it literally got better every time. 

Tian Provencal

Tian Provencal

Whether you’re a guest at an upcoming holiday gathering, or just want to put a pretty side on your own table, you cannot ever, ever go wrong with a simple Tian Provencal. All you need are 2 onions, 2 large tomatoes, 1 zucchini, 1 eggplant (the more evenly sized the better) and some killer salt and olive oil. To make it authentic, you’ll need some herbes de Provence too. 

STEPS:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Half and thinly slice the 2 onions, season with salt and cook slowly with olive oil in an oven-safe cast iron pan, stirring occasionally, until softly caramelized.

3. While the onions are cooking, slice the remaining vegetables in ¼” rounds. If your eggplant is larger, cut the circles into half circles.

4. Once the onions are cooking in the frying pan, layer the vegetables tightly on top in neat, overlapping rows like fish scales so that you can see each row, but the next layer partially covers it. Continue until you have filled the whole pan. (Optional: You can work in straight lines across the whole frying pan or start at the edge and keep moving inwards in one continuous spiral until you reach the middle.)

5. Season all the sliced veggies with salt and pepper and herbe de Provences. 6. Sprinkle generously with good olive oil.

7. Cook in the oven at 400F for approximately 30 minutes. 

Glut of Zucchini and Tomatoes

Glut of Zucchini and Tomatoes

With school back in session and a teen taking classes online at home, I’m whipping up easy lunches that take advantage of the glut of zucchini and tomatoes at a farmstand down the road. I am a fan of toast like avocado toast with crunchy salt, olive oil and pul biber spice or Spanish pan con tomate rubbed with garlic and smooshed tomato. To that, I’ve added two fab variations: sliced zucchini sautéed to golden softness with butter and tarragon, a dish that reminds me strongly of childhood and my mother’s passion for that combo. Likewise, I’ve been inspired by an interview with Ukrainian cookbook author, Olio Hercules, who recommends roasting eggplant over an open stove flame until charred and blistered, scraping out the soft middle from the skin and mashing in good butter along with salt and pepper. I don’t know if we can call it a recipe exactly, but this mashed on top of a crisp toasted bread, like rye or sourdough, is the sort of lunch I’ve been mad for of late. Top it with any mix of fresh herbs from basil to sorrel and dill and you truly up your game.

Susie's Pumpkin Soup

Susie's Pumpkin Soup

I took a step away from my standard pumpkin soup recipe to test a few others. This is a variation on a recipe by Alton Brown where I dialed up the apple and dialed down the goat cheese for a result that’s hard to beat.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

My CSA is already stocked with spaghetti and butternut squash. For speed, I came up with roasted butternut squash with salted and crushed red peppercorns, butter, maple syrup and parsley. That’s it! Preheat the oven to 400F. Score flesh in a crosshatch pattern, brush with softened butter and maple syrup, sprinkle seasoning, roast for 30-45 mins until fork soft, finish with torn parsley. Easiest side for grilled pork chops, seared fish, or a warm salad with nuts.

Food Life | Recipes

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