ATG’s Winter Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad recipeAs a tribute to the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City, currently under renovation with plans to reopen with condominiums, we’re featuring our own recipe for a winter Waldorf Salad, along with a few more “official” recipes. A healthy addition to any meal, or even a meal unto itself, we hope you enjoy!

Waldorf Salad

Ingredients for the salad:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1/4 – 1/3 cup of Roasted Salted Pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup of fresh bite-sized chopped Parmesan Cheese
1/4 -1/3 cup dried cherries and cranberries, roughly chopped (we use Mariani brand)
1/2 of bite-sized large apple (we use Cripps Pink or any crisp firm winter apple)

Ingredients for the dressing (Sweet & Sour):
1/2 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/6 cup Colavita Champagne Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions:
Make dressing and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Prepare salad in a beautiful winter-inspired serving bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing on salad and toss.

Today’s Official Recipe for Waldorf Salad*  (taken from here)

Ingredients for the walnuts:
2 cups walnut halves
1 egg white
1 tbsp. of spice mixture (paprika, cayenne, coriander)
1 cup sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the walnuts and egg white. Add spice mixture and sugar and mix until evenly coated. Spread nuts in an even layer on baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes being careful not to burn.

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup crème fraîche
3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh ground White Pepper
1/4 cup Walnut oil
1/&1/2 tbsp. minced Black Winter Truffles (optional)

Instructions:
Combine the yogurt, crème fraîche and lemon juice until thoroughly mixed. Then add the oil and pepper and truffles, if desired.  Set aside.

Ingredients for the salad:
1/2 cup celery
2 large Granny Smith apples, unpeeled
2 large Gala apples, unpeeled
2 dozen red grapes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup micro greens or celery leaves

Instructions:
Julienne the celery and apples into matchstick-size strips and gently fold the dressing into the apple mixture. To assemble salad place the apple/leaves mixture on plate and scatter grapes and walnuts and serve.

*Just exactly what the recipe for the original Waldorf Salad was seems hard to come by, but it is attributed to the famous maitre d’hotel Oscar Tschirky or “Oscar of the Waldorf” in 1893. Whatever it was, it seems it was a much simpler salad than what it is today with only apples, celery possibly grapes and a mayo dressing. There are many different versions claiming to be the original.

The following two recipes are as close to what could have been the original:

Original Waldorf Salad (version I)

Ingredients:
6 tbsp. mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 sweet apples. cored and chopped
1 cup red seedless grapes. sliced in half
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
Lettuce

Original Waldorf Salad (version II)

Ingredients:
2 celery ribs
1/2 cup red grapes
1/2 cup walnuts
2 apples
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 lemon

Springing Green With “All Things Asparagus” and Sweet Spring Dream Cookies

“I look forward to the spring vegetables because the season is so short. Mushrooms, edible foraged herbs, wild leeks, early season asparagus.” – David Chang

“The first thing to look at is the tip of the spear or the bud. It should be tightly closed and erect, not open and droopy. The hue of green asparagus should be fresh, bright, and with no hint of yellow. White asparagus should be a clear, even, creamy color. The stalk should feel firm and the overall look should be dewy. Although asparagus, like nearly everything else, is now marketed through most of the year, it is freshest in the spring, from April to early June.” – Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (1992)

Spring, like life, is short.

Celebrate the sprouting of Spring with the recipes below for “All Things Asparagus”, the ultimate Spring vegetable.

For something sweet, enjoy a recipe for Drömmar Swedish “dream” cookies.

asparagus recipes

Fried Asparagus or “Asparagi fritti” (taken from The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan, 1973)

Ingredients:
12 spears of crisp, fresh asparagus
2-4 tbsp. butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice

Instructions:
Snap off the bottoms of the stems of the asparagus, leaving a stalk about 4 to 5 inches long, including the tips. Remove all the tiny leaves below the tips and wash the asparagus thoroughly in cold water. Pat dry with a towel.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, dip the asparagus in the beaten egg, roll it in the bread crumbs, and slide it into the skillet, doing just a few stalks at a time so that they are not crowded in the pan. Spring with salt and pepper and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. When the asparagus has formed a crust on one side, turn it and when it has formed a crust on the other side, transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve immediately. Serve immediately and Bon Appetito!

Cream of Asparagus Soup (taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, 1982)

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped yellow onions
8 tbsp. sweet butter
2 quarts Chicken Stock
2 pounds asparagus
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cream of asparagus soup recipe

Instructions:
Melt butter in a large pot and simmer the onions until very soft and golden, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, trim the tips from the asparagus and reserve.  Cut about 1 inch from the butt ends of the asparagus spears; remove the rough woody ends.  Chop spears into 1/2-inch pieces and drop into the boiling chicken stock, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until asparagus is very soft.

Purée soup in blender and return the puree to the pot, add the reserved asparagus tips, and simmer until they are tender but still firm, 5 – 10 minutes.  Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.

Asparagus En Croute (taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook)

Ingredients:
12 slices good quality white sandwich bread
1/2 pound Jarlsberg or other Swiss-type cheese
1/2 cup prepared Dijon-style mustard
12 asparagus spears, cooked
4 tbsp. melted sweet butter

Instructions:
Roll slices of bread as thin as possible with a rolling pin; trim crusts. You will have pieces of bread 3-3 & 1/2 inches square.

Lay squares out on a work surface and cover with a damp towel for 10 minutes.

Cut cheese into fingers, more or less the size of the asparagus spears.

Spread each bread square evenly with mustard. Lay an asparagus spear and a strip of cheese on each bread square and roll up. Place seam side down on a buttered baking sheet.

Brush rolls with melted butter. Bake in the upper third of a 450 degree F oven for 10 minutes, or until brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Asparagus Champagne Risotto (adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis, 2007)

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken broth
12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain rice
3/4 cup champagne
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the broth. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken broth for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken broth at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the champagne and simmer until the champagne has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat.

Gently stir in the asparagus, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Drömmar (Dream Cookies) (taken from the Wall Street Journal, March 2016)

Ingredients:
7 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 & 1/3 cups unbleached cake flour
1/2 tsp. baker’s ammonia (can substitute 1/2 tsp. baking powder plus 1/2 tsp. baking soda)
Salt

Instructions:
Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light in color, about 5 minutes. Sift flour and baker’s ammonia into bowl. Beat again until just fully combined, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to over beat.

Shape dough into 20 balls and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet or lightly greased sheet. Bake at 350 degree F until cookies puff and crisp but do not color, about 15 minutes. The cookies should have no, or very little, coloration and should crack slightly during cooking. Remove cookies from oven and let cool completely before eating.

A Weary Traveler, a Pint of Guinness and a Pot of Stew

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings*

Hotel Doolin
“Doolin Ale”

We arrived at the little inn in the tiny village of Doolin*, near the Cliffs of Moher, in the thick darkness of late evening, weary and hungry from traveling all day in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. With few options for replenishment, we stumbled back into the darkness, down the narrow road and entered into McGann’s, the local pub whose cozy warmth and Irish hospitality would keep us returning for the following two nights.

With the luck of the Irish on our side, we arrived just before the kitchen closed, sitting down at a table side fire and enjoying a magical, memorable evening of nourishing food (the best Guinness Beef Stew we’ve had), thirst-quenching pints of “Doolin Ale” and soulful live Irish music that one can only expect in a town that has been deemed the traditional music capital of Ireland.

In the spirit of All Things Irish, we share three recipes below to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Sláinte!

*Rumor has it that Doolin inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in the creation of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

McGann's Pub Doolin Ireland

Beef and Guinness Stew (taken from the Simon Pearce cookbook, A Way of Living)

Ingredients:
2 & 1/2 pounds of beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large stewpot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the beef in batches, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil to each batch, over medium high heat. Using slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

3 carrots, peeled and sliced (blanch and set aside)

1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. flour
1 bottle Guinness Stout
2-3 cups beef stock

Add onions and a small amount of olive oil to the stewpot and cook over medium heat until translucent. Once the onions are caramelized, add garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour and mix well. Add the browned beef back to the pot and add the Guinness. Bring to a boil and add beef stock. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 &1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Add the carrots and adjust the seasonings before serving.

Guinness Beef Stew Recipe

Oven Roasted Potatoes (taken from the Simon Pearce cookbook, A Way of Living)

Ingredients:
2 pounds small red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika

Instructions:
Cut potatoes in quarters.  In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet in one layer (do not overcrowd). Roast for at least 1 hour in 400 degree F oven or until brown and crisp. Flip twice during cooking to brown every.

Cheddar Chive Scones (taken from the Standard Baking Company’s book Pastries)

Ingredients for the scones:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup Stone-Ground Cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, chilled
1 Egg
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 & 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

Ingredients for the topping:
1/4 cup Stone-Ground Cornmeal
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions:
Make the topping by combining the cornmeal, cheese, and pepper and mixing until the texture resembles a course meal. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Break up any remaining lumps with your fingertips. Add the cubed butter and work it into the flour mixture using your fingertips until a few pea-size chunks of butter remain.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and half-and-half. Pour into the flour mixture land, using your hands or a rubber spatula, fold everything together until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Add the chives and cheese and mix until just combined.

With an ice cream scoop, scoop a golf ball-size portion and dip it into the topping mixture to coat. Place on a greased baking sheet with the topping facing up. Repeat with the rest of the dough spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake in 400 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 12 minutes for even baking. They will be golden brown and feel firm in the center when done. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

McGann's Pub Doolin Ireland

Chocolate Irish Cream Tart
Enjoy with a cup of delicious Irish coffee with baileys!

Ingredients for the chocolate filling:
1 cup plus 1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/8 cup whiskey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
Pinch of Salt
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar

Ingredients for the ganache:
3 tablespoons Irish Cream liquor
3/4 cup chopped white chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
Bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

Instructions for the chocolate filling:
Set aside the 1/4 cup of chocolate. Place the remaining chocolate in a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melt. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Whisk in the whiskey. The mixture will be stiff initially, but will become smooth as you continue whisking. Whisk in the vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and yokes. Set aside.

In another bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy and opaque.

Gradually add the sugar, beating until the whites are stiff enough to hold a peak when you lift the whisk out of the mixture.

Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold in half of the remaining whites, then the reserved 1/4 cup chopped chocolate, followed by the remaining whites.

Spoon the filling into the prepared tart shells, filling them 1/2 inch from the top. Place the filled tarts in the freezer for 2 hours, until firm.

Irish coffee with baileys
McGann’s Baileys Irish Cream Coffee

Instructions for the ganache:
In a small saucepan, heat the Irish cream to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the white chocolate. When the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

When the mixture is completely cool, whisk in the butter. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes, remove from the refrigerator, and which again. Repeat in this manner, whisking until the ganache is light and creamy. Set it aside at room temperature.

For the Tart
Use Pepperidge Farms ready made frozen tarts or use a favorite recipe.

Baking and finishing the tarts:
Bake the tarts in a 350 degree F oven on a baking sheet for about 15-18 minutes. Be sure to rotate the baking sheet after 8 minutes, the filling will have puffed up and started to crack. Let tarts cool and then spoon about a tablespoon of the ganache on each tart and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Chicken Soup for the Presidential Soul

Life is tough. Whether you are running across the country campaigning for president or running city blocks to the nearest coffee shop early in the morning, the moments of modern day living can sometimes leave one in a spinning, dizzying delirium.

As we come to the finish line of February, perhaps a bit weary from all the running – running to keep up with the 2016 presidential election, running to work, running a business or running a very crazy household – it might do your soul well to sit down for a quiet moment to enjoy a hot steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. Maybe even contemplate a different perspective, such as what life would be like on Mars or back in the days of our Founding Fathers…

Enjoy below: the Winter Citrus Salad for some refreshment, the Homemade Chicken Soup for some comfort, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter chip cookies for some satisfaction.

Winter Citrus Salad

Ingredients:
2 navel oranges
1 Cara Cara orange
1 firm apple like Cripps Pink or Pink Lady
1 grapefruit
Red grapes

Instructions:
Slice all of the above into bite size pieces and combine thoroughly. You can make a large bowl and keep it in the refrigerator all week to enjoy the ready-made freshness of it all.

Winter citrus salad recipe

Homemade Chicken Soup

For the chicken stock:
1 Roasting Chicken
3-5 carrots
1 white or yellow onion
3 stalks celery
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sprig of fresh rosemary

Roast the chicken according to directions. When done remove meat from bones and set aside. Place the chicken carcass into large stock pot and cover with water. Add all of the ingredients above and let simmer all day on low on stovetop. Give it a stir a couple of times throughout the day. At end of the day let it cool, strain and refrigerate until ready to make the soup.

homemade chicken soup recipe

For the Chicken Soup:
Homemade stock (see above)
Chicken meat from roasted chicken
3-5 carrots, sliced in small pieces
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
Fresh parsley, minced
Italian Seasoning
Lemon Juice
4 tbsp. butter
4  tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper
Egg Pasta Noodles

Place the strained chicken stock that was cooked the day before into clean soup pot for a clear broth. Add carrots, onions, chicken meat, salt and pepper, the lemon juice from 1/2 lemon (or more if desired), a couple of sprinkles of Italian seasoning and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare flour/butter paste by combining, in large shallow bowl, the flour and butter and then the sour cream and stirring into a smooth paste. Pour about 1/3 cup of hot broth into the shallow bowl with the paste and using a whisk combine until smooth and creamy and then swirl into the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings as you go. Add about 2 cups of egg pasta noodles and sprinkle parsley on top and let simmer for 10 minutes or so on low and then turn off heat so noodles don’t become overcooked and mushy. Serve steaming hot!

Please note: you can cut the flour/butter paste to 2 tablespoons of each for a mere hint of creamy texture.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s or favorite Cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 & 2/3 cups Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips

Chocolate peanut butter chip cookies recipe

Ingredients:
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Combine thoroughly. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes in 350 degree F oven.

Celebrate Royally with a Creamy, Spicy, Lovely & Sweet Valentine Dinner

Celebrate Valentine’s Day royally with some creamy, spicy, lovely & sweet Valentine’s Day recipes. Enjoy a royal beginning with the cocktails below, followed by dinner and dessert:

Valentine's day dinner recipesRoyal Godiva (taken from Cotton Cocktails by Peaches and Jeffrey Paige, 2013)

Ingredients:
1 ounce Smirnoff Vodka
1 ounce Chambord*
1 ounce Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur
Fresh Raspberries, To Garnish

Instructions:
Using a Boston shaker, fill the pint glass with ice, add all ingredients except garnish, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

*Chambord is made in France from red and black raspberries and has been produced for more than three hundred years.  The Godiva is a milk chocolate liqueur that is delicious on its own, but combining it with the other ingredients makes this a decadent dessert martini.

Passion Fruit Martini (taken from Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Family and Friends by Pippa Middleton, 2012)

In a pitcher, mix together 1/2 cup vodka and 1/4 cup passion fruit juice, together with 1 & 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice and the juice of 1 lime.  To serve, shake hard in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, strain and pour into chilled martini glasses.  Serve with a garnish of a few passion fruit seeds.

Moscow Mule (taken from Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Family and Friends by Pippa Middleton, 2012)

In a pitcher, mix together 3/4 cup of vodka and the juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar and 4 dashes of Angostura bitters. To serve, pour into 4 tall glasses with a wedge of fresh lime and some slices of fresh ginger. Stir together, add ice cubes and top with ginger ale.

Valentine's day recipes

Easy and Elegant Company Chicken in Mushroom Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
6 thinly sliced boneless chicken breasts
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup*
1 & 1/3 cups of whipping cream
Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 package fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley

Instructions:
Lightly salt chicken breast and place in large glass baking dish.  Sprinkle desired amount of garlic powder over chicken.  Combine mushroom soup and cream thoroughly and pour over chicken and sprinkle with pepper. Place in 350 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly.

While chicken is baking, sauté fresh sliced mushrooms in olive oil and butter increasing heat as you go to brown nicely.  It always takes two batches of sautéing in large skillet.  Half way through baking spread sautéed mushrooms on top of chicken being sure to stir some of the mushrooms into the gravy and finish baking. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top before serving.

*Homemade mushroom sauce can be substituted for Campbell’s Mushroom Soup using cream, chicken broth and a flour/butter paste.

Valentine's Day dessert recipes

Spicy Chili-Rice Casserole (taken from Park Avenue Potluck: Recipes from New York’s Savviest Hostesses by Florence Fabricant, 2007)

Ingredients:
1 cup long grain rice
Kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 & 1/2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup or more of pickled jalapeño peppers, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in the rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and cook about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Be sure to give it a stir once or twice. When done, transfer the rice to a bowl, fluff with a fork, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix the rice with the sour cream and grated Monterey Jack. Season to taste with salt. Stir in the jalapeño peppers until evenly distributed and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Dot with butter and bake in 350 degree F oven for about 25-30 minutes. The mushroom gravy from the chicken dish is yummy with this rice.

Italian Cream Cake

Ingredients for the cake:
Italian Cream Cake Recipe2 scant cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Bakers Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut (optional)
6 egg whites, room temp.

Instructions for cake:
Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until well-blended. Add egg yokes one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine 2 cups flour and baking soda in separate bowl. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in pecans, coconut (if desired) and vanilla extract. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form (do not over beat). Fold egg whites into batter and pour batter into two greased and lightly floured cake pans.  Bake in 350 degree F oven for approximately 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans thoroughly before turning out to ice.

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
1 tbsp. butter
8 ounces of Cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
1 box of powdered sugar sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions for frosting:
Cream butter and cheese on high speed until fluffy. Add sugar and blend either by hand or on low speed until well blended. Add vanilla and mix well. Spread icing on top and in between layers and around the side and sprinkle finely chopped pecan lightly on top along with sprinkles of pink colored sugar for a touch of Valentine loveliness.

easy Valentine's day cocktails

A Hot Bone Broth Tonic for Morning, Noon and Night

“Good broth will resurrect the dead.” –South American Proverb

“Stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” –Escoffier

In an ever-changing culinary landscape, I have come to depend on my daughter-in-law to keep me abreast of the latest food trends, which seem to be driven largely by her millennial generation. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, paleo, organic kale, “The Organic Kitchen” and “Wellness Mama” blogs, microbrews, sustainable wine, house-made sodas, artisanal coffees and bacon-flavored chocolates, cara oranges, coconut oil, almond milk, ghee and sriracha are just a few of the things I have learned more about when visiting her kitchen over the past couple years.

Most recently, she served up a hot bowl of egg drop soup made with what she referred to as “bone broth”, a new trend that has been simmering for the past few years and has bubbled over onto the stove tops across the culinary landscape. Marco Canora, the chef behind “Hearth” restaurant in New York City, is credited with getting the “bowl rolling”, opening a broth window in the city called “Brodo” where they serve three different “chef-crafted broths” in a cup to go.

Bone broth recipe

“We feature three core broths – Grass Fed Beef with Ginger, Organic Chicken, and Marco’s signature broth, Hearth,” it says on the website. “In addition we have specialty broths such as seaweed vegetable and a line-up of add-ins so you can customize flavor while adding nutrition.”

“Broth” in English, “brodo” in Italian and “bouillon” in French, “bone broth”,  like so many other old food items, has been resurrected from the ancient past when pots of broth were always kept simmering on the back burner for road weary travelers. With its earthy, tribal and paleo-sounding name that would make our great grandmothers chuckle, bone broth has been referred to as the “magic elixir du jour.”

Considered the first ever comfort food from the hunter-gatherer time of cave men, bone broth is made by boiling the bones of healthy animals along with vegetables, herbs and spices for long periods of time, usually 24-48 hours. It is the long simmering of the bones that creates a dense and nutrient-rich stock or broth that is high in protein and minerals, rich in collagen with beauty benefits for the skin, hair and nails and known to boost the immune system and improve digestion.

Below are two recipes to help get your bone broth bowl rolling:

Egg Drop Soup (made with bone broth and taken from The Organic Kitchen)

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock*
1 egg
1 tbsp. sliced green onions (greens not bulb) or baby kale, spinach, etc.
Avocado, sliced (optional, but delicious!)

Instructions:

  1. Place broth in a small pot on high heat, bring to a boil
  2. While broth is heating, slice onions. Add onions to broth.
  3. Slice avocado.
  4. Crack an egg into a small bowl, use a fork to break yolk and mix egg just a little.
  5. When broth boils, turn down to a simmer, gently pour egg into broth while stirring
  6. Wait 60 seconds turn off heat. Pour into a bowl, add avocado. Serve

*For our egg drop soup we whisked in a flour-butter paste (2 tablespoons each of butter, flour and sour cream smoothed into a paste) into the homemade stock, giving it an added flavor and then proceeded with the directions above. It was delicious!

Brodo Beef Broth (taken from Wall Street Journal’s: “Beef Brodo Recipe: Adapted from Marco Canora of Hearth, New York”)

Ingredients:
3 pounds bone-on beef stew meat
1 turkey drumstick
4 quarts cold water
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
¼ bunch parsley
½ tsp. black peppercorns
1 cup canned, crushed tomatoes
Salt

Brodo NYC

Instructions:

  1. Place beef, turkey and 4 quarts cold water in an 8-quart lidded stockpot and bring to a boil, covered, over high heat, about 20 minutes. Decrease heat to medium and move pot so it is partially on burner and broth bubbles just on one side. Continue to simmer broth, uncovered, until clear, about 30 minutes, skimming fat and impurities from surface every 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery, onions, carrots, parsley, peppercorns and tomatoes to pot and simmer, uncovered, until flavors develop, about 2 hours. Strain broth, discard vegetables and reserve meat for another purpose. Salt broth to taste and serve warm

In keeping with the “bone” theme, check out our piece in Rose’s Ridge on the song “Flesh & Bone” by Buddy Guy.

All Things White, Light and Healthy (almost)

Considering that cauliflower seems to be what all farm-to-table chefs up and down the East coast served in 2015, I think it’s safe to say that it has joined its green cousins (kale and Brussels sprouts) as a “hot and trendy” vegetable in the culinary landscape.

So, what better vegetable to serve up in the New Year than this white cruciferous vegetable that is packed (like a snowball) with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits and lots of vitamin C, and can warm a January soul on these cold winter days.

From cheesy cauliflower soup to hearty cauliflower gratin to spicy roasted bites, enjoy all things white, light and healthy this month, beginning with the cauliflower recipes below.

Further below you’ll find another round, white “snowball” treat, perfect for afternoon tea!

Spicy Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients for the cauliflower:
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. hot sauce*
1/2 cup water

Ingredients for the spicy sauce:
4 tsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp. butter or coconut oil (coconut oil gives it an nice additional flavor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt

Instructions:
For the spicy sauce combine the 4 tablespoons of hot sauce, the butter or coconut oil, garlic and salt in small saucepan and heat on medium low. Set aside.

Prepare baking tray with sheet of aluminum foil. Combine the flour and salt. Combine the 1/2 cup of water and 1 tablespoon hot sauce and pour into the flour/salt mixture and stir well. Coat the cauliflower pieces in the batter and place on the baking sheet. Bake in 450 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove and drizzle the heated sauce on the roasted cauliflower pieces and serve with Ranch dressing or your own favorite sauce.

*ATG suggestions for hot sauce and something new to try: Captain Mowatt’s “Canceaux Turbeau” – “Burning the planet one tongue at a time” based out of Portland, Maine, or “Slap Ya Mama” , a Cajun Pepper Sauce out of Ville Platte, Louisiana. 

roasted cauliflower recipes

Cauliflower Gratin (ATG’s adaption from various recipes)

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 & 1/4 cups milk, heated
1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly made bread crumbs (I always use thick-cut bread crumbs and brown them in a little butter in large frying pan on the stove until slightly crunchy.)

Instructions:
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash cauliflower and separate into a mix of small to medium sized florets. Place cauliflower pieces on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 10-20 minutes until cauliflower browns in spots.

Meanwhile, to create the cream sauce, melt the butter in saucepan and then stir in flour whisking continuously making a paste and then slowly add the heated milk stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Place the cauliflower in square or rectangle baking dish and pour sauce over and then sprinkle bread crumbs. Bake in 375 degrees F oven until the edges begin to brown and the cheese begins to bubble. Turn oven off and turn broiler on and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until nicely browned.

Cauliflower Risotto (taken from Nordstrom Cookbook)

Ingredients:
2 cups Arborio Rice
1 white onion (1/2 cup diced and the rest thinly sliced)
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 small head cauliflower
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Scatter sliced onion and garlic in baking dish and top with cauliflower pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for about an hour until the cauliflower is tender. Discard most of the onion and garlic. Smash cauliflower into medium pieces. While cauliflower is cooking, bring broth to simmer in saucepan. Then, in another saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add rice and coat well with butter mixture for about 2 minutes. Then add wine and let come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until most of the wine evaporates. Then add 1/2 cup of the heated broth to the rice and stir on a low simmer until the broth is absorbed. Repeat until all but 1/4 cup of the broth is incorporated. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring continuously and then add remaining 1/4 cup of broth, 1/2-cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp. butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Orange Glazed Cauliflower (taken from The Kitchen Prep)

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and cut into medium-sized florets
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1-2 tbsp. water
1 bunch scallions, sliced on sharp angle

Instructions:
Prepare baking sheet by placing a sheet of foil on top. Place cauliflower pieces on foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt making sure to coat the pieces evenly. Place in 450 degrees F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until dark brown spots begin to appear on cauliflower.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, red pepper, ginger and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in orange zest. Pour orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and cornstarch into saucepan, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer whisking often until the sauce is slightly thickened. Pour sauce into large glass bowl and add the roasted cauliflower and stir making sure to completely coat each piece. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced scallions.

See also our recipe for cream of fresh cauliflower soup.

Pecan Cookie Balls

The recipe for the Pecan cookies below is an old recipe taken from The Museum of Fine Arts Boston Cookbook (1981). I used to make these every Christmas and forgot how delicious they are until I rediscovered them just recently. Perfect for afternoon tea or with a morning cup of coffee, “You’ll make these again and again,” the book says…which I can attest is true!

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla (we used Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract)
2 cups flour
2 cups pecans, finely chopped

Pecan cookie recipe

Instructions:
Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and the finely chopped pecans until thoroughly combined. Shape into balls (the dough will be loose and crumbly-like as if it won’t hold together but once you pick some up it forms nicely into a ball). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 300 degree F for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and roll in powered sugar.

Note: these cookies don’t spread when baking but will start to brown around the bottom edge, which will indicate that they are done. Be careful not to over bake.

All Things Beaujolais

Le Beaujolais Nouveau “Every year…millions of bottles of a fresh, fruity Gamay from Beaujolais are poured to celebrate the new vintage,” writes S. Irene Virbila in a recent Los Angeles Times article. “Banners all over France — and the world — proclaim ‘Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!’ French restaurants, of course, get into the spirit of things big-time.”

Shortly after the Paris attacks, when the world became more attuned to all things Paris and France, I viewed a show on television about the annual French festival, celebrating the arrival of the 2015 Beaujolais wine. What a contrast, I thought, between the festivities and the tragic events that had taken place just a week before. And so, when I came across an abundant supply of Georges Duboeufs 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau that was festively displayed for the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought it appropriate to celebrate France and support the Parisians by buying a bottle.

As it turns out, 2015 was considered an exceptional harvest, making the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Noveau an unexpected and inexpensive delight. Considered a medium-bodied, light wine with cherry and raspberry notes, it is easy to drink, sounds magical, is “festive, friendly and joyful”*  and certainly makes one merry! That the bottle was colorfully and joyfully decorated, and that the wine was a beautiful rosy pink violet color, was an added bonus.

In the light and merry spirit of a French Beaujolais, ATG offers three hearty holiday recipes that use red wine. All three dishes are better made one day ahead of serving, especially the Boeuf à la Bourguignoone.

Bon appétit!

Meals with red wine

Sauté de Boeuf à la Bourguignonne or Beef Sauté with Red Wine, Mushrooms, Bacon, and Onions (inspired by Julia Child, this is a combination of several different recipes and is meant to be a general guide to cooking Boeuf a la bourguignonne “au pif.”)

Ingredients:
2 & 1/2 pounds filet of beef cut into small pieces about 2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick
4-5 slices good quality thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 & 1/2 cups  red wine
1 & 1/2 cups beef stock
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. thyme

1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter

20 small white onions
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
Salt and Pepper

Instructions:
Sauté the beef pieces that have been salted and peppered in olive oil and butter over moderately high heat 2-3 minutes on each side to brown the exterior but keep the interior rosy red. Set the beef on a side dish. Brown the sliced bacon in the sauté skillet until cooked through, not overly crispy, remove and set aside. Pour most of the fat out leaving enough to sauté the onions lightly until coated and then the sliced mushrooms lightly until coated. Add a little bit of butter as you are sautéing if necessary. Remove onions and mushrooms from skillet and place in bowl and put aside. Add the wine, beef stock, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme back into the sauté skillet and slowly boil down by half. Remove skillet from heat.

Make the flour butter paste and then whisk into the boiled down sauce in skillet and simmer for 1 minute correcting seasonings, adding more pepper and salt if necessary. Arrange the bacon, mushrooms, onions, and beef pieces in oven-proof casserole dish and pour sauce over and bake in 300 degree F oven for approximately 1 hour or until meat is fork tender.

Bolognese (inspired by Barbara Lynch’s cookbook Stir)

Ingredients:
Coq Au Vin Julia Child1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 & 1/2 pounds ground sirloin or 1/2 pound each of veal, pork, and lamb
1 cup dry red wine (Beaujolais or Chianti)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, finely chopped (do not discard juice)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions:
Heat olive oil and one tablespoon butter in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add the ground meat in batches, letting it brown a little before adding more. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking and stirring until meat is completely browned. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high and boil, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps of meat, until the wine has been reduced, about 10 minutes or so. Add the finely chopped tomatoes with their juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste and basil. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, dark, and rich, for at least 1 hour. After an hour add cream and cook for another 20 minutes or so. Serve over pasta, topped with freshly ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Coq Au Vin (adapted from Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Ingredients:
4-5 slices of good quality thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. butter
2 & 1/2 – 3 pound cut-up frying chicken
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup cognac
2-3 cups young red wine – Beaujolais or Chianti
1-2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
12-24 brown-braised onions
1/2 pound sautéed mushrooms
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter, room temp.

Instructions:
Bolognese recipeIn a heavy casserole skillet, sauté bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned and then remove to side dish. Brown chicken in the hot fat of bacon and season with salt and pepper. Return bacon to the casserole skillet with the chicken and cover and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

Uncover, and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole skillet back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.

Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough chicken or beef stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.

Blend the butter and the flour together into a smooth paste (beurre manié).  Beat the paste into the hot liquid above with a wire whip. Bring to a simmer while stirring and simmer for a minute or two until the sauce thickens slightly. Reduce heat to low.

For the onions, use 1-2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil and sauté over moderate heat for 8-10 minutes.  Then transfer sautéed onions to a shallow baking dish and pour 1/2 cup of beef stock, dry white or red wine, or water over and season with salt and pepper, 1 bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 40-50 minutes, turning them over once or twice. When done they should be very tender, retain their shape, and be a nice golden brown.

For the mushrooms, sauté quartered mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium to high heat until nicely browned. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Place chicken back in casserole skillet and arrange mushrooms and onions around the chicken and baste with the sauce. Bring to a simmer and then cover and simmer slowly for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is hot through. Serve on a hot platter with sprigs of fresh parsley.

French food recipes

Apples, Apples, Apples — All Things Apples

recipes for fall“Man has been munching on apples for about 750,000 years, ever since the food gatherers of early Paleolithic times discovered sour, wild crab apples growing in the forests in Kazakhstan Central Asia.” Apple Cookbook (2001) by Olwen Woodier

‘Tis the season for apple pie baking! While bakers everywhere are busy rolling out the pie dough, Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York has been busy rolling out 66 apple varieties for more than a century including Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, Jonamac, and Macoun.

In her book Apple Lover’s Cookbook, Amy Traverso writes about her visit with Susan Brown, one of the horticulture professors and apple breeders at the 50-acre lab in Geneva near Lake Seneca where they breed, develop and produce apples that are ever more appealing to the tastes of consumers, who tend to favor crisp, juicy and firm varieties.

Along with satisfying the taste buds of consumers, the horticulturalists also experiment with fortifying the health benefits (“an apple a day keeps the doctor away”) by breeding apples that have as much vitamin C as oranges and those that have high levels of quercetin, a natural antioxidant that may have a role in protecting the brain cells from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms. Traverso explains that the display of apples she saw during her visit was “a beautiful still life of diversity” and was “evidence of how many different traits are coded in the apple’s approximately 56,000 genes, (the human genome has somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 genes), the sequence of which was only recently decoded.”

Today, one doesn’t have to travel far to see the “beautiful still life of diversity” that Ms. Traverso recounts. It seems every fall one can find at least one new variety of apple with a “jazzy” name in the local market, crisply displayed with the abundance of varieties developed and grown across the globe – from Honey Crisp (developed by the University of Minnesota and released in 1991 to consumers) to Ginger Gold (Virginia), Snapdragon and Ruby Frost (both from Cornell), Cripps Pink (Pink Lady from Australia), and Jazz (developed in New Zealand).

As we approach the end of October, when time falls back and apples fall to the ground, ATG celebrates All Things Apples by “picking” a variety of apple recipes to share through the end of the month.

easy apple dessert recipes

Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (taken from The Apple Lovers Cookbook by Amy Traverso)

These cupcakes are really yummy – very moist and flavorful and easy to make!

Note: This recipe has a large yield, 24 cakes. However, you can cut the recipe in half fairly easily; most everything divides into two except for the eggs and the boiled cider. In that case, use 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and 3 & 1/2 tablespoons boiled cider.  Also, for the baking powder, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons is equal to 1/2 tablespoon.

Ingredients for the cupcake:
2 sticks butter (16 tablespoons), room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 & 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
5 large eggs, room temperature (if cutting recipe in half, use 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup boiled cider (see notes below)
1 cup whole or 2% milk, room temperature

Apple cinnamon cupcakes recipe

Instructions:

  1. Using a mixer combine the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and very fluffy (7-10 min.).
  2. Add 1 egg at a time to fully whipped butter/sugar mixture making sure to use all 5 eggs. Add the vanilla.
  3. In medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl.
  4. In a small bowl stir the boiled cider into the milk.
  5. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture with a little bit of the milk/cider and stir until just combined and then repeat the process two more times until both mixtures are thoroughly combined.
  6. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds of the way and bake at 325-335 degree Foven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Note: I did not have boiled cider so substituted with homemade applesauce making sure the consistency was thin and smooth. I cut up 2-3 Macintosh apples and cooked them in a saucepan with a little bit of a local apple cider to keep it on watery side. Or you can make your own boiled cider (see here) or order a pint from King Arthur Flour at this link.

Ingredients for the frosting:
2 packages cream cheese, room temp.
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, room temp.
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
Combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.  Note: for a lighter frosting which doesn’t have a heavy cream cheese/butter taste cut back on the cream cheese to maybe 1 & 1/2 packages and maybe 5-6 tablespoons of butter.

Butternut Squash Bisque (taken from Simon Pearce)

Ingredients:
1 large squash
1 large onion
8 cup water
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup of cream
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Butternut squash soup recipe

Instructions:

  1. Combine the butternut squash, onion and water in a sauce pot.
  2. Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer until just tender.
  4. Drain the butternut squash and onions from the water.
  5. Place the butternut squash in to the blender.
  6. Then add the following the remaining ingredients and blend the mixture well.

Waldorf Salad (taken from Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier)

Ingredients:
3 medium apples (any apple that is crisp and firm)
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (we preferred a couple of sprinklings of black pepper)
4 mint leaves or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley – optional
1 head of Boston lettuce (we used Romaine)

Waldort salad recipe

Instructions:

  1. Chill a medium-sized bowl for beating the cream.
  2. Core and dice the apples.  Place in large bowl.
  3. Add the celery and walnuts to the apples.
  4. Sprinkle lemon juice over apples and walnuts.
  5. Beat the cream until thick and stands in soft peaks, stir into apple mixture.
  6. Sprinkle mint or parsley on top (we substituted diced red grapes on top)
  7. Serve on lettuce leaves

For more Fall recipes, including a recipe for delicious homemade apple cider donuts, please see here.

Make Bourbon Great Again!

One can never quite know exactly what it is that resurrects something from the past, but bourbon – the famed American whiskey – has risen from the ashes and been “made great again.”

Surely the popular TV series Mad Men has contributed to its resurgence – the “Mad Men Effect” – where men were men who drank manly drinks called the “Old-Fashioned”, but whatever the reasons involved, the rise of the “golden age of bourbon” is an undeniable reality.

Bourbon drinks

The New York Times writes and quotes drinks author Robert Hess: “Like an artifact from a lost, great civilization…‘[t]he old-fashioned has been a touchstone of the cocktail movement [for] the last 10 years.’”

Fortune Magazine reports that, in 2000, there were just 24 bourbon craft distilleries across America; today there are more than 430. “This is probably the best time to be in bourbon since Prohibition”, says Tim DeLong; and Eric Gregory: “Bourbon is not just a drink anymore but a part of [a] culture.”

And The Associated Press writes: “This is a renaissance we haven’t seen in generations, and possibly in the entire history of our signature spirit.”

Perhaps Donald Trump – whose slogan rings “Make America Great Again!” – should travel to Louisville, the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon county, to adopt this most authentic American drink with a rich American history as the official drink of his campaign.

Indeed, as Fortune writes, “people are flocking to Kentucky to experience bourbon in its native habitat,” where it has emerged as a “global force” and become one of the “state’s most prized economic engines.”

It is with this in mind that we share below a recipe for bourbon slush, a recipe with a bourbon-vinaigrette dressing, some interesting bourbon facts and even a bourbon drinking song.

Here’s to making bourbon great again!

Bourbon Slush

Note: We have adapted the below recipe from the recipes from Garden & Gun and Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients:
2 cups tea
1-2 cups bourbon (depending on how strong you would like it)
1/2 – 1 cup of sugar (we used 1/2 cup, however we would suggest more if you tend to like your drinks on the sweeter side)
1 cup good quality orange juice
1 cup Nantucket Nectar Lemonade (or another good quality lemonade)

Bourbon slush recipe

Instructions:
Bring two cups of water to a boil, add two tea bags and let steep for five minutes. Let tea cool slightly and then in glass bowl combine tea, sugar, bourbon, orange juice and lemonade and stir thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and put in freezer. Freeze for 4-5 hours or until it becomes a thick slush. Serve in glass cocktail tumblers with a sprig of fresh mint.

Note: Enjoy your bourbon slush while listening to an old blues song, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, written by Rudy Toombs and recorded by Amos Milburn in 1953; the song was made especially popular by John Lee Hooker in 1966 and George Thorogood in 1977.

Spinach Salad with sliced pecans, lamb bacon, Clemson blue cheese and bourbon vinaigrette (taken from Chef Edward Lee’s cookbook, Smoke & Pickles)

Ingredients for salad:
8 ounces Lamb Bacon, cut into small cubes (note: we used regular bacon)
8 ounces spinach
½ cup pecans
1 green apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 breakfast radish, sliced into thin rounds
4 ounces Clemson blue cheese or other mild artisan blue cheese, crumbled

Ingredients for Bourbon Vinaigrette:
¼ cup bourbon
¾ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
To make the vinaigrette: start by pouring the bourbon into a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Be careful, because the alcohol in the bourbon could ignite. If that happens, to tamp out the flame, simply put a tight-fitting lid over the pot – the lack of oxygen will suffocate the flame; remove the lid after a few seconds. Boil to reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons. Transfer the bourbon to a ramekin and refrigerate until well chilled.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the reduced bourbon. Keep refrigerated; bring to room temperature when ready to use.

To make the salad: put the lamb bacon in a small skillet and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat just until it becomes crispy on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain what little fat will render from the bacon.

Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl and add the lamb bacon. Toss gently with the bourbon vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Do you know the “Six Standard Rules” for a spirit to be considered bourbon? It must be…

  1.  Made in the Unites States
  2.  Aged in charred white oak barrels
  3.  51% corn
  4.  Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume)
  5.  Put into a barrel at below 125 proof
  6.  No artificial coloring or flavor

Why does Kentucky make good bourbon?  

It has excellent quality limestone-filtered water; the state’s extreme weather patterns is also thought to contribute to prime bourbon-making conditions

Bourbon got its name from…

Two men known as the Tarascon Brothers who arrived in Louisville from Cognac (south of France) and began shipping local whiskey down the Ohio River to New Orleans. In the 19th century, New Orleans entertainment district was “Bourbon Street”, where all of the bars were. People started asking for “that whiskey they sell on Bourbon Street”, which eventually became “that bourbon whiskey.”

(Note: the above facts were taken from Smithsonian article listed below)

For further information on bourbon, check out the below articles: