Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving Seasonal Cocktail: Don't Take it For 'Granate
Pun courtesy of Cody. I am cursed with an embarrassing love of puns, yet the general inability to spool them off all clever and impromptu. I am, however, gifted with cocktail invention skills.

In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with crushed ice, combine:
3 parts vodka
1 part Chambord
1 part Barenjaeger
1 part pomegranate juice

Shake vigorously. By the time you are making your second batch of this, you will probably be dancing around a little bit. This is helpful.

Add two tablespoons of pomegranate seeds to a glass and fill glass halfway with Diet 7 Up (or club soda, or clear mixer of your choice). Fill glass with pomegranate mixture from the cocktail shaker. Partake in other Thanksgiving day activities like mashing the potatoes or playing puzzle in the living room. Think about the things for which you give thanks. I have many.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The week of Halloween, I tried to make caramel sauce and failed twice. Part of the problem is that I don't have a candy thermometer because I am a combination of lazy and stubborn, so I kept burning the sugar. Also, I think that my stove is old and ghetto and the heat is not consistent. Regardless, I am a little cocky and not particularly accustomed to such utter failure in the kitchen, especially not twice in a row. It was quite demoralizing. I had a couple Halloween parties to go to last weekend, and my brilliant plan was to bring sliced apples and homemade caramel sauce and be a hero. I went out and bought something ridiculous like 5 pounds of golden delicious apples for this plan and then stunk up my apartment with two nasty batches of unsuccessful caramel sauce. I rallied and brought Greek cheese plates to my party instead, but had a huge bag of apples to deal with and dispose of. Solution? Applesauce.

Amazing homemade applesauce starts with five or six apples, peeled, cored, and chopped up into pieces about the size of pencil erasers. Dump all your chopped apples into a big saucepan and put about a cup of water into the pan. Cover, turn the stove heat to medium, and let the apples sweat for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and add between 1 and 3 tablespoons of of cinnamon, sugar and vanilla extract. Simmer the apples until the water is evaporated and the apples are soft and saucy. Mash some of the residual chunks against the side of the pan, and you could puree with an immersion blender, but I don't own crap like that and even if I did, I wouldn't want to wash it.

Applesauce is delicious hot or cold, plain or garnished with nonfat yogurt, mixed into oatmeal or shared with your friends and coworkers. Also, as an extra bonus, it smells like Christmas which is three quarters of what I'm looking for this time of year.