Hot Mulled Cider

Time to wrap up Drinks Week! Darcie’s come up with another wonderful non-alcoholic beverage for you today, with this spicy Hot Mulled Cider. Of course, if you prefer a tipple, you can always add the optional brandy and we won’t tell. It’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire either way!

Thank you for joining us this week, and please come back tomorrow for Small Bites Week, when we’ll kick off seven days of snacks, appetizers and noshes that are perfect for parties.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Blood Oranges - Amy Roth Photo

Mulled Ciders - Amy Roth Photo

 

Hot Mulled Cider

A non-alcoholic beverage that's still wonderfully grown-up, Hot Mulled Cider will hit the spot this winter.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts fresh apple cider
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod (lightly bruised)
  • 1/2 orange (zest only)

Optional

  • 1/2 cup brandy

Directions

In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider and spices for 1/2 hour. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Pour through a sieve to remove the spices. (Do not leave the spices in too long, to avoid overly intense flavors which can overpower the cider.)
You can make the cider ahead of time, just be sure to store in a thermal carafe so it is served piping hot.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

The weather’s been topsy-turvy here in the Northeast this fall, but a couple of days ago, Old Man Winter pulled into town. If that’s the case where you are, today’s recipe is really going to hit the spot, though cold temperatures are in No Way a requirement for something as delicious as this Nutella Hot Chocolate. You can top it with whipped cream the way we did or with a big marshmallow or two and take a torch to it for something reminiscent of drinkable s’mores. You’ll thank me. And I thank Darcie for this scrumptious recipe – be sure to check out her post at the link.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Nutella Hot Chocolate 2 | Amy Roth Photo

Nutella Hot Chocolate | Amy Roth Photo

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Serves 1
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Meal type Beverage
Nutella Hot Chocolate — for those days when you need a little something extra to take the chill away.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella
  • pinch salt

Optional

  • 1 shot Frangelico

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Whisk in the Nutella and salt, stirring until well combined. Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream or marshmallows, then serve.
For a grown up twist on this hot cocoa, a shot of Frangelico would intensify the hazelnut flavor, or stir in some whiskey or other alcohol as desired.

Snowball-tinis

I’ll be honest with you — we did this one simply because we thought it would be fun to shoot! And it really was. Sometimes I think the part I love most about food photography is the constant MacGyver-ing necessary to get what’s in your mind out into the real world, then into the camera. This shot took a while, but we had a ball; check out Darcie making it snow in my Instagram feed.

Fun, “snowy” times aside, this is a delicious drink for the sweets-lovers out there. Minty and fresh with the most ethereal drinks element around — cotton candy — it’s a taste of winter. Be sure to check out Darcie’s post at her website, Gourmet Creative.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Snowball-tinis

Serves 1
Meal type Beverage
Snowball-tinis are fun and festive drinks for the sweets-lovers among you.

Ingredients

  • 1oz vanilla vokda
  • 1oz creme de cacao
  • 1oz peppermint liqueur
  • cotton candy

Directions

Pour alcohol into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake until well chilled. Form the cotton candy into a ball and place in a martini glass. The cotton candy will dissolve when the alcohol is poured over it, so be sure to present the glass first. Pour in the mixture and serve.

Pear and Ginger Prosecco Cocktail

Looking for a fun twist on the standard bubbly this holiday season? We’ve got a real treat in store for you today with Darcie’s incredible Pear & Ginger Prosecco Cocktails! They’re everything you want in a holiday cocktail — light, effervescent and just plain gorgeous. And the candied ginger is a delicious, snack-able lagniappe. Check out Darcie’s post for more about its creation.

Cheers!

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Prosecco Cocktail | Amy Roth Photo

Pear and Ginger Prosecco Cocktail

Meal type Beverage
Light and bubbly with the refreshing flavor of ginger, this Pear and Ginger Prosecco Cocktail is holiday party-ready.

Ingredients

Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger

  • 1 piece fresh ginger (4 inches)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for coating)

Prosecco Cocktail

  • 1 tablespoon ginger syrup
  • 1oz pear juice
  • Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
  • 1 fresh pear (thinly sliced)

Directions

Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger
In a small saucepan, cook the sugar and water over medium heat until syrupy, approximately 10-15 minutes. Peel the ginger and cut into thin strips. Remove the syrup from the heat and add the ginger strips. Allow to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the ginger and arrange on a baking rack to dry for 1 hour.
While ginger strips are drying, pour the ginger syrup into a jar or bottle for storage. Toss the ginger in granulated sugar to coat and return to the baking rack. Allow to dry fully, preferably overnight. Store in an airtight container.
Prosecco Cocktail
Mix together the syrup and pear juice and pour into glasses. Top up with Prosecco, garnish with sliced fresh pear and serve.

Homemade Irish Cream

After two days of bright and tangy drinks, we’re moving on to something luscious and smooth — Homemade Irish Cream. Who among us hasn’t enjoyed a shot of Bailey’s fortifying a cup of coffee on a cold day? That combination of creamy sweetness with a fiery backbone is a real favorite of mine, so I was excited to see this homemade version in the list of recipes to shoot for the cookbook Dishing Up New Jersey: 150 Recipes from the Garden State. Author John Holl delivered a wonderful book in every way, writing a culinary love letter to his home — and my adopted — state, while sharing recipes from chefs and home cooks alike. Maybe I’m partial, but I think it would make an excellent gift for the Jersey boy or girl in your life!

Last year, I gave bottles of this homemade liqueur to friends at Christmas, and they were a huge hit — so much so, that I got requests for more every few months! You can’t get more successful than that. Give it a try and let us know what you think. I’m sure you’ll fall head over heels just as I did.

Find Darcie’s post (and a funny story about an Irish Cream mishap) here.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Homemade Irish Cream 2 | Amy Roth Photo

Homemade Irish Cream

Allergy Egg, Milk
Meal type Beverage
From book Dishing Up New Jersey: 150 Recipes from the Garden State
Meet your new favorite drink — Homemade Irish Cream. Sweet and luscious with a potent kick, it's everything you'd hoped it would be.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 4 eggs (whisked)
  • 1 3/4 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Note

This recipe is shared with permission from Dishing Up New Jersey: 150 Recipes from the Garden State by John Holl.

Directions

Heat the cream and instant coffee in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm, stirring until the grains are fully dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the coffee mixture to a blender. Add the eggs, whiskey, condensed milk, chocolate syrup, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend until fully combined, about 1 minute.
Run the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, chill, and serve or bottle. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Limoncello

Limoncello and I go way back. My father used to travel a lot for his job and often found himself working in northern Italy, where he became good friends with his business counterpart in the local office. My mom accompanied him whenever possible (because, Italy), and they’d enjoy a nice vacation on the company dime. This was back in the ’90s when flying wasn’t such a slog, so they’d return with all sorts of goodies, including homemade limoncello, which the ladies in our town really loved. I have to say, it wasn’t really my thing at the time, but I’ve grown to appreciate it over the years. Bright and scented by the sun, with sweetness on a sliding scale according to your taste, it’s an amazing way to use an abundance of Meyer lemons if you’re lucky enough to have a tree, or just a good way to indulge if you want to go the supermarket route.

Please check out Darcie’s post for her personal take on limoncello via Perth, Australia. I don’t know about you, but I get a serious case of wanderlust whenever I read her posts. Her limoncello recipe is so similar to The Kitchn‘s that we simply adapted it for you here.

Remember: Drink responsibly and please designate a driver if you plan to indulge!

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Limoncello 2 - Amy Roth Photo

 

Limoncello

Meal type Beverage
Misc Serve Cold
Bright, scented by the sun, and just as sweet as you’d like, homemade limoncello is a special treat.

Ingredients

  • 10 organic Meyer lemons (washed and dried)
  • 1 bottle vodka (750-ml; 100-proof preferred, or 80-proof)
  • 1-4 cup sugar (to taste)

Note

Adapted from The Kitchn.

Directions

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons, taking care not to include the white pith. Place peels in a large glass jar and cover with vodka. (The remaining lemons can be used to make lemonade- yum!) Allow the peels to steep for about a month (at least 4 days, but longer is definitely better).
Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar. Heat until fully dissolved and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, strain the vodka, removing all peels and sediment. Combine simple syrup and infused vodka until you reach desired sweetness and concentration.
Pour into a bottle. Chill and serve the limoncello on its own, or in a cocktail.

Cranberry-Gin Cocktail

DRINKS WEEK! DRINKS WEEK! DRINKS WEEK!

OK, maybe we’re a little excited about this week around these parts, but it’s a fun one, and we have a beautilicious beverage to kick things off — Cranberry-Gin Cocktail with Candied Cranberries. Darcie’s original recipe has a great sweet-tart kick that’ll keep the party spirits high. And can you imagine a more Christmasy-looking beverage? Another nice thing — since the recipe makes loads of candied cranberries, you can snack on them by the handful, something I’ll personally vouch for, since I didn’t get to sample this drink until AFTER we’d finished shooting for the day. Those candied cranberries sustained me.

For a roundup of all of our Advent Calendar posts for the year, click here.
Darcie can be found at her website, Gourmet Creative and on Instagram at @darcie_hunter.
Find me on Instagram at @amyrothphoto, Pinterest at @amyrothphoto and my portfolio at (you guessed it) Amy Roth Photo.

Cranberry Cocktail | Amy Roth Photo

Cranberry-Gin Cocktail

Serves 1
Meal type Beverage
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas
Get festive with this ruby-red cranberry-gin cocktail with candied cranberries. Tart & a tiny bit sweet with the scent of rosemary, it's holiday in a glass!

Ingredients

Candied Cranberries

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Cocktail

  • 2oz gin
  • 2oz cranberry juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • Pellegrino Melongrano e Arancia soda (to taste)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • candied cranberries

Directions

Candied Cranberries
In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup sugar with the water until fully dissolved, then remove from heat. Pour in the rinsed cranberries and allow to sit for 1 hour. Remove the berries with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack for 1 hour. Pour the remaining sugar into a bowl. In batches, roll the cranberries in the sugar. Return to the wire rack and allow to dry for at least 2 hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Cocktail
Mix the gin, cranberry juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a glass and top up with Pellegrino soda. Garnish with rosemary and candied cranberries and serve.

Stay Gold

You know how you have good intentions — to exercise more, to cook and post more, to do almost anything but hibernate — then it starts snowing and doesn’t stop? Yeah, that.

While we had a nice respite from the arctic chill last weekend, the polar vortex is back and demands respect, so I’m desperate to stay warm any way I can. So far, my methods have included propping up my desk so I can stand (and do squats) while working, wearing layers even in the house, and best of all, making plenty of warming tea during the day. We have boxes and boxes of specialty tea blends in the house, as my husband is a sucker for the Pukka brand, but my favorite is a new concoction that I’ve only been drinking for a couple of months. I like to think of it as Golden Milk Chai Tea.

I first read about Golden Milk on my friend Vivienne’s Facebook page, where she extolled its virtues and raved about how her children love it. The milk turns gold from the addition of turmeric, which has so many health benefits that it seemed silly not to give it a try. And I LOVED it from the start, but you know me — tinkering is SOP. I like to have a little hit of caffeine in the afternoon, so I thought, “Why not add some black tea?” Then it occurred to me that it was already so very close to chai tea that perhaps the addition of a few more spices wouldn’t be so far-fetched. As far as I’m concerned, Vij’s achieved perfection with their chai tea, so I went to the source then got to work.

I’ve pretty much settled on The One Recipe at this point, but who knows? It’s entirely possible probable that I’ll tweak it a bit more and come up with something better. And if I do, I’ll certainly let you know. (Update: As predicted, I did tweak it a bit more after reading that black pepper makes turmeric even more effective. Plus, I love the spicy hit it adds to the tea.)

If you’d like to see a couple of alternate photos for this post and talk about studio lighting setups, head over to my other blog at Amy Roth Photo.

Golden Milk Chai Tea adapted from every article ever written about golden tea plus Vij’s recipe

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to adapt to your tastes. You can adjust the amounts of all the ingredients to your liking as well as substitute at will. Don’t drink milk? Try almond, rice or soy milk! Not a fan of molasses? Use your preferred sweetener. If fennel or cardamom don’t float your boat, leave them out. This is great with a sprinkling of cinnamon, too, if you don’t have cinnamon sticks on hand. You can even start with half the amount of turmeric paste and work your way up if you find one teaspoon is too strong for your liking.

For the turmeric paste
1/4 cup powdered turmeric
1/2 cup water

For the tea
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon turmeric paste
1/2 cup milk
1 Orange Pekoe teabag, or your favorite black tea
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1-2 whole cloves
5-10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sweet almond oil

Make the turmeric paste
In a small saucepan, mix turmeric powder with water. Stir well to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms. This happens in a matter of minutes, so be prepared! Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. You can store the leftover turmeric paste in a small jar in the fridge, where it will keep for a couple of weeks. If you don’t think you’ll get through this much paste in that amount of time, you can reduce the recipe or use it wherever you would use turmeric powder.

Make the tea
In a small saucepan, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste with a little bit of the water to form a smooth, thin paste. Add remaining water and stir well. Add milk, teabag, molasses and all of the spices to the turmeric mixture and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When bubbles form at the edge of the pot, remove it from the heat. Cover the pot and allow it to steep for five minutes.

Strain the solids from the tea, add almond oil and serve immediately.

Field to Feast: Spinach

Kasha and I are back with more Field to Feast posts this week! Head over to The FarmGirl Cooks for more ideas on what to do with what’s in season.

Spinach never was something I ate as a child, so I’m not sure when or where I developed my love for it, but love it I do. And after hardneck garlic, it’s my favorite thing to buy from Bialas Farms at the market. We see it a couple times a year — first in Spring, when I gobble it up after a long winter of the industrial, bagged stuff. Then, after I’ve eaten my weight in summer-ripe tomatoes and corn and think another zucchini might be the death of me, it crops up again when the weather cools down. So by June, I’ve waited the better part of a year for spinach to come back to market and what happens? I’ll tell you what happens. A sinus infection happens! A disgusting sinus infection that sapped my energy and kept me shuffling between the bed (for naps) and sofa (for marathons of Doc Martin and Wallander) for a full week. (Side note: My ass is tired of all the sitting, which seems ridiculous, because aren’t asses made for that very thing? My body craves movement and walking for more than 20 feet at a stretch. When I’m able to do a downward dog again, I have a feeling the angels will sing.)

So that’s why this post is so slim. My nasal passages apologize for the interruption, but promise that next week’s post will be a doozy, so be sure to tune in.

My busy schedule of TV marathons and napping notwithstanding, I DID manage to work up a new spinach recipe this week. I wanted to make gluten-free spanakopita for you, but let’s get real. There’s NO WAY I’d attempt to make my own phyllo dough (gf or otherwise), so I thought spinach turnovers would be an acceptable substitute.

Spinach Turnovers at Minimally Invasive

And they were entirely delicious, if not the same texture as flaky spanakopita. For the pastry, I used the pie crust recipe at Cup4Cup minus the sugar, then adapted the filling from Vegetarian Times. I rolled out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness, then cut out individual turnovers with a 4″ round cutter, which made a nicely-sized turnover to be eaten in a few bites. You could size these up or down without too much of a problem, as long as you adjusted the amount of filling in each. Believe me, what looks like a paltry amount of filling can become a big mess when folding and crimping if you’re not careful. Just a word of warning.

Spinach Turnovers Recipe at Minimally Invasive
Click on the picture to embiggen.

Spinach Turnover at Minimally Invasive

And since everyone (me included) seems to be on a green shake kick lately, I’ve included the one I make for myself nearly every morning. It’s a good baseline to use and produces a very pretty shake. You can always add other fruits or vegetables to it. Just know that strawberries and blueberries, while delicious additions, mean you’ll be drinking a shake the color of a bruise. As long as visuals aren’t that important to you, carry on!

Green Shake Recipe at Minimally Invasive

Click on the picture to embiggen.

This post brought to you by Cefuroxime Axetil, Nasonex and DayQuil.

Recipes below, if you want to copy and paste text instead of referring to an image.

Spinach Turnovers adapted from Cup4Cup and Vegetarian Times

Your favorite double-pie crust recipe (I used this one, minus the sugar.)
8 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon garlic confit, or 2 teaspoons olive oil + 1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese, finely crumbled1 egg, beaten
Maldon sea salt

Rinse and drain spinach and, with water still clinging to leaves, transfer to large skillet. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat until wilted. Rinse with cold water in a colander, squeeze out liquid, and coarsely chop.

Heat garlic confit (or garlic and olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When it starts to sizzle, add onion and cook until softened. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to bowl and cool.

Stir ricotta and feta cheeses into spinach mixture. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350˚F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/8″ thickness and, using a 4″ round biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Remove extra dough and place back in bowl. Put one tablespoon of spinach mixture in the center of dough rounds and wet edges of dough with water. Carefully fold dough in half, pressing out air, and crimp the edges with a fork. Poke holes in the top of the turnovers for air to escape during cooking. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Brush tops of turnovers with beaten egg and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt.

Bake 30 minutes, or until turnovers are golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Green Shake

1/2 cup water
1/3 head romaine
1 handful spinach
2 tablespoons parsley
1 stalk celery
1/2 granny smith apple
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/2 cucumber, seeded
1/2 cup yogurt or 1/2 avocado

In a high-speed blender, combine the first four ingredients(water through parsley). Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Add remaining fruits and vegetables and blend until combined. Add yogurt, if using, and blend for just a couple of seconds.

Delicious additions:

1/2 frozen banana
strawberries
blueberries
kiwi (if you like a tart shake)
pineapple
1 kale leaf
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seed

 

From the Market: Think Pink Edition

Strawberry & Rhubarb Smoothie with Lemon Basil | Minimally Invasive

When the unrelenting greigeness of the winter landscape weighs heavily on my soul, especially so in March when my internal calendar — still set to Southern seasonal rotations, even after all these years — says the world should be warm and bursting with life, I dream of color. By May, our yard is awash in yellow forsythia and tiny purple blooms in the grass — probably weeds, but I don’t care — and I begin to recover. Still, the really vibrant colors don’t come until later, and not until the Farmers’ Market starts up again around Memorial Day do I bother to buy fruit. There’s just no comparison between the beautiful but insipid berries you see at the market and the beautiful and flavorful ones you get locally. (The strawberries taste like strawberries, and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!) So last week I decided to think pink.

Rhubarb Syrup and Strawberry & Rhubarb Smoothie with Lemon Basil | Minimally Invasive

Though rhubarb seems to be long gone by now, I still have a bottle of lovely rhubarb syrup in the fridge that mixes will with all sorts of things, and is still a classic with strawberries. I blended up a little shake to get me through the morning — strawberries, rhubarb syrup, lemon basil, goat’s milk yogurt and ice. Nothing fancy, but so delicious and fresh, I feel healthier just remembering it.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Smoothie with Lemon Basil | Minimally Invasive

Honestly, couldn’t you just have a glass of that right now? Aaaahhhh…

But one can only drink so many strawberries and they don’t last forever, not even close, so I had to come up with something else for them. Lucky for me (and all of us, really), Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for strawberries & cream biscuits a few weeks ago.
Gluten-Free Strawberries & Cream Biscuits | Minimally Invasive
whimper

I converted the original recipe to gluten-free, using Jules Gluten-Free AP Flour. Because the last batch of biscuits I made with this flour blend turned out fairly dry, I played with the proportions of ingredients, adding more butter (two extra tablespoons) and cream (an extra 1/4 cup). Like that’s ever a bad thing. With all of the extra liquid, they had to bake a while longer to turn golden brown, but they eventually did, after about 25 minutes. The tweaks certainly took care of the dryness, but I think there’s something about the GF flours that kept the juices from spilling out of the biscuits. The cornstarch, maybe? Not that I’m complaining; they were awfully tasty anyway.

Gluten-Free Strawberries & Cream Biscuits | Minimally Invasive

But boy, do they ever not reheat well. Just a warning for you.

Gluten-Free Strawberries & Cream Biscuits | Minimally Invasive

Gluten-Free Strawberries & Cream Biscuits | Minimally Invasive

I think we still have a few weeks of strawberries before they’re gone for another year. I fully intend to enjoy these ephemeral beauties until then and store the memories for the long winter ahead.

Strawberries | Minimally Invasive

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “From the Market: Think Pink Edition”