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.

A GOOP apologist

090308_chicken

In the late 90s, when the first anti-Gwyneth Paltrow backlash was in the news gossip pages, one of my contrarian friends made the conscious decision to become a Paltrow supporter. If something negative came up (and working at a sports magazine with grizzled black-hearted former newspapermen, it did), he’d extol her virtues, her beauty, her cerebral screen presence — basically, anything he could do to get under a detractor’s skin.

Now that the second wave of backlash has come around, I think I might just find myself taking on his old role. Like many people, I signed up for the GOOP newsletter looking for a laugh, but something odd happened — I didn’t always delete them. In fact, I’ve kept nearly every recipe sent from the beginning. (I make no such claim about the lifestyle or shopping tips, but this is a food blog after all.) And let’s be honest — who among us wouldn’t want to be in her position, culinarily speaking? She’s buds with Batali hisownself and probably picked up a thing or two traveling through Spain with him. So when she speaks (and mentions him in the newsletter), I listen.

Last week’s menu featured a few dishes from a meal she had at his home — a meal to which Emeril was invited, btw. Yes, the eyes do roll, but damn, this meal sounded pretty fabulous. And it didn’t disappoint, even with a few changes made to the menu. The chicken dish pictured above is a Spanish affair, complete with thinly sliced onions, lemons and fennel sautéed together with white wine and pimenton, then roasted in the oven. As if all of that weren’t enough, the whole cloves of garlic that baked and softened in the broth were absolute heaven and force me to apologize here and now to anyone who happened to be next to me at the gym yesterday. (I confess to being agnostic about preserved lemons, so when I ran out a few months ago, I didn’t bother restocking. The pomegranate pips were another story. There were none to be found in the few markets I visited, so they were a necessary deletion, but sorely missed.)

090308_orange

Blood oranges. Mmmm. They’re one of my favorite things about this time of year. We’re all just barely hanging in there, waiting for a Spring that seems to retreat the closer we march to it, but at least these beauties bring a dash of color and verve to the last gray days of winter.

090308_fennel-salad

The fennel and blood orange salad recipe offered with the chicken was incredibly simple to make and tasted fresh, light and healthy. Because the oranges aren’t terribly acidic, I added a splash of white balsamic to the mix to brighten up the flavors a bit. I’d imagine some thinly sliced red onion would be very good in here, too.

090308_flatbreads

The flatbreads were a bit problematic. My kitchen was a little too cold, so the dough didn’t rise in time to have them with our meal. That’s ok, though. I made them later, and we snacked on them with agave nectar all afternoon; they worked just as well for dessert.

So I don’t know where you stand on GOOP, but I’d heartily recommend the newsletter if you’re looking for a few (mostly healthy) ideas for dinner. And if you don’t enjoy that, you can join in the schadenfreude, I suppose.

Something old, something new


This isn’t your halmoni’s yuk gae jang.

I’ve been in love with Korean cooking for years, ever since I dated a Korean cowboy-type from Tulsa during my days of indentured servitude in grad school. He came from a family of amazing cooks and it really showed. Being me, I learned everything I could from him and then some, with the help of a basic, but now out-of-print cookbook.

The dishes that probably spring to mind when you think of Korean food are kimchi, savory-sweet bulgogi or my entry in the grilled-meats-that-can-make-you-weep contest galbee, but my favorite has always been yuk gae jang. It’s a beef soup so spicy with hot pepper paste it’ll turn your tongue inside-out. And I’m a fire eater, so you know, be careful if you order this in a restaurant.

Traditional versions of this soup still crop up in my kitchen from time to time, but over the years I’ve bastardized the recipe to make it more veg friendly. It’s meat-free, not vegetarian, but it’d be easy enough to substitute a mushroomy vegetable broth if you want to avoid animal products entirely.


Can you handle the heat?

I tweaked the basic recipe I last posted by making the stock with roasted meaty marrow bones to deepen the beef flavor. To increase the umami even more, I sautéed porcini mushrooms until they’d caramelized, then added them to the pot along with thinly sliced portobellos. It was just what I wanted that evening to warm my bones after the long greyhound hike, but was even better two days later when I stirred a couple of beaten eggs into the leftovers as they were reheating.

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But I’m always on the lookout for something new, as my overfilled bookmarks folder and Google docs will confirm. One of the more recent entries was a truly vegetarian option from 101 Cookbooks, Giant Chipotle White Beans. It was a last-minute decision, so I didn’t have time to soak any of my Rancho Gordo selections; instead, I cracked open the two cans of beans we had in the pantry — cannellinis and garbanzos. It wasn’t as weird as you’d think when all was said and done, but I’d probably stick to just cannellinis in the future.

But I’m here to testify about the sauce, which was the star of the show — beautifully balanced, smoky and deceptively rich, and dead simple to make. (I doubled the sauce recipe so I could use the other half on pizza later in the week and think that was one of my better food decisions in a while. Truly spectacular.) The beans were topped with some Bulgarian feta I’ve had marinating downstairs for a couple of months, and even with the canned bean melange, the dish was a home run. We nearly ate it all in one sitting, but just managed to save enough for me to bring to work as leftovers. Yes, leftovers. Holy schmoley, this was good stuff.

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Real Kitchens 101: Your weekend lagniappe.