Saturday, November 30, 2013

Make it a Berry Good Christmas

I love cranberry sauce.  Turkey just isn't turkey without it.  Even the day after, for me a left-over turkey sammie just isn't complete without the cranberry sauce.  I grew up on the standard Ocean Spray jellied canned cranberry sauce and to me there was always the lingering taste of tin and the cloying taste of sugar.  Over the years I have learned that making cranberry sauce from fresh berries is really a very easy thing to do and the difference is definitely worth the small effort that it takes.  

Inspired by the classic Cosmopolitan cocktail, this version of Cranberry Sauce kicks it up  a notch with the addition of Vodka & orange liquor.   The first time I made this Cranberry sauce I was surprised at how much more tartness the cranberries took on and the rave reviews made this recipe the “go to” for Cranberry sauce.  To add to the presentation I serve it in a martini glass, rimmed with course sugar and a slice of lime.

The “Cosmo” Cranberry Sauce

1 - 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 Cup Sugar
½ cup of water
½ cup of orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
1/3 cup of Vodka
3 tbsps. of orange flavoured liqueur (Grand Marnier,  Triple Sec)

In heavy medium saucepan over moderate heat, combine cranberries, sugar, ½ cup water and ½ cup of orange juice.  Bring to boil, stirring often to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to medium bowl and cool, stirring often, until tepid, about 30 minutes. Stir in vodka and liqueur. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours.  Because of the natural acidity of cranberries, this sauce can be made up to 3 weeks ahead.  Just keep it refrigerated. 

The alcohol can easily be omitted if you are worried about making this a child friendlier recipe.  Add a dash of orange zest and a couple of whole cinnamon sticks when boiling/simmering the sauce.  Remove cinnamon sticks after sauce has cooled.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Like It Hot!

Hot sauce is a staple in our house.  You can pretty much take away any of the condiments from my fridge but if you mess with my hot sauce I'm going to have to lay a big 'ol hurt on you.  So for the heck of it I thought I would ask my fierce fire eating afficianados if they would be willing to give their tolerant, heat seeking taste buds a go round round over two hot sauces that are currently holed up in my fridge.

The first hot sauce is from the kitchen of Chef Rossy Earle's company Supi Cucu . Her Diablo's Fuego can be found in the kitchens of La Carnita and Chef Scott Vivien of Beast. I think it's even been found on some Christmas wish lists.  This hot sauce is heavily inspired by Chef Earle's Panamanian roots.  
Without question it rocks.  As my hunny would hot sauce ever.  

Next up is a new comer to the Big Smoke from the kitchen of Cafe Con Leche which makes unbelievably awesome Paletas (popsicles) which you'll need to cool down after chuffing down this hot sauce.  This baby is packing some big time heat.  Carlos, who makes this sauce, is using his Mother's traditional Mexican recipe. I'm not sure where the name No7 comes from but I'm willing to give 'er a go.  I

So big daddy let's kick the tires and light the fires.  Stay tuned....results to come!