October 14, 2009

. . . and eat.


Long ago, I read an article in the Star Tribune about making liqueur.  I made all of them (except the Very Cherry), and am now awaiting their seasonal ripening.  I have strained them of their ingredients that are more tea-like and now just have to be patient.  I’m learning a virtue as I prepare a vice for xmas.  My girlfriend joked that alcohol would be the only part of xmas I enjoyed.  I responded that the hot-totties from my home prepared liqueurs would just allow me to enjoy the rest of xmas.  I’m looking forward to buying one of the recipe books mentioned in the article and making some different liqueurs.

What we have from left to right up there is a Mexican Coffee Liqueur, Scotish Highland Liqueur, Strawberry Vodka, and Nassau Vanilla Liqueur.  As stated above, I am most excited for the Scotish Highland Liqueur because I recently learned about the Hot Toddy (or Hot Totty/Tottie).  It will be the perfect drink to sit around the tree with the nieces and nephew wailing that they did not get the one gift they really wanted.  Thanks to a coworker for ordering one for me like she was going to pay for it, then smiling ever so sweetly at me when the bill came.  Jerk.

My brother was home from out of state and I got the luxery of preparing dinner for him.  I felt like it was an important moment for my father and I as well: he trusted me to make a good meal for the whole family.  So what did I prepare?  I followed the chef’s law (never prepare a dish for guests that you have not made previously) for two of the dishes and broke it for one.  I made Lamb and Polenta Lasange, Celeriac Salad, and Jalapeno Creamed Spinach (but the latter turned out ok).

Lamb and Polenta Lasagna Jalapeno creamed spinach and celeriac salad

The Lamb and Polenta Lasange had been previously prepared by my girlfriend and I.  We made it for a picnic to the beach, but that is a whole nother story involving anarchists, ruphenol, and a wizard’s sleeve.  Anyway, the theme is that the polenta is made, placed in a cookie sheet, cooled, and cut into lasange noodles.  It is then used just like you would use lasange noodles.  The recipe is excedingly simple otherwise and can be found on Epicurious.

The Celeriac Salad came together easily as well.

Peel a celery root.  Julienne it.  Put enough mayo over it to moisten the whole of it.  A couple tablespoons of your fave dijon and a couple teaspoons of lemon and you got it made.  Eh . . . Cracked pepper for good measure.

Finally, the creamed spinach.  Not complicated, just a lot of steps.  Sauté a chopped onion, poblano pepper, and jalapeno (until soft – but not brown).  Make a white béchamel and add the sautéed items. Steam, drain, and chop up the fresh spinach adding it to the white sauce.  Like I said, not difficult, just requiring too any dishes.

My family loved everything.  The polenta was a bit of a challenge to make into the noodles.  I spread the polenta on a cookie sheet with wax paper and got it off of there in slices with a rubber spatula.  Frequent breaks occurred, but whatever, it did not change the flavor.  The celeriac salad was my favorite.  Most likely due to the novely of the food item.  The creamed spinach could use some work.  I just cannot get over the flavor of the creamed spinach at Brasa.  Good god.  I could break into that place in the middle of the night for some of that creamed spinach.

As always, leave a comment if you would like any recipes.


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