Entries Tagged 'beverages' ↓

Now *That’s* what we’re talking about! T-day cranberry style

photo courtesy cc license Andrew YeeI stumbled across this made-up-food style non-recipe on Wonkette (careful, it’s an irreverent & sometimes potty mouth blog) that has all the hallmarks of Made Up Food – unpretentious, simple, easy and what sounds like gourmet level delicious. So – check out the full post or get the highlights in the heavily excerpted portion below.

There are many recipes you can find “on the Internet” for fresh cranberry sauce, but you don’t need to do that anymore. Just send this one to your xBox or whatever and be DONE, done with the search for the ideal cranberry relish recipe.

When you’re at the store, get two sacks of fresh cranberries from the produce section. They are like, a pound each. This will be plenty for eight or so people. Did your relatives refuse to use any kind of birth control, producing a larger family of say, 16 people? Just double the recipe, meaning buy two of whatever, and use twice as much, in the recipe. And “double the recipe” does not mean set the oven to 700 degrees instead of 350. Jesus.

If for some reason you don’t have some basic cane sugar and a decent bottle of bourbon at home, purchase these things in whatever respectable quantity, so next time (Friday morning) you’ll have this stuff handy.
Oranges. Buy some of them.

NOW: Either right now or tomorrow or 30 minutes before carving time — IT DOES NOT MATTER — you wash the cranberries. (The thing that looks like a ’50s space helmet, it is called the colander, fill it with the cranberries and put it under the cold faucet).

Dump said berries in the Pyrex baking dish, like the one people might use for lasagna or baked manicotti. (This is a good time to remove whatever weird stuff the Stephen King characters who pick cranberries might’ve dropped in the bucket: loose teeth, etc.) Get the cheese grater and just grate on some sad-but-firm orange, right on the peel, so that the little bits of orange peel fall down upon the lonely berries. It is fine if some bigger chunks — like, half-inch-long shreds, but no bigger than that — fall down there, too. It adds “color” … orange color, in fact. Do this until you’re tired of doing it, at which point there’s probably about three teaspoons’ worth of orange “zest” in the pyrex, with the cranberries. Don’t pick it out and measure it or anything, just show some confidence. For once.

Cut open that poor orange you’ve just Gitmo’d, and squeeze the juice into your cranberry business. Do not drop the orange seeds in there, come on.

Now drizzle a couple-five shots of bourbon on the berries. And sprinkle about half a cup of granulated cane sugar over all that. (Generally, cranberry relish recipes call for some insane amount of sugar, like three cups. Do not ruin everything, okay? Using not-so-much sugar produces a tart but still sweet-enough relish that is to be served with savory dishes like turkey and dressing, right? If you want to put this on a peanut butter sandwich, by all means use fifteen cups of sugar and chase it with an “energy drink” or whatever. Let freedom reign.)

Cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the oven. Doesn’t really matter, whatever the oven is set to, which is going to be in the 300-425 range for your general Thanksgiving dishes crowding the oven. You also don’t need to be a dick and start yelling about how somebody needs to move the mac-and-cheese or the brussels sprouts under the broiler (and you SHOULD have simple cut-in-half olive-oil-brushed brussels sprouts under the broiler!) because you must get in your cranberry relish. Anytime is fine, and plus who will be impressed if you keep talking about it, beforehand? They might notice how easy it is to make, and then who are you? You are basically Lou Dobbs. So go outside and yell at a Mexican.

Come back inside, and please wash your hands if you were smoking out there, and see what is going on. Are people tense? It is probably time to open a bottle of wine, go ahead and pass around maybe a Petite Syrah, something that will go with maybe some pita chips or apple slices, whatever, try to get people to relax. It is okay to have “Irish Coffees,” too, because it’s daytime.

When the cranberry business is bubbly and the berries have this nice soft-but-firm kind of thing going on, take out the pyrex and let it cool somewhere out of the way. If there’s room in the fridge, you can just put the tray in there once it’s cool to the touch. But there’s no room, jesus just look at all the food in there, plus there are about a million beers for tomorrow, so just scrape it all into something pretty, some kind of thing you might put chutney in, or whatever (ask mom).

Serve and watch how people say, “OMG I only ever had it from a can,” etc.

Read more at Wonkette: How To Make Wonkette’s Actual Awesome Real Cranberry Business

(photo from Flickr creative commons courtesy halfchinese – with Andrew Yee’s own yummy recipe there too)

Sunset Gin Cocktail

An original gin cocktail made in the desperation of a late-night kitchen cleanup

Wife’s out of town on business. Kids put to bed, after cooking up what should have been a simple one-pot meal–that turned into a five-burner affair. Staring dumbly at the cooktop, full of scrub-mandatory cookware. This calls for a cold beer.

No beer? Agh. Home alone: what would I say to the cops? “Oh, I just left the kids in bed to go get some beer. It’s alllll good, right?”

Tired of red wine. Too warm for that anyhow. What’s in the pantry? Gin? Ok. Not a G&T, though. Hmmm. Here’s some Aranciata. And some Grenadine. Here’s what I ended up with: a refreshing, delicious, light cocktail. Almost tastes like an Orange Julius, surprisingly. There’s a slice of lime to cut the sweetness of the grenadine, too. I think it’s a keeper, especially for summertime. But as you can see, it works fine in January. too.

Sunset Gin Cocktail

put into a Highball glass:

  • Crushed ice
  • 2 shots Hendricks Gin
  • 1/2 shot Grenadine
  • 6 oz. Pellegrino Aranciata

Stir. Serve with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

If you like beer, why not make it yourself?

Aprés Ski Tomorrow, November 3rd, is Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day. It’s cheaper to make an excellent two and a half cases of your favorite porter, lager, or IPA than it is to buy. All it takes is some basic equipment, good sanitation practices, and the ability to follow a recipe. If you can make a Betty Crocker cake out of the box, you can brew beer!

I’ve been brewing for about ten years, with long lulls for darkroom building, other home remodeling, raising small kids, and other distractions. Still, I’ve managed to do about 14 or 15 batches in that time, and every batch I brew confirms how easy it is to do, and how satisfying it can be to hold that finished glass of beer in your hand, knowing you had everything to do with getting it there. With all of the batches I’ve done, I’ve ended up with leftover ingredients: hops, vacuum-packed and shoved into the back of the freezer; dried malt extract (or “DME”); adjunct grains with names like “Munich” and “Crystal”, sealed up in Ziploc baggies and piled up in the homebrew box in the pantry–you get the picture. The good news is that you can use many of these grains, hops, and other elements anytime, for another recipe.

Faced with a box of leftover beermaking supplies late last year, I decided to make some beer. After seeing what I had on-hand, it looked like I had most of the ingredients for a Porter-style beer. Named for the strong-shouldered working men who hauled heavy loads day and night in the London of centuries past,
“porter” usually refers to a darker-looking, somewhat heavier ale. It isn’t too bitter, and shouldn’t have much of a hop taste or aroma. It is usually seen as “sweeter” than a bitter-style ale, and lighter in body than a stout. Think roasted barley, or the smell of a nice whole-grain bread coming fresh out of the oven, and you can imagine the taste of a porter.

The following is a recipe, then, for what I call Leftover Porter. But the type of beer you make is entirely up to what sort of leftover stuff you’ve got laying around from previous brewing sessions. The point is to use it, and make something good out of what was just a pile of grain and dried flowers! The only thing I had to buy was the yeast (since I prefer liquid yeast, and it doesn’t keep).

Leftover Porter


  • 6 pounds Muntons dark Dried Malt Extract
  • 1 pound Muntons light Dried Malt Extract
  • 12 oz. Chocolate Malt, crushed
  • 5 oz. Crystal Malt, 10 Lovibond (that’s a measure of how much sugar is in the malt), crushed
  • 8 oz. Crystal Malt, 50 Lovibond
  • 1 oz. Cluster hops, 6.2% alpha acid content (for bittering)
  • 1.5 oz. Willamette hops, 4.9% alpha acid content (for bittering and aroma)
  • 0.5 tsp. Calcium carbonate (to adjust the water hardness)
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss (to help clarify the beer as it cools)
  • Wyeast “British Ale II” yeast


  • Crush malts in a ziploc bag, hammering them with a rolling pin (if they aren’t already crushed). This will help to release the sugars in the malts later on. Transfer these to a cheesecloth or mesh nylon bag (“hop bag”).
  • Place the bag of malts into a stockpot with about 2.5 gallons of cold water. Bring to just under a boil. Remove the bag of malts. Reserve for the compost pile.
  • Add your Dried Malt Extract and Calcium Carbonate. Mix in thouroughly. The DME will stick like crazy to your spoon, and clump (after all, it’s basically sugar). Be patient and stir it all in. Then bring the mix up to a full rolling boil. Watch to make sure it doesn’t boil over! Sticky wort on the stove is nasty to clean up. I keep a mug of ice-cold water nearby to damp down the foam as it gets too close to the top of the stockpot.
  • Add the Cluster hops. Putting them into a hop bag will make it easier to remove all of them later on, but you can strain them out later, too, if you want.
  • 15 minutes into the boil, add the irish moss.
  • 25 minutes into the boil, add the Willamette hops.
  • 30 minutes into the boil, remove the pot from the heat. Cool down to about 90 degrees or so.
  • Pour the stuff (we call it wort) into a fermentation vessel, usually a glass carboy, 5 gallons in size. Top off to make 5 gallons. Use distilled water to avoid any contamination. When the temperature of the wort gets to about 70 degrees, pitch the yeast into the wort, mixing in without aerating it too much. Cap it with a hose running into a bottle of water, and sit it in a dark place where the temperature will remain at 68-70 degrees, for seven to ten days. slap on an airlock after the foamy stuff (“krausen”) finishes blowing out of the carboy and through the hose.
  • After about ten days or so, you can transfer the wort to a second carboy via syphon, which will help make a clearer beer. But it’s not necessary. Wait until the liquid in the airlock bubbles less than once a minute or so, and then bottle your beer!

Notes: I’m glossing over the importance of sanitation, and how to do it, and some of the details about how to “rack” your wort into the fermenter, etc. But any good homebrew store will sell you a book that talks about these particulars. The important thing is to experiment, using what you have on hand.

And if at any point in the brewing process, you feel stressed, remember the brewer’s mantra: Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew.

Made up drink: the Fauxito

Made up food includes made up drinks, and as I generally have a pretty pityful bar stock I do tend to get even more creative in this area.

Ok, I’m pretty sure I’m in no way the first to invent this but its a lovely limey “damn its hot” Sunday evening beverage when you want a mojito but don’t have any rum:

the Fauxito

  • In a highball glass muddle 10 mint leaves with about a teaspoon and a half of sugar.Loosen this up with a small splash of bubbly water (club soda, seltzer etc. – I used talking rain plain).
  • Add a bunch of ice and the juice of 1 and a half fresh squeezed limes.
  • To this add a jigger of gin and top off with the fizzy stuff and a stir. garnish with cute mint leaves and enjoy.