About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

High Spirits for the Holidays; Cooking with the "Hard Stuff"

The holidays are the time to bring out the "hard stuff" - alcohol, not red or white wine but the distilled libations that give your recipe a real kick.  I'll never forget popping one of my aunt's bourbon balls as a kid by mistake.  Nobody told me not to and I had to run to the bathroom to spit it out.  I wasn't ready for the "hard stuff".   I was about 8 when my mother worked on Brandied Fruit from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  As the fruit fermented, our kitchen smelled more like a bar than home.  I couldn't understand anyone ruining perfectly good fruit with something that smelled that peculiar.  On Christmas Eve, it was finally ready and served with ice cream and pound cake.  I took a timid sample and, promptly but discretely, spit it into my napkin.  I was always exposed to more sophisticated foods from an early age and, apparently, my parents where not adverse to food prepared with alcohol.  I was never admonished not to taste or try any food, for that matter, I was always encouraged just to sample a bit and have an opinion.

Now, I'm putting bourbon in the pecan pie, rum in the cake and sherry in the creamed turkey and  pulling out the brandy to dress up the sauces.  I usually reserve brandy for coq au vin but I feel like making a silky sauce tonight that is excellent with beef or chicken.  It's the season to make everything extra and over indulge.

Spirits add that touch of elegance that make any holiday dish special so if you are making oysters Rockefeller, buy Pernod; a dessert soufflé,
buy Grand Marnier and be sure to spike the eggnog.  I've recently heard a remarkable recipe for goose marinated in gin!! I'm hoping to make Syllabub this year.  Stay tuned.  My spirits are HIGH for the holidays!

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