March 30, 2014

The Perfect Pie Crust And A Cold Berry Pie

I came home early on a Friday.  It had been a tough week with lots of setbacks, but with the prospect of a relaxing weekend ahead, I tried to put all other thoughts out of my mind. As I wandered through our little grocery store, a plan starting forming in my head for a nice Friday night dinner.  

March 22, 2014

Downton Abbey: Tea and Honey Macarons

Maybe it’s because I’m a baker that I always tend to notice the food in books, tv shows, and movies.  Or maybe it’s because food is such an integral part of human life that you’d be hard pressed to find a book or tv show or movie without it.  Either way, the food always transports me into the fantasy.  

March 16, 2014

Roasted Beet Scones

Sometimes you've got to take a little time.  That’s not me.  I am the person who opens the microwave with three seconds left.  I am the person who runs to make the crosswalk.  I am the person who fast forwards through the opening sequence of a tv show (except for the ones with awesome intro music… I’m looking at you Game of Thrones). 

March 09, 2014

Romantic Jungle

You wander out of the small cabin into the night air, thick with the perfume of flowers. Though the night is warm, the piles of snow still remind you of winter’s grip.  The dense thicket of trees calls to you and you pick your way between them, searching for something.

March 03, 2014

Burnt Orange Cocktail

The calendar says March, but the weather still says full winter.  The world is full of people hurrying to get out of the cold.  Your breath steams in front of you and then a gust of wind hits you and takes it away.  Noses numb and cheeks burn.  The bright sunshine and clear skies fool us into hoping for warmth.  

We need heat.  This cocktail was inspired by my previous citrus post.  As Alex finished his portion of bruleed clementines and sipped the juices that had dripped out, he casually mentioned “this orangey sugar would be really good with some bourbon”.  And the spark was lit.  

Caramelizing the sugar for the simple syrup adds a depth that regular simple syrup cannot.  Flaming the orange peels adds a smoky note.  And that amber colour is warmth for the eyes.  

We can’t make winter go away, but we can make this drink. 

Burnt Orange Cocktail

2 oz rye whiskey, such as Sazerac
1 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz burnt sugar syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Burnt orange peel for garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake gently until shaker is ice cold on the outside.  Strain into glass.  For garnish, peel a long, fairly thick, strip of orange zest from an orange using a vegetable peeler.  Roll tightly, squeezing some of the oils from the peel.  Place roll on a non-flammable surface and torch until black on the edges.  Do not over torch unless you want ash in your drink...

Burnt sugar syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Over medium low heat, melt sugar in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.  At first, it will seem like it’s not doing anything.  Then it will seem like it’s turning into hard clumps.  But don’t worry, once it melts, the clumps will melt back in too.  Once the sugar is completely melted, it should be a deep amber colour.  Remove from heat and slowly add the water, stirring or whisking constantly.  The sugar will seize, but just keep stirring until it dissolves back in.  Let cool completely before using.