Category Archives: Drinks

Glogg: Warm Wine Goodness for Your Next Winter Gathering

I’ve made boozy spiced hot cider and I’ve made mulled wine and finally was introduced to Glogg at a party a few weeks ago. I heard about a couple of years ago but hadn’t gotten around to making. I decided to make this Scandinavian twist on spiced wine for our own party and found this recipe on NPR, so I decided to give it a shot. I made a double batch, threw it in the crockpot and it was a hit! All gone by the end of the night. I’ll definitely be making it again.

Ingredients
1 c. Aquavit (or brandy or vodka)
2 c. burgundy or pinot noir wine
2 c. port wine
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
1 orange
fresh ginger
blanched almonds

1. Soak 1/2 c. of raisins in 1 c. of aquavit (a Norwegian spirit made with potatoes); Brandy or vodka can be used instead. I grabbed some relatively cheap vodka at the store. Soak for 30 minutes before Step 2.

2. Put a large pot on the stove, over high heat. Add 1 c. of water and sugar to the pot, and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Lower the heat to medium and add your spices – two sticks of cinnamon (each broken in half); four whole cloves; six whole cardamom pods, crushed by hand; a thinly shaved orange peel (I used this type of zester); and one small piece of ginger, peeled and cut in half. I used little cheesecloth bags that I had on hand and tossed them in). Stir again with wooden spoon. Do not allow the mix to come to a boil from this point on.

4. Add the aquavit-raisin mixture, two cups of burgundy or pinot noir wine and two cups of port wine. At the suggestion of my “wine guy,” I got a a large bottle of affordable red (“affordable” meaning about $12 for a huge bottle), which was about 7 c. of wine. I needed 8 for a double batch, so I added 1 more cup when the first bottle of the night opened. I highly doubt it makes a huge different to have the specific types of wine listed above. I’m sure it’s delicious, but I think everyone at the party last weekend enjoyed it just the same.

5. Sweeten and spice to taste (I just left it as it was).

6. Strain, garnish with raisins and slices of blanched almond — and serve hot off the stove OR you can do what I did. I strained out the raisins (actually craisins — I mistakenly thought I had raisins, but I think these were just fine!) as I poured the mixture into the crockpot. I added the spice bags to the crockpot as well. I think without the spices being in bags, I would have had to pick through the fruit to get rid of the spices AND I liked that I was continuing to spice the Glogg all night.

I put a bowl of the boozy craisins and a bowl of blanched almonds nearby, with a sign telling people to garnish their Glogg with them.

A note from the original recipe: The drink can be made a day ahead and kept covered, on the stove, at room temperature. Just reheat before serving.

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Homemade Almond Milk

This week I finally managed to make homemade, raw almond milk for the first time. Piece of cake!  I guess I just needed a new job opportunity to light a fire under my butt (more on that later). I found all kinds of recipes online and even the one that came in the nut milk bag I bought at Whole Foods and they were all relatively the same. Some involved sweeteners (like honey, agave or pitted medjool dates), some didn’t. Most involved vanilla, so I used that.

So, why would you make homemade almond milk when you can buy its deliciousness at any grocery store these days in various forms? Let’s take a look at our go-to almond milk, Almond Breeze. And let’s look at the unsweetened one, which has even fewer ingredients than anything else. Here’s what we’re left with:

ALMONDMILK (FILTERED WATER, ALMONDS), CALCIUM CARBONATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, SEA SALT, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2 AND D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E).

Not that all of those things are by any means terrible, but let’s take a look at what’s in my new, homemade almond milk:

ALMONDS, WATER, VANILLA EXTRACT

That kind of says it all, right?

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 c. of raw almonds (skins on)
3 c. filtered water (x 2)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (optional)
nut milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth
good, high-powered blender

1. First, take 1 cup of raw almonds and soak them overnight in 3 cups of filtered water.

2. Drain almonds well and place in a good high-powered blender with 3 cups of fresh filtered water and 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract.

3. Blend until the almonds are pulverized and the liquid becomes white, about 60 seconds.

4. Place your nut milk bag over a pitcher or container. Pour mixture into the bag, then gather the top of the bag or cheesecloth (this bag has a hand drawstring which helps) and slowly squeeze down the bag as the liquid goes into the container. It’s a very fine mesh bag, so take your time. It will take a minute or two.

And that’s it! I had done a triple batch, which gave me about 2 1/2 quarts, or roughly 10 cups. Not bad for 3 c. of raw almonds and some water! I was going to spread the almond meal leftover in the bag onto my dehydrator trays and save them to bake with, then I decided it might make a good binder for, say, a veggie burger, so I’ll get to that this weekend.  Now I’m off to make some almond milk smoothies!

New Juicer: Part 2

I spent my last blog telling the tale of how I came to get my new juicer — about what it can do for me (and you!).  Yesterday I threw together a carrot-apple-ginger juice concoction soon after I unpacked the it.

So just why should a person do such a thing? Most of the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables are in the juice — extracting them and ingesting them on their own is the quickest way to absorb them into the bloodstream. And, by juicing fruits and vegetables yourself, you know exactly what goes into it. You control the ingredients — both quantity and quality — and anything added to it, such as outside sugars, etc.

In high school, I remember a night hanging out with friends when we had the TV on mute and made our own narration for the Jay Kordich infomercial that was on. With those massive eyebrows, he stood shaking a bunch of parsley. If memory serves, it was an actual staged infomercial, but here is a video that can’t be too far off — him preaching about how ‘high’ one can get off straight parsley juice.

It even inspired a skit on In Living Color.

Funny that, nearly two decades later, I felt about as excited as Jay Kordich would have been, to unwrap my juicer. Here’s hoping it keeps me happy, healthy, and young on the inside, like it seems to have for him, at nearly 90 years old.

Here are a few bits of info on what nutrients you get from what foods;
• Apples: High in dietary fiber and Vitamin C
• Apricots: High in dietary fiber, contains Potassium
• Beets: Good source of dietary fiber,  Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium
• Blueberries: Vitamin C
• Broccoli: Dietary fiber, Folate, Vitamin C and vitamins B2, B5, B6 and E
• Carrots: Dietary fiber and vitamins A, C and B6
• Celery: Vitamin  C and Potassium
• Ginger: Aids in digestion, enhances natural resistance for cold and flu
• Grapes: Potassium, vitamins B6 and C
• Melons (including watermelon): Dietary fiber, Folate, vitamins C and A
• Oranges: Vitamin C
• Pears: Dietary fiber
• Raspberries: Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium
• Spinach and other leafy greens (including kale, bok choy, chard, collards): Vitamin C, folate, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin K
• Tomatoes: Vitamin C, dietary fiber, Folate, vitamins A and E

There are all kinds of juicing recipes online — here’s a site that’s particularly helpful and links to even more sites — Juicer Recipes Now.

And here are a couple of recipes from the manual that came with mine that include ingredients I may not have thought to put together. I can’t wait to explore the possibilities and find ways to not only juice, but also utilize the pulp for desserts, casseroles and more.

Fresh Start:
• 2 parsnips trimmed
• 4 stalks of celery, trimmed
• 4 medium pears, stalks removed

Vitamin Booster
• 2 small red peppers, seeded, stem removed
• 3 medium tomatoes
• 3 carrots, peeled
• 4 sprigs parsley

Icy Cooler (Service Over Crushed Ice)
• 3 medium pears
• 4 radishes, trimmed
• 3 stalks celery, trimmed

Energy Boost
• 8 carrots
•  2 small beets, trimmed
• 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
• 4 oranges, peeled

Cooking Club: Amy’s Mai Tai

After an unintentional hiatus, Cooking Club was back in session again last week with an Asian theme. So, I’ll start it off with what WE started off with — a Mai Tai that will put you in a coma if you’re not careful. It was as beautiful as it was delicious, with fresh pineapple, cherry and mint garnishes from the lovely Amy E. from The Night Train.

Here it is (in Amy’s words):


I took my recipe from the Foundation (thanks, Milwaukee!) and made a few amendments. In my, uh, extensive research on mai tais, I read that there are many mai tai purists who only honor the original Trader Vic’s recipe, which calls for 17-year-old Jamaican rum and absolutely NO orange or pineapple juice, but who cares about those people?

Here’s the recipe I used, with my modifications:

1 oz light rum (I used Bacardi)
½ oz lemon juice (since I multiplied this recipe by like 10, I used the juice of one whole lemon)
½ oz orange curacao (I couldn’t find any of this, so I used Triple Sec)
½ oz orgeat syrup (almond liqueur)

1 oz orange juice (I used a little less than this — just a splash)

1 oz pineapple juice (I didn’t have any)

¼ lime squeezed and thrown in (I used about 2 limes)

SHAKE! (I mixed the orgeat, Triple Sec, lemon juice, lime juice and orange juice in advance so that I wouldn’t have to do so much measuring. I also added lemon and lime slices to the pitcher which I’m sure, had it been in a nice glass pitcher, would have looked lovely)

Float 1 ½  oz dark rum on top (I used Gosling’s Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum and I found it delicious)***

Garnish with fresh mint sprig and cherry, pineapple sword. (I left my cocktail swords at home, so I just dropped them in the drink like a slob. Oh, and did you notice that I used real Michigan cherries? Oh yeah, I did. Maraschino is for babies.)

That’s it! And BE CAREFUL! As you can see, you are basically drinking a full glass of booze.

*** As did I!

Orange Basil Mojitos, Bruschetta and Mexican Rice

Yesterday we were heading to a friend’s house to cook out and get the munchkins together, so I decided to whip up a few things (at the last minute, after grocery shopping, making us 30 minutes late). That being said, it only took 45 minutes of hustling to make these three things!

Mojitos
Daniel fell in love with mojitos when we were in Nicaragua and he’s been talking about them since (he’s finally found one he likes at Cafe Habana in Royal Oak). The first one he had in Nicaragua accidentally had basil in it instead of mint, but he loved it. A couple of weeks ago, I had regular and orange basil mojitos at a bridal shower (my kind of shower!) so I decided I’d whip up some orange basil ones myself to take to J and V’s house yesterday.

I grabbed a few things at the store and hoped they were what I needed, then came home and a quick Google search helped me find a simple recipe. I tripled this recipe (but only doubled the sugar and it was still a bit too sweet), which made one pitcher of mojitos. But here’s the original recipe:

1 c. orange juice
1 c. white rum (I used Bacardi)
1 c. club soda
1/2 c. sugar (again, I’d maybe go light on the sugar)
a good handful of basil, torn into small pieces

Mix until sugar dissolves and enjoy! I normally don’t love super sweet things, but this was pretty delicious and refreshing. Dan wasn’t feeling it though… Guess I’ll have to try to make regular ones next time. One of our hosts liked them too (Thank god. He’s got half a pitcher to polish off this week!)

Bruschetta
I grabbed a baguette at the store and whipped up some quick bruschetta. I have only made this a couple of times and it’s been years, but I figured it would be easy enough and is usually a crowd pleaser. (And it had to be better than the version we had at a certain Royal Oak restaurant on Valentine’s Day, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad).

I chopped up 4 firm Roma tomatoes into a relatively small dice, added a couple of tablespoons of finely diced white onion (leftover from Mexican rice), about
1 1/2 Tablespoons of minced garlic, a good handful of chopped/torn basil, a little salt and pepper and drizzled with some (1 Tbsp? 2?) basil oil I recently got as a gift (normally, I’d just use olive oil).

I mixed it up and it probably sat, marinating for about an hour before it was eaten. We sliced the bread (1/2″ thickness is what I was going for – the thicker it is, the harder it is to eat without making a mess – and it’s already hard enough!) Top the bread with the tomato topping and there you have it. The possibilities are endless with bruschetta – you could put just about anything in there and I think it would be good.

Mexican Rice
One of my goals for 2010 was to use my cookbooks and stacks of cooking magazines. So, when I was reminded that we were going to V and J’s for dinner, I pulled out my stack of Vegetarian Times magazines and grabbed all editions from the springtime. I found three salad recipes involving beans or corn, etc., that sounded good and made Daniel pick one (perhaps so I can share the blame with someone if it turns out terrible? I don’t know…)

He said, “Everyone likes stuff like that right?” so we went with Mexican rice, from the March 2008 issue.  The only thing I did differently was use white onion instead of green onion, because I forgot to buy green onion at the store. Oh, and I doubled it. Totally unnecessary, for the record. Especially for four people…

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. instant brown rice
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas
8 green onions chopped (about 1/2 c.)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 c. boiling water
salt and pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and saute 3 or 4 minutes, or until it begins to brown.

2. Add corn, peas, onion, garlic, cumin and oregano, and saute 1 minute.

3. Put tomato past in a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to make 2 cups and stir to combine/dissolve paste.

4. Pour tomato paste water into rice mixture and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

5. Remove from heat, fluff with fork and add beans if you are including them (I did — it was good!)

Nutritional info (without beans I think) according to VT for 1/4 of this recipe: 190 calories; 6 grams protein; 4.5 grams total fat (0.5 grams saturated fat); 32 grams carbs; 0 mg cholesterol; 427 grams sodium; 5 grams fiber; 5 grams sugar.

Michelada: Salty Nicaraguan Refreshment

A few years ago, my friend Brooke moved to Nicaragua with her now husband, Jordan. Upon a visit back to the states, she brought me a bottle of Lizano salsa and our five-year (and ongoing) love affair began. The “salsa” is true salsa — a sauce. Not the salsa that first comes to mind when you hear the word.

It looks, smells — and tastes — a bit like A1 Steak Sauce to me. My favorite thing to put it on area potatoes, other veggies and especially when I make a breakfast tofu hash type of thing. On our recent trip to visit B & J in Nicaragua, I was introduced to a whole new use for it: the Michelada.

Some quick research tells me the Michelada is nothing specific to Nicaragua, nor does it usually involve Lizano salsa — normally just hot sauces of any kind. But here’s how you make the Nica version:

Ice
Salt
Lizano Salsa
Beer
Limes
Hot Sauce
Garlic (optional)

1. Start by salting the rim of your glass. An easy way to do this is to cut into one of the limes, make a slit, slide it around the rim of the glass, then turn the glass on a plate of Margarita or kosher salt. (Normal iodized table salt will work, but it’s just not the same…)

2. Load up your glass with ice and add the juice of 1-2 limes.

3. Add a dash or two of Lizano salsa. I add what probably amounts to about a teaspoon or two.

4. Add any other hot sauce you might want to spice it up a bit. Brooke says minced garlic can be pretty good in there, though Jordan disagrees.

5. Add beer. Since stores around here don’t carry the two beers of Nicaragua (Victoria and Toña), I grabbed Dos Equis and La Caguama, a Central American beer I never had heard of, but I figured, close enough! Since a whole 12-oz. beer doesn’t usually fit in the glass with all that other stuff in there, I take the rest of it and add after I’ve had about half of one. A lot of the spices, etc., have fallen to the bottom anyway, so it all balances out.

When I first tasted a Nica Michelada, I thought I would never need to drink anything else ever again. They reminded me of a bloody mary or a red eye, in a really distant way, but were totally refreshing when sitting in 90-degree temps in Central America.

Totally unique and flavorful, I’m glad I’ve added this to my cocktail repertoire, but really can only handle one at a time. The salted rim + the salty Lizano salsa means by the end of the pint you’ve long surpassed your daily sodium quota.