Tag Archives: booze

MMM Day 5: The Noreaster

I’m in the process of shopping for a new car.

Thus, I think you can understand why today for March Maple Madness I present to you a maple recipe that features bourbon as the primary ingredient.  Use Irish whiskey and I think you’ve got yourself a St. Patty’s Day drink, my friends.

The Noreaster (from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – thanks to my aunt for the tip!)

1 jigger bourbon
1/2 jigger lime juice
1/2 jigger maple syrup
ginger beer or ginger ale

Shake bourbon, lime juice and maple syrup over ice.  Strain into a glass.  Add ginger beer or ginger ale.  Garnish with a lime slice.  Drink cares away!

noreaster cocktail with whiskey and maple syrup in background

Note that I am running low on provisions! This is the last of my maple stock!!




Staycation Vodka Delight

On Saturday I hosted my 2nd Annual Staycation party to tide us over until spring finally springs.  This year, in addition to Staycation Sangria, we tried out a new vodka cocktail, now dubbed Staycation Vodka Delight.  Anyway, I think the name Staycation Vodka Delight is apt because it seems that those who indulged in this libation were delighted and that their winter blues were at least temporarily alleviated.  Mission accomplished!

Staycation Vodka Delight (adapted from Epicurious)
1/3 cups sugar
1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1 lemon or lime, sliced into rounds
1/2 small cucumber, sliced
2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups vodka
2 cups club soda

Muddle mint, sugar, and citrus slicers in a pitcher.  Add cucumber slices.  Let these ingredients sit for about 30 minutes.  Add juice, vodka and club soda and let chill at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Enjoy over ice!

Surfing on Staycation!



Stout Venison Stew

School starts up tomorrow and, in preparation for another busy semester, I spent this MLK day cleaning, cleaning and cleaning.  That, and listening to MPR all day (if you didn’t hear Cory Booker’s MLK speech, take a listen.  I thought it was pretty good!).  I always feel a little bit better going into the semester with a clean slate, so to speak.

Once I got the place suitably cleaned up, I decided to make a stew to get me through the week.  After Thanksgiving, my brother sent me home with a little cooler full of venison.  One of the little packs was labeled “stew meat” and much to my delight, it was already cubed for me!  Score!  Now, for a recipe.  For Christmas, my mom made a lamb stew that inspired me to adapt a lamb recipe I found in this months’ Cooking Light for a venison version.  By far, this is the best venison I’ve ever made.  It was super tender, and the vegetables complemented it well.  Between the stew and the clean apartment, I’m ready for a new semester!

Stout Venison Stew
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp. thyme
2 tsp. rosemary
3 Tbsp. flour
2 lbs. venison, cubed (you could also use lamb or beef)
2 c. stout beer
1 c. red wine
2 c. beef or veggie broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 c. potato, cubed
2 c. diced carrot
1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add 3 Tbsp oil to pan.  Add onion, thyme, and rosemary.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Place onion mixture in a large bowl.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle venison with salt and pepper.  Dredge venison in flour, shaking off excess.  Return stockpot to medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil.  Add half of venison to pan and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.  Add venison to onion mixture.  Repeat with remaining venison.
2.  Add beer to stockpot and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Reduce liquid to 1 cup.  Put onion and venison mixture back in pan.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.  Add wine, broth and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  Uncover and stir in potato, carrot, turnips and mushrooms.  Simmer, uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until meat and veggies are tender.  Stir in mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stout Venison Stew



Aunt Pat’s Grasshoppers

Happy New Year!!  I hope everyone was able to ring in the new year in a special way.  For my part, I was invited to a “Fattening” party, a potluck with fun people and delicious food, and watched the Badgers try unsuccessfully to bring home a Rose Bowl win.  I’ll admit that the football game, though fun to watch, was a bit disappointing.  The Fattening party on the other hand, was a huge success.  Not only did I get to eat a lot of tasty food and enjoy tons of good laughs, I won Bananagrams at the gift exchange!  Clearly, my year is off to an excellent start.

My contribution to the New Year’s Fattening was twofold.  I brought a version of this squash and lentil salad as my contribution toward health, and Aunt Pat’s Grasshoppers as my contribution toward gluttony.  This is the same Aunt Pat of Brandy Slush fame, so I knew it would be a hit.  That and this was perhaps one of the best parts about the holiday season while growing up, so I saw no reason why it wouldn’t be a wonderful way to ring in the new year with some new friends.

But the best part about these Grasshoppers is that you don’t really need a holiday as an excuse to enjoy them.  I recommend mixing up a batch today to enjoy throughout the new year!!

Aunt Pat’s Grasshoppers
1 pail vanilla ice cream
1/2 c. creme de cacao
1/4 c brandy
3/4 c creme de menthe

Allow ice cream to soften.  Mix in liquors and freeze.  Enjoy!!

Wild Rice and Wheatberry Melange

Snow, snow, snow! Should be beautiful in Vermont Minneapolis this time of year, shouldn’t it?

It is!  The snow is wonderful for the following reasons:
1.  I finally had an excuse to finish the new coat I made.
2.  I went snowshoeing for the first time this season to get some provisions and was able to test out my new coat.  It works.
3.  I was given the unique opportunity dig my car out not with a shovel but with a plastic bucket and my broomball stick.  Don’t be fooled.  A bucket is a very effective snow-removal device.  (Dear Santa, I’d like a shovel for Christmas.)

It was also an excuse to eat and drink in my cozy apartment.  In addition to concocting a few beverages (whiskey and apple cider, anyone? 7oz. Miller High Life?), I also made this recipe, one of my all time fall/winter favorites.

Wild Rice and Wheatberry Melange with Shiitake Mushrooms (from Martha Stewart)
1 c. wild rice
8 c. water
1 c. wheatberries
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms
3/4 c. dried currants, soaked overnight in vodka**
1 small onion
1/2 c. vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the wild rice in 4 c. water, about 45 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Do the same with the wheatberries.  Set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the mushrooms until they have just begun to wilt.  Add grain mixture, onions, currants and broth to mushrooms.  Cover and cook over low heat until hot, about 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

**You can use that currant vodka in a beverage to keep you warm while you cook or to just plain keep you warm!  I mixed the vodka with equal parts Grand Marnier and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker to make about 3 martinis.  No, I did not drink all three in case you were wondering.

wild rice and wheatberries


Brandy Slush

This last weekend I went camping with my friend and her aunt in Wisconsin at Wildcat Mountain State Park near the Kickapoo River, where we did some canoeing and biking on the Elroy-Sparta trail.  If you’ve never been canoeing in the Kickapoo, I highly recommend making the trip to Drifty’s to rent a canoe.  The drive alone would make it worth your time, but jumping out of the canoe and floating down the river to cool off will guarantee it.

Growing up, my family didn’t do a ton of camping but there were a few times that we went up north to visit Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob and cousins to hang out at their RV campsite.  Those weekends were always a lot of fun.  I seem to remember my brothers doing a lot of fishing, and my parents and aunts and uncles doing a LOT of laughing.  What could have induced all this laughter?  Who knows for sure, but I’m sure that Aunt Pat had something to do with it.

This weekend, as I was devouring s’mores by the campfire, I thought a little bit about those trips up north, which got me thinking about Aunt Pat, and naturally got me thinking about ice-cream buckets full of fun (Aunt Pat could always be counted on for fun, in ice-cream buckets or otherwise).  I’m not so sure we had brandy slush when we visited Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob on those trips up north, but I sure did have a glass last night when I got home from my weekend camping trip.  And you know what?  It was almost like Aunt Pat was right there with me, having lots of fun and lots of laughs.

Brandy Slush
7 c. water
2 c. sugar
4 green tea bags
2 c. brandy
1 12-oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 12-oz can frozen lemonade concentrate

Boil 5 c. water and 2 c. sugar.  Let cool.  Boil 4 tea bags in 2 c. water for 4 minutes.  Cool.  Add orange juice and lemonade concentrate to sugar water.  Add tea.  Add brandy.  Put in freezer for at least 24 hours.  Serve one scoop in a small glass and fill with 7-up, squirt, or ginger ale.

Hot Maple Soufflés

Sorry for the delay in posting this week’s recipe.  As it turns out I had to do a fair bit of writing for work this week and just couldn’t bear the thought of doing more on the blog.

Anyway, as mentioned in the last post, I went to the Motherland last week and restocked my store of maple syrup.  On Sunday I had some friends over for dinner (we ate a variation of this recipe, but with venison and beets) and wowed them with the following maple soufflé recipe for dessert.  Not only does it include one of my favorite things on earth – liquid gold  (aka maple syrup) – but it also includes bourbon!  Really, what more could a girl ask for in a dessert?  Or life, really?  The other nice thing is that I got to use my power tools when I made this recipe.  Oh, and my cute Fiesta ramekins.  Plus, there are all the oohs and aaahs you get when you pull these babies out of the oven.  And it’s not even that difficult to make!

If you’re diabetic you might want to stay away from this one.  It’s awfully sweet.  If you have a sweet tooth, or a whole mouth full of sweet teeth and an affinity for maple syrup, this will be right up your alley.

Hot Maple Soufflés (from November 2002, Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp bourbon
3 Tbsp maple syrup (I know a guy in Milladore who sells it if you need a supplier)
1 c. maple syrup
4 large egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar*

1.  Preheat oven to 425º.
2.  Coat 6 (10 oz.) ramekins with butter; sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar.  Combine bourbon and 3 tbsp maple syrup and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until mixture boils.  Pour about 1 tbsp bourbon mixture into each ramekin.
3.  Cook 1 cup syrup in sauce pan over medium-high heat 8 mins or until candy thermometer registers 250º.
4.  Beat egg white and salt with a mixer until foamy.  Pour hot maple syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at medium speed until stiff peaks form.  Add baking powder, beat well.
5.  Spoon evenly into ramekins; place on a jelly roll pan.  Bake at 425º for 13 minutes or until puffy and set.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

*I did Grandma proud this week.  I sifted.

picture of hot maple souffles