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Mixology Monday Announcement: Digestifs

It’s December. There’s a chill in the air, and if you’re located in the U.S. like I am, we are smack dab in the middle of a busy holiday season. This time of year is known for calorie laden holiday meals surrounded by family and friends, so it seemed like the perfect time to explore the vast combinations that can be found by discovering and making cocktails from ingredients known for their digestive properties.

Digestif’s are pretty popular in my world – they usually include a touch of sweetness and/or a higher alcohol percentage. They help settle a meal and bring the night to a close.

Options to use classic digestive products are endless here, from smooth whiskey and bourbon to brandy, port, sherry, and many liqueurs. Many products (like Fernet, aromatized wine, and other amaros) have been created for this sole purpose.

Let your imagination run wild, and make a beverage highlighting at least one product known for its digestif qualities. You can create a cocktail of your own, or you can post about digestif recipes you find in literature. Want to stick with Cognac, go for it. Does the idea of crafting a cocktail with Barolo Chinato, or another Italian Amaro come to mind? The possibilities are truly endless.

Make your digestif cocktail and share it one of three ways with us!

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Make a cocktail highlighting at least one digestif ingredient.
  2. Post the recipe on your blog, or if you don’t have one, you can post it on the egullet spirit and cocktail forum thread here with a photo, recipe, and thoughts of your drink.
  3. Add the MxMo logo to your post with a link to both the Mixology Monday website, and back here at Stacy Markow.
  4. Submit a link to your post here in the comments of this announcement post, or you can tweet @stacymarkow, with a link to your post and tag MxMo on Twitter by Monday, December 19th.

Posts must be submitted by midnight on Monday, December 19, 2016.

mxmologo

Desserts

Key Lime Bars

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I made these bars last Spring when I spotted key limes for the first time at the supermarket. They’re a little out of character for me this time of year (this is pumpkin spice season after all), but key limes were on clearance last week, and I love a good sale.

Cook’s Illustrated never disappoints, and this recipe is no exception. These bars are so bright and chock full of sweet lime juice and zest, which makes them rich yet refreshing. One of the best desserts highlighting the fruit I’ve had. Only paid subscribers can see their recipes online, but I found this recipe on here for free.

Key Lime Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 5 ounces animal crackers
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Key lime zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup fresh Key lime juice

Garnish:

  • toasted coconut pieces, whipped cream, and/or thinly sliced key limes (optional)

Instructions:

Position oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy-duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7½-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch-square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray or grease with melted butter.

For the crust: In a food processor, pulse the animal cookies until they resemble coarse crumbs, this took about ten 1-second pulses, making sure they’re evenly fine. Remove food processor lid and add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1-second pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle melted butter over crumbs and pulse until everything is evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1-second pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, around 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Don’t turn off the oven.

For the filling: while the crust cools, in a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, lime zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until it’s completely incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Whisk in the egg yolk. Whisk in the lime juice slowly until it’s fully incorporated. You’ll notice the mixture thicken. This is totally normal.

Pour the filling into the crust, and spread to corners and smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Bake in the oven until the edges are set and are beginning to pull away from the sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 to 1½ hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

Loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 12 pieces. Top with whipped cream, toasted coconut, or key lime slices, if using, and serve. The bars can be refrigerated for up to two days. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Cocktails

Passionfruit Gimlet

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A few weeks ago I enjoyed this drink while celebrating a friend’s new job at Victor Tangos. I love passionfruit, and this cocktail was fruity and refreshing. I knew more of them would be in my future.

So when I found this recipe online I got really excited, and took a stab at making them at home. I’m sad to report that it’s not the same as the drink I had at the restaurant. This one was more pineapple than passionfruit, but it was still tasty nonetheless.

Passionfruit Gimlet

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons passionfruit puree (I found a package of this at Fiesta in the freezer section)
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs, divided

Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker, place passion fruit purée, simple syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, vodka, one of the thyme sprigs, and crushed ice. Shake the mixture, then double-strain (strain into a fine metal sieve to catch any ice chips) into a martini or coupe glass. Serve garnished with remaining thyme sprig.

Life

Happy Halloween

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I dressed up this year as Rosie the Riveter to celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday night. It was an affordable DIY costume that mostly used stuff I already owned. When I started googling some info on putting the look together, I came across that picture of Beyonce. Doesn’t she look amazing!

Here’s what I used to make it possible:

  • Chambray Shirt
  • Dark Wash Jeans
  • Red Bandana
  • I wore some bright red Keds, but lace-up boots would work well too.

I found this great hairstyle tutorial, and I kept my eye makeup minimal, but chose a bright red lip. I’m happy with how it turned out. I hope you have a wonderful Halloween!

Fashion

Bohemian Salt Jewelry

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One of my favorite shops for unique earrings and necklaces is Bohemian Salt on Etsy.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Bohemian Salt specializes in lightweight, delicate accessories made from mixed metals, minimalist shapes, and raw materials. The pieces vary and incorporate raw gemstones, sea urchin spikes, and tanzanite. Her supplies are ethically sourced from American suppliers, and no two pieces are exactly alike. I love that about it.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from her shop:

  1. Tumbled Jade Gold Hoops $32.00
  2. Antiqued Brass Sea Urchin Spike Hoop Earrings $38.00
  3. The Jupiter Earrings: Textured Brass with Sterling Earwire $40.00 
  4. Raw Amethyst Hoops $30.00
  5. Amethyst Crystal Slab Pendant Long Layering $48.00 

Decor

Dining Room Progress

A few months ago I wrote about some possible design plans for our dining room, and I wanted to do a full reveal of the room including sources for all of the items we purchased for the space.

Life has a funny way of happening to prevent things like this, so I thought I would leave you with this little progress photo of how the room looks now. See that fiddle leaf fig in the corner, he’s going to be replaced in a couple of weeks because he’s a shell of his former self. This home + high maintenance plants do not mix.

The chandelier is from Park Studio LA, the wall color is Benjamin Moore’s AF-560 Flint, the dining table is from Restoration Hardware, the chairs are vintage from a dear friend of mine (I found them at her grandmother’s pre estate sale last year and had the seats recovered), the benches are from World Market, the rug is vintage Kilim from Turkey, and the shelves in the back are the Vittsjo shelves from Ikea. All of the shelving accessories are vintage pieces I’ve acquired from thrift stores and estate sales, and food and wine books I’ve collected over the years.

The room is far from finished (in my mind, nothing is ever finished), but I’m happy with where it’s at.

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Main Courses

Coq au Riesling

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Julia Child may have made Coq au Vin famous, but it’s not my favorite way to braise chicken. Not anymore at least.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Coq au Vin. I’ve made it a handful of times by request, to celebrate an occasion for somebody special in my life. It takes the entire afternoon, and a myriad of pans to make happen. Peeling pearl onions, one by one, is nobody’s idea of fun. Not even Julia’s.

So when I came across this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine, I made it the first chance I could, which turned out to be last winter. It’s hard to pass up on something that includes all of my favorite things in one dish: Riesling, mushrooms, crème fraîche, and lemon. This flavor combination is deeply savory, rich and bright all at the same time.

I made it again this past weekend, and it was just as good as I remembered. It’s a favorite in our home, and it’s bound to be a favorite in yours. I don’t know if I’ll ever make Coq au Vin again. Not if I don’t have to.

Now if you’re wondering what kind of Riesling to use, look for ones from the Alsace region of France or ones that are labeled dry. I found an affordable bottle of Trimbach Riesling at my local grocery store, and it was perfect to cook the chicken, and for drinking with dinner.

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Coq au Riesling

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds chicken legs, divided into drumsticks and thighs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1½ cups dry Riesling
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Finely chopped tarragon, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Cook the remaining chicken, then pour off the fat from the pan.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in the casserole pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Riesling and simmer for 1-2 minutes, scraping up the brown bits from the pot. Add the chicken stock and thyme and bring to a boil.

Nestle the chicken into the casserole; cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until tender.

While the chicken is braising in the oven, melt the butter and olive oil in a very large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, without stirring, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until tender and no longer squeaky, 3 – 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Once the chicken is tender, transfer it to a plate. Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing onto the solids. Skim off as much fat as you can. Return the braising liquid to the casserole dish and boil until reduced to 1½ cups, about 5 minutes or so. Whisk in the crème fraîche and lemon juice and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh tarragon and serve. I like to serve this with a crusty baguette to mop up all of the delicious sauce. Egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice will work too.

 

Cocktails

Clover Club

This pre-Prohibition cocktail classic is believed to be one of Philadelphia’s contribution to cocktail history. It’s so beloved that there’s a bar in Brooklyn named after it.

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Clover Club

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry syrup (you can find the recipe I made here)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • raspberries, for garnishing

Instructions:

Combine the gin, raspberry syrup, fresh lemon juice, and egg white into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously to froth the egg white, about one minute. Remove lid and add ice, and shake contents until they are very cold, about 30 seconds.

Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with raspberries. Serve immediately.