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Holiday Cocktail Recipe?

sangria is traditional christmas fare in portugal... since learning that, I'm all about sangria for the holidays

you can do a lot of prep ahead of time, then it's simple to mix up a pitcher or top up a pitcher as you go

for each bottle of cheap red wine:
ahead of time, fill a mason jar with
1 meyer lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
2 clementines, sliced
juice of 1-1/2 meyer lemons, 1 lime, 3 clementines
4 oz brandy (or more for a stronger drink)

when you go to make it up, empty the contents of the jar into a pitcher, add the bottle of wine, top up with a jar full of sparkling lemonade (less fuss than club soda & sugar, not as sweet as using soda pop)

also, if you LIKE champagne cocktails, don't dismiss them... spanish cava, made with the same technique as champagne, is cheap and delicious... I prefer it to champagne.

prosecco is another champagne-method sparkling white which is less $$$ than champagne, but more than cava

Mom's Turkey Along With Small Plates or No?

A nice thing about your grazing plan is that everyone will be able to pick and choose what they want. So if they don't want your mother's dry turkey, they don't have to have it.

Make a really good cranberry chutney (moisture) to serve with the turkey.

What traditional family recipe would you never mess with?

my partner's great-great-grandmother's booze-soaked fruit cake must be made exactly according to the recipe... same for steamed christmas pudding, bread sauce (blech), and yorkshire pudding.

my family is less interested in recipes, we make stuff up as we go along... I suspect that's why we're pie eaters rather than cake eaters... at any rate, discretion and flexibility are always allowed and there's always next year anyway


Stinkatrongoo, that looks fantastic.

Pastry Cream

mix it with some berries and fold in some whipped cream, then freeze in popsicle molds!

Go-to "impress your date" recipe

to me, pot roast and lasagna are things you make when you're having a crowd of people over... not intimate enough for a date

but you aren't dating me, so your mileage may vary :)

Your favorite pancake/topping?

spicy peanut sauce is good too.... or as a quick substitute peanut butter & hot sauce

I always thought I didn't like pancakes until I learned they didn't have to be topped with sweet things.

medicity, that dutch baby sounds right up my alley...

Easy vegan recipe for students - not curry or beans?

pureed pumpkin soup is seasonal, can be mildly curry flavoured if you want but there are many variations... can be kept at a simmer. To impress, sprinkle some toasted pumpkin seeds on top

for something heartier, you could do a stuffed pumpkin

What do you look for in a cooking blog?

lawyerjen, I may have a crush on you. :)

and as another blogger, I agree with Because I Like Chocolate... be yourself. You will write best in your own voice and it will be less of a struggle to maintain the blog. Your photo aesthetics are the right ones for your blog and they are likely consistent with your writing voice. So, yeah, essentially create the blog you want to read, other people will also be interested, especially if it feels honest.

What do you look for in a cooking blog?

I don't mean I want to read a blog and think, "thank god they have a light kit and spend more time photographing that than prepping it". I don't want to look at 7 version of a slice of bread with peanut butter and hotsauce; pick your best one. And I don't think everything has to be studio-quality.

At the same time, don't be posting out-of-focus, poorly framed photos where it's difficult to understand what you're looking at.

What do you look for in a cooking blog?

I'm in it for the recipes, if I like a recipe, I will probably read the commentary. And I'll admit I like the pretty pictures.

Apple Tart Question

if you dont' have a top crust, steam should be able to escape the tart and your crust shouldn't get soggy... apple pie bottom crusts get soggy when they are insufficiently ventilated, IME

Go-to "impress your date" recipe

risotto on a bed of steamed bitter greens, topped with sauteed mushrooms or seared scallops... depending what's available (my recipe, good enough to land someone who doesn't even like rice, is here: risotto with chanterelles)

we've been together a long time now, and both of us cook, so one of our favourite at-home date meals is several courses of little thing: a few stuffed squash flowers, crostini with pancetta and broad beans, a salad, a few crab legs, etc. Things you can make and serve and enjoy, then make the next thing. More importantly, these are things you serve on a shared plate.

anything you can serve with home-made pasta or home-made tortillas is impressive too... few people bother to make their own. Pasta puttanesca with long broad pasta is fantastic. Really good carnitas demonstrate some commitment to the meal because of the marinating and slow braising, not to mention how beautiful freshly made corn tortillas are...

Suggestions for scotch whisky cocktails

Maggie, those are some excellent looking cocktails. I literally live in the middle of nowhere and the regional liquor control does not carry Heering or Cynar!! Nonetheless, that's given me some ideas for flavour combinations. Thanks.

Littauer - :D - I will keep in mind for cold season.

any good goat recipes out there?

@Teachertalk - that book is added to my list of cookbooks to purchase, thank you. I have no trouble getting wild-grazed local goat but there is a real problem with a lack of skilled local butchers here. Poorly cut meat tends to give you an excuse to stay in the curry-stew-soup safety zone... I am betting that book will give me the fire under my chair I need to branch out and try some new things.

any good goat recipes out there?

Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall (of the River Cottage) has an excellent west-indian goat curry recipe in his Meat Book.

What to make / bring for my friend in Finland

I'd make italian nougat or a proper buttery fudge.

Eggplant caponata

maybe served on poached or steamed fish (like cod)?

I bet you could make a nice pasta sauce from it; roast a tomato or two, peel, blend with 1/2 the caponata you'll use, mix in with the unblended portion and heat.

disclaimer: it might be a total bomb, but if you don't try it, we'll never know...

What's your favourite "road food"?


I forgot to start the "in the car" list with coffee. Coffee is important.

What's your favourite "road food"?

in the car: beef jerky, trail mix, gummy candies

along the way: we look for local (i.e. non-franchised) places that do seasonal fare (a good sign is a kitchen or herb garden on the premises)... I tend to do some research ahead of time so often have a few ideas for possibilities

but I also love a good truck stop/diner

Anybody know how to grill a cucumber?

oh! you could infuse some gin with cucumber, which makes for a fantastic gin & tonic

I've seen a few bloggers dehydrating sliced cucumber for cucumber chips... one that comes to mind seasoned with salt and dill when dehydrating.

Anybody know how to grill a cucumber?

what if you draw some of the water out by salting them for a while before cooking?

I have no idea if that would work, but you could always make oi sobaegi instead (cucumber kimchi).