Cranberry Gin Fizz

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There are few things more glamourous and soul healing than a cocktail in the early afternoon. And I mean a proper cocktail. One that requires use of your shaker and fancy ice. 

Afternoon cocktails, be them shrubs or fizzes or flips, must be executed with a certain proficiency, (ideally by some barman with a grand mustache). Recipes and formulas must be followed, preferably from memory. And an understanding of time is essential; how diluted must the liquor be? how quickly must you strain it into the cold coupe glass? These are things your seasoned well-mannered mustachioed barman knows. Things we read about but rarely practice. 

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Winter has come to New England. I know so because the sky goes dark by three-o’clock and  the thirst takes hold.  A cocktail, such as this one, is best enjoyed with a few friends. Ideally those who have endured a similar day to yours and will, most mercifully, forgive your appearance should you not look the part of the mysterious femme fatale in red lipstick.

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A cocktail done well is transformative. We all look the part when sipping delicately. 

Welcome back, i apologize for being gone so long. 
Cheers,

xoxo M

Cranberry Gin Fizz:

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz cranberry simple syrup
  • 2 oz heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • Few drops of orange bitters

In a shaker, combine all the ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Pour into a well chilled glass and top with soda water. Enjoy 

*The cranberry simple syrup can be made by boiling 1:1 ratio of water and sugar and adding a  handful of fresh cranberries. Cook until they burst and turn the syrup a bright pink. 

**all lime, or all lemon juice is a fine substitute for the half-and-half. 

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog!

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*Two years ago today i started this little blog and began contributing to the noise of the internet. I was 22 1/2 yrs. old, newly graduated, and hungry.  

Jolly Appetite served as my way to catalogue the recipes i liked and wanted to make again because, let’s face it, recipe boxes are hard and i am lazy. In the beginning, this blog was all peripheral. 

THAT lasted about 6 seconds. Cause it turns out, this is really fun! I spent days off writing and shooting wildly on a camera i didn’t know how to use. I began pushing the boundaries of what i was comfortable with in the kitchen and said, “Aw to hell with it! Let’s make Ricotta!” and i did. and it was awesome. 

I was wet behind the ears and you stuck with me. Through all the run-on’s and fragmented sentences and cooky camera angles, you stuck with me.  As i “explored” several failed personal catchphrases, and even more failed social encounters, bless you, you hung around for more.

I love being able to cook for you and share with you as though you’re coming around for dinner. (Which i wish you would!)

I am so grateful for your kindness, support, and good humored skepticism.

I feel i’ve gotten better at this ole “food writing” bizness. I’ve been using far less obscure punctuation. 

This is why food blogs are so addictive. Because I can spell things like “bizness” and not raise a single brow. That rules. 

So, LIVE FROM SOMERVILLE, HERE’S SOME FOOD! 

xxoo M


Salted Bourbon Chocolate Bars *photo essay* 

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I don’t need to convince you how good these are. We’re working with the holy trinity here, (bourbon. chocolate. salt.) 

I made these as a gift for my aunt but strangely ( and unexplainably), they disappeared.  

These are the mysteries of our time. 

Salty Bourbon Squares
adapted from the Vanilla Bean Blog 

1 cup sugar
1.T molasses
1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse salt [to taste]

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 inch square pan. 

Heat the sugar, molasses, and butter together in a saucepan until the sugar is melted, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Whisk flour and baking powder together, and set aside. Add egg, vanilla, salt, and bourbon to the cooled butter mixture, and beat together. Stir in the flour, and then the chocolate, until just combined. Spread batter in the pan, and bake 18-22 minutes, until light golden brown, and a tooth pick comes out clean, being very careful not to over bake. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cool in the pan, then carefully lift sling from the pan and cut into squares.

*Note: you can substitute white sugar for brown sugar. If you do, omit Molasses altogether. 

Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbreads+Flavor-Blundering

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Have you ever made a flavor-blunder?  Brought two things together that should NOT go to together but maybe could go together if someone very brave [like you] gave it a try? 

I’m sure you have. Every kid tries orange juice on their cereal at least once.

Flavor-blunders are those rare “baptism by fire life experiences” your college advisors were telling you about.  If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll be made stronger. But seriously, look out. You could die. 

I was an early blunderer. I hit the ground running at 9 years old.

It was a Saturday morning at Moe’s Broadway Bagels and I ordered a chocolate chip bagel with garlic cream cheese. The man working behind the counter almost didn’t let me. Said he “didn’t think that was a good idea…” My older siblings were groaning and gagging at me. Tell tale signs of the [very respectable] professionals they would become…

But i was steadfast in my choice. Something about the idea of sweet and salty together in a single bite made me curious. I had to give it a try…

Fun Fact: Chocolate Chip Bagel with Garlic Cream Cheese is one of those things you can just let well enough alone. No need to try it. Don’t. Don’t try it. Thank you goodbye. 

I’m still getting flack for that damn bagel. 

But it was a lesson for my adventuresome palette about balance and sweetness and savory. I like to think that it was a “bold beyond my years” moment. Mostly, i just ruined my breakfast. 

Yesterday, I pulled another “bagel” out of my hat. I had this crazy notion that i could make a Pomegranate Curd, and not only would it be beautiful and jewel colored, but it’d be tart and tangy and fabulous on scones…

*Sigh* 

It did not go well. Pomegranate juice should never be cooked with eggs.

{DUH! What was i thinking in my crazy brain?}

The whole thing looked like a prop from a B-list horror movie. Just.. it was…awful. 

To make up for it, i had to put these in my life:

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Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread
adapted from her

 

No blundering here. These shortbreads are tried and true and reliable. And have been scientifically proven to heal one’s wounded pride. 

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For the shortbread layer:
    • 1 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sugar
For the caramel layer:
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 T. light corn syrup
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate layer:
  • 6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

To make the shortbread layer:
    1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Use a fork and poke holes across the shortbread. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the caramel layer:
    1. Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, continue stiring. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly (If you have a candy thermometer, the caramel is ready when it reads 240 degrees F.) Pour the mixture over the shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set.
To make the chocolate glaze:
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour evenly over the caramel layer and smooth the top. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Place in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. Bars can be kept at room temperature.

Big Love xxoo

M

 

Burnt Caramel Puddings+Big To-DO’s

 

 

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Today was a day of turning legitimate  “To-Do’s” into legitimate  “Done-Did’s” .

I’ve been known to dabble in the art of “fake list making”; lists of things i have already done/physically must do to survive. i.e. “wake up”, “breathe”, “drink coffee”, “call mom”,  “make sure legs work”, etc.

I love the feeling of power one gets when tossing a completed list in the recycling. So many strikethroughs!  SO many things accomplished! oh, how I love it! These lists (though pure sensationalism) satisfy my love of crossing things off lists. Its a cheap trick, sue me.

Conversely, I have terrible anxiety when real lists are left undone. Oh, the horror. It is a delicate web I weave.

So when i give a real list the “business”, like today, then you know i’m gonna celebrate with pudding. This is just good sense.

If you need any advice on how to serve this custard or where to find the cheapest locksmith in Union Square,   then I’m your girl. To the first i would say, don’t touch it! This custard is perfect the way it is. But for you OCD  “fiddlers” out there,  try good whipped cream and toasted almonds and it’s Good Night, Sally.  To the second, I got a hot tip about a lock smithy tucked inside the Brazilian Market with the lunch buffet and economy rice cookers. Don’t ask questions.

This is real life, people. I’m just living it. xxoo M

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Burnt Caramel Pudding
c/o Food 52

Serves 4

  • 2cups heavy cream
  • 1/2vanilla bean
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 3large egg yolks, room temperature
  • Fine sea salt
  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Split vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream; toss the scraped pod in there too. Turn the heat to low to gently warm the cream.
  3. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar; pour remaining sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water into heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Then crank the heat to high and let the liquid bubble away — don’t stir; just swirl the pan occasionally — until it turns dark amber. This takes about 4 minutes, but watch closely because it happens fast.
  4. Moving quickly, fish the vanilla pod out of the cream and save for another use. Slowly stir the warm cream into the caramel over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil (it will fast), turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Whisk a little of the cream/caramel mixture into the egg yolks. Gradually add the rest, until it’s all incorporated.
  6. Pour into four ramekins. Place the ramekins in a shallow pan half filled with cold water. If you like your caramel a bit salty like me, sprinkle a few extra grains of sea salt on top of each one. Cook at 300 degrees for about an hour. Chill for at least 3 hours, but i’d be lying if i said i didn’t eat one hot out of the oven.

Butternut Squash Ravioli+Sage

10, count em, TEN, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 days in a row of below freezing temps.

Oh, “inside living” is a dream. Especially when the alternative is facing an easterly wind. No shame in being a home body. I’ve worn snow pants around my house. I’ve slept with a hot water bottle. I’ve made homemade ravioli. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Behold the beautiful butternut.

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Peel, dice, and douse with good olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast @ 400 degrees until soft and slightly caramelized. approx. 25 mins. check every 10 to be safe.

 

 

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Allow squash to cool slightly, then mash in a bowl with 1 T. fresh sage. Dried is fine.

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1/2 c. fresh ricotta. 1/4 c. fresh parmesan. sprinkle of salt. splash of white wine. squeeze of lemon.

To make pasta sheets:
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Combine 2 1/2 c. Semolina flour. 2 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour. 6 eggs. pinch of salt.

Mix until a “shaggy dough”  has formed. Combine in a ball. Wrap in plastic. Let rest for 1 hour.

*after 1st hour*  Need dough on  lightly floured surface. approx. 5 mins.

Wrap in plastic and let sit another hour.

Divide dough into four equal parts. Roll out into thick disk. If using a pasta machine, put on thickest setting and roll out. It rolling by hand, use a pin or long wine bottle applying plenty of pressure to ensure a thin even sheet. The thinness of the pasta should allow for some “translucency” . That is, when held up to the light, you should be able to see the silhouette of your hand.

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Evenly space a teaspoon’s worth of filling across one sheet of pasta. Brush all sides with an egg wash and cover with remaining pasta sheet. Gently press down, making sure to get out as much air as possible. Cinch with a fork or a ravioli cuter or a knife.

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To Prepare:

Bring 4 Qts of salted water to a boil. Add raviolis and cook just until done approx 2 minutes.

In a saucepan, heat a few glugs of good olive oil with some chopped garlic (1-2 cloves should do). Add raviolis and more sage leaves. Fry until raviolis begin to brown. Serve with more freshly grated parm and a big pat on the back. Hunker down everyone…Winter is Coming…

 

xxoo

M

Brussels Sprouts+Manchego

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This song. THIS. SONG.

It’s my new anthem, you guys. It makes me wish i had cool vintage denim cut offs and bolo ties and a 1972 Cobra convertible. It makes me wish i was the type of person who could pull off green gator boots…  GAH! how i wish…

Who knows, i still have most of 2013. Stranger things have happened.  Maybe next time you see me, i’ll be strutting like a boss. Cause everyone knows thats what happens when you wear gator shoes. Also i gotta learn the “hair flip”. I feel like that is a necessary skill.

 

Wanna know what i can pull off? Brussels Sprouts. Image

salty/roasty/green niblets.

Winning Brussels Sprouts:

1-2 lbs. brussels sprouts (rinsed and halved)

2 glugs of good olive oil

salt

pepper

1/2 c. Manchego cheese (you could use any hard salty cheese. Like parmesan or romano)

Crank oven to 400 degrees

On a cookie sheet, spread the sprouts in a single layer

Coat in Olive Oil. Use you hands and make sure it is evenly distributed

sprinkle with salt and pepper

Roast for 15 mins. until softened and just beginning to brown. Flip the sprouts. and sprinkle with 1/4 c. cheese. Return to the oven until golden brown. Finish with the remaining cheese. Eat and don’t look back.

xxoo

M

Cornbread+Poached Egg+Avocado

 Eggs are intolerable without toast.

You can never just EAT an EGG? right? ew. no. It ‘s so slippery.  

And how would you sop up the yolk? with your hands? what are we Barbarians?!

No, stop this. I need a yolk sponge for my eggs and if i come stay with you and you offer eggs but then also tell me your are “watching carbs” right now so you don’t have bread but you can make some awesome fruit salad on the side…. Well, go ahead and embrace my eye roll. 

Fruit salad and eggs are NOT how you eat eggs. I think that is the 12th law of physics. #prettysure 

Here’s how you make an egg worthy of your day. 

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poach it. toast it. hot sauce it. 

I used a piece of this cornbread. toasted on the griddle with a bit of butter.

melted a thin slice of sharp cheddar on top. 

added slices of avocado that had been 

sprinkled sea salt+lemon juice

top with a poached egg and a dose of hot sauce. 

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Thus concludes our lesson.

xxoo

M

 

Berkshire Ham+Juniper+Maple

DSC03407I respect you.

 

That’s why i’m not gonna waste your time.

I’ll  just get straight to it.  The answer to the question swimming around in your head, “Ugh i’m supes hangry (hungry+angry), what do i doooooo??!!”

The answer is Pork, ya big dummy. The explicit answer, is Fresh Berkshire Ham. Waayyy better than the smoked stuff you get from the Honeybaked Factory. Psshh that stuff is #HoneyBogus

Fresh ham is everything. For you craft butcher-nerds in the audience, to whom the words “Berkshire Pork” mean something, i doff my cap!  *doffs cap*

To the rest, just associate those words with, “Yum”.

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“Yummy” in this context of course  meaning, “the taste of incomparable animal husbandry partnered with the finest sustainable land stewardship methods and good old fashioned Berkshire valley woodland flavor”. Yowza…was that even a sentence? #porkcoma

Fresh ham is best brined before roasting. Wait… you’ve Never brined before? Oh no! ahhhh!!!!!!!

Oh hush, you know i’ll tell you how. I brined my ham (approx 5#) for 16hrs. In a ziploc bag. easy. I put the ham in a bag. Filled it with enough water to cover , then combined the following:

1/2 c. Salt

Whole Peppercorns

3 Bay Leaves

 

Juniper Berries

Rosemary

 

After your ham has been brined (min. of 8hrs/max of 2 days!)drain the liquid and place in a roasting pan.Score the top fat. sprinkle with another pinch of salt. Crank your oven to 450.

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Cook ham UNCOVERED for about 15 mins or until the skin starts to puff up and brown. You will hear a lot of snap, crackle popping. this is good. its singing to you

in a little pot on the stove, warm 1/4-1/3 c. maple syrup (depending on the size of your ham) and sprinkle in a few whole cloves. let steep for a couple minutes. Then, pour over your ham. cook another 2-3 minutes. Then add a splash of water and put the top on

Reduce oven to 325. cook until it reaches an internal temp of 150. (worried you’ll dry it out? here is some super good advice!)

Add a little more liquid if you think the glaze is burning. Base your ham a couple times throughout the cooking. Just listen to its needs. Don’t freak out. Embrace the beautiful quiet. Let your house smell nice. Pour yourself a cocktail and Toast the pig! What noble creatures we must honor through our care!

In conclusion, make this roast for sunday dinner with some Brussels Sprouts and Hasselback Potatoes. Then eat it monday morning  for breakfast on toasted sourdough. Want a dirty little secret? Cook your egg in a bit of the fat. Just render it down on med-low.

And now i’ll speak directly to the great farmers who tend the fertile valleys of our great nation: be it Berkshire, Hudson, Napa, Willamette, or any other valley i do not know by name but know by heart, i thank you. Thank you for growing real food. Thank you for caring that it tastes this good. Thank you for tending a harvest that makes my body and brain full and happy (respectively).

Without you, we die. #LittleFarmersForTheWin! #EATSMART2013 #GotALittleMedievalHereAtTheEnd #Oops

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M

 

Beet Tzatziki+Arugula Salad

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 I like to pretend i’ve got a cleaning lady who comes once a week to fix all the things that are wrong with my apartment/life. She is unafraid. Totally fearless in tackling all the things i can’t seem to tackle. Like that mountain of dirty clothes? NBD, consider them washed, folded, tiny mint on top. Kitchen a disaster? psh, no biggie, clean as a whistle, also, tiny mints. Did that bottle of jam explode in your refrigerator? HOooooow does that happen? whatevs…taken care of.  Haven’t made my bed in days? She puts hospital corners on that fool! (and linen spray)

You get the idea here. i’m totally bonkers.

 I imagine she wears a lovely pressed uniform and dispenses a slurry of wisdom and life advice in between vacuuming and tea. Maybe she invites me to her eldest son’s graduation. I dunno. Maybe he’s handsome…. oh lord…

The deal is, i don’t have a cleaning lady, or tiny mints.

All i got is this salad. And that seems to be enough.

Because whenever life feels overwhelming, and I realize how genuinely broke I am, nothing feels better than a vacuumed floor, a hot shower, and a fresh salad with a ton of lemon. 

This salad feels like a life plan. It’s fresh, responsible, and takes care of your future (i.e. heart health!) 

The beet tzatziki is what makes it so insanely good. 

Put a handful of arugula in your favorite salad bowl. add 1/2 a chopped avocado, a generous squeeze of lemon, and a spoonful of tzatziki. serve with a charred garlic toast. if you are fond of red pickled onions, now is their time to shine! yum yum yum. Get it together. 

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We can do it!

xxoo Happy days

M

BEET TZATZIKI:

2 tsp fresh lemon juice to taste

1 clove minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups thick greek yogurt or labne (kefir cheese)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill (dried is fine too, in a pinch) 

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 to 1/2 cups cooked shredded beets (you can use bought cooked beets. totes ok)

 

That’s it. Combine all the spices/seasonings into yogurt. Add beets. mix well.

top with feta if you wish. eat with carrots, cucumbers, crackers, put it on turkey sandwiches. this stuff rocks.