Tag Archives: Cinnamon

{ Mulled Red Wine with Amaretto }

WD-10-Mulled-Wine

Last week I had the opportunity to visit London, and I was awestruck by the number of street vendors selling mulled wine and hot cider–not mention awestruck by the number of Brits consuming these boozy concoctions irregardless of the time of day! I was determined to try as many different varieties of each during my 9 day stay, and given the dominant role that alcohol plays in English society, there were plenty of opportunities for me to warm up with a cup of spiced and spiked goodness!

At Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, I was able to double fist German sausages and mulled wine, in between playing over priced amusement games. I took a fond liking to the sour cherry wine and the amaretto wine, but set out to replicating the latter on this snowy afternoon in the States. I used Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine recipe as the foundation for my technique, but also added the apple cider element of Ina Garten’s recipe. The amaretto was a touch of my own, inspired by the street vendors in London and the result was a fabulous, soul-warming Holiday beverage. I will be making this on the many chilly nights that are yet to come!

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{ What You’ll Need }

  • 1.5 L bottle of red wine (I used Robert Mondavi Merlot, but many prefer a dry red)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and juiced
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • Amaretto, for garnish (you can also use brandy!)

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{ What You Do }

In a stock pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, cloves, lemon peels, bay leaves, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel and juice. Add just enough red wine to cover the sugar and spice mixture and allow to boil for 4-6 minutes, until the sugar mixture is thick and syrup-like (see NOTE #1).

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Add the remaining red wine, apple cider, and star anise and reduce the heat to low. Allow the wine to heat through, but don’t let it get too hot or the alcohol will burn off. Once heated, ladle into mugs and garnish with orange wedge and splash of amaretto! (see NOTE #2)

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*NOTE #1: This step is very important as it develops the flavor of the mulled wine. You want a flavorful rich syrup, so let it reduce down. You don’t want to over-heat the wine mixture once you add the remaining wine or it will burn off all the alcohol content–and who would want that?!?!

*NOTE #2: If you have leftover mulled wine, ladle it into Mason Jars and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Just reheat prior to serving.

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{ Applesauce Multigrain Muffins }

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You know those suggested recipes posted on the side of food packaging? Well, this recipe hails from the side of a Trader Joe’s multigrain oatmeal box. I normally make my signature “flat belly bran muffins,” but I was in the mood to try something new and this recipe seemed straightforward and delicious!

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 I followed the recipe on the box exactly as printed, and enjoyed the flavor and texture, but I would definitely amp them up next time by throwing in some chopped walnuts and raisins. The muffins tasted best right out of the oven and topped with a little bit of Greek yogurt, but they did not stay fresh very long so eat them up quickly or freeze them!

This recipe makes a much softer muffin than my flat belly bran recipe, but it begs for some fruit and nut pieces for added texture.

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{Streusel Topping Ingredients}

  • 1/3 cup Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal (uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons organic brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

{Muffin Ingredients}

  • 1 cup Country Choice Multigrain Hot Cereal (uncooked)
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used Trader Joes)
  • ½ cup fat free milk
  • ½ cup organic brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 egg

 {To Make the Muffins}

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Then add the melted butter and mix well.

Prepare muffins by combining oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bow: mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the applesauce, ilk, brown sugar, oil, and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve warm*

*We served ours with homemade peach jam!

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{ Faux Pho }

After my first Pho experience, I became a pho feign. I simply can’t get enough of the stuff–it’s the epitome of comfort food and even better its super healthy for you! Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have an awesome Vietnamese restaurant  (Pho & Beyond) close to my home in Philly so I can get my pho fix there, but finding Vietnamese food in Argentina has been quite a challenge. There is one good place called Green Bamboo, serving up tasty Asian inspired dishes including pho, but it is not authentic and it comes at a rather steep price (almost 90 Arg pesos per bowl….totally not in my budget these days!). As a result, I have decided to experiment with making my own Pho, which I will be the first to admit is really faux pho….the real stuff requires a lot more ingredients and whole lot more cooking time.

This being said, my imitation version still gives the unique flavors of the traditional pho broth and the hearty satisfaction of beef soup. Remember though, this soup is all about the garnishes so don’t skimp on those ingredients!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons star anise seeds (or 1 whole star anise)
  • 1 3″-4″ cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2-3 cups of mixed mushrooms, chopped (oyster, baby bella, crimini, shitaki)
  • 1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 package of thick rice noodles, cooked out
  • 1 pound of eye round steak, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts, sliced chilis, fresh basil leaves, sliced scallion, and lime wedges for garnish

{ To Make Pho } Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onion (cut side down), crushed garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant–approx. 3-4 minutes.

Add the water, bouillon cubes, star anise, and cinnamon stick, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a small handheld strainer, skim the seeds and cinnamon pieces out of the stock (you can also remove the garlic and ginger if they are not resting at the bottom of the pot).

Add the mushrooms and sliced chiles, and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the scallion and season with kosher salt, according to taste. Remove from heat.

Add the sliced beef to the soup and stir to combine (the beef should cook through almost instantly, if it has been sliced thinly enough).

Divide rice noodles among bowls and ladle broth into each bowl. Garnish the soup with basil, bean sprouts, lime juice, scallion, and sliced chiles. If you like spicy, then add a dash of Sriracha sauce!

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{ Cinnamon Apple & Brie Toasts }

Bruschetta is one of my favorite small plates to enjoy before dinner, but every now and then I like a break from the plain old garlic and tomato. It’s not exactly dinner-date friendly, and it’s getting a little overdone as far as I’m concerned. So this evening I decided to make a sweet bruschetta with oven-roasted cinnamon apples, honey, and baked brie cheese. It was absolutely delicious and it is a super versatile recipe. I used it is as a small plate for dinner, but I would also suggest serving it for breakfast, brunch, or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. To cut back on the sweetness, use less honey, or omit it all together. Remember, the brie cheese releases oil when baked, so don’t worry about the toasts being too dry!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 french baguette, sliced down on a diagonal (1/2″ thick)
  • 2 honey crisp apples, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • A chunk of brie cheese, sliced into rectangles (1/4″ thick)
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • Honey for drizzling
{ To Roast the Apples } Preheat the oven to 350 degreesLay the sliced apples in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and dust with a covering of ground cinnamon. (If you want, you can omit the honey later, and dust the apples with brown sugar here to create the sweetness!). Bake for 5-8 minutes and remove from oven.
To Assemble the Toasts } On another foil lined baking sheet, arrange the sliced baguettes side by side. Top the bread with a slice of roasted apple, a cut of brie cheese, and then another slice of roasted apple. Drizzle the top with a little bit of honey and repeat until all the toasts have been assembled. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese has become soft and gooey (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from the oven and serve!

 

 

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{ Homemade Churros with Cinnamon Sugar }

Homemade Churros with Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Sauce

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to try my hand at making churros for the very first time. I know they aren’t technically Mexican, but they’re Spanish and delicious, and that’s an excuse enough for me! The recipe itself is super easy to make, but you do need a pastry bag and star-shaped pastry tip to squeeze the dough from. Cooking them is also a little bit of a process because hot oil frying always gets messy. However, the work is totally worth it because this recipe is delicious!!

When making the dough, it is really important that you whisk the constantly after adding the eggs to the flour mixture because the pot will still be warm and you don’t want the eggs to become scrambled eggs!

Also, it is very important that the oil is good and hot before you begin frying or the churros will be soggy. I like to test the oil temperature with a breadcrumb or small squeeze of dough first. You know it’s ready if it immediately begins to sizzle around the edges.

This recipe made about 20 small churros (4 inches each), and they were only the table for about 5 minutes before they were gone. I would definitely make these again.

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

{ To Make the ChurrosHeat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high flame.

In a small mixing bowl combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Combine the water, butter, brown sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and add the flour, stirring continuously until dough forms and mixture is well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and vanilla extract and then add this to the flour mixture. (NOTE: this is where you need to use some muscle and keep stirring!! You do not want the eggs to sit in the warm pot and turn into scrambled eggs!)

Then fit a pastry bag (or 1 gallon freezer bag) with your largest star tip, and fill the bag with the dough.

Test the oil to make sure that it is hot enough and then squeeze dough straight into the pan. Allow to cook about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown and then turn with slotted spoon, and remove from oil. If you like your churros softer then don’t leave them in the oil as long, and if you like them crispy….let em’ burn.

Once you remove the churros from the oil with slotted spoon, allow to rest on plate lined with paper towels. You want to let some of the oil drip off. Then while still warm, roll the churros in cinnamon sugar mixture made earlier!

**If you want, you can also serve these with chocolate drizzle, which is really good. Or dip them in hot chocolate!

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