Posts Tagged ‘whiskey’


Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, today I bring you a recipe that is not something I have ever cooked myself, but is instead something I found myself sitting in front of last weekend. That’s right, in addition to being the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, last Sunday was also the day my auto insurance premiums decrease slightly. I could hardly contain myself. And what better way to a commemorate such a sobering milestone than with a birthday cake that’s completely sloshed with more than a cup of Kentucky’s finest?

My friend Meg, a renowned ice-cream alchemist, adapted this cake from a NY Times recipe for Bourbon-Soaked Bundt Cake but it’s really her own creation: she ditched the bundt pan and the stingy sprinkling of bourbon on top of the original cake, and instead opted to slather the whole damn thing with a yet more liquor in the form of a whiskey frosting and whiskey ganache. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is. The result is a powerfully good cake: dense and chocolatey, with a savory hint from the small amount of salt, and then, right up front, clear as the black string tie on Colonel Sanders’ white suit, is the alcoholic bite and caramel flavor of the bourbon.


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Legend has it that the last words that the great economist John Meynard Keynes said before he shuffled off to that great Endowed Professorship in the sky were something along the lines of: “my only regret is that I did not drink more champagne.” Today being New Years Day, i.e. the day after New Years Eve, I find it very hard to sympathize with his particular dying regret, but then again I also find it very hard to look at any bright lights. However I think we can all agree with the general sentiment of not wanting to be caught dead with any culinary regrets so this year I am resolving never to pull a Keynes with respect to one particular food: New Year’s Resolution 2009 is to eat more steak. Now some of the Junta’s truly zealous readers may recall that Claire already wrote about this topic, and well, in her Quest to Cook the Perfect Indoor Steak. But since New Year’s is a time for reflection I can think of no better day to return to this important technique, and be reminded that there’s nothing in life that can’t be improved with the liberal application of butter and alcohol.

The indoor, pan-seared steak has always been a great option for the yardless, grill-less, apartment-dwelling masses of which I am proud to consider myself a member but now, with the days grown short and the temperatures dropping into the bone-chilling sub-50-degree range here in LA, even the most die-hard grillers are being forced to leave their Webers for the safety of heated kitchens. While a pan on your stovetop may not give you the char of an open flame, it will give you something even better: a frying pan to deglaze.


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Rich drunk man's French toast?

Rich, drunk man's French toast

Bread pudding is such a wholesome name; the pudding industry would do well to spread some cash around Madison Avenue and get this Plain Jane dessert a snappier handle. How about Rich Man’s French Toast? Tell me that doesn’t have moxie. Well folks, the fat-cats at Big Pudding may not be opening up their wallets anytime soon to support my rebranding efforts, but at least good people of New Orleans have already done their part by livening up the homely pudding building blocks of egg, milk, sugar and soggy bread with a much needed shot of whiskey. In Italian coffee drinking circles such an addition is known as a “correction,” a sentiment I could not agree with more.

Now since this is a Cajun recipe, let us take a moment up front to get the obligatory catchphrases out of the way: Laissez le bon temps roulez! Mon cher! Bam!

Are we done? Good. The canonical ‘Nawlins bread pudding with whiskey sauce comes from the city’s Bon Ton Cafe. Go looking for other recipes and you’ll find that while proportions differ the basic ingredients are always the same, and every last one of ‘em, from the Silver Palate Cookbook to gumbopages.com, credits the Bon Ton. Today the Junta’s chief contribution to this legacy is to suggest that you make it with challah. There are plenty of good reasons to use challah instead of French bread: it’s rich, it’s sweet, and it’s soft enough to be easily turned to a puddingy mush. But to be honest using challah is an idea this juntero came not by any conscious choice of his own but rather because, as Ben Franklin once said, “sake-bombing is the mother of invention.” (more…)

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Finally, the meal that began last week with fig jam h’ors doeuvres and sparkling wine and pork roast with collard greens and polenta comes to a close. And what better way to usher in fall and winter, and to bring a comforting, cozy meal to an end, than homemade chocolate pudding?

Everyone loves chocolate pudding, and while Jello has its place (especially the chocolate vanilla), homemade chocolate pudding is so easy and so decadent, that there’s really no reason not to be making it all the time (other than maybe your waistline). My roommates were so astounded by the fact that I made this from scratch — by the fact that it is possible to make chocolate pudding from scratch — that the look on their faces as they ate it was alone worth the minimal effort that went into it.

And, as is an increasing theme, this recipe sneaks a little alcohol into the whipped cream. Let’s see Jello do that. (more…)

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I’m not usually one for elaborate drinks (by which I mean anything more than beer, wine, gin + vermouth, or any alcohol + soda), but after the beauty — and ease — of this one, I might change my mind. This drink is perfect for September, using the last summer ingredients (peaches, mint) with touches of fall (whiskey, basically). I can’t take credit for most of it — I got the recipe from someone in my office — but I can take credit for increasing the amount of whiskey in it. Go me.

All the muddling involved here, and the fact that I had to do my muddling with the handle of a spoon, leads me to believe all the stronger that I really have to get myself a mortar and pestle. Look for it, in the coming weeks…

And now, without further ado, the drink I will call The Peach Smash, for lack of a better title. What it should really be called is Peach-Mint-Lemon-Whiskey Yumminess. Note: It’s a little citrusy; suggestions for how to tamp that down would be welcome. Mostly, I think my peaches weren’t ripe enough. Make sure yours are. Recipe after the jump… (more…)

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