Well, here we are in lockdown again. Cases are not so bad here on the North Coast of Mendocino County in California, but more inland they are booming. It hasn’t been a good month for optimism and frankly, I am tired of cooking every night. Not to mention tired of Covid all together. We have been within our own small social bubble for too many months now. I appreciate all the articles on food and cooking in the newspaper, but they are wearing thin. Maybe I’ll just settle for a grilled cheese sandwich and a margarita, or a baked sweet potato and roast vegetables, or a pizza…yes a takeout pizza sounds just fine. With a glass of Anderson Valley red wine of course.
On the other hand, I am grateful that we have food on the table, many don’t at this point.
So, it’s without much enthusiasm I tell you about what’s In My Kitchen.
I did make a quart container of brandied fruit for the holidays. My intention was to make fruitcake, however fruitcake for just the three of us was not appealing. Next year. The brandied fruit would be a wonderful holiday dessert spooned over pound cake with vanilla ice cream.
I am not fond of the candied fruit in fruitcake, this one has none of that. It’s a simple recipe that is endlessly adaptable.
Brandied Dried Fruit – makes 1 quart
- 4 oz of currents or raisins or a combination
- 4 oz of dried cranberries
- 2 oz of dried cherries or figs
- 1 oz of dried apricots or prunes
- 1 orange, zested
- 1 lemon, sliced thinly and chopped
- 1 T of grated fresh ginger
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly grated black peper
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamon
- 1/2 cup of brandy or other spirit (I used B & B)
- Chop the fruit into raisin sized pieces.
- In a large bowl combine all the chopped dried fruit, the zest of the orange, and the the chopped lemon and spices. Mix well.
- Pour them into a quart jar, add the juice of the orange and the brandy.
- Cover. Turn several times to mix. Place in a cool place.
- Turn the jar over every day to mix the fruit with the brandy.
- After about a week; place in the refrigerator. Allow to cure for about 3 weeks before using. ‘
The type of dried fruit is quite forgiving. I knew I purchased cherries but couldn’t find them in the pantry so used dried figs instead. Use your favorites. Ditto with the spirits, I think bourbon would be just fine.
Also in my kitchen are sausage rolls. These are definitely a nostalgia item as I remember my English grandmother making them. These are quite different; using lamb, currents, jarred red peppers and chopped almonds. They were quite delicious served warm with a glass of pinot noir.
And really, that is about all that is interesting in my kitchen right now.
We had a small and very lovely Thanksgiving holiday with sous vide turkey thighs and our favorite stuffing (a sausage and cornbread one). It is likely Christmas dinner will be very similar.
And are any of you experiencing the same run on Christmas trees as we are here on the coast? We don’t usually put up our tree until the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday but all the nurseries have been sold out!!!! Is this the same as the toilet paper run? We are going to have to drive 2 hours to Santa Rosa to pick up a tree this weekend! I think folks are ready to close out 2020 as soon as possible and have something positive in their lives.
This post is part of a regular “In My Kitchen” blogging party. Let your fingers lead you over to Sherrys Pickings for the December In My Kitchen, a collection of posts from kitchens around the world.
Have a wonderful holiday, stay safe and well.