Holiday Party Inspiration: 4 New Cookbooks, 4 Drink Recipes
Overheard last week: "Gawd, the entire commercial audition was filled with Christmas carolers. Glad I was just the guy in the sweater," said the guy at Peet's with a sweater hanging out of his messenger bag. In L.A., the holiday season begins early.
jgarbe Holidays In L.A.: Only Liquor Bottles Wear Sweaters
We know you have cocktail parties to plan and gifts for your agent to buy. And so we bring you four drink recipes -- some for cocktail drinkers, others for abstainers -- from recently released cookbooks that would double as great gifts. A 2-for-1 palate teaser that yields party beverages and sends the perfect "I'm thinking of you" Dead Celebrity Cookbook gift message to your agent.
After the jump, get recipes for homemade citrus infused vodka, a dried cherry sidecar, non-alcoholic tamarind atole and a super-frothy hot chocolate recipe purportedly from John Lennon (!).
4. Atole de Tamarindo
Wiley Tacos, Tortas, Tamales
From: Tacos, Tortas and Tamales (Hardcover, $19.99) is Roberto Santibañez's pocket-sized, street food follow up to his fantastic cookbook, Truly Mexican. Get the review of his first book, and a pipián verde (pumpkin seed sauce) recipe, over in our cookbook reviews.
Note: Per Santibañez, "The tamarind-flavored version is a gateway to atole: Try the warm, tangy drink once and you'll be eager to sample its siblings as well.
Squid Ink Note: You can find amaranth flour such as Bob's Red Mill at many Whole Foods and specialty grocery stores.
Makes: 8 to 10 servings.
6 ounces tamarind pulp with seeds (slightly less than half a 14-ounce package)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 (5-inch) pieces Mexican cinnamon, crumbled
½ cup amaranth flour
1. Combine the tamarind, sugar, and 6 cups of water in a medium pot. Use your hands to break up the tamarind, set the pot over high heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the cinnamon, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Pour 4 cups of water into a medium bowl, add the amaranth flour, and stir well. Pour the flour mixture in a slow, steady stream into the tamarind mixture, whisking constantly. Let the mixture return to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that appears on the surface.
3. Season with sugar to taste and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Strain through a sieve into a separate pot, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
4. Ladle the hot atole into mugs, or cover and keep the drink warm over very low heat, gradually adding water to maintain consistency.
3. Citrus-Infused Vodka
America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook
From: The latest from America's Test Kitchen, D.I.Y. Cookbook (Paperback, $26.95), is a guide to canning and preserving, making yogurt and cheese, curing meats and seafood, candy and sauce making, and beverages. This book is a great beginner's guide, with step-by-step photographs for the first-time mozzarella maker to the aspiring vermouth infuser.
We would have included the homemade vermouth recipe below were it not for the 32 ingredients, including several obscure additions, and the 3 month+ curing time. Next year.
Note: Use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the zest without getting any of the bitter pith (blanching helps eliminate any residual bitterness).
Makes: A 750-ml bottle
13 3-inch strips lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest (1 ¼ ounces; 3 lemons, 2 oranges or 1 ½ grapefruits), preferably organic, thoroughly washed
1 750-ml bottle vodka
1. Bring 1 quart water to boil in a small saucepan. Add zest to boiling water and cook until beginning to soften and dull in color, about 30 seconds. Strain zest well and transfer to blender. Add vodka (Saving bottle for storage of finished infusion) and process until zest is finely minced, about 30 seconds. Pour into 1-quart jar, cover, and store in cool, dark place until fully infused, about 4 days.
2. Set funnel over empty vodka bottle and line with coffee filter. Strain infused vodka through filter, discarding zest. Infused vodka can be stored in cool, dark place indefinitely.