Friday, March 26, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
1 small garlic clove 1 green onion, red onion
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Sherwood Forest is a name for a wonderful sparkling cocktail that I’m going to share with you and it’s also an excuse to gush about the 1938 classic film The Adventures of Robin Hood that happens to be my favorite film (there may be others that are smarter and deeper but this has been my #1 since age 8--I am nothing if not loyal) that also inspired my career choice.
The first time I drove by myself to Chicago I went to the Biograph Theater to see a matinee of The Adventures of Robin Hood , barely weeks after my 16th birthday. I had seen it on the small screen for years but this was my first time in a theater with a good print. As Sam Coleridge said somewhere … it was as if the cataracts had been removed from my eyes. The color, the color!!!
The New Yorker magazine once did a magnificent piece on the wonders of 3 strip Technicolor films (it was shot with 3 strips of film registering green, red and blue to which was added cyan, magenta and yellow--this was combined to make the full-color image) and the magical way they maintained their vibrancy when younger films had already begun to fade. My experience that day was that I had opened a jewel box. Errol was perfect (with great legs), Olivia was perfect (with great clothes), even the bad guys were perfect (with great voices) and the colors… astonishing.
When I moved to NY, I saw it again at an Upper West Side Theater. The audience was as colorful as the film and when Errol walked into the castle with a deer slung over his shoulder in those tights…. an entire audience gasped and giggled in awe and delight at the greatest legs on the planet. It was an unforgettable NY moment.
Think of good always triumphing over evil… in Technicolor. When times are tough and the good guys seem to be taking it on the chin, this is the movie to see. If you’ve never seen it…. get yourself a copy… you will thank me. Having one of these Sherwood Forest Cocktails while you watch with good friends on a rainy afternoon… is there anything that a sparkling cocktail doesn’t improve?
Photo by Christopher Strickland
There really is a Sherwood Forest, you know. Situated in Nottinghamshire in the center of England, it is home to many ancient trees -- most notably the “Major Oak” that is so enormous it has a 35’ waist! The tree was young when Robin Hood’s liege lord, Richard the Lionheart, was King of England at the end of the 12th Century (although Richard was born in Oxford, he never spoke English and spent nearly all of his life out of the country—so much for this “English Legend” who died and was buried in France).
The Major Oak
This drink comes from the Cipriani Hotel in Venice, Italy--
nowhere near Sherwood Forest! I found Walter Bolzonella’s recipe
for the drink in the pages of Gourmet Magazine many years ago.
For the life of me the only thing the cocktail has to do with Sherwood Forest is that its color resembles one that was used in Olivia de Havilland’s costumes. It is Technicolor tinted-with-blackberry blue-red. Sherwood Forest is Bolzonella’s name for the drink, not mine. It’s a great twist on Cipriani’s classic Bellini with spiced blackberries supplying the fruit component of the drink instead of the more demure white peach. I intend to use the spicing for the next blackberry pie I make… it is really a great combination.
Sherwood Forest Cocktails
½ c water
2 whole cloves
6 juniper berries (crushed)
Zest of ½ lime
2 t honey
1” piece of cinnamon
1 c blackberries
¼ - 1/3 C Maple Syrup (they used Lt. Brown Sugar)
2 c crushed ice
2 ½ C Prosecco
Boil the water, add the spices and honey and cool. Strain and pour the infusion into a blender with the berries, maple syrup and ice and blend. Pour through a sieve. Use 3 T puree for ½ c of Prosecco.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
This mousse is another one of my forever favorites. It comes from what I remember as being a Brigadoon-like town in the Scottish Highlands on the shore of Loch Broom and surrounded by the mountain An Teallach to the south. The name of the town, Ullapool (or Ulapul) is Gaelic for Wolf Farm…or Norse for Wool Farm. It is known for its art and culture and has been the location for many a film since it has changed little in 100 or so years (thanks to the railroad not going through) and for having been designed in 1788 by the noted bridge builder and architect, Thomas Telford (nicknamed the Colossus of Roads). *
Apple mousse has been a favorite in one form or another in the British Isles for a very long time. The Elizabethans had the wonderfully named Dyschfull of Snowe that had whipped cream and egg whites, sugar and rosewater and the apple in the center of the dish stuck with evergreen. Here is the original (I know I’ve been at this too long when I read Elizabethan English smoothly!) from The Proper Booke of Cokerye, a 16th c cookbook.
To make a dyschefull of Snowe
Take a pottell of swete thycke creame and the whytes of eyghte egges, and beate them altogether wyth a spone, then putte them in youre creame and a saucerfull of Rosewater, and a dyshe full of Suger wyth all, then take a stycke and make it cleane, and than cutte it in the ende foure square, and ther with beate all the afore sayde thynges together, and ever as it ryseth take it of and put it into a Collaunder, this done take one apple and set it in the myddes of it, and a thicke bushe of Rosemary, and set it in the myddes of the platter, then cast your Snowe uppon the Rosemarye and fyll your platter therwith. And yf you have wafers caste some in wyth all and thus serve them forthe.
The Germans have something similar made with egg white named aptly apfelschaum which is apple foam in English and which is what it is like… light sweet and delicious. This recipe is not light but it is fabulous and so delicious. My memories of Scotland are fond indeed although I haven’t been back in many a year. Every time I taste this mousse I'm back again!
When I looked at the apple mousse, my first thought was “It is beige”. I always tell my art directors that 'beige = death' on film… it’s a personal prejudice, I know. So I used my Bristol Blue Rummer for an antidote to beige and then I had this crazy idea in my head to do a riff on a Victorian tortoiseshell comb.
The hitch is that the caramel melts so don’t stick them in till you are ready to serve if you decide to try them! They are pretty easy to do simply but if you are feeling inspired you can go nuts! You can make two batches of caramel… one dark and one light and combine them on the silpat to give a real tortoiseshell look. Otherwise, let’s face it… apple mousse isn’t a stunner visually (but wait until you taste it!!). Use a cup of sugar for each color.
Apple Mousse – Based on a recipe from Royal Hotel, Ullapool, Scotland
7 c apples ( I used a combination of sweet and tart from Salt Point, NY's Terhune Orchard via Union Square Farmer's Market) peeled and cored in 1” pieces ** you can add spice to the applesauce if you wish… a pinch of cinnamon and star anise is lovely (but make sure to remove the anise before pureeing). I find with the madeira that it is best without spice. Use 2 cups of apple puree.
2 T butter
l ½ tsp. gelatin (2 T water) *** for you vegetarians, just make the applesauce a little thicker and skip the gelatin… it is still great… I have done this when I made it and realized I had run out of gelatin!!!!
1/3 C honey-mild as you can find it. (I use Champlain Valley Apiaries)
1 C cream (Milk Thistle Farms is the best cream ever!)
1 -2 T scotch or 3 T madeira (Boston Bual or NY Malmsey)
½ C pecans or walnuts
2 T butter
2 T maple syrup
Melt 2 T butter, add apples and 3T water and cook covered for 15 minutes until apples are soft. Puree.
Sprinkle gelatin over 2 T water and soften 5 minutes. Add honey and Scotch (or Madeira) to the warm apples with the gelatin and cool. Beat cream till stiff and blend into the apple mix. Add to glasses and chill.
The topping is my addition to the recipe: Sauté nuts in butter till fragrant. Add maple syrup (and another splash of liquor if you would like) and sprinkle on top of the mousse and serve. It’s nice if the mousse is cold and the nuts are warm.
I’ve made this with Scotch forever… but I tried it with the Madeira and was crazy about it. I got to use a tiny bit of The Rare Wine Company's 1922 Bual in a serving and it was amazing.
*Many of the facts are from Wikipedia or the Ullapool Tourism Bureau
Bristol Blue Rummer, 1820's