About Mulled Wine

Appropriately I am writing this while mildly inebriated, but perhaps mildly inappropriately I am drunk on whiskey. But dude, what can I say, I like whiskey. Oh my God, whatever, etc.


This particular recipe is a treasured one in the Team Slommins teamdom, if for no other reason than with every sip it brings us back to that magical land called Brussels, the land of waffle vans and really old walls and obscene statues and ginormous beers, the place we both decided was the most magical and wonderful place on the planet we've ever ever visited, and OH MY GOD CAN I GO BACK YET? (I also wrote about that particular trip here and here and here and here and here and here.)

So yeah. Brussels is awesome. But mulled wine also happens to be awesome IF you don't add a billion pounds of sugar to it. Which pretty much every recipe I've ever encountered does. SO. I bring you mine, which is relatively standard except I don't add 2 cups of sugar or 1 cup of sugar or even 1/2 cup of sugar. In fact, what you'll need is this:

which is this:
  • 3 3-inch sticks of cinnamon, or the number of sticks of cinnamon it'll take you to equal about 9 inches of cinnamon lined up end to end, like you were measuring the distance to the moon or the circumference of the Earth or whatever those meaningless statistics Fig Newtons and whomever use to tell you just how many Fig Newtons or whatever are sold each year
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 2 bottles medium- or full-bodied red wine (e.g., shiraz, pinot noir, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, oh my God, whatever, etc.)
  • 4 healthy strips of orange zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • brandy
First up, toast the cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, and allspice in a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan (i.e., dutch oven) over medium-high heat until it all starts smelling like a GLAH-DAY candle. This should take about 2 minutes.

Add your wine, orange zest, and sugar. Stir the pot up every once in a while to dissolve the sugar as you bring this up to a simmer.

Then, partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for an hour until the wine is infused. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. (I don't know why, I just know that if you let this boil it gets all harsh and brassy and I guess that's why you shouldn't let this boil. Go figure.)

After an hour, give it a taste; it should be a little sweet and a little spicy and not overly... anything. It's hard to explain. But if you'd like it a little sweeter add a very little bit of sugar at a time, but not before...

you add some brandy! See, you pretty much cook out most of the alcohol as you're mulling your wine, and one of the homiest bestest parts of drinking mulled wine is the warm homeyness that spreads through your chest with each sip. (Seriously, this is like the best anti-depressant IN THE WORLD.)

So add a glug or two of brandy to your mug and then ladle in some hot, steaming mulled wine and take a sip.

And then put on some Christmas music and prepare to be transported to your own personal winter wonderland. (Or add a little more sugar as is your wont. But I don't advise it (says the girl who hates fruity drinks).)

(By the way, this is supposed to serve 8. But we're alcoholics so we drank up the whole pot last night while catching up with all the crap television on our DVR. Hence tonight's whiskey.)



About Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Tam asked for variations and I aim to please, but I'm not sure if she keeps kosher or not so if she does then OOPS. I guess you can omit the bacon if you want but OH MY GOD WHY WOULD YOU WANT? Except for that whole "God" thing I guess. Whatever.

So yeah. Another way I make the Brussels sprouts. And just in time for your Thanksgiving feast! Although you might need to double the recipe or something depending on how many people you're having over. Me? Just my mother and my sister and my boyfriend and my cat. But I'm not making this anyway, because I think we're doing Vietnamese for Thanksgiving on account of my mother and my sister coming to visit, and anyway this wouldn't be enough unless I doubled the recipe because this feeds two:
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water or broth
  • Squidge of lemon
Preheat your oven to 450 F, then toss the first five ingredients together with some salt and pepper and spread it all out in a single layer in a large skillet or baking dish.

Roast all that in the upper third of your oven, stirring once after about ten minutes. Give it another ten to fifteen minutes more, until your sprouts are tender and browned at the edges.

Pull the pan out of the oven and stir in your water or broth, making sure so scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan (brown bits = flavor!). Add your squidge of lemon and serve.

(Also, enjoy!)

About David's Cousin's Corn Pudding

Hey there, remember me? I'm the girl who used to cook and then take pictures of what she was cooking and then write about those pictures of what she was cooking and then post that writing about those pictures of what she was cooking right in this very web space. Well, FUNNY STORY. Actually, it's not funny so much as it is ANNOYING, because this camera I've been using? The one being held together by rubber bands? Well it's not so hot, actually. Actually, it kind of sucks. I sucks so bad in fact that I haven't really been able to get any decent shots off of what I've been cooking so that I could write about those shots of what I've been cooking and post that writing about those shots of what I've been cooking right in this very web space.

Also, I haven't really been cooking that much.

HOWEVER, I did cook on Sunday night and this is what I cooked, my BFF's cousin's corn pudding, a recipe Paula Deen would be so very proud of (you'll see why), a recipe that would be perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. Because it's delicious. And easy. TWSS.

So here's what you'll need:
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 8 oz. of sour cream
  • 1 box of Jiffy corn mix
Mix all that together in a casserole dish. (Mine's vintage Pyrex found in etrets's etsy shop.)

Bake that in a preheated 325-degree oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. (It should still be goopy and jiggly in the middle.)

And then dish it out onto dishes and serve!

(Insider's tip: this goes really well with a bowl of chili.)


There's lots of stuff you can add to this basic recipe, stuff like minced chives and jalapenos and shredded cheese and pretty much anything you can think of that goes good with cornbread. So don't forget to do that! You know, if you want to. Whatever.

Double Bonus!

Here's a picture of Schilbo getting ready to put some in the oven!


About Brussels Sprouts

Le sprouts from Brussels get a bad rap. When overcooked, le sprouts from Brussels release a chemical compound called sinigrin, adding a certain pungent and sulfuric aroma that is just about as gross as it sounds. So if you like cabbage, but hate le sprouts from Brussels, chances are whoever it was who cooked them for you was a shit-ass-motherfucking bad cook. It's not mean if it's true.

I have about a billion yummy brussels spouts recipes, but this one is by far the most basic and a good introduction for you, the future brussles sprouts lover. Here's your shopping list, and an apology in advance for the crappy picture quality (someone stole my camera when I was in New Orleans, and this one is currently being held together by a rubber band):
  • 1 pound fresh brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
First you need to trim your sprouts. Do this with your paring knife by cutting off any excess stem at the base of your sprout, and removing any loose leaves around the bulb. Now boil the spouts in salted water for 3-4 minutes until just tender. (Just stab a sprout with a fork to judge tenderness. Incidentally, this method also works on boys.)

Strain these in a colander and immediately dump them in a bowl of ice water to keep the color bright green and stop the cooking process. (This is called blanching, for those of you keeping score.)

Once they have cooled, cut your spouts into halves.

Melt the butter in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the brussels sprout halves and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.

Cook your spouts for several minutes, tossing occasionally until they have started to brown and have finished cooking through. Whatever you do, DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM, because remember that thing I said about sinigrin? Yeah, so if you do decide to overcook them, your sprouts will be bitter. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, tossing to coat. Add some more salt and pepper if you need it.

Now stick them on a plate and prepare to fall in love with your next vegetable. I SAID PREPARE, GODDAMNIT! Ahem.


About My Boyfriend's Mother's Kugel

Today is my boyfriend's 47th birthday, and in honor of this milestone I thought I would share his mother's kugel recipe, which isn't as good as his grandmother's stuffed cabbage recipe, and definitely not as good as my mother's latke recipe, but I'm not terribly convinced I even like kugel all that much. I mean it's fine, whatever, but I'm not super in love with it or anything, because, I don't know. It's like this mutant side dish/dessert thing that really fucks with my mind, you know? But if you are the kind of person who enjoys a good mind fuck every now and again, I am assured that you'll absolutely LOVE this. So here goes:
  • 1 lb. wide egg noodles

  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar (I like half a cup, Seth likes three-quarters; it all depends on how sweet you'd like your kugel to be)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter melted into a 9x13 baking dish
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • Cinnamon and brown sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Boil the noodles for 4 minutes, which won't cook them all the way through but this is a good thing! Don't worry about it! And then drain them in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat your eggs well, and then mix in the sour cream, cottage cheese, baking powder, sugar, salt, and optional raisins. (I actually meant to add raisins, but I forgot. Oops.)

And now add the noodles. Stir it good. St-stir it real good.

Pour this mixture into your buttered 9x13 baking dish, sprinkle the top with cinnamon and brown sugar, and then bake that bad boy (or girl, whatever) for 30-45 minutes, until the top is brown and crunchy and the kugel is just set.

Let that sit for another 15-20 minutes or so, and then slice and serve.

Now, there will be a lot of this left over. Like, a whole lot. But don't worry about it! Leftovers can be wrapped and frozen so you can have kugel whenever you want. You know, if you want. Whatever.

Happy 47th birthday, boyfriend!


About Sauteed Tilapia

A lot of you know me pretty well by now, so it should come as no surprise that I trend towards the complex. I'm way too thinky and I live inside my own head way too much and I generally just make a mess out of things. Why I am like this I do not know, but there is certainly never a dull moment around these parts.

THAT SAID, sometimes simple is best. And this recipe is most definitely simple. Short-bus simple, even. And super healthy to boot. What we're booting I have no idea, so let's just say we're booting claustrophobia.

Yeah, I don't know either.

All you'll need is:
  • 2 fillets of tilapia (or any other fish, really)
  • The spice mixture of your choice (or any combination of spices, really)
  • A little extra virgin olive oil
  • A non-stick pan
  • A couple lemon wedges
First up, sprinkle your seasonings on both sides of your fish. This night I happened to use some Tony Chachere's, but there's also this Bayou Blackening Spice a company out of Virginia makes, and I'm not sure if you can get it everywhere but if you can, do it because IT IS AWESOME.

Next up, heat just a little bit of oil in your pan over medium-high heat. Once you're hot enough (but really, when are you not?), add in your fillets.

Now here's a fun fact about cooking fish, although I suppose "fun" is probably not a very good word to use in this situation, because it's not "fun" like reading or drinking or Wii, so whatever, fill in your own adjective I guess. Wait, where was I?


Fun fact: you cook your fish way more on one side than you do the other. We saw this once before with some salmon fillets, and the same goes here, only since these fillets are so thin it'll take far less total cooking time. And how long is this cooking time? About 3 minutes on your first side, and 1 minute on your flip side.

Aaaaaand you're ready for the plate.

Add a squidge of lemon and you've got yourself a simple, healthy, delicious dinner.

About Toasted Israeli Couscous with Zucchini

Alex and I used to wander into the UC at Tulane University round about lunch time and every now and again we'd hit the jackpot: Greek Salad Day. Greek Salad Day was the best day of all the days because (a) the Greek salads were ridiculously awesome, and (2) South Park.

Do what now?

Alex and I used to wander around Tulane University quoting Eric Cartmen INORDINATELY, particularly the classic line, "YEAH I WANT CHEESY POOFS!", because yeah, I would like some cheesy poofs, please. And so one fateful day Alex and I were waiting patiently in line, side by side in the UC at Tulane University, watching our ridiculously awesome Greek salads being constructed. And I don't remember which of us said it, but I do remember that the nice lady behind the counter was certainly not expecting her innocent query, "Would you like some couscous?" to be answered with "YEAH I WANT COUSCOUS!" Because yeah, we would like some couscous, please.

This is not that kind of couscous. My boyfriend does not like that kind of couscous. And I don't know, maybe it's because he's Jewish or something, but the only couscous he likes is Israeli couscous, even though he only had Israeli couscous for the first time, like, three months ago.

What is Israeli couscous? Why, it's a unique Mediterranean toasted pasta specialty. Don't believe me? Fine, see for yourself:

Israeli couscous is also ridiculously awesome, because really it's just pasta, but it's tender and chewy and completely unlike pasta. Plus you can add all kinds of things to it, like zucchini for instance! So for four servings, you'll need:
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of assorted fresh herbs, minced
Once you have your mis en place all placed,

heat up a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it gets all shimmery and starts to smoke. Then add your zucchini (or summer squash or bell pepper or eggplant or heck, all of the above), a pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple shakes of any other seasonings you like (like cumin or coriander or paprika or heck, all of the above). Then saute that down until your zucchini has lost a lot of its liquid and is starting to brown all up. Sort of like it went to the beach and got a suntan. Only not like that at all. Shut up, Kat.

(This should only take a couple minutes.)

Dump all that zucchini onto a plate.

Return your pan to the heat and maybe add a drop or two of oil if you think you need it, then dump in your onions with another pinch of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, and saute that until it is softened and starting to brown, not AT ALL like it went to the beach and got a suntan.

(This should only take a few minutes.)

Next up, add in your garlic and your couscous, and toast that all up for about a minute.

Oh yeah, stick your chicken broth in the microwave for a minute or two until it boils. Then pour it into the pan and stir everything up, making sure you scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pan.

Turn your heat down to low and slap a lid on that baby, and let it simmer away for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your couscous should absorb pretty much all of the liquid, making it slightly chewy but not hard.

Return your sauteed zucchini to the pan and dump in your herbs.

Give it healthy stir to incorporate all of your ingredients, put the lid back on your pan, and let that heat back up for a minute or two more. And just like that (well, not JUST like that, but close enough), you are ready to serve.

(Oh, and I find a squidge of lemon over everything really brightens things up, kind of like going to the beach and . . . oh, never mind.)


About Roasted Potato Wedges with Herb Butter

You say potato, and I also say potato, and I'm not sure why I bring this up other than to point out how ridiculous this notion is, that there are actual human beings walking around saying "PoTAHto this," and "PoTAHto that." Damned dirty lie that is, which I suppose is why Alien Ant Farm has yet record one of their absurd faux-punk covers of whatever that stupid song is. I would look it up, but I'm lazy.

ANYWAY, not only do we both say potato, I'm willing to bet that farm I don't have that we both LOVE potatoes, and so while I'm busy formulating a kick-ass jalapeno popper recipe for Jake (Greader friends will know him as the guy who hates tomatoes and JOY), I thought I'd share what is probably my best potato recipe.

Well, it's the potato recipe I made for dinner last night anyway.

For two servings you'll need:
  • 2 large russet (baking) potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • A couple glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • A large pinch of kosher salt
  • Another large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme (or any other non-Simon-and-Garfunkel-approved herb)
First off, put a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat that bad boy (or girl, whatever) to 450F.

Line the bottom of a half sheet pan (or jelly roll pan or cookie sheet or whatever) with either parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil, because it doesn't matter how much you grease that baby up, russet potatoes are starchy. And starch is sticky. You see where I'm going here. (Heh.)

Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl.

Once everything is well coated, arrange the potato wedges flat sides down, making sure you don't overcrowd the pan because if you overcrowd the pan your potatoes will steam instead of roast and steam = mush while roast = crunch and CRUNCH IS GOOD.

Now cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and steam in the oven for 10 minutes. Um, yeah. Just go with me on this one.

After your wedges have steamed for 10 minutes, remove the foil and roast them for 10 minutes more. (The initial steam softened up your potatoes and made them all light and fluffy on the inside. NOW we're crunchifying the outsides. See? I (sorta) know what I'm doing.)

Flip them over and roast for another 10 minutes.

MEANWHILE, you're gonna want to make your herb butter, because what the hell else are you going to do when you're not removing foil and flipping potato wedges? Besides drinking I mean. ANYWAY, do you guys know savory? I can't say that I've ever seen any in a grocery store, but if there is any way you can grow some in your garden or on your deck or balcony or even on a window sill somewhere, you should probably go ahead and do that. SAVORY IS DELICIOUS.

So here I have some savory and parsley:

And you're gonna want to mince your herbs up finely, and then throw them in a small pan with the butter, and melt all that together over low heat.

And just keep that on low heat until your potatoes are ready, and when they're ready, dump them a bowl and drizzle the herb butter over them.

Give them a toss to coat and serve, maybe with a little pollo a la brasa?

That's what I did, anyway. But what do I know; I say potato.


About Bagels

The best bagels in DC now come out of my kitchen, and it's all thanks to Jo Goldenberg via Melinda Lee. Seriously, this recipe was so easy (and messy) that I'm currently pricing stand-up mixers and bigger kitchens, just so I can make these more often.

Then again, I always did want to buffen up my spindly little arms.


The first proof:

The half proof, which should really be called the second proof since, sequentially, it occurs second, but I'm not really a baker so WHAT THE HELL DO I KNOW:

The water bath:

water bath



And baked:


You guys should totally make these this weekend and tell me how it goes. (So it goes.)


About Dicing an Onion

Incidentally, this technique also works with shallots.

And for the record, it is exceedingly difficult to dice an onion on camera, either slowly or gracefully.

About Removing Kernels from an Ear of Corn

About Chilled Corn Soup with Adobo Swirl

Guess what! It's finally sweaty as balls out there in the un-air-conditioned world! And the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, which I don't really understand, because I'm pretty sure corn isn't native to the same places elephants live. So unless, I don't know, the circus rolls into town (BOOOOOO CIRCUS!) and the elephants arrange some sort of massive jailbreak (AND WHO COULD BLAME THEM) and end up tromping through the cornfields of Iowa, how the hell would you know that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye? I mean, I suppose you could make a rough guesstimation as to the height of an elephant's eye, but Americans did not put a man on the moon with guesstimations. Much.

ANYWAY, the point is that corn is 10 for a dollar at my local Safeway, and although corn on the cob is DELICIOUS, it also crams all in between your teeth which is annoying. So I figured, why not make some corn soup? Oh yeah, because it's sweaty as balls out there in the un-air-conditioned world. Then how about we make some chilled corn soup? BRILLIANT!

For four bowls you'll need:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia or a Maui or even a Walla Walla)
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears of corn; I used white corn but any color will do ya)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth for you vegetarians out there)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup (or less) water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
(In case you were wondering, what makes this soup instead of the more traditional corn chowder is the lack of cream in the recipe. Also probably some potatoes or something. Whatever, like you care.)

First off, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil gets shimmery add the onion and a small pinch of salt and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes.

Next add the corn kernels, broth, and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the corn is just tender. This will take about about 3 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until almost smooth. IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE (although it's not to the side, which I guess makes it more of an IMPORTANT WITHIN-PARAGRAPH NOTE): When pureeing hot liquids in a blender, make sure you take the little nubbin thing off of the blender lid. I don't really know what that's called, if it's called anything at all, but it's the thing that leaves a giant hole in the lid. And now you're probably asking yourself why you'd want a giant hole in the blender lid, because isn't a lid supposed to, you know, seal shit up? And this is true, but if you don't have a giant hole in the lid when you're blending hot liquids there would be no place for steam to escape and with no place for steam to escape you get HOT STEAMING EXPLOSIONS. Hence, the Industrial Revolution.

But, you still have a giant hole in the lid which can (and does, believe me) lead to splash back, so just hold a kitchen towel over the hole to catch any soup that might be organizing a massive jailbreak.

Pour your batches of pureed soup into a large bowl, then stir in the remaining tablespoon of lime juice and up to a cup of water (just add a little at a time to thin the soup to your desired consistency). Season up your corn soup with salt and pepper to taste, then cover the bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

Now, this might not taste like a whole lot of fabulousness now but just before you're getting ready to serve your soup whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil together with the adobo sauce. Drizzle each bowl of soup with the adobo oil and then garnish with a healthy amount of cilantro.

I guaran-fucking-tee it: FABULOUSNESS.


About Soy-Lemon Dressing

They say that variety is the spice of life, and if that's the case then what the hell is actual spice? I'll tell you: DELICIOUS. So sometimes for a little variety I'll whip up a little dressing with which to dress my vegetables, because as we've learned variety is spice and spice is delicious. Ergo, variety is delicious.

Or something.

This is a really easy dressing that's also really delicious on a whole host of steamed or roasted vegetables, especially broccoli and cauliflower with their nooks and crannies that just ADORE soaking up a delicious dressing, particularly a dressing that is salty and sweet and tart like this one is. (HELLOOOOOOO, run-on sentence!)

So, for 2 pounds or bunches or whatever configuration your particular vegetable has chosen to take, you'll need:
  • 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of soy sauce (add more if you'd like it saltier)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (raw if you like the bite, or you can boil the whole cloves in water for 15 seconds or roast them with your veggies if you'd like something a little mellower)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Mix all of this together. And when you're done, it pretty much looks like this:

I know, FASCINATING. But EASY. Because it's all ready to drizzle over your veggies or toss with your veggies or whatever method it is that you choose to combine the dressing with the veggies.