Sunday, January 16, 2011

Corpse Reviver #2 - a tasty cocktail

First, apologies for the awful name.  I did actually see it written somewhere recently as just 'Reviver #2'.  Behold the recipe and its variations.

Equal parts(1 ounce?) of:
Lemon juice
and a few drops of pastis
Shake with ice and serve however you like.

Tonight's version was made with Luxardo triple sec instead of Cointreau, and my homemade vin d'orange in place of the Lillet.  We tried it up but added some ice because it was too strong for our delicate constitutions. It was quite refreshing.

p.s. A pint or quart canning jar makes a great shaker!  After shaking, unscrew the band and remove it, and use the flat lid as the strainer by moving it aside a touch.
p.p.s I learned of this cocktail a long time ago from my bartending colleague Keli Rivers - one of those people who's been rediscovering old cocktails for many years now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cardamom-Pistachio Brioche Morning Buns

It has been a very long time!  (Sorry.)
So here is today's breakfast treat: brioche, flavored with some orange flower water(thanks, TofC!), rolled up with sweet pistachio-cardamom butter.  Definitely not a gooey, sticky-bun-type thing.  Much more civilized, I'm sure.

the pistachio-cardamom schmoo in the mortar
ready to rise
These were actually pretty easy, plus my Mom helped me!  I used Madeleine Kamman's recipe for Brioche de Boulanger - "bakers' brioche", as opposed to Brioche Mousseline, or Brioche de Patissier - "pastry chefs' brioche", which is much richer(and more difficult).  Most old French standard cookbooks will have two recipes, and this one is made all in the mixer and rises overnight in the fridge.  You just let them warm up a bit and then bake for 15-20 minutes - and this can all be done while you're still on your first cup of coffee!

A vague recipe:
2 standard muffin tins - brushed with 2 tbs melted butter.  I suppose you could use one of those giant muffin tins and get half as many... 

1 cup toasted pistachios - or other nuts, to your fancy
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbs butter - the rest of the stick after the brushing of the tins - at room temp
a dash of vanilla if you want
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 - 3/4 tsp freshly crushed cardamom, according to your taste.  I think it should be quite strong when you taste it because it's going to be distributed among 24 buns...
Pound the pistachios in the mortar until they are mostly finely-chopped and getting a little pasty.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Or you could do it in a food processor.

1 recipe of a simple brioche - for 1 standard loaf.  If it makes 2, cut it in half...
Add 2 tbs orange flower water to the dough with the wet ingredients.  
Follow instructions up to the shaping point, when instead of shaping it into brioches à tête or a loaf, you will pat it into a large rectangle on a lightly floured board.  Spread the pistachio butter evenly on the dough, leaving an inch or so border at one edge to seal - no need to be exact.  Roll it all up tightly and cut into 24 slices, putting each into a slot in the muffin tin.  You could probably line them up in a baking dish, too - just give them some room to puff!  (If they seem small, well, they kind of are.  I meant to do 12, but they were going to be way too big, so I cut each one in half.  This demure size just means you get more crust and caramelly bits.  And you have to eat more of them.) 
Now cover and let them rise according to your recipe - I gave them an hour on the counter and then into the fridge overnight.  Another hour or so in the morning to warm up and then I baked them at 400 for about 15-20 minutes.  (If you use a giant muffin tin and only shape 12 buns, after 15 minutes I'd turn down the oven to 375 and give them another 15 or so to finish, so they don't get too dark.)   
Happy breakfasting!