To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.
- The Lush Chef
- Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 6, 2014
Continuing my ode to Miracle Mile Bitters Co., I bring you lushes a little variation on the Right Hand cocktail. If you're a Negroni fan, then this is a great drink to shake up your routine. I made slight changes to the recipe Miracle Mile's Louis Anderman sent me, only because I had no aged rum in the house (yeah, gotta change that situation) and combined it a little bit with Michael McIlroy's (formerly of Little Branch and Milk & Honey) original recipe. Sometimes you just have to use what's stocked in the home bar and experiment a little. I opted for Crusoe's Organic Spiced Rum and Punt e Mes for the Sweet Vermouth. I've included their recommendations below, so feel free to play around! For the bitters, I used Miracle Mile's not-for-sale "The 7 Deadly" which is infused with tobacco and has hints of clove, cinnamon, and coffee (from what I gathered). Since you can't get these in stores, any aromatic bitters such as Angostura or Peychaud's is fine, but why settle when you can get more creative flavors that Miracle Mile does actually sell, such as their Chocolate Chili or Forbidden Bitters.
- 1 3/4 oz aged rum (Louis recommends Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year Old Rum or Zacapa and Michael's recipe calls for El Dorado 15 Year)
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Michael's recipe recommends Carpano Antica)
- 3/4 oz Campari
- 2 dashes of aromatic bitters
- Orange peel, for garnish
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Option to garnish with an orange peel (I forgot to add this because I was too excited to just drink it already).
Mar 4, 2014
Libations left over: None, but make yourself an American Trilogy...it's as American as this apple bread...
We're finally getting rain here in Southern California and it's been coming down with a vengeance. So on these rainy nights, I'm either making soup or baking bread. Bread won out this week, and it was this recipe for Brown Butter Apple Bread from The Kitchn that won me over. This is probably some of the moistest bread I've ever had and there are oodles of apples and pecans in it. You really can't go wrong when you see crème fraîche and apple brandy in a recipe for baked goods — and you do taste the brandy in this recipe. I'm a fan of Laird's Applejack, but if you don't have any apple brandy in the house (I'll be sad for you), feel free to sub in regular brandy or bourbon. For the apples, I used a combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady. Always do a mix of tart and sweet apples when you're baking, as it varies up the texture and the flavor. In addition to the above varieties, The Kitchn also recommends Braeburn, Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, McIntosh, and Honeycrisp. I brought this bread to work the next day, and it was perfect paired with everyone's morning coffee, and a great way to kick off the week. I can't wait to make this bread again with pears and other stone fruit too.
Brown Butter Apple Bread - makes 1 loaf
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 3 Tbs apple brandy (I used Laird's Applejack)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used 1 Granny Smith and 2 Pink Lady)
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and melt until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma (swirl the pan around to prevent it from burning).
- Set pan aside to cool slightly (you don't want scrambled eggs).
- In a large bowl, add the white and brown sugars, and eggs.
- Add the butter into the large bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring until just combined.
- Add the crème fraîche, apple brandy, vanilla bean paste, apples, and pecans and carefully stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for one hour, and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from the pan.
Feb 27, 2014
Frequent readers of my blog know my deep appreciation for bitters. Not only do I have a blast occasionally making my Bitter Revenge bitters for friends and family, but I love trying all the different flavors by small-batch producers out there. One of the best is LA-based Miracle Mile Bitters Co. by a very un-bitter man named Louis Anderman. He was getting ticked off that all my postings and Instagram pictures had bottles of bitters...that weren't his. And he had every right to be ticked off because his bitters are awesome. I use his sour cherry flavor in my Old Fashioneds. Not only does he make traditional flavors such as orange and celery, but more out-of-the-box, fun flavors like chocolate-chili, yuzu, bergamot, and an aromatic "Forbidden" flavor. He even works closely with local bars and bartenders to create custom-lines of bitters based on the types of cocktails served or the personality of that particular mixologist. My lack of Miracle Mile bitters has since been rectified, and I'm going to make up for lost time. I wrote it here!
So my first cocktail I made with his glorious bitters included three flavors — orange, celery and a barrel-aged version of his Forbidden bitters. The Fourth Regiment is an old, classic cocktail that is essentially a variation on a Manhattan. Its origin isn't clear, with some citing its first appearance in 1889's 282 Mixed Drinks from the Private Records of a Bartender of the Olden Days, Drinks by Jacques Straub from 1914, and a 1931 version of The Gentleman's Companion. Let's just praise the cocktail gods that the recipe has been tracked down and now shared widely amongst us nerds. The celery bitters add a more vegetal and herbal note, and nicely offset the sweetness from the vermouth. If you'd like to buy Louis' bitters in LA (which you should), you can find them locally at K&L Wine Merchants and Bar Keeper.
- 1 1/2 oz rye whiskey (I used Templeton)
- 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (I used Punt é Mes)
- 2 dashes celery bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1 dash aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or Peychaud's (I used Miracle Mile's Barrel-Aged Forbidden bitters)
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Feb 25, 2014
Libations used: 1/4 cup bourbon...
Libations left over: None, but make yourself a Manhattan or a Boulevardier (they're all the rage right now)...
I very rarely cook steak at home, because frankly, I'm a little nervous to. Preparing steak has always been relegated to my dad firing up the grill at home, and now my guy friends have taken over the task. The most I've ever contributed to the process is the marinade (I still swear by this Sugar Steak with Bourbon recipe), but I started this blog for a reason, and that's to learn and constantly push myself. I invited one of my friends over who's a fantastic cook to provide moral support and make sure I didn't light myself on fire with Food 52's Bourbon Steak au Poivre recipe. Hey, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go all the way and play with some flaming bourbon here. I probably should have taken the batteries out of my super sensitive smoke detector first, but having it go off repeatedly is a right of passage. Make sure you get those long kitchen matches so you don't burn yourself. The sauce is oniony, sweet, rich, and smacks of delicious bourbon. It's a quick and flavorful weeknight recipe, and a great dish to prepare for a special dinner for two.
Bourbon Steak au Poivre - serves 2
- 2 small (6-8 oz) steaks, about 3/4-1 inch thick (I used Rib Eye)
- 3 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
- Peanut oil
- 3 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow oninon
- 1/4 cup bourbon (I used Bulleit)
- Season both sides of the steak with the freshly ground black pepper and salt.
- Coat a cast iron pan with a thin surface of peanut oil and place over high heat.
- When the oil is shiny and hot, turn on those fans above your stove and add the steaks in the pan, cooking on each side for 4 minutes (medium-rare), or longer if you prefer more well-done.
- Remove the steaks to a plate and let rest.
- Add the butter to the same pan and melt.
- Add the onions and sauté until browned and soft (about 2 minutes).
- Turn the fan OFF and reduce the heat to low.
- With a long kitchen match, light the bourbon on fire and let the flames subside.
- When that fire has gone out, pour the sauce over the steaks.
Feb 20, 2014
I am just absolutely addicted to watching The Olympics, and have been staying up way too late these past few nights watching curling, biathlon races, slope-style events, and figure skating. I just can't help myself! To properly enjoy these TV marathons from home, I've been stirring up Moscow Mules. So they're not actually Russian, and are purely an American concoction from the 1940s, created by a liquor company that had a tough time pushing their Smirnoff vodka. But for the spirit of countries uniting, this cocktail works for Olympic drinking purposes. I'm not a vodka fan at all, but I do love it with a generous squeeze of lime, combined with a good, spicy ginger beer, such as Fentimans. Even if you don't have the fancy crushed ice and the signature copper mug, you can still thoroughly enjoy this libation. Cheers and Zazdarovje!
- 2 oz vodka (I used Grey Goose)
- 1/2 oz lime juice (about half a lime)
- 4-6 oz ginger beer (I used Fentimans)
- Add all the ingredients into your drinking vessel with ice and drop the used half of lime in there too.
- Stir, and you're done!
Feb 18, 2014
Libations used: More than 1/4 cup dry sherry...
Libations left over: Enough to have a few glasses with friends after dinner, or make this Bittersweet After-Dinner cocktail...
It may have been over 70 degrees out here, but I know pretty much everyone else in the country is freezing their butts off, so this soup is for all of you! My Gourmet Fresh cookbook has this lovely winter recipe for Sherried Parsnip Soup with a Hazelnut Pesto. I absolutely adore parsnips and think it's such an underrated vegetable. Sherry is also having its comeback, so do yourself a favor and buy a nice bottle so you can enjoy it after dinner and get accustomed to the flavor. I'm a fan of Tio Pepe Fino Sherry. This soup comes together fairly quickly, so it's a great weeknight dinner recipe. The hazelnut pesto is made with parsley, olive oil, and hazelnut oil, with the latter being optional if you can't track it down. You'll definitely have leftover pesto, so it's great to pop in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to a month, and use on steak, fish, chicken, or pasta. The soup itself is mild and comforting with a hint of sherry, so when you stir in that pesto, it just absolutely enriches the flavor.
Sherried Parsnip Soup with Hazelnut Pesto - serves 4-6
- 1 lb parsnips (about 6 medium ones), peeled and sliced
- 5 large shallots, sliced
- 3 leeks, white and pale green parts sliced
- 1 celery rib, sliced
- 5 Tbs unsalted butter
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs dry Sherry (I used Tio Pepe)
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 3 Tbs heavy cream (optional)
- 3/4 cup hazelnut pesto (recipe below)
- In a 4-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the parsnips, shallots, leeks, celery, and butter.
- Season with salt and black pepper, and sauté until moderately browned (about 10 minutes).
- Add 1/4 cup of the Sherry and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the water and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.
- Purée the mixture in batches in a blender.
- Transfer all the soup back into your pot and stir in the rest of the Sherry, cream, and add more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide soup in bowls and top with a generous dollop of pesto and some crushed, toasted hazelnuts.
Hazelnut Pesto Ingredients (make 1 1/2 cups):
- 1 cup hazelnuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)
- 2 cups packed, fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbs hazelnut oil (optional)
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place hazelnuts in one layer on a small baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven, toasting for about 10-15 minutes, until colored lightly and slightly blistered.
- Wrap the nuts in a paper towel and let them steam for about a minute.
- Rub the nuts in paper towels to remove the skins (not all will come off) and let cool completely.
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. I had to add a little bit of olive oil to loosen up the mixture a bit.
Feb 13, 2014
Perhaps you're hosting a gathering for your single gal pals on Valentine's Day, or maybe you're a guy reading this blog and trying to figure out which drink to serve your lady before or after a romantic, home-cooked dinner. I posted this recipe for The Red Rooster cocktail earlier this week, but if your friends or lady love aren't bourbon fans, then this Pomegranate Gin Fizz from The Kitchn might set the mood straight. It's simple, fool-proof and hey, pomegranates do have aphrodisiac qualities. Just pick yourself up some PAMA liqueur, a bottle of gin (I'm a fan of No. 3 London Dry Gin) and some club soda, and you're done. It's a little bit sweet and a little bit bitter, so it won't overpower any dessert you have planned.
Pomegranate Gin Fizz
- 2 oz gin (I used No. 3 London Dry Gin)
- 1 oz PAMA liqueur
- Club soda, to taste
- Yeah, that's it...
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