Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Young Pilot

The Young Pilot from Hattie Kotz on Vimeo.

Alright chickys, the holidays are just about over,
with the exception of one of my favorites.
 The sparkli-est, dazzli-est, most
day of the whole entire calendar year. 

The occasion I speak of, my friends
is the great New Years Eve. 
A holiday of wearing shimmery silky little numbers in spite of the sub-zero temperatures 
of the mid-west in late December. 
A holiday for friends, fools, toasts, and resolutions to be embraced or forgotten.
A holiday for booze.
Yes. The new year loves booze. 

So in the honor of Booze Years Eve, I have visited the 
restaurant that raised me as a young cook, Players on Madison,
for a holiday cocktail special. 

Resident bartender Lee Sackett shares his original concoction "The Young Pilot"
It's a bit of a play on the classic Hot Toddy, but with some different flavors in play.
Let it be known, this drink is quite strong. Bourbon is a lovable monster. Some dare to tackle it un-armed, but this recipe knows just how to tame it. Just enough to be lovable. 
The mellow black tea rhymes well with the 
woodsy flavor of the bourbon, and the honey adds just a kiss of sweetness and thickness
 without taking away from the strong flavor of the Bourbon. 
The bitters adds a lovely bit of color and a wonderful aromatic quality that 
makes it a great comfort drink that can 
a) cure a cold up pioneer-style 
Or b) be your faithful companion through any night life activity. 

2 oz. Black Tea
(we used Darjeeling)
1 smidgen of honey
(wildflower honey will add some fruitiness)
1 splash of Bitters 
(we used Angostura)
2 shots of Bourbon
(we used Bulliet)

Steep 1 bag of black darjeeling tea in about 2.5 oz. of hot water (a little extra water is needed because some is absorbed in the tea bag.)
Let cool for a moment, then poor over ice, along with the honey and bitters. 
Stir the mixture then strain into a rocks glass filled with 2 shots of Bourbon. 
Garnish with a twist of lemon and barrels of cheer and friends. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lemon Thyme Apple Butter

Lemon Thyme Apple Butter from Hattie Kotz on Vimeo.

So, as many of you may have noticed,
 the ever-anticipated end of the world decided not to show up. 

How rude. 

However, we've all had those late days. 
Where you know you really have to be some place, but your sleep alter-ego is 
bribing you to come back to sleep with visions of delicious cuts of pork and prospects of 
revisiting that dream where you can talk to snakes. 

So perhaps the end of the world fairy is just having one of those late days,
and the world will still end, just as soon as his sleep alter-ego 
releases him from his clutches. 

And when it comes, I'll be in the great 
company of my best friend Mary of Heartfelt and Handwritten,
and well-equipped with vast quantities of apple butter. 
And in all honesty, I couldn't imagine a better way to sink ship. 

Contrary to the implicative name, apple butter 
does not contain any butter or dairy products whatsoever. 
It is, in essence, an apple jam with an opaque buttery consistency. 

While the honey and the sweetness of the apples make the spread naturally sweet, 
the earthy thyme sprigs bring a savory quality to the spread, making it fit to 
accompany anything from a crust of bread to a leg of lamb.

10-12 baking apples 
(I used Jonathans, they have a nice soft texture)

3 cinnamon sticks
(you can substitute for 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon if needed)

6 sprigs of thyme
(left on the stems)

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup apple cider

1/2 c. honey
(I used wildflower honey, but any will do nicely)

Combine everything (that's right, all at once!) 
in an oven-friendly pot on the stovetop. 
Bring the liquids to a boil, and let the mixture simmer for 
30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
After the aforementioned time has elapsed, you must brave the fiery depths
 of your pot and remove the thyme stems and cinnamon sticks before transferring the mixture to the blender. This is an important step, because there isn't anything delicious or buttery about twigs. 
Once the twig-less mixture is safely secured in the blender, 
blend on high until the mixture is completely purred. 
Return the apple mixture to the pot and place it in the oven at 250 degrees.
Now it's time to bust out the playing cards or fan fiction novels, 
because that babys gonna be in that oven for a while. 
About 2 hours to be precise. 
But fret not, dear lasses and lads, it
requires little attention. Nothing but a simple stir to keep it from scorching but once every 20 minutes or so, is all. 

And there you have it. Warm and delicious apple butter to accompany your bits of toast and mugs of
coffee for many blustery afternoons to come. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Red Velvet Cake Hot Cocoa

The city is being showered. 
Not with delicate tufts of snow, but rather
with hoards of christmas lights, displays of coniferous plants, 
and Michael Buble. 
He's everywhere. 
Send help.  

(I'm a bit of a scrooge in that department. 
Christmas music makes my ears so sad. 
Only enjoyed when sedated with copious
 amounts of hot chocolate and/or holiday cheer.)

None the less, the universe seems to be making its best attempts at
 instilling that holiday spirit in us.
And certainly, after last night's trip to the outdoor Christmas market, 
we are whole-heartedly in it.

While it isn't quite the most traditional of holiday flavors, 
this Red Velvet Cake Hot Cocoa is indeed both red and hot-chocolate oriented,
 and thus I believe it to be a perfect holiday drink. 
It combines the tanginess and sweetness of cream cheese frosting with the comforting
warmth of thick hot chocolate with marshmallows to mimic the taste of 
the lovely Red Velvet Cake we all know and love.

So stomp the snow from your boots, roast those chestnuts, 
take your nose back from Jack Frost, and drink up!

melt together

1/2 c. cream cheese

1/4 c. marshmallows

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

1/3 c. dark chocolate chips. 

whisk in

2 1/2 c. milk

4 drops red food coloring

whisk until completely combined 
and brought to desired temperature.

*it helps to add the milk little by little through 
the melting process. 
Keeps things from getting lumpy!

*This is a pretty decadent recipe! If it is too much for your taste,
just add a bit more milk!

For a festive holiday recipe, I thought it only
 fitting to comprise a festive holiday playlist. 
I took the liberty of compiling a playlist of Christmas songs
 that are indeed not terrible
(Including but not limited to NSYNC. You love it.)
The length of this playlist will take you from the lighting of the burner to 
the first sip. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blackberry, Goat Cheese, Honeycomb Spread

honeycomb blackberry goat cheese spread from Hattie Kotz on Vimeo.

Happy December! 
Here in the midwest, the arrival of said month usual brings an end to the 
ever-adored "Sweater Season" and greets us with a pandoras box of unpredictable weather to 
carry us through the holiday season. 

But alas, today is a cloudy and calm 55 degrees- weather built for snuggling under things
that are bigger and softer than you are (i.e clouds, blankets, greedy house cats, animal pelts, piles of kleenex tissues..
you can get creative here.)

Today is a weather for stories, sighs, movies and tea. 
and with drink must come snack. 
It's been proven. Science. 

This blackberry-goat cheese-honeycomb spread is simple to make, but far from simple in flavor.
The tangy, creamy goat cheese melds with the acidic and fresh berries and the thick and sweet honeycomb to create a tea snack fit for a conquerer of lazy day activities. 


8 oz. honeycomb
  (available at farmers markets and health food stores in the honey + jam section)

3/4 c. blackberries
slightly mashed

1 tbsp. lemon juice
light squeeze of half a lemon

4 oz. goat cheese/chevre

sprinkle of white sugar

and lastly, a tiny playlist for a tiny recipe.
The length of this playlist will take you from ingredient gathering to first bite.