Alcohol: How to use it?

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Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:36 am UTC

Alcohol is fun! Whether you're drinking it, baking with it, or lighting things on fire with it, it's pretty fricken awesome. Who's got some good ideas on using it in food?
Simple, quick things would be frying slices of cheese for half a minute, tossing a shot of vodka in the pan, then igniting and burning off the alcohol, or frying slices of banana till a little more golden, then adding some rum and burning off the alcohol. Just don't do those on teflon or near anything flammable (this includes your wallpaper).
I quite like making bourbon brownies or chocolate rum cake. The only thing about baking with alcohol is that you need to remember to let your stuff sit for a day after baking, somehow this makes it better.
Since I bought a bushel of apples on impulse at the farmer's market, I'm making loads of apple things, and my next project is going to be whiskey baked apples. I'll just do the apples as per normal (core them, stuff them, wrap them in pastry), except each one's going to get a shot of some form of whiskey down the core before I pinch the pastry at the top. On my shelf, I've got Jameson, Jim Beam Black Label, some Canadian rye junk (I am not patriotic when it comes to whiskey), and Maker's Mark. Four apples, four whiskeys, and a taste-testing after. I'm now accepting bets on which one people think will taste best. Winner gets a complementary baked apple*.

So, alcohol recipes? Please? Go go go!


*Baked apple will be made available in Waterloo, Ontario, winner is responsible for prize pick-up or arranging shipping.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby hermaj » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:19 am UTC

I use a little bit of white wine to deglaze my frypans or my crock pot when cooking meat to put aside. It stops those little burnt bits from going on in the bottom of the pan.

When I make carbonara I cook the bacon strips in white wine and garlic - it adds a little tang to the sauce and makes the bacon nice and rich and sticky. Frying bacon with a little bit of wine is delicious. :D

I use red wine with my bolognaise and a splash of dry sherry in my stirfries or in my chicken wing recipe I totally just posted in the cookbook. I have not ever cooked with vodka! Knowing me I would probably just give up and drink the vodka. :P

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:33 am UTC

Vodka is not regularly cooked with, because it is usually trying just to be as not-tasty as possible. I don't mean that it tastes bad, just that it doesn't have much of a taste at all. There are exceptions, but I would argue applying the label 'vodka' to them is inaccurate.
It is useful when you just want the alochol without any other flavours, which usually just means drinking, but can mean flambeing certain things (like cheese!).

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:44 pm UTC

A great way to cook sausage is to braise them in beer and then brown the outside. This involves heating a pan and pouring in hot or boiling beer, enough to cover about 1/3 of the sausages. Put the sausages in first or the beer will rise more when you do put them in, of course. Then you simmer (medium-low heat) covered for 5-8 minutes depending on how thick your sausages are, drain off most of the liquid, and brown over high heat until it looks good.

When making an Asian recipe that calls for beaten egg, such as fried rice or sushi, it can help to add dry sherry to the beaten egg before cooking. Around a tablespoon per large egg. It will be lighter and brown a little more easily, plus it tastes good.

Just about any Italian sauce for pasta deserves some wine. White wine for a white sauce, red or marsala for a red sauce. Alfredo sauce is the only one that immediately comes to mind as not really needing wine. A good time to add the wine is after you've cooked the onion/garlic/peppers/whatever, and right before you add meat and/or tomato/butter/broth/cream. I'm not really certain whether the "proper" timing comes before or after meat, to be honest, but it works either way, and definitely before the rest.

One thing I tried this past week was an interesting substitution. I was making chicken tikka masala, mostly following this very helpful video recipe but trying out a few experiments. The experiment relevant to this thread was substituting dry cider for the water in the recipe, the result being a slightly sweeter curry with a fruity flavor that I found excellent. I don't know if it's still tikka masala with that substitution, but it was tasty.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Habanero » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:33 am UTC

Alcohol? Can you spell FLAMBE?

Think about bananas foster. Very showy and way cool. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Any good steak pan sauce, relying on reduced brandy, should really have showy alcohol flamage and stuff.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:08 pm UTC

Whiskey in the apples yielded dull results. Whiskey just seemed to negate the flavours of the rest of the stuffing, resulting in a mediocre baked apple.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby I, Lounger » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:40 pm UTC

This was originally posted on the SomethingAwful forums on Nov 04, 2007 by user Paradox86 (I just removed the forum-specific emoticons and reuploaded the image), but I feel you guys might appreciate it. I hope this is OK by the forum rules - if there's any problem please tell me and I'll gladly remove it.

Got an extra bottle of newcastle hanging around after that killer party this weekend? Then YOU TOO can make...

Image
(Looks like someone got to a piece before I could snap the picture. The smell is attracting everyone )

FOOLPROOF BEER BREAD!

- 3 cups of flour (Whatever kind you want, I used a simple all-purpose)
- 1/4 cup sugar (Add more for sweeter bread, less for a less sweet bread :downs: )
- 12 ounces beer (One bottle or can, any kind. The tastier the beer, the tastier the bread)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt

OPTIONAL:
- Whatever the hell else you want (Nuts, berries, spices, cheese, rophynol, pennies, etc).

Preheat your oven to 375.

1. Mix your dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix your wet ingredients in slowly. It should turn into a pretty sticky dough.
3. Grease a bread loaf pan thoroughly. Pour dough into pan.
4. Put into oven. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.
5. Bread will be ready when you can stick a toothpick in and it will come out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Let cool out of pan for 10 additional minutes.

There you have it! The beer serves as the yeast and causes the loaf to rise.

OPTIONAL PRO-TIP

Egg/Butter Glaze:

- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- A little water.

1. Mix this together in a small dish.
2. At 45 minutes into baking, with a brush or a skillfully shaped paper towel, cover the top of the loaf with a generous layer of this glaze.
3. Bake for the last 5 minutes or so. Tasty yummy color/flavor will follow.

Enjoy your beer bread!


Here is the link to the original post on the SA forums.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Elenion » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:18 pm UTC

You can make VodkaBears.. ^^ Simply fill vodka in some bowl or something, and put gummy bears in. Let them soak for a while (a few hours is needed) Then eat them..hehe.. :)
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:16 pm UTC

I take issue with that beer-bread post. You can not pour dough. Dough does not pour. That is totally a batter.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:28 am UTC

True. Even with the beer acting as a rising agent, it's more like a banana bread than a doughy bread.

Adding sugar to bread will also make it crustier (not just sweeter).
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:39 am UTC

It's still bread if it comes from a battery sort of thing, I mean, Ciabbatta isn't really a dough either, but it's still cool.
I'm a big fan of using bear with yeast still in it in a pre-ferment, so that the beer's yeast does a little bit of work on the dough. I'm not sure if you coulde make that work with a baking powder bread, though.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Girl™ » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:08 pm UTC

Speaking of beer, the simplest beer batter (for frying) ever. From Food Network.

Sarah Moulton wrote:1 scant cup all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 cup beer

Put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the beer into the well and whisk until the mixture is just combined. Strain the batter through a sieve into a clean bowl and let it rest, covered, for 1 hour.


I haven't tried this, but it seems like something that could be really good if made with good beer.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Aesar » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

speaking of beer, it's my first name, and I'm not kidding
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby wisnij » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:35 am UTC

Habanero wrote:Alcohol? Can you spell FLAMBE?

Think about bananas foster. Very showy and way cool. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Fun fact: flambé is just for show. It doesn't taste like anything. If you're not cooking in front of an audience, don't bother.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby parkaboy » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:27 am UTC

i found a thing!

http://www.lafeeabsinthe.com/parisian-cookies.php

it looks... odd. i cant say that i'd extremely enjoy cookies that tasted like absinthe, BUT i figured fans might want to give this a shot. if ever i got my hands on some, i wouldnt mind trying this recipe out, but i'd probably leave out the anise oil. i just dont like the stuff that much.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Ian Ex Machina » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:50 am UTC

Vodka Skittles!
Yummy Know how here.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby wisnij » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:58 pm UTC

I, Lounger wrote:Got an extra bottle of newcastle hanging around after that killer party this weekend? Then YOU TOO can make...

Image
(Looks like someone got to a piece before I could snap the picture. The smell is attracting everyone )

FOOLPROOF BEER BREAD!

...

I tried this. I had beer left over from making chili that I wasn't going to drink, and I wanted to see how it would taste in bread form. It's tasty, but the bread didn't rise; it's very dense and crusty. Did I make an error in preparation, or do I need new baking powder? (I know it loses its potency over time, but I'd literally just opened the container...)

(More flavor ideas)

Edit: Never mind. I made a second batch, which is in the oven right now. The batter was of such different consistency this time despite basically the same procedure that I suspect a simple measurement error was the cause of the original failure. I can see this new loaf starting to rise already.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby eds01 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:45 pm UTC

A good sauce for salmon is a red wine reduction sauce. It's extremely easy to make, but it takes a bit of time.

1. Take a bottle of wine, and put it in a saucier, or whatever pot you want to use, and turn the heat onto medium or so.
2. Add 2 or 3 shallots (minced) to the wine.
3. Let the wine reduce for a good half hour or more. It should only be a small fraction of the original volume.
4. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter into the reduced wine, to taste.
5. Serve over broiled salmon filet's

As for the kind of wine to use, get either a Shiraz or a Merlot.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Seven » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:25 pm UTC

jgcrawfo wrote:Vodka is not regularly cooked with because it doesn't have much of a taste at all. It is useful when you just want the alcohol without any other flavours, which usually just means drinking, but can mean flambeing certain things (like cheese!).

I've been thinking about that, in regards to making extracts and tinctures. You fill a large jar 2/3 way full of dried herb, cover it with vodka, make sure all the herb is saturated, then add more vodka until the jar is full but can still be shaken/agitated. .....It takes weeks for the extract to be ready for use (time varies with each herb); Agitate jar several times a week, loosen jar lid occasionally to release gases, then reseal... When extract is finally ready, strain liquid, press out excess from soaked herb (using cheesecloth or a press), bottle in dark glass and make sure to label it!

I've started a separate thread about Extracts and Tinctures HERE.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Mr. Mack » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:46 am UTC

I tried this. I had beer left over from making chili that I wasn't going to drink, and I wanted to see how it would taste in bread form. It's tasty, but the bread didn't rise; it's very dense and crusty. Did I make an error in preparation, or do I need new baking powder? (I know it loses its potency over time, but I'd literally just opened the container...)

(More flavor ideas)

Edit: Never mind. I made a second batch, which is in the oven right now. The batter was of such different consistency this time despite basically the same procedure that I suspect a simple measurement error was the cause of the original failure. I can see this new loaf starting to rise already.


I figure I should say something, since beer bread is one of the few things I actually know something about.

I always add a beaten egg to the mixture, that helps it rise more as well as making it less crumbly. Also, make sure your baking powder doesn't contain sodium aluminum sulfate because that imparts a bitter taste (or so I've heard). While I'm saying things, try using half a cup of brown sugar or 1/4 cup of honey (if you use honey, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees (F) and reduce the total liquid content). It's also fund to add a currently unknown amount of pumpkin pie spice (which is mostly cinnamon and nutmeg) and some wheat germ.

As for other recipes, although I've never made it myself (yet) there is a pretty good desert item called Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Look it up if you ever find yourself with a need to dispose of large amounts of bread.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby aetherson » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:51 am UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:As for other recipes, although I've never made it myself (yet) there is a pretty good desert item called Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Look it up if you ever find yourself with a need to dispose of large amounts of bread.

This is the best thing to do with crusty baguettes.
Leave the baguettes to dry in a paper bag for about two to three days before using them in the recipe.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:51 pm UTC

1) Choose alcohol.
2) Pour in glass. Or not.
3) Mix with something. Or not.
4) Drink.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby cad3 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

hermaj wrote:I use a little bit of white wine to deglaze my frypans or my crock pot when cooking meat to put aside. It stops those little burnt bits from going on in the bottom of the pan.


Ditto.

And Brandy when making homemade chocolate mousse. :)

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Will » Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:11 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:1) Choose alcohol.
2) Pour in glass. Or not.
3) Mix with something. Or not.
4) Drink.
5) ??
6) Hangover!

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:19 pm UTC

I rarely get anything more than a mild headache or a slightly queasy stomach even after long nights of drinking.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

Pork Casserole can benefit from a bottle of cider being poured into it.

In addition, Coq au Vin is delicious, and Mussels are best eaten in a white wine and garlic sauce.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Mr. Mack » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

Does anyone know of a wine that works well with spaghetti sauce? I had been thinking about trying that, but I've had trouble finding any real suggestions.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Belial » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:14 pm UTC

Like, in the sauce, or would you be drinking it *with* the sauce?

Also, by "spaghetti sauce" do you mean marinara? Otherwise, what kind of sauce?
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

In the sauce? Cabernet works. Best thing you could do with that <$18 dollar bottle of Cabernet you have kicking around.



(Yes, I just said that Cabernet below that price point isn't very good ... or at least, isn't a good value. And Yes, I just said you should cook with a bottle you shouldn't drink.)

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

Those are both entirely reasonable positions.
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Mr. Mack » Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:42 am UTC

Belial wrote:Like, in the sauce, or would you be drinking it *with* the sauce?

Also, by "spaghetti sauce" do you mean marinara? Otherwise, what kind of sauce?


I did mean as an ingredient, I was a little vague on that.
I was thinking marinara, but for some reason I was under the impression that "marinara" had a different meaning in other countries.

Azrael wrote:In the sauce? Cabernet works. Best thing you could do with that <$18 dollar bottle of Cabernet you have kicking around.



(Yes, I just said that Cabernet below that price point isn't very good ... or at least, isn't a good value. And Yes, I just said you should cook with a bottle you shouldn't drink.)


I read an article in Home Cooking magazine and if I recall correctly they said that a $9 bottle of wine works as well as an $18 bottle of wine and anything more expensive is just wasteful. But they were talking about Pinot Noir and some other kind of sauce. Outside of that they just said not to use cooking wine.

In all honesty, I knew very little about wine (although I guess I'm about average for my age group). I remember that at some point Consumer Report claimed that Yellow Tail was the best buy for people too poor/cheap/in-college to buy something fancier. Does anyone suggest a different brand over them?
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:12 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:I read an article in Home Cooking magazine and if I recall correctly they said that a $9 bottle of wine works as well as an $18 bottle of wine and anything more expensive is just wasteful. But they were talking about Pinot Noir and some other kind of sauce. Outside of that they just said not to use cooking wine.

Cooks Illustrated did a taste test with I think chicken coq a vin using Franzia (box wine) and something much more expensive and the tasters noticed little to no difference. They said Franzia's good because it's cheap and it keeps a lot longer than bottled wine, since no air gets introduced to it upon use.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:14 pm UTC

Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Mr. Mack » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:46 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:
Mr. Mack wrote:I read an article in Home Cooking magazine and if I recall correctly they said that a $9 bottle of wine works as well as an $18 bottle of wine and anything more expensive is just wasteful. But they were talking about Pinot Noir and some other kind of sauce. Outside of that they just said not to use cooking wine.

Cooks Illustrated did a taste test with I think chicken coq a vin using Franzia (box wine) and something much more expensive and the tasters noticed little to no difference. They said Franzia's good because it's cheap and it keeps a lot longer than bottled wine, since no air gets introduced to it upon use.


Franzia it is! I like that idea. I'm fancy enough to cook with wine, but it's the cheapest wine ever. I'll grab a box next time I'm at the liquor store.



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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:10 pm UTC

I actually buy the four-packs of minibottles. You get something like two cups of wine in each bottle, which is more than enough for most recipes, and they'll last forever provided you keep them sealed, and take up much less space than a box of wine.

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:28 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:Science? I love science!
Also, you just found my mother's birthday present, and I really appreciate it.


No problem, it was my dad's birthday present a year ago and he really likes it.

EDIT: damn, forgot to make a joke about pleasing your mother...
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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby jgcrawfo » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:29 am UTC

DINNER TONIGHT:
-Cut up some beef in stir-fry strips, place in a bowl, then cover with red wine (Masi something or other), add a chopped clove or two of garlic, and a small handful of minced parsley. Set aside to marinate.
-Two hours later, decide you don't feel like stir-fry, and want spaghetti instead!
-Boil some noodles, and (fry/boil/poach?) the beef with marinade in a fry-pan over medium heat.
-When the beef is cooked and the wine has reduced a bit, toss in some canned tomato-based pasta sauce.
-Serve with fresh grated parmesan, and gunk up your new fancy spinning cheese grater with some cheddar that's really kind of too soft for such a machine.
-ENJOY!

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Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby mollusc » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:24 am UTC

The "don't cook with it if you wouldn't drink it" rule was originally developed for wine that was undrinkably bad - usually rancid. It's been quoted to death by snobs who claim they "won't drink" anything that costs less than $20 a bottle. Rephrase the rule thus:

Q = "I've just got home on a wet Friday evening after a shit week and I really, really want some wine. This is the only bottle I've got. Would I drink it, or is it actually bad enough to pour down the sink?"

If A = drink, go ahead and cook with it.

The truth is that these days, it's very unlikely that you'll go to a shop and buy wine which is actually undrinkable, so the rule isn't really that relevant. If you dig something out of the cabinet and it's turned to vinegar, don't stick it in casserole and expect the results to be good, but by all means use a $5 box red with no subtlety whatsoever.

In fact, the NY Times ran an experiment a year or so ago where they tested cheap, moderate and expensive wines in the same recipes and found that the cheap ones came out ahead - they're rough and overpowering on their own, but cooking mellows that out. The more expensive wines with more refined and delicate flavours were just evaporated and overpowered after cooking.

On a non-wine related note, a shot of whiskey in chocolate cake batter makes for all kinds of excellence.

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Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby poxic » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:36 am UTC

I recall my mother marinating steaks in beer for most of a day. She said it tenderised them. I'll take her word for it. (She's a damn good cook.)

She kept the same bottle of Triple Sec around for something like twenty years. She used it a dollop at a time whenever she made trifle or fruit salad. She also throws white wine into her stir fries and red wine into her stews or tomato sauces.
In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
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littlelj
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:40 am UTC

Re: Alcohol: How to use it?

Postby littlelj » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:42 am UTC

mollusc wrote:On a non-wine related note, a shot of whiskey in chocolate cake batter makes for all kinds of excellence.


Alternatively, make a chocolate cake and sandwich it together with whisk(e)y truffle. (<-- personally I use a single malt, hence no "e")

a pint of double cream (heavy cream)
a pound of good chocolate
alcohol

Melt chocolate. Whip cream. Fold together carefully. Add about a tablespoon of whisk(e)y. Fold again. It will be about the consistency of pouring custard. Leave it to set a little, then sandwich cake.

Variations: ginger cake sandwiched with dark chocolate and whisk(e)y truffle <- unbelievably fragrant and totally delicious.
vanilla sponge sandwiched with white chocolate and champagne truffle and fresh strawberries.
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