Friday, August 30, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Peaches Continued...

So many peaches. Peach picking was a bad idea. Why do peaches go bad so quickly? These were all the thoughts and questions swirling around my head yesterday when I picked up my farm share and saw a beautiful, giant bag of peaches inside. Normally, I would be jumping up and down, but I'm up to about 25 peaches in my house... I'm panicking. Thankfully, I have good friends. Good friends with great cookbooks. Dynise Balcavage to the rescue! With peach apple sauce, peach crisp, canned peaches, and peach jam under my belt (and in my fridge/freezer), I am moving onto more peach pie. This time with salted agave drizzle. Because when the farm gives you peaches... you make pie.

Peach Pie with Salted Agave Drizzle
Excerpted from Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage


Most fruit pies are finished with either a pastry top crust or a crumble topping. But juicy summer peaches are so gloriously orange and happy that it’s a shame to cover up their gorgeous color. So instead, I’ve topped this classic with a fancy drizzle of agave (punctuated with gorgeous flakes of finishing salt) for modesty—and to complement and balance the flavors. This is divine à la mode, with a scoop of pure vanilla nondairy ice cream.

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) pie

1 Basic Single-Crust Pastry or Gluten-Free Single-Crust Pastry
5 cups (850 g) peeled, 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks ripe peaches (about 4 or 5 medium peaches)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour (gluten-free is fine)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar (add ¼ cup [50 g] more if peaches are not sweet)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg

For Salted Agave Drizzle:
1 cup (235 ml) agave nectar
2 teaspoons large-chunk finishing salt, like fleur de sel, Hawaiian, black lava, or pink Himalayan salt, which looks gorgeous suspended in the amber liquid
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

Roll out the crust and place in the pan. Crimp the edges and refrigerate, lightly covered, until ready to fill.

Combine the peaches, lemon juice, flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar,  salt, and spices in a large bowl. Pour into crust and bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) and bake for 35 to 40 more minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool thoroughly at room temperature.

Refrigerate for a few hours.

Just before serving, dust with some confectioners’ sugar. Slice the pie.

To make the agave drizzle: Prepare this just before serving, or the salt flakes will melt. In a medium bowl, mix the agave and salt. Pour a bit over the pie slice, allowing some to drip over edge onto the
plate (I recommend a white or light plate to highlight the contrast). If you want to make just enough for one slice, mix about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) agave with about ¼ teaspoon salt. Sprinkle very judiciously with extra salt if you like salt (I used chocolate sea salt I bought in Portland!). 

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Sweet and Savory Vegan Pies

Take your plant-based pies to another level. In Pies and Tarts with Heart, popular blogger Dynise Balcavage shares her straight-forward wisdom about kitchen fundamentals and the most effective pie-making techniques. From Apple Pie to S’more Pie—and everything in between—these 60+ recipes will make you shine in your pastry pursuits, whether you are a beginner or a veteran pie maker.

Inside you’ll discover:

- Instructions for building your pie, from the basics to baking
- How to roll, stretch, and bake a respectable crust in no time
- Sweet pies: traditional, decadent, nutty, citrusy, and more
- Savory pies: including Tomato Tart, Greek Spinach Pie, and Cornish Pasties
- Stocking a pie-making pantry: the ingredients and equipment you’ll need
- A variety of gluten-free, low-fat, kid-friendly, raw, and no-bake options

This is the third cookbook by Dynise Balcavage. She blogs at urbanvegan.net and tweets at @theurbanvegan.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Architecture of a Cocktail: An Interview with Melissa Wood

We've been talking a lot about cocktails lately. From making your own using homegrown ingredients to vintage cocktails to apothecary cocktails... every recipe just has us all so excited to get home and come up with something all our own.

The Architecture of a Cocktail is a new book coming out in October. This tiny cocktail book is the perfect size to tuck into your purse and makes a great gift for the holidays. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with cocktail architect, Melissa Wood. Here is what she had to say about architecture, cocktails, and writing a book.

How did you come up with the idea to blend architecture with cocktails?

Creole Lady Cocktail
The idea of a book came to me after being commissioned to illustrate a cocktail blueprint that was sold at Crate & Barrel. Enlarging on that, which included about 20 cocktails, a book with accompanying verbiage seemed a natural next step.

If I haven't actually 'sketched' something that catches my eye; chances are I have in my imagination. Since studying interior architecture, design and space planning, I've learned to understand the structure behind everything and it's colored the way I view the world. To draw a building it helps to understand the construction behind the walls, how a window frame is actually built, etc.


Are you a practicing architect? If so, for how long?

I have a colorful educational past. 

After receiving an English literature, history, and art degree from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, I couldn't get a job (besides one where I operated an ancient Heidelberg Letterpress). In need of a 'profession', I enrolled first at The School of The Art Institute to continue studying art and art history. After a semester, I enrolled into a three year degree at Harrington College of Design where a structured series of coursework trained me in all things architecture, interior design, color theory, space planning, electrical, structural, lighting, materials, textiles, and rendering. Beginning in 1985, I leaped into work at several fabulous architectural firms in Chicago.

Officially in the architecture and design world, I am, I guess, an interior architect and designer, and a space planner. :)


How long does it take you to craft a cocktail drawing?
Crafting a cocktail drawing is tricky business.




Once set up at my ancient drafting table (I'm old school and use leads, triangles, t-square, vellum, and trace), I work through the embellishments and ingredients first. Each requires it's own pattern (to mimic the 'key' used in architectural drawings which delineate materials used for construction).

Then, once I know what's going in each cocktail, I choose the stemware (which I had pre-drawn for consistency), and tape it to the table. Then, as steadily as a mixologist pours each ingredient, I measure the amount, and fill in that area with the key symbol that signifies gin, sugar syrup, etc. As the glass fills, I use care to save room for the ice, cherries, twists, et al.

With the stemware 'filled', I then draw the angled title lines which then are used to label the patterns with the accompanying key.

In all, each illustration takes 2-4 hours, depending on the intricacy.


What's your favorite cocktail in the book?
My favorite cocktail in the book is the Pisco Sour. I love the name of it, and sipped one recently while toasting the night before moving my youngest child into her first year of college.



Who is your number one food/drink inspiration?
My biggest food/drink inspiration is easy: old and foreign movies. Watching Cary Grant pour champagne, Grace Kelly sip from a martini glass, Catherine Deneuve taste an apertif, or Katherine Hepburn nibble on something with an olive has helped define not only the flavors, but also the style, presentation and enjoyment of food and drink.


What's next for you?

.... sandwiches?



--


Is it better for a martini to be shaken, not stirred? Does it matter which order you add the liquors to create a Long Island Iced Tea? How many ice cubes can you add to a margarita without compromising the flavor?

The perfect home begins with a blueprint and a dream, and your perfect cocktail should start the same way! The Architecture of the Cocktail reveals the answers to all your burning cocktail queries and more. Focusing on the precise measurements to help you craft the perfect cocktail as well as the recommended garnish and embellishments, you’ll no longer have to guess what the perfect cocktail should taste like.

Laying out the exact measurements from the bottom of your glass to the top, you’ll discover the order which you should layer your liquors, the precise measurements needed, and even recommended brands. Not sure which stemware is appropriate? Consult the mini guide on identifying the correct stemware in the back of the book.

Featuring 75 different cocktails and recipes in a unique blueprint-inspired design (including specifications, notes, and embellishments), this is the perfect gift for the cocktail lover in your life. Don’t waste another minute on watered-down cocktailsbecome a cocktail master with this beautifully illustrated guide.

This book is available October 1st wherever books and ebooks are sold.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did you know you can make cookies in your slow cooker? Seriously guys. This fun fact blows my mind and makes my slow cooker that much more of a prized possession in my kitchen collection. Since everyone loves a good cookie, I couldn't help but share this delicious recipe from Kathy Hester's newest book, Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You.

And may I just say that if you win our college dorm slow cooker giveaway, this should be the very first recipe you try. ;)

Also, Kathy is going to be answering questions and talking about cookies, stews, soups, and slow cookers today during our #spoonchat. Join the conversation at 1 PM EST on Twitter. See you there!



Slow Cooker Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two (with tons of variations)
Excerpted from Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You by Kathy Hester. Photography by Kate Lewis.



SOY-FREE
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION*
OIL-FREE OPTION**


No matter how many people you’re feeding, eventually you’ll want a sweet treat. This recipe makes a warm, ooey gooey cookie for two. Use your favorite nuts or extracts to change it up. You could make variations on this recipe to have a different cookie every night!


FOR THE DRY INGREDIENTS:
½ cup (60 g) whole-wheat pastry flour (*use gluten-free baking mix)
1 tablespoon (15 g) brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt

FOR THE WET INGREDIENTS:
¼ cup (60 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds mixed with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) warm water
1 teaspoon olive oil (**substitute applesauce or pumpkin purée)
¼ teaspoon extract (vanilla, orange, lemon, mint, lavender, etc.)

EXTRAS:
¼ cup (44 g) vegan chocolate chips or
¼ cup (44 g) vegan chocolate chips and ¼ cup (30 g) chopped nuts or
½ cup (60 g) chopped nuts


Spray the crock with oil or **line with parchment paper to make the recipe oil-free.

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Then add the wet to the dry and mix until combined. Add in the extras of your choice.

Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and spread evenly on the bottom. Put a clean dish towel or paper towel between the lid and slow cooker to absorb the condensation.

Cook on high for 45 to 60 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched.

YIELD: 2 servings

PER SERVING (USING ¼ CUP [44 G] CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND ¼ CUP [30 G]NUTS): 470.4 calories; 29.3 g total fat; 3.8 g saturated fat; 5.5 g protein; 49.5 g carbohydrate; 8.5 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 to 60 minutes

RECIPE VARIATION
Try one of these combinations:
• Vanilla extract, walnuts, and vegan chocolate chips
• Lemon extract and almonds with or without vegan chocolate chips
• Mint extract and vegan chocolate chips
• Lavender extract and vegan chocolate chip 


--

If you have a small family or are looking for better-portioned vegan meals (that don’t force you to eat chili for a week straight!), Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You is the perfect resource for you. Featuring recipes geared specifically for use with a 1.5- to 2-quart slow cooker, you’ll find endless meal ideas that you can make with minimal effort and maximum taste. Just prep a few items the night before or morning of, and come home to a hot meal—or side, or dessert—the moment you walk in the door!

The little slow cooker is so easy to use that it makes cooking everyday a snap, so you can have a healthy variety of foods at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Inside, you’ll find a whole new world of food to fall in love with, from breakfast-y Pumpkin Polenta to comforting White Bean Quinoa Gumbo to luscious Blueberry Lemon Cake. You’ll be amazed at what your little slow cooker can do!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Banana and Nutella Milkshake and National Pots de Creme Day!

So I've been going through the "food holidays" calendar (as you do) and keep coming across these truly strange and marvelous holidays that I can't help but share with you all. For example, today is both National Pots de Crème Day (we have a recipe for that) and Banana Lover's Day. Now I'm not a big banana fan unless it involves chocolate in some way. So this recipe was obviously created with me in mind.

Happy weird food holidays, SPOON fans!

Banana and NUTELLA Milkshake
Excerpted from NUTELLA by Ferrero



Tiny school-goers are sure to love this delicious NUTELLA-flavored milkshake!

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
2 bananas
400 ml (1 3/4 cups) whole milk, chilled
3 tablespoons (42 g) NUTELLA
1 tablespoon (14 g) caster/superfine sugar
4 or 5 ice cubes

Directions:
Peel and slice the bananas.

Blend the bananas for 1 minute with the chilled milk, NUTELLA, sugar, and ice cubes until the mixture is creamy and frothy.

Pour the milkshake in two two glasses and serve immediately.

Variation: You can replace the ice cubes with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

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From irresistible macaroons to tasty cheesecakes, discover new ways of using, cooking, and enjoying Nutella with 30 mouthwatering recipes. 30 delicious recipes in a Nutella-shaped book for all the fans of the famous spread:

- little individual sweets: from a revisited version of bread with Nutella to Nutella and banana tartlettes
- generous Nutella cakes to share: cake roll, Twelfth Night cake, or even a Nutella charlotte.
- creamy, ‘must have’ recipes: mousse and little cream
- surprising recipes to impress both young and old: macaroons, caramelized hazelnut stuffed truffles, little mango egg rolls

This sweet book is available wherever books are sold.

Monday, August 26, 2013

National Peach Month: Peach Pielets

This past weekend, I took my family peach picking for the first time ever at our local farm, Cider Hill. I had been apple picking hundreds of times, but for some reason never got around to peach picking. Which is silly since I adore peaches. So after an hour of excited picking, we ended up with a basket filled with the best smelling most wonderful peaches ever (even white peaches!). We even got to ride the hayride back to the farm (my son's favorite part of the experience).





Of course this means that I now have tons of peaches in my house ready to be baked into something wonderful and delicious. No worries. My plan? Well, since you asked... It happens to be National Peach Month and so I thought I'd step outside my usual peach crumble/crisp/pie world and try something a bit different. Enter this amazing peach pielet recipe from Celine and Tami's new book, Whole Grain Vegan Baking. I also definitely want to try this peach scone recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  

Peach Pielets
Excerpted from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tami Noyes



The slightly crisp, maple-sweetened crust is the ideal vessel for fresh peaches. These adorable deep-dish pies disappear quickly, whether it’s as dessert or on a bake sale table. They are sure to be popular at any gathering, so you might want to double the recipe.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray

For the filling:
500 g (2 3⁄4 cups) peeled, sliced peaches, cut in half
2 tablespoons (23 ml) pure maple syrup
24 g (3 tablespoons) whole wheat pastry flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine sea salt

For the crust:
180 g (1 1⁄2 cups) barley flour
105 g (3⁄4 cup) whole spelt flour
90 g (3⁄4 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (135 ml) neutral-flavored oil
3 tablespoons (45 ml) pure maple syrup
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) vegan milk, divided, plus extra for finishing the pielets
1 teaspoon organic turbinado sugar


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Lightly coat 10 of the cups of a standard muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill the remaining 2 cups halfway with water to ensure even baking and to avoid warping the pan.

To make the filling: Stir all the ingredients together in a medium-size bowl.

To make the crust: Whisk together the flours and salt in a medium-size bowl. Stir together the oil and maple syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle the oil/syrup mixture into the flours, and stir with a fork. The flour should resemble crumbs. Add 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) of the milk and stir with a fork. Add the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) milk if needed, to make a dough that holds together when pinched.

Fill the cups with a scant 3 tablespoons (60 g) of dough. Press the dough onto the sides and bottom of the cups. Spoon a heaping 1⁄4 cup (50 g) filling into each cup.

Pat or roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄4-inch (6 mm) thickness. Using a small cookie cutter, cut 10 shapes. Place the shapes on top of the filling. Lightly brush the shapes with milk and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 23 to 27 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. Let the pielets sit in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen carefully with a butter knife and lift from the pan. You may need to gently tip the pan and guide the pielets from it. Let cool on a wire rack until serving.

Yield: 10 pielets


Recipe Note

The sweetness of fresh fruit varies, so feel free to add more maple syrup to the filling to suit your taste.

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Have Your Cake and Feel Good About It Too!

Do whole grain flours intimidate you? Does amaranth flour sound fascinating but perhaps a little too froufrou? Do you love the chocolate cherry scones at your local coffee shop, but feel way too scared to attempt them on your own?

Fears begone! You are now in the safe (albeit floury) hands of Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, two vegan ladies who know their way around the oven—and barley and buckwheat flour too. Expect to see not an ounce of white flour, refined white sugar, or powdered egg replacer in this book. Instead, indulge in wholesome breads, muffins, pies, pancakes, and other treats that draw on the nutty depth of flavor and enhanced taste of ingredients like whole grain flours and natural sweeteners.

All you need is a bowl, a spoon, and a little “can-do!” attitude to whip up treats like Caramel Nut Barley Squares, Potato and Walnut Wheat Bread, and Chocolate Raspberry Tart. With more than 100 recipes to choose from, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is pick out what to bake first!

Your taste buds will love you, your friends will adore you, your waist will thank you, and the planet will be singing your praises with Whole Grain Vegan Baking. You’re just a whisk away!

This book is available where books and ebooks are sold.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

National Whiskey Sour Day!

We couldn't miss up the chance to share a whiskey sour recipe on National Whiskey Sour Day! So without further ado...

Port Light (courtesy Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s book, Grog Log)
Excerpted from Shake, Stir, Pour: Fresh Homegrown Cocktails by Katie Loeb

A new take on whiskey sour
This drink is a variation of the traditional whiskey sour, but with a lot more depth of flavor and dimension. It is the 1961 creation of Sandro Conti, then bar manager of the now defunct Kahiki Supper Club of Columbus, Ohio. It’s a rare whiskey-based tiki drink, from a place one rarely associates with tiki culture. In its heyday, the Kahiki was a wildly popular Columbus restaurant specializing in Asian and Polynesian cuisine as well as the tiki beverage culture that accompanied it. If you’re curious, search online for an image of the Kahiki Supper Club to see this magnificent piece of architecture that is sadly no longer with us.

{ The Kahiki Supper Club may have been the first family friendly “eatertainment” venue to feature interactive entertainment via a simulated rainstorm, complete with claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, and water running down the windows inside the restaurant. }

1 ounce (30 ml) bourbon
1 ounce (30 ml) lemon juice
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Passion Fruit Syrup (recipe below)
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Homemade Grenadine (recipe below)
Garnish: Cherry and lemon wedge

1. Shake ingredients with 1 cup (180 g) crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into a collins glass.
2. Garnish with a cherry and a lemon wedge. This drink can also be flash-blended in a blender for a “slushier” texture, if desired.

Yield: 1 drink

Passion Fruit Syrup

Passion Fruit Syrup is used in several classic cocktails, including the original recipe for the Hurricane, before it became that oversweetened, artificially colored version of the French Quarter of New Orleans. It has an intriguing sweet-tart flavor that has no substitute. Look for passion fruit pulp under the Spanish name maracuya.

1 cup (235 ml) water
2 cups (475 ml) sugar
1½ cups (183 g) passion fruit pulp (one 14-ounces package frozen pulp), defrosted
½ ounce (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) tartaric acid powder

1. Put water and sugar into a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes, until sugar is well dissolved.
2. Add the passion fruit pulp, lemon juice, and tartaric acid powder. Boil for another 3 minutes then remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Carefully strain out seeds and pulp, and funnel the mixture into a clean bottle. This syrup keeps refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Yield: Approximately 2 cups (475 ml)

Homemade Grenadine (Cold Process)

2 cups (475 ml) pomegranate juice
2½ cups (595 ml) organic sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) orange flower water (I use Cortas brand)
1 ounce (30 ml) 100 proof vodka
Optional: Scant 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) organic vanilla extract

1. Pour the pomegranate juice into a large container or jar with a tight fitting lid.
2. Gradually add sugar, stirring gently to prevent clumping.
3. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until all of the sugar has completely dissolved. This requires strong arms and shoulders, but eventually all of the sugar granules will be completely dissolved into the juice.
4. Add the orange flower water and vodka, and the vanilla extract if you’re using it, and stir to combine.

Homemade Grenadine (Hot Process)

2 cups (475 ml) pomegranate juice
2 cups (475 ml) organic sugar
2 ounces (60 ml) pomegranate molasses
Grenadine (from cold process preparation at left)

1. Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half.
2. Slowly add the sugar and whisk until completely dissolved.
3. Add the pomegranate molasses and whisk again to incorporate. Simmer gently for 3 more minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. When the hot syrup has completely cooled, combine it with the cold batch and whisk until the consistency is even.
5. Funnel into clean bottle(s) for storage.

This makes just enough to fill one standard 750 ml wine bottle with perhaps just a bit extra left over. A clean screw-capped wine bottle that has had the label removed and been run through boiling water to sterilize it would be perfect for this purpose.

If you have the extra space, you can keep this refrigerated almost indefinitely. I’ve kept mine at room temperature on the liquor shelf indefinitely with no ill effect.

Yield: Approx. 25 ounces (700 ml) (total combined)

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Create Your Own Fresh, Homegrown Cocktails!

Pure, intense, and flavorful—homemade cocktails are best straight from the source. Start in your garden or local market and create an in-season, made-from-scratch cocktail to lift your spirits and impress your guests. But be warned: Once you’ve tasted the fresh version of your favorite drink, you’ll never want to go back.

Start by making your own syrups:

—Simple syrup: an absolute staple and the base for unlimited concoctions

—Herbal syrups including Thai Basil Syrup, Mint Syrup, and Lavender Syrup

—Spice syrups, featuring Cinnamon Syrup, Ginger Syrup, and Orange Cardamom Syrup

—Fruit/vegetable syrups such as Rhubarb Syrup, Pear Syrup, and Celery Syrup

Make your own bar basics:

—Fresh Citrus Cordials like the Ruby Red Grapefruit-Lemongrass Cordial

—Classic garnishes, including real Cocktail Cherries and Cocktail Onions

—Classic mixers like Grenadine, Ginger Beer Concentrate, and Bloody Mary Mix

Make your own infusions:

—Base spirits including Cucumber, Lemon & Dill Gin and Jalapeño-Cilantro Vodka

—Limoncello: a homemade version of the Italian classic

—Bitters: a cocktail classic with new, unique flavor combinations

And explore the more than 50 drink recipes that feature your fresh, homemade creations!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Making Basic Sauerkraut using Real Food Fermentation

We're going to switch it up this Farm Share Friday and talk about fermentation. So it's kind of a Farm Share Friday and kind of a Fermentation Friday. hehe. Alex Lewin is the author of Real Food Fermentation. He's coming along with us to Mother Earth News Fair in Pennsylvania on September 20-22, so we thought we'd share one of his classic recipes for sauerkraut. You can use cabbage from your backyard garden, your farm share CSA, or your local farm stand.

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Sauerkraut is a food whose salient ingredient is lacto-fermented cabbage—green, red, savoy, or napa.
An amazing jar of sauerkraut
Sauerkraut has a colorful history. It has existed in one form or another, by one name or another, for at least several thousand years. Evidence has been found of sauerkraut in the diets of the workers building the Great Wall of China; Pliny wrote of sauerkraut in ancient Rome; fermented cabbage has been a mainstay of cold-weather European diets since at least the Middle Ages; and sailors have carried it on ships to ward off scurvy, which it can do because of its high vitamin C content.

Basic Sauerkraut Recipe
Excerpted from Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin

In its basic form, sauerkraut contains only two ingredients: cabbage and salt. The recipe can be varied by adding other vegetables or seasonings. By eating it young or letting it ferment for a longer time, you can choose between crunchy, slightly sour cabbage; epic, Wagnerian SAUERKRAUT; or anything in between.

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds (900 g) cabbage (green and red cabbage work best for this simple sauerkraut recipe)
4 teaspoons (20 g) sea salt

EQUIPMENT
Large cutting board (wood is ideal)
Large knife (a chef’s knife is ideal)
Large mixing bowl
1-quart (950-ml) mason jar, or similar glass jar with a tight-fitting lid

Yield: 1 quart (950 ml)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 4 days–4 weeks

WEIGHING
If your cabbage is not exactly 2 pounds (900 g), use approximately 2 teaspoons (10 g) of sea salt per pound (450 g) of cabbage. Alternatively, you can use 2 percent salt by weight.

For best results, weigh your cabbage after you have removed its outer leaves and core.

JARS
For each pound (450 g) of cabbage you use, you will need 16 ounces (475 ml) of jar capacity, or a bit more. Depending on the size of your jars, you can use a small jar to help pack the sauerkraut into the bigger jars (in step 10).

PREPARATION
1. Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage and discard them (Note: This is particularly important if your cabbage is not organically grown.)


2. If you are working with a whole cabbage, cut it in half, from the south pole to the north pole.


3. Cut each half once more, along the north-south axis, so that the whole cabbage is now in four pieces.



4. Optional: Remove some of the core of the cabbage by cutting diagonally into each quarter.



5. With its south pole facing you, lay a quarter of the cabbage on your cutting board, and slice it as finely or as coarsely as you like. More finely cut cabbage will ferment more quickly and will become a softer kraut. Coarser cut cabbage will lead to a crunchier product. Be careful of your fingers!



6. When it becomes awkward to slice, turn or flip the cabbage quarter in whatever way is convenient to make it more stable on the cutting board and easier to cut.

7 If you prefer, use a food processor with a “slice” wheel to shred your cabbage. You could also use a deli-style meat slicer, a box grater, or a purpose-built Krauthobel.



8. Slice the rest of the cabbage in this manner. When you are done, put it all in the mixing bowl and add the salt.



9. With clean hands, firmly massage the mixture of cabbage and salt until you are able to squeeze liquid out of the cabbage. Depending on how fresh the cabbage is, how much cabbage you have, and how hard you are squeezing, this may take anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. You will develop a feel for it after you have done it a few times.



10. Pack the mixture into a jar or jars . Using an appropriately sized implement, such as a small jar or potato masher, push down as hard as you can to get rid of as many air bubbles as possible, so that the liquid rises above the top of the cabbage. Ensure that there is at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between the top of the cabbage and the mouth of the jar, because the cabbage will expand as it ferments.



11. Close the lid of the jar and place it in a cool, dark place, if possible (between 50°F and 75°F [10°C and 25°C]).


FERMENTATION PROCESS
Check on your sauerkraut every day or two. Open the jar, smell it, taste it with a clean fork, and pack the sauerkraut back down until the liquid rises above it. After a few days, it should get bubbly. After a few more days, it should start to smell and taste sour.

You can eat it any time you want, or you can put it the refrigerator to arrest its progress. Young sauerkraut is crunchier; older sauerkraut has a stronger flavor. For maximum digestive and nutritive benefits, eat your sauerkraut raw (i.e., do not heat it beyond about 115°F [46°C]). However, if digestive and nutritive benefits are not your main goals, there’s no shame in cooking your sauerkraut. In fact, old sauerkraut that has become soggy and very sour may taste best cooked.

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Preserve your favorite foods through every season with Real Food Fermentation. Control your own ingredients, techniques, and additives. Learn a practical food-preparation skill you’ll use again and again. And express yourself by making something unique and whole.

Inside, you’ll find:

—All the basics: the process, the tools, and how to get started

—A guide to choosing the right ingredients

—Sauerkraut and beyond—how to ferment vegetables, including slaw-style, pickles, and kimchi

—How to ferment dairy into yogurt, kefir, crème fraîche, and butter

—How to ferment fruits, from lemons to tomatoes, and how to serve them

—How to ferment your own beverages, including mead, kombucha, vinegar, and ginger ale

—A primer on fermented meat, fish, soy, bread, and more

—Everything you need to know about why the recipes work, why they are safe, what to do if they go wrong, and how to modify them to suit your taste.

Available where books and ebooks are sold.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

We've been doing a lot of vegan and gluten-free recipes lately, so we thought we'd switch it up and feature a traditional English roast beef. This classic recipe is a great choice for holiday meals or Sunday lunch.

If you're not sure how to pick the best meat or butcher, be sure to check out the new book, Great Meat. It's filled with helpful tips, tricks, and recipes.

English Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Excerpted from Great Meat by Dave Kelly of Ruby & White
Foreword and contributed recipes by Glenn Keefer, Owner, and John Hogan, Executive Chef, Keefer’s of Chicago


English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
This looks heavenly.
Nothing could be more British than roast beef and Yorkshire pudding served for Sunday lunch. This classic meal needs only the simplest ingredients and the best beef you can buy.

Serves 6–8

Ingredients
6 pounds (2.7 kg) standing rib roast (bone-in rib of beef), 3–4 ribs in total
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon (10 g) dry mustard powder
2 small onions, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon (15 g) all-purpose flour

For the Yorkshire puddings (see Chef’s Tips)
2 cups (475 ml) all-purpose flour
2 cups (475 ml) milk
2 cups (475 ml) beaten eggs


Method
Preheat oven as high as it will go—450ºF (230ºC or gas mark 8). Rub the mustard, salt, and pepper over the meat. Put the onions and carrots into a roasting pan with the meat. Roast for 20 minutes.
Turn oven down to 350ºF (180ºC or gas mark 4). Roast beef for 15 minutes per pound (450 g) for rare; add 15 minutes to the total cooking time for medium rare, 25 minutes for medium, and 35 minutes for well-done. Check the beef regularly, basting at the same time. If the meat feels soft, it is rare. Medium-rare meat feels fairly firm when prodded in the center. Allow cooked meat to rest, covered, for 30–60 minutes. Pour the cooking juices into a bowl, allow to settle, then skim off most of the fat and reserve.

For the gravy, pour 1 tablespoon reserved fat back into roasting pan with carrots and onions. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour. Heat gently, stirring, for 1 minute, then add reserved pan juices and juices from rested meat. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thick. Serve with the beef, Yorkshire puddings, and steamed seasonal vegetables.

Chef’s Tips
For Yorkshire puddings, mix batter until smooth, then rest it for 1 hour. While the beef rests, pour the beef fat into a baking pan or muffin pans—add extra oil if there is not much. Bake the pan at 450ºF (230ºC or gas mark 8) until smoking. Add the batter and bake for 10–20 minutes to set. Open the oven briefly to release steam. Bake again for 10 minutes at 350ºF (180ºC or gas mark 4).
--


Recipes are only as good as their ingredients, especially when it comes to meat. That’s why having a good understanding of how to select, cut, and cook meat makes all of the difference in the final taste. Written by Ruby & White, one of Britain's leading butcher shops, Great Meat debunks myths and misinformation around selecting and cooking meat and offers up valuable information to meat lovers and serious home cooks who want to learn new and different preparation techniques.

This go-to guide to meat takes you through the technical aspects of meat, while providing recipes along the way that will help you try out your new-found techniques. Learn how to identify and use different cuts, why and when free-range and grass-fed is better, the basics of home butchery, and much more. Great Meat is filled with photos and diagrams showing where different cuts of meat come from, their corresponding preparation techniques, and recipes from the leading chefs and restaurants in Britain.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Apple a Day: Grilled Scallops, Apple, and Scallion Skewers

There are literally thousands of different ways to prepare, cook, and eat apples. From apple sauces to cakes to pastries, salads, and scones... this ingredient is downright universal. Today at 1 P.M. EST we are hosting a #spoonchat with the co-author of An Apple a Day, Melissa Petitto. If you have a question about apples or just want to chat about how much you love this crisp, fall ingredient, be sure to join us on Twitter.

In the meantime, enjoy this recipe from the cookbook :)

Grilled Scallops, Apple, and Scallion Skewers
Excerpted from An Apple a Day by Melissa Petitto and Karen Berman

Apple Cider Vinegar is one thing you never want to live without!
Pop these on the grill the next time you’d like a tasty meal with little fuss.


Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Granny Smith apple
12 scallions, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
12 large scallops, cut in half horizontally
1 tablespoon (14 g) sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat a grill to medium high. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil, whisking to form an emulsion.

Core and cut the apple into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Add the apples and scallions to the dressing. Toss to coat.

In a medium bowl, season the scallops with the remaining oil, salt, and pepper.

Thread each skewer with 1 apple chunk, 1 piece of scallion, and 2 scallop halves. Arrange the skewers on the grill. Grill 1 minute per side or until lightly charred and the scallops are cooked through.

To serve, arrange on a platter, drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.


Apple Tip:

For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used for both medicinal purposes and as a dietary
supplement. Historical uses include:

Cleaning and polishing
Destroying weeds
Dressing salads
Making pickles

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Taking something classic and giving it a new twist, An Apple a Day is a fresh, daily cookbook, filled to the brim with 365 apple recipes carefully selected to reflect the holidays, seasons, and months of the year (Pumpkin-Apple Soup in October; Grilled Turkey Burger with Apple-Chipotle Sauce in July), as well as current culinary trends and decorating projects.

Different from other apple cookbooks on the market, this extensive collection of recipes goes far beyond the tried and true apple dishes, to include novel recipes for savory meals such as Risotto with Apples and Crêpes, salads such as Thai-Style Pork Belly with Apples; cocktails such as Frozen Apple Daiquiri—and so much more. Nor are traditional favorites neglected; the book offers multiple ways to make applesauce, baked apples, pies, tarts, muffins, crisps, pastries and cookies. The recipes in the book are accompanied by crafty, room decor and ambience-enhancing projects such as seasonal centerpieces and apple-scented candles, designed for a delightful, multi-sensory apple experience.

Notes on apple varieties instruct on picking the perfect apple for any occasion and sidebars are used to reflect interesting apple stats, tales from literature and folklore, pairing tips, and surprising apple fun facts. Also sprinkled throughout are quotations and favorite apple recipes shared by some of today’s popular celebrity chefs, reflecting a variety of different cultures and styles of cuisine, such as Michael Gilligan and Ian Kittichai.

See, smell, and best of all taste for yourself, hundreds of ways to enjoy one of the world’s most versatile fruits of all time.
Pick up your copy of An Apple a Day TODAY. Available where books and ebooks are sold.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hot Buttered Rum: The Sailor's Cure-All

My husband is an avid sailor who races each Thursday night. He also gets ridiculously seasick when he sails on the ocean. His crew keeps a bottle of rum on the boat and they all have a ceremonial swig before they launch the boat each time. I love the tradition of it all.





Whenever we invite the sailing team over for dinner or have a dinner party, we serve hot buttered rum. There's just something magical about this warm and soothing drink, especially when the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to change.

The incomparable Warren Bobrow (and his charming gnome Klaus) has a wonderful recipe for this clever concoction in his forthcoming book Apothecary Cocktails. I couldn't help but share.

Be sure to preorder your copy of Apothecary Cocktails today.

Hot Buttered Rum: The Sailor’s Cure-All


The hot toddy cocktails we know and love today have their roots in the days of yore, when apothecaries might have prescribed them for relief against the aches and pains the Siberian-strength cold weather brings on. Hot toddies are cocktails in which hot or boiling water is added to spirits and other ingredients, and many of these tasty, warming tipples were created to ease cold and flu symptoms. Ships’ doctors of yesteryear may have delivered doses of this classic hot buttered rum to sailors to relieve aching bones and flagging spirits. Four magic ingredients—hot tea, sugar, butter, and rum—connect every sailor who’s ever had to head face-first into a full gale while out at sea.

Today, this curative is a treat that goes down smoothly after a long day of skiing, hiking, or just sitting by the fire.

Ingredients
Hot black tea
6 ounces (175 ml) rum
Dark brown sugar to taste
2 teaspoons butter (9 g or about 2 acorn-sized lumps)
Freshly grated nutmeg

Prepare a pot of strong black tea. While the tea is steeping, preheat mugs by filling them with boiling water; discard the water after a few seconds.

Add 3 ounces (90 ml) of rum to each mug. Fill each mug with tea and mix gently. Sweeten to taste with dark brown sugar. Add a walnut-sized lump of butter to each mug, and dust each drink with fresh nutmeg. Anchors aweigh!
Serves 2

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At the turn of the century, pharmacies in Europe and America prepared homemade tinctures, bitters, and herbal remedies mixed with alcohol for curative benefit for everything from poor digestion to the common cold. Today, trendy urban bars such as Apotheke in New York, Apo Bar & Lounge in Philadelphia, and 1022 South in Tacoma, as well as "vintage" and "homegrown" cocktail aficionados, find inspiration in apothecary cocktails of old.

Now you can too!

Apothecary Cocktails features 75 traditional and newly created recipes for medicinally-themed cocktails. Learn the history of the top ten apothecary liqueurs, bitters, and tonics that are enjoying resurgence at trendy bars and restaurants, including Peychaud's Bitters, Chartreuse, and Vermouth. Find out how healing herbs, flowers, and spices are being given center stage in cocktail recipes and traditional apothecary recipes and ingredients are being resurrected for taste and the faint promise of a cure. Once you’ve mastered the history, you can try your hand at reviving your favorites: restoratives, sedatives and toddys, digestifs, and more.

Whether you’re interested in the history, the recipes, or both, you’ll love flipping through this beautifully presented book that delves into the world of apothecary cocktails.

Available October 1 where books and ebooks are sold.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Make Homemade Lollipops

My son's 2nd birthday is quickly approaching and so I've been in a mad birthday planning mode. My mom is a professional cake decorator, so I never need to worry about what kind of cake to get, but I do like to add my own personal touch to the occasion and make something people will remember. Enter The Sweet Book of Candy Making by Elizabeth LaBau. This wonderful book is filled with the sweetest recipes imaginable. It took me about 2.5 seconds to stop on this homemade lollipop recipe. I am definitely going to give this one a try. Thanks Elizabeth!

Lollipops
Excerpted from The Sweet Book of Candy Making by Elizabeth LaBau of Sugarhero
 

If you love classic lollipops, then this is the recipe for you! These lollipops can be customized with your favorite colors and flavoring extracts to make an endless variety of treats. If you don’t want to use candy molds, you can make free-form lollipops by dropping spoonfuls of the cooked candy onto a silicone mat and then inserting a lollipop stick before the candy hardens.

4 ounces or ½ cup (120 ml) water
7 ounces or 1 cup (196 g) granulated sugar
11 ounces or 1 cup (308 g) light corn syrup
1 to 2 teaspoons flavoring extract (see Note below)
3 or 4 drops gel food coloring of your choice

Prepare your hard candy lollipop molds by coating the cavities with a very light layer of nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil. Insert lollipop sticks into the molds and set aside for now.

Combine the water, granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a 2-quart (1.8-L) saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

When the sugar syrup comes to a boil, insert a candy thermometer.

Continue to cook the sugar syrup, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer reads 300°F (149°C). Remove the pan from the heat, and let the candy stop bubbling completely. Once it is still, stir in the flavoring extract and the food coloring of your choice.

Carefully spoon the hot sugar syrup into the prepared molds, making sure that the tops of the sticks are covered with syrup and are well embedded in the candy. Let the lollipops sit and harden at room temperature until they are completely cool and firm. Once cool, don’t pull them out by the sticks. Instead, carefully flex the back of the molds to remove the lollipops without causing any breakage.

Lollipops keep well when stored in a cool, dry environment. For best results, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

NOTE: The strength of extracts varies greatly from brand to brand and flavor to flavor. Some, like vanilla, are quite mild, while others, like peppermint and cinnamon, are very strong. It may take some trial and error to determine how much flavoring to add to suit your taste. Never add the flavoring until the candy stops bubbling; if you add it too early, the heat from the candy will just cook off most of the flavor. If you are using flavoring oils, they are much stronger than extracts, so start by adding just ¼ to ½ teaspoon flavoring oil.

VARIATION: To make sour lollipops, add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to the sugar syrup when you add the flavoring and color. Citric acid adds a tart, tangy flavor.

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Create your own delicious, gorgeous, and professional-quality candies with The Sweet Book of Candy Making. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned candy maker, you will find mouthwatering recipes and expert tips to inspire you—and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Inside, you'll find:

—Candy-making essentials: all you need to know about equipment, ingredients, and techniques, including step-by-step lessons on pulling taffy, rolling truffles, filling peanut butter cups, and more

—More than 50 recipes for sugar candies, fondant, caramels, toffee, fudge, truffles, chocolates, marshmallows, and fruit and nut candies

—Troubleshooting tips for each type of candy

—How to perfect the classics you love, from English Toffee to Chocolate Fudge to Peanut Brittle

—Try your hand at something new: Pistachio Marzipan Squares, Passion Fruit Marshmallows, Mango-Macadamia Nut Caramels, Lemon Meringue Lollipops, and more

—Decorating techniques to show off your tasty results

Get started in your kitchen with The Sweet Book of Candy Making! This book is available where books and ebooks are sold.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Cocktail Sunday: Party! Sangria Recipe, Finale Live-Tweet, and Recap of True Blood S6E09

It's a sad, sad day. The last Summer Cocktail Sunday post! So let's go out with a bang! I have some awesome things for you to check out today.

  1. Recap of last week's episode.
  2. A recipe for Sangria from Olivia Dupin's newest book!
  3. I am going to live-tweet the Season Finale tonight and you can follow along right here on SPOON!
  4. A call for ideas! Do you want us to do a cocktail feature this fall? Send us some TV or movie ideas and we will continue this popular column. But we need to hear from you, so send us your thoughts!

So without further ado, let's get down to the nitty-gritty and do some bad things.

Do you need a tissue for your issue, 'cause these Spoilers are kinda rough!
After Eric sucked Warlow almost dry, Sookie tried to revitalize him while Bill just thinks he can grab and go. When Sookie starts to feed Warlow, Bill gets a little excited and Sookie has to blast him with her light to push him out of the Sort-Of-Fairy-Dimension. Bill begins to follow Eric's trail of destruction in the hopes that what Sookie said ("Eric has more of Warlow's blood than Warlow does.") is enough to save his progeny. Sookie explains to Warlow that she will keep her promise of becoming his vampire wife/daughter(?). Is it me or should we still not trust Warlow? I'm with Sookie on this one, why can't he just ask her on a date or go to a movie?
Terry's funeral. Oh my, oh my, oh my. I'm just gonna dive in so's I don't just crumble. Letty Mae! I've missed you. Still as awkward as ever, huh? What I love about the start of this scene, and actually the show often does this pretty well (I mean for soap opera about vampires), is the realism. Yes, Sookie pops into existence, but when she goes to sit, she asks about Hoyt, makes light chit chat with Jane Bodehouse, and we see this small town come together like any small town would. It kind of throws me back to season one when they gathered in the town hall to hear the Civil War exploits of Vampire Bill. It's about humanity. It's about people sharing their stories with each other. Even if those people are a telepath/fairy, a werewolf, a shifter, black, white, male, female. During the times that matter, we can all come together, and love. That's the end of my long-winded speech, because Alcide shows up looking better than ever and Jane and Maxine start to drool.
Reverend Daniels begins the service and sets the tone. The stories of this very large and dysfunctional family begin. We flash back with Andy to when Terry returned from war and his antics, though silly, are still very real for many people. It seems that Terry is hiding from his life, but Andy tries to connect with a fundamental thing that unites all men: Beer. 
Returning with the Raging Bitch IPA (love it!), Sam and Andy come to offer Terry a job. They go fishing together, because beer and fishing is a lot less pressure than talking. When he catches a catfish, we get a glimpse into Terry's profound guilt and self-consciousness. Terry has learned a huge life lesson during his duty: Every life matters. 
Lafayette, looking' fan-freakin'-tastic, relays his tale with flair. Terry is having a hard time at connecting and focusing. Exuding his unique brand of love, Lafayette helps Terry through a minuscule task (baby steps) of making fries. Can we talk about the fry dance? 
As a palette cleanser between good stories, we hear Portia's story. No one really cares. But now, it's Arlene's turn and she's thinking she's not ready. So Sookie takes the bullet and comes out about her telepathy. This flashback is adorable. Arlene and Sookie acting really young, the weird flirty waitress, and Terry acting so amazingly adorable. Yup. I cried. Thanks Sookie. (grumblemakinmecrygrumble)

Arlene's up to bat. In her story, she is freaking out about Mikey and not being a good mom. Terry steps in and becomes the strong support she needs. ("He was my ROCK!") He transcends his past life and becomes a person that can be loving, trustworthy, helpful, and supportive. 


In sharp, sharp contrast to what is happening at the funeral, Eric has a great snarl going on and is showing no mercy to any and all of the humans at Vamp Camp. Eric is dealing with his grief in a very different way than the citizens of Bon Temp as hear tears a bloody hole through the building. Dr. Overlark got the worst of it, I believe, as Eric's propensity to tear body parts from people never ceases to amuse me. Bill's finds Overlark and stomps his head like a bug. The gore continues! I love it! Eric releases the male vampires, but stumbles upon a young vampire who is waiting for his maker. He is dying of HepV and Eric feels the pang of heartache again. 
As Bill searches for Eric, he walks through this house of horror. It reminds me of a haunted house and now i am absolutely ready for fall, pumpkins, and Halloween. After releasing the female vamps, Eric stumbles upon Jason (Violet left him?) and Jason automatically helps him. Eric decides to heal him, leaving us all to wonder about the very hot dreams that will come. They both head off to find their friends and Sarah Newlin emerges from a pile of dead bodies to go be her crazy righteous self.
When Eric and Jason stumble upon the therapist, he reveals that he slept with Pam (Oh no he di'n't!) and Eric decides to give Pam the pleasure of killing him. On their odd little odyssey, they hear Ginger's scream and add her to the group. Meanwhile, Bill arrives at a realization: He had it in him all along! Bill has had Warlow's blood and therefore, his blood will hopefully be enough to save them. And as Sarah Newlin climbs the stairway to heaven to cast light down upon the demons, as the gate opens, Bill-The-Savior has fed his progeny, and they survive. Unfortunately, Steve is the runt of the litter and can't make it to Bill nurturing blood. He tries to escape, but is met with Eric who hold him in the sun and with his last dying breath, looks at Sarah and screams "I love you Jason Stackhouse!" The Vamps are high, dancing around in the sunlight, leaving Bill to die. Jason runs off to fight his villain, Sarah. 
And just when we think that it's over, Big John steps forward. He sings "Life Matters" and everyone dissolves into tears. Cause, REALLY? We cross this highly emotional tribute to life, with Jason/Sarah clash and Jason has to ask himself if all lives really do matter? He lets Sarah escape.
In the final bits of the episode, the vamps destroy the TruBlood, but not before a truck arrives in California, where the news of HepV hasn't yet reached. Lillith's minions try to pull Bill into oblivion, and Jessica remembers that they left him behind and goes back to help. Eric faces the room where Nora was infected and rage engulfs him. James and Jessica try to feed Bill to help him. A 21-gun salute fires for Terry and we all cry again. I am glad to see Terry getting his due and the show taking time to go through the motions so that we can say good bye to our friend. Bill emerges into the sunlight and we praise Lillith. Turning to look for Eric, Pam realizes that he is about to fly away, leaving her again. 

Spoilers over, but is it really the end?

Now let's get on with the party!


Here's a delicious recipe for Sangria, which means BLOOD, from Olivia Dupin's newest book, Gluten-Free Entertaining. It seemed fitting : )

Red Sangria
•Soy-free •Dairy-free •Nut-free


Choose a fairly inexpensive dry red wine for this recipe. This recipe is for one pitcher,
but for a party of six, I usually make at least three pitchers!


¼ cup (50 g) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) hot water
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine, such as Rioja or cabernet
¼ cup (60 ml) brandy
¼ cup (60 ml) Triple Sec
½ cup (120 ml) orange juice
1 green apple, cored and cut into ½-inch (1.3 cm) cubes
1 orange, sliced into rounds, then quartered
Ice as needed






Place the sugar in a pitcher and add the hot water. Stir until dissolved.

Add the wine, brandy, Triple Sec, orange juice, apple, and orange.

Let sit for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Before serving, top the pitcher off with ice and serve with a wooden spoon in the pitcher to help portion some of the fruit into each glass while pouring.

Yield: 6 servings

Chef’s Tip
In the summertime, I replace the apple and orange with about 1½ cups (215 g) blackberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries for a fresh, seasonal variation.

Cheers, all!

And now, to leave Summer Cocktail Sunday on a great note, join me (@absyntheaddict) here on Sunday for a live-tweeting event and the last Summer Cocktail Sunday. #SCSTrueBlood


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About the book coming this fall:


If you’re gluten-free, you know that parties and other gatherings can be a food conundrum. What can you prepare for your guests that everyone can enjoy, gluten-free or not? And what can you bring to parties that will please a crowd, and bring praise instead of pause?

Take the fear away and fill your plate with sensational (and safe!) eats with Gluten-Free Entertaining. Author Olivia Dupin will teach you how to entertain with ease, whether you're hosting a brunch, going to a holiday bash, or just having a casual couple's dinner at home. And with fourteen separate menus and more than 100 party-pleasing dishes, you'll find something for every taste and occasion.

From Deep-Dish Ham, Artichoke and Brie Quiche to Sesame Chicken Bites and Chocolate Chip Almond Torte, all of these recipes are delicious, first and foremost, and coincidentally gluten-free, so you can make them for your own get-together, or bring them along to any gathering. 
Entertain with ease with Gluten-Free Entertaining!

TRUE BLOOD IS PROPERTY OF HBO.