Here in America we like to put our own culinary stamp on everything, and by “culinary stamp” of course we mean taking otherwise healthy things and frying them in as much oil as possible, then dousing them in something sweet. With Passover just around the corner, it’s matzoh’s turn in the fried spotlight. While we disappointingly haven’t seen anyone deep-fry matzoh yet (what are you waiting for, Iowa State Fair?) we do love this take on traditional matzoh brei, courtesy of Carrington Farms, which goes easy on the eggy extras, and heavy on the fried bread. Er…unleavened bread that is.
Today’s Cocktail O’Clock comes from Brett Robison, the bar manager at Republic in Takoma Park, Maryland, and things are getting a liiiiitle complicated. And by complicated, we mean on fire.
Republic’s new Ring of Fire cocktail is an homage to Johnny Cash that’s made with Hennessy, Romana Sambuca, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon peel and orange peel, plus “Angostura flame” — overproof rum and angostura bitters — sprayed from an aromatizer through an open flame.
We’d say don’t try this at home…but if you do want to try it at home, we got the recipe. For more on how to handle the Angostura flame, check out these instructions. Be safe, kids.
Ring of Fire
2oz Bulleit Rye
1/2 Romana Sambuca
1tsp simple syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4 sprays angostura flame
Combine bulleit, bitters, lemon peel and simple syrup in mixing glass. Add ice and stir 5 times.
In a separate old-fashioned glass add 1/2oz Romans Sambuca.
Stir the cocktail 10-15 more times or until well chilled.
Light Sambuca on fire. Begin spraying angostura flames directly towards the flaming Sambuca. Miniature bursts or geysers of fire will form. After 4 sprays, strain cocktail into warmed and aromatized old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange peel.
This recipe is so simple I almost feel bad posting it as a “recipe”… except for I don’t feel bad, because it is SOOOO GOOD. You’ll see.
I originally experienced this heavenly combo during one of my weekly girls’ night dinner parties. I knew it was going to be a winner when I saw the dressing employed: Rich Poppy Seed Dressing from Brianna’s. Normally I don’t love bottled salad dressings, but this Brianna’s is different. I’ve been a big fan of their poppy seed dressing since I discovered it years ago. It’s an amazing complement to every sort of fruit (including peaches, as indicated on the bottle—and also avocado!)
The sweetness of the strawberries and the dressing is an obvious pairing with the tangy, creamy goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. The surprise here is the quinoa—usually I serve cooled quinoa in salads, but this one keeps it warm. This allows the goat cheese to melt into the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients, and slightly wilt the spinach. It all melts and mixes together just enough, not too much. The key? Slightly warm quinoa, not super hot right off the stove!
Sweet Strawberry Fields Salad
I stumbled upon the most interesting thing last night! Brussels sprouts are a hot menu item everywhere in Austin (and the general country, I feel) but usually I see them one of two ways: Asian style with fish sauce, cilantro, etc. or uh, Bacon style, as in they’re sautéed with tons of bacon, pancetta, etc. But we were trying out a new-ish restaurant, The Hightower, when I noticed something a little different on the menu: Peanut Butter Brussels Sprouts.
Well, I love peanut butter and I love Brussels sprouts, so obviously the universe had already made this choice for me.
These were some of the best sprouts I’ve had in recent memory – they weren’t too goopy or sugary, thanks to the addition of sambal and lemon. A sprinkling of plump, golden raisins added just enough contrast. This would be really easy to replicate at home — quarter some sprouts, sauté with some coconut oil, add in some natural peanut butter, a scoop of sambal, a squeeze of lemon, and a handful of raisins at the end. Sweet, sour, spicy, what’s not to love?!
Well, if this whole winter this is just going to refuse to stop, we might as well embrace it, and keep on pouring those hot cocktails.
This recipe kicks Irish coffee up a notch, using illy espresso lightly sweetened with raw sugar, gently stirred into warm whiskey, finished with lightly whipped cream and a dash of cocoa powder.
Serious Irish Coffee
1. In a small steaming pitcher, add 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey.
2. Add 2 tsp granulated sugar.
3. Heat the whiskey and sugar for a few seconds using the steam wand on the espresso machine. Pour into serving glass.
4. Prepare 2 oz espresso and add to serving glass. Gently stir.
5. In a small bowl or mixing cup add 2 oz heavy cream. Lightly whip so that it is still a liquid.
6. Starting at the edge of the glass slowly pour/float 2oz heavy cream on top of the coffee.
7. Garnish with two coffee beans and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Bracket already busted? Well, we can’t offer you a billion dollars, but we can suggest some solid consolation grub. Namely, our NCCA-season list of the country’s best drunk college food, with every school ranked in order, from 1 to 68.